Meditation

“The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.

Our task must be to free ourselves; by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

 Albert Einstein, 1954

 

Meditation can move us closer to promoting compassion within ourselves and those that we touch.

Through meditation we become more responsible.  This responsibility lies in the balance we discover by unlocking the synergy of our mind….. our heart….. and our inner spirit. We propose that through a continued and ongoing dedication to a personal meditation practice, great strides are possible for ourselves, our relationships, our family, and our society.  It allows us to subdue the self.  It allows us to “just let go”.  In doing so, a remarkable thing happens.  We do not cease to be.  We do not lose control.  We do not lose self; instead we liberate it.  We find a beautiful place of peace, harmony, and balance.  We now frame the self within a much purer form of loving and nurturing energy.  We begin to see a clearer picture of the world and our place in it.  We learn the art of alchemy in converting passion into compassion.  Our decision making process then incorporates a powerful and far reaching wisdom.  We are in tune within a rhythm of life, our surroundings, and those we touch.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

 Dalai Lama

A great soul once responded when asked the question, “What is the most important time?” 

The response went somewhat as follows, “The most important time is this present moment.  It is the only time that we will ever have control of.  It is what we do in this present moment that determines the direction of our lives.”

We can use this time wisely and responsibly or we can diminish its value.  Remember this; the value of this present moment is colored by our deepest feelings and subsequent thoughts and desires.  Any decision in life will have their imprint.

 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

John Lennon

 

Ask yourself these questions:

Who am I?

Where am I going?

How will I get there?

Who am I?  Where am I going?  How will I get there?

These very important questions take on a very different response when we open our heart to discover its secrets.  Through the act of quieting the mind, we allow the content resting deep within the heart to awaken.  When we contemplate our awareness and again ask these same questions after cultivating the heart, our responses are altered and given a much deeper meaning and significance.

 


 

 

 “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

Lao Tzu

 A “loving kindness” meditation

After a long day, including some difficult personal encounters we tend to build stress within our bodies and our mind.  Our mind keeps going over the situations reviewing the negative pictures and the emotions attached.

Take the time to brew yourself a cup of tea, preferably green or herbal, sit down in a comfortable and quiet setting, alone by yourself.   

Sip your tea and inhale, filling the lungs while lowering the diaphragm with breath, enjoying the beverage.  Review the day, the good and the bad.  Continue enjoying the tea and the review.  After a few minutes…..close the eyelids…..

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “listen” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “observe” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “value” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “embrace” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the inhale…..say the word “I”….. then say the word “love” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

“I…….Listen”

“I…….Observe”

“I…….Value”

“I…….Embrace”

“I…….Love

Repeat the above, quietly feeling the impression of each word, surrendering to the emotional impact of each word and each breath.

After a few rounds, just say the word, “I” on the inhale and “love” on the exhale, surrendering to the ebb and flow of the breath.  Start to let the breath find its own rhythm without any personal effort.  Allow the breath to breathe you.  Surrender to its mastery of the moment itself.  Now is when the meditation begins.  Now is when we listen to the breath…..we listen to the awakened heart.  Do not be concerned when you find the mind begin to wander.  This is normal.  It’s what the mind does.  Gently bring the attention of the mind back to the breath, back to the mantra.  The mind is like a young excited child.  Be loving, kind, and gentle with it.  The words on the inhale and the exhale help to still and calm our mind.  The relationship between our awareness and our breath is our goal.  This relationship unlocks the secrets of our heart.  It is only when we subdue the mind can we discover what the heart has to say.  It is as if the mind is a like a pond that has stones cast into it relentlessly.  It is only when the stones are stopped that the surface of the pond finds its calm.  It is then that we can see the beauty hidden beneath its surface.  The breath will guide us.  The heart beckons us upon our journey.  We just need to listen, then observe, then value, and finally surrender and embrace what we find.  In this moment we are open to the very magic of the heart.  Rediscover, in the solitude of your being, the very private and special tenderness that goes before no other soul.  Let this place and this moment embrace you with its wonder.  Let the Love and Grace found within your being expand to every cell, every breath, and every moment.  Breathe Love – Be Love.   Let it last as long as you will.

Upon completion of this meditation, revisit the problems of the day with this affirmation:  “I let go….. I listen….. I love….. I forgive…..  My heart – My love, extends to all that I meet in loving kindness.” 

 What do we hear when opening our heart?

…..Listen to the silence.

What do we see when opening our heart?

…..Observe the stillness. 

What do we find when opening our heart?

…..Value the fullness of this moment.

What do we do when opening our heart?

…..Embrace this moment with the compassion of loving kindness.

Listen to the silence of a loving heart, observe the stillness of a loving heart, value the fullness of a loving heart, and then, embrace this special moment in time with compassionate courage, generosity, and humility born from loving kindness.

 I listen, I observe, I value, I embrace…….I am…….I love…….In thee, I am…….In thee, I love.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

The act of meditation has not the goal of gaining anything.  The purpose of meditation is to surrender, to release, to “let go”; to just listen and observe.  We then value and embrace what remains.

What do we find when we still our mind?

…..Love

 

“Our knowledge of God is perfected by gratitude: we are thankful and rejoice in the experience of the truth that He is love.”

Thomas Merton

When do you recall ever having taken the time to explore the depths of your own heart?

Will the discovery of the secrets lying dormant within your heart alter the direction of your life’s journey?  Have you ever wondered which fork in the road to take?  Have you done all the necessary preparation to make the choice valid?

May we extend this invitation to self examination.  

We are all given gifts at birth.  Discover them for yourself and their ultimate power for personal transformation.  Explore how their cultivation can add meaning to your life and the lives of those you touch.

“I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks.  God is the friend of silence–we need to listen to God because it is not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters.”

Mother Teresa


 

IF by Rudyard Kipling, Inspirational Poetry & youtube.com

If

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

More Rudyard Kipling

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/if-by-rudyard-kipling

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Embracing the Present Moment by Pawan Kumar

21 Beautiful Quotes on Embracing The Present Moment

Do You embrace the moment fully you’re breathing in?

Think… Right Now!

Focusing on the present moment can transform our perspective on life and rid us of our worries and depression.

Today, I want to share with you 21 classic quotes on being fully present.

Enjoy the NOW!


1. Don’t Dwell in The Past

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” — Buddha

2. NOW — The Most Precious Thing

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time — past and future — the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” ― Eckhart Tolle

3. You Don’t Feel Anxiety in the Present Moment

“If you feel anxiety or depression, you are not in the present. You are either anxiously projecting the future or depressed and stuck in the past. The only thing you have any control over is the present moment; simple breathing exercises can make us calm and present instantly.” ― Tobe Hanson

4. Be in This Moment!

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” — Abraham Maslow

5. Stay in the Present

“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.” — Deepak Chopra

6. Don’t Ruin Today

“Do not ruin today with mourning tomorrow.” ― Catherynne M. Valente,

7. Hear Your Own Voice

“Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.” ― Charlotte Eriksson

8. Always hold fast to the present

“Always hold fast to the present. Every situation, indeed every moment, is of infinite value, for it is the representative of a whole eternity.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

9. Be Happy in This Moment

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” — Mother Teresa

10. Don’t Concerned About Past

“I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

11. Live Well Die Well

“It stands to reason that anyone who learns to live well will die well. The skills are the same: being present in the moment, and humble, and brave, and keeping a sense of humor.” ― Victoria Moran

12. Be Here Now

“Your life requires your mindful presence in order to live it. Be here now.” ― Akiroq Brost

13. You Discover Yourself in the Present Moment

“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.“ — Masaru Emoto

14. Today is the First Day!

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” — American Proverb

15. Be Like Children

“Children have neither a past nor a future. Thus they enjoy the present, which seldom happens to us.” — Jean de La Bruyère

17. Recipe of Happiness Is:

“The first recipe for happiness is: Avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.” — André Maurois

18. Negativity Couldn’t Survive In Present

“If you were conscious, that is to say totally present in the Now, all negativity would dissolve almost instantly. It could not survive in your presence.” — Eckhart Tolle

19.Today Is a Gift

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” — Alice Morse Earle

20. You Become What You Think

“Mindfulness can help people of any age that’s because we become what we think.” — Goldie Hawn

21. Focus on the Present and Empower Yourself

“Focus on opportunities not setbacks. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Focus on the present moment, not the past or the future. Empower yourself!” ― Akiroq Brost


Thanks for reading! 🙂

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EEG Study of Brainwave Activity Comparing Meditation and Prayer

What happens in the brain when we pray compared to when we meditate? An EEG study by E. S. Louise Faber
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

 

March 26, 2016

 
 

When I was working at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland, I did an EEG study, looking at what activity occurs in the brain during prayer compared to during meditation.

 

Initially the idea of the experiment was to look at what happens in the brain when we receive Divine Love, by asking participants who were interested in Divine Truth to long for God’s Love while we measured their brain waves. We then wanted to compare what we saw with people who were performing a loving kindness meditation, which is a type of Buddhist meditation where the meditators cultivate a feeling of love for people. Therefore we wanted to compare what happens in the brain during the specific reception of love, from God, with what happens in the brain during the generation of human love.

 

However we discovered that it was difficult for the Divine Truth participants to get into an emotional state where they felt open to God under experimental settings. However they were able to long to God for love. Therefore what our experiments now show is the comparison between prayer – a longing towards God for love, and potentially a feeling of love for God – with a non-referential love by the meditators.

 

What we found was that there were marked differences in the patterns of brainwaves observed at particular frequencies in the two states.

 

For example, during the loving kindness meditation, the meditators showed increases in; delta power, which is known to be active during sleep and other forms of love; alpha power, known to be active during relaxed states and positive emotional states; and beta power, known to be active during concentration and mental processing.

 

In contrast, during prayer, the Divine Love participants showed increases in; alpha power, known to be active during relaxed states and positive emotional states; gamma power, and the ratio of gamma: theta power, which are both known to be active during euphoria, and in learning and memory, suggesting that the brain was changing it’s pathways during prayer.

 

The increase in beta power during meditation but not prayer is indicative of the higher mental effort that is required to sustain a meditative state, compared to prayer.

 

When we looked at both prayer and meditation compared to when participants were resting, we saw increases in; theta, alpha, beta and gamma; frequencies that have been shown to be active during positive emotional experience, and to be involved in short and long term changes in the circuitry in the brain.

 

This suggests that activity in theta, alpha, beta and gamma may represent changes in brain activity during spiritual love, regardless of how whether that love is directed towards God or towards other people.

 

You can download a pdf of the whole paper here.

 

This is the abstract of the paper:

 

The neural correlates of two forms of spiritual love: an EEG study

 

“Spiritual practices are gaining an increasingly wider audience as a means to enhance positive affect in healthy individuals and to treat neurological disorders such as anxiety and depression. The current study aimed to examine the neural correlates of two different forms of love generated by spiritual practices using EEG; love generated during a loving kindness meditation performed by Buddhist meditators, and love generated during prayer, in a separate group of participants from a Christian-based faith.

 

“The loving kindness meditation was associated with significant increases in delta, alpha 1, alpha 2 and beta power compared to baseline, while prayer induced significant increases in power of alpha 1 and gamma oscillations, together with an increase in the gamma: theta ratio. An increase in delta activity occurred during the loving kindness meditation but not during prayer.

 

“In contrast increases in theta, alpha 1, alpha 2, beta and gamma power were observed when comparing both types of practice to baseline, suggesting that increases in these frequency bands are the neural correlates of spiritual love, independent of the type of practice used to attain the state of this type of love.

 

“These findings show that both spiritual love practices are associated with widespread changes in neural activity across the brain, in particular at frequency ranges that have been implicated in positive emotional experience, integration of distributed neural activity, and changes in short-term and long-term neural circuitry.”

 

Below is one of the figures from the paper; a heat map showing brain activation areas during prayer, compared to rest, for the different brainwave frequencies. Wamer colours show more activity.

The other figures and full results can be viewed within the paper.

 

The paper can also be found on the preprint site bioRXiv: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/045898

 

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