Student Essays

Fearlessness is the nature of Pure Being

Boundless Beauty and Power Now

by K. H.

For Padma, Meditations Teachers Workshop

June 6, 2012

The Statue of Freedom (1857-62)

Introduction:

Over the past decade North American society has embraced Yoga. At that

time society was open to receiving a new form of self-care and it was

found through Yoga practice. Today, North American society is plagued

with increasing uncertainties. The volatility of the economy and the

instability of the environment gives rise to greater fears in all people

creating, once again, the openness to receiving new forms of stability and

Fearlessness.

As preconceived ideas of freedom fail, an openness to receiving deeper

Fearlessness is created. Meditation Practice connects us to a Oneness

beyond body, thoughts, emotions or circumstances. This Oneness unveils

a Boundless Beauty, Power and Freedom available to all of us.

Understanding Fear and Freedom:

To understand Fearlessness we should first understand fear.

Fear: Is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived

threat. …in extreme cases of fear a freeze or paralysis response is

possible. [Wikipedia 2012]

“You can’t be scared. You do your thing, you hold your ground, you stand up tall,

and whatever happens, happens.” -Donald Trump

There is a freedom that comes from being unattached to outcomes as

mentioned in Trumps quote, “…whatever happens, happens”. (Vairaagya

-Detachment) This is not to say that we should no longer strive for our

goals but to gain the wisdom to recognize the fears that can induce… “a

freeze or paralysis response”.

There are the fears that we know we have (lions, and tigers and bears and

public speaking). Then there are the fears we are not always aware of,

the fears that can undermine our efforts to achieve our full Potential or to

attain our Bliss. Some of these fears are teh fear of rejection or the fear of

failure to mention a few. These are the types of fears that I would like to

focus on, or more directly, how to shift our focus through meditation to

that which will reap the rewards of our Highest Bliss and Potential.

There is no definition of Fearlessness in Websters dictionary just a

redirect to the words Brave and Courageous. I would like to add the word

Freedom. When fears are evaporated what is left is a space of

Fearlessness and then we have the Freedom to Be who we really are and

the Freedom to Do what we really want. (Vivayk -Fine Discernment). Of

course, becoming a professional ballet dancer at 50 years old may be a

lofty freedom request. However, I am referring to an everyday type of

being in the world and the ability to fearlessly make decisions that will

bring us to our Highest Bliss and Potential.

“True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding

the true path for ourselves, and fearlessly following it.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Fearlessness is the nature of our Pure Being, meditation is the connection

to Pure Being, therefore meditation is the key to Fearlessness and

Freedom.

What is meditation?

There is no magic or PHDs involved in meditation. Nor is there a wrong

way to meditate. Being still in meditation allows our Pure Being to

unfold. Connecting with Pure Being brings forth Pure Love and Pure

Wisdom.

Meditation makes it possible to still our ‘chatterbox‘ minds. We can then

become present to what the chatterbox has to say and further deepen our

practice by realizing that there is a part of self that is listening to the

chatterbox. Shifting our focus from the random thoughts to the listener is

key. There are many form of meditations. Wikipedia refers to

meditation as “…a family of practices in which practitioners train their

minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some Benefit”.

Within this family of practices are:

-an object-Vitark, for example a candle or a Mala.

-on a thought -Vichaar, for example a mantra or a chant

-on bliss -Aanaand,

-on an I-sense -Asmita,

How to Meditate:

Within Vitark, Vichaar, Aanaand and Asmita categories are many different

types of meditation exercises or practices. As we learn about these

different types of meditation we can then decide which practice is best

for each of us on any given day. Some people find it hard to sit still for 5

minutes but this is why it is called meditation practice. This is a loving

practice so we are patient yet disciplined. We wouldn’t enter a marathon

without having trained for it. The same patients and diligence can be

applied when starting and then slowly increasing the amount of time we

spend in meditation.

Meditation Practices to increase Fearlessness:

First, to still the mind we would practice the Trataka (Steady Gazing)

exercise of focusing our gaze on the light of a candle. It is through this

exercise that we can become present to the highways of thoughts

running all around in the mind. Continue to focus on the candle as one

highway of thought vanishes at a time.

Second, we could use the mala and chant to deepen relaxation and

mentally refresh the mind. We would then choose the Yoga Yaams Chant

which would fill our being with love. “Ahinsa, Satya, Aastaya,

Brahmacharya, Aparigraha”…

Third, now that we are filled with love and focus we can sit in stillness

with some counting breathes x10. Increasing our focus on the space

between the counting, the space between the numbers, the space

between the heart beat. Then breathe naturally continuing to sit in the

space of Pure Being.

How can meditation make you Fearless?

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

-Maya Angelou

There is a Blissful Oneness (Kaivala) and Connectedness (Yoga) that is

achieved in meditation. The best news is this Bliss and Sweetness of life

(Madhur) stays with us and emanates from us the whole day. The deeper

the practice the more the Sweetness.

Referring to Angelou’s quote, “…being home” means being in familiar

surroundings. The opposite of familiar surroundings is unfamiliar

surroundings but if we carry a Blissful Oneness where ever we go we are

always home. This state of being yields a great power, the power to stay

grounded no matter what the circumstance. This Freedom of Being

diminishes Fear. Home is wherever we are.

The Oneness that is achieved from meditation practice yields many

rewards. If the nature of our Pure Being is being filled with Bliss then

what are the other non-bliss things in our reality? Meditating illuminates

that which doesn’t belong in our Blissful Living reality. We can then

recognize and differentiate what does not belong in our new reality and

have the Power (Shakti) to eliminate it. We have the power to choose

Bliss.

If we become present to having thoughts then who is the knower of those

thoughts? We have thoughts who we are is not our thoughts. We are

something greater than our thoughts. Now we are free to become the

CEOs of your mind. Through the stillness of meditation we have quieted,

tamed and harnessed the Power of the mind. We are no longer a victim

to the minds rambling.

In Conclusion: The results of becoming Fearless?

It is important to note that being Fearless while sitting in an ashram or a

cottage in the woods is very different from maintaining fearlessness in

the face of greater adversities. True Fearlessness can be applied no

matter how great the challenge or adversity.

Commercials and advertisers prey on our cultures fears by promising

freedom through different products. Lotto 649 states, “Imagine the

Freedom…” Freedom 55 Financial group claims you will be free if you

let them invest your money. The Freedom diet professes you will be free

if you adopt their diet plan. Money can be all spent, our bliss in love

relationships may shift, our bodies will change. The fearlessness and

freedom we acquire through meditation has been with us all along and

cannot be spent, shifted or changed. Meditation is simply the path to

unfold this hidden treasure.

For many years I have had an image of being in a row boat rowing as hard

as I can yet going nowhere. When I stopped rowing, completely

exhausted, I realized there were rudders under the boat that were

misaligned and directed in every which way. It was through this

acknowledgement that I first thought to myself, “I wish I knew how to get

out of my own way!” That was 12 years ago. No amount of working

harder, reading books or talk therapy seemed to help me realign the

rudders. It was in meditation where I found the means to realigned the

rudders. I realize the misdirected rudders were a combination of my

fears (known and unknown) and my endless run away mind.

Through meditation we possess the Power to govern our minds.

Connecting with a greater Oneness relinquishes the fear of the unknown

for All is Known. Knowing the essence of Pure Being means we are free

of the fears of the material world for the essence of who we are is not of

the material world. The essence of who we are is unchanging. We can

exude Fearlessness in every aspect of our lives for there is nothing that

can be lost, our essence will never change. We are free.

Sitting in the Essence of Pure Being fills us with love until there is no

space for anything that is not of love. We are free. -Karen Holness

The Statue of Freedom:

I would like to draw a few parallels with this symbolic representation.

The “Statue of Freedom” sits on top of the dome in Washington, D.C.

This statue was originally named the “Freedom Triumphant of War and

Peace” and later known as “Armed Freedom”.

Why is this statue, “Freedom Triumphant of War and Peace”, a female at a

time when females were not on the battlefields? It may suggest a more

nurturing approach to being a victorious warrior than the more

aggressive military approaches to victory.

In her right hand she holds a sheathed sword which could represent the

discerning intellect ready to trim away all that keeps us from our highest

Potential and Bliss.

In her left hand she holds a shield and the laurel wreath. The shield

protects our sense of home no matter where we are.

The Laurel wreath originated in Greece awarding olympic victors and later

in Rome it was given to military commanders. The laurel wreath

represents that we are already the victor and master of our worldly

experiences. The richness of life is greater than any worldly possessions

so we are free to celebrate the richness of life now.

Lastly, this statue stands on top of a globe inscribed with one of our

nations mottos, E Pluribus Unum -Out of many, One.

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and

the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. -Jim Morrison

THE END

 

 

Meditate Your Way to Love and Joy 

By K.S.

Every summer I get together for with three girlfriends, who I have known for over 15 years, for a weekend of golf, hiking and relaxation. During our catch-up sessions, I am amazed and inspired by the latest news in my friends’ worlds and I leave the weekend feeling renewed and refreshed. But shortly after I return to my life, a few other visitors known by the names of Jealousy, Envy and Resentment sneak in for their annual visit. These nasty guests love to point out how my friend’s lives are much better than mine and this turns my mind to ugly thoughts. “My university marks were better than hers, how did she end up with such an amazing job.” “I can’t believe how huge her new house is.” “Could she have bragged anymore about her perfect children?”

With the commonly heard phrase of “Keeping up with the Jones”, I don’t think that I am the only person playing the comparison game in today’s modern world. Thankfully with my recent studies in yoga meditation, I have learnt how meditation can help find love for myself and my friends, easy meditation exercises to gain inner peace and experienced wonderful results that have helped me find more love and joy in my life.

Meditation Can Help Find Love

After examining my feelings of jealousy and envy I realized that, despite my own successes and accomplishments, I feel inferior to my friends. This inferiority results in low self-esteem and pulls energy away from my feelings of inner peace. And when I drill down even further into my low self-esteem, it shows a lack of love and respect for myself. Ouch! This is a difficult realization that my petty envious thoughts are leading the way to a much bigger problem that I realized. It is not pretty but if I want to gain inner peace then I need to start working deep within to develop new patterns that will lead to more love for myself and others.

The goal of meditation is to attain freedom from suffering. Not suffering such as starvation, lack of housing or extreme poverty but internal suffering that depletes our feelings of love and inner peace. Mediation is a powerful tool that can help with personal basics such as: consciously living; increasing awareness of your body, thoughts and emotions; replacing negative patterns with positive thoughts; and increasing self-esteem. On a higher spiritual level, meditation will assist you to realize your pure being along with all the strength, power and beauty that is the true essence of you. Through meditation you can work on the personal basics, as well as, contemplate on a spiritual level to help you to radiant love and peace to yourself and others.

Meditation Practices

A daily meditation practice is easy to establish and you will quickly see results that will allow you to eliminate negative thought patterns and increase your inner peace. Meditation exercises to help you find more love for yourself and others in your life can include:

Sensory Meditation: As you sit down to meditate, check in with all 5 of your senses especially your sense of touch. Where are the pains and tensions in your body? Are those related to any emotions that you are experiencing? Watch your thoughts as you focus on those aches so that the next time that you feel that pinch in your neck while you are at work then you will be aware that it is related to a certain stress, emotion or thought pattern in your daily life.

Concentration meditation: Count your breaths up to 10 helps to build your mind’s strength and focus. Build up to repeat the breath counting 3-4 times in one session. This increased skill in concentration will help you in daily life to focus on keeping out negative thoughts that take away your peace of mind.

Mantra meditation: repeating a mantra will also build up your concentration skills as well as replacing negative thoughts with positive brain waves. Try out a classic yoga mantra: “I am health, I am bliss”.

Joy Meditation: spend your time in meditation practicing joy for other people. Feel pleasure for family and friend’s well-being and accomplishments. Too difficult a task? Start by focusing on a child you already love and feel happy for their successes and accomplishments such as walking for the first time or opening their birthday gifts. Once you can truly feel joy for a child then move onto to practicing joy for your friends and family. Experiencing happiness for other people will begin to attract more happiness and peace in to your own life.

 

Meditation Results

To find more love and peace in your life then you need start within yourself. The results of meditation practices can provide a lasting effect on both your inner life and outer world. Meditation builds up your awareness to watch your thoughts and emotions so you can look at yourself with more kindness and love. Concentration skills will help you to banish habitual negative patterns and mantras will build positive energy vibrations. Stronger love and inner peace for yourself will attract and grow more love and peace to you, your family, your friends, your community and our planet.

As summer approaches, the annual girl’s weekend is coming up soon. This year I am looking even more forward to hearing their stories and truly experiencing joy at their latest successes and adventures while sharing my own journey towards

greater love and happiness. But mostly after my trip, I am excited to block out the uninvited guests that encourage my jealous and envious thoughts. I can’t wait to show them how my meditating mind is now filled with love, joy and inner peace!

 

PAUSE

By S.B.

Like most people we wake up, jump (or stumble) out of bed and immediately move into the daily routine without so much as a thought. How would our day be different if we paused before we got out of bed, just to be aware of our surroundings, our breathing and our essence? If we continued this idea and paused in different ways at different times throughout the day, how would the quality of our life change?

Pause is to stop or halt, a brief interlude, a moment when nothing happens. But pause is actually a moment when good things can and do happen. It’s like a transitional space with infinite possibilities. You can find your centre with pause.

In order to cultivate pause in everyday life you can practice focusing on being aware of cravings, your breath, and expressing gratitude.

As many books suggest, when you get angry or want that cookie or whatever it may be, you stop and count to ten, and hopefully by that time your previous state has altered (for the better) and you have avoided the drama, excess weight or the negative action that would have come about. In this simple manner pause is very effective.

Be aware of your surroundings, just pausing to smell the roses is powerful if you are present. Also you could be aware of breath and posture throughout the day. Notice how you feel when you straighten up and breathe deeply.

Always make an effort to pause and show gratitude for all that you have; a simple way to practice this would be to say grace before your meals. Be truly appreciative.

Some days our emotions are very open and raw and it is difficult to take that small pause and come up with the right action or word. On days like that you pull out the BIG pause…and just take a nap!

These of course are nice practices but easy to forget in the course of your routine day and thinking. We need to build a practice of pausing so we are prepared. A great result of practice is that we strengthen the ability to concentrate.

Breath exercises are very important. Just breathing consciously and fully will slow down your nervous system and mind. With the mind slower and a focus on pause you are better able to redirect your thoughts to a more positive direction. Mind follows breath. A pause in breath will pause your mind and actual breath retention will focus your energy, and therefore focus your mind.

An easy focus concentration practice is to count your breaths while in line somewhere, or on hold, et cetera. It can get you out of your thinking mind for a break.

Awareness and concentration are tools to make pause effortless. Daily meditation is a formal practice that helps build clarity and strength. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, just a steady comfortable practice. You can start with five minutes and work your way up week by week (or day by day). It has been shown over and over how effective meditation is in improving so many facets of your life and Aykagrata (one pointedness) is one of them. Most people do not exist in a consistent state of focus.

It is important to approach meditation with passion and action. The effort and enthusiasm will multiply the results because you will be working at a higher consciousness. When we do step back and pause we are in a better position for right action as opposed to reaction, (re-action being a memory response, not a conscious decision).

As you sit in meditation you focus first on the obvious things: touch, smell, taste, sounds, and then you go to the more subtle and focus on the breath and watch your thoughts. Going deeper you begin to focus on the spaces in between the thoughts. Meditation is awareness and the better we know ourselves the easier it will be to pause. Be aware of being aware as often as possible, so you exist beyond the limited ego. Keep building this awareness and concentration and soon you won’t have to pause so often because your awareness is stronger and clearer.

To build your practice in life and meditation you need Rajas. Rajas is a state of creative energy, a quality of movement necessary to get things done. Without action you will fail to attain freedom. It urges the soul to act, a balanced Rajas brings you to Sattwa which is known as pure shining light and joy.

You can build focus with pause because it helps you realize where your mind is if you pay close enough attention.

If you practice daily then you have the ability to build a positive momentum towards good habits, thoughts, health and all aspects of your life. You can find and live from a still place where your inner beauty and pure essence reside. So, before you step out of bed in the morning, pause and remember that pure essence and breathe deeply.

 

EGO

By T.L.

As many of you know, I have recently completed my Meditation Teacher Training with Padma.  It was an amazing and intense journey and I have come away feeling open, blessed, joyful and free.  We spent a lot of time discussing the ego.  Not the ego as in arrogance or pride, but the mechanism of the ego and how it functions.  Here is what I’ve discovered.

The ego is essentially a box around the soul.  It is the mechanism that blocks peace, and the more strongly identified a person is with their ego the more likely they are to suffer.  Suffering comes in the form of stress, loneliness, depression, anger, envy, pride, hopelessness, fear, doubt and struggle.  Suffering exists: it’s true.  But the human being’s True Nature is not suffering, it is Joy and Love; Pure, Free, Forever.  And by surrendering to God, it is possible to find freedom.

The ego is a function of the mind that defines and describes who we think we are.  In essence, the ego is our false identity.  What the ego perceives, it presumes to be absolute fact.  The nature of the ego is to grasp onto whatever it perceives and make it as tangible and understandable; as real as possible – whether it is true or not.

Many of us are unaware that we are identified with our egos.  In fact, most of us think we are our egos.  When we live our lives from our egos, we identify ourselves as our actions.  So when things are going well, we take it personally and think, “If things are going well, then I must be doing well.  I am ok.”  And if things are not going so well, we think, “I failed.  It didn’t work.  I am not ok.”  So we try to as far away as possible from the things and situations we dislike and try to hold on as tightly as possible to what we do like.  We get confused, thinking that if we stay away from what we are afraid of and always have our preferences met, then we will be happy.

Through this identification and aversion, a person ends up swinging from highs to lows, completely caught up in trying to keep it all together and avoid the things, people, situations that make us unhappy.  We presume that we are somehow in charge of, or responsible for everything that happens around us.  We feel constant pressure and think that if we keep everything under control, everything will be ok.  We get caught up in the struggle and we endure the suffering; resigned to the fact that this is just the way life is.

Often, we have no idea of what it is that we are unhappy about, what it is that’s missing from our lives.  What we don’t understand is that our deepest desire, the thing we want most, is to connect with God.  Now I’m not talking about “God” as in something or someone “out there.”  What I’m talking about is Pure Existence.  I’m talking about Divinity, Pure Being, and the Space from which everything exists.  The Space within each of us that is unchanging and absolute.  Describe it however you like, but the essence we seek is exactly the same.

At some point in our lives, most of have a Spiritual Crisis.  We wonder about the meaning of our lives, and, “Is this all there is?”  We start to question our faith, we think we should end our marriage, quit our job or buy a new sports car.  Or unfortunately, the crisis comes as the result of a life altering experience; someone we love dies or someone we know gets cancer or loses their job.  These are the sorts of experiences we dread and we do our absolute best (mostly unconsciously) to stay as far away from the people and circumstances that scare us.  Some of us come to more of a Spiritual Crossroads.  Nothing drastic happens, but we still find ourselves questioning the meaning of all of “this.”

At this point, we start to look for answers or solutions – mostly solutions.  Those of us who are strongly identified with our egos will quit our jobs or leave our partners.  Some of us will find ways to avoid the truth and numb the pain.  We start over-eating, drinking too much or engaging in other mindless habits that keep us distracted from the root of our unhappiness.  And some of us will choose to dig deeper, seek wisdom and guidance and begin the journey toward freedom.  Just the idea that we can actually be free is both liberating and exhilarating!

One of the ways to freedom is through Yoga and Meditation.  Many of us begin with the physical practice of Hatha Yoga and this helps to bring health to our physical bodies and some stress relief for our busy minds.  But yoga offers much more than a refuge for our physical bodies.  Meditation is another facet of Yoga, and it is through meditation that we can experience freedom and bliss.

Through meditation, we cultivate awareness and knowledge.  We start to become aware of the thoughts we’re thinking.  We start to notice the nature of those thoughts.  And we experience ourselves as the “knower” of our thoughts.  For example:  If you have a thought, how do you know that you’re having that thought?  Who is doing the thinking?  If you can see that you are having the thought, then you cannot be your thoughts. You become the knower of your thoughts.

If you are not your thoughts, then who are “You”?  Good question.

“You” are your True Nature, which is already pure, already free; it always has been, and always will be, unchanging.  “You” are Pure Being.  “You” are Pure Existence.  There is nothing that you need to “do,” nothing that you need to change; you are already pure and you are already free.

You are not your thoughts.  Our thoughts and thinking are constantly changing.  You are not your body.  Our bodies are in a constant state of change; we know that we will not live forever.  Through meditation we can realize our True Nature and experience pure existence.  We realize that if our bodies and thoughts are continually changing, we wonder what is within us that is unchanging. What is unchanging is our True Nature.

When we recognize that we are not our thoughts and that our very essence is pure and unchanging, we no longer have to be pushed around by our thoughts, which are a construct of the ego.  We realize that we are not in charge of the Universe.  And simply understanding this lessens our burdens and brings a sense of peace.

Knowledge is the antidote to suffering.  Once we know that we are not our egos; that we are free, everything shifts.  As part of our meditation practice, we practice letting go.  We practice surrendering our actions and ego to God.  We recognize that we are not our actions.  This does not mean that we make careless choices, but that we make choices from a place of freedom and clarity.  We do not have to know the outcome of our actions or know for certain how things will work out, because through our practice we develop faith and trust.  We trust that all is unfolding around us as part of a Divine, perfect plan.

This is freedom.  To know that we are not in charge.  To know that everything is as it should be.  That is all is well.  Freedom is ease.  Ease in the mind.  Ease in the world.  Freedom means love and joy and the simple sweetness of being alive.  Blissfully aware of all that is within.  And at peace with what is.  Freedom brings gratitude and appreciation.  Wonder and curiosity.  Freedom is pure Openhearted delight.

 

KNOW THYSELF

By L.E.

Ancient Greeks considered the Oracle at Delphi to be the naval of the world; an umbilical communication channel between humans and Gods. The Oracle was staffed by “The Pythia”: 3 middle-aged women chosen by the community. One woman would sit, in trance, in the centre of the pavilion, spouting indecipherable oracles, interpreted by priests. “Go to war on the full moon!”  “Sheep are the best investment!”  “Put your lentils on sale now!”  For those who visited the Oracle, which only operated every 7th day, February to November, a single inquiry was allowed. Save up your Big Question!

 

Inscribed above the entrance, the phrase “Know Thy Self”.

Below, purportedly a second inscription, “Thou Art”.

 

Know Thy Self.

Thou Art.

 

One way of contemplating these phrases is as directive and conclusion. This dovetails beautifully with Yogic knowledge and practices, the purpose of which is to support the individual in comprehending True Self. Deeply. Yoga enables us to become intimate with, by understanding through experiencing, our True Nature.  What it is, and isn’t. Self lies not in external indicators – cars, clothes and jobs.  Nor in ephemeral concepts – social position, beliefs and opinions.  Nor is it our rambling thoughts, imaginings or 5 senses constantly responding to the ever-changing outer world.

 

The Katha Upanishad, a Hindu book of knowledge, stated:

 

“Only he who has been able to perceive the Self directly, through the unfoldment of his higher nature, can proclaim what It actually is.”

 

…Know Thy Self!

 

“The Self lies beyond the senses and can only be understood by him who knows It is.

 

…“Thou Art!”

 

So how does one come to know this Self beyond the senses?  And when conventional indicators of “self” are dropped, what’s left?!

 

Actively seeking to Know our unchanging ‘I’, (gyaan in Sanskrit) gently leads us into our most subtle state of Being; the sweetest, truest, core Self; who we’ve always been and always will be, regardless of what comes or goes. The more we travel to this space of i-knowing-I, the more familiar the pathway and the more this glorious Self shines through.

 

But how to get there?

Well, becoming intimate with Self is simple: but not easy!

Like basketball; get the ball…in the net.

 

Meditation is one of the most efficient and effective methods of Knowing Thy Self. Instructions common to almost all forms of basic meditation include:

Make a safe space.

Sit comfortably.

Close your eyes.

Breathe easily.

Pay calm attention to the breath.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…

 

That’s pretty much it.

 

But, in both basketball and meditation, there is a ‘team of players’ intercepting your focus, intent on grabbing your ‘ball of attention’ and dribbling it all over the court. Fortunately, with meditation if you choose to disregard them they eventually give up and retire to the bench, leaving you, unhindered, to achieve your goal.

 

This ability to choose is a core skill of meditation: choosing what to pay attention to and choosing what to believe one’s Self to be. Over and over again. Shall I attend to this rushing traffic of thoughts or the silent sweetness I glimpse between them? Am I these jabbering thoughts jigging and jagging through my mind space? Or am I really the ever-present Self who witnesses them?

 

As one seeks intimacy with this still Self, our sense of what ‘Thou Art’ transforms: as we turn away from our mental chattering, a realization naturally occurs, “Ah, this silence is Me!

 

Like basketball, all it takes is practice:

 

Make a safe space.

An environment where you feel comfortable drifting inside for a while. Shut the door – perhaps put up a “Meditating” or “Napping” sign. Phone off – you have voice mail. As you meditate you’ll cool, so wear a shawl, a sweater or socks. Using a timer assures you this won’t go on forever.

 

Sit comfortably.

Beginning meditators need to be physically comfortable otherwise pains and aches will draw their attention. Rather than sitting crossed legged, enduring pins and needles, sit comfortably in a chair so you can forget your body and attend to subtle internal sensations.  Keep your spine aligned, your breathing channel straight and clear so energy can flow freely throughout the body. Use cushions for support until you gain strength enough to sit independently.

 

Close your eyes.

Rest your eyelids gently rather than clamping them shut. With lids closed, still your eyeballs, gaze front, just below the horizon line. Release tension around your eyes (…and in your shoulders!).

 

Breathe easily.

Allow your Body to breathe; it knows how. If you’re pushing breath out or sucking it in, surrender effort. Focus on the small area around your nostrils. Observe gently. Cool air…feel it breeze past the rim of your nostrils as it drifts in. When does it become warm? Where does outside become inside? Explore.

 

Pay calm, loving attention to your breath.

The difficulty is in resisting being seduced by the fascinating blah-blah in your mind. Your attention will wander. THIS IS NOT FAILURE: only untrained human nature. You’re not “bad at meditating” or “can’t do it”. You are doing it!  This is it: Pay attention to breath. Drift away. Return attention to breath. A million times over.  When you find yourself immersed in thought, simply return to the breath. No drama. Sometimes it’s boring; sometimes, you’ll be surprised by the wonders revealed.

 

Inhale

Allow breath to fill you up. Let it expand your chest, stretch your belly, separate your back ribs. Breath does the work.

 

Exhale.

Deflate gently. Let go. Breathe out problems, sorrow, grief, fantasies. They’ll all be there when you return to daily life, and you may have discovered innovative ways of dealing with them.  If you find space at either end of your breath, simply Be there. Wait patiently for your body to breathe out or welcome breath in again. It will. In this way you practice trusting; you can survive not controlling.

 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Even 10 minutes of meditation brings benefits: calm, mental brightness, physical relaxation. Daily practice increases creative intelligence, releases anxiety, diminishes depression and headaches and develops one’s ability to re-energize at will.

 

Becoming (intimate with) your Natural Self requires patience, practice and perseverance, many journeys inside and much letting go of what’s ‘not Self’. Every time you connect with your constant sweet Self – and choose to disregard temporary thoughts, emotions or imaginings – you become more securely established in this ‘new’ Self.  You maintain this grounded, confident, serenity, regardless of what you’re faced with.  Soon, in daily life, and difficult circumstances, you can choose to side step negativity, access innovative solutions and let your fear-less Self lead the way. If you do find yourself disturbed you’ll notice more quickly, and will be confident in your ability to re-establish your natural calm.

 

You now Know Thy Self and what Thou (really) Art.

When we spend intimate time with our True Natural Self, the kafuffle of what’s un-real falls away and, like a still reflecting pool, answers to any inquiry tossed into our depths are clearly visible in the distinct ripples generated.

 

We can know, our Self, via our own inner Oracle.

Open 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Free of charge.  Ask as many questions as you like.

 

How to cultivate happiness and say goodbye to negativity.

By W. W.

 

“You can live your life free from suffering. Meditation is a specific practice that can help you become free in this lifetime. ”

 

 

How many times per day do you suffer from confusion, doubt, second guessing yourself and negative thoughts?  Do you want to spend your days experiencing these kinds of thoughts or do you feel like they are beyond your control?

 

Meditation is a powerful tool that can help you overcome suffering and live in freedom.

 

Have you heard a lot about meditation but you are not sure where to start?

Start by asking yourself – Do I want to cultivate & feed negative thoughts or would I rather cultivate positive, helpful thoughts?  Next question you need to ask yourself is – Do I want to be HAPPY or do I want to spend the majority of my time suffering?  The answer to this question seems like a no-brainer but you may want to really take a look at the areas in your life where you suffer, often suffering is working on many levels for most people which is why they can get caught in it.

Do you secretly enjoy the drama of suffering?

Have you subconsciously decided that you don’t deserve to be happy?

At work do you feel like struggle & suffering is actually a sign of success?

Does a constant struggle make you feel like you are getting stuff done?

Is being negative the only way you can get other peoples attention?

Has negative thinking become a habit?

If you constantly worry about something do you feel like you can somehow control it?

 

How can a person become free from all of this misery?  First you need to decide that you want the thoughts and suffering to end. Second step is to commit to a solution.  You may have tried many solutions and spent thousands of dollars trying to find the solution to unhappiness – new car, nice outfit, better job, gym membership – does any of this sound familiar?  But here you are reading yet another article on how to be HAPPY, sounds like the new outfit, better job & gym membership didn’t quite work out the way you had hoped??

 

I have done quite extensive research in the field of suffering and have found one sustainable, guaranteed to work solution:  a daily meditation practice.

 

 

By establishing a daily meditation practice you can cultivate stillness and create the time and space to let go of the suffering & let go of all the negativity.

 

And here’s the best part: when you let go of all the negativity you make room for freedom & joy, you make room for thoughts that will serve you much better than the previous thoughts.  But most of all you create the space for your true self to shine (you know that part of you that secretly wants to be radiant, live wholeheartedly and enjoy all that life has to offer).  Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about we all have “it” some just choose to let it shine more than others.

 

What practices would a person do?  Sit in stillness for 10 minutes per day and do some research:

Become aware of the negative, harmful thoughts, figure out what situations trigger the negative thinking – is it from a reaction to something or some situation or has it become a habit?

Once you have given the busy mind some attention, begin to bring your awareness to the space between the thoughts, the space behind the thoughts.  Become aware of what is unchanging and pure in you (your true self).

 

Notice that it can be challenging to sit in stillness but know that you can always use your breath as an anchor, a tool to focus and bring awareness into the present moment.

 

How does it work?  It works because you know you have a choice, you realize those negative thoughts can go on and on but you no longer have to react to them, attach to them or become the thought.  It works because you realize that you have cultivated the power to choose positive/helpful thoughts over negative/harmful ones.

 

Feeling sceptical?  Don’t quite believe that sitting still for minutes per day will make you happy?

 

Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.  I challenge you to sit still for 10 minutes a day for 6 weeks then sit back and observe the results.  Notice how the people around you react to you; notice how the tightness & tension in your body starts to relax, notice that you are starting to enjoy your life (even though it’s the same life you had before).

 

 

By Wendy Weymann

Wendy is a certified Padma Yoga Meditation Teacher, she teaches meditation classes and workshops throughout the lower mainland.  www.wendyweymann.com