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MEDITATION

SLOWLY GOING SANE WITH MEDITATION

‘Wisdom of the ordinary’ is how the old school Zen Masters would put It. Simply life as it is. Right now. Infuriating to understand or grasp intellectually, the way of meditation is mysteriously simple. Just seeing things as they are. As it turns out sanity is not to be found in conforming to the correct idea of reality but instead in the direct experience of the basic sanity within awareness.

Finding sanity in beliefs and concepts is stressful and leads to the idea that you are insane if you do not believe the correct version of reality. Wars have been fought over correct versions of religious scriptures and ‘non-believers’ executed; it’s no wonder there is so much pressure to believe the same thing as everyone else.

Magic Budha by Isischneider

In modern times belief in scientific ‘facts’ as supreme is prevalent but these facts change over generations and total scientific consensus is rare.Sanity through believing in scientific ‘facts’ or religious scriptures is little better than a consensus reality and is highly problematic. Jiddu Krishnamurti points out ‘the ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.’ Said another way, the more open the mind, the emptier of belief, the more sanity is present. It’s our beliefs and learnt ideas about reality that shape our perception and dictate what we see. Through belief in facts or scriptures, we never experience an event as it is, instead it is viewed through the lens of our particular adopted interpretation of reality. Robert Anton Wilson calls this a ‘reality tunnel’ and everyone is living in their very own little worlds. Sanity does not necessarily stop all the different reality tunnels but it helps put personal perception into perspective.

Maybe sanity can be found in trusting our senses? ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ attitude – that must be sanity. But our senses have been shown to be limited to a small spectrum of reality, our ears can only hear certain pitches, our eyes can only see a portion of the spectrum of all light. Also this small portion of reality derived from the five senses is raw data which needs to be interpreted; as French philosopher Henri Bergson puts it: ‘the eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.’So where can we look for refuge or sanity if what we sense and how we interpret our senses is limited and biased? The answer awaits in the silence of meditation. Sanity is the stillness and space inherent in awareness present in every moment. It could simply be called lucidity. Some meditation traditions refer to it as wakefulness.

Meditation master Chogyam Trungpa calls it ‘basic goodness’ and teaches it is the essential core of every person.

Eckhart Tolle claims that when you touch the stillness of the present moment you have stepped out of thousands of years of human conditioning and Deepak Chopra promotes the idea that you always have the choice between mindful awareness and being pushed around by the habits of the past.

The Western idea of sanity seems to be more conformity than sanity; you are sane if you do not deviate from the norms. J.D Krishnamurti was highly critical of this version of sanity when he said: ‘it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.’ Increasingly, to be sane means to ‘fit in’ and psychologists, counselors and social workers all too often succumb to simply helping individuals adapt and fit into our current social structures. I don’t want to be too critical of this approach because there are not many alternatives to fitting in. Deviants in our society have historically been criminalized or medicalized and institutionalized, but that’s another blog.

Meditation helps to find sanity through the qualities of detachment, and the wisdom perspective that views appearances as illusions cleverly constructed through sensual input and conditioned conceptions. Sanity is a resting point, the place we can call home and feel at ease, dwelling as non-conceptualizing natural awareness. The stability of mind to observe without judgment and the intelligence to hold experiences lightly, without compulsively reacting. Being the ‘silent witness’ as it’s popularly known.

Sanity is to see clearly the effects of our actions too and this takes perspective and some psychological distance from the situation, Osho says: ‘I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.’ Being sane is to have a ‘bird’s eye view,’ a broadened perspective lifting you above and beyond the current situation and simultaneously connecting you deeper into it by seeing clearly. The more you can observe something without judgment, the more you will learn from it, and an understanding will arise naturally

Sanity can be this simple. The uncomplicated natural awareness waiting to be noticed and practiced in every situation. The radical immanence of this basic sanity makes it difficult to accept for people accustomed to striving and achieving. When meditation teachers say there is ‘nothing to do,’ it seems ridiculous for most, and then receiving directions to get somewhere, where you already are, is a paradoxical adventure to say the least. With all the effort that is required in hours of endless sitting meditation, there should be some reward in doing all that, but basic sanity was always there and it’s not something newly added. There is nothing you ‘get;’ it’s more noticing and discovering what was there all along; the basic sanity of non-grasping awareness.

The way of meditation is to slowly go sane by absorbing yourself into the simplicity of open awareness, which highlights basic sanity and puts perceptions and ideas into perspective. This is none other than our present-centered natural awareness which is always available.The foundation of experience that is open and spacious, the continuity of expansiveness. The more familiar you become with staying in touch with this expansive nature, the more it will slowly drive you sane.

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What To Do When Your Mind Won't Let You Meditate

As a meditation teacher, people frequently tell me they want to meditate but their mind won't let them. Whenever they try to sit and quiet their mind, they claim the mental chatter only gets worse. The truth is, they are correct. We can't force our mind to behave and let us meditate. It just doesn't work that way. If we order it to be quiet, to stop driving us nuts, and to desist from creating suffering, we only encourage it to do more of the same. If we get in a battle with our mind, we will always lose.

In contrast to popular belief, meditation is not a state of mind that we reach when our mind becomes quiet.

Meditation is the process we use to train our mind to behave. A trained mind becomes a quiet, efficient mind that functions much better. We feel calmer and begin to see things more clearly. Clear vision contains within it insight (or intuition) — the instantaneous experience of limitless knowledge and guidance. I like to think of insight as the experience of the unthinkable. The benefits are innumerable. Before I describe how the process works, let's start with an explanation of the nature of the mind.

You may be surprised to learn the man considered by many to be the smartest person of all time, depended very little on his rational mind. Albert Einstein made the following statements:

"The really valuable thing is the intuition. The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery."

"I didn't arrive at my understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe through my rational mind."

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant."

For most of us however, the very last thing our mind wants to do is serve us. Our mind seems to have a mind of its own! It wants to be our master and will do anything to maintain control over us. Minds are unruly and use insidious methods to achieve this goal. Its favorite tools include staying hyper-busy and driving us crazy, jumping around like a monkey, creating worry, anxiety, stress, and guilt. Minds can produce self-limiting thoughts, blame, anger, greed, hatred, and jealousy.

The key is to realize our mind is not bad or evil — it's just in its nature to strive to stay in control of us. Unfortunately, the mind is truly a horrible master. The good news is with mindfulness training, it will become the wonderful faithful servant described by Albert Einstein.

So how do we train our mind with meditation?

First, establish a comfortable sitting position with your back, neck and head in a straight line and hands resting on your legs. Sit with your back away from the back of the chair to maintain some muscle tone to help keep you awake. Close your eyes.

Experience the sensation of the breath as it enters and exits your nose, allowing the breath to flow at its own rate. This is your focal point. Silently repeat the words, "in" and "out" with the sensation of each inspiration and expiration.

Acknowledge and label all distractions your mind creates. It loves to create physical discomfort in the form of a pain or itch. If you react to them they will shift around or intensify. So, simply notice the physical discomfort as a distraction and label it as a "feeling" instead.

Any time you find yourself lost in a thought, notice that thought and label it as "thinking." More importantly, the labeling is done in a neutral manner without judgment. Judgments are just "thinking."

Every time you notice and label a distraction, remember to honor its existence. Don't push it away. If you treat it as an enemy or dislike it, you will empower it. Your mind is really your friend. With time it will become content to serve you with clarity.

After you honor your distraction, gently, but firmly, leave it and bring your awareness back to the sensation of the breath — your focal point.

As long as you are following these steps, you are meditating. Even if you have to notice distractions and return to the breath a hundred times, you are still meditating. Remain steadfast to this process. It will work.

When you're not reacting to, or buying into the games your mind has been playing with you, in time your mind will lose interest in them. You'll become calmer and more efficient. When you gain access to your sacred gift of intuition, your mind will become your faithful servant.

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“My mind just won’t shut up” is the most common excuse I hear when people explain to me why they can’t and don’t regularly attempt to make meditation a part of their daily life. It’s the reason why so many of us feel as if we are doomed to be victims of busyness and scrambled thoughts, never experiencing the peace that comes with daily quiet time.

As someone who has struggled with that same issue (and still at times find myself battling it), I know how difficult quieting your mind can be. But when we do experience those quiet moments, we understand how powerful they can be, how rejuvenated they can make us feel, and how much simpler our “big” issues can become.

Here are 6 techniques that I personally have found helpful in quieting my mind:

1. Focus On What You See When You Close Your Eyes

If asked to describe what we see when we close our eyes, most of us would describe it as the colour black. However, the truth is that our closed eyes are often telling us a much more interesting story. Close your eyes right now, focus on what you see. Is it actually just the solid colour black? Or is it more of a mixture of colours, some of which are undoubtedly created by the lighting in the room in which you are sitting?

No matter what you see, when you actually pay attention to it, it’s definitely something that can draw quite a bit of your attention, and I’ve often found it to be a great starting point to quieting my mind. At the very least it helps to shift my mind away from scattered thoughts, instead closing in on one focused thought – one that often sparks the creative element of my brain, which starts looking for images amongst the colourful display.

2. Scan Your Body

Our bodies are pretty damn intricate, and when you actually break them down part by part they can be quite interesting to explore. When it comes to quieting your mind, this same intricacy can also be quite a powerful tool. One of my personal favourite ways to bring myself into a quieter state of mind is to scan my body from top to bottom, focusing on how each part feels as I pay attention to it.

Once you can move past the judgemental thoughts of how stupid or silly this seems, you may actually find yourself pleasantly surprised by how much energy you feel. I find that focusing on this energetic flow not only quiets my mind but shifts my focus to the internal elements of who I am, rather than the distractions of the outside world.

3. Stay Connected To Nature

As someone who just moved from a nature-filled suburb into a condo in the heart of downtown Toronto, the difficulty of finding ways to regularly connect with nature has never been higher, but I intend to make it work. I intend to make it work because I know how important it is to my own well-being, and because I know that nature is the perfect surrounding in which to find peace.

Nature is both colourful and happening like a city, but it manages to capture these elements in a way that is much more calming and connective, rather than rampant and distracting. The next time you are looking to quiet your mind, spend some time outdoors. Focus on how naturally a stream flows or how calmly a blade of grass sits and realize that you too can flow and be calm just as naturally.

4. The Power Of Your Breath

There’s a reason why the majority of guided meditations begin by instructing us to focus on our breath. It’s something that we all do, all the time, yet it happens and adapts so naturally that we can often go days without ever actually thinking about it. Giving some attention to your breath can be an incredibly powerful way to quiet your mind and relax your body in general.

A particular breathing pattern I’ll often practise when aiming to quiet my mind is to do 3 cycles of breath where I breath in through my nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 3, and then release through my mouth for another 4 seconds. I’ll also ensure that the breath inflates my stomach (rather than my chest), since this type of breathing in particular seems most calming.

5. Go Through What You’re Grateful For

We love inundating our minds with negative thought patterns and basking in reasons why people should feel sorry for us, but we rarely take the time to go through what we are appreciative of in life. This technique may not quiet your mind completely, but it certainly helps to shut up the Negative Nancy we often let run as a part of our auto-pilot.

I’ve found the best way to do this is to sit down with a paper and pen, and jot down – without judgement – everything in life that you are grateful for. It could be something as heartwarming as your loving pet, or as seemingly silly as your easily accessible parking spot at work. The bottom line is we all have things to be grateful for in life, and can gain a lot from taking some time to focus on them rather than on our seemingly insurmountable problems.

6. Drop The Label

So many of us admire people who can effectively meditate or quiet their minds, yet we also love labelling ourselves as incapable of being like them. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but just because you tried meditating once and ended up just thinking about dinner doesn’t mean you are incapable of experiencing a quiet mind.

Meditation, like everything else, is something that you need to work on and be committed to practicing. They say it takes about 21 days to develop a new habit, so why not push yourself to regularly practice something you’d like to experience rather than opt to take the quitter’s mentality? You have a lot more control than you may think!

8 Widely Held Beliefs You'll Reconsider After You Start Meditating

Daily meditation, like many other foundational practices, can uproot and shed light onto some of the nearest and dearest beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world we live in.

Over time and practice, some of those beliefs will be reshaped, while others might be replaced completely by much higher levels of understanding that you will inevitably experience within.

My 15 years of meditating have influenced me to re-examine several of my most strongly-held beliefs about how life works, and my place in it.

Here are some of the more commonly held beliefs that I’ve heard other long-term meditators bring into question after their first few years of daily meditation:

1. “Happiness is a choice.”

Meditating regularly makes you realize that happiness is actually less of a choice and more of a byproduct of consistent inner work. Think of it like chopping down a tree. Your consistent meditation is like swinging an ax into the tree trunk of despair. Eventually it falls, whether you wanted it to or not.

This is why the illusion of choice-based happiness is often fleeting, and hinges on outcomes appearing to be favorable, whereas true inner happiness sustains itself throughout the ever-changing emotional landscape of life. You know you’re stabilizing true happiness when you have more of a desire to go with the flow, and less of a need to control people, places and outcomes.

2. “I don’t have time to meditate.”

Prior to meditating, many people assume they don’t have the extra time needed in order to meditate; that is, until they begin seeing how meditation refunds them back the time they spend doing it.

As stated above, meditation typically makes you a happier person (whether you like it or not!) and happy people tend to sleep better, stay healthier and make better life choices. When you’re happier and healthier you can get more accomplished, with extra time to spare for family and friends, creative pursuits and of course, more meditation.

3. “I’ve peaked.”

Have you felt that you're already as fulfilled as you’re ever going to be? Or that life is hard, and people are selfish — or maybe that you’ve seen it all? Perhaps you’ve also resigned yourself to having low expectations with people, or you constantly brace yourself for disappointment?

But when you start meditating, you slowly begin to realize that everything you’ve been experiencing was just the tip of the iceberg. Upon closer inspection, life is actually full of joy, amazement and endless wonder. You can see and experience the subtle play and display of nature all around you, and it’s magical.

If someone doesn’t agree with you, chances are you'll have an easier time accepting that too. After all, the truth of life becomes different as you experience more expanded states of awareness.

4. “My greatest asset is time.”

Time is known to be the ultimate equalizer because we all get the same number of hours each day. But what’s even more valuable than being in control of your time is having more adaptation energy, because one thing's for certain — we’re all going to experience a lot of change in this life. Every single day.

For those of us who can’t adapt to the change, life will become unbearable. In my experience, meditation increases your innate ability to adapt to the ever-changing world. Often, it’s not the world around you that changes when you start meditating, but your perspective about it. As a result you’ll be able to stop taking things so personally, which will cut down the amount of over-reacting, maladapting, and self-imposed suffering. This will simultaneously allow you to bask in the wonder of your life.

5. “Making more money is the answer.”

We’ll often pay lip-service to the belief that money can’t buy happiness. But if we're being honest with ourselves, our actions don’t always back up our words. In the day-to-day, many people live as though more money is the answer to everything. They'll sacrifice relationships, personal development activities, working out, and eating healthy, all in the name of working harder to make more money.

Meditating doesn’t make you less concerned with money but rather, it helps you prioritize your experiences. You'll place more emphasis on activities that are important for building and sustaining happiness and fulfillment. Your priorities will shift to spending more time with family, cultivating deeper friendships, exercising and going out in nature.

After meditating, you may even consider taking a job that pays a little less, but ultimately proves to be more fulfilling. Maybe you'll even spend some time volunteering. Meditating helps you see that the real currency of life is happiness itself, and how not meditating is like leaving money on the table.

6. “There’s an app for everything.”

There’s Twitter for seeing what news topic is trending, Yelp for finding out what restaurants have the best reviews, and Google Maps to guide you.

But there is no app for letting you know what is the right thing to do in the myriad of challenging life situations we all face on a regular basis.

Part of the reason why anxiety is so rampant in our society is because there’s too much noise to hear the subtle intuitive messages emanating from within. Meditation helps to turn down the volume on that incessant noise, and amplify the small but powerful voice of intuition. As any regular meditator knows, the best answers are found in the silence.

7. “Problem-solving is hard.”

Meditation is known to expand consciousness, which makes it one of the only practical solutions to the dilemma Einstein warned us about: "You can’t solve a problem from the same state of consciousness that created the problem."

Meditating regularly has been shown to activate an internal rest network that causes the mind to think more clearly and efficiently. In other words, as your mental awareness expands, you are better positioned to come up with the answers to your biggest, most challenging problems.

It’s like when you try to remember something, and you can’t. But when you forget about it for a while and go on to something else, the answer just pops up into your awareness. Meditation turns this into such a frequent occurrence for problem solving that you can gladly move onto something else with the confidence of knowing the best answer will come when it needs to.

8. “I can suffer in isolation.”

Our emotional state is contagious. When we’re unhappy, we feed unhappiness out into the world. And when we’re happy we contribute more happiness in the world. The world is a reflection of our collective emotional states. If we want to live in a peaceful, happy world, we must do what it takes to become peaceful and happy inside.

Otherwise, we are setting ourselves up for suffering by looking for it in others. When we increase our suffering, we're actually adding to the world's problems. Meditation makes you more peaceful, and therefore you become a happier, more productive citizen of the world.

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THE BENEFITS OF WALKING MEDITATION

Walking meditation also called kinhin, is a powerful way to put mindfulness into action and learn to integrate it into daily life. While sitting meditation is extremely valuable and a crucial step toward learning to observe thoughts and quiet the mind, it is a passive experience. Walking meditation as a practice helps to bridge the gap between the rarified air of sitting meditation and bringing this mindful energy into "real world" activities.

While walking meditation initially takes place in a monastery, garden or other tranquil space, the idea is for the practitioner to eventually be able to "meditate" in all areas of life; that is, to be mindful, present and appreciative whether sitting quietly in meditation or out and active in the world.

Basic Walking Meditation

In walking meditation, practitioners focus on every sensation associated with the experience of walking instead of allowing their minds to drift, wander, obsess about the past, or worry about the future.

The goal of walking meditation is the same as many forms of meditation -- to focus on the timeless present moment. Walking meditation settles the mind as the practitioner "watches" the sensation of each foot as it touches the ground, the movement of their muscles and limbs as they walk, and the sensation of each breath, in and out.

Becoming More Present

While this is the ideal, in the beginning stages, the mind will likely stray from the present moment from time to time while walking. If this happens, the practitioner is encouraged to just "watch" this happen without any judgment, then gently return their awareness to the present moment, back to the sensations of walking in the here and now.

Over time, distractions and the "monkey mind" will exert less of a pull on attention, and the practitioner will be able to stay fully engaged and present in the activity of walking without any mind chatter. In this tranquil state, the "watcher" dimension grows stronger, and the blissful experience of "no-self" emerges. Thoughts, suffering and impermanence in life are observed, but not identified with. The eternal ground state of Being comes to the foreground.

Bringing Mindfulness into the "Real World"

As the practitioner is better able to be in this peaceful, non-attached state while walking in a tranquil garden or setting, they will eventually be able to carry it forward into real-world situations: while walking to and from their car, while walking to the business meeting, or while walking to their child's parent-teacher conference.

Eventually, this mindful, peaceful state can be with them in the times between walking meditation as well -- while driving, throughout their workday, and while at home with their family.

Why not give walking meditation a try? It just might be the perfect way to bridge the gap between sitting meditation and your "real world" activities.

7 Scientific Benefits of Meditation for Body, Mind, and Emotions

Though research into the health benefits of meditation for physical and emotional well-being is still a field with much to be discovered, a wide range of studies are already demonstrating the many benefits a meditation practice can have for the individuals who commit to it. Take a look at just a few:

1. Boosts Immune Function- A study conducted by The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine analyzed a group of participants who were trained in compassion meditation vs. a control group who were involved in a support group and then monitored the levels of stress-related hormones in each group. The study found that the hormones in present in the meditating group indicated increased immune function as shown by a reduction of stress hormones. Another study found results with mindfulness meditation.

2. Reduces Pain- This study found that pain was reduced by 57% and pain-intensity ratings by 40% by subject who meditated while being subjected to painful stimuli after undergoing a 4-day training in mindfulness meditation.

3. Increases Positive Emotion- This study demonstrated that by learning loving-kindness meditations, meditators increased their emotional ‘resources’ (i.e. things like increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms, etc). These resources, over time, compounded and led to a greater feeling of satisfaction in one’s life.

4. Reduces Anxiety- This study completed by 22 patients with medically diagnosed anxiety disorder showed that group mindfulness meditation classes decreased anxiety experiences for the participants immediately after they were trained and later down the road in follow up examinations.

5. Increased Compassion- Many studies including this one demonstrate the ability of meditation to affect one’s experience of compassion. In a study done with 100 adults attending a 9-week compassion meditation training, it was found that the participants consistently reported greater levels of compassion towards others, compassion towards the self, and ability to receive compassion from others.

6. Makes You Feel Less Lonely- This study proved that older adults suffering from loneliness, which increases negative gene expression, showed decreased feelings of loneliness and negative gene expression after being trained in mindfulness meditation.

7. Increases Gray Matter in the Brain- Studies, such as this one, have demonstrated that meditation practice can lead to “larger gray matter volumes in meditators in the right orbito-frontal cortex (as well as in the right thalamus and left inferior temporal gyrus when co-varying for age and/or lowering applied statistical thresholds). In addition, meditators showed significantly larger volumes of the right hippocampus…”

Science is making clear what esoteric societies have known for thousands of years; that just as we need food, water, air, and sleep, meditation also should be a standard part of our self-care routines. What do you think? Do you meditate already? If so, do you feel some of these effects? Leave your responses in the comments below.

10 Life Changing Skills Developed in Meditation

1) The skill of being able to consciously relax. Using deep breathing and awareness of tension in the body can develop the ability to actually release tension and built up stress in muscles. Being able to ‘relax at will’ is an incredibly useful tool in the modern era.

2) The ability to focus. The skill of being able to focus on something like your breath or a mantra with your full attention without being distracted develops the skill of clear focus.

3) Remaining undisturbed by thoughts. The skill of allowing thoughts to pass without either fighting them or believing in them is very empowering and the beginning of gaining control over your own mind.

4) Concentration. Being able to focus on an object without being distracted develops attention and concentration and a strong and stable mind.

5) Being the witness. The ability to be able to observe things without judging or reacting to them. This is the beginning of a peaceful and open mind.

6) Introspection. The ability to observe your own inner states of awareness, thoughts and feelings, This is an important skill to be able to see connections between thoughts and feelings. Introspection also helps to discern the difference between a clear mind and a thinking mind and also to be aware of your intentions.

7) Mindfulness. The skill to pay attention carefully to what your doing. Within meditation this skill holds your mind to your object and is similar to concentration. In your daily life mindfulness helps to pay attention to the present situation.

Just being. Meditation develops the skill of just being, total mental relaxation, or being in the present moment without trying to change it or escape it. This fosters the ability to accept things the way they are.

9) Open mindedness. Meditation develops the important skill of an open mind. The ability to stay non judgemental and look at things without pre-conceived ideas. This also encourages spontaneity and creativity; learning to see things as if for the first time.

10) Intuition. The skill of knowing what’s appropriate and finding a flow and balance in any situation. Intuition is the skill of non-verbal knowing to be clear of a direction or choice without relying an any external authority. This is the beginning of trusting your own wisdom.

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How to Use Meditation to Help You Out of a Depressive State

We live in interesting times. On the exterior, we live in a vastly advanced society with impressive social structure and the ability to innovate. On the exterior, we have hundreds of differing medicines and procedures to help us deal with a myriad of physical ailments that could affect us. As they say, beauty is only skin deep.

Depression is a formidable opponent for millions. If left unchecked, depression can also lead to stress, illness, feelings of hopelessness, and feeling like there is no way out. Brain chemistry is also effected by depression.

From a neurological standpoint, most people effected by depression show reduced alpha activity in the frontal lobes. Alpha brainwaves are one of the most common brainwave patterns among those who meditate. This presents an opportunity for the advancements of our modern society to explain how you can use meditation to help bring you out of a depressive state.

It should be understood that meditation, although simple, has been proven to offer moderate relief in addressing psychological stress. If you are feeling depressed, you should consult your preferred healthcare practitioner. That being said, many medical professionals are now beginning to see more scientific proof that meditating can help with treating and preventing depression and “clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress.”[1][2] Because of the increase of proof backed by research in neuroscience and many published articles, it is hard for even the most trained of doctors to dismiss its benefits.

Knowing that meditating causes an increase in alpha brainwave activity and that those with depression show reduced alpha wave activity in the frontal lobes helps many to place belief in their meditative practice. Learning that it is a spiritual practice backed by scientific and medical research can help reduce our inner skeptic. Believing that meditation will help reduce your depression is the first and most important principle of practice. Through your belief in its methods and faith in its practice, many argue that intention alone can promote healing.

In order to use meditation to help bring you out of a depressive state, the first thing you must do is believe it will work. This trust in its purpose must come from your heart. This is a very important step. You need not know everything there is to know about it just yet, but you need to trust that it can and will work for you.

Once you have the desire to improve your mental health and mood with the aid of meditation, you need to simply start practicing. Find a time of day you can commit to for daily practice that will be easy to adhere to and will not cause stress. If you are stressed out finding time to meditate or a place you will not be disturbed, this can make it more difficult to enter meditation.

Because the alpha brainwave state is the goal and alpha is a state of relaxation, it is important that you be relaxed. Have fun with it – meditation is intended to be a pleasurable and relaxing practice. Don’t be afraid to jump in head first and have fun with it. Do not worry if at first you find it hard to clear your mind and relax. If you remember learning to ride a bike, you probably realize not all things are perfected on the first try. The results will come.

While meditating, visualizing is also an important tool. Close your eyes and relax while trying to picture what you perceive to be pleasurable. We all like different things. Not everyone wants to picture themselves on a beach. While visualizing, it is important to make it personal. What place would you love to visit? What activity might you enjoy doing? Have fun with your visualizations and be playful in their construction. In your mind, you have the ability to be at ease.

You can also mix sitting meditations with relaxation music to achieve good results. There are hundreds of options available when selecting music. This music does not always have to be soothing new age music. For starters, think about music you love that always makes you feel good or relaxed. Using meditation to bring you out of a depressive state is a very personal undertaking. Simply go with your intuition. Do whatever feels right and feels good for you. There are thousands of different types, all with volumes of research and resources.

From the formless meditation called Shikantaza to the more involved zen or mudra meditations, it is very possible to find a practice right for you. The most important thing is to start meditating with the intent of bringing you out of a depressing state. Believe in your goal and in your purpose. The type and the details of your perfect practice will then begin to unfold for you with less effort.

You may even find that solutions will come to you. Look for people, places, and circumstances that present an opportunity for you to learn to meditate, or a related practice. Meditation mixed with visualization, soothing music, and the belief in oneself can have a tremendous impact on depressive states.

Other forms of moving meditations such as Tai Chi, Yoga, or Qi Gong can greatly complement sitting meditation. These practices focus on a calm mind, relaxing the breath, fluid movements, good posture. These practices also teach how to discover and control the theorized life force of the human body. In most practices, this life force is called Chi. The confidence gained from learning how to control ones vital life energy and the grace that can come with these practices can help many individuals overcome depression by anchoring accomplishment.

Meditating also has no bad side effects or risks other than the possibility of falling asleep. In today’s fast paced world, most do not get enough sleep. I believe we could all use a little more rest and relaxation each week.

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5 Breathing Meditations that will Change Your Life


There is an ancient Yogi belief that we are born with a finite number of breathes. If that is the case then every breath is something to be treasured and understood. Most people do what is known as chest breathing. Chest breathing is shallow breathing that is just located in the chest. When you breathe shallow you get less oxygen and have to breathe a lot more rapidly.

What we really need to be doing is slow belly breathing. Belly Breathing is a deep breath that expands the chest and the belly. The air is pulled all the way down to the lower lobes of the lungs and you will get more oxygen per breath. Each breath we take gives us life, and if you do it just right cleansing energy.

Meditation has a lot more to it then just clearing the mind or focusing on something specific. Meditation can be the physical act of bringing energy and energy balance into the body. There is another ancient belief about a specific type of energy known as prana. It is believed that prana is the life energy that comes from the sun and is brought into the body through higher breathing techniques. Some believe that if they unlock this energy they will need fewer calories from food, live longer, and be free from disease.

With this being known it seems that it is well worth our time to learn some of these powerful breathing techniques so that we can improve our meditations, energize our bodies, and reduce our stress levels. Test out these different breathing techniques as a part of your practice and see how quickly your life changes.

1. Stress Reducing Technique

Typical breathing is done with a long in breath and a short out breath. If you watch people as they naturally breathe you will see the slow rising of the chest followed by a quick exhale before the pause between breathes. There is a powerful technique that can quickly calm the whole body and mind, where you reverse this process.

Before trying this I recommend sitting down and make sure that you are not operating a vehicle or anything dangerous. This breathing technique can cause dizziness and a natural high feeling.

Breathe out all the way

Take a quick breath in

Breath it out all the way slowly

Repeat for 30-60 seconds

Return to normal breathing

This technique will calm you down quickly and allow your body to return to a normalized state.

2. Higher Vibration Breathing Technique

There is a practice that I will do when I am feeling down that I have found really helps me bounce back quickly. The technique not only fills me up with energy but helps brighten my day. First you are going to want to sit up straight. The reason for sitting up straight is not only to align all of your chakras but to make sure that you are not blocking your chakras by slouching forward.

While breathing normal; visualize the best feeling in the world. Imagine the happiest emotions, excitement, joy, & light energy that you can.

Imagine that energy filling the room around you and permeating the air

Slowly imagine that you are breathing that bliss in through your nose and out through your mouth.

With each breathe you will become more aligned with that feeling until it fills your whole body

You can do this meditation for as long as you need to in order to feel better, lighter, and find yourself operating at a higher vibration. You can do this technique with any emotion you wish to feel. Mix it in with some power posing for a great confidence boosting meditation.

3. Energy Recharging Breathing Technique

This technique is much like the one above with a few differences. I recommend sitting in the sun and or sitting on the earth when you do this one. Instead of visualizing an emotion you will focus on energy.

While breathing normal visualize the energy from the sun/earth filling the space around your body. If you find it helpful imagine white light all around you.

Slowly breathe that energy or white light in through your nose and out through your mouth

Repeat until you feel the energy fill your entire body

You can do this for as long as you need to in order to recharge your body. You can also use it to connect energetically with the sun and earth. It feels incredible channeling the energy through your body and acting as a bridge between the earth and the sun.

4. Relaxation Breathing

This breathing technique is supposed to be performed while the tip of your tongue is pressed against the ridge of tissue just behind your teeth. When you breathe out the air will go around your tongue. Try pursing your lips if you have any troubles.

Begin by Exhaling completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose while counting to 4.

Hold your breath and count to 7.

Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound while counting to 8.

Now repeat the process 3 more times

5. Rapid Energy Breathing Technique

This technique is similar to what you may be taught to deal with pain or handle extreme temperatures. I used to do this breathing technique a few times before taking a cold shower. I found that I perceived the cold water as warm when I did this. Make sure you are sitting down, in case you get dizzy, and be careful with this technique.

Take three slow deep breathes and let out the air completely

Then follow those breathes with rapid, almost hyperventilating like breathes, for 15-45 seconds (once you become dizzy I recommend stopping)

Immediately follow those breathes with a deep breath in and a slow breath all the way out

Once your lungs are empty hold the pause before breathing in for 10 seconds (or longer if you can without getting dizzy)

Then return to normal breathing

If you do this about three to five times you will begin to notice that you can do each part for longer without issue.

Try out these techniques and let us know in the comments below what you found. Also let us know if you have any other breathing techniques that you use in your meditation.

Thank you for reading.

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How Meditation Changes Your Brain Frequency

As yogis have known for centuries and scientists can now prove, the benefits of meditation are profound. Meditation is perhaps the most crucial instrument to harness the power of thought, cultivate more peace, clarity and happiness.

Learning to train the brain and focus our attention is crucial to thriving and cultivating a peak performance in any endeavor.

Longtime psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander, author of Wise Mind, Open Mind, speaks of mind strength, or the resiliency, efficacy and emotional intelligence that arise as we begin the process of controlling the mind. Mind strength is one of the most empowering tools we can employ to impact and improve all aspects of life.

There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities. Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency, which activates different centers in the brain.

Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skillfully choose which thoughts you invest in and what actions you take.

5 Categories of Brain Waves: Why Meditation Works

1. Gamma State: (30 — 100Hz) This is the state of hyperactivity and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information. This is why educators often have audiences jumping up and down or dancing around — to increase the likelihood of permanent assimilation of information. If over stimulated, it can lead to anxiety.

2. Beta State: (13 — 30Hz) Where we function for most of the day, Beta State is associated with the alert mind state of the prefrontal cortex. This is a state of the “working” or "thinking mind": analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.

3. Alpha State: (9 — 13Hz) Brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We feel more calm, peaceful and grounded. We often find ourselves in an “alpha state” after a yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced (neural integration).

4. Theta State: (4 — 8Hz) We're able to begin meditation. This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness (often felt as drowsy), with stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving. The Theta state is associated with visualization.

5. Delta State: (1—3 Hz) Tibetan monks who have been meditating for decades can reach this in an alert, wakened phase, but most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.

How to Meditate:

A simple meditation to use to begin the transition from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State is to focus on the breath. The breath and mind work in tandem, so as breath begins to lengthen, brain waves begin to slow down.

To begin the meditation, sit comfortably in your chair with your shoulders relaxed and spine tall. Place your hands mindfully on your lap, close your eyes, and as much as possible eliminate any stimuli that may distract you.

Watch your breath. Simply notice your breath flowing in. Flowing out. Don’t try to change it in any way. Just notice.

Silently repeat the mantra: “Breathing In. Breathing Out.” As your mind begins to wander, draw it back to your breath. Notice that as your breath begins to lengthen and fill your body, your mind begins to calm.

Consistency is key. Try to do this breath meditation first thing in the morning and/or at night. Be consistent with your meditation. Shorter meditations on a regular basis are more productive than long sessions every few weeks. Aim for 5 minutes a day and add 1 minute each week.

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5 Beliefs That Are Messing Up Your Meditation Practice

We've all been told heaps of stories about what love is and what rules we should follow to find love or to keep love alive. More often than not, these different stories can be contradictory, leaving Read

In beginning a meditation practice, common (almost universal) challenges arise. Some of these have to do with myths of meditation. Others relate to negative habits and patterns, or mind traps.

If we're not aware of these challenges, we may become easily discouraged and feel like quitting. Once we normalize these tendencies, realizing they affect nearly everyone, we can learn how to work with them and even use them as support in our practice.

Here are the top five myths of meditation and how to move through them to deepen your practice:

1. “In Meditation, My Mind Should Be Calm And Quiet.”

One of the most common myths of meditation is that it’s about “getting rid of thoughts” and experiencing a calm, quiet mind.

Meditation is actually about noticing how our mind works, observing the rapid-fire thoughts neutrally and not getting caught up in them.

Meditation is a training of the mind. We train our mind to notice when we get caught up and come back to the present moment. We can still be meditating while we are in the presence of thought.

2. “I Don’t Have Enough Time To Meditate.”

Remember, mindfulness is a kind of meditation ­— simply being aware of what we are doing in any moment (walking the dog, doing the dishes, talking on the phone). It is building awareness in the present moment by simply being aware of the sensations, thoughts and emotions that arise. We can do this anytime, anywhere. While the most effective way to build momentum is to sit for a regularly designated sitting meditation, however, even 5 minutes a day or pausing for 10 deep breaths is extremely helpful.

3. “It Feels Like My Mind Is More ‘Crazy’ During Meditation.”

Once we pause and start paying attention to our mind, we begin to see how erratic and addictive it is and how little control we actually have over it. It can be disturbing to realize how unruly our mind is. But, remember, meditation is a practice of paying attention. So, making this observation is a sign of progress, not failure.

4. “Meditation Should Be Blissful, But It Feels Like Such Hard Work.”

The mind is a mirror. When we begin to meditate, we are faced with thoughts and emotions that may be painful or difficult to experience.

Meditation can be difficult, tiring and even frightening. It is not easy to sit still with unpleasant patterns arising. We usually see pictures and images of people meditating while sitting in a serene, blissful state. Over time, by bringing our thought and emotional patterns into awareness, we begin to learn how to work with them and release them. Meditation will become easier and more blissful.

5. “I Don’t Think Meditation Is Working For Me...I’m Not Seeing Any Results Yet.”

Like life, our meditation practices will unfold in its own time and at its own pace.

Meditation can help heal emotions, change thought patterns and create more responsive, less impulsive behavior but, it doesn’t happen overnight. Studies show that positive neurological changes and neural integration can occur even within the first few meditation sessions. Consistent, even small, effort is more effective than sporadic, longer, enduring sitting meditation. When we don’t notice life-changing, blissful experiences we may get discouraged or even feel like quitting. Instead of focusing on how blissful you feel during meditation or how long you can sit, focus on any small changes in your daily life:

Are you sleeping better? Are you feeling a bit more positive, motivated and upbeat about life? Are you more able to let go of stressful thoughts or impulsive reactions? These are signs that your meditation practice is working.

The Way of Meditation

Ultimately meditation is a way of being and not just a technique to produce results but a way of orienting and grounding oneself in the world. In other words meditation is not just something that you can do; it is also something you can be.

The way of meditationbbbeautiful-calm-cloud-clouds-colours-favim-com-364458n is the ongoing experience of being self-aware, open and kind-hearted, not only when sitting silently on a meditation cushion, but at all times. Meditation is not just practices geared toward producing results but is the continuous uniting with the intelligent aware flow of life which can only be felt immediately and directly, without deliberation. Meditation cultivates good qualities which are already present within you – it’s a way to be natural, spontaneous and to build trust in your own basic goodness.

Grounded in an openness that is unbounded, the Way is pure and receptive within the present situation, allowing creativity to flourish.

This way is spacious, loving and non-judgemental.

To live the way of meditation is to place primary importance on simply being; perfectly complete already. The descriptions of the present situation are useful but always of secondary importance and always understood to be biased, founded on assumptions of lack and incompleteness; this is the essential stress of our lives.

Living from the ego via a narrative continuously disturbs the mind. Without taking the thoughts or stories seriously the mind can be left to rest without disturbance and this calm script-less way of being uncovers a type of pure awareness that is non-conceptual, naturally present and content in the moment. Meditation could be said to be timeless in this regard comfortably; being in the eternal now. This type of awareness can see through the ego character that is anxiously preoccupied with achieving future-orientated goals or trying to act the right way and in this way awareness can remain undisturbed and naturally open.

This open presence can then be recognized as who you really are, your ultimate identity without the stories, your original face as they say in Zen and you can confidently respond to situations spontaneously rather than habitually. Awareness is left unaltered and free and is directly seen to be complete, peaceful and the constant basis or ground of all experiences.

This essential and immediate presence of open awareness has been pointed out by mystics and contemplatives throughout history. Meditation masters have called it by various names but they all seem to discover that the naturally abiding, clear light of awareness at the foundation of all human beings is also full of energy, bliss, peace, love and wisdom, an abundant reservoir of divine qualities.

The Way of meditation is an ongoing abiding as that which is eternally you.

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Meditation For Beginners

Meditation is the art of focusing 100% of your attention in one area. The practice comes with a myriad of well-publicized health benefits including increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of happiness.

Although a great number of people try meditation at some point in their lives, a small percentage actually stick with it for the long-term. This is unfortunate, and a possible reason is that many beginners do not begin with a mindset needed to make the practice sustainable.

The purpose of this article is to provide 20 practical recommendations to help beginners get past the initial hurdles and integrate meditation over the long term:

1) Make it a formal practice. You will only get to the next level in meditation by setting aside specific time (preferably two times a day) to be still.

2) Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.

3) Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.

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4) Meditate with Purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!

5) Notice frustration creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think “hey, what am I doing here” or “why can’t I just quiet my damn mind already”. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.

6) Experiment. Although many of us think of effective meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged beneath a Bonzi tree, beginners should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.

7) Feel your body parts. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs). This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.

Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles and other spiritual paraphernalia in the room to help you feel at ease.

9) Read a book (or two) on meditation. Preferably an instructional guide AND one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. This will get you motivated. John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are is terrific for beginners.

10) Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by NOT examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it go!

11) Listen to instructional tapes and CDs.

12) Generate moments of awareness during the day. Finding your breath and “being present” while not in formal practice is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation habits.

13) Make sure you will not be disturbed. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not insuring peaceful practice conditions. If you have it in the back of your mind that the phone might ring, your kids might wake, or your coffee pot might whistle than you will not be able to attain a state of deep relaxation.

14) Notice small adjustments. For beginning meditators, the slightest physical movements can transform a meditative practice from one of frustration to one of renewal. These adjustments may be barely noticeable to an observer, but they can mean everything for your practice.

15) Use a candle. Meditating with eyes closed can be challenging for a beginner. Lighting a candle and using it as your point of focus allows you to strengthen your attention with a visual cue. This can be very powerful.

16) Do NOT Stress. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. No matter what happens during your meditation practice, do not stress about it. This includes being nervous before meditating and angry afterwards. Meditation is what it is, and just do the best you can at the time.

17) Do it together. Meditating with a partner or loved one can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin!

18) Meditate early in the morning. Without a doubt, early morning is an ideal time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate.

19) Be Grateful at the end. Once your practice is through, spend 2-3 minutes feeling appreciative of the opportunity to practice and your mind’s ability to focus.

20) Notice when your interest in meditation begins to wane. Meditation is hard work, and you will inevitably come to a point where it seemingly does not fit into the picture anymore. THIS is when you need your practice the most and I recommend you go back to the book(s) or the CD’s you listened to and become re-invigorated with the practice. Chances are that losing the ability to focus on meditation is parallel with your inability to focus in other areas of your life!

Meditation is an absolutely wonderful practice, but can be very difficult in the beginning. Use the tips described in this article to get your practice to the next level!

Dissolving the Ego in Meditation

While the ego works tirelessly to feed itself, the soul can ‘be’ to embrace itself. Meditation is a great way to ‘let go’ of the world around you. Meditation is the practice of turning inwards to the force that lies within. It is a tool that every human being has the ability to do, yet so few practice it. Why is that? It’s probably because the ego races the brain, and that most of peoples views of meditation are distorted. The mind may interpret meditation as something that ‘weird people‘ do, or people who need ‘calming down‘, or ‘those who do not fit in’. You may have heard how people say “I’m too busy to meditate” or “I don’t need to meditate“. Firstly, there’s a quote by Ajahn Chah, that goes like this: “If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate.“, which is completely true.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour“.

Believe it or not, meditation actually frees up more time for you because it enables you to see beyond your conditioning by using the contemplative eye, that is the eye of observation and awareness. It frees your mind to do plenty of other things. Your days will become more enjoyable. To respond to the second statement of “I don’t need to meditate“; meditation does not provide a need.

Meditation is the art of returning to your true-self. There is no need involved in this. Arguably, one could argue that it takes more strength to meditate than it does to lift heavy weights in the gym. After all, it must take willpower and resilience to ‘be still’, and observe the mind without judgement, in such a frantic world. Don’t confuse ‘being still’, with sitting still. Sitting still means doing nothing, whereas ‘being still’ implies the withdrawal and retreat to the center of your soul.

One more point that needs to be stressed is how the human brain perceives things. The mind cannot comprehend certain events or circumstances, so it will form its own picture, alienating those who do different things. This picture is generated on the basis of past events and experiences, all of which make up the ‘conditioned mind’. The ego in the mind makes people believe that some things in life should never be explored. This is a limitation. People are imprisoned by their thoughts. Nobody can tell you what meditation exactly is, nor what you will feel when doing it. You must do it yourself, before drawing a conclusion. If you cannot reach the peak of the mountain and see all of what surrounds you, then your opinion is invalid.

Eternal Peace

Ego destroys the present moment. How do you let go of ego? Well, the answer lies within. You simply don’t. Being aware of the ego automatically dampens it down, slowing its momentum, and eventually destroying it. You can manually shift the gears in your brain from automatic ‘doing’ mode to conscious ‘being’ mode. That being said, don’t over-think ego. Be still. Be aware. The ego will get bored.. And eventually leave too. I bet you have all heard of the phrase ‘a need for a need’? A hidden dissatisfaction of some sort. You ‘want’ something yet you are confused as to what you ‘want’. Maybe this dissatisfaction arises as a result of neglecting the soul?

Once the ego crumbles, your soul will be revealed. So what is the opposite of the ego? Peace. Wisdom. Love. Unity. All of these will arise. If you do not let go of ego, then life will be extremely difficult, and suffering may come (although that may be necessary for you to awaken to your true self). Realize that the present moment is all there ever is, even now, right now, this is a moment of your life that you should cherish. Smile! This realization will empower your inner being and nourish your soul with freedom and prosperity.

Letting go of ego, learning to ground yourself in the ‘here’ and ‘now’, and turning inwards to the deepest-most-inner-depths of your soul, will ultimately, lead to inner peace, and provide a great sense of worth. What a great revelation it is to know that the happiness you had been ‘wanting’ for so long, is actually inside of you. Start appreciating everything in life, even the moments that you think are ‘little’, and don’t take anything for granted. Discover your indwelling spirit that lies within.


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Scientific Benifits of Meditation

We all have heard that “meditation is good for you”. But good in what terms? Is that just reports from people doing it for 10 years, or are there good scientific studies showing specific benefits that I care about?

In this massive article I have summarised several scientific discoveries on the benefits of meditation. Over 100 studies were analysed (some of which were already analysis of other hundreds of studies), and categorised the findings into 76 benefits (divided into 46 subheadings). You will be surprised in reading some of these.You will noticed that on many blogs and forums when people answer the question “why should I meditate” or “what are the benefits of meditation”, they do mention a few benefits, but leave a lot behind. Or they often lack scientific evidence backing up what they say. There are over 3,000 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation2, but I have not found any blog that compiles hundreds of researches into an organised article, so decided to fill in the gap.

These studies were based on different “styles” of meditation, and I have included details, whenever relevant. Some effects, such as increased compassion and social bonding, are more salient as a result of specific types of meditation (such as loving-kindness Buddhist meditation). However, my understanding and personal practice is that any kind of authentic meditation will include most of these benefits, in one degree or another.

Some of the studies indicated that meditating even 20 minutes per day for a few weeks was already enough to start experiencing the benefits.

1. Brain & Moods

Mindfulness practices decreases depression

In a study conducted at five middle schools in Belgium, involving about 400 students (13 ~ 20 years old), Professor Filip Raes concludes that “students who follow an in-class mindfulness program report reduced indications of depression, anxiety and stress up to six months later. Moreover, these students were less likely to develop pronounced depression-like symptoms.”

Another study (University of California), made with patients with past depression, concluded that mindfulness meditation decreases ruminative thinking and dysfunctional beliefs.

Yet another concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat depression to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy”.

Sources: ScienceDaily, Link Springer, Jama Network

Mindfulness meditation helps treat depression in mothers to be

High-risk pregnant women who participated in a ten-week mindfulness yoga training saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms, according to a University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study. The mothers-to-be also showed more intense bonding to their babies in the womb. The findings were published inComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

Source: Medical News Today

Meditation practices help regulate mood and anxiety disorders

This is also the conclusion of over 20 randomised control studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, Relaxation Response.

Another research concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat anxiety to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy.

(Somebody please tweet that! The world needs to hear!)

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Jama Network

Meditation reduces stress and anxiety in general

A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that the practice of “Open Monitoring Meditation” (such as Vipassana), reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress. Meditators were more able to “attend moment-to-moment to the stream of stimuli to which they are exposed and less likely to ‘get stuck’ on any one stimulus. ”

“Open Monitoring Meditation” involves non-reactively monitoring the content of experience from moment-to-moment, primarily as a means to recognize the nature of emotional and cognitive patterns.

There are other studies as well, for which I simply present the link below, to avoid repetition.

Sources: NCBI, Wiley Online Library, The American Journal of Psychiatry, ScienceDirect, American Psychological Association, American Psychosomtic Medicine Journal, Medical News Today

Meditation helps reduce symptoms of panic disorder

In a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 22 patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder or panic disorder were submitted to 3 months meditation and relaxation training. As a result, for 20 of those patients the effects of panic and anxiety had reduced substantially, and the changes were maintained at follow-up.

Source: American Journal of Psychiatry

Meditation increases grey matter concentration on the brain

A group of Harvard neuroscientists ran an experiment where 16 people were submitted to an eight-week mindfulness course, using guided meditations and integration of mindfulness into everyday activities. The results were reported by Sara Lazar, PhD. At the end of it, MRI scans show that the grey matter concentration increases in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self, and having perspective.

Other studies also show a larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of grey matter for long-term meditators.

Sources: Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging, ScienceDirect

What meditation does to your brain

Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need

On a research conducted by the University of Kentucky, participants were tested on four different conditions: Control (C), Nap (N), Meditation (M) and Sleep Deprivation plus Meditation. Non-meditators, novice meditators and experienced meditators were part of the experiment. The results suggest that:

Meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement even in novice meditators. In long term meditators, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time when compared with age and sex matched controls who did not meditate. Whether meditation can actually replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt is under further investigation.

Sources: NCBI, DoctorsOnTM, Time Magazine

Long-term meditation enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain

In a study with Tibetan Buddhist monks, conducted by neuroscientist Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, it was found that novice meditators “showed a slight increase in gamma activity, but most monks showed extremely large increases of a sort that has never been reported before in the neuroscience literature”.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Meditation helps reduce alcohol and substance abuse

Three studies made with Vipassana meditation in incarcerated populations suggested that it can help reduce alcohol and substance abuse.

Source: Journal Of Alternative and Complementary Medicine1

2. Mind & Performance

Meditation improves your focus, attention, and ability to work under stress

A study led by Katherine MacLean of the University of California suggested that during and after meditation training, subjects were more skilled at keeping focus, especially on repetitive and boring tasks.

Another study demonstrated that even with only 20 minutes a day of practice, students were able to improve their performance on tests of cognitive skill, in some cases doing 10 times better than the group that did not meditate. They also performed better on information-processing tasks that were designed to induce deadline stress.

In fact, there is evidence that meditators had thicker prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula, and also to the effect that meditation might offset the loss of cognitive ability with old age.

Sources: Time Magazine, NCBI, Link Springer

Meditation improves information processing and decision making

Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Scientists suspect that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories and improving attention.

Source: UCLA Newsroom

Meditation gives you mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence

PhD psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander reports in his book Wise Mind, Open Mind that the process of controlling the mind, through meditation, increases mental strength, resilience, and emotional intelligence.

Source: Dr. Ron Alexander

Meditation makes you stronger against pain

A research group from the University of Montreal exposed 13 Zen masters and 13 comparable non-practitioners to equal degrees of painful heat while measuring their brain activity in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. What they discovered is that the Zen meditation (called zazen) practitioners reported less pain. Actually, they reported less pain than their neurological output from the fMRI indicated. So, even though their brain may be receiving the same amount of pain input, in their mind’s there is actually less pain.

Sources: Time Magazine, NCBI, David Lynch Foundation

meditation reduces pain

Meditation relieves pain better than morphine

In an experiment conducted by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, 15 healthy volunteers, who were new to meditation, attended four 20-minute classes to learn meditation, focusing on the breath. Both before and after meditation training, study participants’ brain activity was examined using ASL MRI, while pain was inflicted in them by using heat.

Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., lead author of the study, explains that

This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation. (…) We found a big effect – about a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent.”

Source: Huffington Post

Meditation helps manage ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

In a study made with 50 adult ADHD patients, the group that was submitted to MBCT (Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) demonstrated reduced hyperactivity, reduced impulsivity and increased “act-with-awareness” skill, contributing to an overall improvement in inattention symptoms.

Sources: Clinical Neurophysiology Journal, DoctorsOnTM

Meditation increases the ability to keep focus in spite of distractions

A study from Emory University, Atlanta, demonstrated that participants with more meditation experience exhibit increased connectivity within the brain networks controlling attention. These neural relationships may be involved in the development of cognitive skills, such as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction. Moreover, the benefits of the practice were observed also in normal state of consciousness during the day, which speaks to the transference of cognitive abilities “off the cushion” into daily life.

The meditation practice examined was focusing the attention on the breath.

Source: Frontiers Journal

Meditation improves learning, memory and self-awareness

Long-term practice of meditation increases grey-matter density in the areas of the brain associated with learning, memory,

self-awareness, compassion, introspection.

Source: NCBI

Mindfulness meditation improves rapid memory recall

According to Catherine Kerr of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Centre, “Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall”.

Source: PsychCentral

Meditation improves your mood and psychological well-being

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University, UK, found that when participants with issues of stress and low mood underwent meditation training, they experienced improvements in psychological well-being.

Source: Link Springer

Meditation prevents you from falling in the trap of multitasking too often

Multitasking is not only a dangerous productivity myth, but it’s also a source of stress. “Changing gears” between activities is costly for the brain, and induces feelings of distraction and dissatisfaction from the work being done.

In a research conducted by the University of Washington and University of Arizona, Human Resource personnel were given 8 weeks of training in either mindfulness meditation or body relaxation techniques, and were given a stressful multitasking test both before and after training. The group of staff that had practiced meditation reported lower levels of stress and showed better memory for the tasks they had performed; they also switched tasks less often and remained focused on tasks longer.

Source: ACM Digital Library

Meditation helps us allocate limited brain resources

When the brain is presented two targets to pay attention to, and they right after one another (half a second difference), the second one is often not seen. This is called “attentional-blink”.

In an experiment conducted by the University of California, a stream of random letters was shown in a computer screen, in rapid succession. In each session, one or two numbers or blank screens would appear in the middle, and participants were later asked, immediately after the stream ended, to type the numbers they saw. They were also asked whether they thought a blank screen was shown or not.

Subjects that had undergone 3 months of intense Vipassana Meditation were found to have a better control over the distribution of attention and perception resources. They showed less allocation of brain-resource for each letter shown, which resulted in reduction in “attentional-blink” size.

Source: PLOS Biology

Meditation improves visuospatial processing and working memory

Research has shown that even after only four sessions of mindfulness meditationtraining, participants had significantly improved visuospatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning.

Source: ScienceDirect

Meditation prepares you to deal with stressful events

A study from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, conducted with 32 adults that had never practiced meditation before, showed that if meditation is practiced before a stressful event, the adverse effects of stress were lessened.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

benefits of meditation - creativityMindfulness meditation fosters creativity

A research from Leiden University (Netherlands) demonstrates that the practice of “open monitoring” meditation (non-reactively monitoring the content of experience from moment-to-moment) has positive effects in creativity and divergent thinking. Participants who had followed the practice performed better in a task where they were asked to creatively come up with new ideas.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

3. Body & Health

Meditation reduces risk of heart diseases and stroke

More people die of heart diseases in the world than any other illness.

In a study published in late 2012, a group of over 200 high-risk individuals was asked to either take a health education class promoting better diet and exercise or take a class on Transcendental Meditation. During the next 5 years researchers accompanying the participants found that those who took the meditation class had a 48% reduction in their overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

They noted that meditation “significantly reduced risk for mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in coronary heart disease patients. These changes were associated with lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors.”

There are also other researches pointing out similar conclusions, about related health conditions.

Sources: Time Magazine, American Heart Association, HealthCentral

Meditation affect genes that control stress and immunity

A study from Harvard Medical School demonstrates that, after a practicing yoga and meditation, the individuals had improved mitochondrial energy production, consumption and resiliency. This improvement develops a higher immunity in the system and resilience to stress.

Sources: Bloomberg, NCBI, American Psychosomatic Medicine Journal, Journal of International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology

Meditation reduces blood pressure

Clinical research has demonstrated that the practice of Zen Meditation (also known as “Zazen”) reduces stress and high blood pressure.

Another experiment, this time with a technique called “relaxation response”, yielded similar results, with 2/3 of high blood pressure patients showing significant drops in blood pressure after 3 months of meditation, and, consequently, less need for medication. This is because relaxation results in the formation of nitric oxide, which opens up your blood vessels.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, NPR News

Mindfulness training decreases inflammatory disorders

A study conducted in France and Spain at the UW-Madison Waisman Centre indicates that the practice of mindfulness meditation produces a range of genetic and molecular effects on the participants. More specifically, it was noted reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

Source: University of Winsconsin Madison, & HealthCentral & Medical News Today

Mindfulness meditation decreases cellular-level inflammation

In the three studies below, the group that undertook mindfulness training had better results at preventing cellular level inflammation than the control groups.

Sources: ScienceDirect (1), ScienceDirect (2), ScienceDirect (3)

Mindfulness practice helps prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease

In a research conducted by neuroscientists of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, two groups of people were exposed to different methods of stress control. One of them received mindfulness training, while the other received nutritional education, exercise and music therapy. The study concluded that mindfulness techniques were more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being.

Source: Medical News Today

Meditation and meditative prayer help treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms

This is the conclusion of over 20 randomised control studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, Relaxation Response.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

yoga and mindfulness reduce stress

Mindfulness meditation reduces risk of Alzheimer and premature death

Results from recent research, published online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, states that just 30 minutes of meditation a day not only reduces the sense of loneliness, but also reduces the risk of heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s and premature death.

Source: HealthCentral

Mindfulness training is helpful for patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia

In a study published in PubMed, 11 participants that suffered from fibromyalgia underwent an 8-week mindfulness training. As a result, the researchers found significant improvement in the overall health status of the participants and in symptoms of stiffness, anxiety, and depression. Significant improvements were also seen in the reported number of days “felt good” and number of days “missed work” because of fibromyalgia.

Source: NCBI (1), NCBI (2), Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics Journal

Meditation helps manage the heart rate and respiratory rate

In a study published by the Korean Association of Genuine Traditional Medicine, practitioners of “Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique” showed a significant decrease in heart rate and respiratory rate for up to 8 months after the training period.

Source: KoreaScience

Mindfulness meditation may even help treat HIV

Quoting from a study from UCLA:

Lymphocytes, or simply CD4 T cells, are the “brains” of the immune system, coordinating its activity when the body comes under attack. They are also the cells that are attacked by HIV, the devastating virus that causes AIDS and has infected roughly 40 million people worldwide. The virus slowly eats away at CD4 T cells, weakening the immune system.

But the immune systems of HIV/AIDS patients face another enemy as well – stress, which can accelerate CD4 T cell declines. Now, researchers at UCLA report that the practice of mindfulness meditation stopped the decline of CD4 T cells in HIV-positive patients suffering from stress, slowing the progression of the disease.

(…)

Creswell and his colleagues ran an eight-week mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) meditation program and compared it to a one-day MBSR control seminar, using a stressed and ethnically diverse sample of 48 HIV-positive adults in Los Angeles. Participants in the eight-week group showed no loss of CD4 T cells, indicating that mindfulness meditation training can buffer declines. In contrast, the control group showed significant declines in CD4 T cells from pre-study to post-study. Such declines are a characteristic hallmark of HIV progression.

Source: ScienceDaily

Meditation may make you live longer

Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. Though the research is not conclusive yet, there is data suggesting that “that some forms of meditation may have salutary effects on telomere length by reducing cognitive stress and stress arousal and increasing positive states of mind and hormonal factors that may promote telomere maintenance.”

Source: Wiley Online Library

Health benefits of Transcendental Meditation

There is an abundance of studies around the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation (a popular modality of meditation). In a nutshell, TM is found to

Reduce metabolic syndrome (American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2006)

Extended longevity (American Journal of Cardiology, May 2005)

Lower blood pressure in at-risk teens (American Journal of Hypertension, April 2004; and DoctorsOnTM)

Reduce atherosclerosis (American Journal of Cardiology, April 2002)

Reduce thickening of Coronary Arteries (Stroke, March 2000)

Reduce myocardial eschemia (American Journal of Cardiology, May 1996)

Help manage and prevent anxiety (here & here)

Helps manage cholesterol (DoctorsOnTM)

Help treat epilepsy (DoctorsOnTM)

Helps you stop smoking (DoctorsOnTM)

Creates a state of deep rest in the body and mind (Hypertension 26: 820-827, 1995)

Increases skin resistance (Phyysiology & Behavior 35: 591-595, 1985)

Clarity of thinking (Perceptual and Motor Skills 39: 1031-1034, 1974)

Sources: David Lynch Foundation

4. Relationships

Loving-kindness meditation improves empathy and positive relationships

meditation enhances psychological well-beingIn Buddhist traditions we find the practice of metta, or loving-kindness meditation, where the practitioner focuses on developing a sense of benevolence and care towards all living beings. According to a study from Emory University, such exercises effectively boost one’s ability to empathize with others by way of reading their facial expressions.

Another study points out that the development of positive emotions through compassion builds up several personal resources, including “a loving attitude toward oneself and others and includes self-acceptance, social support received, and positive relations with others”, as well as “feeling of competence about one’s life” and includes “pathways thinking, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and ego-resilience”.

Sources: ScienceDaily, NCBI, PLOS One

Loving-kindness meditation also reduces social isolation

In a study published in the American Psychological Association, subjects that did “even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals, on both explicit and implicit levels. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation”.

Source: American Psychological Association

Meditation increases feelings of compassion and decreases worry

After being assigned to a 9-week compassion cultivation training (CCT), individuals showed significant improvements in all three domains of compassion – compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and self-compassion. In a similar situation, the practitioners also experienced decreased level of worry and emotional suppression.

Sources: Stanford School of Medicine (also here), Sage Journals.

Mindfulness meditation decreases feelings of loneliness

A study from Carnegie Mellon University indicates that mindfulness meditation training is useful in decreasing feelings of loneliness, which in turn decreases the risk for morbidity, mortality, and expression of pro-inflammatory genes.

Source: ScienceDirect

Meditation reduces emotional eating

Scientists believe that Transcendental Meditation help manage emotional eating, which prevents obesity.

Source: DoctorsOnTM

mindfulness in schools5. Mindfulness For Kids

In a huge compilation of studies made about mindfulness in schools, MindfulnessInSchools.org presented research evidence for the following benefits for kids:

reduced depression symptoms

reduced somatic stress

reduced hostility and conflicts with peers

reduced anxiety

reduced reactivity

reduced substance use

increased cognitive retention

increased self-care

increased optimism and positive emotions

increased self-esteem

increased feelings of happiness and well-being

improved social skills

improved sleep

improved self-awareness

improved academic performance

There was also numerous reports of benefits for teachers and staff, including:

increased personal qualities of open-minded curiosity, kindliness, empathy, compassion, acceptance, trust, patience, and non-striving, and the skills of focusing, and paying and switching attention

improvements in physical and mental health that tend to follow the learning of mindfulness, including conditions particularly relevant to the teaching profession such as stress and burnout

improved teaching self-efficacy

improved physical health

increased ability to give more appropriate support for students by through being more motivated and autonomous

decreased stress

increased work motivation

improved spatial memory, working memory and sustained attention

Source: MindfulnessInSchools.org

6. Miscellaneous

Some more interesting facts about meditation:

Saying the OM sound before a surgery helps in preparation and recovery

Meditators are more able to affect the reality around us, in a quantum level

There is also some account of mindfulness meditation improving your sex life (here, here, and here)

Reduces race and age prejudice (Sage Journals)

7. Conclusion

In a nutshell, science confirms the experience of millions of practitioners: meditation will keep you healthy, help prevent multiple diseases, make you more happy, and improve your performance in basically any task, physical or mental.

My mission is to bring meditation and personal growth to a million humans. If you like this cause, please take a deep breath and share this post.

http://www.journeyman1.com/hidden-truths
Meditations on Ego and Enlightenment

Over a long enough period of time, the survival rate for your body is zero. Contained within the body is the brain and one of the functions of the brain is the ego. The ego is the self concept of the brain-body organism and it does not like what was just said one bit.

And there are different states of consciousness than just ego. The ego is like a dog you bring with you on a journey. Untrained, it will run off, bite others and come back to bite you. But trained and disciplined it knows its place. It can sense things, warn you of danger, protect you. As the saying goes, “Ego is an excellent servant and a horrible master”.

On the journey, to confuse yourself with being the dog that runs alongside you, is to be lost in a profound hallucination. Such is the nature of the egoic mind. It knows nothing of the true self and is driven only by its need to survive. No reason to make it feel bad though. Better to pat it on the head and every now and then – throw it a bone.

Demonization of the ego is the result of ignorance. This idea that we must smash the ego comes from those who do not understand the ego – their only understanding is that they fear it. As the world becomes more and more afraid of itself, this brand of so-called “spirituality” becomes ever more popular.

Smashing the ego makes about as much sense as removing an eye or cutting off your arm. It is barbaric, not necessary and in fact very harmful. And insofar as the brain-body organism is concerned, as the body navigates through material space, a self concept is better than no self concept. Ego is that branch of self concept that concerns itself with the survival of the brain-body organism that often thinks it is you. It is only harmful when it is misunderstood or when it’s forced to go underground in order to survive. Take good care of it and it will serve you well, but never allow yourself to serve it. This road goes in circles and leads to a certain kind of madness that passes for normalcy in our society today. The insanity of ego identification is still the social norm at this early stage of our evolution.

In the human state we experience the full range of human emotions. We are having the human experience. To be captured entirely by the human experience is to lose site of the reality that this human vessel is a very small fraction of who and what you are. It’s part of the ride, it won’t last, and there is really no sound reason not to get all of the action out of it that you can. In retrospect, when one leaves the body, it will likely be remembered as a crazy day at the carnival, looking at the fun house mirror. To believe that what you see in that fun house mirror is you, is to forget who you are and where you are.

There are teachers, teachings, books, seminars – so much available to tell you who you are. And one can incorporate these teachings into a belief system. But a belief system is a cheap substitute for direct experience. A belief system is a map and compass that one can never be sure is reliable until you are truly lost. Only then does one find out that the treasure map you were sold was at best, only a rough estimation of where you are and where you are going. If your belief system came from the religious establishment, then it was purchased at a novelty shop.

When we are not misidentified with the ego, belief systems lose their importance as one turns to an inner voice, the voice of the Soul.

As with all words, when speaking of spiritual matters, the word “soul” is only a rough approximation of what we mean. Incidentally, all matters are spiritual matters and the word “soul” refers to that which transcends the limitations of ego, but contains the higher dimensions of self

So what is Enlightenment? There is certainly no shortage of charlatans out there, auditioning for the role of being the one who can answer that question for you. As it turns out, there are “enlightenments” along the journey. As the awareness of Self expands and expands, these are enlightenments. The many merchants of so-called “enlightenment” would have you believe that enlightenment is a finish line that you will arrive at if you follow their treasure map, their belief system. For many of us it takes falling for this hoax over and over before we are willing to take the responsibility and find the courage to look within.

I can tell you that what it means to be a “spiritual person” is to know that you are everything and everywhere. You are the world; you are every person you meet. You are the moon and stars and galaxies and the universe and the multi-verses and you transcend space and time. And if you take my word for it, and incorporate this into your belief system, it is not the same thing as seeing it directly. It won’t work to hitch a ride on someone else’s experience. And besides, what if I am blissfully walking off the edge of a cliff, looking up at the sky? Don’t settle for hand-me-downs. Seek the experience with more passion and commitment than anything else in your life.

If anyone tells you that in order to find God you must turn away from the world, they are speaking out of ignorance – more than likely parroting words from a belief system which their ego found comfort in. After all, it is the greedy ego that seeks to find and seize upon “abundant bliss” and then be acknowledged and respected and praised for it. That which is truly you already knows bliss to be its true nature. So to turn away from the world is to find God, but also to turn towards the world is to find God. How can God be missing? God is all that is and all that is not. That which seeks to find God is only suffering from a self-induced state of Amnesia. Simply put, you are that which you seek. But don’t take my word for it.

Pay close attention to nature and you will see that nothing really dies. It merely changes form. The only thing that dies, when a tree falls and rots, is the mental concept of a tree. In fact what is taking place is merely change. Every part of that tree becomes something else. All of existence is in flux, expanding and retracting, evolving. That which looks out through your eyes is part of this evolution.

As you move from Amnesia toward God Realization, the Soul evolves. Your perception broadens. Your experience deepens. To memorize anything that has been said here will only serve as a form of imitation. To hold up any word choice to careful scrutiny will only reveal that none of these words can be relied upon. Everything I have told you here is a complete and absolute lie. And hidden within each lie contains the jewel of enlightenment.

That which does not evolve – dies. But even that which dies serves a purpose. It becomes the fertilizer of new life which seeks to evolve. Nothing is wasted on the journey, nothing is lost. And in that circle you find yourself, you lose yourself, but what remains constant is self.

Even in the deepest darkest depths of human emotional experience, when one really goes into the darkness deeply, you will find illumination. It is everywhere you seek it, always hidden in plain sight. Whether you are chanting a mantra or explaining to the landlord why you do not have the rent, every act is holy when done consciously with conscious intent.

What you have just read is a letter, that you wrote to yourself and asked me to hand deliver to you when you are ready. The light switch is on a dimmer. It’s in your hands now.

http://www.journeyman1.com/hidden-truths
Drifting into Meditation

“He sat erect, his back against the bandstand bench and his legs crossed, gazing at the passers-by. He listened carefully to his breathing, from the moment he inhaled through his nose to the moment his lungs felt full and he slowly exhaled through his mouth. He continued for several minutes, until it felt less like practice and more like a state of being.

 He fixed his gaze on an imaginary point and continued breathing slowly and deeply. No thoughts drifted through his head and it gave him a pleasurable sensation of lightness. His heart was beating calmly but firmly. Blood pumped up to his arteries, rising to the veins in his neck and feeding his capillaries. He felt organic, complex, complete. A mild sensation of numbness took control of his temples and his head felt so light that it seemed it could almost detach itself from his neck.

A soft breeze caressed the hairs on his face and neck, which slowly stood on end, creating a light vibration that travelled from the back of his head down to the base of his spine. His eyelids were heavy, and after several seconds he closed his eyes. His breathing remained slow and constant. His heartbeats were strong with a sound rhythm. His mind was empty of thought, an immense nothingness.

The breeze continued to brush lightly against him, making the hairs stand on end. Then his head detached itself from his neck and began to float unhurriedly. Calmly, he kept his eyes closed, enjoying the glide. He had never felt such pleasure before. He floated at varying speeds, along with the breeze. He rose and fell, taking in the sounds of the city at various intensities. Finally, it seemed as if he was gaining altitude: the noises were fading away. Yes, he was ascending.

Gradually, the temperature fell. His face felt light and fresh as a soft wind replaced the breeze. To be separated from his body was to experience a feeling of unrivalled freedom, far from the constant demands of his arms, legs and organs. His altitude remained steady for a long time. He was the master of his own domain.

He then had the impression that he was descending: a smooth, rhythmic motion at first, as if he were a tiny feather falling. Then, he fell slowly and steadily, like a balloon losing altitude. Slowly, the wind stopped and the breeze returned, pausing occasionally. The temperature rose again and he felt warmth returning to his face. He noticed a slight pulse on his shoulders, like small electric shocks, followed by a tingling on the back of his head. Unhurriedly, he moved the fingers of his hand, which were resting on his legs. He opened his eyes. His mouth was a bit dry. He took a deep breath and exhaled. He breathed again and exhaled. Slowly, his normal rate of breathing returned. It was now dark. He smiled and looked at the clock in the square. It was 7:30.”

A One-Minute Meditation To Silence Your Mind & Calm Your Energy

The world as we know is in dire need of a higher vibration in its collective consciousness. During a recent morning meditation session, the intuitive loving voice within me reminded me of the true power we all have in seemingly powerless situations. Therefore, I would like to inspire YOU to start raising your own energy and vibration through a regular meditation practice.

If you’re part of the MindBodyGreen community, it’s likely that you’re no stranger to meditation. Maybe you have your own dedicated practice, dabble from time-to-time or are familiar with meditation but have never tried it. Regardless of where you are on your meditation journey, you can ignite an amazing practice today. Here’s what you need to know to do just that.

Anyone can meditate, you’ve just gotta want it. Like any practice, you have to want to do it in order to achieve results. It can be hard to start a meditation practice because it seems so foreign from what we’re taught to do.

But I have good news: Meditating is much simpler than we make it out to be. Beginning a meditation practice requires only your slight willingness. Your desire to experience something new is all you need to get on a new path.

Let’s set the intention to begin your practice now. Affirm this statement out loud to yourself: I am open to meditation and I welcome a new practice into my life. This simple statement will give you all the energy and enthusiasm you need to continue reading this article and begin your own practice! It’s very important to accept that anyone can meditate as long as they want to.

You can begin now. You have a minute to spare, right? One minute a day spent in stillness can change your life. Commit to change by devoting just one minute a day and try the following Kundalini meditation practice to silence your mind and calm your energy.

The One-Minute Breath

Breathe in for 5 seconds

Hold your breath for 5 seconds

Release for 5 seconds

Hold for 5 seconds

Practice this breath pattern for one minute a day. Try it now.

You can also meditate with others, this isn’t just a solo art! Connecting with the positive and peaceful energy of others is extremely powerful. Plus, the perfect opportunity is coming up! On Aug. 8, join the Global Meditation for Peace with Deepak Chopra, India Arie and me. We’ve teamed up with Guinness World Records to host the largest meditation gathering to date. This live event is free and you can attend from anywhere in the world.

If you’re feeling powerless given the circumstances of our times this is your chance to harness your true power. When people gather to raise their collective energetic vibrations, they can create a ripple effect worldwide.

Yes, Meditation Can Make You A Better Person

We humans can be nasty things. Dr Zimbardo’s now famous 1971 psychology experiments and any basic history lesson make that abundantly clear. I didn’t go to a private girls school but I’m often told that’s a whole other lesson in meanness itself. We get drawn into separating "us" from "them" to the point of inter-group conflict (on minor and mass scales) and our brains (yes, our brains) are hardwired to discriminate and categorize our human brothers and sisters according to surface similarities.

On the other hand, we humans can also be an awesomely benevolent, compassionate and loving species. Hot off the research presses, we have a creative study exploring how a six-week practice of loving-kindness meditation can reduce stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes towards homeless people. Interestingly, just talking about loving-kindness didn’t produce the same positive result — it turns out you have to actually do the practice.

To obtain these results, the researchers assigned participants to one of three conditions: a six-week loving-kindness discussion, a six-week loving-kindness meditation, or a wait list as the control. In addition to suggesting a reduction in negative attitudes toward the homeless, the study also showed that participants' racist attitudes were tougher to shift than their bias regarding homeless people.

We can hope that this interesting (albeit disturbing) finding provides a challenge to researchers and prompts further research into the mechanisms of discriminatory behavior, in addition to the strategies to help us be better animals.

But for the rest of us, the question is: How can we use this research in our own lives and meditation practices? For starters, it’s time to put down the meditation book (and get off the internet, right now!) — reading about meditation isn't the same as actually doing it.

Perhaps more important, practice loving-kindness. It may be helpful to get honest with yourself first: Who do you judge? Make sure you gently move toward including this person or group within those to whom you feel loving-kindness.

If you’d like to see the original study, make your way here.

http://www.journeyman1.com/hidden-truths
MEDITATION ??? THE JOURNEY WITHIN

Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. With the rapid advancement in medical sciences we are now able to find cures for almost all diseases and ailments. There are treatments for every condition of body. But what about our mental health? Do we really pay attention towards the well-being of our mind.


Now is the time we start looking deeper, inside ourselves. We are always looking outside for Happiness and Peace when its nowhere but inside us. But over years we have forgotten how to look inside. Thoughts, both negative and wasteful cloud our minds, making it difficult to look clearly inside.

Its important to first know what meditation is. Where are we going? What must we feel? What are we looking at?

The most important journey you can take is the journey within. This is a journey to the truth of who you really are. This is the place, just beyond every day consciousness, where spiritual empowerment begins. Spiritual power gives you the power to choose creative thinking rather than automated thinking, response rather than reaction, peace, love and harmony rather than stress, conflict and chaos.

Meditation enables you to embark on this inward journey.Meditation gives you a clear spiritual understanding of yourself, helps you re–discover and use the positive qualities already latent within you, enables you to develop your strengths of character and create new attitudes and responses to life. You begin to remember things about yourself that you once knew, but had long forgotten. You start to enjoy moments of silence and to savour periods of introspection and reflection.

Meditation also helps you disconnect from damaging habits of thought, feeling and reaction. This results in a conscious, positive release of energy which improves the quality of your attitude, actions, and interactions.

The process of going within, disconnecting from harmful habits, connecting to your innate spiritual resources, and reconnecting with your external life, is personally empowering in a lasting way.Meditation is taught as a method of raising self-awareness leading to self–realisation. Meditation stills the mind and empowers the intellect to achieve insight and understanding of the spiritual laws and principles which sustain harmony and can bring natural renewal at all levels of life on earth.

Like any skill, meditation requires practice to achieve satisfying results. More and more people are adding some kind of meditation to their daily routine either as an effective antidote to stress, or as a simple method of relaxation. By doing a little meditation every day, it soon becomes a natural and easy habit, which generously rewards you for the effort it involves.

How to Use Meditation to Help You Out of a Depressive State

We live in interesting times. On the exterior, we live in a vastly advanced society with impressive social structure and the ability to innovate. On the exterior, we have hundreds of differing medicines and procedures to help us deal with a myriad of physical ailments that could affect us. As they say, beauty is only skin deep.

Depression is a formidable opponent for millions. If left unchecked, depression can also lead to stress, illness, feelings of hopelessness, and feeling like there is no way out. Brain chemistry is also effected by depression.

From a neurological standpoint, most people effected by depression show reduced alpha activity in the frontal lobes. Alpha brainwaves are one of the most common brainwave patterns among those who meditate. This presents an opportunity for the advancements of our modern society to explain how you can use meditation to help bring you out of a depressive state.

It should be understood that meditation, although simple, has been proven to offer moderate relief in addressing psychological stress. If you are feeling depressed, you should consult your preferred healthcare practitioner. That being said, many medical professionals are now beginning to see more scientific proof that meditating can help with treating and preventing depression and “clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress.”[1][2] Because of the increase of proof backed by research in neuroscience and many published articles, it is hard for even the most trained of doctors to dismiss its benefits.

Knowing that meditating causes an increase in alpha brainwave activity and that those with depression show reduced alpha wave activity in the frontal lobes helps many to place belief in their meditative practice. Learning that it is a spiritual practice backed by scientific and medical research can help reduce our inner skeptic. Believing that meditation will help reduce your depression is the first and most important principle of practice. Through your belief in its methods and faith in its practice, many argue that intention alone can promote healing.

In order to use meditation to help bring you out of a depressive state, the first thing you must do is believe it will work. This trust in its purpose must come from your heart. This is a very important step. You need not know everything there is to know about it just yet, but you need to trust that it can and will work for you.

Once you have the desire to improve your mental health and mood with the aid of meditation, you need to simply start practicing. Find a time of day you can commit to for daily practice that will be easy to adhere to and will not cause stress. If you are stressed out finding time to meditate or a place you will not be disturbed, this can make it more difficult to enter meditation.

Because the alpha brainwave state is the goal and alpha is a state of relaxation, it is important that you be relaxed. Have fun with it – meditation is intended to be a pleasurable and relaxing practice. Don’t be afraid to jump in head first and have fun with it. Do not worry if at first you find it hard to clear your mind and relax. If you remember learning to ride a bike, you probably realize not all things are perfected on the first try. The results will come.

While meditating, visualizing is also an important tool. Close your eyes and relax while trying to picture what you perceive to be pleasurable. We all like different things. Not everyone wants to picture themselves on a beach. While visualizing, it is important to make it personal. What place would you love to visit? What activity might you enjoy doing? Have fun with your visualizations and be playful in their construction. In your mind, you have the ability to be at ease.

You can also mix sitting meditations with relaxation music to achieve good results. There are hundreds of options available when selecting music. This music does not always have to be soothing new age music. For starters, think about music you love that always makes you feel good or relaxed. Using meditation to bring you out of a depressive state is a very personal undertaking. Simply go with your intuition. Do whatever feels right and feels good for you. There are thousands of different types, all with volumes of research and resources.

From the formless meditation called Shikantaza to the more involved zen or mudra meditations, it is very possible to find a practice right for you. The most important thing is to start meditating with the intent of bringing you out of a depressing state. Believe in your goal and in your purpose. The type and the details of your perfect practice will then begin to unfold for you with less effort.

You may even find that solutions will come to you. Look for people, places, and circumstances that present an opportunity for you to learn to meditate, or a related practice. Meditation mixed with visualization, soothing music, and the belief in oneself can have a tremendous impact on depressive states.

Other forms of moving meditations such as Tai Chi, Yoga, or Qi Gong can greatly complement sitting meditation. These practices focus on a calm mind, relaxing the breath, fluid movements, good posture. These practices also teach how to discover and control the theorized life force of the human body. In most practices, this life force is called Chi. The confidence gained from learning how to control ones vital life energy and the grace that can come with these practices can help many individuals overcome depression by anchoring accomplishment.

Meditating also has no bad side effects or risks other than the possibility of falling asleep. In today’s fast paced world, most do not get enough sleep. I believe we could all use a little more rest and relaxation each week.

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7 Meditation & Mindfulness Practices for a Busy Life

How can we possibly find time to meditate or practice mindfulness in our busy lives? Among all the chaos it is hard to keep up with life let alone find time to meditate and practice ‘being in the now.’

Well, we have found 7 ways to make this practice part of your everyday life without changing around your schedule!

1. In the Shower

meditation-shower-bath-waterfallWhenever you take a bath or a shower use this time to cleanse your energy. Take some deep breaths and visualise the water washing all of the stress and negative energy away. This can be a powerful technique for balancing your chakras and feeling great. Practice slowing down your breathing and feel the amazing power of the water.

If you have seen our spirit science video on water maybe you can also practice sending love energy to the water or put healing crystals near the faucet so that the water coming through your house is cleaned energetically too.

woman-drinking-tea-smelling-vert

2. Tea & Drinks

If you drink any sort of herbal or natural beverage try slowing down. Take the time to savor the many smells and flavors of the drink. Take the time to breathe slowly, reflect, meditate and really be aware of that moment in your life. Visualise the healing that comes when you fill your body with good healthy fluids.

3. Eating with Awareness

Each little flavor, color and smell is a whole new adventure. Slow down and see if you can identify all of the ingredients. Observe the impulse to eat specific foods and the impulse to eat fast. Slow down your mind and ask yourself why you feel those things.

Imagine the healing effects that your food will have on your body. Are you giving your body what it needs to feel whole, stay healthy and thrive? Observe the taking in of energy. This food is the basics that feed your body, mind and soul.

4. Waiting in Line

Waiting anywhere can be a great place to begin meditating. Slow everything down in your mind. Observe the people or objects around you. Take in the beauty and observe your feelings.

If you are safe to do so, close your eyes half way and take a deep breathe. Go inside yourself mentally and focus on your breathing. Observe the amazing chemical exchange going on inside your lungs with each breath. Oxygen to carbon dioxide over and over.

5. While Walking

walking-in-fallWalking can be a similar meditation to waiting in line. It can also be a good tool for people who struggle to sit still. When your body is distracted with the movement of walking, get your breathing in a good rhythm with your feet and clear your mind.

Recognise that everything in your path is there for a reason. If they weren’t supposed to be there they would have come earlier or left later. Those people are there in that moment on purpose. Take the time to smile, send loving energy to others and even strike up a conversation with someone.

6. Stretching or Exercising

stretch-at-officeIf you have a Yoga, Stretching or Exercising practice every day this is the perfect time to meditate. Let your body do its thing while you practice your deep breathing, slowing down your mind and observing the world around you.

If you don’t have a regular practice take some time to at least stretch each day. You can do this while waiting for your morning coffee to brew, while waiting for your ride to come for work or while watching a movie at home. There are many times where we can stretch and keep our body loose and receptive while also practicing meditation.

7. Before Sleeping & Help Sleeping

Each night before bed, take a few minutes to take some deep breaths and clear your mind. This is a good time for a quick meditation about your day and your plans for life. Look at all of the patterns from your day and ask yourself what they mean on a big scale in your life. If you aren’t ready to go to sleep keep your eyes cracked open just a little so that you do not drift off.

When you are ready to sleep you can also use the relaxation techniques from meditation to help you rest easier. If you are anything like me you might have troubles sleeping because you are over analysing your day and stressing about tomorrow.

What I typically end up doing is bringing my attention to only the things inside my room. If my thoughts are about people, places or events happening outside of my room in that present moment then I tell myself that they don’t exist in this moment.

If that doesn’t calm my mind enough I will go one step further and go into my heart chakra space, deep inside and make the sound of my heart & breathing the only thing in existence. After that I am able to drift off and sleep deeply.

What are some of your tricks for finding time to meditate & be mindful? Let us know in the comments!

5 Ways Meditation Will Change Your Life

Meditation. If you are thinking of yourself or someone you know sitting on the floor with their legs crossed and their eyes closed right now, then you are like the majority of the western world who sees this picture when they think of meditation.

What Is Meditation?

While it is possible to be in a meditative state in this position – this is not necessarily ‘meditation.’ This is because true meditation is a state – a state of mind, body and spirit where you are calm, focused, aware, and connected with your true essence. For most, getting to this state of meditation is a bit of a journey. That is why there are so many different mediation techniques to choose from. Sitting on the floor with your eyes closed is only one. There is also mantra meditation, chaotic breathing, focused attention and kundalini practices – just to name a few. So do not be discouraged if a seated meditation isn’t right for you. Try several different techniques until you find one that resonates with you. Then, practice daily. The benefits of working towards a state of meditation on a daily basis are far too numerous for me to fully explain here, but here are my top five reasons for practicing mediation that I hope will inspire you to take up a practice of your own.

Benefit Number 1: It Will Give You Better Body Awareness

Body awareness is key to good health. If you are not connected to your body – not aware of what is going on with it, not tuned into its subtle messages – then you are far more susceptible to illness and things going wrong. When you take the time each day to slow down and notice your body, you will start to become more aware of how your body feels after you eat certain foods, after you do certain activities, after you spend time with different people. This awareness is absolutely invaluable to your long-term health and one of the first and most noticeable benefits of a daily meditation practice. Even just taking the time to slow down and notice the quality of your breathing will have profound effects on your health. Your body is constantly sending you valuable information – you just need to slow down long enough to hear what it is saying.

Benefit Number 2: It Will Improve Your Relationships

The practice of meditation will help you to become more connected with yourself – with how you are feeling, what you are thinking and how your life is affecting you. The more you take the time to slow down and tune into yourself, the more you are going to become aware of the roll you are playing in the relationships you have. There is a good chance that through a meditation practice you will start to notice the areas in your relationships where you are not taking full responsibility for yourself – where you are creating co-dependent tendencies. From this place of awareness you will be better able to feel what relationship habits you have that are not beneficial for you, and which ones are. This knowledge will empower you to make any changes needed, so that you can have more harmonious relationships with everyone you interact with.

Benefit Number 3: It Will Help You Communicate Better

All your new found self awareness will help you to more effectively communicate what you are thinking and feeling to those around you. The first reason for this is that you will be more aware yourself of what you are thinking and feeling – which is a crucial component in effective communication. Secondly, you will most likely feel far less reactive because you will be taking more responsibility for yourself – and this again will improve your communication skills. The more you are aware of yourself, the more you are going to be able to help others become aware of what is going on with you. This will improve your communication skills with everyone from your partner, to your boss to the stranger who bumps into you on the street.

Benefit Number 4: It Will Sharpen Your Ability To Focus

Meditation is essentially a practice in focus. It is really the art of drawing your mind to the present moment and being with what is, right now. If that is not the definition of focus, then I don’t know what is! Meditation practices teach you how to be around distractions without getting pulled off course by them. The longer you practice, the more you will notice your ability to keep your mind on the current task at hand, rather than watching your mind jump from what you are doing to what’s for dinner, to who is texting you, to what are you going to wear to work tomorrow and so on. This focus will dramatically improve your ability to function at work, to drive, to communicate – pretty much everything in your life can be improved with increased capacity for focus.

Benefit Number 5: It Will Encourage You To Love Yourself More

Finally, mediation is the fastest road I know to self-love. By setting aside time each day where you are going to sit and be with yourself, there is a good chance that all of your ‘stuff’ is going to come up. All of your insecurities, all of your doubts, all of your fears, everything that is sitting below the surface will rise to the top. Then, if you are able to continue your practice of sitting and being with yourself and all of your emotions, eventually you will break through. You will begin to see yourself in a new light – in a true light. You will begin to see that you are not your issues, you are not your emotions, you are not your job – you will start to connect with your true essence. This is my most favorite part of the meditation path and practice. It always inevitably leads you back home to your heart of love and compassion. Do you meditate? What kind of meditation do you find most beneficial for you? I would love to hear what works for you!

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The Many Ways of doing Meditation

Dhyan- Blissful Meditative State:

Do you remember a time when you were totally absorbed in what you are doing? Hours may have passed yet it seemed like only a moment. Remember what a good feeling it was to be completely absorbed in those moments, how accurate your perception was, how clear your thinking was, and how alive you felt.

The simple example to illustrate Dhyan (meditation) in action is of a mother cooking for her family. When she devotes her total mental attention, warped in emotional warmth, in the process of cooking, the cooked food is distinctly different then when cooked otherwise.

Principles of Meditation:

There is numerous methods of practicing meditation but select the one that fits your physical health, profession, nature and time available. Follow these principles whenever you meditate:

- Decorate your place of meditation with inspiring pictures of great saints, prophets, great teachers and your God.

- Wash your hands, legs and face before sitting in meditation.

- Early morning between 5 to 7 AM and in the evening between 6 to 8 PM is the best time to meditate.

The Different Types of Meditation:

a) OM Mantra Dhyan

- Sit in a comfortable meditative pose with eyes gently closed.

- Keep your back straight and stretched up with the shoulders relaxed.

- Silently recite Om Mantra, focusing your mind on the rhythmic flow of mantra.

- Practice minimum for 10 minutes daily and slowly increase the time.

b) Jyoti Dhyan

- Sit in a comfortable meditative pose with eyes open.

- Keep a burning candle 4 feet from you with the level of your eyes.

- Initially watch the flame (Jyoti) without focusing too hard.

- After a while start gazing at the Jyoti as long as you can without blinking the eyes.

- After some time close the eyes and mentally watch the flame.

- Visualize the pattern and color of the Jyoti.

- Concentrate on flame for as long as your can hold your concentration.

- Do it daily minimum for 10 to 15 minutes.

Jyoti Dhyan is also one of the parts of “TRATAK SHATKARMA”.

c) Walking Dhyan

When you feel agitated or restless, walk minimum for 10 to 15 minutes down the corridor or at your work place or home or in the park. Try to harmonize your steps with your breathing. The repetitive and rhythmic motion of your legs and arms helps you to enter a meditative state which takes away the anxiety and anger.

d) Image Dhyan

- Place a picture of your God in front of you.

- Sit in a meditative posture concentrate gently on the picture till your eyes become watery.

- Keeping your head still, move your gaze on the various part of the picture like feet, legs, body and the crown of the head.

- Then close your eyes gently and visualize that picture.

- Repeat the same process as many times as you can.

e) Memory Dhyan

- Read two to three pages of a book.

- Then close the book and focus your mind on what you have read.

- Allow the mind to associate, classify, group, combine, and compare.

- If you attend to the subject on hand very carefully you will receive a clear impression.

- If the impression is strong you will have very good memory.

f) Dhyan on Thoughts

- Sit comfortably in any meditative posture.

- Keep your back upright neck and shoulder relaxed.

- Close your eyes gently.

- Concentrate on whatever thought comes to your mind.

- Let these thoughts come and go without trying to hold on to it and be judgemental.

- After some time thoughts will disappear and your mind will become completely quite and calm.

- To get better results starting with 15 to 20 minutes a day is good. Increase as per your comfort.

g). Naad Dhyan

- Sit in your favorite Asana.

- Gently close your eyes with your index and middle fingers and close the ears with your thumbs.

- Try to hear the Anahat sound (mystic sound).

- After practicing for two to three days you will hear various kind of sounds such as flute, thunder storm and humming of a bee etc.

- You will hear sounds in your right ear initially. Occasionally you may hear in your left ear also.

- Try to stick to the sound in one ear as this is an easy way to control the mind.

- Doing this repeatedly will lead to a state where you will not hear any sound.

h) Chakra Dhyan

This is an advance meditative practice in which the concentration is focused on the various energy centers or 7 chakras.

There are 7 chakras in human body and they are described corresponding to different endocrine gland.

(1) Mooladhara – Root Chakra

(2) Swadhisthan – Sacral Chakra

(3) Manipura – Solar Plexus Chakra

(4) Anahata - Heart Chakra

(5) Vishudha – Throat Chakra

(6) Ajna – Third Eye Chakra

(7) Sahasrara- Crown Chakra

- Hold your attention on each Chakra for as long as you pleased.

- Imagine you are breathing in and out from the chakras on which you are holding attention.

- Try this method of Dhyan for 10 to 15 minutes every day.

- Perception of these psychic centers will bring to development of the endocrine glands and corrects unbalanced psychosomatic and metabolic activities.

Benefits of Meditation:

1. Mental agitation and aggressiveness gets dissolved and helps develop reasoning abilities.

2. Improves mental poise and confidence and enhances your stress tolerance capacities.

3. Improves concentration level enhancing your ability to do tasks more efficiently and skillfully.

4. Helps control anger and improves your temperament.

5. Helps improve interpersonal and organizational skills.

6. Improves analytical and reviewing abilities.

7. Allows easy detachment from materialism and consumerism of modern life.

8. Makes us live in the present moment.

9. Provides preventive and herpetic problems in Cardiac problems, High B.P., Neck back pain,, ulcers, acidity etc.

10. Meditation larger benefits cover most of the diseases which are psychosomatic in nature.

LOVE IS SPACE

Having been meditating and studying Buddhism for over 15 years the question of how meditation and love go together has always intrigued me. In the practices I’ve learnt they are often presented as separate in theory and somehow are meant to fit together. Buddhism is abound with meditations on loving kindness and compassion and then there are techniques that empty the mind or single pointedly concentrating so how do they fit together.

My intellect battled with this question looking for answers but it wasn’t until I finally rested my mind completely and found a thought free experience that I discovered it was actually filled with warmth and bliss and an abundant amount of love pouring out.  It turns out that the empty state of mind is not empty at all but is actually full of positive qualities.

Meditation Masters have described the essence of mind as being like space because it has no boundaries and it is immaterial. But unlike outer space, inner awareness is full of qualities like intelligence or intuition, love and bliss.  In the ancient Indian Vedic scriptures our true self is described as Satchitananda which translates roughly as pure being, consciousness and bliss. In Buddhism the closest thing to the true self is Buddha Nature which is luminous awareness filled with unconditional love and wisdom.

So the empty space of awareness is actually pure love. Love is space. The Dalai Lama has said that love is the absence of judgement. When you can be with someone without judging them you give a chance for the deepest type of love to arise. This is what I’m getting at here, when you can still the mind to such a subtle state, naturally occurring love is ever present.

This not the love between two people. It is the very essence or heart of ourselves radiating into the world. Oneness just being love. Without the dualistic thinking mind dampening it or covering it, the essence is free to shine unhindered and without question.

As Zen Masters have said it’s only when you are completely empty can you be filled. When the mind is empty it can accommodate every sentient being. The space to accept others however they are with all their imperfections. This is letting go of all concepts not trying to conjure up love or manufacture kindness but resting into complete openness; a non conceptual type of love that requires no effort and has the ability to radiate out for every single being.

To touch this source of ever present love within is the aim of all meditation training. To find the true Self, to find an unconditioned awareness within which does not see the world through beliefs but instead sees clearly by not seeing. By not judging or trying to explain the situation but instead has a certain amount of faith that things are perfect just the way they are.

TRUE  MEDITATION

True meditation has no direction or goal. It is pure wordless surrender, pure silent prayer. All methods aiming at achieving a certain state of mind are limited, impermanent, and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency.

True meditation is abidance as primordial awareness.True meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not being manipulated or controlled. When you first start to meditate, you notice that attention is often being held captive by focus on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc. This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets and tries to control what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.

In true meditation all objects (thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, etc.) are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to focus on, manipulate, control, or suppress any object of awareness. In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself.

Primordial awareness is the source in which all objects arise and subside.As you gently relax into awareness, into listening, the mind’s compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.

As you rest into stillness more profoundly, awareness becomes free of the mind’s compulsive control, contractions, and identifications. Awareness naturally returns to its non-state of absolute unmanifest potential, the silent abyss beyond all knowing.


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5 Essential Meditations That Will Change Your Life

I used to take time to meditate, but it really lacked focus. I was only meditating because I had heard it was a good idea, rather than for any real purpose. I didn't believe it actually had the power to change anything in my life.

It wasn't until I started experimenting with more focused meditations and developed a real, consistent practice that things began to shift in a profound way. As the experiences began to deepen it became like watching a flower bloom.

Here are five meditations that will literally change everything in your life for the better:

1. Forgiveness Meditation

Get calm and comfy in a cross-legged position or in a chair. Begin to observe your inhales and exhales. Then think of someone or something in your life that you need to forgive. See them before you in your mind's eye and look into their eyes. Say to them, "I forgive you," as you breathe in, followed by, "you are free now," as you breathe out.

Continue this cycle until you feel ready to come out of your meditative state. As this meditation develops, you will figure out new people to forgive and eventually, you'll be able to come to forgiving yourself — the most transformative of all.

2. Gratitude Meditation

Once again, get calm and comfy in your meditation space. Focus on your breathing. Don't worry if thoughts come — they are just a part of the process. You are aiming to become a detached observer of your thoughts.

Now, imagine going through your day collecting things to be grateful for in your mind. You can imagine collecting them in a basket or into a treasure chest.

See the things that you are grateful for in your mind's eye and notice the feeling that this thinking creates in you. It does not matter if the things seem small, nor does it matter if there are too few or too many to count. This is why this is called "a practice."

3. Self-Worth Meditation

Once you're seated comfortably and your breathing is calm and regulated, take a deep inhale and say to yourself, "I am worthy" and then on the exhale say, 'I am whole and perfect just as I am." Repeat this for the duration of your meditation practice, for as many minutes as it takes you to feel uplifted and confident.

4. Abundance Meditation

This meditation isn't just about generating more money, but cultivating more abundance into all aspects of your life.

Relax and begin to watch your breath as it goes in and out. As you breathe in say to yourself, "I breathe in abundance," and as you breathe out say, "there is always more than enough." Once you begin to notice how you already have everything you need, that's when you can open yourself up to receive the abundant gifts the universe has to offer.

5. Loving-Kindness Meditation

This is a classic meditation that pours more love and light out into the world. Seated comfortably, take a few deep, centering breaths and with each exhalation, feel yourself relaxing. Now say to yourself, "May I be happy, may I be well, may I be loved." Then on an inhalation, feel yourself swelling with feelings of soft loving-kindness. Picture someone with whom you are struggling at the moment and say to that person, "May you be happy, may you be well, may you be loved" as you imagine rays of loving-kindness flowing outwardly towards them.


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The Wisdom of a Silent Mind

When your sense perception contacts sense objects and you experience physical pleasure, enjoy that feeling as much as you can. But if the experience of your sense perception’s contact with the sense world ties you, if the more you look at the sense world the more difficult it becomes, instead of getting anxious—“I can’t control this”—it’s better
to close your senses off and silently observe the sense perception itself.

Similarly, if you’re bound by the problems that ideas create, instead of trying to stop those problems by grasping at some other idea, which is impossible, diligently investigate how ideas cause you trouble. At certain times, a silent mind is very important, but “silent” does not mean closed. The silent mind is an alert, awakened mind; a mind seeking the nature of reality.

When problems in the sense world bother you, the difficulty comes from your sense perception, not from the external objects you perceive. And when concepts bother you, that also does not come from outside but from your mind’s grasping at concepts. Therefore, instead of trying to stop problems emotionally by grasping at new material objects or ideas, check up silently to see what’s happening in your mind.

No matter what sort of mental problem you experience, instead of getting nervous and fearful, sit back, relax, and be as silent as possible. In this way you will automatically be able to see reality and understand the root of the problem. When we experience problems, either internal or external, our narrow, unskillful mind only makes them worse. When someone with an itchy skin condition scratches it, he feels some temporary relief and thinks his scratching has made it better. In fact, his scratching has made it worse. We’re like that; we do the same thing, every day of our lives. Instead of trying to stop problems like this, we should relax and rely on our skilful, silent mind. But silent does not mean dark, non-functioning, sluggish or sleepy.

So now, just close your eyes for five or ten minutes and take a close look at whatever you consider your biggest problem to be. Shut down your sense perception as much as you possible can, remain completely silent and with introspective knowledge-wisdom, thoroughly investigate your mind. Where do you hold the idea of “my problem”? Is it in your brain? In your mouth? Your heart? Your stomach? Where is that idea? If you can’t find the thought of “problem,” don’t intellectualize; simply relax. If miserable thoughts or bad ideas arise in your mind, just watch how they come, how they go. Don’t react emotionally. Practising in this way, you can see how the weak, unskilful mind cannot face problems. But your silent mind of skilful wisdom can face any problem bravely, conquer it and control all your emotional and agitated states of mind.

Don’t think that what I’m saying is a Buddhist idea, some Tibetan lama’s idea. It can become the actual experience of all living beings throughout the universe. I could give you many words, many ideas in my lecture tonight, but I think it’s more important to share with you the silent experience. That’s more realistic than any number of words. When you investigate your mind thoroughly, you can see clearly that both miserable and ecstatic thoughts come and go. Moreover, when you investigate penetratingly, they disappear altogether. When you are preoccupied with an experience, you think, “I’ll never forget this experience,” but when you check up skilfully, it automatically disappears. That is the silent wisdom experience. It’s very simple, but don’t just believe me—experience it for yourself. In my experience, a silent lecture is worth more than one with many words and no experience. In the silent mind, you find peace, joy and satisfaction.

Silent inner joy is much more lasting than the enjoyment of eating chocolate and cake. That enjoyment is also just a conception. When you close off your superficial sense perception and investigate your inner nature, you begin to awaken. Why? Because superficial sense perception prevents you from seeing the reality of how discursive thought comes and goes. When you shut down your senses, your mind becomes more conscious and functions better. When your superficial senses are busy, your mind is kind of dark; it’s totally preoccupied by the way your senses are interpreting things. Thus, you can’t see reality. Therefore, when you are tied by ideas and the sense world, instead of stressing out, stop your sense perception and silently watch your mind. Try to be totally awake instead of obsessed with just one atom. Feel totality instead of particulars. You can’t determine for yourself the way things should be. Things change by their very nature. How can you tie down any idea? You can see that you can’t. When you investigate the way you think—“Why do I say this is good? Why do I say this is bad?”—you start to get real answers as to how your mind really works.

You can see how most of your ideas are silly but how your mind makes them important. If you check up properly you can see that these ideas are really nothing. By checking like this, you end up with nothingness in your mind. Let your mind dwell in that state of nothingness. It is so peaceful; so joyful. If you can sit every morning with a silent mind for just ten or twenty minutes, you will enjoy it very much. You’ll be able to observe the moment-to-moment movement of your emotions without getting sad. You will also see the outside world and other people differently; you will never see them as hindrances to your life and they will never make you feel insecure. Therefore, beauty comes from the mind.

So, that was the experience of silence. You can discuss what I’ve been saying through your own experience. Observing and investigating your mind is so simple; very simple. Constantly, wherever you go, at any time, you can experience this energy. It’s always with you. But chocolate isn’t the peaceful stillness of the silent mind . . .always with you—when you want it, it’s not there and when you don’t feel like it, there it is in front of you. The joy of the silent experience comes from your own mind. Therefore, joy is always with you. Whenever you need it, it’s always there.

Written by Lama Thubten Yeshe


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10 Tips from a Meditation Master

1) Choose one meditation practice and stick with it. If you want to progress in meditation stay with one technique.

2) Meditate every day. Practice now. Don’t think you will do more later.

3) Any situation is workable. Each of us has enormous power. It can be used to help ourselves and help others.

4) Practice patience. Patience is one of the most important virtues for developing mindfulness and concentration.

5) Free your mind. Your mind is all stories.

 

6) Cool the fire of emotions. Anger is a fire.

7) Have fun along the way. I am quite happy. If you come to meditate you will also be happy.

Simplify. Live simply. A very simple life is good for every thing. Too much luxury is a hindrance to practice.

9) Cultivate the spirit of blessing. If you bless those around you this will inspire you to be attentive in every moment.

10) It’s a circular journey. Meditation integrates the whole person


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Proof That Group Meditation Can Change The World
Meditation has the potential to literally transform the world. In 1978, what is known as the “Maharishi Effect” took place when a group of 7000 individuals over the course of 3 weeks were meditating in hopes of positively effecting the surrounding city. They were able to literally transform the collective energy of the city which reduced global crime rates, violence, and casualties during the times of their meditation by an average of 16%. Suicide rates and automobile accidents also were reduced with all variables accounted for. In fact, there was a 72% reduction in terrorist activity during the times at which this group was meditation.

Almost 50 studies have been done further confirming the benefits of global meditation and it’s direct impact on everything in the world, even so far as to have the results published in the Journal of Crime and Justice in 1981. We know meditation has endless health and psychological benefits, but it is now being explored by politics and sociology because of its undeniable energetic impact.

For example, a day-by-day study of a two-month assembly in Israel during August and September of 1983 showed that, on days when the number of participants at a peace-creating assembly was high, the intensity of an ongoing war in neighboring Lebanon decreased sharply. When the number of participants was high, war deaths in Lebanon dropped by 76%.

When the study was repeated in Wales, they got amazing results. In 1987 Merseyside had the third highest crime rate of the eleven largest Metropolitan Areas in England and Wales; by 1992 it had the lowest crime rate. 40% below levels predicted by the previous behaviour of the series. There were 255,000 less crimes in Merseyside from 1988 to 1992 than would have been expected had Merseyside continued to follow the national crime trend.

The secret of the Global Maharishi Effect is the phenomenon known to Physics as the ‘Field Effect’, the effect of coherece and positivity produced from the field of infinite correlation—the self-referral field of least excitation of consciousness—the field of Transcendental Consciousness, which is basic to creation and permeates all life everywhere. Meditation takes your consciousness to the implicate levels of existence where your intentions have consequential effects on the explicate level that we interact with before it even manifests. Consciousness gives rise to the material. The key idea is that all of existence emanates out of a field of universal consciousness, called the Unified Field or Super String Field.

“I think the claim can be plausibly made that the potential impact of this research exceeds that of any other ongoing social or psychological research program. It has survived a broader array of statistical tests than most research in the field of conflict resolution. This work and the theory that informs it deserve the most serious consideration by academics and policy makers alike.”

David Edwards Ph.D., Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin.

This effect is still ripe with investigation to this day. The power of ground meditation:


http://www.journeyman1.com/shamanism
Harvard Study Unveils What Meditation Literally Does To The Brain

Numerous studies have indicated the many physiological benefits of meditation, and the latest one comes from Harvard University.

An eight week study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brains grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes over time in the brain’s grey matter. (1)

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.” – (1) Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School Instructor in Psychology

The study involved taking magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brain’s of 16 study participants two weeks prior to participating in the study. MRI images of the participants were also taken after the study was completed.

“The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.” (1)

For the study, participants engaged in meditation practices every day for approximately 30 minutes. These practices included focusing on audio recordings for guided meditation, non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind.

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.” – (1) Britta Holzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany

How To Meditate

A common misconception about meditation is that you have to sit a certain way or do something in particular to achieve the various benefits that it can provide. All you have to do is place yourself in a position that is most comfortable to you. It could be sitting cross legged, lying down in a bed, sitting on a couch etc, it’s your choice.

Another common misconception about meditation is that you have to “try” to empty your mind. One important factor I enjoyed reading from the study mentioned above is that participants were engaged in “non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind.” When meditating, you shouldn’t try to “empty” your mind. Instead, try to let your thoughts, feelings and whatever emotions you are feeling at the time flow. Don’t judge them, just let them come and go and be at peace with it.

I also believe that meditation is a state of being/mind more than anything else. I feel that one does not have to sit down for half an hour and “meditate” so to speak in order to reap the benefits of it, or to be engaged in the practice itself. One can be engaged in meditation while they are on a walk, for example, or the time they have right before they sleep. Throughout the day, one can resist judging their thoughts, letting them flow until they are no more, or just be in a constant state of peace and self awareness. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one way to meditate.

“You will have to understand one of the most fundamental things about meditation: that no technique leads to meditation. The old so-called techniques and the new scientific biofeedback techniques are the same as far as meditation is concerned. Meditation is not a byproduct of any technique. Meditation happens beyond mind. No technique can go beyond mind.” – Osho

For more articles from Collective Evolution on meditation you can click HERE.

Sources:

(1) http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Grey_matter.html


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Meditation can Change your Brain Structure
A human body has the capacity to heal itself, you only need to be consciously aware about the process and choose the right medium to heal. One of the healing medium used for centuries is meditation, a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself. Meditation affects your psychological well-being by reducing stress, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, addiction, boosts immune system and improves memory. But did you know that meditation can change our brain structure in powerful and positive ways! We have always believed that brain essentially stopped changing after adulthood. You have the capacity to heal the emotional dysfunctionality of your own brain. When you increase your awareness with mindfulness, you can transform your brain, create new circuits or change the way neurons talk to each other. Whenever you engage in a behavior over and over again, this can lead to changes in your brain.
Meditation for a short time goes a long way in improving overall health A study conducted by Sara Lazar showed that an 8 week mindfulness meditation program can lead to structural brain changes including increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. The participants also showed decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. A 2005 study on American men and women who meditated a mere 40 minutes a day showed that they had thicker cortical walls than non-meditators. What this meant is that their brains were aging at a slower rate. Cortical thickness is also associated with decision making, attention and memory. Scientists studying the Chinese mindfulness meditation known as integrative body-mind training (IBMT) confirmed improved mood changes along with increased brain-signaling connections after practicing 11 hours of IBMT. They also found an expansion of myelin, the protective fatty tissue that surrounds the nerves, in the brain’s anterior cingulate region. Deficits in activation for this area of the brain have been associated with attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and many other disorders.
It’s fascinating to see the positive effects of meditation, just being ‘aware’ can lead to such changes in the brain structure also known as ‘plasticity’ of the brain. The kind of life we lead is solely in our hands and we have the power and capacity to control our destiny. Simply meditating for 30 minutes every day can change your life!




Scientific Benifits of Meditation

We all have heard that “meditation is good for you”. But good in what terms? Is that just reports from people doing it for 10 years, or are there good scientific studies showing specific benefits that I care about?

In this massive article I have summarised several scientific discoveries on the benefits of meditation. Over 100 studies were analysed (some of which were already analysis of other hundreds of studies), and categorised the findings into 76 benefits (divided into 46 subheadings). You will be surprised in reading some of these.You will noticed that on many blogs and forums when people answer the question “why should I meditate” or “what are the benefits of meditation”, they do mention a few benefits, but leave a lot behind. Or they often lack scientific evidence backing up what they say. There are over 3,000 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation2, but I have not found any blog that compiles hundreds of researches into an organised article, so decided to fill in the gap.

These studies were based on different “styles” of meditation, and I have included details, whenever relevant. Some effects, such as increased compassion and social bonding, are more salient as a result of specific types of meditation (such as loving-kindness Buddhist meditation). However, my understanding and personal practice is that any kind of authentic meditation will include most of these benefits, in one degree or another.

Some of the studies indicated that meditating even 20 minutes per day for a few weeks was already enough to start experiencing the benefits.

1. Brain & Moods

Mindfulness practices decreases depression

In a study conducted at five middle schools in Belgium, involving about 400 students (13 ~ 20 years old), Professor Filip Raes concludes that “students who follow an in-class mindfulness program report reduced indications of depression, anxiety and stress up to six months later. Moreover, these students were less likely to develop pronounced depression-like symptoms.”

Another study (University of California), made with patients with past depression, concluded that mindfulness meditation decreases ruminative thinking and dysfunctional beliefs.

Yet another concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat depression to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy”.

Sources: ScienceDaily, Link Springer, Jama Network

Mindfulness meditation helps treat depression in mothers to be

High-risk pregnant women who participated in a ten-week mindfulness yoga training saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms, according to a University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study. The mothers-to-be also showed more intense bonding to their babies in the womb. The findings were published inComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

Source: Medical News Today

Meditation practices help regulate mood and anxiety disorders

This is also the conclusion of over 20 randomised control studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, Relaxation Response.

Another research concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat anxiety to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy.

(Somebody please tweet that! The world needs to hear!)

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Jama Network

Meditation reduces stress and anxiety in general

A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that the practice of “Open Monitoring Meditation” (such as Vipassana), reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress. Meditators were more able to “attend moment-to-moment to the stream of stimuli to which they are exposed and less likely to ‘get stuck’ on any one stimulus. ”

“Open Monitoring Meditation” involves non-reactively monitoring the content of experience from moment-to-moment, primarily as a means to recognize the nature of emotional and cognitive patterns.

There are other studies as well, for which I simply present the link below, to avoid repetition.

Sources: NCBI, Wiley Online Library, The American Journal of Psychiatry, ScienceDirect, American Psychological Association, American Psychosomtic Medicine Journal, Medical News Today

Meditation helps reduce symptoms of panic disorder

In a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 22 patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder or panic disorder were submitted to 3 months meditation and relaxation training. As a result, for 20 of those patients the effects of panic and anxiety had reduced substantially, and the changes were maintained at follow-up.

Source: American Journal of Psychiatry

Meditation increases grey matter concentration on the brain

A group of Harvard neuroscientists ran an experiment where 16 people were submitted to an eight-week mindfulness course, using guided meditations and integration of mindfulness into everyday activities. The results were reported by Sara Lazar, PhD. At the end of it, MRI scans show that the grey matter concentration increases in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self, and having perspective.

Other studies also show a larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of grey matter for long-term meditators.

Sources: Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging, ScienceDirec

Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need

On a research conducted by the University of Kentucky, participants were tested on four different conditions: Control (C), Nap (N), Meditation (M) and Sleep Deprivation plus Meditation. Non-meditators, novice meditators and experienced meditators were part of the experiment. The results suggest that:

Meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement even in novice meditators. In long term meditators, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time when compared with age and sex matched controls who did not meditate. Whether meditation can actually replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt is under further investigation.

Sources: NCBI, DoctorsOnTM, Time Magazine

Long-term meditation enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain

In a study with Tibetan Buddhist monks, conducted by neuroscientist Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, it was found that novice meditators “showed a slight increase in gamma activity, but most monks showed extremely large increases of a sort that has never been reported before in the neuroscience literature”.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Meditation helps reduce alcohol and substance abuse

Three studies made with Vipassana meditation in incarcerated populations suggested that it can help reduce alcohol and substance abuse.

Source: Journal Of Alternative and Complementary Medicine1

2. Mind & Performance

Meditation improves your focus, attention, and ability to work under stress

A study led by Katherine MacLean of the University of California suggested that during and after meditation training, subjects were more skilled at keeping focus, especially on repetitive and boring tasks.

Another study demonstrated that even with only 20 minutes a day of practice, students were able to improve their performance on tests of cognitive skill, in some cases doing 10 times better than the group that did not meditate. They also performed better on information-processing tasks that were designed to induce deadline stress.

In fact, there is evidence that meditators had thicker prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula, and also to the effect that meditation might offset the loss of cognitive ability with old age.

Sources: Time Magazine, NCBI, Link Springer

Meditation improves information processing and decision making

Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Scientists suspect that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories and improving attention.

Source: UCLA Newsroom

Meditation gives you mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence

PhD psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander reports in his book Wise Mind, Open Mind that the process of controlling the mind, through meditation, increases mental strength, resilience, and emotional intelligence.

Source: Dr. Ron Alexander

Meditation makes you stronger against pain

A research group from the University of Montreal exposed 13 Zen masters and 13 comparable non-practitioners to equal degrees of painful heat while measuring their brain activity in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. What they discovered is that the Zen meditation (called zazen) practitioners reported less pain. Actually, they reported less pain than their neurological output from the fMRI indicated. So, even though their brain may be receiving the same amount of pain input, in their mind’s there is actually less pain.

Sources: Time Magazine, NCBI, David Lynch Foundatio

Meditation relieves pain better than morphine

In an experiment conducted by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, 15 healthy volunteers, who were new to meditation, attended four 20-minute classes to learn meditation, focusing on the breath. Both before and after meditation training, study participants’ brain activity was examined using ASL MRI, while pain was inflicted in them by using heat.

Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., lead author of the study, explains that

This is the first study to show that only a little over an hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation. (… We found a big effect – about a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 percent reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent.”

Source: Huffington Post

Meditation helps manage ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

In a study made with 50 adult ADHD patients, the group that was submitted to MBCT (Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) demonstrated reduced hyperactivity, reduced impulsivity and increased “act-with-awareness” skill, contributing to an overall improvement in inattention symptoms.

Sources: Clinical Neurophysiology Journal, DoctorsOnTM

Meditation increases the ability to keep focus in spite of distractions

A study from Emory University, Atlanta, demonstrated that participants with more meditation experience exhibit increased connectivity within the brain networks controlling attention. These neural relationships may be involved in the development of cognitive skills, such as maintaining attention and disengaging from distraction. Moreover, the benefits of the practice were observed also in normal state of consciousness during the day, which speaks to the transference of cognitive abilities “off the cushion” into daily life.

The meditation practice examined was focusing the attention on the breath.

Source: Frontiers Journal

Meditation improves learning, memory and self-awareness

Long-term practice of meditation increases grey-matter density in the areas of the brain associated with learning, memory,

self-awareness, compassion, introspection.

Source: NCBI

Mindfulness meditation improves rapid memory recall

According to Catherine Kerr of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Centre, “Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall”.

Source: PsychCentral

Meditation improves your mood and psychological well-being

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University, UK, found that when participants with issues of stress and low mood underwent meditation training, they experienced improvements in psychological well-being.

Source: Link Springer

Meditation prevents you from falling in the trap of multitasking too often

Multitasking is not only a dangerous productivity myth, but it’s also a source of stress. “Changing gears” between activities is costly for the brain, and induces feelings of distraction and dissatisfaction from the work being done.

In a research conducted by the University of Washington and University of Arizona, Human Resource personnel were given 8 weeks of training in either mindfulness meditation or body relaxation techniques, and were given a stressful multitasking test both before and after training. The group of staff that had practiced meditation reported lower levels of stress and showed better memory for the tasks they had performed; they also switched tasks less often and remained focused on tasks longer.

Source: ACM Digital Library

Meditation helps us allocate limited brain resources

When the brain is presented two targets to pay attention to, and they right after one another (half a second difference), the second one is often not seen. This is called “attentional-blink”.

In an experiment conducted by the University of California, a stream of random letters was shown in a computer screen, in rapid succession. In each session, one or two numbers or blank screens would appear in the middle, and participants were later asked, immediately after the stream ended, to type the numbers they saw. They were also asked whether they thought a blank screen was shown or not.

Subjects that had undergone 3 months of intense Vipassana Meditation were found to have a better control over the distribution of attention and perception resources. They showed less allocation of brain-resource for each letter shown, which resulted in reduction in “attentional-blink” size.

Source: PLOS Biology

Meditation improves visuospatial processing and working memory

Research has shown that even after only four sessions of mindfulness meditationtraining, participants had significantly improved visuospatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning.

Source: ScienceDirect

Meditation prepares you to deal with stressful events

A study from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, conducted with 32 adults that had never practiced meditation before, showed that if meditation is practiced before a stressful event, the adverse effects of stress were lessened.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

benefits of meditation - creativityMindfulness meditation fosters creativity

A research from Leiden University (Netherlands) demonstrates that the practice of “open monitoring” meditation (non-reactively monitoring the content of experience from moment-to-moment) has positive effects in creativity and divergent thinking. Participants who had followed the practice performed better in a task where they were asked to creatively come up with new ideas.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

3. Body & Health

Meditation reduces risk of heart diseases and stroke

More people die of heart diseases in the world than any other illness.

In a study published in late 2012, a group of over 200 high-risk individuals was asked to either take a health education class promoting better diet and exercise or take a class on Transcendental Meditation. During the next 5 years researchers accompanying the participants found that those who took the meditation class had a 48% reduction in their overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

They noted that meditation “significantly reduced risk for mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in coronary heart disease patients. These changes were associated with lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors.”

There are also other researches pointing out similar conclusions, about related health conditions.

Sources: Time Magazine, American Heart Association, HealthCentral

Meditation affect genes that control stress and immunity

A study from Harvard Medical School demonstrates that, after a practicing yoga and meditation, the individuals had improved mitochondrial energy production, consumption and resiliency. This improvement develops a higher immunity in the system and resilience to stress.

Sources: Bloomberg, NCBI, American Psychosomatic Medicine Journal, Journal of International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology

Meditation reduces blood pressure

Clinical research has demonstrated that the practice of Zen Meditation (also known as “Zazen” reduces stress and high blood pressure.

Another experiment, this time with a technique called “relaxation response”, yielded similar results, with 2/3 of high blood pressure patients showing significant drops in blood pressure after 3 months of meditation, and, consequently, less need for medication. This is because relaxation results in the formation of nitric oxide, which opens up your blood vessels.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, NPR News

Mindfulness training decreases inflammatory disorders

A study conducted in France and Spain at the UW-Madison Waisman Centre indicates that the practice of mindfulness meditation produces a range of genetic and molecular effects on the participants. More specifically, it was noted reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

Source: University of Winsconsin Madison, & HealthCentral & Medical News Today

Mindfulness meditation decreases cellular-level inflammation

In the three studies below, the group that undertook mindfulness training had better results at preventing cellular level inflammation than the control groups.

Sources: ScienceDirect (1), ScienceDirect (2), ScienceDirect (3)

Mindfulness practice helps prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease

In a research conducted by neuroscientists of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, two groups of people were exposed to different methods of stress control. One of them received mindfulness training, while the other received nutritional education, exercise and music therapy. The study concluded that mindfulness techniques were more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being.

Source: Medical News Today

Meditation and meditative prayer help treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms

This is the conclusion of over 20 randomised control studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, Relaxation Response.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

yoga and mindfulness reduce stress

Mindfulness meditation reduces risk of Alzheimer and premature death

Results from recent research, published online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, states that just 30 minutes of meditation a day not only reduces the sense of loneliness, but also reduces the risk of heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s and premature death.

Source: HealthCentral

Mindfulness training is helpful for patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia

In a study published in PubMed, 11 participants that suffered from fibromyalgia underwent an 8-week mindfulness training. As a result, the researchers found significant improvement in the overall health status of the participants and in symptoms of stiffness, anxiety, and depression. Significant improvements were also seen in the reported number of days “felt good” and number of days “missed work” because of fibromyalgia.

Source: NCBI (1), NCBI (2), Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics Journal

Meditation helps manage the heart rate and respiratory rate

In a study published by the Korean Association of Genuine Traditional Medicine, practitioners of “Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique” showed a significant decrease in heart rate and respiratory rate for up to 8 months after the training period.

Source: KoreaScience

Mindfulness meditation may even help treat HIV

Quoting from a study from UCLA:

Lymphocytes, or simply CD4 T cells, are the “brains” of the immune system, coordinating its activity when the body comes under attack. They are also the cells that are attacked by HIV, the devastating virus that causes AIDS and has infected roughly 40 million people worldwide. The virus slowly eats away at CD4 T cells, weakening the immune system.

But the immune systems of HIV/AIDS patients face another enemy as well – stress, which can accelerate CD4 T cell declines. Now, researchers at UCLA report that the practice of mindfulness meditation stopped the decline of CD4 T cells in HIV-positive patients suffering from stress, slowing the progression of the disease.

(…

Creswell and his colleagues ran an eight-week mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) meditation program and compared it to a one-day MBSR control seminar, using a stressed and ethnically diverse sample of 48 HIV-positive adults in Los Angeles. Participants in the eight-week group showed no loss of CD4 T cells, indicating that mindfulness meditation training can buffer declines. In contrast, the control group showed significant declines in CD4 T cells from pre-study to post-study. Such declines are a characteristic hallmark of HIV progression.

Source: ScienceDaily

Meditation may make you live longer

Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. Though the research is not conclusive yet, there is data suggesting that “that some forms of meditation may have salutary effects on telomere length by reducing cognitive stress and stress arousal and increasing positive states of mind and hormonal factors that may promote telomere maintenance.”

Source: Wiley Online Library

Health benefits of Transcendental Meditation

There is an abundance of studies around the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation (a popular modality of meditation). In a nutshell, TM is found to

Reduce metabolic syndrome (American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine, June 2006)

Extended longevity (American Journal of Cardiology, May 2005)

Lower blood pressure in at-risk teens (American Journal of Hypertension, April 2004; and DoctorsOnTM)

Reduce atherosclerosis (American Journal of Cardiology, April 2002)

Reduce thickening of Coronary Arteries (Stroke, March 2000)

Reduce myocardial eschemia (American Journal of Cardiology, May 1996)

Help manage and prevent anxiety (here & here)

Helps manage cholesterol (DoctorsOnTM)

Help treat epilepsy (DoctorsOnTM)

Helps you stop smoking (DoctorsOnTM)

Creates a state of deep rest in the body and mind (Hypertension 26: 820-827, 1995)

Increases skin resistance (Phyysiology & Behavior 35: 591-595, 1985)

Clarity of thinking (Perceptual and Motor Skills 39: 1031-1034, 1974)

Sources: David Lynch Foundation

4. Relationships

Loving-kindness meditation improves empathy and positive relationships

meditation enhances psychological well-beingIn Buddhist traditions we find the practice of metta, or loving-kindness meditation, where the practitioner focuses on developing a sense of benevolence and care towards all living beings. According to a study from Emory University, such exercises effectively boost one’s ability to empathize with others by way of reading their facial expressions.

Another study points out that the development of positive emotions through compassion builds up several personal resources, including “a loving attitude toward oneself and others and includes self-acceptance, social support received, and positive relations with others”, as well as “feeling of competence about one’s life” and includes “pathways thinking, environmental mastery, purpose in life, and ego-resilience”.

Sources: ScienceDaily, NCBI, PLOS One

Loving-kindness meditation also reduces social isolation

In a study published in the American Psychological Association, subjects that did “even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals, on both explicit and implicit levels. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation”.

Source: American Psychological Association

Meditation increases feelings of compassion and decreases worry

After being assigned to a 9-week compassion cultivation training (CCT), individuals showed significant improvements in all three domains of compassion – compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and self-compassion. In a similar situation, the practitioners also experienced decreased level of worry and emotional suppression.

Sources: Stanford School of Medicine (also here), Sage Journals.

Mindfulness meditation decreases feelings of loneliness

A study from Carnegie Mellon University indicates that mindfulness meditation training is useful in decreasing feelings of loneliness, which in turn decreases the risk for morbidity, mortality, and expression of pro-inflammatory genes.

Source: ScienceDirect

Meditation reduces emotional eating

Scientists believe that Transcendental Meditation help manage emotional eating, which prevents obesity.

Source: DoctorsOnTM

mindfulness in schools5. Mindfulness For Kids

In a huge compilation of studies made about mindfulness in schools, MindfulnessInSchools.org presented research evidence for the following benefits for kids:

reduced depression symptoms

reduced somatic stress

reduced hostility and conflicts with peers

reduced anxiety

reduced reactivity

reduced substance use

increased cognitive retention

increased self-care

increased optimism and positive emotions

increased self-esteem

increased feelings of happiness and well-being

improved social skills

improved sleep

improved self-awareness

improved academic performance

There was also numerous reports of benefits for teachers and staff, including:

increased personal qualities of open-minded curiosity, kindliness, empathy, compassion, acceptance, trust, patience, and non-striving, and the skills of focusing, and paying and switching attention

improvements in physical and mental health that tend to follow the learning of mindfulness, including conditions particularly relevant to the teaching profession such as stress and burnout

improved teaching self-efficacy

improved physical health

increased ability to give more appropriate support for students by through being more motivated and autonomous

decreased stress

increased work motivation

improved spatial memory, working memory and sustained attention

Source: MindfulnessInSchools.org

6. Miscellaneous

Some more interesting facts about meditation:

Saying the OM sound before a surgery helps in preparation and recovery

Meditators are more able to affect the reality around us, in a quantum level

There is also some account of mindfulness meditation improving your sex life (here, here, and here)

Reduces race and age prejudice (Sage Journals)

7. Conclusion

In a nutshell, science confirms the experience of millions of practitioners: meditation will keep you healthy, help prevent multiple diseases, make you more happy, and improve your performance in basically any task, physical or mental.

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Should Meditation Be Included In the Education of Our Youth?

At first glance, Quiet Time – a stress reduction meditation strategy used in several San Francisco middle and high schools, – looks like something out of the om-chanting 1960s. Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can’t sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds.

The practice of meditation in schools deserves serious attention from parents and policymakers. An impressive array of studies shows that integrating meditation into a school’s daily routine can markedly improve the lives of students. If San Francisco schools Superintendent Richard Carranza has his way, Quiet Time could well spread citywide.

Cleansing Troubled Minds

What’s happening at Visitacion Valley Middle School, which in 2007 became the first public school nationwide to adopt the program, shows why the superintendent is so enthusiastic. In this neighborhood, gunfire is as common as birdsong – nine shootings have been recorded in the past month – and most students know someone who’s been shot or did the shooting. Murders are so frequent that the school employs a full-time grief counselor.

In years past, these students were largely out of control, frequently fighting in the corridors, scrawling graffiti on the walls and cursing their teachers. Absenteeism rates were among the city’s highest and so were suspensions. Worn-down teachers routinely called in sick.

Unsurprisingly, academics suffered. The school tried everything, from counseling and peer support to after-school tutoring and sports, but to disappointingly little effect.

4 Ways Start Kids Meditating

Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly.

About 20 percent of graduates are admitted to Lowell High School – before Quiet Time, getting any students into this elite high school was a rarity. Remarkably, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco.

Reports are similarly positive in the three other schools that have adopted Quiet Time. At Burton High School, for instance, students in the program report significantly less stress and depression, and greater self-esteem, than nonparticipants. With stress levels down, achievement has markedly improved, particularly among students who have been doing worst academically. Grades rose dramatically, compared with those who weren’t in the program

Less Stress, More Passion

On the California Achievement Test, twice as many students in Quiet Time schools have become proficient in English, compared with students in similar schools where the program doesn’t exist, and the gap is even bigger in math. Teachers report they’re less emotionally exhausted and more resilient.

The research is showing big effects on students’ performance,” says Superintendent Carranza.

“Our new accountability standards, which we’re developing in tandem with the other big California districts, emphasize the importance of social-emotional factors in improving kids’ lives, not just academics.

That’s where Quiet Time can have a major impact, and I’d like to see it expand well beyond a handful of schools.”

While Quiet Time isn’t the final solution for a broken education system, it’s a game-changer for many students who otherwise might have become dropouts. That’s reason enough to make meditation a school staple, and not just in San Francisco.


Three meditation sessions is enough to ease stress: study

In recent years, mindfulness meditation has been recognised by neuroscientists as a powerful tool for changing our brain structure to improve our cognitive function and reduce stress levels.

A new US study has found that 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day for three days is enough to reduce psychological stress.

"More and more people report using meditation practices for stress reduction, but we know very little about how much you need to do for stress reduction and health benefits," said associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and lead author David Creswell.

He recruited 66 healthy people aged between 18 and 30 and instructed half of them to participate in a mindfulness meditation training program that went for 25 minutes for three consecutive days.

The other half completed a three-day cognitive training program where they had to analyse poetry with the aim of improving their problem-solving skills.

After the final session, participants were asked to do stressful speech and maths tasks in front of stern evaluators, before reporting their stress levels in response to the different tasks.

The researchers also took saliva samples to measure the participants' levels of stress hormone cortisol.

They found that the people who did the mindfulness meditation training were less stressed by the speech and maths tasks, and their cortisol levels reflected that too.

"When you initially learn mindfulness mediation practices, you have to cognitively work at it – especially during a stressful task," Associate Professor Creswell said.

"These active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful, but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production."

Dr Paula Watkins, a psychologist and mindfulness meditation expert, told ninemsn that even five seconds a day can be effective.

"So often we aren’t experiencing the world directly.

"We’re missing the ‘present moment’ because we’re up in our heads stuck in the mind-chatter," she said.

"Once a day, everyday, tune in and take a five-second journey through your five senses by noticing everything you can hear, taste, smell, touch and see. "Do this with an open, curious and welcoming attitude and you just practised five mindful moments."


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Over a long enough period of time, the survival rate for your body is zero. Contained within the body is the brain and one of the functions of the brain is the ego. The ego is the self concept of the brain-body organism and it does not like what was just said one bit.

And there are different states of consciousness than just ego. The ego is like a dog you bring with you on a journey. Untrained, it will run off, bite others and come back to bite you. But trained and disciplined it knows its place. It can sense things, warn you of danger, protect you. As the saying goes, “Ego is an excellent servant and a horrible master”.

On the journey, to confuse yourself with being the dog that runs alongside you, is to be lost in a profound hallucination. Such is the nature of the egoic mind. It knows nothing of the true self and is driven only by its need to survive. No reason to make it feel bad though. Better to pat it on the head and every now and then – throw it a bone.

Demonization of the ego is the result of ignorance. This idea that we must smash the ego comes from those who do not understand the ego – their only understanding is that they fear it. As the world becomes more and more afraid of itself, this brand of so-called “spirituality” becomes ever more popular.

Smashing the ego makes about as much sense as removing an eye or cutting off your arm. It is barbaric, not necessary and in fact very harmful. And insofar as the brain-body organism is concerned, as the body navigates through material space, a self concept is better than no self concept. Ego is that branch of self concept that concerns itself with the survival of the brain-body organism that often thinks it is you. It is only harmful when it is misunderstood or when it’s forced to go underground in order to survive. Take good care of it and it will serve you well, but never allow yourself to serve it. This road goes in circles and leads to a certain kind of madness that passes for normalcy in our society today. The insanity of ego identification is still the social norm at this early stage of our evolution.

In the human state we experience the full range of human emotions. We are having the human experience. To be captured entirely by the human experience is to lose site of the reality that this human vessel is a very small fraction of who and what you are. It’s part of the ride, it won’t last, and there is really no sound reason not to get all of the action out of it that you can. In retrospect, when one leaves the body, it will likely be remembered as a crazy day at the carnival, looking at the fun house mirror. To believe that what you see in that fun house mirror is you, is to forget who you are and where you are.

There are teachers, teachings, books, seminars – so much available to tell you who you are. And one can incorporate these teachings into a belief system. But a belief system is a cheap substitute for direct experience. A belief system is a map and compass that one can never be sure is reliable until you are truly lost. Only then does one find out that the treasure map you were sold was at best, only a rough estimation of where you are and where you are going. If your belief system came from the religious establishment, then it was purchased at a novelty shop.

When we are not misidentified with the ego, belief systems lose their importance as one turns to an inner voice, the voice of the Soul.

As with all words, when speaking of spiritual matters, the word “soul” is only a rough approximation of what we mean. Incidentally, all matters are spiritual matters and the word “soul” refers to that which transcends the limitations of ego, but contains the higher dimensions of self

So what is Enlightenment? There is certainly no shortage of charlatans out there, auditioning for the role of being the one who can answer that question for you. As it turns out, there are “enlightenments” along the journey. As the awareness of Self expands and expands, these are enlightenments. The many merchants of so-called “enlightenment” would have you believe that enlightenment is a finish line that you will arrive at if you follow their treasure map, their belief system. For many of us it takes falling for this hoax over and over before we are willing to take the responsibility and find the courage to look within.

I can tell you that what it means to be a “spiritual person” is to know that you are everything and everywhere. You are the world; you are every person you meet. You are the moon and stars and galaxies and the universe and the multi-verses and you transcend space and time. And if you take my word for it, and incorporate this into your belief system, it is not the same thing as seeing it directly. It won’t work to hitch a ride on someone else’s experience. And besides, what if I am blissfully walking off the edge of a cliff, looking up at the sky? Don’t settle for hand-me-downs. Seek the experience with more passion and commitment than anything else in your life.

If anyone tells you that in order to find God you must turn away from the world, they are speaking out of ignorance – more than likely parroting words from a belief system which their ego found comfort in. After all, it is the greedy ego that seeks to find and seize upon “abundant bliss” and then be acknowledged and respected and praised for it. That which is truly you already knows bliss to be its true nature. So to turn away from the world is to find God, but also to turn towards the world is to find God. How can God be missing? God is all that is and all that is not. That which seeks to find God is only suffering from a self-induced state of Amnesia. Simply put, you are that which you seek. But don’t take my word for it.

Pay close attention to nature and you will see that nothing really dies. It merely changes form. The only thing that dies, when a tree falls and rots, is the mental concept of a tree. In fact what is taking place is merely change. Every part of that tree becomes something else. All of existence is in flux, expanding and retracting, evolving. That which looks out through your eyes is part of this evolution.

As you move from Amnesia toward God Realization, the Soul evolves. Your perception broadens. Your experience deepens. To memorize anything that has been said here will only serve as a form of imitation. To hold up any word choice to careful scrutiny will only reveal that none of these words can be relied upon. Everything I have told you here is a complete and absolute lie. And hidden within each lie contains the jewel of enlightenment.

That which does not evolve – dies. But even that which dies serves a purpose. It becomes the fertilizer of new life which seeks to evolve. Nothing is wasted on the journey, nothing is lost. And in that circle you find yourself, you lose yourself, but what remains constant is self.

Even in the deepest darkest depths of human emotional experience, when one really goes into the darkness deeply, you will find illumination. It is everywhere you seek it, always hidden in plain sight. Whether you are chanting a mantra or explaining to the landlord why you do not have the rent, every act is holy when done consciously with conscious intent.

What you have just read is a letter, that you wrote to yourself and asked me to hand deliver to you when you are ready. The light switch is on a dimmer. It’s in your hands now.

Meditation is the state in which we contact our essential nature, our higher consciousness, which is our connection to the Great Spirit the Great force, The Divine spark that is within each one of us.

As we meditate we become less anxious, we begin to trust the universal flow of life. We are easily able to access our natural peaceful state.

As we continue to practice meditation our consciousness increases and we are more in touch with ourselves free of past conditioning. Judgements of ourselves and of others are put aside, and we learn to have more presence of mind, free of the mental chatter that causes so much anxiety.

The calming, softening effect of meditation can be taken into our daily lives, and as beneficial good hormones are released, our body also responds with greater health and well being. Learn to listen to your inner voice and discover your intuition.

Meditation is a technique, or practice that usually involves focus on an object, perhaps a candle, a sound or your breath. If you are having trouble with focus or concentration?

As you meditate the number of random thoughts occurring diminishes, as does your attachment to these thoughts, and your identification with them. This is because you are usually not aware of all the mental activity that you are engaged in.

Meditation allows your mind activity to settle down and results in you becoming more peaceful, calm and focused.

Meditation is great for stress management. Remember stress occurs in your mind, that doesn’t make it less real. It means your mind is the key to remove stress from your life. You will experience, relaxation, increased awareness, mental focus, clarity and a sense of peace if meditation is practiced regularly.

 

Improved brain functioning, loosened neural pathways, improved heart health and enhanced memory are just some of the chances you will see in your life with meditation. The list of meditation benefits is literally endless, but there are just some of the reasons why meditation should be a part of our daily routine.

The following physiological effects of meditation have been documented

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Lower pulse rate
  • Decreased metabolic rate
  • Changes in the concentration of serum levels of various substances.
  • Meditate frequently and you will find that you gain a deeper understanding of yourself through the observation of what occurs in your mind. You will find that you gain valuable insights into who you really are.

We live in our mind with all its limitations, ideas and thoughts and most of us feel very comfortable there. Some of us live with a brief glimpse of our spirit, but many of us never see it at all. Knowing our spirit and blending it with our mind opens many possibilities in life.

Our thoughts are real. As real the electronic device you are reading this on. What we THINK shapes our life. If we think that life is not going well, that we will never succeed in our endeavors, or never find true love then that is what we create. The opposites (life is great, being successful, or finding your true love) can never get to you because your thoughts have set up a barrier.

You have probably heard about thinking positive thoughts and how important this is if you want good change in your life. Breaking down the barriers of your thoughts takes a little more than just positive thoughts. What does “positive thoughts” really mean?

To apply this positive thoughts concept we must examine our thoughts and identify the opposite of what is being expressed and then apply the positive result to our thinking.

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Nature’s Secret Weapon 

Meditation is not as complicated as it is sometimes made out to be. There are hundreds of different techniques you could use, but it all really comes down to two simple words: stress management. 

Less thought, more stillness. Yes thoughts may still arise during meditation, but they don’t have to occupy your entire consciousness. One of the most remarkable aspects of meditation is the amazing scientifically proven benefits that come with practicing meditation. Meditation is like steroids for your immune system. 

1. Meditation Speeds Up Brain Processing Potential 

science-meditationAccording to a research journal article published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in February 2012, meditation can alter the geometry of the brain’s surface. There was a study done at the University of California in Los Angeles involving 50 meditators and 50 controls that addressed a possible link between meditation and cortical gyrification, the pattern and degree of cortical folding that allows the brain to process faster and act more efficiently. This study showed a positive correlation between the amount of gyrification in parts of the brain and the number of years of meditation for people, especially long-term meditators, compared to non-meditators. 

This increased gyrification may reflect an integration of cognitive processes when meditating, since meditators are known to be introspective and contemplative, using certain portions of the brain in the process of meditation. Essentially, meditation improves the ability of your brain to function and process information. 

2. Meditation Loosens Our Neural Pathways 

Rebecca Gladding, M.D. explains in an article published in May 2013 Psychology Today, how the brain functions better with meditation. The longer you meditate, the more neurological benefits there are. The brain can essentially be molded by meditation. Specifically, the connection to our fear center and our “Me” Center (place where the brain constantly reflects back to you) dissolves following regular meditation. 

This loosening up lessens our feelings of anxiety, because the neural pathways linking our Me-Center to our fear decreases. Social anxiety literally goes away due to the alteration of this center in our brain responsible for the connection of fear to our sense of self. The alteration of these neural pathways also come with improved assessment and empathetic responses. The important thing that Gladding also mentions is that to maintain the benefits of meditation, you must keep meditating because “the brain can very easily revert back to its old ways if you are not vigilant.” Make it a habit! 

3. Meditation Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease 

A large cardiovascular study was done and published in November 2012, in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 

In the study, 201 people with coronary heart disease were given 2 choices. They could either take a health education class promoting improved diet and exercise, or take a class on transcendental meditation. Researchers studied these participants for five years and discovered something interesting. Those that chose the meditation class had 48% reduction to the overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death. This was an initial study and again needs more research. It literally cut their risk of dying from some of the most fatal diseases in half in just a few weeks. 

4. Meditation Can Improve Memory Recall 

New research on meditation shows that meditation can improve your ability to recall memories. Catherine Kerr is a researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center. She has found that those that practice meditation could adjust their brains waves better, and thereby increase their concentration levels. They could screen out distractions and increase productivity faster than those that did not meditate. Less distractions gives room for the brain to integrate new information. This slight change in brain adjustment can dramatically aid in memory recall. 

Kerr explained more in an article called, Meditation’s Effects on Emotion Shown to Persist, published in June 2013 at psychcentral.com. ”Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall,” Kerr said. “Our discovery that mindfulness meditators more quickly adjusted the brain wave that screens out distraction could explain their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.” 

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Whether you are looking for more peace or less stress in your life, meditation could be exactly what you need. For beginners, or people who are just learning about the amazing benefits meditation can provide for your mental clarity and well-being, however it can be frustrating at first.

When you first start meditating, you may experience a mix between waiting for something to happen and having your mind over flooded with thoughts; the practice of meditation can be a daunting task, and you may even feel overwhelmed by it at first –I know I have. That is why I have compiled this list of 20 tips to help get you in that perfect environment –inside and out –to begin to implement this sacred practice more regularly into your daily life.

1. Practice Makes Perfect, Make Time For Meditation Every Day

When you are first starting out, it is important to keep with it, you may not notice the benefits right away, but the more you practice the easier it will become to quiet the mind, and get into the state of relaxation and allow the clarity to come through. Even for just 5 minutes a day, this will guarantee you stay on track.

2. Start With The Breath

Begin every practice by breathing deeply, slowly inhaling and then exhaling and focusing solely on your breath.

3. Let Go Of Any & All Frustrations

It is completely natural and normal to feel frustrated while learning to meditate. Try not to hold onto these thoughts, and don’t try to stop them. Just let them float on by and go back to focusing on the breath.

4. Pick A Specific Room In Your House To Meditate

Try to pick a room in your house that is free from a lot of outside noise or distractions; preferably, pick a room with minimal electronics.

5. Set Up A Peaceful Space

Consider having dim or no lights and burning some candles. Burning a little bit of incense or diffusing some calming essential oils (such as lavender) can help your mind and body to feel relaxed and at ease.

6. Make Sure To Not Be Distracted

Let your family, friends or roommates know that you will be busy for the allotted amount of time and to not disrupt you, put your phone on silent.

7. Feel Your Body Parts

When you first begin, while focusing on the breath, consciously try to feel each body part, starting with your feet. Don’t actually physically touch the body parts just feel them. After you feel the feet, work your way up to the ankles, calves and so on. This is a great technique to put you in the zone.

8. Make The Commitment

Be committed to the practice. For the long haul, if you can’t find time to incorporate 5-10 minutes per day in your life for meditation, then you definitely have some big issues that need to be resolved.

9. Start Slowly

Begin by practicing meditation for just 5 minutes per day, you can even set a timer if you like, as you start to get the hang of it and feel more comfortable you can increase the time to as long as you feel you need to get into that deep relaxed state.

10. Read A Book On Meditation

To get even more tips for meditation, and to learn about some of the benefits and other simple tips check a book or two out of the library, see what you find.

11. Check Out Some Guided Meditation CD’s Or Listen To Meditation Music

If you still have trouble clearing your mind sometimes, listening to a guided meditation CD can be excellent by giving you something to focus on and listen to so that the mind can just take in the instructions.

12. Practice Being “Present” Throughout The Day

During the day, while driving, working, eating lunch, cleaning or whatever, find a few moments of stillness in your day by quieting the mind and taking a few deep breaths.

13. Experiment With Different Positions

You can try the typical yogi, “lotus” position, sitting cross-legged with each foot on the opposite thigh, you can sit on a chair, with your palms facing up, you can lay down, whatever you like. As you get more comfortable, you will find a position that works best for you. When I first started, I loved to lay down, but I was finding the calmness I would feel would put me to sleep almost every time, soon I realized this position was too comfortable for me and it was better for me to sit up.


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14. Experiment With Different Techniques

There are so many different ways to meditate, there are: breath techniques, guided meditations, transcendental meditation, binaural beats, rainforest sounds, etc. To read about a few different methods of meditation click here. Experiment with what works best for you and what puts you into that state more effectively.

15. Let Go of Any & All Expectations

The benefits that you will receive from meditation will come in a variety of different ways. You may receive messages during your practice or even later in the day, you may have visions, you may have an out of body experience, or you may not. If all you get from meditation is 5 minutes a day of a clear head, than that is perfect in its own way and will be enough to relieve stress and bring peace into your life in a way that you may never thought was possible. Don’t get caught up with what others claim to have experienced, focus on yourself and remember you are doing this for yourself only. It is not a competition; remember there is no right or wrong way to meditate.

16. Consider Meditating In The Morning

Meditating in the morning can give you a clear head and set you up for a peaceful start to your day. It can help eliminate stress before it begins.

17. Use The Flicker Of A Candle As A focus Point

Staring at the flame of a candle can assist you with quieting the mind.

18. Set Your Intention Ahead Of Time

If you have a specific issue or decision you need to make and are having trouble finding the answer, set your intention for what you would like to receive during the meditation. Don’t expect to get a clear answer in the form of your own voice, but just pay attention to any feelings you may feel or signs that may possibly come afterwards. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to stop thinking about it and let the answer come to you.

19. Visualize Light Flowing Through Your Body

More specifically, if you feel that you have a specific chakra blocked, you can actually visualize white light coming from the sun and into your body, this can help to release the blockages. Intend to let go of any old emotional patterns, or vibrations and infuse yourself with the high vibration of the white light.

20. Have Gratitude For Your Practice

Even if you feel like you didn’t get much from the practice, don’t give up. Be grateful that you took the time to sit down and practice. The effects may not be obvious at first, but in time you will be glad you started.

Do you have any tips or advice for meditation beginners? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

All the best, much love!
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Here is an exercise to try. It takes some effort but can open the door to understanding how your daily thoughts are hindering your success. Catalog your thoughts over several days by jotting down notes about your thoughts as often as you can. It’s hard to do but be persistent. Include all kinds of thoughts; don’t try to pick and choose those you think may be the troublesome ones.

Next it will be important to review what you have captured and spend some time letting the list percolate for a few days. Next start a new list of your thoughts about your original list. I know it sounds kind of confusing, but you are trying to get to a deeper understanding of your day-to-day thoughts.

To get down to a core thought barrier you will need to do some form of introspection during which time you allow yourself to reach out to your spirit. If you are not familiar with meditation, just simply sit in a quiet place and ask your spirit to assist you with this discovery process. Don’t enter this process thinking it will only take one session. It may, but not likely. Be patient!

Once you understand what the basis of your negative thought process is, you will have a base upon which you can build positive thoughts. Here’s a suggested approach for you to consider. You should compose a positive phrase such as “I appreciate the views of others even when I disagree.” The negative thought would be “what a jerk” after your conversation. It is not enough to simply repeat your mantra to yourself during the day. To make a change you will have to catch yourself thinking in your old way and apply your mantra immediately. This step will plant your new way of thinking and allow the change.

It takes time, commitment, and patience to make this kind of change but the result is well worth the effort. An important aspect of making a successful change is to rely on your spirit to provide guidance and support.

According to East Indian philosophy, man possesses seven major *chakras* or psychic centers on his body. Each of these forms a bridge, link, or energy transformer; changing pure (higher) energy into various forms, and connecting the four bodies (ie. spiritual, mental, astral, and physical) together. The chakras are located along the nadies (a network of psychic nerves or channels) and follow the autonomic nervous system along the spinal cord.

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Chakras correlate with major acupuncture points along the ‘governing vessel meridian’ (acupuncture term). The seven major chakras are connected together by three major nadies which are parallel and near each other. The middle nadi is called *sushumna* and it has neutral characteristics. The nadi on the left (ie. nearest your left hand) is the *ida* nadi which has yin characteristics. On the other side of sushumna (nearest your right hand) is the *pingala* nadi, having yang qualities.

Chakras are visible to clairvoyant sight as varously colored rotating circles or funnels. In the East they are described as petaled flowers or lotuses. Sources disagree on the colors.

The first chakra, located at the base of the spine at the perineum is the *root chakra*, muladhara. It primarily relates to the element of earth and to psychic smell.

The second chakra, known as the *sacral center*, svadhisthana, is located above and behind the genitals. Its dominant element is water, and it is related to psychic taste.

Third of the chakras is the *solar plexus*, manipura, located at the navel and corresponding with the emotions and with the element of fire; also with psychic sight (clairvoyance).

The *heart chakra*, anahata, is the fourth chakra, located over the heart and corresponding with the element of air, and also with psychic touch.

The fifth chakra is the *throat chakra*, vishuddha, located at the base of the throat (thyroid) and corresponding with psychic hearing (clairaudience).

The remaining two chakras are very important. They relate mostly to elevated states of consciousness. The *frontal chakra*, (or ‘third eye’) ajna, the sixth chakra, is located between, and slightly above, the eyebrows. Ajna is the center of psychic powers and can produce many psychic effects. Meditation on ajna is said to cure nervousness.

Finally, the *crown chakra*, sahasrara, located atop the head, (pineal gland) is the seventh chakra. It is referred to as the thousand-petaled lotus and corresponds with astral projection and enlightenment.

There are also many minor chakras throughout the body. Each chakra has a sound (letter) and a pitch which is sometimes used to invoke it.

THE TATTVAS
Some occultists prefer to describe the magical elements as tattvas according to the Eastern system. Notice that these symbols and colors are generally different than the western symbols and colors for the elements.

element tattva tattvic symbol earth prithivi yellow square water apas silver crescent fire tejas red triangle air vayu blue circle spirit akasa black oval

YOGA
Yoga originated in India. It is a physical or mental discipline designed to condition and invigorate the mind and body. There are many kinds of yoga, but they may be generally divided into three main types…

Hatha yoga — affect the mind through the body using physical exercises; improve physical health and endurance.

Raja yoga — affect the mind through mental training; improve concentration.

Mantra yoga — affect the mind through chanting and affirmation; achieve relaxation.

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MEDITATION
This is a much touted area of the occult. There are many meditation techniques, and many claims made for the benefits of meditation. Basicly, meditation has two functions — relaxation, and perhaps, improved concentration. There are two main types…

1) concentration meditation (focusing)
2) insight meditation (mindfullness).

Most kinds of meditation are the concentrative type. One simply focuses his attention upon a single physical object (such as a candle flame); upon a sensation (such as that felt while walking or breathing); upon an emotion (such as reverence or love); upon a mantra spoken aloud or even silently; or upon a visualization (as in chakra meditation, see below)…Concentration meditation is, simply put, a form of self-hypnosis.

A mantra (or mantrum) is one or more words or syllables which are repeated — often chanted — aloud…A simple yet powerful mantra is to vibrate the mystical word ‘OM’. This mantra has long been associated in India with the godhead/unity. Use it to aid in tuning into universal vibrations which promote feelings of harmony, peace, and well-being. Use it before magick ritual to ‘get into the mood’ and afterward to ‘dismiss the forces’. You vibrate a mantra by saying it slowly aloud in a lower-pitched voice than your normal speech, and a more or less constant pitch as well. Let the sound fade at the end of the mantra. A powerful one such as ‘OM’ will seem to vibrate the air around you. It should be vocalized for 5-10 seconds and repeated a number of times with a few seconds rest between each vocalization. Chanting of mantras may cause slight dizziness from hyperventilation.

The other main type of meditaiton — insight meditation — is the analysis of thoughts and feelings in such a way as to cause realization of the subjectivity and illusion of experience. This is done in a effort to attain trancendental awareness. Such statements as, ‘This body is not me’, fall under this category. Buddhist meditations are usually of this type.

CHAKRA MEDITATION
There is a special type of concentrative meditation which we will call ‘Chakra meditation’. This is basicly Kundalini yoga — the practice of causing psychic energy (kundalini) to flow up sushumna, energizing the various chakras along the way. The practice, considered dangerous by some, will produce deffinite physiological sensations and psychological effects if continued long enough. It should not be attempted by epileptics or persons with an unstable mental or physical condition, or with heart disease. Certain drugs and medications, such as those used to treat epilepsy may retard progress. Although the technique is very simple, it may eventually produce powerful results. Results may at first appear hours after the practice during sleep. As each chakra is energized by this practice, it is said to add occult powers (sidhis), until at last the crown chakra is reached, and with it, full enlightenment is attained. Sometimes kundalini awakens all by itself.

To practice this chakra meditation, you simply concentrate on the chakras, beginning with the root chakra, and moving progressively up, as you visualize psychic energy from the root chakra traveling up shushumna and vivifying each higher chakra. As we mentioned the chakras have certain properties associated with them, so that this type of visualization may ‘raise consciousness’, promote astral projection, and other things — once you have reached ajna and eventually the crown chakra. You might typically meditate in this fashion for 15 minutes to a half hour a day. It might help to practice some hatha yoga or other physical exercise in an effort to make the spinal cord ‘more flexible’. Diet may also affect the process. The technique is also similar to the Tibetan ‘Tummo’ meditation. The rise of kundalini is sometimes experienced as a ‘vibration’ or buzzing, as light, or as heat.

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HEALTH AND DIET
Certainly the way you treat your physical body will affect your mind. In magick you want an alert mind. Therefore, your body must be as healthy as you can keep it. Take care of your body. Exercise regularly. Eat a good diet (with vitamin supplements), and do not consume anything which will have a negative effect upon the mind. Drugs, smoking,, and alcohol should be restricted, or eliminated. (The mind can create any condition which a drug can create.) A good rule here is moderation in what and how much you consume. (Most of this stuff is pretty obvious isn’t it.) You may also want to cut down on sugar and processed foods. Many occultists advise dietary changes, expecially the non-eating of meat. We cannot deny the physical, psychological, and spiritual effect which all foods have. This effect may be described as the ‘heaviness’ factor of foods. Various foods are so ranked in the chart, lighter to
heavier…

1. lettuce and other greens.
2. fruits and most vegetables.
3. wheat, rice, and other grains.
4. nuts, beans, and other legumes.
5. cheese, dairy products, including eggs.
6. fish, seafood.
7. chicken, poultry.
8. beef, pork, other red meats.

Note that meats, especially red meats are the ‘heaviest’ foods. Generally, foods which are harder to digest, or which are higher in protein are ‘heavier’ than those which are not. Animal products are heavier than plants. Foods high in carbohydrate (candy, bread, starch) are heavy. However, the ‘heaviness’ of foods is not directly related to the amount of calories.

What this means is that for various reasons, the heaviness of food in your diet will affect your magical experiences. You may be able to increase your psychic receptivity (‘energy level’) by eating lighter foods, or by eating less. Conversely, emphasizing heavy foods in your diet, or eating larger helpings, may help to ‘bring you down to earth’ should you ‘rent the veil’ too much. These are generalizations, of course, and it may take a number of days of dietary change before you notice much effect. I do not advocate radical dietary changes, excessive fasting, or malnutrition. Your good health is far more important in magick than any temporary effect you get from prolonged starvation. A change in diet will sometimes only produce a temporary effect, until the physical body adapts to the change. Healthy natural foods and lifestyle make it easier for us to be healthy, but ultimately, good health is a mentual quality (attitude).

THE FOUR-FOLD BREATH
With physical exercise too, moderation is advised. (You should be cautious, or not attempt it if you have a respiratory or heart condition. Check with your physician if in doubt, and don’t overdo.) One of the most useful physical exercises is pranayama, or controlled breathing (actually a type of hatha yoga exercise). For this and any other calesthentics or hatha yoga which you might choose to do a ‘kitchen timer’ is suggested (many of these aren’t accurate for under three minutes, but are helpful for longer periods).

The main purpose of pranayama is to relax the body and mind. There are many kinds of pranayama, but a simple one called the ‘four-fold breath’ will suffice. This consists of four short quick inhallations, then four short quick exhallations; then repeat, continuing until the allotted time is used up. It will take about 1 1/2 seconds for the four inhallations, and about 1 1/2 seconds for the four exhallations; or about 3 seconds for the complete in-out cycle (‘rep’ for repetition). There should be no strain of
any kind during your pranayama. You will probably notice a slight dizziness, particularly at first, since the effect of pranayama is to hyperventilate. Try sitting back in a chair with your eyes closed when you do your pranayama. Begin a minute a day for the first week and gradually increase up to about five minutes a day. If you do the pranayama befor your magical activity, it will help you to get ‘into the mood’. It is also an excellent aid to relaxation and tension release. Pranayama should not be done during heavy air pollution. Other exercises you might consider are hatha yoga, calesthentics, walking or jogging.

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In fact, one phase of mediumship, which is called ‘traveling clairvoyance’ is the out of body state. “Where the medium is conscious of leaving the body, and in that state views the surroundings, we use the term ‘traveling clairvoyance. This signifies that the spirit is utilizing the mechanism of soul travel, and, on return, transmits through the physical brain the information collected.” This quote, written in 1947 appears in a book called, The University Of Spiritualism, By Harry Boddington.

I have used this quote, not to advocate the cause of Spiritualism, but to show that the out of body state was taught as one of the phases of mediumship. I am only sorry that today, a vast body of knowledge lies forgotten by most, which should be the natural birthright of every spiritual seeker.

The technique of meditation which they taught me requires patient effort to accomplish, and has many nuances which I will not be able to go into in this essay. I am now going to give the basic information which led the latent abilities in me to express themselves to whatever degree they do. I do know that this meditative technique is basic to all other work in modern Spiritualism, but other more advanced teaching exists regarding the development of full trance, materialization and the other lost forms of the seance room.

It is a shame that our materialistic society dampened interest in Spiritualism to the degree where we find it today. I feel that there is a lot to be learned from it, and that the mediums were truly able to produce astounding demonstrations of things we either doubt skeptically, or trivialize as outside our new age consensus. If we do not take it in our hands we will lose yet one more preciopus gift of Spirit, a potential bridge for exploring what is knowable, and a doorway to what is unknowable, the threshold of mystery.

Meditation Technique For Developing Psychic Skills

The Chakras: Much is said and taught about the chakras and secondary energy centers. Learn all you can about energy in the body, and outside the body. learn all you can about the aura, and how the chakras relate to it.

You must be able to identify and FEEL each chakra for this exercise.

  1. For the first five minutes Relax yourself. Depply relax and put your full, deep trust in the holiness of Spirit. I suggest praying to Spirit for guidance and PROTECTION, before you begin any spiritual work or exercise. BELIEVE, if you do not know, that only good spirits are around you, loving you and protecting you. Thank them and open yourself to them for their assistance, BY UPLIFTING YOUR SPIRIT TO THEM. It is said that if you uplift yourself ten feet, they’ll come down twenty feet to guide you.
  2. Eight-fold Breath: Breathe in for the count of eight. Hold for the count of four. Exhale for the count of eight. Hold for the count of four. You may also begin the breathing with several large full breaths, all the way to the lower abdominal area. Then continue with the eight/four/eight/four breathing. This is very relaxing, and trance inducing. It also begins to bring you a regulated pattern of energy for the work ahead. Continue the breathing throughout the meditation. And don’t worry if you forget it for a time. Just pick it up again and be relaxed about the whole process. This breathing can be extended LATER ON for other types of mediumship. But for now, just do it as explained.
  3. Beginning at the Crown chakra. [This is the opposite from what most of you are being taught. Drawing energy upward is what is usually done. But I am showing you, simply, what I learned. Although the other way is certainly worthy of experimentation.] So, beginning with the crown chakra, feel it opening up and becoming charged with light and energy by focusing and intending energy to move into it. Move to the third-eye chakra. Open/intend/charge this. Throat chakra, the same. Heart chakra, the same. And on down the chakras until all are open and charged up. If one is stuck, or wont cooperate, stay on it, breathing in and out and focusing the incoming, good energy into that chakra. Give the same amount of energy to each one, for this exercise.
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  1. Turn your attention to the place of visions, the third eye: When the chakras are all open, and you are continuing to breathe as stated, it is time to look within. Find the place inside your mind where you see pictures, where you day-dreAm. [If you have never seen an internalized picture, this is a good time to begin. However, if I say, "apple!" How do you know what an apple looks like? Describe it to yourself. See the apple as you describe it to yourself. Where you see this picture inside your mind, is the place I am referring to.] For the next FIVE MINUTES, quiet your thinking, and just practice observing whatever may arise in this space. Do not give it any credence, do not judge what you see. In fact be as non-judgemental as youpossibly can be. Make no decisions based on what comes. Do not get caught in a prolonged image, let it go. Do not indulge yourself in fear, or panic about something which may seem awful . . . just bless it and send it on its way! Try to recall that you have protected yourself and that you are loved.
  2. CLOSE DOWN for the next five minutes. Continue the breathing. Go back down the chakras, as before, diminishing the energy, dimming the light, so to speak, and envisioning that you are CLOSING EACH SPIRITUAL DOOR as you do so. Do each of the chakras in this way, until whatever is open is closed, envisioned as sealed. No spirit activity is permitted from this point on. Reject it. Let spirit information come to you only when you desire it, or want it, or permit it. Learn to condition yourself to not accept any information coming from spirits unless you give it your okay. Once the spiritual doors are closed, that means just that, they’re closed.
  3. Hands should be placed palms up on lap if working with spirits is desired. Palms down on thighs, if you are trying to work on dreams, or any inner-work.

This meditation should be done with eyes closed. In the beginning with a dim light on. It could be done in a group setting and is an excellent group meditation practice. For a group setting I recommend a tightly closed room, no light getting in from the outseide. Use a small red light overhead, attached to a dimmer switch, and keep turning the light down as your eyes get used to it. In this setting, meditation can be preacticed with the eyes open.

Be sure to enter and leave these circumstances with a loving heart and mind. One of trust and never foreboding! Pray for protection and guidance and DEVELOPMENT! Give your thanks to the Earth, and to the spirits who would come to you so that you may grow.


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How to Use Meditation to Help You Out of a Depressive State

We live in interesting times. On the exterior, we live in a vastly advanced society with impressive social structure and the ability to innovate. On the exterior, we have hundreds of differing medicines and procedures to help us deal with a myriad of physical ailments that could affect us. As they say, beauty is only skin deep.

Depression is a formidable opponent for millions. If left unchecked, depression can also lead to stress, illness, feelings of hopelessness, and feeling like there is no way out. Brain chemistry is also effected by depression.

From a neurological standpoint, most people effected by depression show reduced alpha activity in the frontal lobes. Alpha brainwaves are one of the most common brainwave patterns among those who meditate. This presents an opportunity for the advancements of our modern society to explain how you can use meditation to help bring you out of a depressive state.

It should be understood that meditation, although simple, has been proven to offer moderate relief in addressing psychological stress. If you are feeling depressed, you should consult your preferred healthcare practitioner. That being said, many medical professionals are now beginning to see more scientific proof that meditating can help with treating and preventing depression and “clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress.”[1][2] Because of the increase of proof backed by research in neuroscience and many published articles, it is hard for even the most trained of doctors to dismiss its benefits.

Knowing that meditating causes an increase in alpha brainwave activity and that those with depression show reduced alpha wave activity in the frontal lobes helps many to place belief in their meditative practice. Learning that it is a spiritual practice backed by scientific and medical research can help reduce our inner skeptic. Believing that meditation will help reduce your depression is the first and most important principle of practice. Through your belief in its methods and faith in its practice, many argue that intention alone can promote healing.

In order to use meditation to help bring you out of a depressive state, the first thing you must do is believe it will work. This trust in its purpose must come from your heart. This is a very important step. You need not know everything there is to know about it just yet, but you need to trust that it can and will work for you.

Once you have the desire to improve your mental health and mood with the aid of meditation, you need to simply start practicing. Find a time of day you can commit to for daily practice that will be easy to adhere to and will not cause stress. If you are stressed out finding time to meditate or a place you will not be disturbed, this can make it more difficult to enter meditation.

Because the alpha brainwave state is the goal and alpha is a state of relaxation, it is important that you be relaxed. Have fun with it – meditation is intended to be a pleasurable and relaxing practice. Don’t be afraid to jump in head first and have fun with it. Do not worry if at first you find it hard to clear your mind and relax. If you remember learning to ride a bike, you probably realize not all things are perfected on the first try. The results will come.

While meditating, visualizing is also an important tool. Close your eyes and relax while trying to picture what you perceive to be pleasurable. We all like different things. Not everyone wants to picture themselves on a beach. While visualizing, it is important to make it personal. What place would you love to visit? What activity might you enjoy doing? Have fun with your visualizations and be playful in their construction. In your mind, you have the ability to be at ease.

You can also mix sitting meditations with relaxation music to achieve good results. There are hundreds of options available when selecting music. This music does not always have to be soothing new age music. For starters, think about music you love that always makes you feel good or relaxed. Using meditation to bring you out of a depressive state is a very personal undertaking. Simply go with your intuition. Do whatever feels right and feels good for you. There are thousands of different types, all with volumes of research and resources.

From the formless meditation called Shikantaza to the more involved zen or mudra meditations, it is very possible to find a practice right for you. The most important thing is to start meditating with the intent of bringing you out of a depressing state. Believe in your goal and in your purpose. The type and the details of your perfect practice will then begin to unfold for you with less effort.

You may even find that solutions will come to you. Look for people, places, and circumstances that present an opportunity for you to learn to meditate, or a related practice. Meditation mixed with visualization, soothing music, and the belief in oneself can have a tremendous impact on depressive states.

Other forms of moving meditations such as Tai Chi, Yoga, or Qi Gong can greatly complement sitting meditation. These practices focus on a calm mind, relaxing the breath, fluid movements, good posture. These practices also teach how to discover and control the theorized life force of the human body. In most practices, this life force is called Chi. The confidence gained from learning how to control ones vital life energy and the grace that can come with these practices can help many individuals overcome depression by anchoring accomplishment.

Meditating also has no bad side effects or risks other than the possibility of falling asleep. In today’s fast paced world, most do not get enough sleep. I believe we could all use a little more rest and relaxation each week.

Robert is currently giving away his entire Alpha Experience meditation series completely free to any readers of this article interested in increasing their alpha state. Simply visit this link to download free meditation music and receive weekly support.

Reference:

[1] The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine: Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being — A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

[2] The Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience: Biologic Effects of Mindfulness Meditation: Growing Insights Into Neurobiologic Aspects of the Prevention of Depression.

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Amazing sex may seem like an unlikely benefit of meditation, but let's just say that mindfulness may do much more for you than Viagra in the bedroom.

For too long, meditation has been associated with asceticism and monks, which is why it has taken us this long to get around to exploring its effects on sex.

It was a student at Ziva Meditation who inspired this article. He came to me after a full year of twice-a-day meditation and said, "You joked once before about meditation making my sex better, but what's happening for me is crazy. I need answers."

Animalistic, raw and mind-blowing were the most memorable adjectives he then used to describe his new found sexual prowess. He continued, "It feels crass to say, but my sex life has been stunning. 'Meditation' and 'primal sex' aren't an expected fit, but now I'm a believer."

He told me that since the first week of taking my course, he noticed not only that he was able to last much longer during intercourse, but also told me that he felt more control over his orgasms, had way more energy, and more of a sex drive as a result.

So why does meditation make you better in bed? Well, let's consider context first. Many of us are stressed out, whether from work, our relationships, money, and a whole host of other reasons, circumstantial and otherwise. Stress increases cortisol and adrenaline levels, and these increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline decrease sexual desire and performance (among other negative effects).

Well, I am sure you've heard that meditation is an incredibly powerful stress-reducing tool. Therefore, it stands to reason that meditation can increase sexual desire and performance by reducing cortisol and adrenaline levels.

Now that that's under our belt, let's look at the top five ways meditation can improve your sex life:

1. Meditation gives you deep rest, which means more energy for sex.

"Not tonight honey, I'm tired!" How many times have you felt like fatigue been your excuse for not wanting to have sex? You're not alone: exhaustion is one of the most common reasons couples don't have as much sex as they would like. According to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation, about one in every four married or cohabitating Americans claim they're so sleep-deprived that they're often too tired to have sex.

When you meditate you give your body rest that is deeper than sleep which helps you feel more awake afterward. This jolt of energy may be just what you need after work to energize you for adult playtime.

2. Meditation decreases stress, which means better orgasms.

Increased cortisol levels can prevent female orgasm and cause erectile dysfunction. According to a recent study, women whose cortisol levels exceed a certain amount can become physically incapable of orgasm. Think about it: do you feel aroused when you are stressed out? Probably not.

There is a reason why almost every civilization since the beginning of time has some sort of mating ritual before sex. Things like a nice dinner, champagne, oysters and music can help set the mood and relax you for sex. The more relaxed you are going into the act itself the more likely you are to enjoy it and therefore climax.

Oh, and men are not off the hook. According to Dr. Nelson E. Bennett, MD, an erectile dysfunction expert at the Lahey Clinic, "Stress, fear, anxiety, worry, and frustration cause your body to release adrenaline which constricts your blood vessels, and that is bad for getting a good erection."

Meditation moves you out of fight or flight and into stay and play. Within a few days of starting a meditation practice adrenaline and cortisol levels drop. Your brain will start producing more dopamine and serotonin which are bliss chemicals. This bliss chemistry in the brain helps to increase your sexual appetite and increase the intensity of orgasm.

3. Meditation makes you more present, and less distracted.

Most of us have an over developed left-brain. The left brain's job is to review the past and rehearse the future. This can keep us trapped in a past/ future thought cycle and rob us of the ability to be fully present in the right now, which is the only time an orgasm can happen.

The right brain is in charge of present moment awareness and this is the part of the brain that meditation takes to the gym. The longer we meditate, the more brain cohesion and neuroplasticity we create which balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

So the result of this is more attention, awareness and computing power for the task at hand. And depending on what you and your partner(s) are into it may take quite a few hands. Nobody likes a distracted lover.

4. Meditation helps you stop looking to your partner to complete you.

"You complete me" are probably the most damaging words to come out of Hollywood. No one can complete you. No partner, job, degree or number of zeros in your bank account can complete you. Your happiness exists in one place and that is inside of you and it exists in one time and that is right now.

If you do not have a meditation practice or a means by which to access that happiness, then you tend to look externally for fulfillment. If you are looking to your partner to "fill you up" spiritually or physically then you will always be disappointed as nothing external has the capacity to give you access to your bliss. Happiness is an inside job. If you are 80% fulfilled then the relationship will be a place to deliver that fulfillment, not somewhere to get the missing 20%.

5. Meditation might make your partner think you are psychic.

If you haven't heard about mirror neurons yet, get ready. Scientists say that mirror neurons are going to do for psychology what DNA did for biology. Think of mirror neurons like tiny boomerangs emitted from your brain that go and dance with your lover's mirror neurons and then report back. Mirror neurons allow you to "intuit" what your partner is feeling. They are why you cringe if you watch someone getting hurt. Mirror neurons are one of the reasons porn is a billion dollar industry. Simply watching someone else being pleasured can create pleasure in your brain.

 

Well, get this: meditation increases mirror neuron functioning. This fact, coupled with the fact that you'll be more relaxed and present, will probably mean you'll be a far more intuitive and generous partner.

So before you reach for the little blue pill why not resolve to learn a meditation practice? I recommend finding a technique that was made for people with busy minds and lives instead of a style made for monks. (I also recommend getting real training from a teacher you respect before you decide if you like meditation or not). With the right technique (and the right teacher), it really can be easy — and oh so fun.

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