Meditation has now become a big part of my life. I meditate wherever I am and even if it is only for five or 10 minutes.
There are several ways to go about meditation. For some, it is a relaxation practice and for others it is a connection with the true self — our deepest core, and thus a true spiritual experience.
For me it is the latter…
I love to discover the inner world that I often find far more interesting and exiting then the so-called reality we live in utilizing our five senses.
Here is what meditation can do for you: Yes, it will most definitely relax you. It will decrease your heart rate, and it is beneficial for a balanced blood pressure. But more importantly, it will clear your mind, refresh your thinking, boost your creativity and it even aids growth of new brain cells!
For me it became my new morning coffee — my wake-up call for mind and soul. And it is even more: If you are lucky and courageous and stick with it, it can shatter your concepts and old beliefs. Over time, you will become more aware and open. You see more clearly how your actions influence your own state and the state of others.
That’s the moment when mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the ability to live in the now; it is key to life and personal growth. One way of mindfulness is to watch your thoughts and feelings. If you catch them before acting on them you can stop and pause and actually create your reality from a positive point of view.
When we are mindful, we are no longer dependent on what others think of us, because we have recognized who we really are. That gives us the freedom from which we act instead of clinging to people, things, and ideas.
If you dare to get in touch with yourself on a more meaningful level, here is a short introduction to the practice of meditation. As a beginner you may want to start your practice by focusing on your breath. This will help your mind to turn inside.
Set aside at least five minutes each day. Be kind to yourself. As a beginner you may find it difficult to sit still for a couple of minutes — and experienced mindfully, five minutes can be longer than you think! Don’t get angry with yourself if you have to shift around a bit or if your mind needs a bit longer to relax. So start with five minutes and slowly work your way up.
Find a time and place where you are undisturbed.
Sit in a comfortable position — on a chair or on the floor (maybe cross-legged).
Your spine should be upright but relaxed.
Take a few deep breaths — slowly and with ease.
Close your eyes and watch the fall and rise of your breath — how the breath flows in and out of your nose. When thoughts arise (and they will arise) just watch them, as they would be clouds in the sky. Do not engage in them but concentrate on how your breath moves in and out of your body.
Coming out of meditation should be easeful — become aware of your breathing once again, move your fingers and toes and slowly open your eyes.
It is true, that our emotions, thoughts and worries are covering the magnificence of our soul. When we wake up to this divine inner being truly all is well — beyond well.
And who knows — one day you might even sing it… the song of the soul.
PS: Please do not think that you are acting selfish when spending “so much time” on yourself. As my Russian friend Bronisval Vinogrodsky, who is a Taoist, activist, artist and healer says: “We should all meditate in order to stabilize the world.”
Below, for your viewing pleasure, 17 beautiful rainbows grace Hawaii.
What, specifically about the second harvest observation is significant to closing a cycle? After all, it isn’t the initial harvest, Lammas, bearer of the first fruits of our labor. It’s not Samhain, the final harvest sabbat, where we take stock of the year. It’s not the beginning of the cycle, or the end. It isn’t the reward or loss. In fact, what makes this sabbat special is somewhere between. At this equinox, the sun and Earth directly align with the equator, the closest we ever get to perfect balance between night and day, light and darkness. Therein speaks the metaphor.
Mabon (a relatively new name for the sabbat) was, and for many still is, the true Thanksgiving. It is the point at which we realize whether our hard work is going to pay off — if we sowed enough, if we put enough hours in, and consequently, if we will reap enough to get us through winter. At this time, we honor where we truly stand with regard to our progress, our expenditures, and what’s left to be completed.
On this sabbat, Dagaz is about reflection, not on the beginning or end, but the process between. The span of a day is the harvest cycle compressed. While we can finally rest at sun down and reflect on the day, the sun will rise again. Another day is coming. Comfort and reflection are short-lived. They are the building blocks of the work still to come, in which the somber truth of the equinox lies: the hard part about Mabon is we have just as much work to accomplish in a day, with less sunlight to do it, and possibly less enthusiasm and hope.
I sometimes call Dagaz the “so what?” Rune, because that’s its simplest, yet most profound teaching. Certainly a huge task has been completed, and celebrations are in order. So what? Don’t get too emotionally involved in things. Keep the ego in check, and do our best, because in the end, there is no end. Only a chance to do it all, better.
Originally published at Intentional Insights.
But Yalies aren’t the only ones who love their campus squirrels.
We went through and picked out the dozen or so colleges that are most obsessed with squirrels and listed them below in no particular order.
Did we leave out a school you think deserves to be on this list? Email us and tell us why at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rosenthal discussed the upside of dealing with challenge in a HuffPost Live appearance on Monday with host Nancy Redd.
“I was looking at the stories in my own life from which I learned lessons — from myself and the people I’ve come across — and as I looked at these stories, it occurred to me that you learn the most when things go wrong,” Rosenthal said. “And the bigger the adversity, it seems, the better the lesson.”
Rosenthal, whose new book, “The Gift Of Adversity,” delves into the advantages of obstacles, also noted that those who have dealt with adversity should actually be more employable.
“If you’re hiring somebody, I don’t think you want somebody who’s had a perfect life because they’re not going to know how to deal with things when things go wrong,” he said. “It’s not just the adversity itself, it’s what you do with the adversity — how you grow and become a bigger person and a more resilient person… and a more compassionate person as a result of the things that happen to you — those are, in my view, marks of success.”
Watch the clip above and check out the full video of Rosenthal’s appearance on HuffPost Live.
For more on The Third Metric, click here.
How often have we felt something similar? There’s an unspoken assumption that the mind can only become quiet if the world around is quiet. We imagine the ideal meditation setting to be somewhere far from the madding crowd — a retreat deep in a forest, a peaceful chapel, or the quiet of one’s own bedroom, perhaps. It is much harder for the mind to settle down in a noisy environment. Or is it?
I suggested to the group that the next time a fire engine came blasting by they look within and explore whether the sound really was that disturbing? After the following meditation, a woman reported how the noise no longer seemed a problem. It was there, but it didn’t disturb her. The disturbance, she realized, came not from the sound itself, but from wishing it weren’t there.
This was the essence of Buddha’s realization 2,500 years ago. We all experience what he called dukkha, conventionally translated as “suffering.” In Pali, the language of Buddha’s time, dukkha is the negation of the word sukha, meaning “at ease.” So dukkha might also be translated as not-at-ease, or discontent — an experience we all can relate to.
The root meanings of these words add further insight. Sukha stems from su (good)-kha (hole), and generally referred to a good axle hole in the wheel of a cart. The wheel was a great technological boon of the time, and whether or not it ran smoothly around its axle would have been a primary concern for both comfort and efficiency. Conversely, the root of dukkha is duh (bad)-kha (hole). There is resistance to the smooth running of the wheel, leading to friction and discomfort.
Similarly with the mind. When we accept things as they are, “go with the flow,” there is ease — sukha. This is our natural state of mind — content and relaxed. Dukkha arises when we resist our experience. Our natural state of ease becomes veiled by a self-created discontent.
Thus, as Buddha and numerous other teachers have pointed out, we can return to a more peaceful state of mind by letting go of our attachments as to how our experience ought to be and accept it as it is.
Upon hearing this, people often ask: Does this mean I should accept injustice and cruelty, the homeless sleeping on the streets, or the recalcitrant attitude of my partner? Of course not. There are numerous situations that we should not tolerate, and each of us, in our own way, will be called to do what we can to improve things.
“Accepting our experience as it is,” means just that; accepting our experience in the moment. If we are feeling frustrated, angry, or indignant, accept that feeling. Don’t resist it, or wish it weren’t there; but let it in, become interested in how it feels.
Even more valuably, we can explore the resistance itself. It can be quite subtle, and not easily noticed at first. I find it useful to simply pause and ask: “Is there any sense of resistance that I am not noticing?” And gently wait. I may then become aware of some resentment or aversion towards my experience, or sometimes a faint sense of tension or contraction in my being. Then rather than focusing on whatever I may have been resisting, I turn my attention to the resistance itself, opening to this aspect of “what is.”
Rather than dividing experience into two parts — the experience in the moment, and thoughts and feelings about that experience — any resistance is now included as part of the present moment. Not resisting the resistance, the veil of discontent dissolves, and I return to a more relaxed, easeful state of mind.
That is what is meant by a quiet mind. Not an empty mind. We are aware of the world just as before. Aware of sounds, sensations, thoughts and feelings. We are simply allowing our experience to be as it is. Not wishing for something different, not creating unnecessary discontent.
So when you find something seeming to disturb your inner quiet — whether it be a friend’s behavior, some politician on TV or a passing fire engine — pause and notice what is happening inside. See if there is any sense of resistance to your experience. If so, open up to the experience of resisting; be curious as to what is going on and how it feels. Include this part of the present moment in your awareness, and you may well discover that you can be at ease in situations where you before you would have suffered.
For more by Peter Russell, click here.
For more on meditation, click here.
“While many of you were celebrating the Fourth of July, I was at home on my couch recovering from a radical robotic prostatectomy,” wrote Dr. Drew. “Four hours of surgery had left me in great pain, without an appetite, and in need of help from my college-age son, Jordan, to get up and lie down. But I was cancer-free for the first time in at least two years.”
“In 2011 my wife, Susan, begged me to go to the doctor for a check-up,” he continued, adding: “An ultrasound revealed that the central lobe of my prostate was bigger than it should have been.”
“What my doctor diagnosed was prostatitis; inflammation of the prostate. It’s usually caused by a bacterial infection,” he explained, going on to describe the biopsy he had undergone. “What they discovered was a low-grade tumor.”
As for his decision to undergo surgery, Dr. Drew said, “I’m relatively young. I have a wife. I have three children in college. I didn’t want cancer coming back. So I had a radical robotic prostatectomy in early July 2013.”
Explaining his decision to share the news with his fans, Dr. Drew said: “I want you to hear it from me. Not from the Internet. Not from a gossip column. Not from someone who doesn’t know me.”
For Dr. Drew’s complete post, click over to HLNTV.com.
In light of reports of a teen sleep deprivation epidemic, researchers at University of California, Berkeley are undertaking what they say is the largest and most comprehensive study on teen sleep yet.
During the four-year study, researchers are working with hundreds of 10 to 18-year-olds who have trouble falling asleep and waking up.
“Adults are good with eight hours of sleep, but because teenage minds and bodies are developing so rapidly, they should be getting about nine,” explained Allison Harvey, the principle investigator in the study and a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, to The Huffington Post.
During each semester of the ongoing study, researchers invite several dozen teens who suffer from sleep deprivation to a “slumber party” on campus. Teens are then paired with “sleep coaches” who monitor hormone levels and sleeping habits and patterns. The teens also attend workshops about habits to promote a good night’s rest, including meditation, creating a tech-free zone and other methods outlined in the slideshow below.
After the slumber party, teens spend six weeks working with their sleep coaches and practicing the better sleep habits. When the six weeks are up, teens return for another slumber party where progress is measured.
While the habits may sound simple, Harvey and her team are hoping to discover if chronic sleep deprivation can be cured by behavioral changes alone.
“Everyone reaches for drugs so quickly,” explained Harvey. “But what we’re really interested are non-drug treatments that can last a lifetime.”
Harvey told HuffPost that, while methods such as meditation have proven to be effective in promoting sleep, little is known about the extent.
“They’ve already been shown to be effective in small studies,” said Harvey. “But we’re hoping to see just how effective.”
Harvey also hopes that with concrete results, researchers might have a stronger case for pushing back school start times, which they argue are too early.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that most teens get nine hours and 15 minutes per night, and recent studies have tied sleep deprivation to depression, obesity, heart disease and low birth weight. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that only 8 percent of teens were getting the recommend amount of sleep.
“It’s very, very clear,” said Harvey. “We think better and we feel better when we’re sleeping well.”
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