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


5 comments:

Kristi26 said...

I loved your first issue and can't wait to read more! Though I must confess, I only got to "four" when counting for seventeen seconds as Lily interrupted the count trying to show me something. Ah well, I'll try again. lol

Anonymous said...

great idea! Loved your site!!!

Debbie said...

I loved your insight on the how to mediate tips,

"Also, do not try to push the thoughts out of your head....as that will only make them more persistent." This is so true!

Was just reading in Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search for meaning and he describes–

In the same way that fear brings to pass what one is afraid of, likewise a forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes. Exactly your point.

Frankl goes on and calls it “paradoxical intention” on the twofold fact that fear brings about that which one is afraid of, and that hyper-intention makes impossible what one wishes.

Look forward to reading more!

Penelope said...

Kristi -

When I first started down the spiritual path, my kids were not yet born. After they came along, I used to think that they distracted me from my path/meditation. I now see that they ARE my spiritual path. If I can remain calm around the kids with all the activity, noise and commotion, I should be able to remain calm ANY time and ANY where! Right? Thanks for the comment!

Penelope said...

Debbie -

I love that you connected what you read on the blog to something other than the blog!

I have not read Victor Frankl's book, but I am familiar with him. The thing I always remember about him was his ability to CHOOSE to not be like his captors (in the Holocaust).....that is true power and freedom!

The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.
Victor Frankl

This ties in nicely with what I am writing about in Sept and October....to take the awareness of the thoughts to the next level and be aware of the content and of making judgements about the issues and events in our lives...especially those over which we have no control...like weather and traffic for example.

When we are in fear... most of the time we don't really realize what we are really afraid of at a deep level. It is always our deepest, truest intentions that are connected to the Universe....the law of attraction talks about this (publicized by The Secret)....what we put our attention on increases...and that is true even if what our attention is on is something that we do NOT want. This is all getting a little deep for "Simply" Spirituality....but glad that you get it and made the comment!!!!!

Thank you!