Twenty-second hugs are so healthy.
Twenty-second hugs make you strong.
Twenty-second hugs are so healthy.
They make you flourish all day long.
Clementine Hurt (age 5)
Hugs and kisses are good for us. They trigger the parasympathetic nervous system and make us feel safe and loved. So, does meditation. Think of it as kissing and hugging yourself!
OK, if you’re not already convinced that a regular meditation practice is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon yourself–I’ll try to bait you with a little evidentiary support.
I am writing this semi-sarcastically because the Yogis understood the profound effects their sadhana (practices) had on their body, breath, mind, conscience continuum without doing experiments on others. They were the laboratory.
But, my Master’s degree is in Public Health; so, I appreciate a good peer-reviewed journal.
Benefits of meditation include (each one is linked to a recent peer-reviewed article):
- Increased gray matter in the brain.
- Decreased age-related cognitive decline.
- Decreased resting blood pressure.
- Lowered blood glucose levels (as well as appetite control).
- Improved digestive function.
- Better sleep.
- Improved sex drive.
- Decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Increased feelings of well-being and compassion.
However, these (as I’ve posted previously) are the fringe benefits.
I love teaching meditation in hospital environment. I am supremely grateful for my job. But, our focus is on the aforementioned benefits and mindfulness.
But, this benefit, as valuable as it may be (and as well-promoted as it is, right now) is also a fringe benefit (that does not diminish its value!).
The teachings of the Himalayan Master’s (the convergence of the three streams of Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra) reveal, through repeatedly corroborated direct experiences, that there are many stages of unfolding during meditation. The physiological responses (although pleasant) are merely a threshold to cross. Mindfulness (although extremely beneficial) is a result of another doorway. But, the final stage is absorption (samadhi) with the Center of Consciousness… Which is True Inner Peace.
helping each other stand
Much more than a friend
the best us strongly depends
on the goodwill we send
in intricate crafts unmanned
releasing bombs of intensity and number
that no man can outrun or withstand
perfect explosions shake us from slumber
drawing us to the front lines
divine weapon at our command
us and them surrender and combine
to a nuclear reworking that demands
peace and compassion as our mission
an art to be practiced and refined
beginning the proud tradition
of improving each other’s position
freeing our brilliant minds
from the confusion of opposition
setting the stage for our grandest designs
Every moment is the only moment. In the midst of tragedy you can choose to go into the Self and find the Eternal Truth. This is untainted by the transient, and often troubled, world. Despite what appears to be chaos, there is a substratum where we all are One. Through meditation on silence and affirmative prayer we connect with this Divine Matrix. Then you realize, like in the movie, that you don’t have to try to bend spoons.
There are always atrocities on the news. Anyone of average intelligence knows that sensationalism sells. But, for me, it feels so close to home right now. This body I have incarnated in is Black and I am raising children how have incarnated as mixed-race people. Yes, I deeply believe (and in moments of samadhi I have known) that and we are all One. Yet, when I open my eyes and engage in the world I, temporarily, forget.
I become angry and I fear for my son–who is the sweetest young man I know. He is 6′ 2″ at age fourteen. I plead with him to not wear his hood, to be polite, and not to cut through the neighbor’s yard–because he may be murdered. Yes, I am deeply committed to my spiritual practices and I know that no one dies. But, our karmic bond is deeper than philosophical conjecture.
I’m playing multiple roles on the stage we call “life”. Some of the roles seem to contradict each other. As a mother, I am a wildcat backed into a corner who is desperately trying to care for her cubs. As a an aspirant, I uphold the tenet that all life is equal and valuable. I also strive to remember that those who inciting violence are in pain. But, sometimes it easier said than done.
Two wise teachers told me, there are two things we always must remember. First:
Everything is the opposite of what it appears to be and nothing is the opposite of what it appears to be.
Anything you do everything you experience will either bring you closer to or farther from the Truth (Center of Consciousness, perception of God, Yoga, Unity, Christ Consciousness, and numerous names for Supreme Oneness).
The first principle is that we really never know what is going on beneath the surface level of appearances. I mentioned, perpetrators of violence are victims, as well. Karma is intertwined at every level. What we are seeing is a ripple on the surface of the ocean of cause and effect. It’s not judgement by an anthropomorphic paternal deity– we are seeing the ripples from infinite stones being thrown into the lake of eternity.
The second principle is to cease throwing stones which cloud the lake and obscure the Truth. The second principle is supreme compassion for ourselves–at any given moment we can choose to love everyone. At any moment we can look at someone and choose to remember there is no
other. These are choices made in a nanosecond.
Then we bend, we grow, we advance and we can be a beacon to bring those who are still perceiving separation toward Our Collective Center of Consciousness.
Part 1 of 30 Days of Peace…
When the modifications of the mind have become weakened, the mind becomes a transparent crystal…
I originally posted this a year ago. This posting is extremely close to my heart. I’m always seeking a friendship with my heart and mind.
The last few weeks have been fairly hectic: I am planning a meditation intensive retreat, I am taking some continuing education classes, my work schedule is changing, the children have a bunch of activities, and I am a little over-extended. So working on a blog post has been demoted on my list of obligations.
But, despite all the busyness, my mind-state has been fairly steady, or ekagra. I attribute this to regularity in my practice.
In the Yoga Tradition, the mind is viewed as an instrument through which we receive information about the sensory world (manas), where we store memories and formulate opinions (chitta), it is where our sense of individuality arises (ahamkara), and where our conscience resides (buddhi)–but, not our consciousness.
The four aforementioned aspects of the mind are collectively called the antahkarana–or the inner instrument. The word “instrument” is so profound. Yoga science expounds, the mind is not who we are; but, mind is a tool, which can be sharpened to glean clearer understanding of who we are and what needs to be done to Realize our True Nature.
According to Yoga science, our minds becomes colored by our experiences— think of it as a dusty layer on a window. Therefore, they do not allow the truth to diffuse through. We are colored by perceptions of race, social status, gender, etc. Reflect for a moment on a baby who lacks these associations.
Through meditation we wipe off the layers of dust and eventually the clear mind allows the truth to shine through.
But, the mind is only capable of becoming crystalline…
What is the light that shines through the crystalline mind?
Eventually, the mind, like all good tools must be set down. Would you walk around in the house you built clutching the hammer?
Over time, with dedication, consistency, and faith, the mind is set down and total awareness of the Self will shine through.
Until then, tell your mind “thank-you” for all that it does. Do not be angry with your mind for thinking any more than you would be angry with your hand for grasping or your ear for hearing. Ask your mind to be your friend, so that you can dust the lens, and see the world as it truly is.
As always, click the links!
A Starlet, who will not be named, popularized the term “conscious uncoupling”. At first, I thought it was pretentious; however, at this phase in my life, I can see validity in the statement. Moreover, it’s reciprocal is poignant.
Sitting still, in silence, affords us the opportunity to uncouple our consciousness from it’s habitual moving outward. In silence, we can peel back the layers that we have created to the substratum– the ground matrix where the Truth is.
It is so simple; yet, for many of us, it is not so easy.
We are always plugged in, we are always stimulating ourselves–even if the stimulation appears benign.
For example, a person may say “my meditation is working in the garden”. Communing with nature is a beautiful and healthy action. But, it’s still doing something. Listening to classical music is edifying; but, listening to music about engaging the senses. What is being avoided?
The senses are the vehicle through which we experience this world. Aside from sleeping (and many of us don’t do that) they are constantly being engaged. Furthermore, due to our hectic lifestyles they are exponentially more engaged then at any other time.
Being in a quiet room is disengagement from the sense of hearing. Deliberately sitting still is disengagement from our action sense of movement and the importer sense of touch. Closing the eyes is disengagement from the sense of sight. Now this energy can be directed to inner exploration.
This is the true uncoupling. The uncoupling of your temporary ego driven self which goes willy-nilly for everything wants and you open yourself, the definition of yoga , to Eternity.