I continue to learn about what exactly my “purpose”, “mission”, or “goal” is in this lifetime. The more I learn, the more it is clear to me that this all mighty purpose of my “self” is more and more fundamental and simple than I can ever expect or plan for it to be. This question is enigmatic and has crossed my mind throughout my adolescence, and young adult years, as I was conditioned to focus on making decisions that would bring me the biggest return on investment and provide the best “karmic” debt payment. As I work on exploring the complexities of this universe, the precepts, enemies of growth, types of doubt, axioms of universal truths, ways to become liberated and ideologies on how to live, I realize that in every moment in time, really, none of that matters. (Kind of like when I realized getting the “A” in college and all those years in school really didn’t matter. It was, instead, the joy I would receive from learning, growing, expanding and creating as a person that would yield the biggest reward and lessons in a scholar’s life.) It is a guttural feeling that, just like an old-fashion camera takes a snap shot of a specific moment, the gift or presence is truly what we (and I) should aim to submerge in. The constant feeling of bliss in every present moment; that is my current highest aim. Presence without the feeling of lack, but abundance. Presence without craving, attachments, agitation, and avoidance, but of equanimity and Upekkha (max potential and shape of the mind and body). It sounds so delicious, I can taste it. The best part of this specific aim, is that we can all have it. . . And it is free. It is like closing our eyes, tuning into our easy, rhythmic breath, and simply being. Just like heaven.Take a Tour
To grow the best fruit, the farmer does not water each individual mango as it hangs from the tree. Instead, great care is taken to ensure that the roots of the tree are watered sufficiently in order for the tree to reach its full potential. The product of that full potential is delicious fruit which everyone can enjoy. The farmer knows where the source is, and how to nurture it.Take a Tour
I have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Everyday. It oozes out of my heart, into my blood stream, my arms and legs, out the top of my head and shoots down from my feet, deep into the ground of which I find myself always running on. I am even more grateful for the people around me that help serve others, that are raising families, that are working to keep our society flowing, that offer enlightening concepts, inventors, scientists, children and their energy, as well as their sweet and bright outlooks on life, talents on a streaming media platform to brighten up a routine day. I am grateful for my family, my children, the warm sunshine and my ability to wake up day after day and feel this way (though obstacles sometimes challenge my perception of my knowing gratitude). Actually, even though I do feel this much gratitude, I do still have to constantly face that critic in my head, day by day, and talk to her. I have to tell her that everything in our lives is put here to teach us something and we can use the tools around us to learn from it when the time is vibrationally right. It is a skill to kindly talk to that anxious and sometimes pessimistic internal self critic. Sometimes I am too tired to talk. Or listen.Take a Tour
The more optimistic psychologists and neuroscientists agree that most of us use about 10% of our full mental potential. The pessimistic ones say that number is closer to 2% – but whatever the figure is, it’s certainly small. That leaves 90% or more of our mental capacity spent recycling, rehearsing, regretting or simply dormant.
The Vedic model of the mind states that we are only aware of the surface levels of mental activity. Mental stresses maintain background neural activity at a high level, preventing awareness of the quieter underlying levels of thinking. It’s not unlike speeding down the freeway in a car with the windows rolled down – the noise of the air and engine necessitate our turning the radio up, yet still we hear only the general outline of the music.Take a Tour
Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. writes a wonderful book called Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. He is also the author of the pursuit of perfect. There are many great points in his books and I wanted to share a quick chart he explains which according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, exemplifies flow (a state in which one is immersed in an experience that is rewarding in and of itself, where action and awareness are merged, and where happiness tends to find us).Take a Tour
Sitting quietly in meditation is a practice which reveals our least excited state – the very basis of our Being. However, our least excited state may not always result in an experience of sustained pure silence. Instead, we must think of our least excited state as our simplest form of awareness in that particular moment.
As the mind dives into meditation, our body faithfully and dutifully prints out whatever state of de-excitation the mind is able to achieve. The sequence is: first the mind, and then the body. These are the mechanics of how the body launders stress – through simple rest – and the engine driving that process is the mind.
As the body unwinds stress, the mind can become active with thoughts, emotions or even body sensation. Those experiences are the after effect of the body unstressing. Whenever we have those experiences in our meditation, as long they are preceded by our thinking the mantra, then we know they are the byproduct of stress release. Something good is happening.
When there is more stress in the body, there are more opportunities for stress to be released. During the early days of meditation, when the body is still holding a lifetime backlog of stress, only very little de-excitation is needed in order to trigger its release. As we clear out that backlog through regular practice, the trend is toward more sustained periods of depth in meditation.
However, deeper meditation is not solely a function of how many months or years we have been practicing. We must also factor in whatever is happening in our current life experience. Life is change, and with change comes a variety of demands. Sometimes those demands can overwhelm us and add stress. Even though experienced meditators find this happening less and less in their lives, no one is completely immune – no matter how much meditation we’ve done.
For most, the three biggest demands in life are change in living situation, change in work (financial) situation and change in relationship status. Even long time meditators report that their depth of meditation can change when those demands arise. Oftentimes, meditation during those challenging periods feels more “on the surface” and less relaxing, and some even feel a little agitated coming out of their practice.
If any of those experiences sounds familiar, know that you are not alone. And also, remind yourself that it is just a small bump in the road – it will pass. Ultimately, the perfect prescription is simply to keep regular with our practice, and take the whole experience as it comes, without judgement or concern.Take a Tour
There are many forms of meditation out there and certainly giving yourself time to engage in relaxation and meditation (no matter what form) is better than nothing. Specifically, for people who practice Transcendental or Vedic Meditation, a mantra is used, along with effortless breathing, to fully “transcend” and reach “bliss”, where anxiety and stress melt away and the body begins to release. The mantra, a simple collection of sounds or words is used as a focus for the person meditating, but is essentially a forgetting device. Based on sound quality alone, a Vedic Meditation mantra is a forgettable thought. In fact, one of its properties is to cause the mind to forget what it is doing.Take a Tour
Pow-Pow-Power Walks: Exercise helps the heart use oxygen more efficiently, so it doesn’t work as hard to pump blood. Get a vigorous cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Pump those arms (all the way up to your ears!) Try increasing speed or distance and tackle some hills to give your heart a better workout. Plug in some energizing music to help motivate you!Take a Tour