STORY CUBE CHALLENGE 10 – FANTASIA 2 – DUE MAY 27, 2018 – THE ISLAND LABYRINTH

The Island LabyrinthStory Cube Dice 10 FANTASIA 2 due May 27 2018

The labyrinth wound around the forest, the path twisting and turning in on itself. It is the only one of its kind and size.  Legend has it a Wizard created it with the toss of a single magic sphere while fending off marauders wielding sharply spiked maces who were trying to overtake the island paradise.  Overnight the forest grew and the next morning the labyrinth appeared.

Searchers of the spiritual peace offered by the meditative walk arrive by ship then they are ferried into the small castle that serves as a home to the followers of the Goddess Flidias.  On special occasions, the kitchen roasts a pig and lays out a great feast.  The scent of searing meat enticing the feral cats out of hiding hoping to snag a scrap when the cooks weren’t watching.

With the sun beginning to brighten the morning sky, the meditators make their way onto the pathway to walk in contemplation, slowly pacing toward and away from the guardian trees, each quiet in the solitude of their own mind, alone amoung the many.

Their minds at peace, their hearts centred they return home with renewed spirits emanating a calming influence over the chaos of their daily lives.

 

Cheryle – May 31, 2018

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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

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