What Meditation Is Not

Deepak Chopra, Daily Inspiration 7/08/17, Chopra.com

Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there,  buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.

Turn within, dear hearts. Your peace, love & compassion dwell there.

The Rhythm of the Universe

All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. The balanced rhythm of the universe is rooted in reciprocity.

Man is Soul, and has a body.when he properly places his sense of identity, he leaves behind  all compulsive patterns.

God is Harmony;  The devotee who attunes himself will never perform any action amiss…After  deep prayer and meditation he is in touch with his divine consciousness; there is no greater power than that inward protection.

… Man must satisfy the laws of nature, while not discrediting the define omnipotence. He should say: “Lord, I trust in Thee, and know Thou can help me, but I too will do my best to undo any wrong I have done.”

Quotes taken from Autobiography of a Yogi, pp 182-183, (13th edition, 1998), by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Strangers Are Wonderful Too

As I waited to board the plane, I decided to find a seat in the first five rows. It was a short flight so a middle seat would be fine. They called the flight and, as I boarded, I reminded myself to look for that seat near the front. I found it in the fourth row and settled in between two young women. Once we took off, the young woman in the aisle seat cordially began a conversation. Before too long, the one to the left joined us.

The topic of conversation turned to fear of flying when we felt the plane respond to air currents over the mountains. Both women shared a fear of flying. One had learned to deal with it quite calmly; the other was only beginning to fly after a frightening experience. As women are prone to do, we had quite a lengthy discussion. What impressed me was that these two women, less than half my age and I am almost 71, were so open and honest with themselves and with us. One said, “Please don’t share exact details. I do very well now but details can still trigger me.” The other responded, “Of course! What do you do to help yourself because I am getting anxious right now?”

I sat back and listened as one gave useful and compassionate responses to the other. As the conversation slowed, I offered my insights on using breath to calm the body and mind. I also suggested that regular, simple meditation techniques are effective. Further details are not important.

As the plane landed and we prepared to disembark, we all thanked one another for an interesting and fun time together. We had shared our fears, our desires to be more balanced and ultimately our laughter and encouragement. We all agreed that it seemed like a twenty-minute flight rather than an hour.

My discussion with one of the women continued at baggage claim. Why am I not surprised that our bags were side by side!

I left the terminal smiling. What a wonderful experience! Strangers discovered common experience and spent an hour compassionately supporting one another in powerful ways. Openness of mind and heart, whether sharing or responding, made the trip easier for one as she  gave another real hope for her future travels. Though I do not have a fear of flying, it isn’t as fun as it used to be so I do avoid at times. This trip made me want to go again!

When you lead with an open heart, you aren’t really strangers after all. Love and peace abound. I will smile every time I think of those two lovely, open-hearted young women. May they be abundantly blessed. As may each of you.

Daily Habits for Peace

I am passing this on from Deepak Chopra’s website http://chopra.com

7 Days a Week: Daily Habits for Peace

The balance of peace in the world can seem overwhelming, as if huge forces outside your controller in charge. But you can take a different perspective by setting a goal for yourself of creating peace all around you. The worlds wisdom traditions teach that the source of violence, war, discontent, rebellion, and unrest lies inside each of us.  When you become a unit of peace and consciousness, exemplifying the quality known as Ahimsa (harmlessness) in Yoga, you have added a unique way to bring in the world to a state of peace.

Develop your pease consciousness by focusing on a different have it every day of the week.

Monday: Habit #1-Being Calm and Centered 

Peace is the natural state of the mind at its deepest level. Non-peace begins in small ways, when you are worried, restless, distracted, uneasy, or dissatisfied. Today be mindful of those signals from your inner world. When you feel them, take a moment to return to your calm space. Either meditating or simply sitting in a quiet space with eyes closed and taking easy, deep breath’s, works very well. Today’s habit is learning how to act upon early signals that peach isn’t there inside.

Tuesday: Habit #2-Non-participation

To be a unit of peace consciousness, don’t participate in the opposite attitude, which magnifies the reasons to be unpeaceful. Today, avoid conversations that include gossip, blame, backbiting, and discussions of how terrible the world is. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, acting as if everything is already perfect. Simply focus on not participating when you can feel that the situation is turning toward anger, resentment, envy, and hostility in any form.

Wednesday: Habit #3-Taking No Side

Peace consciousness wants peace to be equally shared by everyone. This isn’t possible if you take sides, judge against others, or indulge in us-versus-them thinking. Today, be aware of everyone’s right to have peace. When you find yourself reacting with a knee-jerk response against a certain person, group, faith, ethnicity, or belief system, remind your self that you can hold a different viewpoint while still wishing peace for all concerned.

Thursday: Habit #4-The Intention of Peace 

Peace consciousness becomes more powerful as it deepens. One way to deepen your awareness is to put an intention out to the universe, which really means connecting with your higher self. Today, anytime you witness or confront a situation that needs a peaceful resolution, ask inside that the way to peace be opened for everyone. Sit quietly with this intention for a few moments, letting your heart go out to those not at peace.

Friday: Habit #5-Commune in Peace

When people of peace get together, they magnify their consciousness. Today, find a way to commune with someone else who wants peace. This can be through sitting with a child and absorbing his or her innocence, or discussing the topic of peace with the sympathetic person. You might consider joining a group that is working at any level of peace, such as preventing violence or helping troubled teens. Feel the warmth of sharing your peace with others.

Saturday: Habit #6-Selfless Service

Peace consciousness wants to be of service. It does little good to be at peace passively and isolation. Today, allow someone else to feel the peave you have found by being of service. Let yourself experience the kindness, goodwill, and compassion you can bring to a troubled situation. Your service can be as modest as visiting the elderly or as active as joining a community outreach project. Your aim is to give and receive at the level of peace that benefits both people at the same time.

Sunday: Habit #7-The Soul’s Peace

At the deepest level, there is infinite peach. Undisturbed by the play of opposites and the clash of darkness versus light. From the soul’s perspective, there is only pure Being. Today, take time to meditate on your true nature as unbounded love, compassion, reverence for life, and unity with the divine presence. See the light expanding from your heart in all directions.  Let simply being here be enough.

Soak up the beauty of Nature and realize that you are an indispensable part of the journey to enlightenment that lies ahead for everyone who steps onto the path. Just as there is only one state of pure Being, there is only one peace, which blesses every person equally.

For Just One Day

For Just One Day:

Choose to turn off the news and ignore social media.

Spend time with friends and laugh a lot.

Experience nature with mindful awareness.

Be at peace with yourself.

During this one day, try this simple meditation. Sit comfortably inside or outside and feel the flow of your breath. Let your breath slow to a comfortable length and say this silently in your mind as you breathe:

Inhaling into the Oneness of All That Is

Exhaling I am peace; I am love.

Personal Meditation Practice

So, I have not been feeling satisfied with my personal meditation practice the last few months. How are you feeling about yours? I enjoy guided meditation and continue to use the one I have from Deepak Chopra (http://Chopra.com) for restful sleep. It is sitting in the silence that has not deepened and expanded for me recently…and I need that connection with All That Is that I experience in the stillness!!

So, here is what I have done to nurture my ability to meditate in a way that connects me deeply with the Divine Presence in All That Is:

First, I called a trusted friend and shared what I was feeling about my practice. As I shared, she quietly laughed, not quite to herself. As it turned out, she had been thinking about calling me to share the same thing! We both have been meditating and participating in spiritual communities for about 30 years and we feel stuck. We decided to meet and enter meditation together to see if we are compatible in this way, if our energies would blend and flow to support us together and separately in deepening our practices. As it turns out, we are very compatible and now plan to meet once a week for silent meditation.

Second, I visited the app store on my ipad and explored free meditation tools. There are many. I found one that times silent meditation that allows me to design length of time, tones for beginning and ending, as well as interval tones if I so desire.

Third, after having such a positive experience with my friend, I felt ready to renew my personal practice of silent meditation. I used the app for the first time this morning and it is a beautiful addition to my experience. I am excited about rebuilding my practice.

Fourth, I am reminding myself that life changes with the years. The challenges and blessings are different in each life stage. It is wise to evaluate and adjust my practices (yoga, meditation, exercise, food, etc.) to maintain balance and well-being accordingly.

May you be blessed today. Namaste.

Perceptions Create Expectations

Unreasonable expectations result in frustration, anger, depression, and hopelessness.

Where do unreasonable expectations come from?

My experience has taught me that my perceptions – how I perceive the way life (and therefore other people) should be, look, feel, and unfold – create my expectations. My expectations then determine how I respond or react to the way life is unfolding or happening for me. This includes my behavior, abilities, success, etc. It also includes how others treat me or respond to me.

It occurred to me, during a private session with a client a few days ago, that we can choose to “release” unreasonable expectations and the resulting self-judgment until we are blue in the face and it won’t change our behavior. As soon as we are tired, hungry, or upset, we will fall into the same pattern of expectations and judgements.

Howeverif we can shift to a new level of awareness about our expectations, we will see how we came to form these expectations. What is the new level of awareness?

PERCEPTIONS CREATE EXPECTATIONS

On the most fundamental level, my expectations are based on my personal interpretation of what my life is “supposed” to be:  relationships, financial status, marital status, social status, weight, height, beauty…..oh, the list goes on, doesn’t it?!

Let me say that again:

My expectations are based on my personal interpretation of what my life is “supposed” to be like.

Here are a few examples from challenges I have faced in my own life. I am phrasing these in terms of the way I perceived life at the time.

  1.  Comparing myself to others works – THIS IS NOT TRUE!!                    Every time I compare myself to another, I open myself up to pride and arrogance (I am/did better) or self-judgement and frustration (they did better). Either way, I lose.
  2. When things manifest (timing) is in my hands – THIS IS NOT TRUE!!       Leave the timing in the hands of the Divine.  Use your time to meditate and surrender your dreams to the heart of Divine Love. May your mantra/prayer be “Show me my part. I give you the rest.”
  3. My physical age determines my ability to succeed – THIS IS NOT TRUE!!  Listen to me please. My life does not resemble the dreams I had about what it would look life halfway through my 71st year. It is different and wonderful and the surprises keep coming. AND I am so not done yet!  So, instead of telling yourself that you aren’t where you thought you would be by time you were ___ years old, affirm what you have experienced & learned, how you have grown, even mistakes you have made. Affirm your life unfolding; do the work that connects you to True Self; keep becoming Divinely Human. All else is detail rather than substance. Details come and go with the winds of time and with the shifting of cosmic consciousness. Trust me. You are so not done yet!

You are loved. Yes, you are.

You are love manifesting in the world even when you think you cannot possibly be. Yes, you are.

I know because I am too, even when I cried all one day last weekend.

I love you so I know.

In The Wee Hours

I wake up and it is 3 a.m. I shuffle into the bathroom and quickly return to my bed, taking a sip of water before climbing back in and nestling down into the covers. I whisper my nighttime mantra, which usually takes me sweetly back to sleep: SA TA NA MA. I hear my clock chime at 3:30. Uh-oh.

Not to worry. I roll onto my back and do a gentle body-awareness meditation that starts in my mouth and travels through my entire body. I seldom make it past my shoulders. As I reach my toes and hear the clock chime 4 a.m. uh-oh becomes a deep sigh. I relax into pranayama (conscious breathing) and decide a guided meditation designed to promote restful sleep is probably the answer. I keep my iPad next to my bed with the meditation ready. I set it up, relax into my pillow and breathe and go for it.

At 5 a.m. I open my windows and let the cool air in. Cicadas are singing and I smile as I decide to meditate on sound and sensation. Turning within I am present and aware of oneness and peace. I rest in each moment not thinking, just being. Slowly I emerge into a more body-aware state and it is just before 6 a.m. It occurs to me that I have been meditating in one way or another for 2 1/2 hours. This thought occurs to me:

Wow! That’s amazing. Does this make me a meditation master?

Nope, but it does mean I can get up frustration-free and remain pleasantly sane through this day!!

Go Within

Yesterday I said that everything I need is within me. So it serves me well to sit down and be still; to grow quiet and listen to the stillness; to come into the sweet oneness of All That Is.

It is a practice, something to do regularly, consistently and – joy of joys – perfection is not required! There are so many tools available to support this going within. Have you found yours? If I can help, contact me.

Go within and discover that everything you need is there. Go within and discover the Oneness of All That Is….discover yourSelf.

I love you.