Category Archives: Meditation
Wikipedia identifies mindfulness as “the practice whereby a person is intentionally aware of his or her thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally”. Although my faith is based in Jesus Christ, I am thankful that He has given me the gift of openness to explore and implement practices from other faiths and religions.
In 1976, when I began implementing breathing exercise with meditation practices, I immediately knew that finding my center and focusing on my breath in and breath out enabled calm and peace to flow through my body. Being human, I learned in a moment what has taken a lifetime to implement. Transcendental meditation has been found to decrease heart rate and blood pressure because the mind-body connection prospers when one experiences peace and calm.
The following websites can help someone to experience mindfulness, mediation and peace: From New Dream Network come several sites linked together: Energy Breath—-Healing Arts Online–-Thinking Peace. Although these blogs are selling selected books does not take away the thoughtfulness presentations here.
Some current articles or posts about mindfulness meditation:
Mindfulness Meditation and Concentration Meditation–by Matt Clarkson:
“Mindfulness meditation is also known as insight because the intention is to gain insight as to the true nature of reality. While concentration involves the practitioner focusing their attention on a single object, in mindfulness meditation practice, every aspect of experience is welcomed and appreciated.”
“With concentration practice, we give the attention a target that keeps us anchored in the present moment. The target can be a physical object, or more commonly, the breath. We give the mind something consistent to focus on and this becomes the object of the meditation.”
“Whatever is used as the object for the attention, the aim is to keep the mind focused as often as you remember to do so. As the mind starts to wander, we simply direct the mind back toward the object of attention with a sense of “friendliness.”
“What do I mean by friendliness? Whenever we become lost in thought or confusion, we simply acknowledge those thoughts and then gently re-focus the attention. If we consciously try to prevent thinking, it’s going to have a negative impact on our practice. Instead, the moment we recognize we have become distracted, we gently bring our attention back.”
An Online Meditation Room (with video)
The following is a book review by Shai Coggins:
“Arriving at Your Own Door (108 Lessons in Mindfulness) by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Non-fiction, Self-help) – A collection of short thoughts from Kabat-Zinn and some quotations that relate to the topic of mindfulness or meditation.”
“Review: If someone told me that I’d be interested in the topic of “mindfulness” or “meditation” a couple of months ago, I would’ve said they’re nuts. My mind runs a hundred miles a minute and it seriously hurts to try to make it go still. Unless I’m totally exhausted, the brain just won’t stop buzzing.”
“But, something happened to me at the end of last year that I can’t quite explain. And, that something led me to the concept of finding stillness within me. When I was trying to understand the whole thing better, I came across Kabat-Zinn’s work.”
“Since I wasn’t quite sure I’d be all for the mindfulness thing, I decided to read whatever was available from my local library. Thankfully, they had this concise version of one of his books. And, I’m glad I read it. I can’t wait to read more and to learn more. Of course, my mind still buzzes about – and I still struggle with the stillness. But, I am more aware of this concept, and I know I want to get to know it more and to see how it will work for me.”
Meditation Posts From Emotional Sobriety: Friends & Lovers:
Anne Dilenschneider writes about Meditation-Walking in the World. In this post she gives three examples of meditation done while being alive to life and being fully conscious. In Walking Meditation #1, she suggests:
“Name an issue that is of concern to you,
something you’d like more clarity about.
Be open to seeing your concern in a new way.
Be open to letting go of your concern for this time,
and trusting it to a wider Wisdom.
Then go out for a walk.”
She also gives an excerpt from one if my heroes, Anne Dillard, from Anne’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:
“The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see. And like Billy Bray I go my way, and my left foot says ‘Glory,’ and my right foot says ‘Amen': in and out of Shadow Creek, upstream and down, exultant, in a daze, dancing, to the twin silver trumpets of praise” (pp. 270-71).
And, finally, she suggests: “As you go walking, try this:
When you take a step with your left foot, breathe the word “Glory.”
When you take a step with your right foot, breathe the word “Amen.”
(1) When is the Right Time to Teach Children Meditation?
Answer from Deepak Chopra:
“There’s no hard and fast rule on this. What’s most important is to make them aware of the value of meditation through your example and then look for their receptiveness. Some children may be ready for meditation as early as eight or ten years of age. Other kids even growing up in homes where both parents meditate, may not feel drawn to meditating themselves until they are in their late teens.”
“It’s important that they don’t feel pressured to meditate because the parents want them to. When they are motivated to start from their own curiosity and desire that is the best indication they are ready, and that is the best indicator for them to continue on in their practice as well.”
(2) 20 Meditation Tips for Beginners:
“Although a good number of people try meditation at some point in their lives, only a small percentage actually persist with it. This is unfortunate, as the benefits are enormous. One possible reason is that many beginners do not start with an appropriate mindset to make the practice sustainable.”
“The purpose of this article is to provide 20 practical recommendations to help beginners get past the initial hurdles and integrate meditation as an ongoing practice in their lives.”
(3) Meditation and Its Benefits:
“(a) Meditation is good for the brain
According to scientists there is evidence that suggests that meditation can boost parts of the brain and the immune system.”
“(b) Meditation for stress management
People started practicing meditation worldwide as a means to reduce stress or to help them with pain caused by various illnesses.”
(“c) Meditation can help maintain calm in any situation.”
“(d) Meditation develops intuition; a capacity to understand and foresee.”
“(e) Most of the diseases stem from the discord between mind, intellect and body. Meditation will bring your body, mind and intellect, into harmony and hence peace.”
“(f) It encourages deeper understanding of oneself and hence others. Thus one can follow his chosen path with more precision.”
“(g) Meditation will lead you towards the path of non violence. As a result you will gradually stop injuring yourself and other at work, in relationships, etc.”
“(h) Regular practice of meditation will certainly make the will power of the practitioner stronger. When the mind is stronger you can achieve what you want from life and stay peaceful and happy.”
Nothing is my life is as important as the time I spend with God. Does that mean I make it a top priority? No. I’m getting better but hours sometimes go by with not one of my thoughts reaching out to the Fountain of Life. I suffer for these lapses. I have to make my seeking into habits before each is automatic. One of my latest ones is to ask for the gift of gratitude before I get out of bed. If I don’t start there and then, hours can go by. Today i am including others’ thoughts about our mediation time and how we spend it.
1. From Cheri (Glass House Ministries): “All or Nothing: Don’t Settle for Twinkies”:
Ideally, I like to have my mornings uninterrupted, my time with God unhindered. In a perfect world, I can get up at my leisure, have my coffee, and spend a good hour or more with the Lord. I read the Word. I write in my journal. I pray. I feel grounded. But it’s not a perfect world and life seldom plays out that way. I treasure the times that it does. And since returning to the workforce a year and a half ago, it’s definitely a rare occasion.
So what’s the solution? Skip my time with God … or learn to squeeze it into the time I have available? The answer is obvious; I know from experience, the day goes better when I start it with Him … even if we don’t get as much time together as I’d like. It’s the difference between skipping breakfast altogether, or choosing to eat a quick, healthy bowl of oatmeal on those days I don’t have time to cook bacon and eggs.
But the learning curve has been a challenge for me. I’ve struggled with this personality quirk all my life. The sad truth is that sometimes I settle for Twinkies. Twinkies are sugary fluff that provide no nutritional value, much like all my personal “wisdom” and planning apart from God (when I just don’t have enough time to squeeze Him into my day or into my plans), while a wiser choice can provide the substance that nourishes my body for growth and service, like the Holy Spirit can equip my spirit for what lies ahead in the day to come.
Getting my quiet time with God isn’t the only thing that is a challenge with my type of personality. I find that when I have an approaching event or engagement, I expend tons of energy toward that end, like life will be over the morning after. And when that day comes … the morning after … I find myself bobbing on the Lost Sea. What now? I don’t have that all-consuming deadline hanging over my head, and I’m at a loss as to what to do. Depression comes knocking. I question my purpose in life. Until the next event or deadline comes along ..
2. From Grace (Letting Go-Finding Hope through Al-Anon): “Spiritual Warfare-Step Three”:
I know I am not the only one to have this experience. In my spiritual quest I have read many books by many authors following different spiritual paths experiencing same thing. Just before a breakthrough something pushes them down and then it passes.
What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. I think that your mind resist progress. It is so comfortable to live with what is familiar even if that is the pain of your own story. A rut dug over time going round and round is easier that doing what needs to be done climbing out. What is out there might not be better than the rut and truthfully for a time it isn’t. Growth is uncomfortable for a time until the new rut is well established.
Sitting in meditation with the sadness and frustration going on in my right life now I realized I have reached that place again. I am climbing out of the rut and it is uncomfortable and lonely. I am being asked to question my own thinking and the way I have been approaching my life. This is really is hard and a blow to my ego.
In the darkness I asked God to help. The third step came to my mind instantly. Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him. Really is it that simple? I heard was do nothing. Let go and so I back to the theme of this blog. God doesn’t really need my help and he would prefer if in the very least I would just stay out of his way.
3. From Annie (Just for today): “Happiness”:
Fred Luskin, instructor of the Stanford happiness class, said that the simplest definition of happiness is “wanting what you have.” Conversely, the simplest definition of stress is “wanting something to be different.”
Below are five techniques Luskin teaches for reducing stress and increasing happiness.
– Keep a daily gratitude journal, listing items for which you feel grateful.
– Perform a meditation practice, or simply a few minutes of deep breathing and quiet reflection on something that made you happy. Consider what you can do to achieve that happiness again.
– Make a habit of sharing the highlights of your day with someone close to you.
– Practice forgiveness routinely.
– Construct a list of all activities and experiences that relax and rejuvenate you. Use items from this list to manage your daily stress.