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Question: will meditation be helpful for the coming changes?
Yes, definitely. Think about this: deep down, everyone knows something is happening. You have those friends who look at you with that mocking grin when you mention the year 2012, but even they are now beginning to suspect something (although they would never admit it). The truth is most people don’t know exactly what is going on; it is common knowledge though: the coming changes of the year 2012 are almost here.
So if you want to lead the way in the consciousness expansion game, don’t rely on the mainstream media anymore—for anything. I agree, there will be times when you’ll feel forced to watch it, like when you’re with friends or family who are still unaware and want you to watch a sports event or movie with them. It’s okay, watch it. Just don’t get caught up in it.
As someone who meditates, you have taught yourself how to observe your mind–to watch your thoughts and emotions as they appear in it. So, remain aware of your thoughts during the sports event (or whatever it is that is on tv). The important thing is to ask yourself why you like watching. Does it have something to do with the emotions or thoughts you get in response to what you’re watching? Do you like the adrenaline rush, the anticipation? These are all permutations of Fear.
You probably already know this, but I’ll say it anyway: if it’s on tv, it’s probably not true. In fact most everything on tv is a lie. That’s why it’s on tv–to keep you believing the lies. So if you haven’t already, throw out your tv. Can’t bring yourself to do it? Then just decide not to watch it anymore. It’s a mass hypnosis device. It’s main goal is to keep you asleep, unaware, unconscious.
Why do I say this? Let’s just say that some things have happened to me which have shaken me out of my “everything’s ok, let’s go out and have a beer” stupor. And every day that passes, I find another way I’ve been conditioned. Another way I’ve been programmed. So I have to ask you this: are You aware of your conditioning, of your programming? Just take a look at how society (which is really just a bunch of people acting out their lives unconsciously) has made you think, made you conform.
I’ve asked a lot of people about it. And what I’ve noticed is that the year 2012 divides us into two groups: those who are staying with the obsolete way of being: letting Fear drive all their thoughts and decisions; and those who are consciously rejecting Fear and choosing Love instead. The choice really is that simple. It’s the consequences that get complicated.
The ones motivated by fear are stocking up on bullets and guns. They’re unaware that Fear is actually holding us back–stalling our evolution. It is an obstacle we have to overcome.
So if fear and those focused on fear are holding humanity back, who will lead us into the next phase of our evolution? The ones focused on Love of course; they are concentrating all their energy only on things they can Love (which is what we should all be doing). The problem is Fear has become a really bad habit, worse than any drug addiction. And we have to drop it.
Now the reason we came here in the very beginning has arrived. Yes, we are living in these times. The final phase in the evolution of our consciousness is here, now. But for so long we’ve been deeply entangled in physical reality–consuming, destroying Nature to satisfy our material wants.
So no one is surprised the crisis is here. But the essential thing a lot of people don’t know is, the crisis is actually taking place inside each One of us! And we have externalized it unknowingly into the physical world. You could say that because we are a mess inside, we have made a mess of the outside.
We do have a choice though. Not as a society, where the group controls the needs of the One, but as individuals, where each One makes a fully conscious choice: between Fear or Love. Which one will you choose?
So what’s the difference? The ones giving in to Fear perceive themselves as disconnected, separate from Nature. It’s them against the world. Whereas the Ones who choose Love, experience a deep connection with the world, with Nature, and other people around them. We see other people as no different from ourselves, no matter what part of the world they live in. We know that we are all in the same Universe; all of us are truly interconnected. I am You.
So how does this all relate to meditation? In the most fundamental way. Every One of us loves Life don’t we? Just think about how good it feels to breathe. Just to breathe. Especially when you’ve been without breath for a moment, like underwater. Why is this? Because breathing is essential to Life. The very act of breathing is connected to the deeper reality, which is why in your meditation practice everything slows down when you place your attention on your breath. Your mind slows to match Nature’s rhythm, which is really your own rhythm. You are Nature!
So it is essential to clear the mind and watch your breath. To breathe was the first thing we did when we got here. It will be the last we do before we leave. It keeps us in the body. Yet by breathing we also connect to the Universe. (Don’t forget there is a whole Universe happening around you at all times; that You are not trapped in your own world. It is only your thoughts that trap you there).
So the Act of Breathing seems like a paradox. It allows you to function in the body while also connecting you intimately to the vast Universe around you. But it is not a paradox. You are One with the Universe around you. Your skin does not separate you from it, only your mind does. Your mind weaves the illusion of separateness using your own Thoughts.
So by meditating and preparing yourself inwardly–rather than outwardly–for the year 2012, you are nurturing change in the greater Universe around you also. This is a vital thing to understand. How you change yourself inside, affects what you perceive outside. Change your Self, change your World.
So remember, in meditation, each time you breathe you are not just taking in air, you are taking in Life Energy. And it’s this Life Energy that connects you at all times to the greater reality surrounding you. I’ve posted 10 How to Meditate Tips that’ll help you observe your mind and prepare your Self for the coming changes of the year 2012. Start preparing inwardly and just remember, there’s nothing to fear, and everything to Love.
Follow this link for 10 Tips on How to Meditate.
is something many people want to learn, but before you learn how—you’re probably also asking: why meditate? The best answer I’ve heard is, to make your brain bigger. Make your brain bigger? Really? Researchers at UCLA have studied meditators’ brains using high resolution MRI scanning.
What they found was that certain regions of meditators’ brains were larger than non-meditators’ brains. Their MRI studies showed that the areas responsible for regulating emotions were actually larger in persons who meditate.
The regions of considerable interest were the hippocampus; the thalamus; some areas in the orbito-frontal cortex; and the inferior temporal gyrus.
Apparently, persons who meditate daily do tend to have an easier time remaining in positive emotional states. They are less susceptible to negative emotions like anger, fear, worry–all emotions that constrict your awareness.
This study and its findings were published in Neuroscience; a sophisticated, 3-dimensional MRI was used to image the participants’ brains. And the average times for the participants’ daily meditation were between ten and ninety minutes.
If you think having a bigger brain is a good thing, then here’s a quick meditation you can do to get started.
This can be done wherever you happen to be. It is a practice that will expand your awareness by focusing on sounds in your environment. For this particular meditation you don’t have to be sitting—it is a quick meditation you can do when there’s not much time.
Close your eyes. Listen to the sound of your own breathing for about three deep breathing cycles. First do a forced exhale to expel stagnant air. Then use your diaphragm (not just your chest muscles) to pull air in to fill your entire lungs.
After you’ve done this about seven times, move your attention from your breathing to the sounds occurring in the space immediately around you. Listen to the sounds as they are happening. Then place your attention further away to listen to the sounds happening in the greater area around you. Depending on where you live, you may hear traffic, the sound of the wind, the ocean, or the calls of birds in the trees around you.
After you’ve focused on these sounds for a time. Move your attention further out. Now listen for the most distant sounds in the landscape that surrounds you. These could be a distant train, or a fog horn. Focus on these far away sounds for a time, until you are ready to come back.
When you are ready, bring your attention to the sounds in the area immediately surrounding you. After a moment of this, focus all you attention on your own breath. You are back at the Center. The silent Center where You always Are, yet tend to forget that you are.
How to meditate is something many people are asking–so, what is meditation really? And how do you do it? Well there’s the sitting still part, and there’s the special breathing–but, what if you think you might have ADD? Or are just so active that you don’t see yourself meditating: “If I can’t even sit still for five minutes, how the hell am I supposed to meditate?
And one more thing: if a thought appears in your mind, don’t place your attention on it. It is here to distract you. Let it pass through, let it go without attaching yourself to it. Meditating is like walking through a crowd. You move in the spaces between the people. In meditation You seek the space between the Thoughts.
So you want to know
Many people may think meditation is a state where the mind is dull, sleepy, or somehow not as alert as in everyday life (a.k.a. physical reality). Yes, the body is held relatively immobile during meditation, but that doesn’t mean your awareness is also immobile or inactive in any way. This could not be more false.
When you first begin to meditate, your mind will be all over the place. Thought after thought will cross your mind. You will follow a thought, which will take you to another thought and so on. To develop your meditation, place your focus deliberately. You must sustain the effort to not become distracted by following every thought that comes your way.
When a thought interrupts your meditation, don’t reject it, don’t react to it at all, ignore it completely. Let it go, let it pass out of your mind. If you emphasize the thought by placing your attention on it, another thought will inevitably result. Instead, place your attention elsewhere, like on your object of meditation, which could be anything: your own breath, a plant, a crystal, a tree–anything that you identify with but that will not bring you any memories.
When you meditate, see the Thoughts in your Mind as clouds–and your True Nature, like the Sky. Let the clouds pass. And You remain as the clear Sky. The key thing here is to realize that: You are not your Thoughts. Your Thoughts are not You. Let your thoughts go and you’ll see that You are still here–so you are not your thoughts, are you?
In meditation, thoughts get in the way. They are obstacles. We know the Mind allows thoughts to happen. So then, in meditation, the mind is an obstacle–yes, this is true–Mind gets in the way.
The important point here is that You are not your Mind either. You are much more than just your Mind, which is why you are trying to quiet the Mind to progress in your meditation. The Mind is very active when you first begin to meditate. In fact, one of the most difficult things to accomplish is to calm it down. But once you do quiet your mind (and everyone is capable of doing this), it will be possible to see that you are not your Mind–that in fact, you are the Consciousness that allows your Mind to arise, or happen.
I’ve written about the meditation technique called Gazing before. It is a method where you gaze at an object you have chosen specifically for your meditation. What you do is allow your vision to flow over the object in a slow clockwise spiral. Your goal is to see the True Nature of the object, to sense its energy directly. Forget everything you’ve learned about it or have been told about it. Gaze upon the object as though for the first time. Imagine that you don’t even really know what it is.
As a technique used to enter the meditative state, Gazing is very effective. After you reach a certain point where your meditation is good with an object, it is time to start meditating without the object–this is called Internal Gazing, where you are using your Mind’s eye to visualize the same object you have been meditating with and gazing at during your meditation practice.
So, when practicing internal gazing, your focus will be to see the same object with your mind’s eye. You will meditate on the object, but it will not be in front of you. Your goal is to see all the details of the object in your mind. To try and see the essence of the object, to sense its energy. See the tiniest details. You are developing a deeper understanding of it. Internal gazing develops your focus, concentration, and improves your ability to see with your mind’s eye, which will improve your creativity a great deal.
But life is fast. So, when to meditate? The trick is to meditate as often as you can–wherever you are. You can even meditate in traffic. You don’t need a block of time. You only need a minute or two. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to enter meditation at will. To get to that point, learn to calm your mind. The benefits of a calm mind are countless. So try a quick 60 second meditation now, visualize your object of meditation with your Mind’s eye, and enter the Moment–even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.
So you want to know
So maybe you’re asking the question, “what exactly is meditation?” Or, maybe you’ve stumbled upon this article because you want to know how to meditate. Either way–you’re here–which is good. Now, when you meditate, you are making a place for your Self. You can come back to this place anytime.
At first, you’ll probably return to your meditation because you’re tired of the mayhem swirling around you. Meditation methods are not like doorways—they are doorways. And by going through them you re-enter this recognizable place. You are in the Silent Awareness between Thoughts.
This is your Center. When you are here, you should fear nothing. Nothing. You are inaccessible here. Another peculiar sensation you may notice is that you feel as though Time has stopped. (This is because It has. It doesn’t exist in this place.) You see, the everyday world doesn’t belong here. You do not even perceive it when you are here. You are observing Consciousness itself. Observing your Self. And You, are neither the observed, nor the observer–You are the Act of Observing itself!
When in meditation, where are you? You are in the Now, if you could call where you are a “Where”—because it’s not of course. You see, Consciousness has no physical location. Yes, your body has a location, but You are not your body. You are Consciousness.
Now, if you want to learn how to meditate using Clouds, here’s what you do, first know that you can practice this technique wherever you can watch clouds. A spot with a great big Sky over it is the best, but sometimes there is only a window, (like at work), so you’ll have to make use of whatever you have available. This meditation technique is very doable with just a limited view of the Sky.
It can be done sitting, standing or even in your car. Just be silent and watch the Clouds. Realize that despite everything you experience in a day, despite everything you experience in a night, the Clouds are always above, always moving. Watch as they move above You now. Understand what it means that they are never the same. Not one Cloud moment is repeated in all of eternity.
In our minds, we’re so used to the thought that a Cloud is a cloud. Let me dismantle this idea for you. Just ask yourself: If it is always changing, always moving—is it really the same Cloud? Or, have I just, with my mind, made it into one Cloud, when it actually it is millions upon millions of moving water droplets that are constantly changing their individual positions (and relationship to one another) in space. They are never in the same spot.
Watch the Clouds. Now think about this: your Thoughts are very similar to Clouds. They move through your Mind exactly like Clouds move through the Sky. Your Mind is the Sky.
Try watching the Clouds for 30 seconds without removing your attention at all. As your cloud meditation improves, you will find that you can gaze at clouds for longer periods of time. When you gaze at the clouds, don’t just stare—your vision should flow over them in a slow, clockwise spiral.
If you become distracted by a thought, just be aware enough not to follow that thought. Let it pass through you mind. Then bring your mind back to the clouds. See how a wholly different cloud is created and recreated each Moment. And realize that this very same phenomenon occurs everywhere in Nature. Everywhere. Including in You.
Your Thoughts are Clouds themselves, instead of water droplets, they are made from ideas and concepts, themselves intangible realities! So your deepest, True Nature is an intangible reality. This is the Cloud Meditation Technique. Use it whenever you have clouds to watch.
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You’ve probably heard of neurofeedback: the measurement of brainwaves. In case you haven’t, it’s what I’m having done today. And as I walk into Unlimited Mind’s neurofeedback suite I notice it isn’t cold like a hospital or a doctor’s office. It’s nice. Warm.
Even the electrode is comfortable as she places it on my skin. I came here this afternoon to measure my brainwaves, specifically during meditation. I’m not anxious at all, just extremely curious to see the results. Eva has placed an electrode on either side of my head, and one at the back. She is also placing a sensor on my right earlobe.
Today will be the first of a series of neurofeedback sessions, during which I will attempt to develop my meditation. To gauge my progress I will have my subjective experience of course, personal proof that my meditation is improving.
In addition to that, I will also have actual graphs of my brainwaves, as measured during the neurofeedback sessions. I’ll be able to see which brainwaves (alpha, beta, or theta) become active and when, and which brainwaves decrease activity during my meditation.
At this moment, I’m sitting comfortably in a recliner; a monitor screen is on a stand in front of me. On the screen, a geometric shape that looks a lot like a star tetrahedron is spinning (picture two triangles or pyramids combining to form a star, which is spinning).
I’m watching the purple star on the screen and notice that it rotates at varying speeds. Eva, the technologist, is telling me that the goal of this particular exercise is to keep the spinning shape as close to the screen as possible (it has a tendency to get smaller, further away, if you become distracted). She also says that if the star does happen to move away, I’m supposed to cause it to come back–using my mind–by shifting my attention and producing different brainwaves (alpha and theta, rather than beta).
In essence, if I maintain a relaxed yet aware state of mind, the star will remain close; the second I become distracted–either by an external stimulus or by a random thought running through my mind–the star will zoom rapidly away.
In meditation, the goal is to shift your attention away from physical reality and expand your awareness, to see things around you as they really are–absolutely interconnected. Now the problem is that in our daily life, out in the world, we are very busy; our attention is constantly split; it remains fragmented throughout the entire day, from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we fall asleep. Most of us are so completely conditioned, programmed, that we don’t feel productive if we’re not actively multitasking.
When you walk–walk. When you eat–eat. A Buddhist teaching that is very useful here. When we focus only on doing the task in front of us fully, we connect to the deeper reality. When we split our minds into many different tasks, we are in effect, disconnecting from the deeper reality and immersing ourselves in superficial, physical reality.
It’s fairly obvious to me that multitasking equals stress. Multitasking narrows your attention; constricts it. It does the exact opposite of what meditation does, which is to expand your awareness. During meditation, you are in a kind of sleeping wakefulness. Your Body is in a state like sleep. But your consciousness is fully aware and alert. When you are able to sustain this mental state, the brain functions at a certain frequency, producing more alpha and theta waves, depending on the depth of the meditation.
My idea for this Meditation and Neurofeedback series of articles is to follow the progress of my meditation practice over seven weeks, measuring brainwaves at each meditation. I will write a series of articles about what I experience during the meditation and will include some of my brainwave patterns recorded during the meditation sessions.
Hopefully this will show which brainwaves I produce now during meditation and how they transform as my meditation progresses.
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So you want to know