How to Make Meditation a Part of Your Life

Finding the Calm.

“Meditate Schmeditate”, my mother-in- law, Dora once said to her son, my husband, Mark as he headed off one summer day in Long Beach to find a quiet bench on the boardwalk to attend to his twice daily meditation practice. From that day on, every time Mark would go sit down to meditate he would say to me, “I am going to go meditate-schmeditate” and we would both laugh about it.

Twenty minutes a day, twice a day for over thirty years. Rarely did Mark miss taking time out to do his meditation practice. When he was an educator in the New York City Public Schools, he rose 45 minutes early to meditate then showered, shaved, dressed, made his coffee and peanut butter sandwich (for the energy he needed in his high-stress -very- hectic- job as school principal) and then pack himself an apple, a few clementine’s and some almonds. He would then get into his car to drive to East New York, Brooklyn. In my eyes Mark was a true enlightened warrior.

Mark took his training for TM in Manhattan in the early 1970’s. Once, when I asked him what meditation was for him, he said something like this, “It helps me to focus meditation rests my mind. It helps me to relieve stress. helps me to come up with solutions to problems. I get more done.”

I often noticed he seemed happier and more relaxed when he completed his daily meditations. I admire how he stuck with it day in and day out.

When I asked him if meditating meant he turned off his thoughts he said, “No, the opposite, what it does is that I just notice my thoughts and let them go while focusing on a mantra. ” A mantra is a syllable or sound to keep your mind from wandering over to list-making and looking ahead to the busy-ness of the day ahead.

Meditation has become a bit of a buzzword. In a recent interview at the 92nd Street Y, Ariana Huffington spoke about the many CEO’s who meditate including most famously the late Steve Jobs.

Studies using MRI’s have shown that the brains of Tibetan Buddhist monks who meditate daily and for long periods of time have shown brains with increased gamma wave activity, which help with many cognitive functions including increased compassion, improved memory and test taking abilities. In short, Gamma brain waves are those that get you “into the zone “.

There are health benefits too. Science has shown that meditation can reduce stress, helps to lower cortisol, adrenaline production and in turn lower blood pressure.

In a recent article in the New York Times, The Path meditation center in Manhattan is focused on networking for fashion and tech millennials, through meditation. According to the article, many post-meditation deals have been made and jobs have been found. In Los Angeles, there are “Drybar” style meditation centers popping up.

If you ask me, meeting your true love or business partner by way of meditation is more promising than over cocktails at the latest trendy bar. At least you know the person is in the moment.

Additionally in another article it was shown that meditation has the potential to help students to increase their scores on the big tests such as the SAT and ACT exams.

It seems that Mark was really onto something so many years ago. Meditation served him well throughout his life, working in some very complicated situations in the school system and when he was losing his battle with cancer, meditation helped him to stay centered and uncomplaining even when I know he wanted to just scream.

It was because of Mark that I began my thirty year journey to yoga and meditation. As someone who is high energy, active and has the need to move, I found that for me to meditate I had to do a little yoga or dance around the living room, take walk or just move in seated circles to limber up and release excess energy. Then I could sit and enjoy the stillness. I am grateful to Mark for starting me on my yogic path. He used to say, “I have great instincts. I grew up on the streets of Brooklyn that taught me plenty about people.” And I appreciate that he shared it with me.

Being a social person my favorite way to meditate is in a group with my fellow yoga practitioners it is there that the practice really unfolds for me.

But it is at home on my own it becomes something else. To do the practice is to commit myself to grace for a few minutes each day. Even for just 5 minutes to give my busy, monkey mind a break. Productivity does rise when I give my mind and my body a rest.

For those who want to give meditation a whirl there are many places to look. There are many different types of meditations to try on YouTube.com, where you can practice in your living room.

Do your best not to judge yourself. According to meditation teacher and American Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfeld, it takes many lifetimes to master meditation so why not just enjoy it? There is no right way to do it. Just sit and it will unfold.

The UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center is a good place to get some free training and introductions to meditation, marc.ucla.edu and look for the link to Free Guided Meditations. Or look on iTunes for both free and paid meditations.

There are also numerous APPS available to help you to learn.

Though when I think about it the whole concept is a bit of an oxymoron. Meditation App. Kind of like the old “jumbo shrimp”. The idea is to turn down the noise in your head. If you can do that without checking text messages, putting phone on do not disturb then here are few apps to try some are free and some charge a fee:

Breathe2Relax helps you practice working with the breath,

Buddhify 2 short to long meditations and information,

Omvana has music, talks, guided meditations and much more. Search your APP store to see what’s available read reviews try a few different types of meditation.

I have had great success being consistent with yoga nidra meditations I listen to on YouTube.com Google: yoga nidra and many variations will appearl

Yoganidra has been one of the building blocks of my being able to stand back up after losing my cherished husband Mark to cancer. Grief can be overwhelming. Yoga nidra let me be okay.

One thing I know for sure, meditation is neither weird nor complicated. It can be as simple as finding a quiet spot, closing the eyes and telling our mind to follow the breath. I say to myself, “breathe in, breathe out” until I don’t need to say it I just follow it.

My best suggestion is to find a meditation center or yoga studio where meditation practice is offered.

Some, like Yoga Nanda in Garden City, NY offer free community meditation each week.

Or just find your calming place by simply doing what Mark always did: put on a cozy hoody and sit wherever you are.

Follow your breath and give your mind a rest.

Notice your thoughts as they roll by and let them go.

Keep following the breath for 5 minutes or longer. Make a date with your peaceful self.

Go find your calming place, I am betting you will be glad you did.

Healing Meditation – Your Guide to Balancing the Chakras

Do you believe that happy and positive thoughts can actually cause healing? This is due to the fact that your body and mind will follow to your thoughts. If your thoughts go the other way around, the body will also experience a negative change. With such, you will come to realize that Meditation as a healing technique can greatly help in providing wellness.

Balancing Chakras

Basically, your body condition can be in a good state when you think of good things. So, when you fill your mind with negative thoughts, the same thing follows. This is the way that your body can influence the Chakras. It can be either through direct messages, through direct thoughts that we select to enter into.

In essence, the spiritual body is not different from the physical body. For instance, if you consume unhealthy food, this will result in becoming overweight and suffer from various ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure and others. If your thoughts are negative, the body aura takes in all these in the same way that your body absorbs food. Similar to the physical body, the aura does not have the capacity to determine what is bad and good for you. What it does is that it absorbs what is available at a certain time and makes use of it. Due to this, balancing Chakras through Meditation is very essential.

Essentially, once you carry a negative thought and focus on it, you can have the matching Chakra to come up with a negative feeling to the remaining Chakras. This makes the whole Chakra system to destabilize. The symptoms of this phenomenon results in physical diseases, negative emotions; as well as relationship difficulties. Thus, creating a balance on the Chakras through Meditation can be your initial step towards mental, spiritual, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Steps in Healing Meditation

Obtaining harmony can be your first step to start with the healing process. These Meditation steps can aid you in balancing your Chakras and exploring or opening a more particular healing practice:

*Ensure that you are sitting in a place that is quiet, safe and filled with neutral energy. Wear comfortable clothes.

*Choose the best position for you. You can either sit on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed.

*Close eyes and remain focused on your breathing. Make sure that your breaths are coming from the diagram and let muscles relax each time you breathe.

*Continue with Meditation and focus on your Chakras. Think of it as a flowing light while turning it clockwise and spinning it out on the other direction then pulling it in again.

*Do this with the rest of your body Chakras. Take in deep breaths and open your eyes slowly.

By considering these steps in Meditation, you will surely feel relaxed, calm, centered and free from certain body ailments.

Monique Solares

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Meditation – Your Guide to Meditation Methods – Part 2

Walking Meditation

Walking is a very effective way of exercising and meditating as it combines the movements of the body and the mind.

Technique:

Simply walk at a natural and comfortable pace, concentrate on the sole of your feet touching making contact with the earth. Focus on the spot in the center of your foot at the beginning of the arch. With each step feel this spot making contact with the earth and extending into the earth, repeat this with the other foot. Allow normal, relaxed breathing through the lower abdomen. Let your mind ponder on all thoughts without judgment, and then bring back focus to the sole of the foot or your breath.

Lying Meditation

This is one of the meditation methods that is simple and can be done just before bedtime or prior to a nap, by simply lying down and focusing the attention on the breath. Breathing should be into and out of the lower abdomen.

Technique:

Concentrate on inhaling and exhaling, or counting the breaths. Focus on a spot on the ceiling or the sky if you’re outdoors. Access your thoughts without judgment then bring back your focus to breathing.

Sitting Meditation (Zazen)

These meditation methods involve finding a comfortable sitting position for you.

Technique:

You can sit comfortably either in a chair with your feet flat on the ground or crossed legged on the floor (left leg over right) using a cushion under the buttocks for comfort and to prop up the hips higher than the knees. In either case, the back should always be straight but without straining. The palms of the hands are open and can be placed on the thighs, palms up or you can bring the hands together, left palm on top of the right palm, thumbs barely touching each other, resting comfortably against the lower abdomen.

Once you find a comfortable sitting position for you, you can use spoken or silent mantra, or listen to soothing music or sound, or focus on a candle, burning incense or other small objects, or just simply breathe. Breathing should be natural and through the nose. The head should be tilted slightly downward and the body should be completely relaxed. Accept your thoughts without judgment and then come back to the original object of focus.

Remember that these meditation methods are basically techniques of following any form of meditation; the only purpose being in helping the mind and body to focus and function as a single entity.

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Meditation: Your Guide to Christian Meditation

The purpose of all kinds of meditation is to create a deeper understanding of the self through concentration and reflection. Christian meditation at its best can be described as a form of deep concentrated conversations with God. It does not require the use of praying beads, or mantras or any specific postures; it is merely a channel to free the mind.

Christian meditation is more of a contemplative payer using the mind and is perhaps the most efficient way of communicating with God.

The early Christian monks would read passages or verses from the Bible slowly and then reflect on the meanings and messages of these verses. They called it the “divine reading”, and this is perhaps the earliest form of Christian meditation. This form of reflective readings of the scriptures led them towards having loving thoughts of God and his greatness. They called this contemplation.

This experience of reading the Bible, reflecting on its meanings and messages which in turn led to loving thoughts of God ultimately ending in deep contemplation came to be known as the ladder of prayer.

During the twentieth century two forms of Christian meditation came into prominence. The first involved the chanting of mantras called Maranatha which is Aramaic for “Come, Lord”. The other form of Christian meditation is the Centering Prayer. This form uses a sacred word to convey one’s intention to be in the presence of God. Another part of this contemplative form of prayer is the individual’s detachment to his psychological problems.

The “Five R” Method of St. Theresa of Avila, which includes: Ready, Read, Reflect, Respond and Resolve is a five step path to complete concentration while meditating on the Lord.

The “Five R” Method of St. Theresa of Avila:
Ready: The first step involves preparing the mind to accept God’s presence by reflecting on your love, devotion and faith in him. Ask pardon for your sins and seek a purpose to your meditation.

Read: Once you have accepted God’s presence the next step is to read a verse or passage from the Bible or read any prayer or even look at a picture and thinking about it.
Reflect: This step is about reflecting on the chosen passage or prayer by focusing your thoughts on it and then seeking answers to questions that will force the mind into deeper contemplation.

Respond: This is the part where the mind is free to initiate a dialogue with God. When you have reached this stage, you can now talk to him more freely and openly from the inner depths of your soul.

Resolve: This is the last part of the meditative process and should be concluded by thanking God for everything he has blessed you with and for his time.

Christian meditation is about focusing the mind on God and shutting the mind off to everything else. While it is a profoundly deep spiritual experience one should keep in mind that it is not a means to salvation. Like prayer, Christian meditation is a mere form of spiritual discipline, a deeper kind of worship, and a more intimate meeting with God.

Meditation – Your Guide to Meditation Methods Part 1

Meditation channels all our thoughts and energy inwards towards the core of our existence. In fact anytime that we concentrate on something other than our thoughts, we are already meditating. We can meditate while we walk, move, lie down, stand, or sit. Meditation is not limited to any one particular position; there are various methods and ways of practicing meditation.

However the one burning question is since there are numerous ways and methods of practicing meditation, which method does one follow? Well the answer to that is any method that suits you and your present particular situation the best. Meditation doesn’t always have to mean sitting down with your legs crossed and eyes closed, it can be as simple as walking and standing.

Although there are various ways in which one can practice meditation, for the sake of easy understanding meditation can be broadly classified into two categories; moving meditation and still meditation.

Moving meditation involves movements of the body such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga, dancing, walking and jogging. In this form of meditation the body moves in a series of rhythmic movements while the mind concentrates or is centered on breath. Thoughts are recognized without judgment and then the focus shifts back to breathe.

Focus can also be on the movement itself, the flowing internal energy from the body, the external environment, or even in the case of dancing, and the connection to music.

Still meditation on the other hand means our bodies and minds do not move. Sitting, standing, or lying meditation focuses on anything; breath, counting, a mantra (sound), candles, incense, a rock, a spot on the ground or ceiling, nature, anything that the heart desires. Thoughts are recognized without judgment, then let go, and concentration is brought back to what you were originally focused on. One learns to breathe through the nose in a natural unforced manner.

Let us take a look at some common meditation methods:

Standing Meditation

This is one of the meditation methods that focuses on regaining proper breathing techniques.

Technique:

Stand comfortably with your spine straight and feet about shoulder distance apart, open your left hand and place the thumb on your navel so that the palm of the hand is against the lower abdomen, then place you right hand on top of left in the same manner. Breathe slowly and feel the lower part of your abdomen expand while naturally pushing away your hands outward on your belly. Hold the breath for four seconds and then exhale slowly, feeling your lower abdomen contracting inward as the air is released. Recognize the thoughts without judgment and bring back the concentration to your breath.

Meditation – Your Guide to Meditation Retreats

Retreats are not only a major part of practicing insight meditation but can also prove to be very effective as an alternative to group therapy. Working together as a group and spending time meditating together each day helps in building concentration and focus and revitalizes the mind and body with a positive energy.

Man is a social animal and a meditation retreat is just the place where a group of like minded people can meet for the common purpose of practicing meditation. The positive flow of energy among a group such as this can be highly effective in the realization of the goals of meditation.

Although a retreat can sound like a rather radical meditation technique, its advantages are far too beneficial to be shunned. There are a number of meditation retreats centers that offer a number of services all of which pertain to meditation in addition to providing a place for people to get together as a group and avail the joint benefits of practicing meditation.

Meditation Retreats Offered by Awareness Intensive Institute This meditation retreat institute offers programmes called “Who is In?” and “Satori”, a three day and seven day workshop respectively. They also have a highly professional staff of facilitators who can cater to all your basic requirements all within a safe environment. The purpose of a retreat program such as this is to help you channel all you focus and concentration on meditation and meditation alone.

Their meditation technique is called “Self -Inquiry” and “Communication”, which is designed to help you understand yourself better and to contemplate and enhance your “in the moment” experience. In this sate you are encouraged to communicate your thought and emotions with a partner. This enables you to discover the mystery of your personality at a pace that suits you all the while witnessing the movement of your unconscious self.

Who is in? – three day meditation retreat explained Zen Koan or “Who is in?” is a specially designed meditation retreat technique developed to search behind all the masks and layers of a personality that we carry from our birth The structure of this process is designed to help focus all your energy inwards, reaching deep into the core of our minds and souls to unleash the source of all our emotions and the path to self discovery and eternal happiness.

Satori: a glimpse of enlightenment – a seven day retreats This meditation retreat technique of “Satori” is aimed at answering one of the most basic questions of life. Who am I? Satori is not a therapy rather a therapeutic experience with the goal of finding solutions to conflicts which arise within the mind.

Meditation retreats encourage an intense, honest, open and compassionate inquiry into the very core of our lives as a means to understanding our individual personalities and then applying that knowledge in all the other areas of our lives.

Exploring Meditation – A Guide On How To Meditate

Meditation can be considered a way to bring inner peace and joy, help you sleep better, relieve pain and improve physical health. But more importantly, meditation is a doorway into the subconscious. You may be able to understand yourself better through meditation.

If you want to learn how to meditate, this short guide will be of some help. Let’s begin with some simple tips.

1. Sit Correctly

Be comfortable. It doesn’t matter as much if you are cross-legged on the floor or seated on a chair, as long as you feel comfortable and relaxed. It is hard to focus your mind on something when you are physically inconvenienced. Keeping your body balanced and calm will aid your mind in following the same route. Sit straight, imagining that your head reaches the clouds.

2. Open Your Eyes

Staying tuned in to the present can keep your mind more focused than if you close your eyes and let it wander everywhere else. But if you are more comfortable meditating with eyes closed, you can do it also. Try out both approaches and see which one works better for you.

3. Focus Your Mind

Concentration on a particular object or task is conventionally understood to be focus. Think of a beam of light. It doesn’t scatter all around, but is narrowly aimed at a small area, lighting it up brightly. Your thoughts are the same. When you learn how to meditate, your thoughts must be centered on one thing only. You must concentrate all your attention on that single thought for as long as possible.

4. Breathe

Notice your breath as it rushes into your body and exits it slowly. Nothing can anchor your mind in the present as this exercise. You do not need to control or manage your breathing in any way, just concentrate on the breaths entering and leaving your body. That alone will still your mind and focus it on one thing, thus helping you to meditate.

5. Abandon Your Thoughts

If you notice yourself thinking about something, consciously let it go. Return your focus back to your breathing. Do not work to force out any thoughts, as that resistance will only make you more aware of other thoughts. Instead, imagine them as being an unwelcome guest whom you turn away to return back to your work.

These are only a few of many tips and tricks to learning how to meditate correctly. There are numerous benefits from meditation that you can acquire easily through some practice and discipline.

Roommate Finances – A Guide To Solving Disputes Over Roommate Expenses

Are financial disputes causing tension between roommates in your household? Different ideas and thoughts about money can often lead to conflict between roommates. The answer is to find a way to deal with these differences and solve any disagreements as they occur.

The key to solving issues concerning money is to remain cool, calm and collected. Many times issues arise due to simple mistakes or misunderstandings. These can range from a roommate simply forgetting to pay their expenses as they preoccupied with other things to the nominated bookkeeper giving the wrong change. There are other times when the issues are much larger such as the non-payment of expenses by a roommate leaving other roommates to pick up the bill to the mishandling of money by household members.

So, how can your household solve all of these different kinds of disputes. The steps below will guide you through a step by step process that lets you solve simple issues quickly and helps your household get a grip of more complex problems.

1. Talk To Your Roommates Or Nominated Bookkeeper

You should start by talking to your roommate or household bookkeeper on a one-to-one basis. There may have been just a simple oversight or mistake that could be quickly corrected by looking at the Accounts Book and accounting records. It may just be a matter of sitting down quietly, working out the problem and finding a solution together.

2. Hold A Round Table Discussion

If the issue can not be solved between the bookkeeper and a roommate, a round table discussion should be held including all roommates at a convenient time for the entire household. By bringing the disagreement into the open where each person can tell their own side of the story, lets each roommate give their opinion and helps the group decide on a workable solution. A timetable should be set up to implement any recommendations including a review date and meeting.

3. Revisit The Issue

Your review date and meeting can be held a few days or weeks later depending on how long it will take to implement the solution. At the review meeting, all parties should discuss if the solution has been implemented and if any problems arose. If the proposed solution was not implemented you may like to set up a new round table discussion to find a new answer to solve the dispute or alternatively to go to the next step, mediation.

4. Mediation

This option gives all parties the opportunity to be heard by an independent person who can help you reach an agreement in a safe and informal environment. Mediation only works if all parties are willing and able to attend. Many times each person can tell their own story separately and in private. You can find your local community mediation center in your local phone book or through the Internet. These services are often free or available for a small fee.

5. Court Proceedings

This should be your last option and should only be used for serious disputes concerning money where an outcome could not be achieved. Seeking legal advice and going to court can be very expensive but may be necessary in some cases. There are other times where you are better off to cut your losses and move on. It’s important to remember that each financial dispute is unique and you need to exercise your own judgement.

Just remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to solve a non-payment issue or feel that your household budget could be managed better, by approaching financial disputes in a calm and factual manner you can help lead the way in finding a suitable solution. It may not always be easy or could take a bit of time but it’s important that these differences are solved before they get out of hand and cause conflict between roommates that go beyond the realm of household finances.

Good Luck and Enjoy Roommate Living!

Private Drug Treatment Centers – How They Are Better Than Other Programs

Private drug treatment centers are known to offer the best and the most widely popular addiction treatment programs. The detox process which is one of the most crucial steps towards treatment is the finest in a private rehab. The preferred choice for up market clientele, celebrities, corporate honchos; they are loved because of their anonymity because they are kept away from the media glare and the public eye. Now with easy financing options many people are admitting their near and dear ones who are addicted to drugs, to private drug rehabs because of the huge amount of positive factors that are tied to them.

In a private drug treatment program, you can benefit from a high quality detox program and an addiction treatment system that is customized for you. Every aspect of the therapy is based on its ability to meet the needs of the person. Right from detoxification to after-care, every therapeutic step is well-tended and taken care by a skilled profession who has relevant experience in the field of drug addiction treatment. The cutting edge treatment is what sets it apart from the other drug addiction treatment options that are available.

The schedule and treatment is modified and changed with every phase of recovery and the professionals are there to only guide you to do better with every step. By the end of the treatment, the person is not just drug-free and sober; she or he has also earned a lot of life skills and has become healthier and beautiful as a person. It is incredible to know that the private rehab is so systematic and dedicated to make sure that every patient gets the best possible treatment.

Public drug treatment options are limited in scope even though they are well within the means of the common man. Private drug treatment centers are not limited by red-tapism and other authoritarian organizations that fund them. There is complete freedom to experiment with cutting-edge range of treatment t options that are beyond traditional, conventional methods. The infrastructure boasts of high quality amenities like spa, swimming pool, mediation centers etc. The personalized treatment program is definitely something that raises the bar high for these drug rehabs.

It is a personal choice to go for the treatment plan for your loved one. But given a fair comparison of the two, the cost notwithstanding, it is the private drug treatment center which is lauded for its high success ratio and track record, considering that the after-care option that they have makes it certain that the person doesn’t go into a relapse mode again. So, if you prefer anonymity, total and effective treatment, then a private drug treatment rehab is the best option for you. With the kind of treatment that you get, you regain your health, your place in the society, your dreams and future ambitions become intact and you become a much valued person in the society thanks to what you take back from the rehab. The best thing is that hardly anyone will ever get to know that you enrolled in a rehab.

Advantages of Using Mediation and Arbitration As Alternatives to Divorce Court

Ever wonder why some people choose to handle their divorce through mediation or arbitration rather than going to court? Here are some of the advantages mediation and arbitration offer.

Value – In mediation, a complete divorce and parenting agreement can generally be reached in 8-16 hours. Of course, if the two of you cannot agree on the color of the sky, you had better plan on it taking double that time. The hourly rate of one mediator is about half the hourly rate of two attorneys arguing about the same issues. In mediation, even if each of you consults with an attorney for an hour or so before, after, or during mediation, your costs will still be significantly lower than going to court. Having your mediator take on the dual role of arbitrator during an impasse will also save you time and money, since you won’t have to explain all of the details again to someone new. An arbitration award is binding, just as a court order is.

Flexibility – Courts are overwhelmed with more cases then they have time to hear. You might have two days worth of information you want the court to consider, but the court might only have half a day to take your case. In addition, courts are required to follow rules of evidence that often limit the information they can consider during your case. Information you might think is crucial to understanding your situation cannot be considered by the court if it is hearsay or not presented correctly. Using an arbitrator who is experienced in family law is an excellent way to fully and completely present your case. Arbitrators have more time and are not bound by the rules of evidence. Arbitration is more relaxed than court and can usually be scheduled in a matter of days or weeks instead of months. To increase your flexibility further, you can combine mediation with arbitration, as mentioned above.

Control – During mediation, you are in control of your own process and your own agreement. The mediator will guide the process you have chosen, but you are free to change direction and to make agreements that might be unconventional. Courts generally do not have time to be creative in making orders regarding property distribution, parenting issues or support; you are more likely to get a one-size-fits-all solution. A mediated agreement, on the other hand, will be crafted specifically for your unique situation. Although arbitration is generally more formal than mediation, you still have control over how formal you want the process to be. If you want the arbitrator to decide some issues, but not others, you can provide these specifics in your agreement to arbitrate.