Sally Kempton on “Eat, Pray and Love” and Meditation

Sally Kempton on “Eat, Pray and Love” and Meditation

Sally Kempton on “Eat, Pray and Love” and Meditation

When I sit and become quite and still, I open my heart and see the interconnectedness of things, this isn’t mystical, it’s the way love works. How interchangeable the words, love and meditation, are and when they merge the experience becomes powerful and transformative.

Sally Kempton is one of the best meditation teachers in the world and yet as one would hope from someone who has been studding meditation for over forty years, approachable and unpretentious. I’m saying this in the same with the same caveat that the author of this post, Jean Fain, used, that being, my knowledge of this wonderful teacher has been from a distance, through books, Cd’s and large group meditations.

I’m on my second reading of her new book, “Meditation for the Love of It,” and of the hundreds of books that I’ve read on meditation this one is special and one of the best guides to meditation I’ve had the pleasure to immerse myself in.

Even this interview with Jean Fain, hold insights into approaches to meditation, for example when Sally is asked by Jean, about love and meditation and Sally answers, “Love is what makes meditation juicy, enjoyable, deep.”

I think I’ll let Jean take it from here…

It’s easy to like Sally Kempton, a meditation inspiration to “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert. Not because Kempton listens carefully or laughs easily, though I’m partial to anyone who can do either in this crazy-busy world. Certainly, her likability has nothing to do with the fact that Gilbert counts herself as one of Kempton’s followers. If anything, claims to fame only raise expectations, making the subject of such claims harder, not easier to like.

No, what makes the beloved meditation teacher so likable is the same thing that makes Gilbert a best-selling author — her special ability to translate subtle life truths into simple, practical and compassion-enhancing lessons.

To be clear, Gilbert has learned from Kempton as I have — from a distance. We’ve both been inspired by Kempton’s written meditations on meditation, but Gilbert has taken that inspiration further. The truth is a little confusing, but to be precise: The ashram Gilbert described in “Eat Pray Love” was founded by Kempton’s original meditation inspiration, Swami Muktananda.

Me, I’ve yet to give Kempton’s new book, “Meditation for the Love of It,” sufficient time. I’m intrigued by what the dust jacket promises: “Practical secrets to help us turn meditation into an unconditional embrace of the fullness of our experience — on and off the meditation cushion.” No surprise, that promise was not fulfilled on first reading. With more time, I’m hoping fulfillment will come.

If you’re reluctant to take my word for Kempton’s likability, consider taking Gilbert’s: “She [Kempton] is not only one of the best meditation teachers in the world; she is also one of us,” Gilbert writes. “She manages to fearlessly explore the outer reaches of the universe without ever losing the warm voice of your dear friend from just around the block.”

Speaking of books, Kempton and I share the same publisher. Because of that, we got to talking about our shared interests: eating, meditating and loving. Before I share select questions and answers from our recent phone conversation, I must say that while we resonate with that old Beatles’ song, “All You Need Is Love,” and we appreciate a heart-opening meditation and a mouth-watering dessert, we don’t see eye to eye on everything. Rather than simply agreeing to disagree, you’ll see that our unspoken agreement is to the open, honest and playful exchange of ideas.

Q. What drew you to meditation?

A. In my late 20s, I realized I didn’t really know who I was. I was following the path of success in NY, and doing pretty well — writing for magazines, dating, known in my circle for being cool — but there was a pervasive feeling of not being satisfied by any of it. It was literally as though my heart wasn’t in it. Even though I was doing everything I was ‘supposed’ to do in life, I found myself asking: “Is this all there is?”

Q. OK, so you were dissatisfied. But you were following in the footsteps of your dad [the late Newsday columnist Murray Kempton.] Why did you trade journalism for meditation?

A. I didn’t exactly trade journalism for meditation. Once a writer always a writer! My writing simply morphed as my priorities morphed… What changed my trajectory was a spontaneous and very radical awakening of my heart, which arrived out of nowhere and shifted my priorities in an instant. The problem was, I couldn’t hold onto the open-heart space because my mind was so unruly. So I started looking for ways to tame my mind, and meditation seemed to be it.

Q. Your story sounds a lot like Elizabeth Gilbert’s. You both went through, how do you put it, a “moderate life crisis”?

A. Yes, she and I have a lot in common. We’re both social observers — we’re both interested in the way society works, love works, relationships work. We’re both radically independent. We were both operating in a male-dominated publishing world – she wrote for GQ; I wrote for Esquire. And we were both drawn to the same kind of [heart-based] spirituality.

Q. Elizabeth Gilbert says your writings have been “life-saving.” Do you know what she means by that?

A. People often tell me that the book inspires them to want to meditate. This is probably what she meant. In the book, I suggest a path of playfulness and experimentation that helps people get past barriers and deeper into the exquisite spaciousness of their inner world. There’s this enormous treasure house inside of us. Most of us get to the door, catch a glimpse, but can’t go further. There was a time in my practice when I reached this same limit in how deep I could go. By experimenting with different ways of meditating, I learned how to go much deeper. What I share in the book is the approach that let me do that along with a lot of practices, some classical, some fairly original.

Q. You prescribe a variety of love-enhancing meditations in your book. What’s love got to do with it?

A. Love is what makes meditation juicy, enjoyable, deep. When love is lacking, I’ve learned in my many years of teaching, meditation can start to feel dry, dutiful, unconnected to our emotional life, and then eventually we don’t want to do it anymore. But if you kindle love in your meditation, it not only makes your practice juicy, it begins to spill out into your actions and interactions with other people. It starts to change the way you are in the world.

Q. Do you have a favorite love-kindling meditation?

A. My favorite is to let the breath draw your attention to the upper chest, behind the breast bone, right to the physical heart. On the inhalation, feel the breath caressing your heart. On the exhalation, feel the breath softening or expanding the heart. As you do this, a tender, loving energy arises.

Q. Living with an open, loving heart in this sometimes cold, cruel world sounds scary and difficult, if not impossible. But you clearly recommend it. Why?

A. When your heart is open, you have infinitely more power. Many students tell me when they make this practice a part of their life, they’re better able to navigate difficult situations. The can speak from the heart; their words have more impact. It helps them deal with an unruly teenager, an out-of-control manager, a lot of situations in which they’d ordinarily be reactive.

Q. You encourage readers to meditate a daunting one-and-a-half to three hours a day? Seriously?

A. That’s only for people interested in a radical experience of depth in meditation. For everyone else, I recommend starting with 20 minutes day. If it’s hard to sit still, start with five minutes, and add a minute a day.

Q. What’s your daily meditation practice like? Click here to continue by visiting the original source of this post

“Eat, Pray and Love” and Meditation, whether you are speaking about Elizabeth Gilberts book or Sally Kempton’s, they are about opening the heart and the expansion of our awareness moving us from self-centeredness to other-centeredness.

This reminds me, Sally has a wonderful CD called the “Awakened Heart,” with two guided meditations, which if you really would like to spend some quality time with one of the most knowledgeable meditation teachers in the world and connecting with your inner presence, I would highly recommend it.

 

The Meditation Benefit of Clearing Your Mind

Who is Andy Puddicombe? He’s a former Buddhist monk and was called by The Times of London, “Britain’s top meditation guru,” but likes to think of himself as an anti-guru.

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe - Bringing Headspace to America

And it looks like he is bringing his nonprofit organization, Headspace, to America. Headspace is, “a project to demystify meditation, to make it accessible, practical and relevant to your life,” a site that offers a number of the ‘meditation for beginners’ type videos.

Actually, the New York Times article does a nice job of introducing Andy to those who have not heard about his style of, “secularized meditation.”

Enter the New York Times…

“What would New York look like if everyone took just 10 minutes out of their day to step back from it all?” Mr. Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, asked in his rubbery Bristol accent. He was trying out his message — that inner peace can be achieved in meditation sessions shorter than the average cab ride — on an invitation-only audience of harried fashion editors, hedge funders and advertising executives.

Outside, the roar of a motorcycle shredded the springtime evening calm. In the rear row, a leggy woman in a black miniskirt tapped away on her BlackBerry.

“New York is undoubtedly my biggest challenge yet,” he said later. Mr. Puddicombe, 38, has made a career of promoting a quick and easy, religion-free brand of meditation, aimed at busy professionals who would ordinarily recoil at the smell of incense. He teaches techniques that can be practiced on a crowded subway or even while wolfing a sandwich (albeit, mindfully) during a quick lunch break at your desk.

Next year, he and his business partner, Rich Pierson (a former client), plan to move their nonprofit organization, Headspace, to the United States and set up operations in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.

Purists may raise an eyebrow at his promise of a shortcut path to bliss, but Mr. Puddicombe has already struck a chord in the United Kingdom, where he has become something of a Dr. Phil of the yogi set. His new book, “Get Some Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All the Difference,” was part of a three-book deal that earned him an advance in the mid-six figures, in dollars.

His group’s Web site, getsomeheadspace.com, features beginner-friendly instructional videos and had 200,000 visitors last year, due in part to Mr. Puddicombe’s regular appearances on BBC Radio. He is also branching into television. In September, Channel 4 in Britain will start a series of 10-minute meditation videos that he stars in. They will be broadcast between regular programs, like tiny TV shows.

His growing media presence has been built on top of a clinical practice in the Kensington district of London that caters to hard-charging achievers: bankers, actors, Premier League soccer players and members of Parliament. He also consults for corporations like Nomura securities and Google.

As such, it’s tempting to call him the maharishi of the money class. But Mr. Puddicombe is uncomfortable with any messianic connotations. “I’m the anti-guru,” he said. Despite his Dalai Lama-esque shaved head, he could be mistaken for a nightclubbing striker for the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team, with his sleek sports jackets from Uniqlo and shirts that show off his muscular build.

Ed Halliwell, a meditation author and writer for The Guardian’s Web site, said Mr. Puddicombe is “doing for meditation what someone like Jamie Oliver has done for food.” And like Mr. Oliver, he’s ready to conquer the United States. At the Industria event, Mr Puddicombe was not promising spiritual enlightenment, only a technique that combines steady breathing with mind-focusing exercises.

“We’ve secularized meditation,” he said. Click here to visit the original source of this post

The idea of ‘secularized meditation’ is not for everyone, for some there is a strong need for a deeper connection, but for others, this may be just the approach they need to embrace and receive the benefits of meditation.

However, even if meditation is secularized that does not mean that the practice should be trivialized or that it doesn’t come from a deep and profound place.ᅠ Nor does it mean that, while the benefits of meditation are vast, meditation is the solution to all of life’s problems.

I do believe that the reason for the success of programs like, Jon Kabat–Zinn’s, MBSR program and the Headspace offerings, is the almost desperate need in today’s high speed, high tech world, for stress relief; a reconnecting with our humanity.

So here’s a bit more about Andy Puddicombe, this time from The Times of London… ᅠᅠᅠ

As an ordained monk, Puddicombe spent ten years in monasteries in Nepal, India, Tibet and Russia, often meditating for up to 18 hours a day. He left the monastic life to teach meditation and to fulfil what he believes is his vocation, “to bring meditation [or ‘mindfulness’, as it’s often called] to as many people as possible, and especially to people who wouldn’t usually consider it”.

His timing couldn’t be better. The Beatles were the first to popularise meditation in the UK in the Sixties, but it’s only now that it has reached its tipping point. A growing body of respected research over the past 20 years has suggested that meditation improves a range of psychological and biological functions, including blood pressure, sleep patterns, stress control and levels of serotonin, the happy hormone. The evidence is now so overwhelming that in 2007 it was approved for use in the NHS and independent healthcare — many of Puddicombe’s private clients come to him through GP referral, and he uses it to help with anything from depression and eating disorders to addictions.

The concept of meditation chimes with the times, too. Cheap, portable and scientifically proven to be a powerful defence against stress and anxiety, it’s the perfect self-help treatment for the current convergence of tough times and post-consumerist values.

When I ask about the famous clients, he politely brushes the question away, partly to protect their privacy, and because their celebrity seems genuinely unimportant to him. “One great thing you learn through practicing meditation is empathy. You understand how much the same we all are.” He is just as focused on his non-celebrity clients, and has started a new not-for-profit project called Headspace, which aims to make meditation “accessible and practical”, meaning free from mystery, jargon and religion. It will feature group-training events and interactive online resources including podcasts and MP3 downloads. “My aim is to get as many people as possible to try it for ten minutes a day and see that it’s a great practical tool for everyday life.” He has started a regular Friday morning slot on the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show, and is working with Jamie Oliver’s website on issues surrounding “mindfulness” around food and eating.

Anyone can learn to meditate, Puddicombe says. “Meditation is about putting you in the present moment. It’s not about being caught up in never-ending cycle of thoughts that seems to occupy our every waking day. When you step out of that, it brings a sense of profound relaxation, and lets you experience any activity — from your work to eating a sandwich — more directly and more intimately.” Meditation has two main effects on the mind, “calm and clarity”. Finding calm is often what brings people to meditation, “but the greater, long-term benefit is clarity. It gradually allows you to still your mind; you understand what is really causing you stress and become more self-aware”. Most of us don’t know ourselves very well. “We think we do, but we can’t. Our minds are like a pool of water. We’re constantly dropping thoughts into them, which ripple the surface. Meditation doesn’t empty your mind but it creates space between the thoughts so the surface can be calm and we can see our reflection more clearly.” Many people find it helps to give them direction and makes them more focused and creative.

Puddicombe is a great debunker. He teaches meditation to people wearing ordinary clothes, sitting in chairs: “There’s no need to sit in a special posture on the floor.” Ideally, he says, the practice should be integrated into our everyday lives. “You can meditate on the Tube — it’s a good way to beat commuter stress — and there are techniques you can learn so you can meditate while you are brushing your teeth, at your desk or walking home. I recommend three short sessions of ten minutes a time, rather than one big session in the morning.”

To show me how it works, he takes me though a short training session. I sit on a chair with my back straight but relaxed, my feet on the floor and my hands resting on my stomach. He tells me to close my eyes and focus on my breath. The first step is becoming aware of it, and then to count each breath as it comes and goes up to ten, and then to start again. To begin with I’m thinking of other things at the same time — did I send off my car insurance ? — but then, for a few moments, I’m not thinking about anything except noticing my breathing, which has gradually become slower and deeper. I have to “re-enter” the conversation slowly — it feels as if I’ve been in a different room, and for longer than ten minutes. If I can feel noticeably different after ten minutes in a strange office with someone I’ve just met, what could daily practice do for me?

“The word ‘meditation’ comes from a Sanskrit word that means ‘mind training’. It gives you deeper insights and deeper peace. It changes all your perceptions, about yourself and others. Then you take what meditation gives you into your work, and into your relationships and communications with other people.ᅠ

It makes them all better and it makes you happier.” Click here toᅠvisit the original source of this post

So in the end will 10 minutes a day really create the meditation benefit of clearing your mind? Because meditation is a natural and organic process, and because once it’s been, truly, planted in your being, it will then it will grow and expand, so the short answer to the question is, yes.ᅠ

Science confirms it; experience takes it to a deeper place, a place of knowing. If you want to check out the mindfulness training techniques taught in the Headspace program, you can check out Andy’s, “Get Some Headspace,” book at Amazon.

Is there a Meditation Benefit in Being a Slow Learner?

Meditation is the simplest of practices and at the same time it as tremendous subtlety and depth that can create challenges for those who are new to the practice and the benefits that meditation has to offer.

Meditation Benefits for Slow Learners

Meditation Benefits for Slow Learners

 

The basics of meditation are simple, sit in a comfortable position, straighten your back, breathe deeply, put your attention on your breath and follow it. That’s the basics of a mindfulness meditation practice.

However, meditation is like any art form, you can keep it simple or you can delve into the depths of the practice. Because of these subtleties and the challenges that someone new meditation encounters, they can sometimes feel as if they just don’t ‘get it’ or they are a ‘slow learner.’

That’s how Therese Borchard felt as she began to learn meditation and, well, I’ll let her tell you the story from her post, “Meditation for Slow Learners.” ᅠᅠᅠ

“…I’m a bit of a slow learner, so even as I promised myself two years ago that I would start each day with 20 minutes of meditation, I am still thumbing through books trying to figure out how, exactly, you do it. I have learned much from Elisha Goldstein’s Psych Central blog, “Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.” Because I believe, on some level, that all forms of meditation are about creating space. And Elisha reminds his readers of that by continually repeating the meaningful quote by Viktor Frankl that says “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”

Space is what makes meditation as well as laughter such powerful tools. Without space, we live from the reptilian part of our brains, the amygdala, or fear center of our brain. So everything is reaction, impulse, panic. Even a second’s amount of space allows us to breathe and grab our mental blankie, if you will, so that we can respond with a higher evolved part of the brain.

While that all sounds so easy, I’m admittedly still challenged in this area. And apparently a lot of other folks are, too, which is why Dr. Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson have written an in-depth guide titled simply, “Meditation.” (Even the title is easy to understand!)

Before you put these guys in an ivory tower away from the muddle that us, non-academic-types trudge through everyday, you should know a little about Dr. Gawler’s story. A competitive decathlete, he was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1975 at the age of 24. Even after his leg was amputated, doctors gave him a five percent chance of living beyond five years. Just three years after that, the same doctors declared him cancer free. Because so many cancer patients were coming to him for advice, he founded The Gawler Foundation, which provides holistic healing retreats for cancer patients.

The authors introduce mindfulness-based stillness meditation with four simple steps: preparation, relaxation, mindfulness, and stillness.

  • Preparation is the easy part, the practical details of where you will meditate, your posture, deciding what specific kind of meditation you will try, and everything that relates to how you set yourself up to begin the meditation. According to Gawler and Bedson, “Preparation involves establishing comfort and ease. We create a conducive external and internal environment for meditation by preparing the location, our posture and our attitude.”
  • Relaxation is the street corner where the wheels on my meditation bus disassemble and roll down the road to a coffee shop. According to the authors we simply take the time needed to learn how to relax our body and mind. “A tight or tense body often accompanies a busy or restless mind,” the authors explain. “We use relaxation techniques to create more spaciousness in the body, which helps in calming the mind and bringing our attention into the present moment.”
  • By the time I have made it to mindfulness, I have usually abandoned the discipline altogether, because my mind is so relaxed that it is thinking about chilling out at the pool with a glass of lemonade, not closing my eyes in an air-conditioned office sitting on a pillow. Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment. I don’t know why that should be so difficult, but it is. At least for my monkey brain. Probably because staying attentive to the moment requires that you be free of judgment, like Damn it. I’m thinking about the pool and lemonade again. I totally suck at this. Ideally, if we are truly mindful, we are also free of reaction. Like when the doctor comes after your knee with that rubber thing, and you almost kick him in the nose without even trying to move your leg. Yeah, all that would stop if you were absolutely mindful. You are able to let go of the guilt in the past and the worry of the future. You don’t engage in your usual obsessive thinking … theoretically … so you don’t obsess about your not obsessing. You get the frontal lobes where they are supposed to be.
  • That takes us to stillness. Let me just quote from them on this one:

“Gradually, by just paying attention without reacting, we become aware of a stillness. Sounds, sensations, even emotions and thoughts just come and go. Free of judgment. Free of reaction. We notice a background of stillness against which sounds, sensations and thoughts come and go, appear and disappear. We become aware that still and silent presence that is just noticing the movement of sounds, sensations and thoughts. In this stillness, awareness is open and undistracted. Stillness is not a static nothingness; it is alive, alert and non-reactive presence.”

The challenges that Therese ran into as a beginning meditator are the same challenges that almost all meditators run into when they begin a practice. In fact the most common complaint of a new meditator is, ‘I can’t stop my thoughts.’ ᅠᅠ

The good news is that meditation is not about trying to stop your thoughts, it’s about ignoring them by using the ‘tools’ of meditation, watching the breath or using a mantra; so that when thoughts intrude on your silence you gently brush them away by returning to your breath or mantra. Now that’s a meditation benefit.ᅠClick here to visit the original source of this post

Can you get Meditation Benefits Playing a Video Game?

The question is can you get the same meditation benefits using biofeedback technology? The short answer is, yes; at least as far as the physiological and psychological effects are concerned. And, I believe, that the relaxation response can be a gateway to higher states of consciousness.

Can you get Meditation Benefits Playing a Video Game?

Meditation Benefits of Playing a Video Game (Getty Images)

ᅠᅠ

Biofeedback technology is not new, and it’s been proven to have a positive effect on your emotional, as well as, your physical well-being. There are numerous biofeedback games, from Deepak Chopra’s, “The Wild Divine Project,” which is a guided imagery meditation product, to the institute of HeartMath’s “emWave2” machine, all very effective in evoking the relaxation response.

Now the big names in the gaming world are jumping on the band wagon with a number of games that are effectively meditation aids. You can check out the story in this post on the, “…untapped source of calm?”

“Video games may soon join the ranks of yoga and meditation as sources of calm and compassion, according to a new study that finds video games can have many psychological benefits.

“Our research shows that playing relaxing video games puts people in a better mood,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University and co-author of the study.

“These games don’t only have a positive effect on the person who plays them — the effect reaches other people too because people who are in a good mood state are more willing to help others.”

“Only recently have games focused on calming people down,” Bushman said. “There’s a new market for this which you see across the board. For example, for years we’ve had plenty of energy drinks to energize, but now we also have drinks to calm you down.”

One game that caters to this market of calm is “Endless Oceans” for the Nintendo Wii, in which players explore a non-threatening ocean environment of exotic marine animals and deep-sea treasures. The Ohio researchers found that players of this type of game became more calm and considerate during the game.

For two experiments more than 100 college students were randomly assigned to play a video game that was either relaxing (such as “Endless Oceans”), neutral (such as “Wii Sports Resort”) or violent (such as “Resident Evil”). Students had previously rated all these games as being equally enjoyable and exciting to play.

During the first experiment, participants were asked to compete against another player — who did not actually exist — in pushing a button as quickly as possible. The winner would be awarded a small financial sum; the loser would be punished with a brief noise blast. Before each trial, participants could determine how much their competitors would receive if they won, and how strong a noise blast they would receive if they lost.

“Those people who had played violent games punished their partners the most and rewarded them the least,” Bushman said. “Those who had played relaxing games gave the lowest levels of noise and most amount of money.”

For a second experiment, participants rated how strongly they felt various emotional states (such as pride, love, happiness, anger) after they had played their respective video games (relaxing, neutral or violent). Then, their experimenter told them their study was over, but that he would welcome their help sharpening pencils.

“Sharpening pencils is a pretty boring task, but people who did relaxing games were willing to help in their free time,” Bushman said. Playing relaxing games both increased players’ positive mood states and their willingness to help others.”

Will Video games replace traditional meditation practices? Again the short answer, no.

No video game, biofeedback machine or binary beats CD will allow you the experience and the meditation benefits of a regular meditation practice or allow you to go beyond the body-mind, intellect and ego and step beyond space-time into unbounded eternity. Click here to visit the original source of this post

Meditation Benefits – 3 Ways to Get in State

Meditation is a way of helping us slip beyond the mental negativity of anxiety, fear, judgment and doubt into the field of silent expanded awareness, where we rediscover our essential nature as creative, joyful, peaceful, and centered; these are the meditation benefits.

Meditation Benefits

Meditation Benefits

By practicing a few minutes a day we can return to wholeness which brings the experience of balance, healing and transformation. Through meditation you become increasingly conscious of the place in you whichᅠ is silent, whole , creative, the place where you make choices that bring peace, love and meaning to your life. ᅠᅠᅠᅠ

Here are three way to help you slip into the ‘gap’ of silence; the instructions are simple but can be effective. The ‘trick’ is not so much in the how but in the actual practice.ᅠ

“Each of the methods that I will talk about can be done in 15 to 20 minute intervals. Longer if you wish.

Focus on your breathing.

One of the easiest ways that I know that can get you into a meditative state is to simply pat attention to your breathing. This is a method I picked up from the writings of Ekhart Tolle. It’s best to put yourself in a quite environment where you can sit quietly with your eyes closed without being disturbed. You really have to listen to and feel the air going into your nose and out of your mouth. When all of your attention gets focused on this, you can’t possibly think of anything else. Your brain isn’t built to multi-task to that extent. This effectively clears your mind. If your mind ever starts to drift, all you need to do is gently guide your attention back to your breathing.

Focus on the present moment.

Another easy method to put you into a meditative state is to put your attention and focus on things currently going on around you. This puts you mind completely into the present moment. Here’s an example; try taking a walk at a park. Listen to birds in the sky, smell the grass around you, feel the warmth of the sun hitting your skin. As you put your attention on your current moment, you will start to get a blissful feeling. This will seem to happen out of nowhere, but it is a good indication that you have reached a meditative state.

Focus on empty space between sounds.

This is the only method I will talk about that require that you use some sort of prop. It’s a very powerful method of meditating. One I use on especially hard days. Here’s what you do:

Get yourself a metronome or a sound file that sounds like a metronome. A metronome is a piece of equipment that musicians use to help them stay on track with a particular beat. Set it to tick at slow intervals. Once you’ve set the pace, close your eyes and put your attention on the space between the ticks. When you focus on the emptiness between, you effectively clear your mind. This will put you in a deep meditative state fairly quick.

Meditation isn’t hard to do if you know some simple techniques. Try doing it daily for the next 30 days or so. Keep your sessions no shorter than 15 minutes long. You’ll definitely see a marked improvement in your overall mood. It could actually make you healthier too.”

With practice you will gain an understanding of the different experiences you can have in meditation the benefits you will begin to notice in your life. Ultimately, one of the most powerful meditation benefits is, an expansion of your internal reference point, so you will slowly awaken to your essential nature as infinite and eternal.ᅠClick here to visit the original source of this post

The Meditation Benefit of Pain Relief According to Dr. Oz

In practicing mindfulness meditation you discover the joy of living in the present moment instead of constantly living in the past or worrying about the future. The benefit of this meditation is it reduces stress which eases pain.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness teaches you how to live in a harmonious way, because the present moment is the only moment in which you really live, create, smile or do anything at all.

The more you practice mindfulness meditation the greater the effects, in studies on monk’s who’ve practiced meditation for a long time, the levels of their wellbeing measured in the brain where well beyond what was expected.

This is why in their “tip of the day,” Drs. Oz and Roizen, endorse mindfulness meditation as a way to help elevate chronic pain.

“We know, and you know, chronic pain isn’t all in your head. But you can use your noodle to turn down the volume on agonizing aches, whether you’ve got back pain, arthritis or other day-in, day-out discomfort. The tool: an easy relaxation technique called mindfulness meditation. Bonus: It can counteract one of pain’s sneakiest, most frustrating downsides: memory loss.

You may have heard that this type of meditation eases pain by soothing stress. But the more we learn about mindfulness, the better it gets. It also helps control your alpha rhythms, a type of brain wave that blocks out distracting information. Practicing mindfulness a few minutes daily boosts your ability to focus by tuning out distractions … like, yes, pain signals, and fears about pain — both mess with your memory. It improves your ability to recall important stuff (when you’re meeting your wife for dinner or where you put the dog’s leash).

Want to give it a whirl? Find a quiet place. Get comfortable. Close your eyes, and breathe in and out at a natural pace. Notice whether your breath feels warm or cool. When other thoughts, feelings and sensations crop up, acknowledge them, then gently re-focus on your breathing. After about 10 minutes, open your eyes and re-enter the world slowly. You’ll go about your day feeling better.”ᅠ

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress, depression, anxiety and pain, and increase creativity, energy and an overall sense of wellbeing. And in reducing your stress you improve your immune function helping your speed up your recovery rate. ᅠclick here to visit the original source of this post

Are there Meditation Benefits for Atheist?

This story is about a young man, from India, who has embraced atheism, and according to this post at least, joined a growing movement of “free thinkers.”

I’m not going to tackle the ‘believer’s vs. non-believer’s’ question in this post nor the repressive attitudes of any kind of fundamentalist practice; no, the question I’m addressing here is the one I asked in the title, are there meditation benefits for atheist? And I can, confidently say, yes.

Why confidently, because of the preponderance of scientific evidence. While an atheist may miss the subjective experience that other meditators discover while practicing, they can’t miss the measurable, verifiable effects meditation has on the mind and body.ᅠ

Every classroom had a picture of the late Sathya Sai Baba and every day the teacher forced him to meditate while imagining the guru’s benevolent hand resting on his head — all this despite the troubling allegations of sexual misconduct in the guru’s  
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Personally, I agree with the Dalia Lama’s view on science and the ‘subjective’ affects meditation, “each gives us valuable insights into the other.”

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Is Learning how to Receive Support and Love a Meditation Benefit?

Becoming more self-aware is the number one benefit of meditation, because self-awareness creates the opportunity for self-acceptance. You need to know and accept who you are now, especially if you want to transform any aspect of your life. When we are more self-aware, it also means we have the opportunity to become less self-critical and allowing ourselves to open to receiving.

For me a guided meditation or centering technique is like a poetic journey that my mind agrees to take By simply choosing to

Because the Universe operates through a constant exchange of energy and information, with giving and receiving being the different aspects of the flow, creating homeostasis or balance is the key to peace and happiness. And the act of being able to graciously receive is as necessary as giving, especially when receiving life’s most precious gifts like love, appreciation, laughter, wisdom, support or joy.

Self-awareness creates discernment, allowing to dig deeper and distinguishing the root causes of feeling and emotions, which are often different than what they appeared to us to be on the surface.

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Benefits of Meditation and the Gayatri Mantra

This is a beautiful mantra is based on a hymn of the Rig-Veda and is cited throughout Vedic literature. Deva Premal, a classically trained musician, truly offers a meditative and spiritual interpretation of this mantra.

Deva Premal

Deva Premal

Learn how to harness the benefits of meditation like millions of others!

The Gayatri Mantra, as the story is told, was chanted by her father to her while she was still in her mother’s womb and continued to be a lullaby sung to her at bedtime, so it’s no wonder that it was the inspiration for her first album, “Essence.”

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The meditation Benefit of Invigorating Your Love Life with Tantra

For many people in Western culture the word Tantra is associated with sexual practices which have been used to appeal to a popular audience. This is a misconception; Tantra’s beginning is traced to the early centuries C.E. when it arose as a prominent form of Indian spiritual practice.

Library Image. Photo: Getty Images

Meditation Benefit of Tantra: Getty Images

Tantric meditation is a practice that involves awakening the Kundalini energy, which is a powerful divine feminine energy that resides at the base of the spine.  Kundalini is a life force energy that moves up through your chakras (see the benefits of Chakra Meditation) clearing out any energetic blockages.

“Tantra is about seeing life as a meditation,” says Del. “So it can improve love-making as it encourages you to be wholly present, through simple methods such as breathing and body movements that make any experience of the senses — eating,

Believing that our senses are the gateway between the spiritual world and the everyday reality the tantrikas (those who practice Tantra) use the senses as a way to achieve enlightenment. The balance that needs to be maintained is not confusing sensual awareness with sensual indulgence.

Just as sexual energy give birth to life, when we internalize the energy of creativity we give birth to our higher self.

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