INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION

Who is Meditation For?

by Michael Mackintosh
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What is meditation and how to do it?
Michael Mackintosh

The #1 reason people don’t meditate and how to make the practice solid?
Arielle Hecht

Another great blog post that will help people?
Mark Flemming

What follows is a short list of some of the reasons why for ages certain folks have chosen to meditate.

M editation is for all who seek the deepest peace and the greatest love; for whom all is not what it appears to be. For those who simply seek to know what is truth and what is illusion; for those who know they are not being true to themselves and are moved to live with greater authenticity and integrity, For those who are aware that this world is on the verge of a dramatic and profound shift and sense they have a significant role to play, For those who know a Higher Power is at work in the world and hear the subtle call of the One to be present and available, For those who wish to know exactly who they are and why they are here. For those who wish to experience life as a soul and to see others as souls and recognize this may be the greatest paradigm shift of all.

 

In our world today it is apparent that the sufferings of people and nature are widespread. Often when we see seemingly innocent people, including children, suffering tremendous pain at the hands of others, our sense of injustice is triggered, often accompanied by what many would call “righteous anger” and perhaps even hatred for the oppressor.

In the process, these negative feelings create more suffering for ourselves and those around us. This becomes a habit, an inner pattern that is repeated, not only when we witness global strife, but also when someone at home, at work, at our place of worship, or on the street does something we consider unjust. The same button is pushed and the same pattern of outrage, fear, sleeplessness, anger, hatred, or revenge can emerge. What has not be acknowledged or understood that could alleviate this added pain and trauma?

A deeper understanding of the laws of action (karma) assures us that whatever we give, will eventually return to us. Therefore whatever happened or is happening to us is the result of our actions returning. When this understanding is integrated into our awareness while we watch apparent injustices in the world, it defuses our outrage, diminishes fear, and lessens our pain.

It’s not that we sit passively by and allow people to inflict suffering upon us or others, but it helps us to see that the best possible contribution we can make on behalf of both the victim and the ‘perpetrator’ is to help them to remember who they are and to rise above their anger and fear.

And what helps us to know our deeper, wiser selves, yes, MEDITATION.

Meditation opens the door wide into the realms of the unlimited…unlimited peace, unlimited love, and even unlimited bliss. Meditation helps us souls to break the bonds that have kept us trapped in negative karmic exchanges for ages!

However, before we can do this for others, we must do it for ourselves, and see that it works. We must have certainty in the process.

 

Basic Definition and Brief History

The English word meditation is derived from the Latin verb meditari: meaning to contemplate, to think deeply upon something, or to ponder. This broad term of meditation or contemplation is the English translation for the ancient Eastern spiritual practices referred to as dhyana which comes from the Sanskrit root also meaning: to contemplate for the purpose of reaching a heightened state of awareness, to induce deep relaxation, peace, and bliss, and to enhance personal and spiritual growth.

Overall, the aim to retrain one’s attention, through concentration and focus is the single most agreed upon variable in all the different systems of meditation be they the practice of concentrating upon a sound, an object, a mantra, a powerful thought, visualisation, movement, or attention, itself.
This ancient practice, which is needed now more than ever, is believed by most scholars to have been around for 5,000 years. {TO BE CONTINUED}

 

Research & Science Behind Meditation

Fortunately, these days, meditation has been attracting good amounts of attention from doctors, like Deepak Chopra, psychiatrists, and instructors and researchers such as Sara Lasar of Harvard University Medical School and Neuroimaging Center of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Based on research done by Rossi in 1993 and followed by Chopra in 1994, it was found that meditation lowers the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the bloodstream, while at the same time increasing interleukin levels which enhance the immune system and provide us with more energy and a greater ability to cleanse chemical toxins such as lactic acid. This can enhance neurotransmitter receptors and elevate your mood.

Further research on mindfulness meditation also indicates that qualities we once thought to be immutable including the ones that create temperament, personality, and character traits can be altered significantly because meditation practice creates new neural pathways. As Sara Lazar, instructor at Harvard Medical School and neuroimaging researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and others have determined, the more meditation is practiced, the thicker the mid-prefrontal cortex and mid-insular region of the brain becomes. This results in a happier, more even and peaceful you.

Lazar also found that even new meditators who practice meditation as little as 4 hours a week can achieve and sustain states of mindfulness that lead to creative flow or higher levels of consciousness, and that even beginners in their early twenties were able to achieve advanced states of concentration and contemplation equal to that of senior meditators of 10 or 20 years.( Lazar and Siegel 2007)

This information and much more can be reviewed in Wise Mind Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss, and Change by Ronald Alexander Ph.D.

Discover for yourself the doorway of reflective/contemplative meditation that will take you beyond the patterns of old thinking and allow new ways of being with yourself and others to emerge.

Find out how deeper waves of peace and love can inform your life and help you to navigate through situations which may have previously caused stress, blockages, and sorrow. Learning how to meditate is truly a practical way to deal with the waves of life.

 

What happens when you meditate

As you begin to establish the habit of daily meditation, you will find that you are feeling better than you did when you weren’t meditating. Some of the most noticeable changes are feeling less anxious, more centered, and ‘on top of your game.’ Frequent practice of meditation will also give you the experience of a deep sense of self-respect and inner peace.

Think about what you know about the difference between self-esteem and self-respect? You may agree that self-esteem is most often described as the value the ‘world’ (and you) places on the strengths and qualities that are connected with your outer achievements and talents. These qualities and strengths are measurable via tests, such as measurable skill sets, IQ tests, and the like.

Self-respect, on the other hand, is based on the intrinsic values within the soul, the qualities that are part of your humanity. Your intrinsic qualities are love, peace, happiness, bliss, joy, truth, and wisdom and are not measurable by outer methods. Self-respect requires self-acceptance and self-awareness.

These intrinsic qualities represent your values and are also called virtues. Often they have been covered over by the rust of time and the impact of negative worldly experiences. In our struggle for outward recognition, these intrinsic qualities or virtues have taken a backseat in our everyday awareness simply because they are the deeper, invisible side of who we truly are.

Your incognito qualities are just waiting for a chance to emerge, to be known, to be appreciated, and to shine brightly into the world. They are waiting in the wings for your attention!

In your meditations you can reflect on the values and virtues you would like to increase. Then you can do what is good for the soul. Doing what is good for the soul can feel like a blow to the ego. Therefore, in your meditations, practice being the witness, ie. the detached and loving observer.

This muscle of awareness of being the observer or the loving witness may feel undernourished when you first begin. However it will become stronger than the ego as it is practiced in frequent meditation. This awareness is your true power and will begin to be activated and available when you are in action during the day.

Each day, as you witness yourself while acting through the body, you become the observer and the doer at the same time. This creates new levels of self-sovereignty where the ego is no longer king. While each individual’s aim or ultimate goal for themselves will be unique to them, a common denominator for all souls at this time is to reduce the amount of negativity in their lives in favor of creating more positivity. With your new toned muscle of self-observation, you will find that you recognize the choices that are yours and are no longer running on automatic pilot. Making better choices makes a happier you.

A simple nightly ritual to help you with this process is to have the determined thought to let go of a weakness that you are aware of and to replace it with a virtue. This ritual can help turn the negative behavior around. For example, if you wish to let go of arrogance and its offshoots, a virtue to replace it with could be sweetness, cooperation, or humility. Rather than focus on the negative feelings and obstacles that arrogance has brought into your day, use your imagination to bring into your feelings what it could feel like to act sweetly, cooperatively, or humbly.

You may even wish to replay a scene from your day which didn’t turn out well. See yourself replacing the old, weakening behavior pattern that emerged with its opposite…replace the arrogance with humility, the anger with understanding and care, or the hurt or disappointment with a feeling of empowerment. Enjoy this contemplation. Anchor in to the new feelings that may emerge, allow new patterns of response to come into play. This is using the same visualisation technique that successful athletes use regularly and frequently before a practice, a game or a match. As well as physically practicing the skills of their sport, successful athletes will also ‘see’ themselves going through the motions in detail. It all happens in the mind first. They see themselves playing the game successfully and then they go out and play to win! This is a great technique that you can use to your advantage during your nightly checking and in morning meditation as you set the tone of the day!
This is a wonderful opportunity to remind yourself that life itself can be seen as a game and that you are a player, an actor who is playing a part. To play your part well, takes knowledge, love, determination, and lots of practice. Be gentle and kind with yourself and the other players you encounter in this game of life.

 

Benefits of Meditation

One of the many benefits of meditation is that through a daily practice one carves out time and space away from the drama of life. This one aspect of switching out of the limited, everyday world of involvements with people, places, and things into the inner world allows the unlimited self to feel into new attitudes, reflections, and perspectives that will color and shape your inner and outer worlds. This is an ultimate form of creativity. This is a space to reflect upon your life goals not just projects, career, and health, but to discern what is your ultimate course for happiness, eternal happiness. What is the highest aim you have for yourself, the soul, the cosmic navigator of your life. What direction will set you on your course for ultimate, everlasting happiness…

A great example of our time is the Dalai Lama who says that “kindness is his religion”. This is the rudder of his ship that keeps his thoughts, words, and deeds on course. Your aim or goal may start out as simple as that. Meditation will assist you in staying true to your aim.

As you accumulate time in reflection and meditation, your thoughts will continue to decrease and slow down and you will start to see the patterns that have been set in place which no longer usher you into a place of self-respect. When this begins to happen, you are in a better place to change the old patterns and create new habits that put you into the seat of self-determination, self-respect, and self- sovereignty.

You the light of the soul reside in the center of your forehead

Motivation: Imagine how it feels when peace arises from the depths of your soul.

 

Myths, Tips, and Questions

Where do you begin when you wish to turn inward? Have you created a well worn path that brings you into the nourishment of peace and silence easily? Or do you feel overwhelmed by racing thoughts, innumerable distractions, and uncomfortable feelings that all get in your way of finding and maintaining the sweet spot inside your heart, mind, and soul? Where do you turn and what do you find when you wish to enter your inner sanctum? These are important questions to ask yourself.

First off, a prevailing misconception about meditation is that you must eliminate all thoughts in order to be “meditating”. This is simply not true. However, when you find you are feeling at the mercy of your thoughts -try the following. Reflect on the “who” that is upset, the who that is troubled by the thoughts and the who is witnessing the thoughts.

By refocusing your attention on who is hearing the thoughts, you have already created some space, some distance between you and the thoughts. Allow this part of yourself, the who, to focus elsewhere, on your breath, on the steady flame of a candle, or on a powerful thought such as: I am peace.

As you withdraw your attention or focus away from the stream of thoughts, the thoughts will begin to slow down on their own. This is a powerful step in the right direction. Bring yourself back to this awareness of the breath, the flame, or the powerful thought-I am peace. Don’t give your attention to the parade of thoughts.

Remember to free yourself from the thought process by noticing the I that observes the you who thinks, dreams, and desires. This is a part of you that is separate from the mind, from the habits, from the reactions. This is the part of you that can be empowered through meditation. This is the part of the soul that is called the silent witness or the detached observer. This part of you, within the soul, is also called the intellect and is continually refined as you study, as you experience, as you learn, and as you meditate.

The intellect contains your reservoir of wisdom and knowledge gained, and has the power to discern, discriminate, and decide. The intellect contains the wisdom to calm the mind down and to choose which thoughts make you feel elevated and happy. The mind simply generates thoughts, indiscriminately. It is doing what it was designed to do. However, it does need gentle guidance from the intellect, Grow this part of the soul. It is the ‘mother’ to your mind. It will guide you. Have faith in the intellect.

 

How to prepare for effective meditation

4 Steps to Take You into Meditation

The first step in meditation is called INITIATION. It simply means creating a quiet, comfortable place that is conducive to slowing down your thoughts in preparation for meditation. A place where you won’t be disturbed or easily distracted. A place just to be quiet in and to build up the energy of peace and stillness. A place where you can shift from the outer world of the body and mind, and refocus upon the inner world, upon your breath, a powerful affirmation, and possibly a focusing object.

The 2nd stage is called MEDITATION. It involves selecting a topic or a theme for your meditation. It could be a quality, value, or virtue that you would like to focus upon in order to understand it and embrace it more deeply. It might be a statement claiming the quality … such as: I am a Peaceful Soul. It might be in the form of a question such as: What does bliss feel like? or humility? or contentment ? Concentrate your mind on your chosen statement or question.

If the mind wanders, if there is a struggle, know you have the ability to bring it back, like a loving mother to the theme at hand. Training the mind is important, getting the wheels of a rusty mind going in the direction you want, may take a bit of coaxing… gently bringing it back time and time again. Be kind to the mind and it will cooperate.

As this loving, guiding relationship develops between you-the witness and your mind, you will be able to naturally move into the next stage of concentration where the mind is happily engaged and moving with your topic.

The 3rd stage is called CONCENTRATION. In concentration you have reached the stage where your thoughts are flowing freely upon your chosen theme, circling around your subject like a bee buzzing around a flower, drinking in the nectar, enjoying the feeling state and the contemplation of your theme. This will lead you into the 4th and last stage in which you become the topic of your meditation. You become peace, bliss, humility, or contentment, etc.

The 4th stage is called REALIZATION. It is the stag in which you come to know and feel the essence of the topic or theme you have chosen. In this stage you have gone beyond contemplation into knowing and being. This is when meditation becomes very practical and has a beneficial effect on the rest of your life.

You may choose to meditate on one theme for a month or longer. Accomplished meditators are known to stay on certain aspects, qualities, or themes for long, concentrated periods of time. This develops patience and faith.

Contemplating on elevated states of being, such as peace, bliss, humility, true love will produce elevated streams of thought. You are literally invoking these states to arise within your being. Doing this type of 4 step process on a daily basis can create a powerful vibration which will affect you physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Daily meditation creates a powerful momentum. As you meditate, your meditation begets more meditation. A new consciousness emerges from within. As you powerfully integrate the themes you have chosen to take up in meditation, they will color your experiences and even uplift others.

As you meditate on these beautiful states and qualities, ask yourself how can I stay in touch with this place inside of myself, with this knowing, with this awareness? How can I hold the preciousness of this consciousness, so it does not fade away? As you continue this process of realization, you will come to know the qualities of your own essence.

 

How to let go and remember who I truly am.

A simple way to begin is to find a comfortable spot in your home or in nature where you won’t be disturbed. Begin to wind down by noticing and connecting with the rhythmic pattern of your breath…Allow yourself to deeply inhale and deeply exhale. Breath into areas of tension and pain that may have collected in the body during the day or over time.

Starting out this way helps the body to let go and frees your awareness to begin the process of refocusing on something besides the thoughts, interactions, or images, that may have been triggered during the day. Remember you are the observer and can redirect your attention away from being consumed by the thoughts that are emerging.

Direct your awareness to the part of you that is not your thoughts…You may wish to gently guide your mind to contemplate on peace, your breath, or on a focusing object such as a candle or other object which works for you. Your thoughts will gradually slow way down.

This letting go stage is the first step. Don’t try to rush it. With the dissolving of each distracting thought or feeling know you are getting more and more relaxed to experience the peace within. Then gently bring your attention to the center of your forehead and see yourself as a peaceful point of light radiating brilliantly in all directions like a star or a diamond. Hold this awareness of the self for 2 minutes.

Then…direct the power of the mind, to focus on limitless light…all around you, the point of Light. Hold this awareness of being light immersed in Light for 2 minutes.

Be receptive to this Limitless Light. Feel how this powerful, loving current of Light is embracing you in deep peace. This peace is filled with silence, the silence that is your essence. As you transcend the denseness of the body and the mind, you will find you can experience your unlimited nature. This is a very liberating and refreshing experience. Be patient, remember that for so long, we souls have been completely absorbed and identified with being just the body, just the mind, causing this experience of being a ‘light’ within the body, who can observe the mind to be lost. So be very patient and kind with yourself.

Just one moment of an experience of the true Self will never leave you the same. Once tasted, you will want to dip into the awareness of who you are again and again…and for longer and longer periods of time. Know yourself as a free, peaceful, silent, loving, blissful being of light.

As you return from this experience, notice what has changed. You may wish to jot down a few notes about your experiences in meditation. Each time will be different. All meditation experiences count towards bringing you into a new consciousness, a new awareness of you, the being of peace, love, and light.

You may notice that you have gained energy and enthusiasm and that your inner resource of peace has been awakened.

As you continue your experiments in meditation, know that connecting with the self and then the Source of Light is the method for regaining inner powers of the soul such as acceptance, loving tolerance, the capacity to let go easily, intuitive understanding, discrimination, fearless courage, humility, enthusiasm, detachment, and more.

For other opportunities to practice this state of awareness, especially when you wish to regroup yourself and you have ‘just a minute’, enjoy the following website: just-a-minute

How to build the meditation habit?

“Imagine yourself 500 years in the future, in a sweet place where you can’t remember your old life. The old ‘you’ and the ‘old world’ is not even a distant memory; it’s just a blip in eternity.” This is the kind of freeing experience you can have when you develop the meditation habit. “ Once you feel this state…you’ll feel free. You’ll recognize who you really are.

Joseph Campbell said to invest at least an hour a day when you don’t know your name or your gender, who you owe or who owes you. Reserve a time each day where you simply exist in your place of peace and bliss.

Then, take it a step further, and as you dive into your bliss let go of everything completely, where you don’t even know life exists, and all you are is an eternal soul…truly you’ll feel nothing but silence and profound bliss.”

The more you practice meditation, the more you can truly live in joy, for to live as a temporary guest in this world is to live as an immortal being, free from fear, worry, negativity, and illusion.

Meditation can bring you into the truth of what it truly means to live and to die. With each meditation, you can die to the negative, the draining, and the unsupportive aspects of this world. The more you meditate, the more you can let go of what’s not working and allow life to flow from a state of grace.

So let go, let go, let go, and learn to live as a soul through taking time each day to meditate. Then you’ll get to know who you are and what you value. Chances are the more you meditate, the less you will act ordinary, the less you will blame other people, and the less you will get upset over spilled milk or engage in pointless bickering.

The more you stick to your meditation, the easier it will become to give up obsessions, addictions, and all of your escapist tendencies that take you away from knowing who you are. You will choose to stop feeding the illusions, so that you can choose to focus on your own life and what you need to do next and do it.

Excerpt from the classic: How to Know God by Michael Macintosh and Arielle Hecht

 

Deepening Your Meditation

Throughout the day, watch your thoughts. As your meditation process becomes firmly ingrained in your life and you can easily slip into the awareness of being the “detached observer, you will find that observing your thoughts becomes more natural.

When you recognize that you are creating thoughts or feelings that are negative or wasteful, remind yourself that you are a peaceful and powerful soul and the creator of your own experience. Give your mind a powerful/loving thought to ponder, not only while you are sitting for meditation, but also while you go about your day. Exercise your right as a self-sovereign soul to choose the thoughts you create.

This simple process will enhance your meditation later on in the day. Holding thoughts such as “I am a peaceful soul” or “I am a soul using my inner divinity to guide the external world of action” while you are engaged in the world, will actually carry over into your ability to break through obstacles and sail into peace in your meditation. Have faith in yourself; you are the rudder of your ship.

Just as meditation empowers your ability to be peaceful, to make good decisions, to have more self-respect, and to respond rather than react while engaged in life, so your awareness while engaged in life can impact your meditation when you remember the thoughts and contemplation’s that make you feel good about yourself.

Chances are if you are experiencing obstacles in meditation it is because you are experiencing more stress due to negative thoughts and feelings that you are having during the day.

When you notice this, stop and give yourself a chance to regroup your thoughts during the day and to maintain a better feeling and thinking mode as you move about. This will make moving into a meditative state easier at the end of the day.

Conclusion

Who is Meditation For?

What follows is a short list of some of the reasons why for ages certain folks have chosen to meditate.

Meditation is for all who seek the deepest peace and the greatest love,

For whom all is not what it appears to be,

For those who simply seek to know what is truth and what is illusion,

For those who know they are not being true to themselves and are moved to live with greater authenticity and integrity,

For those who are aware that this world is on the verge of a dramatic and profound shift and sense they have a significant role to play,

For those who know a Higher Power is at work in the world and hear the subtle call of that One to be present and available,

For those who wish to know exactly who they are and why they are here.

For those who wish to experience life as a soul and to see others as souls and recognize this may be the greatest paradigm shift of all.

 

More incentives to bring meditation into your life

In our world today it is apparent that the sufferings of people and nature are widespread. Often when we see seemingly innocent people, including children, suffering tremendous pain at the hands of others, our sense of injustice is triggered, often accompanied by what many would call “righteous anger” and perhaps even hatred for the oppressor.

In the process, these negative feelings create more suffering for ourselves and those around us.

This becomes a habit, an inner pattern that is repeated, not only when we witness global strife, but also when someone at home, at work, at our place of worship, or on the street does something we consider unjust. The same button is pushed and the same pattern of outrage, fear, sleeplessness, anger, hatred, or revenge can emerge.

What has not be acknowledged or understood that could alleviate this added pain and trauma?

A deeper understanding of the laws of action (karma) assures us that whatever we give, will eventually return to us. Therefore whatever happened or is happening to us is the result of our actions returning.

When this understanding is integrated into our awareness while we watch apparent injustices in the world, it defuses our outrage, diminishes fear, and lessens our pain. It’s not that we sit passively by and allow people to inflict suffering upon us or others, but it helps us to see that the best possible contribution we can make on behalf of both the victim and the ‘perpetrator’ is to help them to remember who they are and to rise above their anger and fear.

And what helps us to know our deeper, wiser selves, yes, MEDITATION.

Meditation opens the door wide into the realms of the unlimited…unlimited peace, unlimited love, and even unlimited bliss. Meditation helps us souls to break the bonds that have kept us trapped in negative karmic exchanges for ages!

However, before we can do this for others, we must do it for ourselves, and see that it works. We must have certainty in the process.

 

What to Meditate Upon

Motivation: Frequent practice, gives the experience of a deep sense of self-respect

Before getting into “what to meditate upon”…think about what you know about the difference between self-esteem and self-respect?

You may agree that self-esteem is most often described as the value the ‘world'(and you) places on the strengths and qualities that are connected to your outer achievements and talents. These qualities and strengths are measurable via tests, as skill sets and the like.

Self-respect, on the other hand, is based on the intrinsic values within the soul, the qualities that are part of your humanity. Self-respect requires self-acceptance and self-awareness. Your intrinsic qualities are love, peace, happiness, bliss, joy, truth, and wisdom and are not measurable by outer methods.

These qualities or values are also called virtues. Often they have been covered over by the rust of time and the impact of negative worldly experiences. In our struggle for outward recognition, these intrinsic qualities or virtues have taken a backseat in our everyday awareness simply because they are the deeper, invisible side of who we truly are.

Your incognito qualities are just waiting for a chance to emerge, to be known, to be appreciated, and to shine brightly into the world. They are waiting in the wings for your attention!

 

This is where the “what” of meditation comes in~

CHOOSE the value, virtue, or quality you wish to experience more of in your life. Bring this quality into your meditation by selecting an affirmation from this list of statements or create your own.

Love – My love is a gift to every soul, given freely without expectations
Generosity – I am overflowing, abundant, easily contributing,
Humility – I bask in self-respect without seeking external praise
Peace – I sink into inner silence, as I unwind the flow of my mind
Detachment – I love without clinging, I’m involved, not dependent
Contentment – My needs are always fulfilled, as surely as the sun rises
Kindness – I see, I understand, never imposing, always supportive
Happiness – The joy of being alive flows through my being
Simplicity/Uncomplicated – I see the essence; I stay real and keep life simple
Lightness – I am free from thoughts of the past-life is a wonderful game
Courageous – Having seen the truth, I know what I must do; I am undaunted

Bring your chosen virtue into focus for the next week by spending at least 10 minutes a day, experiencing yourself as a beautiful being of light, filled with the quality you have chosen.

Start where it feels most real.

Build up to two or three times a day, meditating on your special virtue.

Journal about the experiences, images, and feelings you have during these meditations and also about the magic and/or the tests that show up.

Share your experiences to uplift others. Encourage them to explore their original nature. Sometimes meditate together.

We are all special … most of us have just forgotten.

It is time to return to our original state of being!!!

Remember to free yourself from the thought process by noticing the I that observes the you who thinks, dreams, and desires. This is a part of you that is separate from the mind, from the habits, from the reactions. This is the part of you that can be empowered through meditation. This is the part of the soul that is called the silent witness or the detached observer. This part of you, the soul, is also called the intellect and is continually refined as you study, as you experience, as you learn, and as you meditate.

The intellect contains your reservoir of wisdom and knowledge gained, and has the power to discern, discriminate, and decide. The intellect contains the wisdom to calm the mind down and to choose which thoughts make you feel elevated and happy. The mind simply generates thoughts, indiscriminately. It is doing what it was designed to do. However, it does need gentle guidance from the intellect, Grow this part of the soul. It is the ‘mother’ to your mind. It will guide you. Have faith in the intellect.

 

Simple Nightly Rituals and Mantras

One of the many benefits of meditation is that through daily meditation one carves out time and space away from the drama of life. This one aspect of switching out of the limited, everyday world of involvements with people, places, and things into the inner world allows the unlimited self to feel into new attitudes, reflections, and perspectives that will color and shape your outer world. This is an ultimate form of creativity. This is a space to reflect upon your life goals not just projects, career, and health, but to discern what is your ultimate course for happiness, eternal happiness. What is the highest aim you have for yourself, the soul, the cosmic navigator of your life. What direction will set you on your course for ultimate, everlasting happiness…

A great example of our time is the Dali Lama who says that “kindness is his religion”. This is the rudder of his ship that keeps his thoughts, words, and deeds on course. Your aim or goal may start out as simple as that. Meditation will assist you in staying true to your aim. For as you accumulate time in reflection and meditation, your thoughts will continue to decrease and slow down and you will see what patterns have been set in place that no longer usher you into the right seat. When this begins to happen, you are in a better place to change the old patterns and create new habits that put you into the seat of self-determination, self-respect, and sovereignty.

At the end of the day – check inside and see how this day added to or detracted from your feelings of positivity and wellness. Where were you on course, where did you go off course… What situations, people, or tasks contributed to achieving your aim and which didn’t. Keep an account, just as a successful business must keep accounts of profit and loss to stay out of the “red”. Shakespeare said in one of his great plays: “All’s Well that Ends Well”. At the end of every day, ask yourself, did this day add to my account of joy or did it add to my account of sorrow? Use this end of the day reflection as a rudder to gauge what adjustments you can make to create more joy than sorrow tomorrow! Adjustments usually involve attitude…what attitudes will I cultivate to arrive at my destination at the end of the day successfully…

To be successful at this, you must be willing to see yourself.

Ask yourself, am I willing to look into the mirror of my own heart?

If you are hesitant about looking at yourself…ask yourself another question: would I rather listen to my conscience/heart or to the ego?
Granted, it isn’t always easy to look at ourselves. It’s much easier to see the faults of others, isn’t it? Practically speaking, there’s not much chance that you can change anyone else. Therefore you may as well love yourself enough to make the changes in you that will bring joy and contentment.

When you have mercy and love for yourself, it makes it okay to see what mistakes are going on and to share them with a Higher Power, the One who has an overview of the situation and who has your best interests at heart! Stay honest, clear your heart each night, and see how you will attract a shower of Divine Love and assistance as you open up each night. This kind of love makes the impossible possible.

Talk to yourself sweetly: assure yourself that “I believe in Love and I believe I can change”. Then you can do what is good for the soul. Be willing to let the ego die and do what’s good for the soul!

Doing what is good for the soul can feel like a blow to the ego. In your meditations, practice being the witness, ie. the detached and loving observer. The muscle of awareness or the consciousness of being the observer, the loving witness will become stronger than the ego as it is practiced in meditation. This awareness is your true power and will begin to be activated and available when you are in action during the day. As you witness yourself as you act through the body, each day… as you become the observer and the doer at the same time, self-checking becomes automatic and natural.

While each individual’s aim or ultimate goal for themselves will be unique to them, a common denominator for all souls at this time is to reduce the amount of negativity in their lives in favor of creating more positivity.

A simple nightly ritual to help you with this process is to have the determined thought to let go of a weakness that you are aware of and to replace it with a virtue. This ritual can help turn the negative behavior around. For example, if you wish to let go of arrogance and its offshoots, a virtue to replace it with could be sweetness, cooperation, or humility. Rather than focus on the negative feelings and obstacles that arrogance has brought into your day, use your imagination to bring into your feelings what it could feel like to act sweetly, cooperatively, or humbly.

You may even wish to replay a scene from your day which didn’t turn out well. See yourself replacing the old, weakening behavior pattern that emerged with its opposite…replace the arrogance with humility, the anger with understanding and care, or the hurt or disappointment with a feeling of empowerment. Enjoy this contemplation. Anchor in to the new feelings that may emerge, allow new patterns of response to come into play. This is using the same visualization technique that successful athletes use regularly and frequently before a practice, a game or a match. As well as physically practicing the skills of their sport, successful athletes will also ‘see’ themselves going through the motions in detail. It all happens in the mind first. They see themselves playing the game successfully and then they go out and play to win! This is a great technique that you can use to your advantage during your nightly checking and in morning meditation as you set the tone of the day!

This is a wonderful opportunity to remind yourself that life itself can be seen as a game and that you are a player, an actor who is playing a part. To play your part well, takes knowledge, love, determination, and lots of practice. Be gentle and kind with yourself and the other players you encounter in this game of life.

Another end of the day reflection is to recognize what judgments or criticisms you imposed upon yourself and/or others today . Also check to see what judgments or criticisms were received by you from others. In order to sleep with a clean and happy heart, visualize bathing it all away in a pristine pool or under a waterfall. Clean yourself in this way until you are left with only pure feelings of compassion for yourself and others.

A powerful mantra that can be done separately or in conjunction with the ‘bathing visualization’ is: I am a pure soul and So-and-so (the soul that disturbed you) is also a pure soul. Repeat it as many times as needed til it feels real and true and your negative thoughts/feelings have been washed away, transformed.

Be creative as you gain ease and success with your nightly ritual. Take up different themes. For example, you may wish to bathe in the Ocean of Contentment and release all uncomfortable, unsatisfying feelings, complaints, and nagging inner voices. As a soul, you are unlimited. Whatever you focus upon will increase. What will it be…contentment or discontentment… love or hurt…the choice is ultimately yours.

Self-reflection is about lightning up and feeling great, not about blaming yourself (or others) or feeling guilty.

Let your nightly reflections be your rudder moving you easily to the shores of happiness, lightness, love, well-being and success.

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