spirit, mind, matter

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." – Ursula K. Le Guin

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Quick Breathing Meditation

There are so many different ways to meditate.  It can be overwhelming trying to find something that works for you. When my mind is particularly chatty, I like to do breathing meditations where I count my inhalations and exhalations. I learned a version of the following meditation in my yoga teacher training program.  I have found this idea to be a wonderful way to calm my mind, deepen my breath, and come into my body when I’m feeling less able to focus.


5 minute meditation that I can actually do


The version I learned is as follows:

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Start paying attention to the breath
  • After a few breaths, tune in to the inhalation and count until the body wants to exhale.
  • At the last number, retain the breath for a moment, feeling the fullness in the body.
  • Then begin counting through the exhalation, and pause at the end to feel the sensation.
  • Breathe in again and continue the counting meditation, trying not to worry about how long you’re inhaling and exhaling.
  • Try to go with the flow, and change the numbers, not the breath.

Some days, my body likes shorter counts, and some days, it prefers longer counts.  Either way, it’s all good!

Today’s Opportunity for Mindfulness: Try one of these short breathing meditations and see how they feel!


Stop, Breathe & Think App

My best friend told me about an app she has started using for meditation. I tried it out, and I love it!  If you’re looking for a good app to enhance your meditation practice, I encourage you to check out Stop, Breath & Think.  I’ve only seen it as an Apple app, but it might be available for Andriod.  What I love about it is that it allows you to track your feelings, moods, and emotions and then gives you specific meditation practices that can work with your current experience.  I have really enjoyed weaving the new ideas into my own practice.  Even better, it’s free!


Check it out: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stop-breathe-think/id778848692?mt=8

The companion website is http://stopbreathethink.org/

Stop, Breathe & Think: A New Meditation App To Boost Compassion And Creativity | via FastCoCreate

Do you have any meditation apps that you really enjoy? Please leave a comment and share!


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Simple Meditation Technique

Today, I wanted to share a very simple meditation technique that can help awaken compassion. I heard something like this in a Tara Brach talk and have read similar techniques in a few other books.

  • Sit comfortably and slow down your breath.
  • When you feel ready, think about how you want to feel loved, be heard, and be free.
  • Truly embody those feelings and sensations in your heart.
  • When you feel ready, think about someone very close to you (a best friend, partner, child) and how they want to feel loved, be heard, and be free.
  • Allow those sensations of love to fill your heart.
  • When you feel ready, think about someone you don’t know very well (a coworker, someone you see at the coffee shop) and think about how they also long to feel loved, be heard, and be free.
  • Pause with those feelings and sensations.
  • When you feel ready, think about someone you have some aversion towards, or someone who you don’t particularly get along with and remember that they too long to be loved, to be heard, and to be free.
  • Notice those sensations and set an intention to be a force of love in the world today.

"May you be Safe. May you be Healthy. May you be Happy. May you live with Ease" Loving Kindness meditation



I used to do this meditation with my middle school chorus (45 6-8 grade boys and girls) as part of our warm-ups. They were having a difficult time coming together as a group and were having typical middle school problems with getting along. We also had 5 severely autistic students in our chorus. The students loved them, but sometimes it was challenging for the students to understand the exceptionality.  I did not use “be free” language but rather used feel safe, be loved, have friends, and be heard and understood. It was amazing the transformation this made in the room.  It wasn’t only a transformation for the children, but also for me.  When I took the time to cultivate compassion for all beings it helped me be more fair to the students and to be a more compassionate teacher.

In life, when we can remember that everyone wants to be loved, be heard, and be free, we can then choose to respond to situations remembering that there is a soul and a light in each being and we can be part of awakening compassion for all.





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Meditation and Mindfulness in the News and a Short Meditation Practice

While I love reading spiritual books and articles, I must confess that my inner scientist really loves to see meditation and mindfulness in the news.  The quotes, practices, and feelings I get appeal to my emotional/sensing side but my cerebral side loves to see what scientists are saying about meditation and mindfulness.

I thought I’d take an opportunity today to share an article with you. Below, you will find the title, link, and a few interesting quotes from the article so you can get the gist and decide if you would like to read more.

We Need To Take Meditation More Seriously As Medicine
Read more: We Need To Take Meditation More Seriously As Medicine | TIME.com http://ideas.time.com/2014/01/17/we-need-to-take-meditation-more-seriously-as-medicine/#ixzz2uPMLShIL


  • The problem? Many of us conflate meditation with yoga or other types of complimentary medicine, overestimate the time it takes to meditate effectively, and discount the neurological evidence that mindful focus improves brain functioning.


  • …he reviewed 47 clinical trials involving more than 3500 participants with mild anxiety or depression, and found that those who practiced mindful mediation saw a 5-10% improvement in anxiety symptoms and a 10-20% reduction in depressive symptoms compared to placebo groups—on par with the effects other studies have shown for anti-depressants in similar populations.

If you believe that you don’t have time to meditate, I encourage you to challenge that belief and find 5 minutes to give it a try. 

You can find a 5 minute meditation below this image. 

I have dabbled with this for years. I want to get more serious about making this a practice in my life.

5 Minute Meditation:

Set a timer, or put on a calming piece of music with a set time so you don’t worry about taking too long.

  • Sit or lay down comfortably.
  • Place your attention on your breath.
  • As you inhale, feel the the expansion of the breath in your chest and belly.
  • As you exhale, feel the chest and belly deflate.
  • Repeat, saying “rise, fall,” or “in, out,” “notice, allow,” “have, peace,” or praise, God,” whatever 2 words make you feel at ease. There is no right or wrong!

When thoughts enter your mind, notice them, and watch them leave. Having thoughts while you meditate is completely normal. It’s not wrong or bad, and it doesn’t make you “bad” at meditation- it makes you human. It’s not the thoughts that are the problem, it’s judgement and attachments to the thoughts. So, notice the thoughts and say, “ah, thinking- there is a thought,” and give it permission to be there or leave, and maintain focus on your breath.

Sometimes, my mind is so busy that I can hear myself chattering away in my mediation. I try to hear that chatter as background noise and bring my attention to the breath. For me, it’s a great indicator of my mindset for the day. If I notice I’m having a particularly “chatty/thinking” day, I can set an intention to slow down and be extra mindful of my reactions and responses.

Try it and see!