Why Everyone Should Try Meditation

image

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.

image

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.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Stop reading and do it! No cheating! :)

- - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

image

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

image

More Articles:

Seven Steps to Figure Out What to Do with Your Life

Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated

11 TED Talks That Will Change Your Life

It’s Already Yours

Rise Above External Negativity

[See All]

Watch on sacredgemsca.tumblr.com

BUDDHIST VIBRATIONS

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.

Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists

I would have liked this book a lot more if it were 150 pages shorter.

My favorite story is one Cage tells in Silence:

A young man in Japan arranged his circumstances so that he was able to travel to a distant island to study Zen with a certain Master for a three-year period. At the end of the three years, feeling no sense of accomplishment, he presented himself to the Master and announced his departure. The Master said, “You’ve been here three years. Why don’t you stay three months more?” The student agreed, but at the end of the three months he still felt that he had made no advance. When he told the Master again that he was leaving, the Master said, “Look now, you’ve been here three years and three months. Stay three weeks longer.” The student did, but with no success. When he told the Master that absolutely nothing had happened, the Master said, “You’ve been here three years, three months, and three weeks. Stay three more days, and if, at the end of that time, you have not attained enlightenment, commit suicide.” Towards the end of the second day, the student was enlightened.

Here are some more good lines:

  • I determined to consider a piece of music only half done when I completed a manuscript. It was my responsibility to finish it by getting it played.
  • Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.
  • I wanted to be quiet in a non-quiet situation.
  • All I know about method is that when I am not working I sometimes think I know something, but when I am working, it is quite clear that I know nothing.
  • You have to play the game.
  • I like the ones I have. If you like the ones you don’t have, then you’re not as happy.
  • I have never enjoyed understanding things. If I understand something, I have no further use for it.

And a reading list of stuff to check out:

Filed under: my reading year 2014

A-Z GEMSTONES

image

AMETHYST

Amethyst has been known for eons of time as the stone of spirituality and the stone to assist in alcohol recovery. It will assist in overcoming any addiction. It calms and soothes the emotions as well as preparing the soul for intense transformational journeys. Amethyst is also a stone of prosperity based on it’s deep and glorious color. Creates a protective energy field around its wearer, assists in transmuting negative energies within the wearer and gives protection from external negative energies. Excellent for meditation. Assists in growth to our higher potential. Gives spiritual cleansing and expansion. Relieves insomnia. It brings peace and calmness.

Amethyst Gemstone meaning: Crystalline quartz in shades of purple, lilac or mauve is called amethyst, a stone traditionally worn to guard against drunkenness and to instill a sober mind. The word amethyst comes from the Greek meaning “without drunkenness” and amethyst is believed to protect one from poison.

Power Stone

It is used as a dream stone and to help insomnia. Put an amethyst under your pillow to bring about pleasant dreams, or rub it across your forehead to offer relief from a headache.

Protection Stone

Ancient Egyptians used the amethyst guard against guilty and fearful feelings. It has been worn as protection from self-deception, as well as a protection against witchcraft. The amethyst has long been used to open the spiritual and psychic centers, making it one of the power stones. It is also used as a meditation aid when worn as a necklace.

Wisdom Stone

The amethyst is known as the Bishop’s Stone and is still worn by Catholic Bishops. The amethyst symbolizes piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom. It is thought the amethyst is the perfect stone to symbolize The Age of Aquarius.

Healing properties of Amethyst

Amethyst is a gemstone often worn by healers, as it has the power to focus energy. A healer will usually wear several pieces of jewelry with amethysts set in silver, especially an amethyst necklace. The person to be healed will have an Amethyst to hold while the healing is being done. The healer will place another piece of Amethyst on the area of the body in need of healing, the heart or lungs usually.

Amethyst is used for problems in the blood and in breathing problems. Amethyst crystal clusters are used to keep the air and life force in the home clean and positive.

Amethyst clusters, points or several tumbled Amethysts placed in a window that receives sun most of the day are very beneficial to use in healing and to heal negativity in the home. Place Amethyst clusters, points or several tumbled Amethysts in moonlight and everyone in the home will be feeling calmer. Using an Amethyst as a meditation focus will increase the positive spiritual feelings. Amethyst helps overcome fears and cravings. It also helps relieve headaches.

Astrological sign: Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aries, Aquarius, Pisces, Ophiuchus, Capricorn (Ancient)

Birthstone: February also November (ancient)

Planet: Saturn

Energies: Power, Protection, Healing

Chakra: Seventh Chakra - Crown or Pineal Gland, Causal, Frontal, Soul Star, Stellar Gateway, Third Eye

Anniversary Stone: 16,17 

http://earthstonevibrations.storenvy.com/

Orange Calcite helps integrate the spiritual realm with the physical body, enhances creativity, and is helpful when working with emotional issues. Use Orange Calcite to energize and cleanse the lower chakras. Orange Calcite works especially well with the Sacral Chakra to enhance the will and remove depression. Working with Orange Calcite can bring higher insights from the upper chakras down into the lower chakras for processing so they can be used in a more instinctual way without needing extended thought.

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video