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Meditation & Traveling

One thing that is interesting when practicing meditation: traveling and going to places doesn’t mean that much as it used to, or as you thought it would be. You stop looking for the right place to be, and you focus more on your own place where-ever you are. You begin to be more concerned about what’s inside than what’s outside.

No matter where you are, it’s much more important WHO you are and how you react to the things that surrounds you. You can get the same happiness and peace where-ever in the world you are now. The beauty, happiness, peace and serenity of nature is lost if your mind is not in a good place. If you want to find your place, it’s all about what’s inside.

You find your place in how you react to the world around you. Because in the end, it’s all seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling and thinking. there is nothing beyond those things. Where-ever you go, they’re all the same. What’s different is your reaction, your ability to accept and to be happy where-ever you are at all times.

 

— This is an excerpt from a video I watched last year; a talk from a Theravada monk living in Sri Lanka. his name is Yuttadhammo.

 

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Drunk with Emotions

A few days ago, I watched a video of a guru in one of his talks. He talked about the human emotions, and how we are ‘drunk’ with emotions. When we are sad, we are so sad.. and when we are happy, we are so happy. We are often ‘overwhelmed’ with emotions.

For a person in stillness, he should be able to hold these emotions and not get overwhelemed by them.

As I was listening to the guru, it seemed as if he was talking to me directly and I felt ashamed. Because I know I have been drunk with my emotions. I get extremely sad and extremely happy at times. I thought that was how I savor life — that it was how I experience life at its fullest, by grasping these emotions to such extent. I was wrong all along. I felt embarrassed.

For the past few days I have been observing myself and my emotions. I have been observing the waves of feelings that come and go and I find nothing. It isn’t numbness, but a feeling of indifference with my emotions.

I realized that the reason I was drunken with my emotions before is because I wasn’t consciously observing my feelings. Instead, I grabbed unto them like desperately grasping for breath.

Observing the feelings, emotions and thoughts is a way of stilling the mind. Ah, I thought.. I’ve always known this, but I didn’t understand. And the guru has to scold me to bring me back to my awareness. Like the Zen monks being beaten with a stick when they lose concentration during meditation.

Stillness is the way of living the middle way, when there are no extremeties. It is not that we shouldn’t feel happy or sad or anything anymore… It is about having these feelings and emotions and not be overwhelmed by them.

How to Meditate Everyday

Ever since I learned about meditation, I always make time for it. It is actually one of the simplest habits to cultivate. You can meditate anywhere, at any time and the benefits are endless.

Some of you may think that meditation is only done under a teacher’s supervision or attending at a Zen center, but you can actually start meditating the moment you pay attention to your breath while sitting on the train, in your car, at a coffee shop, in your office, or while showering or while taking a walk.

Meditation may take just one or two minutes, depending on how much time you have. There is really NO excuse for not meditating when you start a simple meditation habit.

Why Should I Meditate?

There are so many reasons why everyone should cultivate the habit of meditation. Here are some of the reasons why I meditate:

  • It helps me relax and relieve my stress.
  • Being mindful helps me enjoy life more.
  • I become more present.
  • I am able to live simply and slowly.
  • It improves my focus and memory.
  • I gain self-control, and I achieve happiness.
  • It keeps me calm.
  • I get reminded of what’s important in life.

All that and many more just takes a few minutes of sitting and observing the world as it goes.

How to Begin a Daily Meditation Routine

First thing to remember in meditation is to JUST BE, and not try. You don’t have to look for the perfect form of meditation, you just have to commit to it, using the simplest method of sitting and calming your mind.

1. Start with meditating 2 minutes each day. You can do it for 5 minutes if you want to, but make sure you commit to it.

2. Decide what time of the day you want to meditate. Early in the morning is the best time right before others in your home wake up. It can also be during your lunch break, or any time you can be alone.

3. Find a quiet place. It doesn’t have to be a complicated spot, just someplace where you can be alone and free from distraction for at least five minutes.

4. Sit comfortably. You don’t have to do the cross-legged sitting position like those in yoga class. Just sit in any way that you feel comfortable. You can practice that later, but in the mean time, you just have to sit comfortably and quietly.

5. While sitting, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Just follow your breath as the air goes into your nostrils, and into your lungs, and out through your nostrils again. You may count if you want. Your mind might start wandering – don’t try to stop it, just watch the thoughts come and go. If thoughts arise, just go back to the breath. Focus on it. Breathe in, breathe out.

If you find more time and want to use it for meditation, you can do so. I meditate whenever I can and I usually go out in the garden and watch the trees, the plants moving with the wind and listen to the birds chirping. It helps me calm my mind and relax better.

Do this for one month and commit to it. Now you’ll have a daily meditation habit.

When Awareness is being Challenged

Good morning! It’s such a wonderful morning here. The sun is shining really bright and the nature’s vibe is perfect. However, my housemate’s vibes aren’t. Lol.

I was awaken by my brother ranting about being late for work; he probably woke up late again. When I got out of bed, my uncle is also ranting and continuously nagging about something in the kitchen. I couldn’t figure out how many times he repeated what he was saying. Hahaha. And then I got a text from my cousin, her mom is sick and she’s worried.

Ah, what a wonderful morning, right? And it’s just 8AM now.

Of course those things also affect me; I’m not a cold person who doesn’t care about anything or anyone. But I always try to keep calm and not worry too much. Worry never gets me anywhere. And I know things like these happen either because I attracted them into my reality or that there is something I need to learn from it.

First, with my brother: May he develop self-discipline. May I develop self-discipline too and may all of us develop self-discipline. It’s not surprising to me that my brother has been slacking because he’s always been like that. He always need someone to wake him up early or else he will be late. Someone has to turn the TV off sometimes because he ‘forgets’ about it. He needs someone to remind him to study his notes, and so on. This teaches me to develop self-discipline in myself because I see in my brother the consequences of not having it. I pray that he ends this cycle and may he act like a real grown up. I pray that I will have the patience to always remind him things to a certain extent. I pray that he understands when I don’t remind him, hoping that he will learn it on his own. I pray that I develop self-discipline myself.

Second, my uncle: May he develop peace of mind and inner happiness. May he develop a good temper. May I also develop these things and may we all develop inner peace, happiness and good temper. It is in my uncle’s nature to be really short-tempered and always rants about something. We know that it is not in our hands to change that and we have to endure his attitude for as long as he is living with us. From his nature, I learn that it is important to have a good sense of humor, because I see the consequences of not having it. I learn that patience with everyone makes life less stressful. I pray that he develop inner peace, patience and a good sense of humor. I pray these too for myself and for all beings.

Third, my worried cousin: May she develop calmness and peace of mind. May she understand that worrying won’t solve her problems and it’s better if she just pray. May she realize that everything happens for a reason and unfolds the way she attracted it and accept things as they are for her own good. She has been a really good cousin to me, a good daughter to her parents and good sister to her siblings. There are times when she loves others more than she loves herself and she have insecurity issues. When she found out her mom is sick, she was crying and she feels as if life is so hard that whatever she does doesn’t make the world better. From her, I learn the value of reflection. When I reflect whatever it is that is happening in my life before I react, there is an underlying lesson to it that I can learn. I also learn from her the value of prayer and meditation; as talking with God makes us realize things. I pray that she realize that the world is perfect. I pray that she realize that life is working perfectly for her. And I pray that he mom is going to be alright, which is actually..she just had angina, due to excessive stress, now she’s alright.

—Why don’t I tell them these myself instead of writing them down on my silly blog where they can’t even read it? It is because i don’t like to push them into believing me, and I respect their own beliefs. For me, meditating and praying is the best way to approach them. I know the works of the Universe is so vast that I can wish for my loved one’s health and happiness by the power of positive thinking. I know that everything IS alright now. Everything is perfect now, for me and for everyone. It is their call to open their eyes into it. Time will come when they will realize things. This is how I avoid family conflicts. And also how I try to stay in awareness.

Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Quieting the Mind

 

Meditation

1) Make it a formal practice. You will only get to the next level in meditation by setting aside specific time (preferably two times a day) to be still.

2) Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.

3) Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.

4) Meditate with Purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!

5) Notice frustration creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think “hey, what am I doing here” or “why can’t I just quiet my damn mind already”. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.

6) Experiment. Although many of us think of effective meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged beneath a Bonzi tree, beginners should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.

7) Feel your body parts. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs). This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.

8) Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles and other spiritual paraphernalia in the room to help you feel at ease.

9) Read a book (or two) on meditation. Preferably an instructional guide AND one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. This will get you motivated. John Kabat-Zinn’sWherever You Go, There You Are is terrific for beginners.

10) Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by NOT examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it go!

11) Listen to instructional tapes and CDs.

12) Generate moments of awareness during the day. Finding your breath and “being present” while not in formal practice is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation habits.

13) Make sure you will not be disturbed. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not insuring peaceful practice conditions. If you have it in the back of your mind that the phone might ring, your kids might wake, or your coffee pot might whistle than you will not be able to attain a state of deep relaxation.

14) Notice small adjustments. For beginning meditators, the slightest physical movements can transform a meditative practice from one of frustration to one of renewal. These adjustments may be barely noticeable to an observer, but they can mean everything for your practice.

15) Use a candle. Meditating with eyes closed can be challenging for a beginner. Lighting a candle and using it as your point of focus allows you to strengthen your attention with a visual cue. This can be very powerful.

16) Do NOT Stress. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it is, and just do the best you can at the time.

17) Do it together. Meditating with a partner or loved one can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin!

18) Meditate early in the morning. Without a doubt, early morning is an ideal
time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate.

19) Be Grateful at the end. Once your practice is through, spend 2-3 minutes feeling appreciative of the opportunity to practice and your mind’s ability to focus.

20) Notice when your interest in meditation begins to wane. Meditation is
hard work, and you will inevitably come to a point where it seemingly does not fit into the picture anymore. THIS is when you need your practice the most and I recommend you go back to the book(s) or the CD’s you listened to and become re-invigorated with the practice. Chances are that losing the ability to focus on meditation is parallel with your inability to focus in other areas of your life!

Meditation is an absolutely wonderful practice, but can be very difficult in the beginning. Use the tips described in this article to get your practice to the next level!

Read full article here.

Power of NOW

“Find the narrow gate that leads to life. It is called the Now. Narrow your life down to this moment. Your life situation may be full of problems – most life situations are – but find out if you have any problem at this moment. Not tomorrow or in ten minutes, but now. Do you have a problem now?”

~Eckhart Tolle

Quote

10 Ways To Increase Your Concentration

Concentration

  1. First understand clearly what concentration is:“Concentration is taking your mind off many things and putting it on one thing at a time.”
  2. Decide carefully what you want to concentrate on,for in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, you become that which you focus on — that is, you take on the attributes of your chosen subject of concentration. Have you ever noticed how couples who have been married for many years start to look like each other, or how people often come to resemble their pets, their cars, their hobbies, or their work projects?
  3. Generally speaking, everyone has had experiences in total concentration. Go to a good adventure film at a movie theater. In the middle of it, stop watching the movie (this might be hard, but do it anyway) and look around at the people in the theater. What are they doing? They are absolutely still, eyes barely blinking, and their breath is slower. It would take a really major distraction to break their attention stream. These physiological signs may give you a hint about ways to increase your own concentration abilities.
  4. Some of the enemies of concentration skills are constant sensory input, multi-tasking, trying to do many things all a the same time, loud noises, and flashing light patterns. The human nervous system is a marvelous thing, but it is not built to function in the face of these things on a full-time basis. Attention deficit patterns come, at least to some extent, from the activities or situations which make concentration difficult to impossible. Then a habit of non-attention or inability to concentrate deeply is established and difficult to overcome.
  5. Make it a point to put your full concentration on whatever you are doing. Don’t let anything distract you. It really helps to be in a quiet place, but you can learn to block out noise if necessary.
  6. Understand the essential connection between concentration and energy. Deep concentration is a matter of increasing or directing your life-force or conscious, cosmic energy. The more of this kind of energy you have, the better. Scattered energy doesn’t help. It must be calm, focused energy. Learn to be calmly concentrated and be concentratedly calm.
  7. Learn and practice some physical and mental energization techniques. This is an important first step toward the ability to concentrate deeply.
  8. Take breaks. Go outside and breathe deeply or take a brisk walk. Make yourself do this often and you’ll be able to return to your task recharged and ready to focus more creatively.
  9. Meditation is the most powerful of all concentration enhancement techniques. Learn a few simple meditation techniques and practice them at least five minutes daily.
  10. A first step in the concentration aspect of meditation is to focus on watching your breath — not controlling it in any way, but just observing it. This helps to train yourself in taking your mind off of many things, and putting it on one thing at a time — in this case the breath. As you observe your breath, it will calm down, your brain will calm down also (this is a scientifically well-documented, mind-breath connective function), and you automatically move into a dynamic, peaceful (but not sleepy) state of being. Your mind becomes recharged and creatively receptive.

    Thanks to Ananda for the article

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