Please feel free to read this blog and join in. I hope you will write something inspirational, inspiring, spiritual, controversial, amusing, engaging or just plain run of the mill. But please don't be brusque, churlish or licentious.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Tons of literature and videos have been published on mindfulness in recent years.  Scientific research has shown that the practice of mindfulness can help people with PTSD, decrease negative emotions, increase problem solving, decrease the effects of chronic stress, increase cellular viability, decrease brain deterioration, increase alpha power in the neocortex of the brain, decrease forgetfulness, increase concentration, decrease blood pressure, enhance awareness, and even increase intelligence.

Mindfulness is easy to learn, so why isn't everybody doing it?  Because it takes practice and it doesn't happen overnight. In the modern world of quick and instant, everybody wants immediate results.

I'm going to give you some quick and easy practices that you can do with no problem. What you do after that is up to you.

1. What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being in the present moment, not thinking of the past or the future, being right here, right now.  Enjoying every second of your precious life.

2. How do I practice mindfulness?

A) Take one raisin and smell it. Put it in your mouth and roll it around for one minute. Bite it into two pieces and continue rolling it around in your mouth. Bite it into four pieces. Let its taste "explode" in your mouth. Be aware of how your taste buds come alive and your saliva increases. When you swallow the raisin be aware of swallowing.

B) Sit for five minutes and focus on your breath going in and out of your nose. Feel your breath at the tip of your nose. Five minutes, that's all.

C) Go outside, on a clear night, and look up in the sky for two minutes.

D) Have a conversation with someone and really listen to what they are saying. Hear each word. Look them in the face and see if you can feel their concerns.

E)  Go from one room to another with the intention of getting one object like a shoe or a hat. As you are walking toward the room say, "I am going to get my shoe, I am going to get my shoe, I am going to get my shoe." Pick up the object and say, "I have my shoe."

F) Take a bath or shower and focus on what you are doing. Say to yourself things like, "The water is running now, I am washing my hair now, I am washing under my arms now, I am rinsing off now, I am stepping out of the bathtub now, I am drying off now."

 Take your new found awareness with you wherever you go. Create some new and wonderful ways to explore and practice being mindful. Most of all have fun.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LIfe of Pi

Saw the movie Life of Pi yesterday. Not only is it a great movie, in my opinion, but it has quite a bit of symbolism in it. I don't want to give away the plot or anything but if you go to see it, see if you
notice the symbolism of the ocean = universe, boat = earth, animals = people in conflict with one another but in the same boat, boy = various religions, tiger vs. boy = inner conflict.  There are more but I don't want to give them away. But remember, this is only my interpretation. You may have an entirely different take on it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Rest of Your LIfe

When I look at the sky, the grass, the trees,
I wonder how this all could be.
When I look at an ant, a human, an elephant,
it is a marvelous thing to me.
When I hear the sound of a whippoorwill,
smell Mother's bacon frying,
taste the eloquent nectar of dew,
I cannot explain it all.
But I do know how to walk through the forest,
lie down in the grass,
feel my breath.
What else can I do?
Please tell me if you can -
What are you going to do with the rest of your life?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Truth

Truth is in front of you,
It is behind you,
It is above you,
It is below you,
It is on either side of you,
It is inside of you.
Bask in the truth.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happiness and Sadness

Happiness is merely an emotion that elicits endorphins
Sadness is merely an emotion due to the lack of serotonin

When you are happy or sad, close your eyes and go deep inside
See if you can feel the emotion and sense its presence
Bring total awareness to the feeling and notice where it resides

Is it in your toes, in your nose?
Is it in your head or a capillary bed?
Is it in your heart or another body part?

Be very quiet and sit a little longer
Don't you feel it now? It's a little stronger

It's not inside and it's not outside
Don't you see?  It's no longer

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Looking for Answers

If you look to me for answers you will not find them.
If you are looking for answers in others you will not find them.
If you look to yourself for answers you will will not find them.
But if you look to God for answers you will find them.
And where is God but in all those you look to.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


In order to bring calmness to my mind I like to breathe through the chakras. For me, it is more effective than focusing on the whole body, probably because I have been doing it for so long. I came across the chakra system about 20 years ago while searching through ancient Hindu texts - the Vedas. Having some knowledge of anatomy, the chakra system made perfect sense to me.

The chakra system is composed of  seven chakras or little "wheels"  that run up and down the spine. They correspond perfectly to the main nerve plexuses and glands in the human body and therefore could be influenced quite easily by our breathing and thought processes. Looking further into this ancient system of chakras I learned they are still held quite highly by many practitioners of meditation.

                                          The seven chakras of the human body

I started using the chakra system about 15 years ago to focus my concentration and breath to help me go to sleep at night. It proved to be very effective. Now, I not only use it to fall asleep but every time I begin my meditation practice.  It seems like it just is the natural thing to do.

I begin the chakra breathing by imagining my breath coming in the bottom of the first chakra, at the base of the spine, around and over the top of the chakra. I visualize my breath coming into the front of my body as though there was a hole there. As my breath goes in, around, and out, the chakra turns. I might do 15 or more slow breaths for each chakra from the first one to the last one at the top of my head. It takes about 20 - 30 minutes to go through all seven chakras.

This is how I envision the chakras (above) when I am doing sitting meditation. When I breathe into and out of the chakra my concentration is focused on the turning of the wheel. My mind becomes very calm and relaxed as I go up each chakra, one at a time. By the time I get to the last chakra, at the top of the head, I am as relaxed as I possible could be without falling asleep. I then become the observer of my mind and thoughts, if there are any, without getting emotionally involved.

The practice of observing thoughts during meditation helps me to be able to observe my thoughts during the day. For example, if someone cuts me off in traffic and a discouraging thought like, "You stupid fool," pops up, I can catch it and relax and not get caught up in the negative emotion.  It makes life a lot easier.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Going deeper into calming the mind

In order to calm an overactive mind you can transfer energy from the brain to the body by focusing your attention on your body. The body, more or less, acts as an anchor for the mind. I gave an example in the last post about getting into bed to go to sleep and finding the mind thinking of all kinds of things, keeping you awake when you would rather go to sleep.

Rather than getting caught up in the troubling thoughts you can choose to calm the mind by focusing on your hands and then to other parts of your body until you are focusing on the whole body - "feeling" your hands, arms, breathing, torso, legs, feet, toes, etc. This practice brings energy from the head to the body and the "monkey mind" will usually stop automatically.This is an easy practice but it does take practice and the more you practice the stronger it gets.


The good thing about this practice is you don't need any props or higher learning. The only thing you need is an overactive mind. And anybody can do it.

If energy creeps back into the mind and random, troubling thoughts start up again, it simply means you have lost focus. You can refocus on the hands and continue back to the rest of the body. If this doesn't work you may need to enhance your focus more on some specific area or areas of the body.  Using your breath you can focus more intently on one part of the body such as the heart chakra. By doing this you can concentrate and maintain energy in that particular part of body. This more keenly focused breathing may work better for you.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Calm Mind

Being able to go from an agitated mind to a calm mind is like turning on the television and seeing a talk show arguing politics. You can get caught up in the argument and become involved in the agitation or you can decide to switch to some calm, relaxing music. It's your choice.

It is better to be in control of the mind than the mind having control of you for many reasons. One reason is you don't have to keep doing what your mind is telling you to do. For example, you have just gotten into bed, ready for a good night's sleep, and your mind says, "Oh yeah, Jenny (my best friend) wanted me to call her tonight." So, you get up and call Jenny but her mom tells you that Jenny has gone to bed, you can call her in the morning. Or, you pass by an ice cream shop and your mind says, "Wow! That looks good. Some ice cream would really hit the spot right now. But I'm trying to lose 10 lbs. for the summer. But I could get run over by a truck and it wouldn't make any difference if I lose the 10 lbs. or not. I'll just have a small scoop." You buy the ice cream but rather than having one small scoop you have two large scoops.

If you were in control of your mind you wouldn't be jerked around by it all the time. Rather than getting out of bed to call Jenny you would remain in bed and go to sleep. Rather than eating the ice cream you would pass right by the shop.

When you recognize that your thoughts are erratic you are half-way to calming the mind.  At that very moment you have distanced the "I" (the awareness) from the thoughts. That is a big step because many people cannot do that very thing.

The next step is to go into the body and feel the energy that exists within it. When you go into your body, energy passes from the mind into the body. When you recognize erratic and disturbing thoughts go immediately into your hands and feel the energy they contain. It may be a tingling feeling or a warmness.. Once you get in touch with the feeling in your hands allow your consciousness to flow into other parts of your body. Allow your awareness to fill your entire body.

When you become aware of the whole body the mind becomes calm. It has to be because the focus - the attention - the energy has passed from the mind to the body.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Overcoming Bad Memories

Bad memories due to physical abuse, sexual abuse, combat, bullying, death of a loved one, and so on can immediately "pop" to the surface at any time. The flash back or "pop-up" is either due to something outside or inside the body provoking a thought which in turn causes an emotional reaction.

Just about anything can provoke a bad memory. It might be the sound of a door slamming, the sound of a firecracker, the sun coming up, the sun going down, an itch, a pain. Whatever the cause, a thought appears and then usually an emotional reaction. The person is so caught up in the thought he or she becomes the thought. The trick is to recognize the thought. If you can recognize the thought you immediately become the observer. If you are the observer, you cannot be the thought. But it's not easy recognizing a thought when it  abruptly appears out of the clear blue sky. When a traumatic thought appears it very easy to become identified with it and believe it is who you are.

Learning to become the observer of thoughts can be a lifesaver for many sufferers of unhealthy flashbacks. The first step is to be able to calm the mind. Without a calm mind it's virtually impossible to go any further in the healing process. One of the best ways to calm an overactive mind is with the breath. Simply focus on the breath going in and out of your nose. Feel the air going in and out and how it feels at the very tip of your nose. Focus all of your attention and awareness on the feeling and the breath. Your mind will eventually slow down and the erratic thoughts will subside. This, in it self, takes practice. Patience is also a must. There are many techniques for calming the mind, but focusing on the breath is one of the best.

With a calm mind you can then begin your adventure of thought watching. You need to understand that images and words that come and go in the mind are nothing more than condensed energy. By observing and experiencing the thoughts they will dissolve and become meaningless. When a thought appears close your eyes, focus on the breath and then open your eyes and look at the thought in front of you. Watch it thin out into nothingness. For example; an event happens, a thought appears, you close your eyes, focus on your breathing, open your eyes, look at the thought, and watch the thought become thinner and thinner. It dissolves and you go about doing what you were doing.

When you observe a thought, you, the experiencer, and the experience are separate rather than being the experience. If you become one with the thought the condensed energy of the thought will become a story and will act as though it has a life of its own, dragging you along with it. In order for you to let go of the unpleasant experience you must realize you are holding onto the memory automatically. You must "see" the memory - the thought without judgment and without any evaluation. "Catch" the thought as soon as it appears, close your eyes, calm the mind, and observe it. Watch it disappear into a void. You are beyond the thought and the bad emotion it can cause. You are beyond the conflict as you watch it thin out and become nothing.

Life is too precious to be wasted on troublesome thoughts. Remember; calm the mind, focus, observe the thought from a distance and watch it waste away into thin air.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Real You

We wear many identities and  hope we will never reveal the real one. Who we think we are is like a stone with many facets. But we think we know the real self - the one nobody knows.

You may be a father or a mother, a brother or a sister, a man or a woman, a husband or a wife, a child, a teacher, an engineer, and so on. For each role you play you are a different character. As a father you don't play the same role as you do as a husband.

Who we think we are is superficial and only for the moment, depending on people around us. But when we are alone we know our true identity. Our, at least, we think we know.

We fail to distinguish thoughts from reality and words from thoughts. And we think if we can label something we understand it.

We identify so closely with our thoughts that we often mistake our thoughts for who we are. Thoughts get in the way of reality.

Get a reality check by being the Witness of your thoughts. Sit alone and simply allow thoughts to occur. Don't try to get rid of the thoughts, pay attention to them. See them in front of you, getting further and further away. The real you is greater than all the thoughts in the world.