More on Meditation

Thoughts on Meditation Continued

In my previous blog Meditation Is Boring, I discussed my experience with starting meditation.  I have been meditating pretty regularly for about two and a half years now and I can honestly say that boring is not a word I use to describe meditation even on my frustrating days.  At this point, I welcome the stillness and the quiet and the opportunity I give myself to go inward.  It is often mysterious and sometimes VERY revealing with quick dream-like images that float in and out of my “space” or (dare I admit) voices while sitting.

Over the past two-plus years, I have tried several different methods for meditation including Yoga Nidra in my local yoga studio, Hemi-sync which is a technology created by Robert Monroe that involves listening to audio with binaural beats to induce different levels of consciousness i.e. Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta.  Beta being the most waking and Delta being deep,dreamless sleep. Plus I have listened to guided meditations or just music specifically designed for meditation.  I can’t say I enjoyed all of the methods I tried. Usually, if I get 15 minutes into a guided meditation or music I don’t like, I just turn it off.  I usually don’t pay a lot of money for these because you can find a lot on YouTube(I like the “Good Vibes” channel).

Alone or In A Group

 I have also been content to sit in silence the majority of my practice.  This takes some getting used to but I have come to cherish it.  I like the feeling of expansion and awareness and love that comes over me from what seems like nowhere.  Dr. Joe Dispenza says it perfectly “sit your body down”, “understand you are no one, nowhere, no time…”  “you go from particle to wave”.  He knows a thing or two about quantum physics.  See my recommendation to him on my  Products That Help.   I have also found group meditation to be helpful, interesting and very loving.  If you have a good local place to practice, try it at least once.  If you feel shy about this, don’t.  Remember everyone is there seeking silence, reflection and peace.

Variety Can Be Interesting

All this being said, there are many ways to learn and enjoy meditation, again, I have some great recommendations on my Products That Help page.  I will gladly hand over money to have a meditative experience that I am really curious about.  I have tried shamanic breath-work which goes pretty deep and can be quite emotional. I have also tried kundalini-type yoga followed by meditation which is a beautiful experience and “sound bath” meditation which is hosted by someone who uses singing bowls, chimes and gongs. That also was a beautiful – very high vibration experience.  I’ve attended one drum circle – pretty cool but not my favorite and several kirtan circles. Kirtan is basically music that is based on chants and chanting is a big part of it.  That may sound strange but when you’re with a large group of like-minded people and you’re all chanting the same thing, it is transformative!  By experimenting with different methods of meditation, you will find a practice that “speaks” to you and that will help turn the practice into a privilege you give yourself rather than a discipline you adhere to. 

Consciousness Defined

trip west ScottieI’m not really sure the dictionary can completely define what this word means to everyone.  This is because, if you’ve really pondered what consciousness means and happened to have gone on line to get some information, you have found thousands of answers, been lead to hundreds of websites selling books, hypnosis, meditation techniques, psycho-therapy and more.   A lot of us are seeking answers to what in  is going on in this world these days and that has led many of us into the realm of self discovery which often leads us to this word consciousness.  So, here goes- the definition of consciousness – 1. the state of being conscious (hello), awareness of one’s own existence, sensations thoughts, surroundings, etc.  There are seven definitions in my dictionary and number 7 says- Philosophy, the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings and volition. Okay, so that’s a range.  What about “higher consciousness”, “collective consciousness” “class consciousness”, “self-consciousness” etc.?

I guess these days when I think of or talk about consciousness, I’m thinking of a kind of travelling, plasma-like invisible energy mass surrounding and flowing through everything that is infinite and contains all.  Some people call that God.  I do too but I don’t think everyone or maybe anyone would describe it exactly the same. Calling consciousness God brings up a lot of protest and debate for a lot of us because we may already have our own ideas and images and embedded beliefs about God.  So a travelling blob of  plasma-like energy just may not be acceptable.  Sorry, but you have to admit, it is a conversation starter.

This idea in my mind of consciousness has taken hold over a long period of time in which I have spent many hours reading about spirit, science, sitting in meditation and prayer, chanting mantras, practicing breath work and yoga and listening to masters of enlightenment.  These books and articles and audios have found there way to me in different ways some with uncanny synchronicity(which is a word I blogged about earlier).  I believe that when you read or watch or otherwise discover something that feels strangely familiar and comforting even though it’s new, it resonates with something you already carry in your being and you then expand your perception or your mind or your consciousness.

I’m keeping this as light and simple as possible but I assure you I have gone down the rabbit hole on some of this self discovery and it is not always clear and sometimes it is scary.  Still, I’m curious about finding my clues to some of the big questions.  Writing this blog is a way for me to stay involved in the discovery and possibly converse with like-minded people who are searching and discovering their own clues.  Feel free to comment.  It doesn’t have to make perfect sense.

The Experience of Synchronicity

What is Synchronicity?

The dictionary doesn’t actually list the word synchronicity but it does refer to it.  Rather it lists synchronism which is the closest I come to the way I want to describe it.  In the list of definitions is …the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence. Yup, that’s pretty much how I would describe it.

I started using this word a lot after the death of my son.  In the weeks and months after he left this dimension, I had experiences “coincidences” like nothing I have ever had before.  I will describe some of them here.  I know my friends and some family members felt maybe a little bit of pity for me at the time but these incidents helped me and gave me a strong faith in the power of consciousness that doesn’t vanish once our bodies have expired.  I felt that way before we lost our son and I think he did too.  And, when you lose someone precious to you, the loss is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.  It feels impossible.  So when unusual clues and incidents show up like messages from an invisible realm, you freeze in your tracks and take it in.

I had had synchronicities happen before in my life – many times.  It’s easy to chalk them up to coincidence or find “reasons” these incidents happen and then just keep shuffling along in your daily tasks and be a little amused at the incidents.  But when you have imagined a scenario or dreamed about certain things and then you become aware of them in your daily tasks, it can stop you and get you thinking about a whole amazing world of possibilities.  I’ve had two of these synchronicities in the past week.  Neither were earth-shattering but they also weren’t things I had been consciously thinking about until the correlation of events got my attention.

The first incident has to do with a dream in which I am with a young man who has come to attend a memorial I’m going to. I don’t know him but he seems very emotional  and then I hear “Cooper”.  Dream over.  I don’t know anyone with that name.  A couple of days later while listening to an interview on the Gaia channel (don’t remember who was being interviewed)  the movie Interstellar is mentioned because of it’s message of “other dimensions”.  I watched part of that movie a couple of years ago.  I wasn’t too interested.  Another few days later, I come across the movie playing on cable and decide to give it another try.  The main character’s name(or last name) is Cooper.  I had to watch the entire movie of course.  I’m glad I did strictly because of the ideas presented in that film.

The second incident has to do with the name Greg.  I don’t have any close friends or relatives with this name but I have been to three different mediums since my son’s death and this name was mentioned in two of them.  I dismissed it as a piece of information that was not relevant to me about my son.  That happens when you sit with a medium sometimes.  Today, listening to an interview with Landria Onkka about the “oneness” of all things, she referred to Gregg Braden and a little bell went off in my head because I know my son watched his videos.  This will remain a mystery of course but it has spurred a thought that maybe I was being encouraged by my son through a medium to check out Gregg Braden’s videos.  I may be reaching but it’s harmless.

One of the most significant synchronicities happened four months after my son passed.  I had a quick dream of looking into a small mirror and seeing him standing behind me.  I was reading a book about C.G. Jung at the time.  Later on in the day after the dream, I picked up the book and randomly landed on a page I had not read.  On that page Jung states he believes the dead “endeavor to penetrate into life in order to share in the knowledge”  he said he frequently had a feeling that” they are standing directly behind us waiting to hear what answer we will give them”. I almost dropped the book!

So, whether these are signs of communication with the higher self, the other side or just coincidence, I like the word synchronicity to describe the way these incidents seem to line up to deliver messages.  

 

Meditation is Boring

Is meditation boring?

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Well, yeah, sort of but boredom can be a nice quiet place to start.  One of the definitions of boring is the act or process of making or enlarging a hole.  So, maybe just meditating on the hole and not trying to fill it with anything is a place to start.  You might see things, people, events or memories appear in that hole and then vanish.  You might notice feelings about the hole like emptiness, darkness, quiet.  The idea is to see or hear these things as an observer not getting too fascinated or attached by what you experience.  Imaging a hole is just a suggestion.  Some have suggested seeing a big blank TV screen or of course blue sky or staring at a candle flame.  You can find what works best for you.

When I first decided to start sitting in meditation about three years ago, I timed myself.  I made it to 5 minutes and I was really happy about that.  As I repeated the practice over several months, I gradually noticed my sitting time went from 5 minutes to 7 minutes to 10 minutes.  Each progression brought a sense of accomplishment.  I made it to 12 minutes!!  Wow!!  As the months went by, I built up to 30 minutes.  But then I noticed the meditation had become this rigid discipline that caused me to feel inadequate if I didn’t make it to at least 20 minutes. Many times I would have experiences, feelings, images that seemed to come out of nowhere.  The only thing was, if I had none of those experiences, I would get up feeling disappointed at my lack of focus or peace or whatever.  That is not the idea right?  So I began to take little breaks during the day and purposely sit for JUST 5 minutes.  This helped me appreciate the practice more than anything because whether I had some mysterious vision or just sat there hearing the sounds around me, I had somehow centered myself and let myself feel satisfied with the practice.  This brought a whole new feeling and appreciation to the 30 minute practices.

By the way, I really like the word practice for meditation, yoga, attitude adjustments and many other endeavors.  Practice is working toward.  That’s it.  It’s not perfection.  It’s not winning.  It’s a good way to look at your life and get better as you go.  It’s a practice.

Back to boring.  One of the definitions of the word bore is to enlarge a hole or to force an opening … to make a passage.  When I think of a drill boring a hole, it seems like a slow, steady and yes, boring process.  So, here’s another way to look at it… if everything you expected showed up the minute you had an intention about it, you’d actually get bored.  Meditation is a practice and it has a lot of positive results that you begin to notice in subtle ways over time once you decide to give it a chance.  Try 1 minute.  If you like it, try 2 minutes.  Hopefully you won’t get too rigid about it but if you do just be nice to yourself and laugh it off.  Boring can also be funny.