Centering Prayer

For the past 6 months, every Wednesday night at The Mercy Center in Madison, Connecticut, I’ve been attending a meditation circle, a cenetring prayer group.  

 

As is always the case the first time I do anything there is always a bit of apprehension.  However with meditation, the anxiety quickly slips away.  The whole concept behind meditation is to leave your thoughts behind.  As can be seen from my category at Wisdom and Life on meditation, this has been an ongoing practice of mine for years.  I’ve only just begun practicing with a group.

 

Image from:
Pixabay

There is much to be said about meditating and silent prayer with a group of people instead of doing so on your own:
For those who find it challenging to set aside time, this forces you to go.
–The energy in a group is far higher than doing anything by yourself.
–Seeing the same people every week draws us closer, thus increases the spiritual energy that surrounds all of us.

 

–If you find it difficult to set aside time to meditate on your own, having someone to go with can be all the motivator you need.  As with exercise, it helps to have a partner to be that extra push.  I’m thankful that I have such people in my life who push me to do these things.  Once I develop a routine however, it’s always easier to maintain.  Meditation is no different.  This Wednesday Night group has now become part of who I am.  I highly recommend finding a group if you are just starting out.  It will help you develop that practice.

 

–When meditating with a group, you can feel the energy around you expand, if though you’re all in contemplative mode, if you concentrate you can feel the positive energy surround you.  The more you are around these same people, the deeper the connection will become and you’ll find your spiritual energy exponentially increasing each week.

 

You’ll also find it easier to slip into meditation on your own.  This is such a healthy way to spend part of your day:
–Meditation can slow down your heart rate.
–Meditation can relax you do you’ll find it easier to sleep at night.
–Meditation can relieve stress in your life.

 

All helpful reasons to make it part of who you are.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Sleep is one of the most important physical things you can do to stay healthy.  Are you getting enough?  How can you feel more refreshed in the morning and make sure you are getting enough sleep during the night?

 

Image from:
Pixabay

–Exercise.
Meditate an hour before bed.
–Make sure you have proper bedding.
–Consistency.
–Use a smart alarm clock.

 

 

 

Exercise has been shown to improve your sleep patterns when done consistently,  In fact, some studies have even shown that exercise can reduce the possibilities of getting sleep apnea.  The more you maintain a regular schedule of walking, aerobic activity, running or biking, the better you will sleep at night.  I understand that for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere it can sometimes be a challenge walk, bike, hike during the dead of winter.  However, you have to weigh the benefits of sleep vs the hindrances of dealing with the colder weather.  Dress warm and use the concept of layers.  Instead of ONE winter coat, use several layers, a shirt, a long sleeve cotton shirt, a sweatshirt, THEN your coat.  Make sure you wear a scarf to protect your neck from wind and cold getting into your body and ear muffs if like me, you don’t like wearing a hat.  If you’re consistent with the amount of activity you pursue, you will see a positive change in your sleep patterns.

 

Meditation is one activity where you won’t have to wait to see results.  If you turn off all electronic screens at LEAST one hour before going to bed and sit in darkness with soft instrumental music playing in the background and simply let your mind drift away, by the time you crawl into your bed, all the work of relaxing will be complete and you’ll find yourself falling asleep much quicker than before.  This practice takes adherence, and again here comes that word:
Consistency.

 

You can’t expect to meditate once a week and think that you’ll sleep well every night.  This must become part of who you are.  Meditate every night for a week and you’ll see a direct positive result.  You’ll fall asleep faster and you will wake feeling more refreshed.  Once you see the results, I believe you will continue to do this every night.

 

Speaking of Proper Bedding.  It is important that you have a bedding that fits your sleep patterns.  By bedding I mean not just your mattress but your pillow as well.  In December 2012, I wrote a column here about selecting the proper pillow for the way you sleep.  It is definitely worth a read through again.  As I wrote in that column:
I used a soft down pillow for YEARS. It wasn’t until I experienced neck pain that I realized I used the wrong pillow.  Read the column linked above to discover why.  The other important factor to consider in the proper bedding category is this:
Your bedroom should be used for ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY:
Sleep.

 

You should NOT be reading in your bedroom.
You should NOT have a television in your bedroom.

 

All these things become a distraction and they take away the reason FOR YOUR bedroom.  You use your bedroom for what it is named for:
Your bed.  

 

By having other experiences in your bedroom, your mind will think that room is used for reading, for watching television, for doing anything other than sleep.

 

Consistency once again.  This time the word is used to say, it is important to maintain a regular time to go to bed.  If you go to bed at different times during the week, your body won’t understand the inconsistency and you will find that you won’t fall asleep until the latest time that you go to bed.  My bed time is typically by 930 and I do my best to maintain that schedule.  It is so important to make a schedule for your bedtime and stay within that time period as best you can.

 

Finally the other tool I’ve begun using is a smart alarm clock.  If you have a smartphone which many people now do, you can find a smart alarm clock app.  What this does is that it listens to you as you sleep and it will wake you within a time period that you choose in which you are in your lightest sleep.  Instead of blasting an alarm it will wake you to any number of sounds that are available.  I use Sleep Cycle, because I found that it is the ONLY app that you don’t have to keep in bed with you.  I keep the phone on my nightstand.  Sleep Cycle also keeps track of how well you sleep while it monitors your sleep.

 

If you follow these simple steps, I believe that over the course of a few months you will find your sleep patterns improving.  As I said earlier and often, you MUST remain consistent.  Otherwise nothing will change.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

Meditation in the Classroom

In a recent Time Magazine article called The Mindful Classroom, there is a movement afoot in some schools to provide meditation as a required class for students starting kindergarten.  The implication being that if we start children learning at an early age to meditate we can alleviate one of the great challenges found in students as they move through school:
Anxiety.

 

Image from:
Wikimedia
childrenmeditating

Breathing exercises, yoga, meditation all help this.  The Time Magazine article states:
Although research on mindfulness in children is still preliminary, studies show that it can help kids who have anxiety and trouble paying attention with their schoolwork, behavior and stress regulation.  First through third graders who were taught mindfulness and breathing techniques had fewer ADHD symptoms and less anxiety one study found.

 

Which is not difficult to imagine, as the process of meditation and breathing exercises alleviate stress.  If meditation class became a part of school structure, I think we’d see quite a bit less   challenging students.  The article from Time Magazine mentioned that teachers are being taught meditation as well in order to show their students.  

 

There is even a program in place in some schools in The United States where detention has been replaced with meditation class.  If students misbehave the normal response is to punish them.  But that only encourages more negativity.  Why not find a positive response insead?  By replacing detention with meditation, students who continually have behavior challenges may become less difficult by meditating.  Meditation takes away the stress, and the anger that caused the outburst in the first place, replacing it with a calm.  If more schools looked into replacing detention I believe we’d see less behavior challenges just as if meditation became part of a school’s regular curriculum.

 

Yoga, breathing exercises, meditation.  They are all part of a healthy lifestyle and it’s so good to see that primary schools are now focusing on more than simply intellectual learning and turning their attention to esoteric education as well.  Long time coming.  Let’s hope it continues far into the future.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

Sacred Spaces and Meditation

A couple weeks ago, I went to a meditation seminar with my friend Glenn.

 

Image from:
Pixabay
chakra-1063278_640

We share many of the same philosophies on life and I ALWAYS enjoy when we do things together.  It’s challenging for me to go out at night though, because the LAST thing I want to do after work is to turn around and go out again.  If I have no other plans however, I make an exception for a few of my friends:
Jason
Julie
Cathy
And Glenn.

 

I’m so happy that I went with Glenn because as is usually the case with the seminars I attend with him, I learned something. I meditate regularly as can be seen from the previous link.  Writing is one form or meditation for me.  I sometimes write so furiously that I get into The Flow.  That’s where I love to be.

 

Okay.  So what did I learn from the meditation seminar:
I learned that I don’t have a sacred space where I meditate.  

 

Those of us who practice meditation SHOULD create a place where we are only devoted to that practice.  It’s something I need to work on.  So what IS a sacred place?  And how can we create one?

 

Sacred places are where we feel spiritual.  Whatever creates that feeling in you, if you are spiritually religious, you could create a religious space:
Pictures of saints
Religious talismans

 

Whatever it takes to help you slip deeper into your meditation practice.  I HAVE been using my writing area.  Since writing IS ONE form of meditation that I do, my writing desk served me well.  However, after leaving that seminar I realize there are many things missing from my space and I need to change that.  I’ll be working on making those changes over the coming weeks.

 

Where do you meditate?
Do you have a specific place?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

Fear Not!

Fear itself is not the impediment to your joyful life. But, fear is pointing at the impediment to your joyful life. And just as the feeling of fear is within you, the impediment is within you also.

 

Abraham Hicks

 

Fear is a tricky word.  It can be an impediment just as it can be a blessing.  Fear can hold you back or if you choose it can also move you forward.  What are you afraid of?

Failure?

 

Image from:
Pixabay
Fear

There is no failure.  There are only lessons to learn.  
Even death isn’t a failure.  Because there is no death.  There is only transition.

You leave on state, the physical and transition to the spiritual, to the ethereal.  And even that state is temporary until we become living flesh again.  The failures we THINK we’ve seen are only lessons to learn in our next incarnation.  There is no reason to fear…

….ANYTHING!

 

Sometimes, as the image above suggests, you have to trust but IF you stray off the “trust” path, you may be fearful at first, however you may just find a new path and discover something about yourself you didn’t know.  Fear can hold you back but it can also move you forward if you release it and step out of your comfort zone.

 

And remember:
There is nothing to fear.
There is no failure.  Only challenges and lessons to learn.

 

Fear is a word that you can dismiss from your lexicon if you’re strong enough.

 

Remember, fear only rears it ugly head when we look too far into the future, when we forecast, when we start to think what happens tomorrow, next week, next year.  How do we stay joyful?  By staying in the present moment.  Nothing bad can happen in the present moment.

 

Stop forecasting!
Stop focusing on the future!

 

Finding it challenging to stay in the present moment?  When I have trouble doing that I meditate.  

–Meditating is an excellent way to get centered and stay centered.
–Meditating can knock the fear out of you, can knock it to kingdom come, can knock it out of the ballpark.  Fear is just a word.  You can knock that word of your lexicon.

 

Fear not!

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end

Breathing and Yoga

There is nothing about your physical awareness that connects you more to the Non-Physical aspect of your Being than that of your breathing.

Many assume that the process of breathing is only about your physical nature, but that is not the case. The process of breathing is much more than an essential function of your physical body. Indeed, it is the flowing of Spirit to you, and through you. That is the reason that when the focusing of Spirit through your physical body ceases, your breathing ceases, also.

Our meditation experience will induce a convergence of beneficial aspects for you, for as you relax into the natural rhythm of perfect breathing while hearing these spoken words, the Vibration of your physical being will gently surrender to the Vibrational frequency of your Source, and you will become one with your Source, inside the Vortex.

Through the hearing of our words in your relaxed state of allowing, you will allow the gentle tuning of your Vibrational frequency to match the frequency of your Source.

This will not be an exercise of effort or trying, but instead an exercise of releasing and allowing…gently allowing yourself to be who-you-really-are.

 

 

Abraham-Hicks

 

 

For Christmas this year, I received a one month free trial to Bikram Yoga in Madison, Connecticut.

 

Image from:
Pixabay
Yoga

One of the things the teacher says is to breath through your nose and NOT to use your mouth.  This is a challenge for me to learn and I continue to catch myself breathing through my mouth, or the instructor happens to look up directly at me at the EXACT time that I AM breathing through my mouth.  Dammit!  LoL!

 

I understand that with practice and  time I will improve.  I know having been practicing yoga on my own for sometime now what an important ingredient breathing is to the art.

 

Breathing centers you.
Breathing lets you know that you’re alive.

 

Yoga and Spirit are one in the same; as is meditation and yoga.  Yoga is simply another form of meditation.  So it only makes sense that consciously breathing during yoga is bringing spirit into your very being, into your soul.

 

Were it NOT for my home practice of yoga, I surely wouldn’t be upright.  And now that I have the added discipline of going to class it will only help me get better.  I haven’t been aware that I should be breathing through my nose when practicing yoga.  Now when I do my yoga at home I will make a concerted effort to nose breath and close my mouth.  One lesson learned.  I have people worried about my doing Bikram Yoga and to be honest I let that worry deter me from going for awhile.

 

After attending three classes however, I now realize the benefits far outweigh the concern.  I’m sleeping so much more soundly.  My body, though, still feeling the strain is becoming more flexible and I’m able to maintain the poses the instructor puts us in for longer periods of time.  Yes.  There are some poses I still can’t perform but as the teacher says:
It is more important to do what you CAN do and let the other poses come when they come.

 

I can’t let fear and concern for my well being prevent me from doing something that may very well help my health.

 

We shouldn’t be afraid to move forward.
We should all occasionally do something that’s outside of our comfort zone.
We shouldn’t let someone tell us we can’t do something.

 

Here’s what’s funny about this:
Typically if you tell me no.  You can’t do that.  I’ll find a way to get it done.

 

I have to remember that in the future.  Bikram Yoga has been a Godsend and once my free month is up I WILL find a way to continue.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

 

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

 

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

 

Stillness is Not a Thing

Stillness is the only thing in this world that has no form.  But then, it is not really a thing, and it is not of this world.

 

Eckhart Tolle
Image from:
Wikipedia
EckhhartTolle

As The Eagles say:
Learn to be Still

 

It is only in stillness that we learn who we truly are.  In this modern age of technology, it is extremely challenging to unplug, to shut down, to be just with oneself.  How many of us can do so?  Not many I would imagine.  If we want to remain emotionally balanced, it is imperative that we find a way every day to slip away from the world; to shut down, to contemplate our place.  It is important for our well being that we unplug.

 

Introverts, especially need this me time.  Which is not to say we all don’t need quiet time.  We do.  In the stillness, is sometimes where our greatest insights come from.  Why do you think creatives sometimes use the excuse of going for a walk to clear their heads?  It is because by getting away, by leaving their challenge, by going for a walk they declutter their minds, they are able to free up that noise and think about something else.  Thus, many times creatives find that elusive solution that was hiding in plain sight.  They remove themselves from the obstacle and the debris flows away, thus clearing the path for the solution to present itself.

 

I’ve used this practice myself many times.  Writing fiction many years ago presented challenges all their own and several times during the course of a week, I would arrive at a wall.  Instead of being discouraged by this, I’d use it as an opportunity to realize that I needed to break away, that I needed a respite.  I walked away from the wall.  I shut down.  I played some soft music and closed my eyes.  I blocked out all thought of said challenge.  I meditated.

 

Mediation has been a tool I’ve used for years.  Not simply in helping me find solutions to challenges, but also as a means of helping me cope with the daily grind that life presents.  Learning to be still can help in so many ways.

–Meditation can help you deal with the challenges that arise in your life because you can calm yourself in the face of fear.

–Meditation can help you with your sleep patterns.  If you meditate at night just before going to sleep, turning off all electronics, turning off all lights, and playing soft music, you will find yourself much more relaxed when you head to bed.

 

And speaking of your bedroom, the ONLY thing you should be doing in there is sleeping.

You should have NO television in your bedroom.
You should have no computers in your bedroom.

 

 

Your body and mind get used to a certain rhythm and having glowing screens in front of you all the time, it is next to impossible to shut out all that flickering light.  Why do you think when you close your eyes after staring at something bright, you continue to see that flickering?  Do you really think that flickering doesn’t hurt your chances to sleep at night?

 

Of course it does.  That’s why I find it so important to shut down all screens an hour before I go to bed.  Learning to meditate took me some time, but now I find it very easy to do so.  Remaining still, finding your center, meditating?  These are all extremely important traits to have.  Everyone should practice.

 

Stillness:
Find yours!

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

 

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

 

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

Keep Stillness Inside You

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.


Deepak Chopra

 

I’ve written about Deepak Chopra at Wisdom and Life previously.  He’s one of my favorite enlightened people.  That’s why I continue returning to him.

 

Are you experiencing turmoil at this moment?
Are you experiencing a squall?  A tempest? A gale?
Are you experiencing an emotional storm?

 

Image from:
Wikipedia
Meditate

How do you react when something doesn’t go your way?  Do you become agitated?  Do you fight the storm with stress?  Do you fight it with fury?  What if you simply gave in and let the storm take you?  What if as Deepak suggests you remain still?  What if you kept stillness within you?  What do you think would happen?
Would you find peace?
Would your turmoil vanish?

 

I think it would.

 

Repeat it often if need be:
Letting go is not a sign of weakness.
Letting go is a sign of strength.

 

Fighting against ANYTHING, ALWAYS expels energy, ALWAYS creates stress.  As I’ve said here many times over, isn’t it better to roll with the punches, row your boat down the stream instead of fighting the current?  That’s what Deepak Chopra is telling us to do with this quote.

 

It takes a strong person to let go.  Letting go is not a sign of weakness. Letting go is a sign of strength.   We simply have to realize this.

 

If you have a challenging time keeping still in the midst of chaos, one thing you can do to help is meditating.  I find that I can become more peaceful now when something I expect doesn’t come to fruition, simply because I spend time meditating especially at night just before bed.  Meditating at night helps me get to sleep and sleep more soundly through the night.

 

Meditating also helps me remain calm in the midst of chaos as I can call up that peaceful state when something is not going as I planned it.  I’m not suggesting this will work for everyone, just as I’m not suggesting anything I write at Wisdom and Life will change your life.  I’m simply saying this works for me and it MAY work for you.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

 

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

 

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

 

The Answers You Seek

The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still, when silence speaks loudest.

 

Spiritual Truths

 

Image from:

Venerable Mettananda

Buddhist monk meditation on WaterMeditation.
Sleeping.
Dreaming.
The time JUST before fully waking.
 

These are all times when your mind is the clearest. There are no scattered thoughts racing around.  Your mind is settled, calm, serene.

How many times have you awakened in the in the middle of the night and discovered the solution to a challenge you’ve faced?

 

 Do you ever wonder why that is?  It is because of what I said above:
This is the time when your mind is settled.
It’s why I spend so much time meditating.
It’s why I practice yoga.

 

These two practices help me return to that serene state.  When I’m facing a challenge calming my soul, calming my mind, calming my body does wonders to discover that solution I’ve know is locked in my mind.  It’s why when I was writing fiction, I’d always keep a 3×5 notebook on my nightstand with a pen right beside the notebook.

 

So often I’d go to bed with a question in my mind about the direction I was headed with a particular storyline.  On many occasions, I’d wake and the resolution would surface.  All it took was to STOP thinking, to STOP dwelling, to let the solution work its way into my uncluttered mind.  The same can be said if you’re facing an emotional challenge.

 

So easy it is to say simply stop thinking.

 

When the answers flow once you are in that serene place, you MAY realize that’s where you must be to find the challenging solutions.

Stop pressing!
Stop rowing AGAINST the stream.

 

It is only when you are calm,
It is only when you are serene,
that you will discover the answers.

 

 If you are not practicing meditative states and you are faced with stressful situations,

if you cannot find solutions to challenges you are facing,
If you are easily agitated,

Perhaps you should find time to practice silence.
Perhaps you should find time to practice yoga.
Perhaps you should find time to meditate.

 

You may be surprised to discover you find those solutions more quickly.
You may be surprised to discover that stress vanishes.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

 

Law of Attraction and Meditation

Law of Attraction and Meditation:
These two topics would seem to fit together as perfect puzzle pieces, wouldn’t you think?  I never thought of them in the same sentence before, however I can see how they would fit together.  Law of Attraction (LoA)  after all is bring into your focus what you desire.  What’s the imperative word there?

If you said, focus then ding ding ding, you get the prize.  Focus is extremely important in meditation.  Remember as I said above one of the points in LoA is focusing on what you want?  What better way to focus than through meditation?  I am well aware of guided meditation as I’ve done it before.  I’m sure there are LoA guided meditations available.

The biggest challenge I have with being guided is that it does me no good.  I focus too much on the voice of the person speaking to me and not enough on my own personal space.  When I meditate I don’t like to be told what to see, where to go, what to do.  I need the freedom to travel unimpeded , to go where I feel most at peace.  I can imagine someone just learning to practice meditating would need some guidance, however I’ve been meditating for several years now and hearing someone’s voice does more to interrupt my calm than settle it.  Focus is what I need when meditating, and guided meditation simply doesn’t work for me.  It doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.  Maybe it will.

LoA attempts to bring to you what you desire.  The only way for it to do so is by deep focus.  Meditating can bring you to a place where you are extremely focused.  If you center on what you want whether it be a relationship, a career, an object, put some instrumental music on, close your eyes and simply drift away, staying centered on your desire.  You can sometimes reach your higher self in this way, the universal “you,” the place where your dreams exist.

Those who meditate daily say they can find that place with relative ease on a regular basis.  Once in this state, the essence of who are, some would say your soul is no longer with your body.  It has traveled outside.  This is when you can ask the universe for what it is that your shell, your physical desires.

It’s not easy to get to this place.  The more you practice meditation, the more likely it is that you will reach it.  You may not even be aware that you are in the state the first time you make contact with the Universal.  You may only be there for what appears to be a split second, but remember in previous entries here at Wisdom and Life when I said:
Time is different in the Spiritual Realm
.  I wrote another entry called Fixed Rules where I discuss how time varies between the spiritual realm and the physical realm.

What I’m getting at and why I brought up these two blogs here, is that even though you may feel as if you’ve spent only a split second in the Universal State, most likely the time you were there was much longer than your physical, than your shell can comprehend.  So while there you MUST make sure you voice your desire.  Someone (Our Guides?) will pick up on your desire and if it is in your Divine Plan your wish will manifest at the right time.
When the wish arrives, you must make sure to thank the Universe, your GuidesThe Masters so that they are aware.  This is an important step in practicing LoA.  By acknowledging the Universe, you are giving thanks to those who manifested your desires.

Meditating can help you reach that state where can speak with your guides and as I said above even though it may seem as if you’ve spent but a split second in that state, chances are you were there much longer than you know.

It’s important that you ask for your desire.
It’s important that you continually focus on your desire as you move into your meditative state.  The more you center on your wish the greater the likelihood that your masters, your guides will pick up on why you’re in the Universal state.

Remember to focus!

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris