Monday, August 11, 2008

Meditation

August 2008

Quote of the month:

Every breath we take, every step we make,
can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity.
We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

This first issue, will focus on meditation.....but not so much on the traditional form of sitting and chanting. That has its place, but in order to introduce oneself to the idea of meditation, the first thing is just to become aware of one's thoughts. We all have a "mental CD" going in our heads nearly all of the time.... I used to call it a tape, but that dates me too much, so now it is a CD! : ) [Now it has been brought to my attention that I need to further update to an I-pod! See future posts...!]

The idea of meditation is to first become aware that the CD exists....and then to simply push the pause button on the CD player once in a while. Even if only for a few seconds at first. It is actually quite important NOT to be upset when the CD becomes "un-paused" and the thoughts return, because they will!

Also, do not try to push the thoughts out of your head....as that will only make them more persistent. The traditional description is to envision the thoughts as clouds in the sky and merely observe them, without judgement, as they float by. At this point, just noticing that the CD has come un-paused is sufficient. You may wish to pause again...or repeat it later.

There is ample information available on the benefits of meditation....stress reduction, less anxiety and depression, greater enjoyment and appreciation of life, relaxation, sense of balance in your life, insight, calmness, empathy, and awareness to name a few.

I will suggest a few simple ways to get started....without any complicated procedures or equipment.

  1. Right now, become aware of breathing in and out. As you breath in, think "in" and as you breath out, think "out". Repeat.
  2. The next time you are waiting in line for something and becoming impatient....use the time to become aware of the "complaining version" of your CD and focus your attention on your breath.
  3. Use any sort of repetitive habit or behavior, such as brushing your teeth or picking up your car keys to take a moment to become aware of the CD and press the pause button as you complete that behavior.

Initially, I am not going to suggest any time frame....any amount of time is a start. I will suggest that even 17 focused seconds is enough to shift your vibration, your mood, your energy..... and EVERYONE has 17 seconds!

  1. A simple way to focus for 17 seconds is to count your breaths up to 17. You can count "1" on the in breath and "2" on the out breath and so forth.
  2. You may want to count one full in and out breath as "1".... you may get all the way to 34 seconds! : )
  3. When you get to the end of the "out" breath, take just a moment to notice the space between the out breath and the start of the next "in" breath.
  4. Another method would be to use a focusing tool, such as a strand of beads or a rosary to focus your attention more deeply on the breath and less on the counting. Either way, the CD is paused.
  5. There is a picture of a lotus bloom at the end of the newsletter, you may wish to focus your attention on the picture while you breath.

That is it for the first issue of Simply Spirituality.....I would like to hear your feedback as well as any questions you may have or topics you may be interested in for the future. You may send them to me at penelope@simplyspirituality.com or list them in the comments section below. All posts will be archived on my blog along with other useful information at:

Simply Spirituality or for the next post, please click the following link....

Your Thoughts Create Your Reality

Until next month....

Here's hoping you keep your spirituality simple!
Penelope


Picture of the month.....
Lotus Bloom, Butterfly World, FL, 2002


Sunday, August 3, 2008

A few Thoughts about the Word "Spirituality"

Spirituality is one of those words that has a certain dictionary meaning, but also carries with it personal meaning for each individual.

Spirituality is NOT a religion...nor does not contradict religion....or even atheism for that matter. There are both atheists who read this and those of deep faith in various religions. If you choose to interpret the things I write in terms of a specific religion, that is fine...but it is not necessary.

The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin "spiritus" which means breath!

Spirituality has to do with the search for answers to questions about....
  • Why am I here?
  • Who am I?
  • Where is true meaning?
Spirituality is about awareness and mindfulness.

Within that awareness, it is about choosing behaviors, rather than reacting out of habitual patterns and.......... becoming more of who you truly are.

To me personally, it is about living the best life I can ....but NOT about doing that with perfection.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Introduction to Simply Spirituality

Quote of the month:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

Welcome to the launch of my monthly blog, Simply Spirituality.
Several of my friends and family have indicated an interest in my spiritual endeavors or asked me questions about it over the years. I am writing this to answer those questions, and also to share ideas about what I have learned. There is also a section for comments at the end of the blog, if you would like to discuss any of the topics presented. If this information is not new to you, maybe there are other people around you, also, that have questions or may benefit from such information. If you would like to forward this on, please feel free to do so. Also, please let me know if you prefer to be added to my e-mail notification list.
People tell me one or both of two things, when it comes to spirituality. First, either they simply do not understand what spirituality is or secondly, that they do not have time to do anything else in their busy lives.
My intention is to provide very simple, concise ways to have a basic understanding of what spirituality means to me, as well as ways to easily apply it in your own life, if you should choose to do so. This in no way is saying these are things that I think you "should" do. They are simply things that I have found to be of use in my life. If something resonates with you, try it in your own life. This blog will provide some very simple examples of things you can do today...right NOW if you choose.

I have a second intention in writing this blog. That is for my two boys to have this as as a reference as as they get older.
A few thoughts about the word "Spirituality."
  • Spirituality is one of those words that has a certain dictionary meaning, but also carries with it personal meaning for each individual.
  • Spirituality is NOT a religion...nor does not contradict religion....or even atheism for that matter. There are both atheists who read this and those of deep faith in various religions. If you choose to interpret the things I write in terms of a specific religion, that is fine...but it is not necessary.
  • The English word "spirit" comes from the Latin "spiritus" which means breath!
  • Spirituality has to do with the search for answers to questions about.. Why am I here? Who am I? Where is true meaning?
  • Spirituality is about awareness and mindfulness.
  • Within that awareness, it is about choosing behaviors, rather than reacting out of habitual patterns and.......... becoming more of who you truly are.
  • To me personally, it is about living the best life I can ....but NOT about doing that with perfection.
The first post, will focus on meditation.....but not so much on the traditional form of sitting and chanting. That has its place, but in order to introduce oneself to the idea of meditation, the first thing is just to become aware of one's thoughts. I would like to hear your feedback as well as any questions you may have or topics you may be interested in for the future. You may send them to me at penelope@simplyspirituality.com or list them in the comments section at the end of the blog. All posts will be archived on my blog along with other useful information at Simply Spirituality or http://www.simplyspirituality.blogspot.com/
To continue on to the next post on Meditation, click here....
Until next month...
Here's hoping you keep your spirituality simple!
Penelope


Picture of the month:
Sunrise over Biscayne Bay, Miami, FL October, 1999