The Meditation Cushion

Meditation:  What are we doing

What is It we are doing, while we sit with our eyes closed, our rhythmic breathing coming and going quietly?

Our mind is running amuck, all of the thoughts are coming forward, begging for attention.  Look at me, I am significant, I can make you look smart, beautiful.  I am lonely, you are failing, not worthy, hide beneath the dark blanket of shame and all will be well.  Your shopping list for today includes………. Don’t forget to drop the kids off.  What a jerk, who does he think he is, treating me like a minion, I am not worthy.  I just want to disappear, let’s go shopping…. Never ending conversations with yourself, running your mind ragged with their interference.  Too much to focus on not enough mind.

sitting meditation

Our backs straight, shoulders relaxed, hands gently resting on our laps, right over left.  We are ignore the aches, pains and itches our bodies are giving us in retaliation to the unfamiliar stillness.  It wants to run, jump and play.  Move as it pleases.  We are keeping these impulses in check, they are there, we do not pay them any attention.  We remain still, they will disappear we will become oblivious to the wants of the body.

Take a slow deep breath, hold it for just a moment, let it go slowly, pay attention to the quiet it brings, breathe in, – slowly, hold for just a moment, breath out slowly.  Drop your shoulders, they are starting to tense, hold you back straight, breathe in —-hold —- out.   Relax, maintain the position.    Where did I leave my keys, did I finish that memo?  Your mind breaks in on the silence, driving your concentration away.

Your thoughts create your reality, but what of your emotions.  They bring you joy, pain, and fear.  Sadness overwhelms your happiness, Joy launches you to the sky and beyond.  Up and down, High and low, how the drama of your life comes and goes.

To retain your equilibrium repeat a single word over and over until it disappears and your emotions are filtered through it.   Buddho, Jesus, Allah, a word of prayer, or any word you wish.  A word which does not carry an emotion.  Table would work well, unless you stubbed your toe earlier in the day, then, the word table would be fraught with pain and anger.  Emotional words will only make it impossible for your mind to calm and relax. Unable to slip into the stillness that is a natural part of your makeup.

Your mind, the naughty two year old has gotten loose trying to run your thoughts again.  Like a toddler your mind needs a focus to keep it occupied, to overcome its’ wanton desire to be in charge, looking, touching everything and anything all the time forever.

As any good parent would, gently take your mind, focus all of its’ energy on one thing. The spot on your forehead between your eyebrows, the tip of your nose, your throat, your heart or your navel.  Select one, touch it with your finger if you need to feel the sensation of where this is.  Keep your attention focused on this point.  It is called the focal point. This is where the work begins.

Any irrepressible child will resist training, any discipline, wanting only to do as it wishes, when it wishes and how it wishes. When you catch your mind wandering back to the thoughts looping through each other, refocus its’ attention, gently, back onto this point, in the middle of your forehead, between your eyebrows.   Every time it wanders, bring your mind back, lovingly, gently, to this point without recrimination that you are failing.  You are not, you are learning, slowly, improving your willpower over the itinerant wanderings of the wild child, your mind.

You are learning to be in charge of your thoughts, increase the strength of your willpower.

By Cheryle L. Baker                              February 3  2015

1st Assignment Blogging U201 – Set Three Goals

The first assignment for blogging U 201 is to set 3 goals for my blog.   This assignment has me re-evaluating why I started to blog and what I  expect.

In the first assignment for Blogging U 101, I wrote I wanted accountability, a supportive environment and to develop a discipline to the “act of writing”.  To further explore and develop my meditation practice and to connect with people, who like me, wish to feel comfortable with themselves in order to live a happier life.

I realized re-reading my post, three goals were already created and spoken.  I just have to pull them out, set down their criteria and determine the measurement of success for each.

Discipline to Writing:  Many writers advise newbies to write every day.  Practice, practice and more practice.  Rewrite and Edit.   This would translate into:   regular posts, my readers anticipate and enjoy;  an accountable, consistent writing schedule.

I have registered to Blogging U 201 – Branding and Growth, Blogging 201 – Writing Poetry and the Photo Bloggers Challenge.  I also have a Feature “The Meditation Cushion” to which I want create a regular posting schedule.  The Blogging U assignments require daily posts.  Photo bloggers challenge is on a monthly posting schedule and The Meditation Cushion is on a post when I feel like it schedule.   I am not sure I can keep up the pace of daily posts beyond Blogging U and feel that a once a month post for each activity will keep me busy and happy.

I will re-evaluate this timeline three months after Blogging U has been completed.  If I determine I want to post more or less often at that time I will set a new schedule.

Further Explore and Develop my Meditation Practice.  Explore my abilities, increase my knowledge and experience, strengthen my instructors’ tool kit, and improve my voice as a virtual instructor.

To achieve this I would maintain a daily practice, read, experience and write about a variety of meditation techniques and philosophies. Post a monthly feature “The Meditation Cushion”

To Connect with People   The difficulty here is I have no idea how to get people to like me.  I did increase my twitter followers once by retweeting a news story about a woman who lifts weights with her vagina.  That is not the way I want to increase my blog statistics.

I believe being kind and honest with the people who like or follow me and who I follow,  is a good place to start.

I will continue my habit of looking at new blogs, commenting on posts I enjoy, engaging with my Blogging U colleagues and responding to those who stop by and like my posts.   I am now posting to the Facebook page “Lightwalkers Blog” and tweeting on Twitter. I will continue to update and retweet the tweets I find interesting or in case of the weightlifter lady controversial.

I will honour my goals by maintaining the posting schedule set out.

 Increase my Readership   Math is not something I understand or even pretend to be able to do, so suggesting I will increase my readership by 20 0r 30 % by the end of the month or year doesn’t make any concrete sense to me.

Currently, I have 71 followers gathered from Blogging U 101 alone.  I am embarking on 3 new endeavors’.  One which may have many of the same people I already follow and two in which I may encounter many new people.  My calculation works like this:  71 / 2 / 2 = approx. 17.

My goal is to increase my followers by 17 people over the next 30 days.

There, my goals are set down clearly and concisely, a new practice for me.  Over the next 4 months, I will see how I well I achieve them.

Assignment # 14 – Try Posting a New Style

 DEDICATION OF MERIT BEFORE MEDITATION

Pali Chant – Author Unknown

“May all living beings always live happily

Free from animosity

May all of us share in the blessings

That spring from the good I have done”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Subbe,  satta, sada, hontu

Avera, sukkah jivino

Katung, punyung palung maihung

Sabbe bhaki bhavuntute”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Pali Chant  translated to English & Thai   Courtesy of Willpower Institute Canada Meditation Centres

I set my format style to Quotes, but I don’t think it worked.  My preview looks exactly the same as my standard  normal style.

Anyway…   I thought I would share with you the chant I use before I meditate.  The purpose is to help set your mind to generosity and compassion.  It also helps to prepare the mind for meditation.  I believe it is a lovely sentiment encouraging peace and love for everyone.

Twelve Habits of Happy, Healthy People Who Don’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Peace

A new take on living a healthy happy life.  Check out this link from:

I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog

and other tales from a twentysomething disaster

 

Twelve Habits of Happy, Healthy People Who Don’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Peace.

Assignment #10 – Spruce up Your Sidebar

Well, I completed the 10th assignment.  I read all the posts on widgets then added a few to my sidebar to spruce it up.  It needed sprucing as my blog isn’t very visually stimulating. The changes I made should add some colour and interest to the sidebar.

I changed the shape of the photos in the gallery in hopes that they will appear larger. I also added the Blogs I Follow widget which display photos of the blogs I follow.  I like seeing these friendly faces here.  I imagine anyone who pops in will too.   The text widget welcomes anyone who stops by giving them a quick run down on what I plan to write about. Basically, my interests and my goals.  I hope the changes are an improvement.

The Meditation Cushion

Meditation:  What it is and what it isn’t?

Meditation is a way to gain control over your emotions and get in touch with yourself. It is a method used for countless centuries, by yogis, shaman, monks seeking inner peace and more recently North Americans searching for release from the stress of their daily lives. There are many different practices, Transcendental, Vipassana, Samatha, Tranquility, Insight, Mantra, Chakra and Breath meditation to name only a few.

Meditation isn’t a quick fix, it is not a religion and not a way to talk to your grandmother who passed away.  You will not obtain supernatural powers or learn which horse will win the Derby.

Meditation is a technique of quieting the mind to a point where you can experience a slow down, in thinking and in physical activity.  Sitting on the meditation cushion or in my case the chair, allows me to be quiet.  An opportunity to quiet my mind, to slowly eliminate the thousands of thoughts streaming through my consciousness every second of every day.  My mind seems to have a dozen voices telling me what I should do or shouldn’t do at any given moment.  Do this, No don’t do that, add this to the shopping list, remember to pick up the kids, wasn’t that bank teller simply rude and I wish my boss wasn’t such an idiot making my life a living H.E. Double hockey sticks.

Much has been written about meditation.  Many religions use it as part of their rituals.  Some consider it prayer other religions have based their philosophy around it and teach it as an integral way of life.  Shamans use meditation and trance as a way to access spiritual insight and a deep inner knowledge for healing or leading their people.  Science has caught up and has been studying the effects of meditation on Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Anxiety, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, all with promising statistics being published in Journals and Magazines.

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My experience with meditation has brought me a calm more stable happiness, my relationship with my spouse has improved, I am more tolerant of others, and feel more compassion and empathy for people and their situations especially when they are different from mine.  I no longer worry about the little things.  I understand myself better and am less afraid to stand up for myself and what I believe to be right.  My anxiety and depression are held in check and I sleep so much better, not longer, but a more restful and restorative sleep.

I meditate every day, 5 minutes at a time or longer up to an hour in total. Optimally, I do ½ hour of walking meditation which helps me improve my patience and tolerance and ½ hour sitting meditation which helps me quiet the chaos in my mind so I can just sit and be with myself.  At times my mind will not cooperate and wanders endlessly.  I view my mind as a small child touching and looking at everything with it’s short attention span. Gently I bring it back to the job at hand without chiding myself for it’s waywardness.  This is where patience and tolerance are strengthened.  Learning to notice when I am not focusing on point and how to be gentle with myself.  Each time I bring my mind back, each time I stay on point longer and longer I am strengthening my willpower, increasing my ability to be patient and building a tolerance within myself to the way things are.

This is what meditation is.  Accepting that thoughts come and go, arise and fall, appear and disappear.  Like the clouds on a warm day developing out of the thin air into large airy puffs of cotton.  I notice them, but my attention is maintained on meditating. I do not become involved with my thoughts or emotions.  They are simply there, not what I focus on, They are not in control.  I am.

Meditation is the path to peacefulness

CB Dec 2014

Hello world of WordPress! January 2, 2015

Winter Peace
Winter Peace

This is my first entry.  My blog will cover my interests which include:  Meditation, painting, writing, creating things, gardening, Buddhism, energy work, healing and photography, not necessarily in the order listed.   This is also a first step towards conquering one of my many fears, putting myself out there.  Believing I am worthy of what I feel and say, which intellectually I know and accept, however in my gut I have a different sense of this truth.

I want to thank you for connecting with me and hope I can be of some service.  It is my hope that what I write will be of interest to you, offer you some insight and perhaps some enjoyment.

Meditation is the path to peacefulness.