Lighthearted Meditation: Playing With Mindfulness
I often meet people who say things like, "I've been working on mindfulness for over twenty years."
My response is always this: "Oh, you poor thing! Have you tried *playing* with mindfulness? It's very effective, and much more fun!"
They tend to look at me like I'm some kind of kook, and then ask the million-dollar question: "How can you play with mindfulness?" Glad you asked....
We tend to think of mindfulness as something that develops only after years of dedicated meditation. We must sit for hours, contemplate in silence for days, go on retreats for weeks, practice daily for years. Okay, that can work.
The unfortunate thing is that it IS work, and consequently, it's about as appealing to most folks as lying on a bed of nails. Sure, they want to develop a clearer perspective on life. Yes, they want to become calm and contemplative. Of course they want to live more meaningfully and with greater joy. But does it have to be so hard?
Absolutely not. You see, while most people knock politely on that front door of meditation in order to get inside the House of Mindfulness, I like to sneak people in the back door to steal a few cookies. Why can't we play with mindfulness, dance with it, treat it like our favorite goofy cousin who happens to be brilliant instead of our strict uncle who happens to have a Ph.D?
Why can't we tiptoe toward mindfulness through eyes-wide-open exercises that are engaging, uplifting, informative, and--dare I say it--fun?
Mindfulness should be like a big game of mental hide-and-seek: "Where am I now? Gotcha!"
As a student of Buddhism for nearly 30 years, I have the greatest respect for the Buddha and the philosophy that developed around his teachings. I have tremendous admiration for those who have dedicated themselves to a regular meditation practice.
But it's disturbing to me that mindfulness is seen as "belonging" to Buddhism and that meditation is seen as the only vehicle that will take us there. This sounds a bit like, oh, attachment? Clinging, perhaps?
I just can't find it in my heart to believe that the Buddha would be ticked off about the idea of developing mindfulness in whatever way works best.
Not everyone likes the idea of meditation, but here's the cool part: those who start off with easy, enjoyable exercises often find themselves seeing the value in sitting still. In fact, many clients say they'd never have started with meditation, but they so enjoyed "playing" with mindfulness that they have begun a regular sitting practice!
Sneaky? Sure, but that's part of playing. Fun--in whatever form that takes--is what keeps us going back for more. If you're not grinning, you're not winning in this big ol' game of life. If "working" on mindfulness isn't working for you, try playing instead.
Throw open the doors. Let your inner monk go out and play. It's recess!
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse in Portland, Oregon. Through her company, Real-World Mindfulness Training, she offers creative and powerful eyes-wide-open alternatives to meditation. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, please visit http://www.MassageYourMind.com.
Practicing Staying Present to the Now
Transformational Counseling is about assisting others to transform their life. Transformational Counseling is a process of assisting others to learn how to let go of the past and live fully in the present. To live fully in the present is to become awaken to what is truly real and to our own natural power. Much of our life is spent living in the past, and in the process, attempting to fix it, to make it something that it is or was not. It is from living in the past that we also attempt to create our future, the result always being a living of life as it was in the past. Transformation takes place when we learn to exist in and be present to the Now.
Relax Into Health
I'd like to share a little secret about relaxation techniques for athletes (or health-minded people that workout) and anyone that wants to feel more focused, calm, healthy and peaceful.
The Relationship Between Meditation and Self-Analysis
These are two very powerful tools for self-improvement, but how can you use them in harmony? For example: Self-analysis and meditation cannot be performed at the same time. After all, multi-tasking runs contrary to what meditation is all about.
The subconscious is a scarey thing to comtemplate for some people. We have been taught that it is a dark place that keeps deep dark secrets about ourselves that could destroy our peace of mind at the very least, and our lives at the very worst. And quite possibly it does. But, that is not its only function.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of daily meditation. The benefits are enormous. They are: improved physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health; greater personal power, enhanced creativity, increased ability to enact ideals and an enhanced sense of purpose and well-being.
Experiencing Peace as You Would Imagine Peace to be
Peace can mean quiet, tranquility, serenity, peace of mind, mental calmness, friendliness, no wars, civil disorders or strife. Sometimes a word makes sense and other times there is no reference for it.
Objective Meditations: What is Reality?
Is reality a projection from within the mind, or is it an "altered lens" into the outside world? Let's look at the altered lens theory first. Obviously, we are not all looking at the world with the same lens or viewpoint. If that were possible, and we had a consistent moral code of ethics, we would have world peace.
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Yoga Meditation For Pain Relief
The purpose of this article is to provide information on methods and techniques on how to cope with pain, or in some instances, possibly even overcoming pain with the use of techniques derived from Yoga meditation.
Bhagavad Gita Commentary
Most of us have heard the story of the centipede who, when asked how he managed to walk with so many legs, could no longer do so, but tangled his legs hopelessly in the attempt to intellectually figure it out and ended up on his back, helpless. This is not unlike the person who attempts to plumb the depths of oriental scriptures. Right away it becomes evident that they consist of incalculable layers, nearly all symbolic in nature. Furthermore, the meanings of the symbols are not consistent, changing according to the levels on which they occur. For example, on one level water symbolizes the mind, on another level the constant flux of samsara, and on another the subtle life-currents known as prana. This being the case, our Western linear mode of thought becomes as entangled and disabled as the fabled centipede. Knowing this to be so, I have decided to avoid the Lorelei of subtle symbolism and concentrate instead on the obviously practical side of Krishna teachings in the Bhagavad Gita. Having stated this, in complete consistency with oriental thought, I shall contradict myself and consider the symbolism encountered in the first chapter of the Gita.
Meditation - What is It Good for Anyway?
Meditation is an age old healing and stress relieving modality practiced throughout the world, in virtually all cultures and all religions, although it may go by different names - prayer, visualization, relaxation techniques, and hypnosis; they are all forms of the same practice.
Relaxation Magic - Hypnosis, Meditation, Visualization
Hypnosis, meditation and visualization are three similar processes for accessing a creative area of the sub-conscious mind. Relaxation Magic lessons use a combination of all three therapies for maximum results. With the exception of people who have mental disabilities such as schizophrenia and severe retardation, everyone can achieve the relaxed focus of hypnosis, meditation and visualization by themselves.
Do You Want To Relax And Think Clearly?
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Meditation: A Path To Inner Peace
Throughout history, meditation has been an integral part of many cultures. Records indicate that meditation was practiced in ancient Greece and India more than 5,000 years ago. In the Buddhist religion, meditation is an important part of their spiritual practice. Different forms of meditation are practiced in China and Japan, and Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have traditions similar to meditation. The word meditation comes from the Latin 'meditari' which means: exercise, turn something over in one's mind, think, consider. It is defined as "consciously directing your attention to alter your state of mind."
Enlightenment through Meditation
Helping the broadest range of people attain enlightenment through meditation is my lifelong preoccupation. I have more than 20 years of daily interaction with people helping them meditate and encouraging them to set high goals and use meditation as a tool for attaining inspiration, precious insights, enlightenment and other benefits that come along with it. In order to practice meditation, you need a pleasant quiet place where nobody is going to disturb you. Once you are comfortably seated, you can start with pranayama (rhythmic breathing exercise), followed by pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from the outer world), thorough relaxation of the mind and senses, and finally relaxation of the physical body. By breathing rhythmically ? inhaling, holding the breath, and exhaling while following a simple pattern (4-16-8, for instance) ? you will accumulate prana, revitalize your life force, and new spiritual strength will come to you. During the pratyahara you will play the role of a neutral observer of your thoughts, with the ultimate aim of achieving a state of consciousness without any thoughts. In this way, the objective possibility of reaching the most inner part of your Being ? God in you ? is realized. This means that you can now start feeling the warmth in your heart, see the light which is present there, and experience the subtle energy of Divine love. Furthermore, you can become aware of the harmony of mind, heart, and will. Your devotion and relaxation can lead you into deeper levels of consciousness, into deeper meditation. You can turn your senses inward to further increase you awareness. Your meditation will start realizing its goals. This is the level of devotion where you can actually contact the source of inspiration, gain countless insights, and approach the possibility of enlightening your Being. It is the harmony of your mind, heart, and will, that brings you into Unity with the One. When you learn to be quiescent, when there are no thoughts and aspirations of any kind, you will find yourself out of your mental body, out of limitations, free in the consciousness of Unity. Only when your intentions diminish, when your mind becomes unoccupied, the enlightenment will start to show its magnificence. The sustained flow of attention will connect you to the endless reservoir of power, the source of knowledge and inspiration. When meditation occurs, love is its flavor. This love is your true nature. When the consciousness starts perceiving itself, it becomes pure consciousness. What resides is only the voiceless spirit of awareness whose meaning is I AM, I EXIST, I ENDURE. You should meditate every single day, if necessary two times a day. If some day you find yourself distressed, a simple exercise can help you. Light a candle and put it some 30 cm away, at the level of your eyes. Simply by gazing at the blue part of the candle's flame for 5 minutes, you can relax yourself. Your positive attitude, faith, calmness, and serenity can help. You should consciously develop love toward your meditation and meditativeness. The results will be in accord with your efforts, persistence and fortitude. There is not a single individual who can not succeed. There are only different kinds of obstacles with different people. Don't forget to consult your spiritual teacher, who is there to help you overcome your obstacles.
Meditation and the Monkey Mind?
Some find the term, "monkey mind", upsetting, derogatory, and insulting. This is a shame, as the point is lost, the ego is involved, and a natural human defense goes up. After all, we are supposed to be the "king of the primates," aren't we?
How to Record Meditation Scripts to Audio Equipment
If you're someone who loves to meditate (or wants to start) and has loads of meditation CD's why not try something novel? Record your voice using meditation scripts. Imagine this, each visually guided session personalised through using your voice. You now have the power to adjust your rhythm, volume, tone, and pitch to exactly how you like! When you want to change the way your meditation sounds, you can easily do this by re-recording the script! All the more power to you!
Holosync Meditation - Does It Really Work?
Chances are, if you are on a quest for self-improvement, you've already heard of the Holosync Meditation CD's. What It Is: Developed by Bill Harris in the late 1980s, the Holosync Solution is an audio program designed to bring your brain waves to the alpha (and lower)levels automatically just by listening to the cds. According to Bill: "Holosync is a way to create deep meditation easily, precisely and consistently." Beyond The Hype: I thought it was about time someone talked about what it's REALLY like to use the Holosync cds. I've been using the program for 2 years fairly consistently. That means sitting down almost every day, putting on my headphones and doing nothing else for an hour. It's a huge time commitment and there were times I wondered if it was worth it. In The Beginning: Unlike the other testimonials you may have read, I did not experience profound changes after listening to the first cd. In fact, for the most part, I fell asleep! But that's okay, because the more I listened, the less sleeping I did. Truth be told, I still doze off when I'm starting a new level. Each new level takes you into deeper meditative states and requires an adjustment. As Time Goes By: Here I am, two years later, still making the time and financial commitment to stick with it. Why? Because I'm amazed at the person I've become. Over the course of the two years: I'm calmer I rarely get angry. I have a more positive attitude. I've become more spiritual. I'm happier - negative thoughts creep in, but they don't stay. Would I have experienced this growth without Holosync? Maybe, but I believe it would have taken much longer. Have I reached the "nirvana" state while meditating? A couple of times I have experienced that deep all-encompassing sense of peace, but for the most part, my thoughts tend to drift. I try to start each session with an affirmation or goal statement, but often I'll end up working out a problem or thinking about other things. It seems to work anyway and I always feel refreshed and calm at the end of a session. What About Using Other Programs? Absolutely! I've used and still incorporate other programs into my Holosync meditation. I mentioned affirmations, but other types of releasing programs work well, even different meditation techniques can work with Holosync. Self improvement should be a never-ending quest. You can usually gain some new insights by listening to a different point of view. If you are interested in learning more about Holosync meditation, click on the link at the end of this article. You'll be directed to a products review site.
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