Why Everyone Should Try Meditation

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To understand meditation in a nutshell, go get a camera and take two pictures of the same thing.

For the first, hold your camera as still as possible, and take a picture.

For the second, shake your camera back and forth as fast as you can while you snap the photo.

The difference between the clarity in the two pictures is the difference in the clarity of a life with and without meditation.

If you’ve ever dreamt of becoming superhuman as a child, practicing meditation is probably the closest thing possible to experiencing it as an adult. Developing a regular practice leads to the creation of a virtual bulletproof vest for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Meditation means different things to different people. There are dozens of types, styles, and schools of thought surrounding it; including Samadhi, Vipassana, and Zazen. My intention for this post is not to compare the pros and cons of the different practices. What I’d like to do is give you a glimpse into what benefits can arise as a result of any method you choose.

One of the most important functions that has evolved for human survival is the ability to adapt and adjust to our surroundings. The brain and body are dealing with an unbelievable amount of stimuli in every single moment of life, and focusing on all of them at once would be impossible. So, the mind tends to shift as many familiarities as possible to the proverbial unconscious back burner. For example, you probably weren’t paying attention to the feel of your shirt on your torso until you read this sentence. Now that I’ve mentioned it, I’ve brought it back into your conscious thoughts, and you do notice it. Somewhere in the next few paragraphs, your mind will place it on the back burner again to be able to focus on understanding this article. Pretty fascinating, no?

Our minds do this to us constantly. We forget about the things and patterns that seem to be the most consistent, in order to focus on something new and unknown. Have you ever been extremely excited by the purchase of a brand new car, only to lose all appreciation for it several days or weeks later? This is the mind at play. This is also one of the many reasons why I don’t ever plan to buy an expensive car. It’s basic human psychology.

No matter what conditions we are thrown into, they eventually become commonplace with time. Our minds have the tendency to take the good things for granted, and focus solely on what we don’t have. To make things even worse, we eventually get used to all of the things we try to use to fill the void. This causes us to desire an even stronger dose. Left unattended, the mind can become a built-in misery creation device; or our own worst enemy. The good news: it can be befriended and tamed with the right amount of discipline.

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For the purpose of simplification, I will describe a very basic type of meditation.

1. Sitting in a comfortable position, breathe in until your stomach and lungs are so far out that you don’t think any more air can fit inside your body. 

2. Then breathe in a little more.

3. Hold this in for a few moments. Exhale slowly.

4. Enjoy a brief pause before inhaling again. 

5. Close your eyes, and repeat this process again 5-10+ times. Don’t worry about keeping count, the number of breaths is unimportant. This will only serve to distract you from the true purpose of the meditation. Focus only on the breath, as if it were the only thing that existed in the universe.

Go ahead and do it now.

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Stop reading and do it! No cheating! :)

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How do you feel now?

Research has shown that deep breathing practices have tremendous benefits for stress reduction, self esteem, and overall health. It increases concentration and memory. If you are a public speaker, you will be more natural and calm in front of crowds. If you play basketball, your shooting percentage will go up. If you write or invent things, meditation is like steroids. It’s almost an unfair advantage.

This is just the beginning.

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When meditating for longer periods of time (say 30-120+ minutes), that’s when truly amazing things begin to happen. In the deep silence, time slows to a halt. It can be seen for what it really is: a man-made invention that we all agree to use to simplify things, but something that doesn’t truly exist in nature. We begin to realize that our constant obedience to the concept of “time” has caused us to rush around through life, without ever taking breaks to be introspective. We end up overlooking important insights like these all of the time. Wisdom arises so much more easily; solutions to recurring problems become so clear that we wonder how we had never seen them before. 

Without the constant judgment and influence of those outside, we are able to reconnect with our very own deepest truths. We remember what it should feel like deep down to live the way we were meant to live, to treat others the way they were meant to be treated. We look ourselves directly in the mirror, see where we are lying to ourselves, and rediscover what we know is right. We regain access to the inner compass that we have been too busy to look at, causing us to veer way off course. We reflect on the decisions and actions we’ve made. We become happy about the ways we’ve grown, and remorseful about the times we’ve stooped below the level of human decency and empathy we know we should be living with every day. 

We unlock the capacity for healing deep scars, and moving forward with life. We experience compassion for others like we’ve never been able to before. A group of loud kids transforms from “a headache” into a group of young human beings playing and creating newfound joy together. A barking dog changes from being a nuisance to a great friend who wants someone to pet her, feed her, or take her for a walk. A homeless person on the street is no longer a worthless beggar, but a person who has faced extreme hardship, and needs care and guidance to find their way back to where they belong. A person ceases to work with the intent of extracting money from people, but instead to gain the satisfaction of knowing that the results of their creative process are truly bringing joy to others’ lives and reconnecting us with our lost humanity.

Meditation creates a greater capacity for empathy. It allows one to become a better friend, a better relationship partner, and a better person overall. It gives a person a silent radiance that draws others in; because we can all sense when someone is connected to something greater than themselves, and know that we could be doing the same.

If you enjoyed this article, imagine what would happen if someone were to extend it to 200+ pages, then make it slightly more awesome. This new book represents over six years’ worth of my life experiences, insights, and ideas on creating a better way of living for all of us: 

It’s All My Fault: How I Messed Up the World, and Why I Need Your Help to Fix It

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ozonebabys-temple:

"The following text is possibly the first guided meditation ever”. ..It was composed 26 centuries ago, and appears in the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing” …. …. The practitioner sits in a stable position, holding his or her body quite straight, and practices like this: ………….Body

1. Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out……

2. Breathing in, I am aware of the length of my breath. Breathing out, I am aware of the length of my breath.

3. Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.

4. Breathing in, I calm my whole body. Breathing out, I calm my whole body. Feelings

5. Breathing in, I feel joyful. Breathing out, I feel joyful.

6. Breathing in, I feel happy. Breathing out, I feel happy.

7. Breathing in, I am aware of my feelings and emotions. Breathing out, I am aware of my feelings and emotions.

8. Breathing in, I calm my feelings and emotions. Breathing out, I calm my feelings and emotions Mind

9. Breathing in, I am aware of my mind. Breathing out, I am aware of my mind.

10. Breathing in, I gladden my mind. Breathing out, I gladden my mind

11. Breathing in, I concentrate my mind. Breathing out, I concentrate my mind.

12. Breathing in, I liberate my mind. Breathing out, I liberate my mind. Perceptions

13. Breathing in, I observe the impermanent nature of all phenomena. Breathing out, I observe the impermanent nature of all phenomena.

14. Breathing in, I observe the disappearance of craving. Breathing out, I observe the disappearance of craving.

15. Breathing in, I observe the interbeing nature of all phenomena. Breathing out, I observe the inter being nature of all phenomena. 16. Breathing in, I let go. Breathing out, I let go.

image credit: Trudi Doyle

Two Powers Meditation

A Druid meditation inspired by the Tree of Life, this one is a particular favorite of mine. By doing this meditation you transform your body into a tree with branches reaching high into the Sky and roots reaching deep within the Earth. Your spirit connects and acts as a conduit between the two powers, enabling you to pull energy both down and up so that it can swirl within the core of your body before exiting. You become a continuous circuit of strong universal energy. This is an excellent meditation for grounding, drawing in energy at the beginning of a ritual and releasing it at the end, as well as for when you are feeling spiritually sluggish and in need of an energy “oil change.” It can be performed indoors, but outdoors is better; and can be done sitting on the ground, but standing is better. The idea is to link as purely as possible with the Earth beneath your feet (barefoot in grass/dirt is awesome!)and the Sky at your fingertips.

Here is a guided Two Powers Meditation that can be memorized, read aloud to a group, or prerecorded for solitary use before and after a ritual.

Feel free to take liberties with the wording, add in seasonal imagery, or recreate it for other meditative uses. It is very versatile.

To Draw In Energy

Close your eyes and find that quiet space. 

Breathe deeply. 

Listen to the sounds of the world around you. 

Listen to the sounds of the Earth as it comes to life. 

Now, reach deep down into the Earth. 

Let your legs and your feet become roots, seeking the quiet dark waters beneath the Earth,

and then draw the waters up through those roots into the center of your being, into your trunk.

With the energy of the Earth flowing into you, look now with your inner vision to the Sky and the cool energy of the stars. 

Draw that energy down into you as you lift your arms, your branches, toward the Sky. 

As the energies from the Sky fill your branches, direct them to your trunk, to the center of your being,

there to mingle with the energies from the Earth, creating in you a conduit between the Earth and the Sky. 

As the energy circulates through your body let it move out and surround you.

Feel it mixing and moving around your body, filling the sacred space. 

Open your eyes and be at peace. 

To Release Energy

Once again, close your eyes. 

Using your inner vision, look at the sacred space filled with bright swirls of energies –

energies that have come from above and below and from within you.

Take the energy from the Sky and bring it back into yourself. 

Now, release the energy back where it came from into the sky.

As the energy leaves your being, keep what you need and let the rest go. 

Now as you look around, you see that the energy of the Earth is still swirling around you. 

Take the energy into yourself and start transferring it back into the Earth. 

Allow the energy to flow back to where it came from, keeping as much as you need for yourself. 

Allow your body to be energized by the forces that have gone through you. 

If you wish, kiss your hand and touch the Earth.  

Open your eyes and be at peace.

Brightest Blessings,

Thalya /|\

ozonebabys-temple

If we were to derive our energy from the sun, wind and water as flowers do, our energy supply would be assured and sustainable. If our economy could be as elegant as flowers, if our businesses could be as beautiful, if trade could be as tender and tolerant, if politics could be as pleasant, if our society could be as supple and soft as flowers, then we would have a resilient economy, resilient trade, resilient politics and a resilient society. So why not be like flowers and act like flowers?

Blossoms and flowers are resilient. They stand out in the wind, in the rain, in the snow, in sunshine – day and night – unperturbed, undiminished. They are resilient because they are flexible and fragrant, pliable and pleasant, supple and soft, tender and tolerant, gentle, adaptable and light. As the Buddha holds a lotus flower in his hand to teach wisdom and enlightenment. As Lakshmi asks us all to include flowers in our families as they are the real fortune.

Image source: http://www.buyarose.eu/info-rozenfestival-lottum.html

Peace and Quiet

Everybody appreciates a little peace and quiet now and then. We always appreciate peace, but sometimes quiet is not very peaceful. That is why we often look for peace in noise. We sometimes need noise to distract us from our thoughts. We turn on music, the television, find somebody to talk to, or we find lots of people to talk to, play with and be with us. Anyway that we can create peace in our lives is important. Being able to find peace in quiet is also important, because sometimes it is quiet. When things are quiet, we  confront our self.

The practice of meditation is the practice of confronting our self. The practice is based on the belief that our true Self is essentially peaceful. When we take the drastic step to sit down to find peace in quiet, we shouldn’t be surprised if our meditation is neither peaceful nor quiet. When we sit down to face our self, we may find a lot of noise. Thoughts continue to come at us at the same pace and on the same subjects they did before we sat down. When we recognize the noise of our thoughts, it is an opportunity to peek through them and look for the peace that enticed us to sit down in the first place. We focus on our breathing, our posture, our mantra, our feeling, or a spot on the floor and we let the thoughts pass. As we practice this over and over, our mind learns to quiet itself and we experience a sense of peace.

Just because we are able to find peace and quiet, on purpose, when we meditate, does not mean it is always so easy. That is why we practice again and again. The more we find it, the more confidence we get that the peace is there, in us. When we get good at finding peace in quiet, we will see that we can find peace anywhere, and everywhere. When we know where and how to look for peace, we find ourselves just finding it, without even looking. Peace.

Yin Yang Health Balls!

Held in the palm of one hand and twirled around each other during the day these balls help exercise the hand and forearm and reduce and prevent the damage that can be caused by repetitive motions. The balls also produce a singing sound when properly spun adding a meditative effect to their use.

Available HERE

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