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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mindful Practice 3

If you ride a bicycle you might find this exercise quite refreshing.  And it may even open a new frontier for you in biking.

 Riding a bicycle while being mindful is a much safer way of biking.  Not being mindful while biking is dangerous! I bike every week and often see other bikers on the road listening to their ipods or riding side-by-side talking to one another. Needless to say, these are not the safest ways to bike.

If you ride a bicycle you might want to begin practicing mindful biking the next time you go for a ride.  Share this mindful practice with other bikers.

While biking, see the road passing under you like a ribbon and then go immediately to the feeling of the road by becoming aware of your buttocks on the bike seat and your hands on the handle bars.  Notice how the road vibrations travel all the way through your body giving you a sense that you, the bike, and the road are one.  Broaden your awareness to the sound of the wind in your ears and everything that surrounds your very being.  At this point you might have the feeling of greater clarity, vitality,and freedom.  It doesn't take long under these circumstances to go from being lost in thought to total awareness.

While holding all of these sensations in your awareness bring your attention to your breathing.  Allow your legs and breathing to flow in unison. Visualize energy coming from the earth, up through your body and out the top of your head like wind blowing through a tunnel.  You are now mindfully biking - fully aware of your body and the environment, in the moment, without judging.  You are as free as the wind moving over Mother Earth.  It is a magnificent feeling!

Practicing mindfulness while biking brings a greater sense of joy in biking and appreciation for being alive.  It will open new frontiers in what the sport has to offer and it will broaden your prospective on yourself and your capabilities.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mindfulness Practice 2

"Why is it when I am fatigued it's hard to stay in the moment?" questioned my friend as we were driving to lunch.  "Because when you are fatigued it takes energy to stay in the moment," I said, as my friend settled back in the car seat, "but it takes practically no energy to be in waking sleep and absorption.  So, when a person is tired it is much easier to drop back into these two lower states of consciousness."

"Learning to stay in the moment requires practice.  It is much easier to be in waking sleep, walking along and letting the mind wander, or in absorption, totally immersed in an event or some activity. It is human nature to take the path of least resistance and that path is waking sleep and absorption.  But staying in the moment requires practice and effort.  In other words, it takes energy to stay in the moment," I said.  "I see what you mean," he replied.

You can discover your own energy potential by doing mindful walking:

Go for a little walk outside, for five or ten minutes, or you can walk around inside.  While you are walking, be alert and open to everything and anything that happens to be in your field of awareness.  You may notice smells, various sounds, sights, and even vibrations and feelings inside your body.  Be open to how your body moves, arms and legs are swinging, air coming in and out of your lungs.  As you walk be aware of how it feels as your feet touch the ground heal to toe, heal to toe.  Be aware of textures, colors, contours, and shadows.

This is walking with mindfulness -walking with full intention of being in the moment.  Walking this way requires effort because it is a new way of walking.  If you have never done this kind of walking before you might find your mind wandering from one thought to another.  That's okay because the natural tendency is for everybody's mind to wander the first time they attempt mindful walking.  

Congratulate yourself for doing this walking exercise.  It is not an easy practice because it requires energy.  But the more you do it, the easier it becomes because a new neural pathway is building each time you practice it.  The old waking sleep and absorption paths will be replaced by a new and improved mindful path.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mindfulness Practice 1

As you probably know already, mindfulness is the ability to be in the moment without judging.  Simply said but not easily accomplished.  So, with that said, here is the first practice of mindfulness you can try when you get around to it:

While you are working on the computer, emailing a friend, reading your email, or whatever you are doing on the computer; notice the images, words, and colors on the screen. Feel your body in the chair.  Allow awareness to go to your hands on the keyboard and your feet on the floor.  Notice your breathing.  Let your awareness expand beyond the screen to sounds around you, perhaps light coming into the room, emotions you may be feeling this very moment, and possibly even staying in the moment with thoughts of the past and the future.  Yes, you can have thoughts of the past and the future and still be mindful as long as you know you are having those thoughts right now in the moment.

See how long you can stay in this state of mindfulness before drifting off into waking sleep or absorption.  Waking sleep is when your body is doing one thing and your mind is doing something else, such as typing on the keyboard while thinking of what you will be doing tomorrow.  Absorption is when you become so engrossed in a project or event you become unaware of things in and around you.

Good luck with mindfulness.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Without A Doubt

Be as free as light
that bounces here and there,
and free as night
that creeps slowly in.

There was never a time
when you weren't here,
and never a time
when you weren't there.

Be as free as the wind
that blows o'er the sea,
and free as the waves
that lead the way.

There is always a place
for you to go,
and always a place
where you can stay.

Remember this
as you go about,
for it is always with you
without a doubt.


Thursday, March 21, 2013


Is any being
too small or large
to enjoy the sun,
love its neighbor,
have its fun,
and enjoy freedom
from harm or pain?

Who is to say
it cannot have these things?
Who can say
it should die
or it should live?

Is any being
too ugly or dumb
to walk the earth,
feel the wind,
taste the crumb,
and smell the flower?

Who is to say
it cannot have these things?
Who can say
it should die
or it should live?


Monday, March 18, 2013

Spaceous Thoughts

The longer you practice mindful meditation the more you will notice thoughts and Self getting further and further apart.  In the beginning you may have felt that you were your thoughts - that you and your thoughts were one and the same.

But now you know that you (the Self) are separate from the thoughts that spontaneously arise at any given moment.  Thoughts come and go and seem as if they have a mind of their own.  That's because they are not of your mind.  They are manifested out of thin air - the mind-field of the cosmos.

When you learn to see thoughts as separate entities, the distance between you and unwanted thoughts will grow further and further apart.  There will come a time when those spontaneous, and sometimes disturbing, thoughts are realized as nothing more than bits and sparks of energy flying in and out of your own mind-field.

Practice mindful meditation often.  It's really quite simple. Just sit and witness thoughts without judgment and allow the space to open.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fear of Death

Fear is a distressing negative emotion induced by a perceived threat to the self.  The perceived threat is usually one which can cause harm or death.  And death is from where all fears originate.  The world in which we live is challenging and uncertain and death is a constant factor, one in which it is said we cannot escape. 

Either unconsciously or consciously the thought, "I don't want to die" emerges from the deep, dark recesses of the mind.  It is ingrained in the neurons of the brain that death is the finally of the self.  It is the self in which you become identified.  The bottom line is, when you understand the self you no longer will fear death.

The self consists of the body and the thoughts of who we think we are.  Thoughts of our past and thoughts of the future are 99% of who we think we are.  In essence we are none of these things. The past exists somewhere in our brain and the future is nonexistence, so where does that leave us?  The only thing that really exists is the present moment and we usually don't dwell there; for any great length of time anyway.

The body can't be who we are.  The body is composed mainly of water (80%), and the rest is bone, muscle, and connective tissues.  Mechanical appendages can be wired up to corresponding nerves and the artificial apparati will work much like the real appendages.  The skeletal system is simply a framework to which muscle fibers connect and move, not unlike the mechanical appendages.  Hearts, lungs, and blood vessels are replaceable by artificial ones, so the body is not much different than a machine.  Both are subject to decay either by rust, corrosion or decomposition.  Yet, we believe we are the body.

The one thing that doesn't decay in the body or the the mind is energy.  Energy not only exists in the body and mind but it also exists everywhere in the universe. The first law of thermodynamics states that, "Energy can change from one form to another but it cannot be created or destroyed."  You are surrounded by energy, your body is composed of energy, and both are inextricably connected.  The fact is, you are energy - the force, the the power, the spirit that dwells in all beings and non-beings.

Energy exists everywhere and in everything.  Consciousness and energy are one and the same.  When the body quits working, decays and wastes away consciousness still remains.  The self (body and thoughts of past and future) no longer remain but consciousness endures.  Once you realize this fact death is not an issue.

You can discover this fact for yourself.  Lie down or sit in a comfortable position - as comfortable as possible.  Place pillows, comforters, bolsters around, under, on top of you - whatever it takes to be as close to zero gravity as possible. Be very quiet with as many of your senses abated as possible. You can put shooter's ear muffs over your ears and something over your eyes. The only thing that should remain of the self will be your thoughts and breath.

Allow your awareness to focus on your breathing and allow thoughts to come and go at will.  Stay in that modus operandi for some time - an hour if possible.   A single practice will not be sufficient to become completely separate from your thoughts. The more you practice the less important thoughts will become.  Eventually, the you, the real you will become free from body and thoughts.  The first thing you may notice is a feeling of energy or vibrations.  You will probably become aware of air flowing in and out of the energy.  The energy and the air will become one and the same. You will no longer be stuck in the self.  Thoughts will become distant objects. You will no longer be the body and the thoughts.

If you look at a clock before and after this practice you will eventually notice how time seems to stand still.  One hour or more will pass like it was nothing.  That's because there is no time when there is no self.  Time only exists when you are in your body and mind.  You still exist but time, body and mind do not.  You exist as energy and consciousness.  You know you exist but you have no sense of body and no sense of thoughts.  It is as if you are in deep, non-dreaming sleep, but you are not asleep.  You are fully awake and conscious. 

When the body wastes away, energy, which you truly are, still remains.  There is no need to fear death because it only exists in the mind.  The True Self exists eternally.

WARNING!  If you have any mental problem don't try this at home.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Fear and anxiety are related but they are not the same thing.  There can be fear with anxiety and vice versa.  Fear has more to do with the physical body and anxiety has more to do with thoughts.  A Bengal tiger chasing you across a field would bring fear but thinking about giving a speech would produce anxiety.  Let's take a closer look at these two emotional factors.

Let's say you have never given a speech before and you are looking forward to making a good impression.  You get up to give your first speech and you notice everyone looking at you.  Your heart begins beating faster, your palms become sweaty, you feel light headed and your mouth feels like cotton.  You can't speak.  The audience looks confused and they begin whispering to one another.  You muster all the strength and courage you have and struggle through your speech and sit down.  You just experienced anxiety.

The next time you are scheduled to give a speech you remember what happened.  The thought causes your heart rate to increase, your palms to sweat, blood pressure go up, and your mouth to go dry.  Now you are experiencing fear and anxiety simultaneously.  You fear that when you give your speech you will experience anxiety again and maybe even pass out and hit your head on something.  You also fear humiliation.

The thought of giving the speech turns on the flight or fight response.  You want to run away from giving the speech (flight) but are determined to give it anyway (fight).  When it comes time to give your speech you cannot get up out of your chair.  Fear has struck.  You can' run and you can't give your speech.  You are frozen between the flight or fight response and can't do either. 

The fear of death is the mother of all fears.  Frozen between flight and fight is often said to be worse than death. Many people who experience this situation simply avoid ever doing it again.  They stop doing whatever is was that caused them to experience the horrible experience.  They may go into seclusion, find another line of work, stop working all together or become so depressed they become mentally incapacitated. Other people may turn to drugs and alcohol to suppress the fears and anxieties.  These are not the routes you want to take.   

Overcome the fear of death and you can overcome the fear of anything.  In the next post I will discuss how you can overcome the fear of death.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Panic Attack continued

It was at that point in my life I discovered yoga and the art of meditation.  A yoga class was being offered at the college and I thought, "What the heck, what can it hurt?"  It was 90 minutes of stretching, twisting, holding poses I never knew existed, and a lot of breath control.  At the end of the class I was exhausted yet felt liberated and knew I found something that I needed very badly and had to pursue.

I knew I had to know more about yoga because it was going to be my life long endeavor.  Goswami Kriyananda, Temple of Kriya Yoga http://www.yogakriya.org/, became my distant learning guru.  Not knowing exactly where I was headed I practiced yoga and meditation every day and discovered myself being transformed from a self-indulgent introvert into a more caring person.  The universe really didn't revolve around me.  I learned there was really no "me" or "I" or small self.  All that crap was an illusion - a figment of my imagination.

All those years I was duped into thinking everything was about me and mine.  I learned that there is more to life - the universe - than this tiny little drop called "self."  It was a metamorphosis.  I was slowly emerging from a dark cave of apathy, anxiety, and depression into a much brighter world.  It was like coming out of a dark pit into clean, fresh air.  

That was eighteen years ago.  I can now speak in front of groups and enjoy.  It may be students, supervisors, or anybody.  The energy now flows both ways - from me to them and from them to me simultaneously. Fear of speaking or reading in front of a group no longer exists. Fear was the negative force that created my anxiety and panic.  In the next blog I'll talk about fear.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Panic Attack

I use to have panic attacks.  I first started having them when I was in grade school.  I was about eleven years old.  The first one was when the English teacher called on me to read something in class.  Before that I always liked to read in class.  From first grade to sixth grade I thought I had a good voice for reading and was proud to show it.  But this time my heart began pounding in me chest like a sledge hammer, I couldn't get enough oxygen into my lungs, I was gasping for each word trying to get enough air for the next.  Looking at the words on the page was like looking through a straw.  I was sweating, heart pounding, gasping, couldn't read.  I thought, "What is happening to me?"  I thought I was going to die.

After that terrible momentous occasion I never, ever volunteered to read anything in class.  I would sit in the back of the room hoping the teacher wouldn't call on me.  In high school I avoided classes that might make me read aloud and I dreaded speech class.  For me speech class was a nightmare.  How I ever got though that class is a miracle.  I don't know how I did it but I made it through college and graduate school.  I gave required talks in many, many classes in panic attack mode.  I thought I would get better with time.  I thought the panic attacks would lessen the more I gave talks.  It didn't happen.

How I got into teaching is another story.  I swore up and down I would never teach.  My passion was research.  Doing research I could work in the field and in the laboratory by myself.  I didn't have to give speeches or talks.  But that's not what God had in mind for me.  Vietnam war happened, all research money went into the war, and I ended up teaching in order to survive.  To my surprise I didn't have panic attacks in front of students.  But if a supervisor walked in it would hit me.  I now know it was the direction of energy flow.  While I was teaching, the energy flowed from me to the students.  It was not about me, it was about them.  I wanted them to learn.  But when I knew someone was objectively observing me, the energy went from them to me and panic would set in.

As a faculty member in college I was comfortably sitting in a faculty meeting one afternoon when the vice president called on me to give a report.  I stood up.  I couldn't speak, my heart was pounding in my throat, my vision blurred with tunnel vision, my legs got weak and I had to sit down.  I put my head down on the desk and wanted to die.  I felt completely humiliated in front of all my peers.  I thought, "Why is this happening to me?  I can't take this anymore."

Continued on next post.