Category: FOCUS

Vipassana Meditation – the path to freedom – PART II

This is Part II of a three part article, “Vipassana – the path to freedom”.

 

For Part I, click here.

For Part II, keep reading.

For Part III, click here.

 

~ PART II ~

 

Vipassana & Your Sensation Station

Do you ever feel a sort of anxiety that comes from nowhere? Does it ever creep up on you and then make a dramatic appearance in a big argument or by snapping at someone?

Negative (and untrue) habitual thoughts (ex: “I don’t have enough and I’ll never have enough”, “I don’t deserve this”, or “I’m not enough”) really depress the mood, beginning with the thinker of the thoughts and continuing through those he or she interacts with. Thought patterns like this don’t feel good when we think them and there’s good reason for that.

There’s a not-so-secret “secret” our Western culture is steadily catching onto: thoughts that feel good must be true to one as a a human-spiritual being (why else would they feel good?) and thoughts that feel bad are not true (why else would the mind & body be trying to push against them with negative emotions?).

The “feelings” I am referring to above are felt in the body almost by a kind of sixth sense; the Intuition sense, or gut feeling. When I say ‘feel’, I mean feeling the subtle emotions that our bodies are communicating to us through the chemicals in our bodies as we think and act.

Easier said than done, right? Those suckers are subtle, and some change as quickly as the wind.

And here’s where Vipassana comes back in. As the technique teaches to feel the sensations in our bodies and train the mind and body out of blindly reacting to them, it is also simultaneously teaching us to be aware of our bodies, the vessels that help translate the messages we get from our Intuition.

Now, everyone has their own truth, and a thought or message from our bodies that feels good to me may not feel good to you, but still, every thought falls within the guidance of our Emotional Guidance System – or Intuition – something that directs each of us individually through life in all moments as we pay attention to our feelings and emotions and where they are leading us.

It sounds far-fetched to your everyday, Western-cultured ‘realist’, but science has now caught up to the fact that this mind-body connection is the method for human development and is the reason for the successful evolution this world has seen.

To lend an example, think about eating for a minute. Why are we drawn to certain types of food, and repulsed by others? Why do we have cravings for specific foods during specific times of the day or month? By signaling our minds, our bodies can get the proper nutrition and sustenance it needs to be as successful as possible in a given present environment.

Maybe you love doughnuts and you’re thinking, “but doughnuts don’t make me successful”. It’s so important to be aware of our bodies so that we can hear the messages our Intuition is sending us, rather than our pre-conditioned minds to more accurately feel what is best for us.

When one trains his or her body to be felt more deeply and fully, then he or she is training to feel more deeply and fully a guidance system that will lead them wherever they want to go. Because with that Emotional Guidance System comes everything that we want.

Stay with me here.

If our emotions lead us from one spot to another and if good thoughts equal good feelings, then it makes sense that using our emotions, our bodies and minds are signaling us to eat this not that, go here not there, do this not that, etc., taking into account our wishes and desires of all sizes along the way to get exactly what we want and need to survive and thrive. The same things goes for our conscious desires and needs, like love and sex and enough monetary things to sustain ourselves, physically and emotionally, to the degree we believe it.

Our Emotional Guidance Systems prompts each of us everywhere we desire to go, but each of us individually are the ones who must take the steps to go where it wants us to go. Sometimes, listening is as easy as hearing your stomach growl and going for some food. And sometimes, it’s not so easy to listen. Sometimes our bodies send us signals we have been ignoring for years, making it much more difficult to ‘hear’.

 

Clarity of Mind, Body, & Spirit

As explained throughout the course, what we put into our bodies has a lot to do with what we reap from them. If our input is “dirty” foods and substances filled with preservatives, chemicals, and other processed junk, then our output will be a “dirty”, or cluttered mind, making it much more difficult to feel the sensations we need to feel for a more successful life. As within, so without.

By spending a silent week and a half in the course, being fed quality and tasty vegetarian meals and living life outside of the chaos of the outer world, one can train his or herself and literally physically rewire the brain to communicate clearly and more effectively with his or her Intuition.

When one is focused, aligned, has a clear head, and feels good, concepts that are complex seem easy and simple. Things that are too fast seem slowed down. When one is in alignment with his or her Intuition, the feelings are positive, the thoughts that come feel good, and without other emotions and worries to distract, things just seem to work out well as a result of such a clear mindset.

 

Balanced Mind = Balanced Life

Another component about the course which proves to be one of the most useful tools I have learned is equanimity, which I understand now as calm and balance of the mind. As we work with this skill more and more, just like a muscle, with time we learn to be increasingly calm and have a collected mind in every situation, good and bad.

While meditating during the course, thoughts come and go. Many times, what comes up are Sankharas (simply translating as: “that which has been put together”), or blind reactions to events we have unconsciously “put together” in our subconscious minds that can be released simply by observing it, knowing the truth that everything is always changing; this too shall pass.

Many times throughout the course I would have moments of blissful insight while sitting, or memories I had long forgotten from when I was a kid. After observing and releasing thoughts and reactions to several previous life events, I could physically feel my relief all over my body. I took this as a good sign and those ah-ha moments and blissful insights were great motivation for me to keep going in the course, especially when I felt I couldn’t finish the first day.

 

 

By feeling sensations in the body and not reacting when they come up, we retrain our brains, creating new neural pathways; new ways neurons (nerve cells) wire together, resulting in new thought patterns.

Through this process we retrain our brains to observe what comes and let it pass only by observing. The same can be done for any situation in life, but by sitting still and experiencing internal sensations that we train ourselves not to react to, we start in the kiddie pool, rather than the deep end with ‘real life’ and ‘real life’ situations.

As the course teaches, the wisdom of knowing everything is always changing in every moment helps us realize the true nature of reality and everything that happens in life.

 

 

Misery is often caused by feeling powerless to circumstances we can’t control, but by understanding that everything always changes, and by experiencing this law of nature through first-hand experience (through repeated observation of always-changing sensations within the body), rather than just intellectual knowledge, we allow our bodies, and therefore minds, to accept this fact quicker and more efficiently by creating physical cell memory of it.

During the course, we are told to accept the teachings that feel true for us and leave what doesn’t. The technique teaches a lot about peace and kindness, so it’s hard to argue a lot of the points our teacher, Goenka, mentions, but some parts of the teachings are definitely different than what most of us were taught in our Western-style schools. In fact, I don’t really recall there being a class for emotional intelligence in public school…

 

Vipassana in Practice

 

About a month after one full 10 day course I feel calmer, less reactive, more peaceful, more motivated for life, clearer and more connected in mind and body, more able to feel sensations both internally and externally, and more connected to the world around me. Actually, putting these effects into words seems like such a joke, because these benefits have changed my inner world completely, in an amazing way.

Words just can’t explain it right. After this course I feel better able to gracefully handle the world and everything in front of me, death included.

At the risk of sounding like a total fruit cake, it feels like I have stumbled upon some sort of Heaven on Earth, an art of living I didn’t realize really existed. I share all of this because it’s a way, no, an art of living meant for anyone who wants to take the steps to get there.

Though sometimes I’ll still have bad moments or days when I’ve forgotten myself and gripe and groan about something petty, it’s a long process retraining our brains and I’m consistently enjoying changing my reactions to things to be a happier, kinder, more thoughtful, and successful person.

(Continues in Part III)

Vipassana Meditation – the path to freedom – PART I

This article is divided and published into three separate parts for clarity and digestibility. This is Part I of a three part article titled “Vipassana – the path to freedom”.

 

For Part I, keep reading.

For Part II, click here.

For Part III, click here.

 

 

~ PART I ~

 

What would you do if you had the choice between the red pill and the blue pill? What if, in one hand, you had every tool needed to free yourself from the limits of your mind and surpass negative emotions as soon as you notice them, and in the other hand lies the antidote to freedom that will keep you in your safe box?

What if there was a real and honest tool for you to shift your internal reality to be able to live in peace, regardless of your surroundings and what is happening in them?

I want to be clear, I’m not writing to convince anyone of anything. You all can judge for yourselves if you think a Vipassana Meditation course might be something you’d brave. But I’m telling you right now it will change your world in an amazing way… if you let it.

It’s been about four weeks since I finished my first 10-day Vipassana Meditation course and after observing the effects it’s had on my real life in a few weeks time, this article is my attempt at translating my experience and benefits into words.

Vipassana is a Pali (the language in the time of Buddha) word meaning “seeing the reality as it is”. It is a technique of meditation founded and taught by Gautama the Buddha himself. It cultivates determination, mindfulness, awareness of both inner and outer surroundings, and an inner peace and clarity that cannot easily be found outside of sitting quietly with oneself.

Students are asked to meditate 11 hours a day, commit to 9 days of “Noble Silence” (the tenth day students are allowed to talk and reflect on the course with others) and communicate only with teachers and assistants to ask questions.

Not gonna lie, meditating that much threw me for a loop. I have never been so silent for so long since my months in the womb, and it was a big challenge even lasting the full course.

I can definitely see why Noble Silence is a thing in this program. By not distracting ourselves and others with words about the outside world or the course itself, one can achieve true mental clarity.

With all the chaos that’s been happening lately, I believe the world could use a little pick-me-up that doesn’t involve drugs or other external sources of pleasure. We’ve been on that hamster wheel long enough.

Vipassana can be this pathway to emotional freedom for people of all backgrounds, all races and religions, all sexual orientations, and all types of personalities, helping us kick addictions to substances and behaviors we previously have used in order to find that happiness and connection with our innermost selves.

There are a lot of unhappy people causing misery to themselves and others by way of simply not knowing how to handle their suffering. This course is a method to break through the illusions of life and see how everything truly is, rather than how we want things to be, not only so that we can be in the right mindset to deal with life events wisely and without reacting blindly, but also so we can be happier at the basis of our lives, regardless of what happens in them.

Which is how it was meant to be, no? The human default is happy, we just have to unlearn a few old paradigms from society along the way.

(Continues in Part II)

Mount Evans Colorado

Vipassana Meditation – the path to freedom – PART III

This is Part III of a three part article titled “Vipassana – the path to freedom”.

 

For Part I, click here.

For Part II, click here.

For Part III, keep reading.

 

~ PART III ~

 

A few more things about the course…

  •  This whole thing is free. Run by donations and volunteers ONLY, this course thrives on the purity of the technique and what it teaches. Previous students who feel the course has benefited them will donate (only AFTER the course has finished) so that others can benefit as well.By not accepting money before the course in exchange for the services and hospitality the course provides, and by only using volunteers, teachers and students can truly receive the full benefit of the teachings, free from monetary intentions.
  • Vipassana Meditation courses have been held since Buddha was still alive and head honcho of Vipassana, originating in India some 2,600 years ago and spreading all over the world.The course I took was held by the Rocky Mountain Vipassana Association at a rented-out Jewish Children’s Camp in Elbert, CO, which worked pretty nicely for the course. RMVA is now expanding and have plans to open up their own center in Colorado.
Mount Evans Colorado
View from the top of Mount Evans, Colorado
  • Held at 310 locations in 94 countries around the world, Vipassana Meditation courses have expanded for good reason.
  • This course doesn’t advertise, only by word of mouth do course lists get overbooked and waiting lists get filled.
  • The course is non-secular, so students can come religious or non-religious.
  • Eleven hours a day meditating seems pretty brutal when you think about it, but after trying it, it’s not so bad. A roommate of mine during the course had never meditated before coming to practice Vipassana, so the program is truly meant for almost* anyone who wants to improve their lives in a deep and introspective way.

vipassana meditation course

Believe it or not, it can actually be enjoyable to be in such a deep state where time and space almost don’t exist anymore. To be able to heal from past wounds, physical and emotional, and retrain our brains to think more emotionally clear and consciously is an invaluable skill for every single day for our entire lives.

Plus, students never have to sit for more than an hour at a time if they don’t truly want to. Students are permitted to take short breaks here and there and the instructors trusted we had an idea what would happen to our practice if we didn’t meditate seriously.

  • The Association will accommodate students with dietary needs. If a student is taking a prescription, needs vitamins, or asks for modified food accommodations, those who run the course will help them meet daily needs.
  • Likewise, if a student would like a chair to meditate with rather than sitting in criss-cross applesauce, they’ll accommodate to get everyone comfortable enough.
  • *With all of this said, this course is not for everyone. Those with serious psychiatric disorders come to courses expecting it to be their cure, which turns out to be not only a disappointment, but could even set him or her back in health.

 

Vipassana for a Happier World

While Vipassana Meditation is a way to eradicate suffering, each of us by ourselves are the only ones to be able to take the steps on the path, and anyone who expects salvation to come from an outside source (even a meditation course) is only going to come to realize it is nothing but ourselves who will save us. It is each of us alone who does the work to be free of the mind’s limitations and eradicate our excuses for being unhappy. Not the meditation course, not the drugs, not the healthy food, not the lover, not even the prayer or worship.

Though there is power in all of these things, by ending our clinging to what excites or upsets us to any degree, we can taste our liberation and take the steps to true happiness.

Many people have seen the value of this technique and envisioned what it can do for school detention centers and even prisons. “The Dhamma Brothers” is a unique film highlighting just one example of how Vipassana has been introduced into the system and the mental freedom it has given two prison mates in one of the most violent prisons in Southern Alabama. Not trying to ruin the ending or anything, but they all live happily ever after. Mostly.

Schools have started implementing Vipassana Meditation for restless children and finding great results. Meditation itself has been proven to benefit kids just as much as adults, and in a society that thrives best with calm and creative minds, it’s the lock and key to a better functioning society as whole. But external peace starts from peace within, something Vipassana Meditation has proven to help cultivate.

It is one thing I believe we all have in common: each of us alone must free ourselves from the chains of our own minds.

The only way out is in.

 


To find out more about the Vipassana Meditation Technique, head to https://www.dhamma.org/ and click around for resources and articles.

Love & Connection Affirmations

I belong in this world and am a part of Mother Nature.

I am at peace with my surroundings, with the people and events that occur.

I am at home in this universe.

I find my own happiness before meeting with others so that I can allow my own happiness to be emphasized by and to emphasize others’ happiness.

Those who do not give me what I want are allowing me to connect with my true resources.

I am happiest in the basics of life: forgiveness, courage, gratitude, love, and humor.

I am love.

Abundance flows in and out of my life through endless sources on a continuous basis.

I am abundance.

I find new and exciting ways to help people everyday.

I radiate love and prosperity in everything that I do.

I embrace the good and the bad because I know both serve me in positive ways.

I love myself, including the flaws. 

I am in synchronicity with the abundant energy Source.

I trust my intuition to care for me.

I attract healthy relationships.

I am certain my inner being and the universe are bringing to me what I desire.

I welcome clarity.

I design my life.

I take my infinite power back.

I automatically fill other cups when I fill my own.

I experience love everyday.

Today is a gift.

My heart is full of light and peace.

I become more loving everyday.

I become more lovable everyday.

My abundance income is always increasing.

There is plenty of abundance for everyone.

I love to inspire myself to accomplish fun tasks that help others.

My job is to help others.

I love to inspire people to live happier.

I have compassion for myself.

My life gets more incredible everyday.

I am prosperous in love in my life.

I am prosperous in joy in my life.

I am prosperous in beauty in my life.

Confidence Affirmations

My skills and talents are unending.

I love to share my talents with others.

My body is a gift and I appreciate every facet and corner of it.

My body is the perfect living space.

Perfect health and happiness is my divine right and I realize it now.

I am the only one who chooses my thoughts.

I am constantly seeing my affirmations and changes in my mind in real time.

I am good at finding the balance in everything.

My talents are always growing.

I am free.

I have an abundance of freedom.

I am a walking talking miracle magnet.

It is safe for me to look at my finances without fear.

Money & Abundance Affirmations

It is safe for me to be rich and frugal.

It is safe for me to get excited about money.

It is safe for me to look wealthy if I want.

It is safe for me to pick the most expensive thing on the menu if I desire.

It is natural to have an abundance in finances.

It is safe for me to have a lot of money.

It is safe for me to look at my finances with love.

I am deserving and grateful of the money I am given.

It is safe for me to release overused limiting money beliefs.

It is safe for me to make money while I sleep.

It is safe for me to use my money to create magical experiences.

It is safe for me to make a lot of money.

It is safe for me to invest.

It is safe for me to make important financial decisions.

It is safe for me to travel First Class.

It is safe for me to have wealth in every area of my life.

It is safe for me to earn more than everyone around me put together.

It is safe for me to have multiple streams of passive income.

It is safe for me to earn more than my mentors.

It is safe for me to be a rich and powerful person.

I deserve every cent I am given.

I attract abundance all by myself.

Money comes to me from anywhere, from anyone, at anytime.

Large sums of money come to me easily and quickly.

I prosper wherever I turn.

I am living in a place which allows me to prosper at a price I can afford.

Travel is easy to afford.

I am certain the things I desire are on their way and are coming in a delightful and surprising manner.

I deserve the good I am gifted.

I achieve enough abundance for the things I want.

I am receiving things that I want that others want to give away.

I deserve the money I am given.

I allow abundance and prosperity on a higher level than I have ever allowed before.

I release poverty thinking.

I allow an abundance mindset.

The universe supplies me with everything I want in time.

I am quickly manifesting the things I want on a daily basis.

I am open and receptive to all good.

I deserve and accept my financial abundance to accomplish the things I desire.

My financial abundance creates financial abundance for others.

Debt comes in and out of lives easily.

Bills and debt show me I am trusted.

I am friends with my bank account.

I am friends with my debt.

There is enough money to fulfill everyone’s needs at all moments.

Money comes in and out of my life fluidly and at the exact perfect moments.

I am a magnet to money and success.

I am so happy and grateful now that money comes to me in increasing quantities through many sources, on a continuous basis.

Everywhere I go I prosper.

The universe’s wealth flows to me easily.

I have more money than I can even spend.

 

health affirmations

Health Affirmations

I am safe in the world around me.

My body is instinctually healing itself in all moments.

I am at peace with my surroundings, with the people and events that occur.

I treat my mind and body as a temple.

I nurture and love my mind and body.

My mind and body nurtures and loves me.

My body is a gift and I appreciate every facet and corner of it.

My body is the perfect living space.

Perfect health and happiness is my divine right and I realize it now.

I revel in the foods that are the best for my mind and body.

I am the only one who chooses my thoughts.

I am prosperous in good health.

 

Ways To Raise How You Feel

When was the last time you were manipulated or caught someone in a lie? Do you remember how it felt?

Each one of us has the drive to fulfill our needs and make ourselves happy daily and consistently. If we don’t, our needs will meet themselves through deception and manipulation of those around us. And who plans to do either of those? I’m guessing not you, if you clicked on this article.

We fill our cups so we can live happy, deliberately manifest our desired reality with more flow and ease, and leave the world better than we found it.

One doesn’t have to necessarily do anything to make him or herself feel good. All it takes is a bit of focusing and finding better-feeling thoughts. Most of us know what a simple shift in perspective can do for someone.

Easier said than done, right? Here are some ways to get your momentum going:

 

 

First thing’s first:

~ Quit chasing it. Trying (horrible word to use when we want to manifest something – it implies lack which attracts more lack) to be happy while in the process of believing we don’t have it will just hold ourselves in that vibration, and maybe even send us backwards if the negative emotion is strong enough. Focus on letting the feeling of chasing something go, and inviting a feeling of relaxed contentment in. Daydreaming our desired future is the perfect antidote.

~ Be present in nature. Make the connection with the Earth and the silence will speak to you. “Grounding” is a good way to do this. It has been discovered that the Earth has a certain frequency, and by connecting our bare skin to the bare ground, the Earth can help raise our vibration back up to hers. Hey, she’s not called Mother Earth for nothin’.

~ People watch.

~ Be mindful. “Watch” your thoughts and see what insights come.

~ Move your body. Dance like no one is watching and preferably when no one is watching. Get competitive with a friend on the tennis court, join a volleyball team, stretch during a good yoga session; anything to get your body moving and the happy hormones flowing.

~ Tell someone you love them.

~ Give something to someone. You don’t need to go out and buy a present; in fact a big bear hug or some kind words can be more effective than tangible gifts. As long as it’s coming from a loving place, it counts.

~ Drink water. Sometimes a sour mood is simply due to dehydration.

~ Sit with your feelings, good or bad. It’s helpful to be aware of our emotions so that we can shift them, if we decide.

Sometimes resistance to our feelings is what feels more uncomfortable than the actual feelings. This was a profound light bulb that when it finally came on for me, it changed everything. Each of our feelings are there for a good reason, and the negative emotion likely means we’re looking at things from a narrow point of view, which sends our exit sign out of view.

Try shifting your perception to a higher one, so that you can see your situation fully for what it is: a neutral circumstance that is separate from you as a person and being. Relax in that clarity and allow an answer for the issue to reveal itself.

~ Build something. You may surprise yourself with a masterpiece to share and a huge sense of achievement. Not to mention future opportunities your creation will bring.

~ Talk about mutual desires with your friends and family. Revel in what your imagination can bring to you, especially when others are involved and know that those visions are shaping your future reality.

~ Learn something interesting. We are born learners and teachers from the beginning until the end, and this sort of thing should be enjoyable, so pick something that resonates.

~ Eat your favorite healthiest food and revel in the taste. I say healthy because a chocolate cake is gonna make us feel good when it’s in our mouths, but chances are the side effects are going to lower our moods later on. Healthy food like asparagus or broccoli is mind-blowingly delicious when prepared to our individual tastes (sautée it crispy with some garlic, salt, and olive oil and I will ALMOST forget about chocolate cake).

~ Take any passion you have and do it with full force. Give it your full presence. Release thoughts of future mistakes you could make and just roll with the punches.

~ Do something with good friends. It isn’t so much about what you do as who you’re with.

~ Get out your thoughts. Sometimes the best way to release emotions is to speak or write out them. Vent to someone you trust, film yourself talking it out, write about it in a journal, cry about it! Anything to release that energy, because it’s meant to come out somehow, with or without your help.

~ Read a good book. If you’re not a bookworm, watch a good video or listen to someone talk about something that excites/interests/calls you.

~ Find a good view. Add a sunrise or sunset and some munchies for optimal enjoyment.

 

I’m sure I missed some! There are millions of ways to raise our vibrations, and each of us has our own collection from which we can choose. This list is growing so let me know what I left out! How do you raise your mood?

 

how to meditate

How to Meditate (& Why It’s The Tool For Alignment)

Updated: September 23, 2018

Meditation has been used since the dawn of time to better understand the forces of nature and mysteries of life [1], starting with the human mind and how it works with the body. It’s our goal during a standard meditation session as to simply remember our breath or other “white noise” we choose to focus on, usually for the benefits of reducing stress.

 

Limited on time? Like summaries? Skip the backdrop and head to the bottom paragraphs titled “Too Long, Didn’t Read?” to find out the basics on how to meditate.

 

📍Miami, Florida, USA

What are the benefits of a quiet mind? 

[1],[2],[4]

it increases mindfulness (the awareness of the present and all that is going on)
it improves our control of the thoughts we think
it reduces stress hormones which reduces disease = reduces healthcare
it reduces heart rate and blood pressure
it improves positivity which improves our present and future
it improves compassion
it improves productivity; physical, mental, or emotional
it improves clarity on any subject
it improves memory
it slows (and can even reverse) aging
it increases self-awareness
it improves lung function and quality of breath
it improves the function of our senses
it improves our enjoyment of activities
it improves the pain response (both physically and emotionally)
it helps us handle stress more easily
it helps to decrease or even eradicate addiction to harmful substances
it helps us be happier and sustain that happiness
it increases creativity

& so much more…

 

I can vouch for all of these benefits, as I have noticed them in myself since starting a consistent meditation practice. Most especially, I have found a decrease in pain and my reaction to it. Meditation has given me the capacity to process and transmute both emotional and physical stresses. Burns and scrapes don’t hurt as much as they used to but sorry to say, a stubbed toe still REALLY hurts.

I’m going to say right here and now that I am no expert in meditation. I put what I am taught into practice to see what resonates with me. I believe it’s not necessary to be an ‘expert’ in meditation, as long as we are receiving the desired benefits from a consistent practice.

That being said, I think it’s important to get multiple perspectives on any subject to make up your own mind, so use the almighty Google, books, or online journals (or Bing if you’re that type of person ;)) to research new techniques and types of meditations after reading this guide. A technique that works for me might not work for you and vice versa. There are countless meditation techniques out there so you’re bound to find many that work best for you and keep you from boredom.

**NOTE: there comes a point later down the road in your meditation practice that many recommend a “guru” (an expert that can further show the way to enlightenment through meditation) because of the extremes meditation practice can manifest in many individuals. After meditating with consistent practice, beliefs that no longer serve us are likely to be brought into our lives as lessons to be learned and things to release. With or without meditation, they are meant to come up in our lives; they’re meant to help us learn. However, we are more equipped to deal with that kind of stress when we are more mindful of our thoughts. Gurus or Spiritual teachers can help guide people through the process in a more gentle and organized way.

 

So you’ve seen the benefits. You’ve made it this far. I’d like for you to experience the clarity that comes with a quieter mind. I’d love for you to see the ways meditating can improve your life in all areas. Here’s your guide on how to meditate and how you’ll benefit.

 

because clarity is power…

 

A quieter mind brings…

 

focus
freedom
clarity
tapping into the frequency of Source (the universe, the energy of life, God, Buddha, Allah, Mother Nature, whatever your preferred label)
comfort
peace
alignment & synergy

 

 

…and so much more that helps us grow in the ways we desire, at a soul level, which will consequently translate to a material level. This all is based on my own experience and thousands of hard-evidence studies scattered all over the internet.

They did a study on mindfulness at Harvard University and created a detailed resource outlining the benefits, practices, and information backing up their findings in a PDF document, “Now and Zen” (badass title if you ask me). Harvard researchers taught and studied participants practicing yoga and meditation consistently for 8 weeks, which improved physical health and brain function.

Harvard researchers found that participants were able to spend less on their doctor bills because of the improvement of health issues related to stress. Cortisol (a stress hormone which is the cause of an array of diseases when left without our help in minimizing it) levels plummeted and so did depression [3].

Vippassana Meditation, a technique founded and distributed by Buddha, is something that has been introduced all over the world as a completely free, donation-based service. For 10 days (or 20 or 30 or 45; there are several course lengths offered), students are expected to work around 11 hours a day of meditation, all while following Noble Silence, a mandatory rule that allows students to develop a quieter mind, all while having meals and breaks provided and served for them at no extra cost, all volunteer basis.

The repetition of the technique and consistent use of it is what serves so well in this course. It’s amazing how clear one’s mind can be after a course like this, and most students come year after year to strengthen their practice.

Vipassana is a meditation technique that teaches students to see everything as it is, and not how we think it should be. The technique teaches awareness and equanimity – the ability to keep a calm and balanced mind in all situations, ‘good’ and ‘bad’. After taking a course myself, it’s changed my inner world for the better, resulting in countless outer world benefits as well.

When we give our body and mind time to breathe with no distractions, stress has no where to go but out.

 

 Here is what a common effective meditation practice looks like:

*Main points are italicized.*

Meditation is used by many as a morning discipline, usually upon waking up. I notice how it affects my day more positively than if I meditate later in the day. Meditation is a skill, like a muscle being sculpted, so it helps to treat it as such. I won’t lie: I don’t always feel like meditating, but it’s like exercise. I do it because I know it will make me feel better, and it always does. Also just like exercise, some days I feel better than others and some days my meditation practice is far from perfect.

If morning meditation isn’t your thing, quieting your mind before sleep is a good choice for those who generally have trouble relaxing and falling or staying asleep, and it’s a good primer for some of your best dreams.

Arrange yourself in a comfortable place to sit or lie down that allows the least chance of moving for 20 minutes, with as few surrounding distractions as possible.

Common effective meditation sessions usually last around 15-20 minutes of watching the breath go in and out.

Focus on the subtleties of the in and out of the breath through your nose, the feeling of your belly inflating and deflating, or focus on the air conditioner in the background or fan, and that tiny high-pitched sound that comes with it that you can only hear when your mind is quiet enough.

When a thought comes up, observe it and as quickly as you remember, allow it to float away and come back to the breath or “file it away” for the future, if it’s useful. It’s helpful to visualize: picture a cloud or a wave taking the distracting thought away and then coming back to focusing on the breath again.

With practice, you’ll get better at simply coming back to your breath without a visualization, but some days it’s a bit more difficult to quiet that inner voice. Intend to treat yourself with compassion in coming back to the quietness of your mind. Annoyance and anger at yourself for your thoughts jumping around don’t support a healthy meditation practice. Meditation is an experience, and it should be a positive one you start to look forward to. The whole point is to feel recharged after your zen time, however that means for you in the moment.

With a quiet mind, we tend to receive thoughts that help us through certain topics of our lives. It’s almost intoxicating, the clear-headedness that comes with the detachment from thinking, like a bunch of eureka moments in a short period of time on any subject.

If I’m at this point–which, I’ll be honest, only happens when I am not expecting or chasing after it–I might ask a question I want clarity on, trust that it will come without my searching for the answer, then receive such a clear answer I start to wonder why I didn’t think of it before. I’m aware this all sounds a little counterintuitive— stop thinking so you can think? But that’s the trick. Quit trying to think and just start receiving them.

Many would call this “Mindfulness Meditation”. Truthfully, I forget about the labels and just do what feels good. Sometimes meditations are to focus solely on our breath, and other meditation sessions are focused on the thoughts that come after we have quieted our minds. And others are about focusing on your body, or parts of it. There are so many techniques to try out there that you will likely have no trouble with boredom.

And then there’s Visualization Meditation.

Are you yet aware of the Law of Attraction? Are you aware that you are a magnet based on your thoughts? Are you aware that on that which we focus–that which we are–we will receive more of, through all cases, in all moments? This is why Visualization Meditation is so powerful.

Either guided by a voice recording or done with your own imagination, pick a topic you want to visualize, quiet your mind of thoughts by focusing on the breath or another repeating noise or sensation, and imagine what you want to imagine for your life. Let your mind go with feel-good thoughts of what you to create or want more of in your life.

Remind yourself to enjoy the ride. This shouldn’t be a ton of effort, nor should we force ourselves. Imagining the reality of your dreams should be fun and natural, like when you were a kid. Intend to have a child-like imagination, one that is effortless and flows freely, as this is when we are most effective at creating the future we desire. There’s a good reason kids play pretend as much as they do.

Set the scene and incorporate all senses in some way: What does the scene look like? What kind of colors are present? What does it smell like? What are you tasting while you are observing what you want to create for yourself? What do you feel under your feet and fingers? Are you barefoot or do you have clunky shoes on uneven ground? What kind of noises surround you and this scene? Every little detail helps.

 

Make like a free-range chicken; free your monkey mind!

 

Meditation may be simple but there are so many facets to quieting our minds that can only be learned with experience. I invite you to tap into your power I know you know is there and find your clarity, freedom, and alignment…

Do you go fishing? Dance? Play a sport? Sing? Draw? Do you follow a passion, any passion? You’re probably already quieting your thoughts and getting in a flow state in certain moments of your days. Why not hit the ‘Limitless’ button? Sit down for just 10 to 15 deliberate minutes a day, stick with the habit, and you’ll forget why you ever went without.

Too long, didn’t read? Here’s a quick snippet on how you can meditate:

~ Find a comfortable place to sit or recline, keeping in mind the more comfortable you get, the higher chance you’re going to fall asleep. Nature is a great place to be mindful, but a comfortable and quiet room with limited distractions works well, too.

~ Close your eyes and relax your entire body, starting with the top of your head and ending at the tips of your toes, allowing every muscle to be at ease.

~ Feel your breath going in and out of your body. Focus on the way it feels going in and out of your nostrils, inflating and deflating your belly, re-centering your energy throughout your body. Focus on the way it feels to fill your lungs and muscles with oxygen.

~ When a thought comes up (and it will as our brains are designed to think), simply observe it and let it go, coming back to your breath.

That’s it! To transition out of meditation, gently wiggle your fingers and toes, stretch your muscles, and open your eyes, coming back into the present moment and the rest of your day.

PRO TIP #1: CONSISTENCY IS KEY to the benefits of meditation.

PRO TIP #2: it’s helpful to use visualization techniques to come back to your breath, such as inhaling a white light and exhaling and releasing negative darker light. There are no rules here; you could also imagine your mind as a little pebble drifting through a cleansing stream, dodging other pebbles or “thoughts” that get in your way. Visualizing certain scenes helps us stay focused on our meditation and remember to come back to the breath (plus it’s kinda fun..)

PRO TIP #3: nature is helpful because it almost always has a background noise to focus on. Using the natural energy of the earth to ground yourself is also a good way of keeping concentration and allowing your vibration to lift.

PRO TIP #4: the more relaxed you are, the easier it is to have a successful meditation.

Meditation Resources:

  • Headspace.com is an app and meditation resource for simple and/or guided meditations. They provide “packs” to help teach users to meditate effectively.
(not an affiliate link)
  • You

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/meditation-health-benefits_n_3178731.html
  3. https://hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Harvard%20Now%20and%20Zen%20Reading%20Materials.pdf
  4. https://www.headspace.com/science/meditation-benefits

 

I trust this has been helpful in getting you started, but I’m sure there are some things I missed! How do you meditate to quiet your mind? 
ways to learn a language

The Most Effective Ways to Learn A Language

Whether you’re looking to become fluent in a second tongue or master your inner polyglot, here are the most effective ways to learn a language.

 

1. Create a picture in your head of new words

(the sillier, the more memorable) rather than translating them to your own language. Words come out much faster and more fluid if you are remembering the picture of the word rather than the translation in your first language.

2. Collect the missing pieces of what you hear.

Download an offline translation app (or use a small handheld language book) and look up words you hear or see. Sometimes it can be a pain in the ass but honestly you will thank yourself soon after.

3. Ask what words mean.

Many people will happily explain in Spanish, which means more practice anyway 🙂 Don’t make the mistake of nodding and smiling like you heard what they said, especially if it was something important. Then you just feel like a fool and lost the conversation. It’s worth it to ask, and most people are happy to help. Plus, miscommunication sucks.

4. Sign up for a word-of-the-day to your email and try to use it in a sentence that day.

Go over past words every week or so.

5. When you’re learning multiple words in one sitting and don’t have something to write them all down, pick a few words to remember that you think you’ll use the most in future conversations.

9 of The Most Effective Ways to Learn a Language ~ interested in learning a new tongue? Maybe you want to master your inner polyglot? Here are nine ways to begin or continue your language practice. Click through to check out my best suggestions.

 

6. When you get a blank stare from someone after you butcher grammar or pronunciation (and you most definitely will) in their language, it helps to keep your sense of humor about it.

Remember, chances are you know more of this language than the other person knows of yours. Sometimes we simply say some stupid stuff without realizing. One time I said “Que chimba” when referring to a beautiful landscape which is a Colombian slang way of saying “cool” but literally translates to “pu$$y”. Yeah, I get lots of laughs as a foreign girl. Just flash a smile and say something like “I’m sorry, my (insert language you’re studying here) is not perfect.”

7. Read books aloud

in the language you’re learning to practice pronunciation and learn new words. Make sure you actually care about the topic or your brain will want to skim.

9 of The Most Effective Ways to Learn a Language ~ interested in learning a new tongue? Maybe you want to master your inner polyglot? Here are nine ways to begin or continue your language practice. Click through to check out my best suggestions.

8. Find interesting content to devour in your language of choice.

This is perfect because it’s more fun and interactive than learning a list of words to remember and the vocabulary is stuff you’ll have the most chance of using. Music is entertaining yet repetitive, guaranteeing you’ll learn a word or two at least and get practice with the ones you already know. Movies are great if you’re in a place you can’t immerse yourself in the language, and following Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts of people in your language of choice is a great way to improve everyday dialogue.

9. Find friends to practice with.

Pen pals you meet online or friends you meet overseas are a great way to get practice in when you aren’t in the area to immerse yourself in the language. Try to speak in their language as much as you feel necessary to your goals.

10. Embrace your fear of practice.

The faster you do that, the faster your brain will allow you to learn. Abandon thoughts of “I’m not good at this”, practice like you know what you’re doing, and practice often. Complete immersion is the best way to learn, and with a rock-solid confident mindset, you will get there faster than you thought you could.

What’s your preferred way to learn a language? Shoot me a suggestion and I’ll add it in!