Category Archives: Meditation

Vipassana – A Brutal but Enlightening 10 Days of Silence

By Christina Sarich, Waking Times

“Learn this from water: loud splashes the brook, but the ocean’s depths are calm.” ~Buddha

How would you handle no phone, no television, no reading, no books or magazines, no writing in a journal, no distractions, and no contact with the people who normally keep you engaged with the world outside your head for ten straight days?

How about no sex, no masturbation, and no killing even a mosquito that buzzes around your head after it happily sucks blood from your armpit? Continue reading Vipassana – A Brutal but Enlightening 10 Days of Silence

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5 Ways Meditation Helps the Mind and Body

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

We don’t hear as much about the physical benefits of meditation as we do the spiritual. Fortunately, the scientific community is interested in it and has done a fair amount of research on it.

Scientists don’t see it as something that will enlighten you or fuel a spiritual journey; they see it as a simple effort to calm the mind using certain mental techniques. They’ve found that this helps the mind and body in notable ways.

In this article, we’ll learn about the physical and psychological benefits of meditation. Specifically, we’ll learn how it can help with creativity, dementia and Alzheimer’s, stress, anxiety, and addiction.

We’ll start with something the scientific and spiritual communities agree on: meditation can make you more creative. Continue reading 5 Ways Meditation Helps the Mind and Body

Benefits of Meditation Done Now Is Maintained Seven Years Later

By Josh Richardson, via Natural Blaze

Gains in the ability to sustain attention developed through intensive meditation training are maintained up to seven years later, according to a new study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement.

Several previous studies have supported the hypothesis that meditation training improves practitioners’ emotional regulation. Meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating, especially in areas related to pain. Continue reading Benefits of Meditation Done Now Is Maintained Seven Years Later

100 Benefits Of Meditation

via Body Mind Soul Spirit

Did you know that people who meditate for a short time each day are much happier than people who don’t?

Meditators are much healthier with greatly extended life spans, too. As a matter of fact, their health is so much better that a number of insurance companies have reduced premiums for people who meditate.

Did you know that experienced meditators have developed many latent abilities that they never knew they had, abilities that exist within every person? And they have gotten much closer to answering life’s mysterious questions? Continue reading 100 Benefits Of Meditation

Ancient Cultures Suggest Morning Meditation May Lead to a Deeper Experience

By Anna Hunt, Waking Times

According to the beliefs of several ancient cultures, the early morning hours may be ideal for meditation and spiritual reflection. New age and spiritual circles will also claim that if you wake between the hours of 3am and 5am, you may be going through a spiritual awakening.

Although it’s difficult to prove if any of these claims are true, I would like to share some beliefs of the Secoya tribe of Ecuador. This indigenous tribe’s way of life is entwined with its traditions and ceremonies, even today, when most of the world has become Westernized. Continue reading Ancient Cultures Suggest Morning Meditation May Lead to a Deeper Experience

Meditation Comprehension for the Youth

By Ethan Indigo Smith, Wake Up World

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

Meditation itself is a trick. It is thought to be a complicated practice, but that is confusion. The trick begins in the following contrast: Meditation is a simple practice, and yet it enables us to understand, and to perform, complexity. Continue reading Meditation Comprehension for the Youth

Paul Ferrini on Meditation and Deep Breathing

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

Some people consider deep breathing essential for meditation. The breath, we’re told, opens us to a meditative state and brings our awareness back to the heart. It’s believed that by slowing our breathing from an erratic pace to one that’s more relaxed, we can access deep states of consciousness and connect with a source of compassion and wisdom in ourselves.

Different people define this source of wisdom in different ways. Some call it intuition, whereas others call it their higher self. Some even believe it to be the work of spiritual guides. No matter how you define it, one main goal of meditation is to connect with it. Many people believe that the best way to do so is to focus on your breath.

Let’s take a look at what spiritual writer Paul Ferrini has written about the breath in relation to meditation and the heart.

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Paul Ferrini. Credit: Twitter.com

First, Paul explains why deep breathing is important to accessing the heart.

“You cannot be in the heart if your breathing is shallow or labored.

“When the breath is shallow, thinking is superficial. If you want to live a spiritual life, bring your awareness to your breath. Become aware of the times when you are breathing in a shallow way and bring your awareness to your thoughts. You will see that your mind is chattering. None of these thoughts has depth or significance.

“If you relax and breathe deeply, these thoughts will fly away like startled birds. And then you will abide in the heart. When the breath is labored, thinking is driven by fear and anxiety. Become aware when your breathing is labored. Notice what you are thinking and feeling. Your mindstates will be rooted in the past or future.

“You will be focused on what other people are doing and how you can accommodate them or protect yourself from their actions. You are building a fortress of thought around your heart. Take a deep breath and relax. Now take another one. Breathe and return to the heart. Breathe and return to your essential Self.” (1)

He tells us that the body dies when it no longer contains the “breath of spirit”.

“Breathing is the key to living a spiritual life in physical embodiment. When the body dies, the breath leaves the body. Where does it go!

“Most of you think that the body is the creator of the breath. Actually, it is the other way around. The breath is the begetter of the body. When the breath goes, the body ceases to function. It disintegrates into nothing because, without the breath of spirit, the body is nothing.

“If you want to lead a spiritual life breathe deeply and slowly. Take the air deep down into your abdomen and release it fully. The more air you bring into your body, the lighter it will feel, and the easier it will be for you to accomplish your responsibilities.

“One who breathes is not afraid or overwhelmed by what life presents because he or she has the energy to meet all circumstances. Only one whose breathing is shallow or labored and irregular is de-energized and easily intimidated by the challenges of life.” (2)

Here, Paul draws a link between being stressed or tired and the breath being erratic. According to this idea, if our breathing is imbalanced, then stress, anxiety, and all those other nasty feelings are sure to follow. We can mitigate them by meditating, being aware of the way we breathe, and calming ourselves when we start to lose our balance.

Paul believes something as simple as breathing deeply can provide all the energy we need. This is because in this case, the breath translates into spiritual energy which then becomes physical energy we can expend on far more tasks than before. I can attest that meditation provides unparalleled energy and inspiration, making life seem less intimidating and more exciting.

We’re all different, though, and some might benefit less from meditation than others. But if you struggle with stress, anxiety, and low energy levels, a little meditation each day might help.

Paul believes living in the heart is not only difficult, but impossible without being aware of your breath. He explains:

“Unless you breathe deeply and calmly, you cannot be in your heart. If you do not know what I am talking about, put this book down and begin to breathe into your abdomen, counting to five on the inhalation and counting again to five on the exhalation. Breathe in this way for five minutes, gradually extending your count to seven, or eight, or nine. Do not force. Just expand gradually, as your lungs comfortably allow.

“Now you are in your heart. Notice that you are deeply relaxed, yet surprisingly alert. Your consciousness extends to all the cells of your body. You are content where you are. You fully inhabit your body in the present moment. You feel warm and energetic. You feel safe and secure. Your thoughts have slowed down and become more integral.

“You are no longer focusing on the ‘shoulds’ and ‘what ifs’ of your life. Tension and anxiety are absent. Past and future have receded from your awareness. Your thinking is centered and dignified. You can stay with your thoughts because they are fewer and further between. Now bring your awareness to your heart, as you continue to breathe gently but deeply into your abdomen.

“Can you feel the presence of understanding and compassion in your heart center! Can you see that you hold yourself and others in gentle acceptance! Can you feel the love that dwells in your heart and freely extends to others!” (3)

Breathing deeply can make you aware of your thoughts, the space between your thoughts, and the sense of compassion for humanity we all have but don’t all use. This will have a lasting impact on how you treat others and generally see the world. I’ll let you decide for yourself whether meditation is the only real way to access the heart or be a compassionate person, but in any case, it couldn’t hurt.

The meditative state brings a sense of peace and clarity that goes on to shape your perception of the world. It helps you see that most of us are well-meaning people trying to get by in a world we don’t totally understand. This can change the way you treat people, as you begin to empathize rather than judge or criticize.

Compassion is the starting point for anyone who wants to live from the heart, and for many, meditation is the first step to becoming more compassionate.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Paul in which he explains that the traditions we’ve built our lives upon come into question when we practice meditation and deep breathing.

“If you keep forgetting to breathe, the planet is doomed. ‘Well’, you say, ‘I can handle that’. But it may not be as easy as you think. Try it for a while. Breathe deeply for one day and see what happens. If you are committed to this practice, all that is artificial in your life will begin to fall away. And you may be surprised how much of your life begins to unpeel.

“Consider this. Is your job safe! Not if you go to work out of sacrifice. What about your marriage! Are you with your partner out of duty or love! What about your values and religious beliefs…are they safe! Or have they been fashioned out of guilt and fear! If so, they will not stand the ebb and flow as the breath comes down into the belly and out through the mouth, the nose, and the skin.” (4)

Sources:

  1. Paul Ferrini, Silence of the Heart. South Deerfield, MA: Heartways Press, 1996, 9.
  2. Ibid., 9-10.
  3. Loc. Cit.
  4. Ibid., 12-3.

The Mind-Altering Affect One Billion People Meditating Together With The Same Intention Could Have On The World

By Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution

The cover photo of this article is from an event which took place in 2015, which saw one million buddhist children meditate for world peace in Thailand, an event that takes place every single year.

The connection between human consciousness, or factors associated with human consciousness such as intention, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and the physical realm is fascinating. This is precisely why nearly all of the founding fathers of quantum physics were so preoccupied with learning more about consciousness, and “non-material” science in general. The theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, Max Planck, for instance, regarded “consciousness as fundamental” and matter as “derivative from consciousness.” Eugene Wigner, another famous theoretical physicist and mathematician, also emphasized how “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Continue reading The Mind-Altering Affect One Billion People Meditating Together With The Same Intention Could Have On The World

Meditation Can ‘Turbo Charge’ the Brain by Synchronizing Two Key Regions

By Christina Sarich, Waking Times

Researchers from Boston University have figured out two areas of the brain which must be activated to ‘turbo charge” cognitive functioning.

Two brain regions – the medial frontal and lateral prefrontal cortices – control most executive function. It was found that by synchronizing these areas of our grey matter, participants in a study experienced better, faster brain functioning. De-synchronizing these areas resulted in the opposite – a slower brain.  However, if there is more to the story of our brain’s left or right brain dominance? Continue reading Meditation Can ‘Turbo Charge’ the Brain by Synchronizing Two Key Regions

Arkansas School Starts Offering Yoga and Meditation Instead of Detention

By Anna Hunt, Waking Times

A school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, has joined many others in turning to an alternative method of discipline. The Success Achievement Academy has stopped using in-school suspension as punishment. Instead, the directors started using yoga as a means of helping students relieve stress and recognize responsibility for their actions. But does yoga instead of suspension work? Continue reading Arkansas School Starts Offering Yoga and Meditation Instead of Detention