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


 

Practicing the Presence by Joel S. Goldsmith

“God is; of that you may be sure.  This is only true in your experience, however, in the degree in which you contemplate, meditate, and keep your mind stayed on God, living, moving, and having your being in the conscious realization that God will never leave you or forsake you.  God’s grace is your sufficiency, but this is only made practical in your life by your contemplation of that grace.  Only in the degree that you live consciously in the realization of God and let this realization of God dwell in you does it become true that you do not live alone – that the place whereon you stand is holy ground, for God is with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you.”   –  Joel S. Goldsmith

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5 Meditation Styles by Tris Thorp & chopra.com

Start Here! 5 Meditation Styles for Beginners

Beginning a meditation practice can be both exciting and intimidating. If you asked 10 different people what style of meditation they practice, you might get 10 different answers. It’s common to feel overwhelmed and uncertain as to where or how to get started.

The best way to begin is to familiarize yourself with some of the different types of meditation to see what resonates with you. Here are a few of the more common styles that are great for beginners.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditations have become increasingly popular in the past few years. A guided meditation is led by someone else, either in person or via a recording, that will usually (although, not always) have a theme and relaxing music playing in the background. Guided meditations generally last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the purpose or theme, and they come in all styles—including healing, manifesting, and going within to find your purpose. Because guided meditations are led by another person, this style of meditation is great for beginners and those who may struggle with sitting still for more than just a few minutes at a time. They are also beneficial if you would like to enhance your existing practice or focus your energy and attention on a specific outcome. 

If you are interested in this type of meditation, check out Deepak and Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Experience, an online program where participants are sent a new recording of a guided meditation each day. This program is offered several times each year, and is free and easily accessible to everyone. You can also download a guided meditation app on your smartphone, like Insight Timer or the Chopra Center’s Ananda app. Bonus: There’s even a guided meditation app for kids, called Ananda Kids, created by the Chopra Center!

Another option is to see if there are any guided meditations being offered in your community where you can go to meditate with like-minded individuals. Many yoga studios and wellness centers offer daily guided meditations, which can be a great way to ease into your meditation practice.

Visualization Meditation

Visualization meditation is a powerful way to use the mind to influence the body and can also be an empowering way to manifest desired outcomes in your life. Deepak Chopra teaches that what we place our attention on grows stronger and what we take our attention away from will begin to diminish. The unconscious mind is extremely powerful and it works very well with imagery.

One common visualization practice is centered around health. By visualizing your body-mind as being healthy, vibrant, and energized—or grounded, peaceful, and calm—you can begin to elicit these things both mentally and physically. Another approach is using visual imagery for creative purposes. By constructing an image in your mind of what your life might look like after having accomplished a goal and really seeing yourself having already achieved it is a way to begin living in ways that support the manifestation of your desired outcome.

To meditate using visual imagery, practice the following:

  1. Identify your desired outcome. For example, do you wish to feel more grounded and at peace in your mind and emotions? Or would you like to envision your physical body as being healthy, vibrant, and strong? Or are you longing to create art, write poetry, be in a new relationship, or travel abroad?
  2. Create an internal representation of what this looks, sounds, and feels like. Make it as real and as compelling as possible.
  3. Enter into a meditative state by relaxing and taking some deep breaths and then bring the image into your awareness. Associate yourself into the picture by stepping inside it and feeling as if it has already happened.
  4. When it’s time to come out of meditation, simply allow the image to fade off into the distance and relinquish any attachment to outcome.
  5. Meditate in this fashion anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes each day.

Japa or Mantra-Based Meditation

Japa meditation is a mantra-based meditation path that is one of the oldest, most revered classical techniques known today. The word “mantra” translates to mind vehicle or mind instrument. Japameditation has the practitioner repeating a word or phrase for the duration of the meditation, with the mantra being the focal point throughout.

During the practice, whenever you drift away from the mantra to other thoughts, sounds, or physical sensations, you simply guide your attention back to the repetition of the mantra. Think of it as a dance back and forth between mantra and thought. Some mantras have a specific meaning and it’s said that by repeating the mantra, you are connecting to the energetic essence of its intention. Other mantras purposely have no meaning and are designed to help access deeper levels of silence. In this approach, eventually the mantra and thoughts will cancel one another out. When this happens, your conscious awareness transcends the busyness of the mind and reaches higher states of consciousness.

Popular styles of mantra-based meditation are Primordial Sound Meditation as taught by Deepak Chopra and the age-old practice of the So Hum meditation. Both of these practices are easily learned in person or online for your convenience.

Loving-Kindness or Metta Meditation

Metta meditation, also known as Loving-Kindness meditation, is designed to cultivate four qualities of love: friendliness (Metta), compassion (Karuna), appreciative joy (Mudita), and equanimity (Upekkha). The quality of Metta, or friendliness, is expressed as a genuine compassion sent out with the intention of surrounding ourselves and others with loving kindness. With all that is going on in the world today, Metta meditation is a worthwhile practice for each of us to spend some time in each day. This style of meditation also works well as an entrance point for the practice of forgiveness and can be a powerful tool for lessening the charge of negative emotions we have toward those who have wronged us.

While there are various approaches to Metta meditation, this audio clip on Loving Kindness Meditationis a thorough and well-spoken version.

Another variation will have you think silently to yourself, “May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be truly happy.” You would then bring someone else into your mind (someone you love and/or someone who you are feeling challenged by) and say silently, “May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be truly happy.” You may then bring all of humanity into your awareness and send the same intention out to the collective—to all sentient beings, “May we be filled with loving kindness. May we be well. May we be peaceful and at ease. May we be truly happy.”

Once you have done this meditation a few times and you remember the process, you can begin to do the meditation on your own without listening to the audio file. Choose whatever language you prefer to use and practice this meditation for a period of time to see how it resonates with you.

Breath-Awareness Meditation

Breath-awareness meditation is a simple practice of finding a comfortable seat, closing your eyes, and placing your attention in the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Breath awareness is an effective way to establish greater mind-body connection and to reduce stress. This type of meditation can be your preferred meditation practice each day and it is also highly useful during moments of tension in the workplace and at home.

Once you’ve tried a few different types of meditation, you will have a better idea of what resonates with you and what doesn’t. The most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrongmeditation; there are many paths that all lead to the same destination, and the beauty of life is that we get to choose our own path.

Keep it simple at the beginning and just feel out some different techniques. When you find one that you enjoy, the next step is to set aside 15 to 20 minutes each day to cultivate your meditation practice. From there, tend to your practice each day and you will experience a number of life-changing benefits.


Discover the easiest, most powerful way to bring into clear focus who you really are at our signature meditation and yoga retreat, Seduction of Spirit featuring Dr. Deepak Chopra.
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