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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Practical Mindfulness Techniques

I was listening to one of Tara Brach’s podcasts (please check them out if you have any interest in mindfulness, they are amazing), and she was talking about Freedom and Happiness in Daily Life.

The talk was is so good, that I wanted to pass it on to you readers. The talk is under an hour and it is wonderful!

From her website:

Freedom and Happiness in Daily Life (Audio)
How you live today is how you live your life. This talk explores different meditative practices and teachings that help us reconnect with and nurture presence in the midst of the array of daily stressors.

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I hope you can find some time to listen and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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The Meditation Technique that Changed My Life: RAIIN

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite meditation and mindfulness teachers is Tara Brach. She is a psychologist, author, and teacher. Listening to her podcasts and reading her books has changed my life.  There is one technique that she teaches that is called RAIIN. The acronym stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate with Intimate Awareness, and Non-Identification. She sprinkles this teaching throughout her books and her talks, but this week, her podcast focused on truly delving into the process.

I encourage you to find an hour, at some point this week, to listen to this talk.  It’s a wonderful way to practice insight meditation and really learn the habits, thoughts, and feelings that keep us separate.

You can download the talk on iTunes (free) or you can go to her website and get the audio or video option. It’s the April, 16th talk.

 

If you are able to listen, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

So true; no matter what country I'm living in--I'm with my family.

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Have a wonderful week!


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Lotus Meditation

One of my favorite meditations is the Lotus meditation. It seems to speak to me each time I practice it.

I found a well-written example here and I have copied it below.

Imagine that you are a lotus seed buried beneath a muddy lotus pond. There is mud all around you, and you can feel them clearly. Above you, above this muddy pool of dirt, mud and filth, are sunshine and air. You are not disheartened as you begin your journey towards the surface.

With a determined heart, you begin to wiggle in the earth. You grow roots deep, deep into the mud. Your little stem grows up slowly. Suddenly, “pop” you are out of the mud! Your stem grows higher and higher, taller and taller. You rise up slowly, fighting against the muddy water. All of a sudden, you are out of the muddy pond! You reach up towards the warm sun, shining down on you.

Your lotus bud begins to grow on top of your stem. It expands and grows larger and larger, finally bursting into full bloom. A white lotus flower. You stand beautifully above the muddy water, not dirtied by the mud from which you grow. You are white, fragrant and beautiful.

Everyone who saw you marvelled at your beauty! Your determination to grow out of the muddy pond reminds them of the Buddha and his journey towards Enlightenment. The Buddha, like a lotus, is determined to grow out of the muddy surroundings, that is the defilements and sufferings of life. He has done all that is to be done and he is showing us that we can all do it too. We may have defilements but we all have the potential of growing out of our defilements and achieving wisdom, like the Buddha.

You are a beautiful white lotus flower, and your role is to remind people to rise above their defilements and sufferings, just as you are arising above the muddy water and not dirtied by the mud from which you grow. 

 

Tara Brach has a wonderful talk about this subject. You can listen here.

Have you tried this meditation before? If not, you may want to spend a little time exploring this!

 


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Savor the Moment

This morning, I was listening to a Tara Brach podcast on joy. You can listen to it here. At first, I thought that this podcast wouldn’t be as useful to me as some of her other podcasts. The reason I thought that is that I consider the flavor of my personality to be naturally happy, optimistic, and joyful. However, I might have known that the second I dismissed the topic as one that might not speak to me, I would receive a  teaching that spoke directly to my heart.  She spoke on many topics, and I will have to go back and listen again and again, but the one thing that struck me today was a little part of the talk on savoring.

It's time to slow down and start savoring the moment.

Think about it; when was the last time you truly savored something? I mean, really took delight in the moment and the experience.  Tara talked about how we are velcro for negative and teflon for positive experience. She tells of how you can have one bad experience with a dog, and that will negate a thousand  positive experience you’ve had with dogs. She reminds us that we are wired that way; it’s our human conditioning. The good news is that we can change our neural pathways, ways of thinking,  and teach ourselves to savor moments. Savoring moments help us find joy. She says that someone in the Thich Nhat Hanh tradition says that when you feel joy, take ten breaths while feeling that joy inside your body. When we make an intention to savor moments of joy, peace, and happiness, it trains us to be more joyful, happy, and peaceful people.

You can guess where I’m going with this… 😉

Today’s Opportunity for Mindfulness (and through the weekend):  When you notice you are feeling joy, happiness, or peace, take a few breaths and truly feel the sensation in your body. Savor the moments.