Step into self-healing

No pain, no gain? Come on! Pain is an illusion, but still, feeling it is a horrible thing. Physical pain can be extremely exhausting and frustrating. You might have the most positive attitude to life in general, but when pain calls, you often have no other option but scream and shout in the receiver. Because when you are in pain, all your positive thoughts happen to be left far behind. Your mind is so blurred that you can’t even think straight. Grumpy and mordant, all hell breaks loose around that hurting you. Well, at least, more often than not, that’s my case. And considering the fact I don’t get quite along with painkillers and all that chemistry, I used to suffer and wait for the pain to go away on its own, which, I must admit, was a bit too challenging at times. However, quiet suffering is not the only way to deal with pain. And rather pointless, for that matter. I recently discovered how powerful human mind can be. And used along with human will (yet another powerful tool), there is no such thing as unhealable wound. So why suffer?

The first step towards healing, of course, is to identify the cause. Identifying the source is the only way you could deal with physical pain. And that’s even more relevant when it’s not about pain that is due to particular physical activity, such as in occupational diseases. For example, if you spend too much time on the PC, it’s rather likely you’d suffer from tendovaginitis or harm your vision at some point. But when pain is not directly related to your daily activities, it has been found out that physical issues are often related to emotional or mental problems. Feeling despair, powerlessness and lack of success could result in an abscess. Allergies could express internal conflict you might experiencing. Arthritis could show that maybe you are too self-critical or consider yourself too selfish. And if your arms hurt, for instance, you might be experiencing doubt in your ability or usefulness. The list goes on and on, but you have to start somewhere. So, first of all, assess your situation and dig deep to find the real cause of your pain. Even if you can’t really tell the reason of your suffering, it’s always possible to influence it and improve your health condition. And besides focusing on the usual suspects in terms of physical health – living and eating healthy, and ensuring enough physical activity – you also need to find the time to work on your spiritual health. This, among others, can be achieved through a number of meditation and breathing practices. Here I’d like to emphasize that you, being all in all nothing but divine energy, have the power to make everything alright. Be it in your physical reality, or in your spiritual world, you have the ability and capacity to make miracles happen. You don’t believe it? Well, do! Have some faith, will ya? Plus, I wouldn’t lie to our faithful blog followers, would I? So, start by believing that anything is possible and you are the genuine miracle-maker in your life.

Let me give you a simple example on how to deal with pain. Physical or mental, it makes no difference, the approach is all the same. Sit down and meditate. (Yes, as simple as that.) Take a few deep breaths and feel physical relaxation, emotional calm, and mental stillness. In your head, go to a peaceful scene that makes you feel calm, relaxed, and safe. Then pick a sankalpa. That is, a concept or notion, coming from the bottom of your heart. The sankalpa should set and express your deepest intention on what you want to achieve with this practice. For example: “I am healthy”, “I am free of pain”, or “I am healing”. Repeat it at least three times, saying the words out loud, quietly to yourself, or hear them as a thought. Whatever the case may be, say it like you mean it. It is very important that you believe what you’re saying, so use the greatest emotional input you’re capable of. The more you believe, the sooner you’ll achieve the desired results.

Now visualize your body and locate the pain. See it clearly, feel it in full. Dive into it. Then feel compassion to yourself for all that suffering. Open your heart by focusing on your Heart Chakra and visualizing a light green light. Feel that sacred love you have for yourself spreading all over your body. Take a few moments to feel peaceful and loved unconditionally. Afterwards, direct that energy to the place where you feel the pain. Inhale from the Heart Chakra and exhale from the painful place, seeing the pain materializing as a dark cloud of particles, passing through your skin and dissolving completely in the air. Let go of the pain and feel the relief. Keep breathing like that in and out, keep visualizing. See wounds healing, feel the pain going away, see yourself healthy and happy. It might take some time, but you will surely feel the difference. Do this practice every morning and every evening or whenever pain starts to bother you during the day.

You may also use this practice to heal emotional wounds. Take account of your issue. Try to see the situation as objectively as possible, free of guilt and accusations. It’s all an illusion after all, it’s all in your head, so accept others and yourself just the way that you are, nothing more and nothing less. Then let go of the emotional blockages that back you down and impede you from advancing. It is what it is, right? Yes. Until you change it. So you either do so or try to make the most out of it. Just make sure you take the time to work on the respective issue and you’ll see the situation changing every day for the better. Namasté.

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Money makes the world go round

 

It does! Seriously! Who could dare to deny it? This is a well-known fact. Irrespective of that, money remains the apple of discord for the majority of good souls around due to their conviction that money is somehow incompatible with goodness. Well, this is not much of a surprise since we’ve been taught from a very young age that money is bad. Money is evil! Wanting money is greedy! You’re not supposed to have money (let alone, want it) because money is wicked. Money spoils people, it brings out the very worst of them, making them greedy, arrogant, and selfish. Plus, you can’t have happiness and money at the same time. You have to choose. But why choose? Is it really that bad to have money? It brings such a pleasure, how could it be so bad?

Fact is, we love money. We all do. We love it because we know pretty well how sweet life tastes when you have it. Money gives you the freedom to be whoever and wherever you want. Wouldn’t you fancy that great car, or a trip around the world, or an incredible mansion to live in? Of course, you would. But only a few of us would admit how much they actually love money and how much they crave having it. That hypocritical attitude is mainly due to our upbringing. For some reason we were cradled with the concept that money is bad. And it’s bad because it spoils people. Makes them turn from good to bad. At least that’s the reasoning why you shouldn’t have money and how that contradicts to being a good person. I could add to that, however, that being good or bad has nothing to do with money. You could be spoiled even if you lived in humble circumstances. Analogically, you could be wealthy and help people in need, right? Right. In any case, you don’t have to live in scarcity. Why would you if you could avoid it? Universe is ever-listening and all-giving, why wouldn’t you take it? Give me one reason why you don’t deserve to have what you want. Alright, two reasons. 🙂

My point is that the expression of kindness and goodness greatly depends on your personality and not on wealth. And it’s not the same to give one buck for charity purposes if you have a hundred and give away the same amount if you only have two. So yes, money could assist you in spreading love one way or another and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong to enjoy money or want it. Money is means as any other. It could be used to create good or bad as any other tool we have at our disposal. The manner to use it exclusively depends on our own concept of money. So answer these questions. What is money for you? Do you believe you have enough of it? Would you use some more? And if yes, do you believe you’re bad because you want money? Do you consider this wrong? And the answer to the last two is “no”. There’s not even the slightest need to feel bad, greedy or guilty about wanting money. But if you feel that way, you should  consider altering your concept of money. What if you truly and deeply believed money is a good tool to provide you with happiness, positive emotions, and good experience? Money could indeed bring you some pleasure. Agree? Yes? So accept it. Stop fighting with yourself and you could  live in abundance. And if you feel gratitude for all that you already have, you’ll only get more. Transforming your very idea of what money really is could help you achieve that. Think of it this way, you already have everything you need at your disposal. You have all the tools to have everything you ever dreamed of and be as happy as you could be. Don’t worry about the how, Universe will take care of that. She always does, if only you are clear in what you want. Otherwise, you might get an awkward mixture of all the things you kinda wanted. To get back to the point, you can have anything you want. Anything. You just have to request it. How? Picture it. Visualize it. Feel it happening. Feel the emotion of already having what you’re craving. Let me tell you how it works. If you constantly repeat to yourself: “I want money. I want money. I want money.”, that’s exactly what you’re gonna get. Universe is gonna give you the “want”, i.e. you’ll experience penury. On the other hand, if you act like you already have enough money for everything you want, that’s what She’s gonna give you. Try visualizing yourself having lots of money. Imagine yourself buying all that you want, spending money, giving it away. Study, travel, enjoy life, do whatever you want. Imagine how happy that would make you feel and put as much emotion as you can into that picture. This is the key, you have to make it as emotional as possible, that’s all you need to see it materializing into your own reality. You could practice this type of visualization during meditation or just in quiet times when you’re on your own and no one and nothing would interrupt you. Try to gradually relax your body. Quiet your mind. Let go of any thoughts, don’t fight them, just gently let them go. And when you feel you’re calm enough, you could start the practice. Start seeing things exactly the way you want them to be. And then… just enjoy the abundance!

The other cheek

As already discussed in another of our articles, life is suffering. We all know that and we’ve all been hurt at some point. Maybe even now, while you’re reading this. More or less, we’ve all been lied to, deceived, and betrayed. We’ve been humiliated, oppressed, and chained. We’ve been misled, violated, and abused. We know suffering. Whether physical or mental, we know it in depth. If that’s not the case, you should know by now that you are a minority. A lucky minority. As for the unlucky majority… well, life is still suffering.

It seems that some wounds never heal. Sometimes we are broken so bad and so hard that we don’t even know if we’ll manage to stand up again. And yet, we do. That’s the whole point. Overcoming everything and everyone. People often hurt us and that’s for a fact, deliberately or not, just a bit or big time, but they do. Sometimes they torture, sometimes they play, sometimes they are just mean with no evident reason.  Or manipulate us to get what they want, making us feel weak, inept and empty. And some of them are so bad that they make us believe it’s all our fault because we’re no good, or not worthy enough, or we don’t deserve better. They sell us their lies and expect us to buy them. And we do, because they’re incessantly messing up with our heads, undermining the faith we have in ourselves. Insecure people are easier to manipulate, to influence upon, and of course, to affect.

Now, the Bible says: “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” But should you really turn the other cheek and let people abuse you? Maybe, but I’m not that advanced. It must be a sign of real virtue to let people do you wrong as much and as long as they want to and still remain unaffected, knowing that they are not really able to hurt you or take your freedom away. It seems like the end of the rainbow, at least to me. I find myself very far from that biblical concept that you should let people hurt you in any manner whatsoever because this is deemed divine. It might be, it ought to be, but personally, I’m not there yet.

So, let’s say you’re not one of them saints and one fine day you say it’s enough. You tell yourself this was it, the very last drop and you can’t take it anymore, so you take your own path. But even if you break the chains and you wisely decide to shut off those people hurting you and abusing you, that chain is still there. It still rattles and you feel it tightening around your neck. The leash is still there. It’s inside of you, as are all the hits you’ve taken, physically or otherwise. You’re still wounded, you’re still hurt. Maybe you imagined that if you parted, it would all go away, but it doesn’t. The pain is still here. To haunt you and torture you like before, as if nothing changed. You could have stayed, but you didn’t. You broke free. So why aren’t you happy now? Where did you go wrong? Why doesn’t your life seem that wonderful as you thought it would be? Because you’re holding a grudge. Because instead of enjoying your beautiful present, you keep living in the past. You keep living the memory of your sad experience, day after day, with no hope of resurrection. You keep blaming the people who made you feel so miserable, who hurt you so much and tried to destroy you in their own vicious way. Out of the blue, all that you’ve been through hits you and you realize you haven’t made an inch further. So you start hating your abuser(s) from the bottom of your broken heart, you curse them and you hope they died. Quite understandable, at some point all that hatred turns back to you and eventually you start blaming yourself (if not already). Thinking that if you had made a different choice, a different decision, all this wouldn’t have happened. And the worst part is, that you didn’t do the right thing, you didn’t make that change happen, you did nothing to mend the situation. So you punish yourself for what you have or haven’t done and start living a life of guilt and regret. Towards yourself and all those people who have hurt you. But mainly yourself.

Truth is and perhaps you’ve heard it before, nothing changes if nothing changes. That is, nothing will ever change until you found the strength inside to forgive and let go. People make right choices, but also wrong ones. People make good decisions, but also bad ones. More often than you could imagine. But you can’t blame yourself or them forever. What I’ve learned from experience, is that if you want out of the mud, you must make peace with yourself. First, forgive yourself for making the wrong choices. Don’t even call them mistakes. Theoretically, there’s no such thing as mistake, there’s good experience and bad experience, so consider that a bad one and make the choice to have only good experiences from now on. And no matter how hard it may seem to you, forgive others for making their wrong choices too. I know, I know, when abused for a long time one way or the other, it’s not an easy one to smile, reconcile and let go like that. But you should. If you want to get anywhere, you should. There’s a very useful means to practice forgiveness, it’s called metta, or loving-kindness meditation and it basically teaches kindness, towards yourself and towards others. But not only people-you-like kindness, kind to people you dislike or even hate as well. I’ll take a closer look on metta in one of the next articles, for it’s definitely worth giving a try and it helps a lot.

To summarize, there would be no good if there were no evil. There would be no light without the darkness and you would have not been the person you are today without all of your experiences, good and bad. So give gratitude for them all. For they all taught you something, they all made you strong. And don’t forget to give credit to yourself for who you are today and where you stand. If you think you’re reading this by chance, you’d better think twice. You’re here for a reason and you’re right where you’re supposed to be. Remember, your future is just a matter of choice. Your choice.

The sacred wheels

We are all energy beings, which is not that hard to imagine, considering the fact that everything around is nothing but energy. The energy of life is flowing throughout our bodies all the time via thousands of energy centers, but there are seven of them, which are considered major. They are located along the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. All seven chakras help to regulate the body processes, from organ function to the immune system and emotions. Now, you probably know that in Sanskrit the word chakra means “wheel” and each of those wheels governs specific functions and has its own vibrational frequency, so in order to visualize a chakra, you could imagine a swirling wheel of energy, each of the relevant color as described below. The first three chakras are referred to as chakras of matter, i.e. more physical in nature. The fourth one represents the connection between matter and spirit, while the remaining three are referred to as chakras of spirit. This article aims to provide a brief description of the seven main chakras, which are essential to our body functions and overall physical existence. Here we go.

The Root chakra (Muladhara)

1_root

Located at the base of your spine, the first chakra is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. It is associated with security and safety, survival, physicality, physical identity and aspects of self, grounding.

When imbalanced, Muladhara might result in excessive negativity, cynicism, eating disorders, greed, avarice, illusion, and excessive feeling of insecurity, living on survival mode.

The Sacral chakra (Svadhisthana)

Located just below your navel, this is the chakra of sensuality and creativity. It’s associated with emotions, feelings, relationships, relating, expression of sexuality, sensual pleasure, feeling the outer and inner worlds, creativity, and fantasies.

When imbalanced, Svadhisthana might result in dependency on other people or substances, being ruled by your emotions, feeling numb, out of touch with yourself and how you feel, overindulgence in fantasies, sexual obsessions, lack of sexual desire or satisfaction, feeling stuck in a particular feeling or mood.

The Solar Plexus chakra (Manipura)

Located at your solar plexus area, this is the chakra of expression of will, personal power, and mental abilities. It’s associated with taking responsibility for your life, taking control, mental abilities, the intellect, forming personal opinions and beliefs, making decisions, setting the direction, clarity of judgments, personal identity, personality, self-assurance, confidence, self-discipline, independence.

When imbalanced, Manipura might result in excessive control and authority over your environment and people, feeling of helplessness, irresponsibility, being obsessed with minute details, losing the big picture, being manipulative, misusing your power, lack of clear direction, lack of purpose or ambition, making plans or having a lot of ideas without finding efficient ways to realize them.

The Heart chakra (Anahata)

Located at the center of your chest, this is the chakra of compassion, love, and beauty. It’s associated with the capacity to love, integration, bridge between earthly and spiritual aspirations, transcending personal identity and limitations of the ego, experience of unconditional love and connection with all, heart-centered discernment, appreciation of beauty in all things, experiencing deep and meaningful relationships.

When imbalanced, Anahata might result in being overly defensive, feeling closed down, jealousy, fear of intimacy, codependency, relying on other’s approval and attention, trying to please at all cost, always putting oneself in the role of the savior or the rescuer or falling into victimization, excessive isolation, being recluse, antisocial, holding grudges, inability to forgive.

The Throat chakra (Vishudda)

Located at the center of your neck at the level of the throat, this is the chakra of expression and communication. It’s associated with expression, ability to express your truth, to speak out, verbal and non-verbal communication, connection with the etheric realm, the more subtle realms of spirit and intuitive abilities, propensity to create, projecting ideas and blueprints into reality, realizing your vocation, purpose, good sense of timing.

When imbalanced, Vishudda might result in lack of control over one’s speech; speaking too much or inappropriately, not being able to listen to others, excessive fear of speaking, imperceptible voice, inability to keep secrets or keep your word, telling lies, excessive secretiveness or shyness, lack of connection with a vocation or purpose in life.

The Third Eye chakra (Ajna)

Located between your eyebrows, this is the chakra of intuition and foresight. It’s associated with vision, intuition, perception of subtle dimensions and movements of energy, psychic abilities related to clairvoyance and clairaudience, access to mystical states, illumination, connection to wisdom, insight, motivation of inspiration and creativity.

When imbalanced, Ajna might result in feeling stuck in the daily grind without being able to look beyond your problems and set a guiding vision for yourself, fantasies that appear more real than reality, indulgence in psychic fantasies and illusions, inability to establish a vision for oneself and realize it, rejection of everything spiritual or beyond the usual, not being able to see the big picture, lack of clarity.

The Crown chakra (Sahasrara)

Located at the top of your head, the seventh chakra is the one of higher consciousness. Sahasrara means “thousand petals”, so it’s often depicted or visualized with a thousand-petaled lotus. It’s associated with consciousness, awareness of higher consciousness, wisdom, of what is sacred, connection with the formless, the limitless, realization, liberation from limiting patterns, communion with higher states of consciousness, ecstasy, bliss, presence.

When imbalanced, Sahasrara might result in being disconnected to spirit, constant cynicism regarding what is sacred, living in your head, being disconnected from your body and earthly matters, obsessive attachment to spiritual matters, closed-mindedness.

As you can see, vital energy force flowing freely through all these chakras is crucial, therefore energy blockages might result in illness and various disorders. In the following articles I’m gonna go into detail for all seven, one by one.

Namaste.

A quick guide to meditation – Part III

When starting out with meditation, the hardest part is to control the flow of our thoughts. They keep popping into our heads, distracting us and making our minds wander. This active mental state also keeps our brains in a conscious and alert state, preventing us from going deeper within and lessening the benefit of the meditation itself. The practice is, after all, about going deeper within and disconnecting from the physical world, so the incessant chatter of the conscious mind tends to get in the way of that. Our physical bodies, including our conscious minds, are energy vibrating at a level low enough, so it can take a physical form and shape and allow us to experience life in the relative way of physical reality. Whereas the purpose of meditation is to raise our vibration, elevate above the constraints of the matter and into the realm of ‘ultimate reality’, outside the bonds of time and space. And when we go deep within, our brains also change their wave output, getting us closer to the same state we experience when in deep sleep, but with the benefit of being awake and aware.

Just as the brain begins to output electromagnetic waves at lower frequencies when we reach a state of deep meditation, so can external input of those frequencies bring us quicker to a meditative state. There are many useful tools out there, that will help you with the task of quieting your mind and putting your brain in the right ‘wavelength’. I find it useful to use an app (search for Binaural beats or sounds), that generates low Delta frequencies which put me in the desired state and saves me the time it usually takes to bring myself ‘down’.

In the last post on the subject I described a way to do a cleansing meditation, where we get to let go of negativity and mental and emotional burdens. This meditation is particularly beneficial at the end of the day, before we go to sleep. Apart from generally cleansing ourselves of negative thoughts and emotions, we can also visualize the process of letting go of specific events, experiences and emotions from the past day. Since everything we experience throughout the day is processed and stored by our subconscious during sleep, it helps to let go of anything painful, negative and counterproductive, so it’s not kept inside the long-term storage of the mind, where it will influence future decisions and choices and the experience of life itself.

A useful technique I find to work very well, is to picture yourself on a beach, ankle-deep in the water (some waves background music comes in very handy to set the scene). As you breathe and watch the waves come in and out, ‘see’ your daily events that you wish to get rid of and watch the waves come in, grab them and drag them away, as if they were large pebbles or rocks. Repeat that for as long as you can, until every unpleasant word, thought, action or feeling of the past day has been washed away by the waves. Then slowly walk into the water, lie floating on your back, and feel it washing you clean, scrubbing away all your worries and troubles. Invite in a feeling of peace, happiness and contentment. And after a while, now completely at peace, swim or walk back to the shore, feel the sand between your toes, feel the lightness in your step, breath in the fresh ocean air. And after three deep breaths, open your eyes and be here.

Make this evening meditation part of your daily routine and soon you will notice how the stresses of yesterday no longer disturb the peace of today. Having let go of the past worries means no longer wasting time over what has been and focusing instead on what is now. It helps you stay in the present and enjoy the moment without the fear, guilt or regret that comes from looking at the past.

Until next time, love and light.

Namaste.

Of life and how we live it

From the moment we are born, we are subjected to endless and persistent ‘education’. Schools, families, media – all bombard us with tons of information. We are told…everything. And we are taught nothing. What this so called education does, is shape us and fit us into a mould, that defines for us what is and isn’t acceptable, what we should and shouldn’t do, say, eat, wear, what dreams to dream, what goals to chase. It defines for us success and failure, happiness and unhappiness. And we are brainwashed into thinking that there are things we have to do/have/possess, in order to feel the way we want to feel and see our lives the way we want to, so we can be who we should be. This way of thinking and living creates nothing but misery. We try our entire lives to obtain that which we are told we need, we strive to change or control our physical environment. And we foolishly believe, that if we can control everything around us, we will feel better about ourselves and we will become the person we are supposed to be. But we can’t control it all. We will never have it all figured out or put together as we want it. So we spend our lives fighting life itself, and then we wonder why we’re unhappy, unfulfilled and downright depressed. Something is missing.

Now here’s a thought, that some of you might find…well, ridiculous. What if life is supposed to be lived the other way around? What if we change who we are, so we think a different thought, so we can feel about life in a different way, and as a result experience life differently? Thoughts leading to feelings leading to actions leading to changes.

Nah, I hear you say. How am I supposed to think differently, when everything around me prompts a completely different response? The answer is simple, yet profound. And it’s not the first time you come across it. Do not react, rather create. Easier said than done? Think of it this way. Whenever exposed to or confronted by something, do you react instinctively, do you do or say the first thing that comes into your head? Most of us do exactly that. The response is formed without us even being aware of it. It is calculated and created by our subconscious mind based on everything it holds – memories, past experiences, hopes, doubts, fears, ‘education’. It takes shape, it comes to the surface et voilà, the reaction is unleashed upon the world. Sometimes followed by satisfaction, but quite often by regret. We’ve all been there – “I shouldn’t have done that, I could have reacted differently, Now why did I do or say that instead of something else….”.

What it really comes down to is choice. Choice to speak, act and choose differently. And that begins with deciding, first and foremost, who we are, and more importantly – who we want to be. To decide what kind of life we want to live, what kind of world we want to see around us. And then make the choice as if we already are that person. Decide to be kind and act out of kindness, decide you are generous and display generosity, decide you are at peace and shine that peace onto others. For we all carry within us a spark of divine light, a grain of the universal goodness. It is ingrained in us, in fact, it makes us us. Years and years of fear-based ‘education’ will make us think of us and them, dividing us from the world around us and closing us off to all the goodness we could experience. We choose to act out of fear, where we are here to express and experience nothing but unconditional love. It is within that duality, that contradiction, that all of life’s choices arise. Do you live your life from a place of fear, or do you live it from a place of love? All other thoughts and emotions are a byproduct of these two.

Fear makes us hate, control, envy, imprison. Love sets us free, inspires, motivates and expands our souls. To live out of love is to live the highest life of all. But how do we learn to live that way? It’s nearly impossible to consciously condition ourselves to do that. The solution, as always, lies within. We must make the expression of love – towards ourselves and towards others – our highest priority. And to do that, we have to open not just our minds but before all our hearts, to pure unconditional love. And the best way to do that is through meditation.

When we close our eyes and sit in silence, when we shut off the world and go within, we open ourselves up to the very source of love, and of life itself – our divine nature. We let in the light, energy and unconditional love of the universe and allow it to settle deep within us. The more we do that, the more of it we have to give. And the more of it we give, the more of it there is in our world.

So start your every day with a pat on the back, congratulate yourself for making it to another day. And looking at your reflection in the mirror, declare to yourself and to the world who you are today. Not tomorrow, not a year from now. Today. Smile at strangers, help an old lady cross the road, give small change to a homeless person. Say Thank you and Please. Do this and you will have a totally different experience of your world. And you will feel happier. Because you are not here to please anybody, to impress the crowd, to win it all. You are here to become, each day and one moment at the time, the best version of the highest vision you can possibly have of yourself. The most important thing you can give yourself and the world is that, which you have always had and what you always were – unconditional love and light.

Get up, go forth and shine…

Namaste.

A quick guide to meditation – Part II

‘Meditation’ seems to have become a buzzword of sorts lately. Countless apps, blogs, articles, pages upon pages talk and teach about how to meditate, why meditate. We are overwhelmed with information on the subject. It’s only logical that one should take a closer look at all this information, trying to find a unified truth, a simple guide that would shows us, in words plain and simple to follow, how and why we should engage in this practice, as old as humanity itself.

I’m not going to list the countless benefits of daily meditation, I leave that to you to explore. But what I’ll try to do, is give you something useful, something you can take and use on a daily basis, together with a brief explanation of what meditation really is and why it works.

Looking at all the available information out there, I can’t help but notice something that, well… quite frankly bugs me. There seem to be two very different ideas about meditation floating around. A lot of people see it as a tool for relaxation, something to do at the end of a long stressful day so they can take the edge off and calm down just a bit. Or sleep better. Or even brag about, using it as a tool in a competition for ‘most enlightened in the neighbourhood’. And while any reason to get a person to meditate is in itself a good thing, this way of thinking gets people to miss what meditation is really all about.

Which is the second way of seeing it – the purpose of meditation is to bring awakening, awareness, enlightenment and spiritual growth. And that, my dear friends, is a life’s work. It’s not a quick fix, not a pill you can take whenever life gets a bit tougher. It’s a way of life, a way of seeing life, a way of being in life. And like all lifelong pursuits, it’s done one day at a time. One meditation at a time. One breath at a time.

So at this point I can almost hear you asking – Yeah, yeah, enough with the theory. How do we actually do it? The answer is “Be still and be quiet”. It is in stillness and in silence that we let go of the world around us, and we turn inward, where peace and light exist. Meditation will not help you find inner peace, for you never lost it in the first place. It will rather help you remember that you’ve had it in you all along. All you have to do is let it shine. And that you do in stillness and silence.

Noise exists everywhere. In the room or home around us, but also in our own heads. The endless stream of thoughts that never seems to quiet down is just as distracting as the neighbour upstairs, playing with his power drill on Sunday morning. Learning to quiet one’s own mind is probably the biggest challenge you will face. That is the bad news. The good news is that with time and practice, you can become the master of your mind. Believe me, it’s possible. And once you do, you gonna take this whole game to a totally new level.

Begin small, and let it build up in duration and depth. Choose a time when you won’t be disturbed. Go to the quietest room in the house. Switch off your phone, TV, stereo. Create a bubble of silence. Wear loose, comfortable clothes. Sit with your spine straight, your hands in your lap, palms on top of each other facing up. Close your eyes. Notice all noises and distractions around you. Acknowledge them, then mark them irrelevant and let them go. And bring your focus to yourself.

At first all you need is to relax. Start at the top of your body, with your face muscles, jaw, neck. Focus on each body part and feel it relax, one after the other. Shoulders, arms, down to the fingertips. Chest, abdomen, legs, toes. Visualise all the tension and discomfort in your body draining out of you into a puddle on the floor. And for a few moments just sit there and breathe. Bring all your attention and awareness to your breath. Watch it, don’t force it or try to control it. Just observe your body moving with your breath, your chest going up and down, the feeling of air at the tip of your nostrils.

Now see inside your body, in the centre of your chest, a cloud of dark smoke. It’s the sum of everything negative and out-of-balance in you – anger, sadness, fear, doubts, stress, worry, illness and pain. See it coming out of every cell of your body and concentrating into that cloud around your heart. Feel the weight and the pressure it puts on your chest.

And now, one breath at the time, watch yourself slowly exhaling that dark smoke. Let yourself draw a breath, and as you let it out, see a small puff of dark smoke leave your body. And as it does, see the cloud in your chest become just a touch smaller. Without strain or tension, continue to breathe, and count your breaths on their way out. Until all the black smoke has left your chest, until you are left clean and fresh. And feel the lightness on your chest, feel the energy in your body flowing freely, now that you have freed it from this heavy burden. Smile at yourself, congratulate yourself.

When you first start out, your mind will wander. You will get distracted, thoughts will pop into your head. Don’t stress, it’s quite normal. With more practice it will happen less and less. Just notice that thought, mark it irrelevant, and let it go saying to yourself – I see you, and I will deal with you later. For your first meditation commit to a certain number of breaths, say 50 or 70. And make sure that at the last breath you count, you’ve let go of all the smoke. As you progress with the practice, let the count go higher. Increase by 5 or 10 every day. Soon you will get to a point where the smoke is all gone, but you can’t bring yourself to stop, that’s how peaceful and quiet it is here.

After you’re done, do not jump off your seat. Gently open your eyes and slowly bring your awareness to the world around you. Get up slowly, stay quiet if it feels ok. And take that feeling of peace into your day, or sleep. Until the next time.

Take this as a starting point and try to do it every morning and every evening. It’s ok if you miss a session, do not feel guilty that you’ve ‘broken the chain’. Just  make an effort next time. Soon it will stop being something you make yourself do, but it will rather become something that is part of your life and part of who you are.

In upcoming post I will write about different meditation techniques that you can use to keep the practice more varied. But I will also spend a little more time on the subject of why it’s good to meditate, how it works in the long run and what’s the purpose of it all anyway.

Until then, happy meditating!

 

Namaste.

A quick guide to meditation – Part I

I remember people talking about meditation 20 years ago along with practicing yoga and to me, this was some odd and distant world. In my mind back then, people meditating meant them twisting their bodies in impossible yoga poses and entering into some trance state, repeating the sound of OM again and again. It all seemed to be intended for people, who have completely rejected the physical part of their lives, focusing on nothing but the spiritual world.

Later on, from yet another trend, meditation had gradually become a lifestyle. The perfect means to fight stress in our everyday routine, so they claimed. All of a sudden, there were meditation classes, articles on the matter, various advice on meditation practices, etc. It became more and more popular among the general public, drawing the attention of ordinary people (if I may put it that way), including mine.

As time went by, I felt the inner urge to practice it myself. I made a few attempts, but quite inconsistently, I must admit. This is the time to say that one of the key aspects of meditation is persistence. Every day, we have our crosses to bear, we are all incredibly busy and have our schedules to meet and agendas to follow. But if you really want to go deeper into meditation, you must find a few minutes to practice on a daily basis. If you think about it, 5, 10, or 20 minutes a day would not be such a great impediment to the agenda, right? One key question arises here, though: Why? What is the purpose of meditation? Why even put the effort and take the time to look inward, when there are so many more important things to do in the outer world… like, all the time? All the time, you are busy being somewhere, doing something – there’s the work, family, duties, obligations, bills to pay. The list goes on and on. We are all so consumed in our mere physical survival, that it’s really hard, sometimes even impossible, to actually take the time to stop and look inside of ourselves. Because that’s exactly what meditation is all about. Taking a break (read, taking the time) to slow down in that ever-changing environment surrounding us. Literally, stealing a moment or two for yourself. Because you know what? You are important. And what is more, you are the most important thing in your life. Peace and light are like a bouncing ball. If you have them deep inside and let them guide you, this is going to show, no doubt about it. The same goes for stress and negativity. By practicing meditation, you raise your vibration to a higher frequency. Raising your vibration means raising the vibration of everyone else in your surroundings. Raising their vibrations means them doing the same for everyone else in their surroundings. To put it simply, when you are happy and peaceful, that enlightens everyone around you. Imagine you’re standing in front of a mirror and everyone else is your reflection. Just remember that peace, smiles, and happiness are all contagious in the best sense of the word. Working on your inner peace every single day enables you to deal with your physical life more easily. In the long run, you will be more focused, satisfied, full of energy, and able to deal with everyday stress with ease. Not always, of course, for life is quite challenging at times, but still often enough to keep your peace of mind intact much longer.

So, where to start? From where I stand, meditation doesn’t need to be complicated. Quite the contrary, in fact. The ultimate goal is to reach for that inner peace (not find it, just reach for it, because it’s there) inside of you and start using it to your own benefit. To the benefit of your higher consciousness. When practicing meditation, you may want to use some aids for background music for example. Or if you’re just starting, a guided meditation would be a good choice, too. The proper music could help you relax and get you in meditation mood much faster. I started a few months ago with a wonderful Android app, called Insight Timer, which provides me with the best solution for various situations so far. They offer a really wide range of guided meditations divided into topics and also the option of customizable timers, which I deem a great plus. All you have to do is just find a few minutes for yourself. But before you start, don’t forget to switch your phone off, as well as any other ringing and beeping devices, which might interfere. Because this one is for you. This is your moment. It’s all about you and to your own good, so enjoy it. Just put the headphones on and take off on that great journey to your higher inner self.

 (To be continued.)