How to Meditate by Tara Brach

Beginners Guide on How to Meditate

Creating a container for practice:
It helps to have a regular time and space for cultivating a meditation practice.
Setting a time – Morning is often preferred because the mind may be calmer than it is later in the day. However, the best time is the time that you can realistically commit to on a regular basis. Some people choose to do two or more short sits, perhaps one at the beginning and one at the end of the day.
Deciding in advance the duration of your sit will help support your practice. For many, the chosen time is between 15-45 minutes. If you sit each day, you may experience noticeable benefits (e.g., less reactivity, more calm) and be able to increase your sitting time.
Finding a space – If possible, dedicate a space exclusively to your daily sitting. Choose a relatively protected and quiet space where you can leave your cushion (or chair) so that it is always there to return to. You may want to create an altar with a candle, inspiring photos, statues, flowers, stones, shells and/or whatever arouses a sense of beauty, wonder and the sacred.  These are not necessary, but are beneficial if they help create a mood and remind you of what you love.

 

Set your intention:
There is a Zen teaching that says “The most important thing is remembering the most important thing.” It is helpful to recall at the start of each sitting what matters to you, what draws you to meditate. Take a few moments to connect in a sincere way with your heart’s aspiration. You might sense this as a prayer that in some way dedicates your practice to your own spiritual freedom, and that of all beings.

Set your posture:
Alertness is one of the two essential ingredients in every meditation. Sit on a chair, cushion, or kneeling bench as upright, tall and balanced as possible. A sense of openness and receptivity is the second essential ingredient in every meditation, and it is supported by intentionally relaxing obvious and habitual areas of tension. Around an erect posture, let the rest of your skeleton and muscles hang freely. Let the hands rest comfortably on your knees or lap. Let the eyes close, or if you prefer, leave the eyes open, the gaze soft and receptive.

Please don’t skip the step of relaxing/letting go! You might take several full deep breaths, and with each exhale, consciously let go, relaxing the face, shoulders, hands, and stomach area. Or, you may want to begin with a body scan: start at the scalp and move your attention slowly downward, methodically relaxing and softening each part of the body. Consciously releasing body tension will help you open to whatever arises during your meditation.

The Basic Practice:
Natural Presence
Presence has two interdependent qualities of recognizing, or noticing what is happening, and allowing whatever is experienced without any judgment, resistance or grasping. Presence is our
deepest nature, and the essence of meditation is to realize and inhabit this whole and lucid awareness.

We practice meditation by receiving all the domains of experience with a mindful, open attention.  These domains include breath and sensations; feelings (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral); sense perceptions, thoughts and emotions; and awareness itself.
In the essential practice of meditation there is no attempt to manipulate or control experience.  Natural Presence simply recognizes what is arising (thoughts, feelings, sounds, emotions) and allows life to unfold, just as it is. As long as there is a sense of a self making an effort and doing a practice, there is identification with a separate and limited self. The open receptivity of Natural Presence dissolves this sense of a self “doing” the meditation.

Knowing the difference between Natural Presence and “skillful means” or supports for practice:
Because our minds are often so busy and reactive, it is helpful to develop skillful means that quiet the mind and allow us to come home to the fullness of Natural Presence. These supports for practice help us to notice and relax thoughts and physical tension. They involve a wise effort that un-does our efforting!

You might consider yourself as a contemplative artist, with a palette of colors (supportive strategies) with which to work in creating the inner mood that is most conducive for the clarity and openness of presence. These colors can be applied with a light touch. Experiment and see what works best for you, and don’t confuse these methods (such as following the breath) with the radical and liberating presence that frees and awakens our spirit. Regardless of what skillful means you employ, create some time during each sitting when you let go of all “doings” and simply rest in Natural Presence. Discover what happens when there is no controlling or efforting at all, when you simply let life be just as it is. Discover who you are, when there is no managing of the meditation.

 

Skillful Means: Our supports for practice
Presence is supported by a calm and collected mind, a mindful awareness and an open heart.  The following strategies cultivate these capacities:
Establish an embodied presence—senses awake!
You might take a few minutes at the beginning of the sitting (or anytime during the sitting or day) to intentionally awaken all the senses. Scan through the body with your attention, softening and becoming aware of sensations from the inside out.  Listen to sounds and also include the scent and the feel of the space around you in and outside of the room. While the eyes may be closed, still include the experience of light and dark, and imagine and sense the space around you. Explore listening to and feeling the entire moment–to-moment experience, with your senses totally open.

Choose a home base—a primary anchor or subject of meditation.
It is helpful to select a home base (or several anchors) that allow you to quiet and collect the mind, and to deepen embodied presence. Useful anchors are:
• The breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.  • Other physical changes during breathing, e.g., the rise and fall of the chest.  • Other physical sensations as they arise, e.g. the sensations in the hands, or through the whole body.
• Sounds as they are experienced within or around you.  • Listening to and feeling one’s entire experience, (i.e., receiving sounds and sensations in awareness).
Remindfulness—”coming back” and “being here”

Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of moment to moment experience. We train in mindfulness by establishing an embodied presence and learning to see clearly and feel fully the changing flow of sensations, feelings (pleasantness and unpleasantness), emotions and sounds.

A metaphor offered by psychiatrist and author, Dan Siegel, is helpful. Imagine your awareness as a great wheel. At the hub of the wheel is mindful presence, and from this hub, an infinite number of spokes extend out to the rim. Your attention is conditioned to leave presence, move out along the spokes and affix itself to one part of the rim after another. Plans for dinner segue into a disturbing conversation, a self-judgment, a song of the radio, a backache, the feeling of fear. Or your attention gets lost in obsessive thinking circling endlessly around stories and feelings about what is wrong. If you are not connected to the hub, if your attention is trapped out on the rim, you are cut off from your wholeness and living in trance.

Training in mindfulness allows us to return to the hub and live our moments with full awareness. Through the practice of “coming back” we notice when we have drifted and become lost in thought, and we recall our attention back to a sensory based presence. This important capacity is developed through the following steps:
• Set your intention to awaken from thoughts—mental commentary, memories, plans, evaluations, stories—and rest in non-conceptual presence.  • Gently bring attention to your primary anchor, letting it be in the foreground while still including in the background the whole domain of sensory experience.  For instance you might be resting in the inflow and outflow of the breath as your home base, and also be mindful of the sounds in the room, a feeling of sleepiness, an itch, heat.  • When you notice you have been lost in thought, pause and gently re-arrive in your anchor, mindful of the changing moment-to-moment experience of your senses.

It can be helpful to remember that getting distracted is totally natural- just as the body secretes enzymes, the mind generates thoughts! No need to make thoughts the enemy; just realize that you have a capacity to awaken from the trance of thinking. When you recognize that you have been lost in thought, take your time as you open out of the thought and relax back into the actual experience of being Here. You might listen to sounds, re-relax your shoulder, hands and belly, relax your heart. This will allow you to arrive again in mindful presence at the hub, senses wide open, letting your home base be in the foreground. Notice the difference between any thought and the vividness of this

Here-ness!
As the mind settles, you will have more moments of “being here,”’ of resting in the hub and simply recognizing and allowing the changing flow of experience. Naturally the mind will still sometimes lose itself on the rim, and at these times, when you notice, you again gently return to the hub—“coming back,” and “being here” are fluid facets of practice.
The more you inhabit the alert stillness at the center of the wheel and include in mindfulness whatever is happening, the more the hub of presence becomes edgeless, warm and bright. In the moments when there is no controlling of experience—when there is effortless mindfulness— you enter the purity of presence. This is “Natural Presence.” The hub, spokes and rim are all floating in your luminous open awareness.

Practice metta to soften and open the heart.
Metta practice, also called lovingkindness meditation, cultivates both a loving heart and a collected, settled mind. The practice uses specific phrases to send loving and kind wishes to yourself, loved ones, neutral persons, difficult people and to all beings everywhere, without exception. You might choose three or four of the below, or create whatever phrases resonate for you:

May I be filled with loving  kindness.

May I feel safe from harm.

May I accept myself just as I am.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

May I be happy.
Spend a few minutes or more offering the phrases to yourself, taking the time to imagine and directly feel the experience the phrases invoke. Then do the same as you offer it to the others mentioned above. You can bring in the metta practice at the beginning, end or during any part of the meditation.  For some people, it can be beneficial to emphasize metta as a primary practice— especially when there has been trauma or great self-aversion. This skillful means is a beautiful way to awaken the heart.

Developing concentration
Bringing attention to a primary subject or anchor can lead to a concentrated focus that naturally calms and collects the mind. This concentration can be deepened by intentionally aiming and sustaining a focused attention with your chosen anchor. When cultivating concentration, the anchor should be one that has a pleasant or at least neutral feeling tone.

Concentration supports mindfulness and requires a relaxed attention. There is often a subtle (or overt) sense of making an effort to sustain concentration, of striving to control the mind and make something happen.  It is important to not become caught in a striving effort. It is easy to be seduced into trying to achieve something, such as staying with the breath for much of the sitting, and then evaluating what is happening as a “good” or “not good” meditation. Mistaking a focus on the breath for meditation is like fixating on the quality of your hiking boots, and not really being awake of the natural world you are inhabiting!

Concentration helps quiet the mind and without some quieting, mindfulness is difficult to sustain. It also can lead to states of rapture and deep peace. Yet without a mindful presence, concentration bears no fruit. The key to concentration is remembering your intention towards presence, and then focusing on your chosen subject for meditation with a soft, clear and relaxed attention.

RAIN—healing emotional suffering
The mindful presence that helps release emotional suffering is summarized by the acronym RAIN.
• R-Recognize – notice what is arising (fear, hurt, etc.)

• A-Allow – agree to “be with it,” to “let it be.”

• I-Investigate – in a non-analytic way, get to know how the body, heart and mind experiences these energies.  You might inquire by asking yourself one or more of the following questions: “What is happening?” “Where am I feeling this in my body?” “What wants attention?” “What wants acceptance?” The “I” is also Intimacy: experiencing difficult sensations and emotions with a direct, gentle, kind attention; and offering compassion to the place of vulnerability.
• N-Non-identification, or not having your sense of Being defined by, possessed by or linked to any emotion. In other words, not taking it personally! The “N” is also Natural Presence, a homecoming to the loving awareness that is our essence.
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Practice Self-Inquiry
Inquiry (questions like “What is happening?”) can bring attention in a direct way to the changing flow of experience and reveal the truth of impermanence and the empty (self-less) nature of sights, sounds, thoughts, emotions and feelings. Self- inquiry extends this process by turning awareness back on itself. Classical questions include: “Who am I?” “What am I?” “Who or what is aware?” “Who or what is listening to sound” “Who or what is looking out through these eyes?”

Self-Inquiry is best done when the mind is relatively quiet and senses awake. Ask a question and look back towards awareness, towards that which is aware. After asking, relax with an embodied presence, open, not in any way pursuing an answer with your intellect. By enrolling the natural interest, energy and receptive attention of inquiry, the very nature of awareness is revealed.

 

Part 2: Common Issues for Meditators
Getting lost in thought
At first, you may be surprised at how active and uncontrolled your mind is. Don’t worry – you are discovering the truth about the state of most minds! Accept and patiently “sit with” whatever comes up. There is no need to get rid of thoughts; this is not the purpose of meditation. Rather, we are learning to recognize when thinking is happening so we are not lost in a trance—believing thoughts to be reality, becoming identified with thoughts.

 

Because we are so often in a thinking trance, it is helpful to quiet down some. Just like a body of water stirred up by the winds, after being physically still for a while, your mind will gradually calm down. To support that quieting, at the beginning of a sitting it can be helpful to relax and practice Remindfulness—gently bringing your attention back again and again to your home base in the senses.

It takes practice to distinguish the trance of thinking – fantasy, planning, commentary, dreamy states – from the presence that directly receives the changing experience of this moment.  Establishing an embodied awareness and letting your anchor be in the foreground is a good way to become familiar with the alive, vibrant mystery of Here-ness, of presence.

The Five Classic Challenges (called “hindrances” in Buddhist texts):
• Grasping: wanting more (or something different) from what’s present right now.  • Aversion: fear, anger, any form of pushing away.  • Restlessness: jumpy energy, agitation.  • Sloth and torpor: sleepy, sinking states of mind and body.  • Doubt: a mind-trap that says, “it’s no use, this will never work, maybe there’s an easier way”.
These are universal body-mind energies experienced by all humans. It is important to recognize that they are not a “problem.” The energies become “hindrances” because our conditioned habit is to ignore, resist, judge or otherwise try to control them. And yet when met with mindfulness and care, these same energies become a gateway to increased aliveness and spiritual awakening.
During sitting practice, if you encounter one of these challenging energies, it may be useful to name it silently to yourself, e.g., “grasping, grasping” or “fear, fear.” If it is strong, rather than pulling away, let your intention be to bring your full attention to what is arising. Feel what is happening as sensations in your body, neither getting lost in the experience nor pushing it away. As indicated through the RAIN acronym, investigate what is arising and meet the experience with an intimate, compassionate attention. When it dissipates, return to the primary anchor of your meditation, or rest in Natural Presence.
Sometimes the energy is too strong, and it is not wise or compassionate to try to stay present with it. This is particularly true if you have been traumatized and are experiencing deep fear or anger. If it feels like “too much,” shift the attention to something that brings a sense of balance, safety and/or love. You might open your eyes, remind yourself of where you are, listen to sounds, relax again through your body. You might bring to mind someone who loves and understands you, and sense their care surrounding you. You might reflect on the Buddha or the bodhisattva of compassion, Jesus, Great Spirit, your grandmother, your dog or a favorite tree. You might offer phrases of lovingkindness to places of vulnerability. Meditate on any expression of loving presence that helps you feel less separate or afraid.
If you encounter these kinds of difficult emotional energies regularly you might ask a teacher or therapist familiar with meditation to accompany you as you learn to navigate what feels most intense.
Physical pain
In addition to mental busyness and emotional challenges, it is inevitable that we all experience a certain amount of unpleasant physical sensations. If you are not used to the posture, there may be some discomfort in simply sitting still. In addition, as your attention deepens, you might become aware of tensions in the body that were ignored because of being preoccupied by thought. Or, you might be injured or sick, and become more directly aware of the natural unpleasant sensations accompanying that condition.
Meditating with physical discomfort is the same as the process of presence with emotional difficulty. Let your intention be to meet the unpleasantness with a gentle attention, noticing how it is experienced in the body and how it changes. Allow the unpleasantness to float in awareness, to be surrounded by soft presence. To establish that openness you might include in your attention sounds, and/or other parts of the body that are free from pain.  Breathe with the experience, offering a spacious and kind attention. Be aware of not only the physical sensations, but how you are relating to them. Is there resistance? Fear? If so, let these energies be included with a forgiving and mindful attention.
If the physical unpleasantness is intense and wearing you out, direct your attention for a while to something else. It is fine to mindfully shift your posture, or to use a skillful means like phrases of lovingkindness or listening to sounds as a way to discover some space and resilience. You don’t need to “tough it out.” That is just another ego posture that solidifies the sense of separate self. In a similar vein, you don’t have to “give up.” Instead, discover what allows you to find a sense of balance and spaciousness, and when you are able, again allow the immediate sensations to be received with presence.
Part 3: Sustaining a Meditation Practice
Here are a few helpful hints for sustaining your sitting practice:
• Sit every day, even if it’s for a short period. Intentionally dedicate this time of quieting—it is a gift to the soul!
• A few times during each day, pause. Establish contact with your body and breath, feeling the aliveness that is Here.  • Pause more and more—the space of a pause will allow you to come home to your heart and awareness.  • Reflect regularly on your aspiration for spiritual awakening and freedom—your own and that of all beings.  • Remember that, like yourself, everyone wants to be happy and nobody wants to suffer.  • Practice regularly with a group or a friend.  • Use inspiring resources such as books, CD’s or web-accessed dharma talks.  • Study the Buddhist teachings (e.g., the 4 Noble Truths, the Noble 8-Fold Path).  • Sign up for a retreat—one day, a weekend, or longer.  The experience will deepen your practice and nourish spiritual awakening.  • If you miss practice for a day, a week, or a month, simply begin again.  • If you need guidance, ask for help from an experienced meditator or teacher.  • Don’t judge your practice — rather, accept what unfolds and trust your capacity to awaken and be free!  • Live with a reverence for life—committed to non-harming, to seeing, honoring and serving the sacred in all beings.
You are traveling a path that has led to clarity, peace and deep realization for many people over thousands of years. May their awakening support and inspire you. And may the sincerity of your practice heal and free your spirit. ~ Tara Brach ~

Gratitude Jars

Gratitude Jars are a great way to really look at what is good in your life no matter how small it may seem.

Image result for gratitude jars

 

Starting a Gratitude jar in your  home is such a great way to notice all the little things that go on during the day that you can be grateful for.  The little  moments that pass by unchecked can be written down and popped into the gratitude jars and will help to promote the good and make you really appreciate your life.

From that few minutes you got to sit down and read a page out your book whilst tea was cooking, to the hug from your little ones or the one time the dog didn’t bark when the door went.  Really noticing all the people, things and situations around you that you have to be thankful for opens up a whole other world.  When we appreciate what we already have  it makes room in our life for more good things to come our way.

So take a moment now and think about what happened in your life today, no matter how small it is and pop a note in the jar.  Get the family involved, its such a great thing to do and see what everyone else has to be grateful for.

Thank you to anyone who reads this, I am truly Grateful.

Namaste

Meganni Franklyn

 

Note To Self – Always Be A Kid

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You can be a child by enjoying small things and being happy with almost anything.Don’t mistake “being a kid at heart” for immaturity. As adults, we learn to become more mature and responsible individuals. Ironically, I believe one of the biggest signs of maturity is choosing to be a kid at heart.Part of me melts every time I encounter children because I observe their carefree, happy, innocent nature, from which adults could stand to learn.

Here are 11 reasons why you are a kid at heart:

1. You always smile.I absolutely adore when a kid smiles at me. It’s highly contagious and impossible for me not to smile back. Children smile because they are truly happy, as their lives are not complicated or filled with much responsibility.They find joy and pure happiness in the simplest things, and they share those giggles with everyone. Charlie Chapman said it best: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

 

2. You forgive freely and know every day is a fresh start.Have you ever noticed that children have the uncanny ability to see every day as a new beginning? They forget about the past easily and don’t hold grudges.When two children fight, they are upset for that time period, but then, the very next day, they are best friends again. As we grow into adults, this becomes tougher and we find it difficult to forgive and let things go.It’s never too late to forgive and start all over.

3. You believe and dream big.In a child’s world, nothing is impossible. The ability of children to believe sparks faith and optimism to never give up. Many adults lose this ability because we tend to see things for how they were or are, rather than how they could be.If we made an effort and believed in pursuing our dreams, we would be more likely to achieve them, even if those dreams seem nearly impossible to accomplish

 

.4. You are carefree and fearless.Children have the most amazing ability to be carefree and fearless. They are limitless and have no boundaries because they are not yet confined by the fear of shame or failure; they do things because they just don’t know any better.As we grow into adults, we tend to worry or fear the unknown and what others may think of us.Embrace what life has to offer in a carefree and fearless manner so you can be unstoppable

 

.5. You are active.I remember when I was a little kid, I played hopscotch, jump-roped to “Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss her fellow,” ran around the grass with the sprinklers on, had mud fights and did cartwheels for days. I found joy in doing these everyday activities without even thinking of them as forms of exercise.To be honest, I still do some of these things and for the same damn reason — it’s fun.6. You take pleasure in little things.When I was a kid, I would get so excited every Sunday when the ice cream truck made its way around our neighborhood. But, it wasn’t the ice cream I was enthusiastic about; it was more so the song that made me giddytime I heard the truck’s tune, I ran to my dad, asked him to open up the garage, sprinted outside and busted out crazy dance moves to my jam.My dad would then proceed to buy me my favorite rainbow popsicle, which I found fascinating because my tongue turned different colors after licking it.Those simple things made me so happy. As we grow into adults, we take things for granted and stop taking pleasure in the little things. Why do we stop noticing the simple things that have the potential to bring us joy?

7. You love unconditionally.The best thing about children is their love. They could care less about your flaws; they don’t care what you look like, who you are, where you are from or what you do because their love is limitless.It’s true what Mahatma Gandhi stated:The law of love could be best understood and learned through little children.

 

8. You use your creativity and imagination.I remember losing myself in creative activities as a child. I drew pictures for hours, played with clay, built spaceships and rockets out of LEGOs, pretended I was on the “Lizzie McGuire” show, and then bust out, “Hi, my name is Sheena from ‘Lizzie McGuire’ and you’re watching Disney Channel!”For some reason, as we get older, we get busier. We stop seeing these creative activities as meaningful and worthwhile. The truth is, creativity is the reason our world is so advanced. One should never lose his or her imagination.

 

9. You have endless curiosity.As a kid, I remember continuously asking my parents questions: Where did we come from? Why do people die? Where is God? What does this mean? I was curious but clueless.Children know they don’t know everything, so they ask a million and one questions to gain knowledge and understanding. Answer this: Isn’t asking questions better than not asking any questions at all?

 

10. You ask for help.I remember when two boys bullied me in second grade. Call it tattletaling if you must, but for me, it was simply asking for help. Children always ask for help because they don’t know what they are doing or how to handle certain situations.As we grow into adults, we sometimes look at asking for help as weakness. Always feel empowered to ask for help, whether it be on how to do something or how to get through something. We aren’t alone; we all need help every now and then.

 

11. If you fall, you get back up and run.When a child takes a tumble, he or she might need to be comforted for a bit, but then, the child quickly recovers and runs off to play.As adults, we may be hurt, but as long as we pick ourselves back up and move on, the bruises begin to finally heal.Subscribe to Elite Daily’s official newsletter,

From the wonderful —

The Edge, for more stories you don’t want to miss. 475 Shares Sheena Amin Contributor Sheena is a contributing writer based in Irvine, California. She graduated from University of California Irvine in 2013 with a degree in Public Health.

 

 

Please share your Happy Moment

Quick Coherence® Technique

Create a coherent state in about a minute with the simple, but powerful steps of the Quick Coherence® Technique. Using the power of your heart to balance thoughts and emotions, you can achieve energy, mental clarity and feel better fast anywhere. Use Quick Coherence especially when you begin feeling a draining emotion such as frustration, irritation, anxiety or anger. Find a feeling of ease and inner harmony that’s reflected in more balanced heart rhythms, facilitating brain function and more access to higher intelligence.

Steps for Quick Coherence Technique:

Step 1: Focus your attention in the area of the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual.

Suggestion: Inhale 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds (or whatever rhythm is comfortable)

step 1

Step 2: Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling such as appreciation or care for someone or something in your life.

Suggestion: Try to re-experience the feeling you have for someone you love, a pet, a special place, an accomplishment, etc. or focus on a feeling of calm or ease.

So what is everyones happy place?  The memory that first popped into your mind where you were truly happy.   No drunken pill popping moments, boo… I have so many of those ones.. They have to be real happy moments from your heart.

So what was mine.  –  I was in Magaluf, Party Heaven. Yes I know I said no drunken ones and this really isn’t.  So picture this.. Its Daytime, its sunny and I am on a Pedalo with my friend and little brother who  came to visit me for a holiday.  (I was a Pr rep living the dream!) Well,  her little brother was desperate for a pee but was scared that sharks would get him..He was 14 and a little drama queen and I loved to wind him up!! So I told him to just pee in the water..so he did..Then we wouldn’t let him back on the pedalo and I nearly wet myself laughing at him splashing around screaming like a little girl…Ok so I sound like a cruel b*tch but honestly he was laughing too…It has always stuck with me as It was true hilarity and a beautiful care free day with only fun and games on my mind.

 

Mindfulness

I’ve spoken about mindfulness to numerous psychiatrists, those that I’ve worked with and experts from various out-postings of the Western world. Completely unprompted, they all converge on one point: We should pay more attention to what the Eastern philosophy already knows about the body and mind. As Western doctors, we are trained in the evidence-based […]

via The spiritual aspects of mindfulness through an evidence-based lens — Thinking Clearly

Are we all Stressed out our Massive amazingly mind blowing Minds…

Stress is recognized by many as the number one proxy killer disease today.¹ If we do not keep our lives in perspective, we will create unnecessary stress by confusing the primary focus of the three main levels of the mind: the unconscious, the subconscious and the conscious.

THE UNCONSCIOUS is the lowest level of the mind. It is essentially the automatic level. It manages the direction and processing of the basic functions of the human body like: respiration, coronary functioning, digestion, temperature, immune system, reflexes, and early warning systems like the animal instincts of fight-flight-freeze-panic. Its primary focus is keeping us safe, assuring that our basic needs (water, food, air) are being met, and allowing us to be present. It is the least intelligent area of the mind.

THE SUBCONSCIOUS mind is the middle (subsurface layer) where our social instincts are directed and processed. The social instincts interact with the unconscious before entering consciousness – if they ever get there. This is where we keep track of all lessons learned from our life experiences and genetic predispositions. Some say that every second of our life is recorded through this level of our mind. This area has more intelligence than the unconscious mind, but is still not extremely intelligent. This level takes most of its intellectual reasoning from the conscious level.

THE CONSCIOUS mind resides above the surface and is arguably the most intelligent region. It is the analytical and intellectual part of the mind. It carries out much of its function based on its interactions with the subconscious and the unconscious while processing.

Each of these levels has a primary purpose and functions autonomously while still interacting with the others. In other words each level of the mind does a small part of the function of the others for a very short period of time intermittently. This leads us to the main point of this article.

By working from the inside out, you can help each level of the mind stay focused and perform its primary function better. When we allow outside influences to affect all levels of the mind, their primary focus becomes confused with the directives of the others. This compromises the function at every level and can lead to chaos causing stress. To prevent this from happening we simply need to adopt a practice of consistently differentiating needs, wants, and likes. For example, when we worry about getting a new car so we can look as good as our neighbours and we do not spend some time reinforcing that we are safe and secure no matter what, our unconscious mind believes that if we do not get the new car, we will die – as I may be doing when I finish writing this article. This new and displaced worry will affect function at a continually growing rate until we get the new car or reconcile this idea. Accordingly, asking the question “Why do I care?” can really help reduce anxiety at all levels of your consciousness.

“People are learning how to live stress free lives through the Neural Empowerment programs at Pathwaves. Pathwaves seeks to guide you to a state of individual balance and purposeful awareness,” explains Geoff Cole, Clinical Director of Pathwaves. Pathwaves believes the answer is their transformative methodology called Neural Empowerment. “Neural Empowerment is a process that aims to provide you with the tools to take control and live happier and more fulfilling lives free of stress regardless of your circumstances,” Cole shares.

(2016, Novebember) Natural Awakenings

Sources:

¹ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heartmath-llc/how-stress-affects-the-body_b_2422522.html

Does Meditation make Anxiety worse?

For me I began meditating when my anxiety started showing its ugly face in my life again.  Pharmaceutical drugs are not for me (not knocking them as they help some) just not for myself,  so I decided to face this f*cking awful feeling inside me and shine a light on it.  In my previous chapters of my life I used recreational drugs and alcohol and blanked out any crappy feelings I had.  Not now, I have children and that just isn’t an option.  I want to be the best mum I can be and I cant do that if I let anxiety get the better of me.  So in brief that Is why I discovered meditation.

Was it easy?? Did it miraculously cure my anxiety? Hell no.. It made it worse…by shining the light on to the problem, becoming aware of it, made me have to face it and that’s when I started really looking into the mind and how it works.  Meditation is part of my life and I use it daily, I feel more calm in my mind.  Do I still feel anxiety..YES..Can I deal with it, yes.  I now have tools I can use and I understand how the mind works so I can use this to my advantage.

So please do not give up on meditation as it will get easier and free’s up so much headspace which in turn gives you more energy and you will find you can handle situations in your life so much better.

 

Forgiveness Meditations are the most powerful

So I started a course with Mindvalley and one of the main points I have found in the Bending Reality course was the forgiveness meditations.  They are emotional but once you do them for a short while I noticed that people just didn’t upset me anymore.  I think when you realise that a negative emotion or reaction has such an impact on your own wellbeing you make sure that you keep your emotions in check.  It is not to say that you wont and don’t feel things, of course you do.  But you do not stay in that emotion and you learn to not react so quickly.

Vishen from Mindvalley is an amazing teacher and his 6 phase meditation can be found on YouTube for free.  You can also practice his forgiveness meditation.  This may take as little as 5 minutes to go through a forgiveness meditation.

Vishen visited the 40 years of zen programme.  Now its not something within my price range but it is a very good article to read as it proves that the forgiveness meditation changes your brain waves to promote calmer better feelings.

The Secret Is Forgiveness

Forgiveness. by Vishen

We had to forgive every single person in our lives who had wronged us. Even if it was in the slightest way imaginable.

I had to forgive high school teachers. Business partners. Family members. Everyone I could think of that I believed wronged me, big or small.

And every time I did a round of forgiveness, my alpha waves would spike. The people behind the program discovered that the single biggest factor suppressing alpha waves are holding on to grudges and anger. So it was critical for us to be able to release every last bit of it out of our system.

The method that they taught us was unbelievably effective.

Step 1: Set The Scene

Firstly, with your eyes closed and for about two minutes or so, bring back all the anger, frustration and pain you felt when someone in your life wronged you. Feel yourself in that very moment when it happened and picture the same environment you were in when you interacted with them. (To give you an example, in one of my sessions I imagined my bullying school headmaster in the same basketball court where he had made me stand for hours in the hot sun as punishment.)

Step 2: Feel The Anger And Pain

As you see the person who “wronged” you in front of you, get emotional. Relive the anger and pain. Feel it burn. But don’t do this for more than a few minutes.

Once you bring up these emotions that these people created in you, move on to the next step…

Step 3: Forgive Into Love

See that same person in front of you, but instead, feel compassion for them. Ask yourself what did I learn from this? How did this situation make my life better?

As I was doing this, I remembered a quote from one of my favorite authors, Neale Donald Walsch, “[God] sent you nothing but angels.” Everyone who has ever entered our lives, even those who have hurt us, are nothing more than someone to teach us an important lesson.

So think about what lessons you could derive from this situation as painful as it might be. How did these lessons make you better? Or help you grow?

Next, think about who this person is. What pain or anguish could they have have gone through in their life that made them do what they did.

One of my friends has a quote that I love, Hurt people hurt people.” It implies that those who hurt others, are doing it because at some level they were hurt too.

So think about how they may have been hurt in their own childhood or in their recent years.

I saw the man who had stolen from me and I tried to imagine him as a little boy in his childhood. Perhaps he came from poverty. Perhaps he had an abusive father. Perhaps his life was a constant struggle and the only means of survival as a child was to steal.

Now there’s something important to distinguish here. “Forgiveness To Love” does not mean to simply let go (in my case, to drop the charges against him with the police). You still need to protect yourself and take action if need be. Criminal acts, especially, need to be reported to authorities.

But what it does mean is that the pain of what happened no longer eats at you.

Another important thing I learned from this experience was that you don’t have to ask the other person to forgive you. You just have to forgive them. And that’s completely within your control. Dave Asprey says that when you start doing this, you become “unf*ckwithable”.

 

So I can’t recommend this powerful meditation program enough. Quantified Self is an amazing movement and it’s also deeply shifted my view of meditation. If I recommend meditation now, I would say that finding a method that measures what you’re experiencing as you meditate is the best way to go. Which is why I am now working with Dave Asprey and I’m determined to see how we can take this type of technology more accessible to the wider public.

~ Vishen Lakhiani

Training the Mind

Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” It means that the mind is trainable, and what kind of thoughts we put our energy into come to shape the mind, and affect both its affective tone (are we happy or unhappy) and its ability to discern the truth.
People take little notice of the voice that plays over and over inside their heads and are too concerned with the outside world.

Use Thought Power to Change Your Life:

It is your subconscious mind that is the storehouse of your deep-seated beliefs and programmes. To change your circumstances and attract to yourself that which you choose, you must learn to programme and re-programme your subconscious mind. The most effective and practical way to do so, is to learn the simple process of creative visualization. It is the technique underlying reality creation, making use of thought power to consciously imagine, create and attract that which you choose. Your imagination is the engine of your thoughts. It converts your thought power into mental images, which are in turn manifested in the physical realm.

Become Aware of Your Thoughts But Not Obsessed:

It is important that you learn to be aware of your habitual thoughts and to appropriately adjust them so as to maintain an overall positive mental attitude. However, be careful not to become obsessed with every thought that enters your mind as this would be equally counter-productive, if not more so, than not being aware of them at all. Remember that to obsess over your negative, unwanted thoughts, is to give them power and as the saying goes, what you resist persists. So instead of resisting any of your negative thoughts, simply learn to effortlessly cancel them by replacing them as they arise.

Instantly Replace Unwanted Thoughts:

To instantly neutralize the power of a negative thought, calmly and deliberately replace it with its opposite, positive equivalent. For instance, if you think to yourself “I’m not good enough, I will never succeed”, mentally replace that thought with “I am good enough and success comes to me easily”. You can also use the “cancel, cancel” technique made famous by the Silva Method. Each time you catch yourself thinking an unwanted thought, mentally tell yourself and the Universe “cancel, cancel” and immediately follow it up with a positive statement.

Tame Your Dominant Thoughts and Your Random Thoughts Will Follow Suit:

It is estimated that the average person has between 12,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day. This is evidence enough to suggest that your goal should not be to control every thought. It is your dominant thoughts and beliefs that you must learn to bring under your conscious control as they are what largely determine your mental attitude. As you do, you will find your random thoughts themselves becoming more positive and more deliberate.