Posts Tagged ‘Awareness’

Reiki Level One – Class

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Are you ready to welcome the gentle energy of Reiki into your life?

Reiki is all about releasing that which no longer serves us and welcoming balance into our lives. This is very gentle, but don’t let that fool you – it’s quite powerful. In fact it can be life changing.

Serenity is offering a class for Level One Students

Friday, June 19th                                                                                                                        10a – 3p                                                                                                                                   Oxford, WI

Participants are always welcome to share their own thoughts, beliefs and experiences and expectations about Reiki. We will discuss the history and philosophy of Reiki, all in an interactive, safe environment. The Reiki class experience includes learning about traditional Reiki hand positions as well as discussion about trusting your own Reiki intuition. Each class member will give and receive a full Reiki session.

Each will be attuned to Reiki. You will receive your own Reiki manual and of course a certificate of completion for Reiki Level 1.

To register for this class, please contact Sandy via email:  Serenity@SandyWalden.com

I look forward to sharing this Reiki energy with you.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                         Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness Matters

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Forgiveness is something that I think is often mis-understood and because of that, often over-looked or put on the back burner. However, it’s my firm belief that before healing can happen forgiveness must begin.

So, let’s talk about forgiveness.  First and foremost offering forgiveness is not, absolutely not condoning the incident which offended or hurt you. That’s really important, so I will repeat it. Forgiving does not mean saying that what occurred was alright! What forgiveness means is that you no longer feed energy into the pain, hurt; resistance and you allow healing to begin.

Ahhhh, we’re getting to the meat of the matter right off. Healing. That’s what forgiveness is all about, at least in my mind. Here’s how I see it.

Let’s create a scenario. Let’s say that someone has said something truly hurtful to me, hurtful enough to wound me deeply. Ouch! While I am hurting I find that I withdraw my energy. A bit like a turtle may pull his head into his shell to prevent further injury. Perhaps I go over the words again and again, feeling the wound, reliving the words each time. It hurts!

As time goes by, I may well find myself becoming angry. Anger is not a bad thing, it’s simply an emotion and there are real and valid reasons to feel anger. For one thing it’s got a higher vibration that the desolation and depression that I was likely feeling just one paragraph ago. It’s normal, reasonable and completely human to feel anger. But what to do with it? If I keep feeling it but do not express the anger, it can become very toxic. Stuffing the anger can actually make me sick, physically, and emotionally. Simple fact here, it is healthier for me to find a safe way to express that anger. When I feel the appropriate, healthy way to begin to release the anger, it’s a bit like pulling the plug in a water filled tub. The resistance, strong energy begins to dissipate. Perhaps the turtle once again considers sticking his head out of his shell.

This is all part of the forgiveness process. I forgive so that I feel better. Simple as that. When I decide to forgive, and yes, for me it is often a very deliberate, conscious decision, I begin to feel better. That easier, more gentle feeling makes way for healing.

In the scenario painted above, I have been hurt. The words that were spoken may or may not be valid. Finding a healthy, safe way to release the resistance, the energy that is my anger, allows me to determine the truth or falsehood of the words spoken. That feels a bit better. Regardless of what I decide, I am still hurt by the words that were said to me. There’s work for me to do.

I begin by honestly acknowledging to myself that I have been hurt. For me that can take a bit of work as I would really prefer to pretend that I’m too tough to be hurt by others. Not so, the truth is that I am as human as the next person. I’ve been hurt, I’ve gotten angry. Both acknowledged and felt. For me the next step is to look for a blessing in this situation. This part really irks some people, and I get it, really I do. But I do believe that there is a blessing or a lesson if you prefer,  in each and every happening, even those which hurt us deeply. Again, returning to the above scenario, I would ask myself what the blessing or lesson looks like. Perhaps there was truth in the words expressed to me; can I learn from the words? Or it could be that the hurtful words were totally bogus, perhaps the lesson is that the person who uttered these falsehoods feels safe enough to express themselves to me. It could simply be that this person is not good for me and I need to say away from them. Maybe, none of these fit, I will search until I find what resonates with me.

Finding a blessing allows me to feel somewhat better; I begin to feel stronger as forgiveness begins. The energy that doesn’t feel very good, the resistance begins to be released, and healing is starting to happen.  That’s what forgiveness is, healing. The hurt, anger, bitterness energizes me in a way that feels pretty crummy to me, but finding a blessing, learning a lesson, deliberately deciding to look for a truth allows that icky energy, that resistance to begin to go away. Remember that water filled tub I talked about above? Well, the plug isn’t all the way out, the tub isn’t empty. But the trickle has begun and it feels good. That’s what forgiveness is about, feeling better. And beginning to heal. This has not one thing to do with whether or not the person was justified in saying what they did. Not for one moment would I condone deliberately hurting someone with an untruth. But if the words were true, I can learn from them. If they were false, then I have taken the time to find the blessing, to learn a lesson.

Another little phrase that causes a lot of trouble is ‘forgive and forget’. I’m not a fan at all. My dog teaches me a very simple lesson about that, because animals offer unconditional love. They get hurt, but they learn the lesson, forgive and move on. If I’m out walking with Indiana and he keeps walking in front of me, there’s a very good chance his foot will get stepped on. He learns the lesson, forgives and walks alongside of me. But he doesn’t forget! He remembers that if he walks in front of me his toes will get smashed.

We can take a lesson from this. If forgetting serves us well, then we will forget in time, easily and effortlessly. However, if the words brought a lesson that we can use, by all means, keep it in your memory. Again, let’s return to the original scenario. If the words spoken to me were hurtful for the simple reason that person has their own ‘stuff’ to deal with, then I will likely remember and not put myself into a position to be hurt by them again. However, if the words were true and helpful, I may well remember them, learn from them and recall them when they are again helpful. Forgive; yes. Forget; only if it serves your best and highest good.

I’ve spoken about hurtful words because that seems to me to be the most common wound. But wounds come in all sorts. It could be the wound of a relationship that has ended, the death of someone you cared about, a car wreck or any number of other scenarios. The work is the same. It’s a step by step process. No one size fits all here. There is no time-line. The process may be very fast, a matter of moments, or it could be over years. Whatever is right for you is right.

What are you holding onto? Is there something that you are ready to begin healing from? Big or small, forgiveness is done for you, and it begins with that first step. When you are ready to begin healing, forgiveness is part of the process. And the turtle once again pokes his head out of his shell, going on about his life, wiser and more prepared to life today.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

Expressing Thoughts and Feelings – Not a Competition

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

It happens quite often. Someone will be telling about a loss, a worry or fear and another will say something like ‘at least you are not going through what I am’. Pretty effectively causing the first person to feel that they have no right to feel what they do or to express that feeling. To which I respond, ‘ugh!!!!’

If feelings and emotions are not good or bad, and for the record I agree with that notion, then why is it so often than the one-up game is played? I suspect that there are various reasons why this happens, and since I’m in the mood to share I’ll do so.

Fear of being left out. Ohhhh, that feels like it a hit on the nail head. After all, if you tell me that your child-hood pet has died. This pet is the one who comforted you while you went through a tornado,  stayed by your side through illness and licked your face when your friends ignored you; I might feel that I simply have no business sharing the fact that I’m feeling really sad for no discernible reason at all. Would it be possible that I need to share what I feel but that since I don’t think my feelings measure up to yours that I can’t do it? That might make me feel left out. Is there an alternative?

How about the thought that if I’m not in more pain, sadder, angrier, more helpless or alternately if I’m not experiencing more joy, happiness, absolute bliss that I’m moving through some situation wrong? In other words, if I measure my feelings, thoughts and emotions against yours and mine are not as big, then perhaps I’m not a caring, loving, worthy person. Yikes!

If we talk about what you think or feel than its entirely possible that everything won’t be about me! That simply cannot happen, because if the focus is not on me all the time, perhaps I’ll cease to exist in some manner.

Now these are just a few thoughts that occur to me, but they all feel like they have a bit of truth to them.  You go through stuff in your life, so do I. In fact we all do, it’s the human experience. Some of this stuff is fabulous, some okay, some not so good and some is truly dreadful. You naturally have thoughts, ideas and feelings about what is happening in your life. That’s the way life works.

Are you ready for an example? My youngest son died in December 2010. My other two incredible sons live quite a distance from home. One evening I was feeling a bit low. I hadn’t slept the night before, so I was tired and grumpy in general. Hubby was at work so I had time to myself. I spoke to each of my boys on the phone during the day and enjoyed it. However, by that evening I was incredibly tired, and simply missed all three of my boys. I shared this with a good friend of mine (who is an amazing lady) and her response set me to thinking about this entire process. She apologized for sharing her own feelings of missing a child who has moved away from home. Why is that? She misses that person very much and I’m honored and privileged that she shares those feelings with me. I pray that I am supportive of her. Are her feelings any less valid because her experience is different than mine? I don’t think so.

For my money, it’s okay to experience a situation along with someone else and to respond differently. Not only is it okay, it’s inevitable. It doesn’t make us any more less loving or caring individuals if we respond differently than someone else to any given situation.  We’re simply different people responding in our personal ways. Not better. Not worse. Just individual.

Feelings and emotions are not good or bad, they simply are feelings and emotions. My hope is that when we talk with friends and loved ones that we do feel it is safe to share. The key word here is ‘share’. If we can listen and appreciate that there is great value in hearing what is being expressed perhaps we can release the need to compete. Trusting that we offer great value regardless of whether we are sharing or listening.

I have a challenge this week. Accept it if you choose, but for me I’m going to give it a whirl. The challenge is not only to listen, but to really hear what is being said to me. Without judgment. Without feeling as though I need to top it to be of value. I wonder how it will change how I feel about the people I’m listening to. I wonder if it might change the way they feel about me. Learning and growing friends, not competing. Just living, learning and growing.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

NO, Your Dog Absolutely CANNOT Crap in My Yard!

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Alternate title: It’s Okay to Maintain and Protect Your Boundaries 

I’m fascinated by boundaries and the way we set and guard them – or don’t. It seems that quite often we’re pretty wishy-washy about what is okay and what is not okay. Why is that?

When we listen to others, we’re usually pretty darned clear about what is and is not an acceptable way for others to treat them. However, when it comes to ourselves many of need a gentle reminder that it’s perfectly acceptable to expect others to respect our privacy and treat us with consideration and respect.

Have you ever had anyone ask you to do something and even when you say ‘no’ they push for reasons why? Or completely disregarding your response, keep pushing for a ‘yes’? That’s because your boundary is not clear to you. If it’s not clear to you and if you are not willing to protect that boundary, how in the world can you expect someone else to be observant and respectful of that boundary?

Yes, I’ve had to learn a few lessons about boundaries myself and it’s an ongoing project. I’ve found that it’s not only okay to set and protect my boundaries, but it’s essential if I want to keep my sanity. This benefits others as well, because if I am able to acknowledge and respect my personal boundaries, I’m much more likely to acknowledge and respect theirs as well. This pretty much keeps me out of trouble.

It’s perfectly okay with me if someone asks me personal questions. I answer the questions that I want to answer, but if someone asks something that I do not want to answer I simply tell them that I prefer not to discuss. If they push, I ask why they want to push regarding something that I’ve already made it clear is not open to discussion.  I ask this sincerely and then I shut my mouth. The conversation never fails to change directions. I’m protecting myself. Picking and choosing what I will and will not discuss. Trust me it gets easier each time.

Same thing works very easily when someone asks me to do them a favor or invites me somewhere. I’m usually very happy to accept, but if I decline with a simple, ‘no thank you’, I feel like that should be enough. If pushed, I once again ask why they want to push. Hmmmm…the results can be very interesting. Usually, the subject drops or changes.

One of my favorite people on the planet made a very wise observation recently. I’ve got to paraphrase because I didn’t write down her precise words. But this is the gist of her wisdom. If we believe that our souls are eternal (I do!) then our bodies are simply playing host to our souls. Why in the world would we treat this beloved guest with any less consideration, love and respect than we offer to others? Wow! That was very profound and I’m grateful to her for sharing.

This makes it even easier for me to protect my boundaries with love, kindness but absolute clarity. After all, my soul is my constant guest and deserves kindness and the most excellent treatment and this guest is absolute going to receive that sort of kindness.

This does not mean that I don’t reach out to others to ask questions or engage in other ways. I absolutely do! However, I try to be aware of the signals that they send out to me and respect those signals. I simply ask them to do the same. It feels very good. This is self-care.

The truth is that if you are a family member, friend, or even a client who comes to me for life coaching, Reiki or hypnosis you have heard my views about self-care again and again. I think it’s vital that we take good care of ourselves. When we do so, we are much more able to treat others well.

How about it? Are you ready to recognize your own boundaries? Are you able to see and acknowledge the boundaries established by others? I encourage you to really listen to yourself and others. What feels okay? Find that place of comfort and good feelings and simply, lovingly but firmly protect your boundaries. Practicing that self-care gets easier and easier and others will learn from you. This is good for you and good form them as well.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sandy

 

 

 

 

Hypnotism – It’s Not Like in the Movies

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

When I used to think about hypnosis or hypnotism, I had lots of ideas from old movies, many of them fun, most of them a bit scary. It turns out that none of them were accurate. That’s really good news!

The better news is how very useful hypnotism is for anyone who chooses to participate. And I do mean participate. I can’t hypnotize you if you choose not to be hypnotized. You can only imagine what a relief that is to my husband and grown sons. 🙂

Recently a man came into my office to relieve a bit of wound up nerves. In short, he wanted to become more calm and relaxed. His greatest fear was that he while he was under, he would tell me very personal, even embarrassing details about his life. Wasn’t going to happen. I began by assuring him that he would hear everything that I would say to him, and I mean everything. No secrets here.

Second of all, I assured him that because he was so concerned about answering questions with embarrassing details I simply would not ask him to speak at all while he was in the hypnotic trance. This is not always the case. Sometimes while a client is in the hypnotic trance I will ask a question or even several questions. That would have only escalated this gentleman’s fear and ramped up his nerves. So, I assured him that his hypnosis session would only consist of my talking to him, his only job while experiencing hypnosis was to focus on my words. Easy enough. He was also incredibly reassured to find that if I  had asked questions, he would not have answered them if he preferred not to. You do not lose control when you experience hypnosis. You still have choices and you will make the choices that are right for you.

It’s important to me for all of my clients to know what to expect when they experience hypnosis. We chat and I do my best to answer any questions that they can come up with and probably a few that they hadn’t thought of yet as well.

Be assured that you will not spill the beans to me while under hypnosis unless that is truly your preference. You are entirely and completely capable of lying if that’s what you want to do. You are in control. This is not the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits.

Hypnosis is about allowing you to make the changes you choose to make in your life. Only you have that control, not me. As a recovering control freak, I find it very reassuring that I still retain control, even while under hypnosis. Whew, that’s huge relief!

Please rest assured that if you come to me to change your life, but you really don’t want to change. You will get the result you truly desire. Your brain is a wonderful and powerful tool. Your conscious mind may think one thing, but it’s your sub-conscious that calls most of the shots. That’s why we chat, and chat and chat some more. It’s important for me to understand what you really want to occur in your life. That way while you are under hypnosis or in the hypnotic trance I am able to offer you suggestions that will be effective.

It’s all up to you. You make the decisions. Your first really good decision is to investigate hypnosis. What can hypnotism offer you? Ask questions about a hypnotic sleep or hypnotic trance. Ask and ask and ask, until you are totally comfortable. After all, this isn’t a movie, it’s your life and you are writing the script.

Hypnotism, it’s not at all like I imagined when I watched the movies. Instead I find that hypnotism is much more exciting. Being hypnotized allows me to improve my life and that of my clients. That’s what hypnosis would look like in the movies if I were making the movies.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musing – When is Meditation?

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

The physical benefits we derive from meditating are very impressive but few of us can spend a significant amount of time at this practice and not have it touch our spiritual nature. Stilling our minds, feeling our heart beat and listening to our breathing directly connects us with that most wonderful and complex creation, the human creature that is us. Moving through our lives with a meditative attitude, developing the equanimity that allows us to observe without becoming attached to, or repelled by, our experiences, allows us to marvel at the complexity and depth of the world around us. For many of us the experience can be a connection to whatever we perceive as the Highest Power of our universe.

It is easiest to envision meditation as someone sitting with their legs crossed on a cushion with their hands arranged mystically saying special words. In actuality meditation is a state of mind and not a location or activity. When one understands that all meditation starts with being mindfully in the Now, then the obvious corollary is that any activity that involves being in the Now can be meditation.

The parishoner who kneels at the altar and prays the Rosary is meditating if they are mindfully considering their prayers and actions as they do so.

My friend the gardener, who finds her connection, peace, and tranquility in the soil is meditating when she kneels down, focuses her mind and begins to commune with nature as she plants, weeds, cultivates and encourages her flowers to grow.

The runner who submerges herself in the pace, rhythm, and breathing of her exertions, if she is being mindfully in the Now, is meditating.

The cook, who mindfully prepares food for his household is meditating if he is in the Now and paying attention to the moment as he handles his ingredients, considers the tastes and flavors he is combining and creates something more than nutrition by putting a significant portion of himself into his preparations.

By extension one could argue that the line worker in the factory would be meditating if he is in the Now and being mindful when he attaches the widget to the gizmo as it comes down the production line.

Watching a sunset with the right attitude is definitely meditation.

One of the most traditional Ways makes extensive use of walking meditation. The technique consists of being mindfully aware of yourself and your environment as you perform that most basic of activities, walking.

So, if meditating brings us closer to our Highest Power then it makes sense that carrying our meditative attitude outside the zendo helps us connect our daily world with that Highest Power.

On a recent beautiful fall day here in Wisconsin I chose to remove myself from the urban area I live in and spend the day in a not too distant forest. After a few hours of walking through the brilliantly colored trees and fields that are autumn here I felt drawn to sit for a few moments and experience the Now. As I listened to the sounds, smelled the aromas and felt the wind and sun on my face I composed myself, took three slow deep breaths and opened my eyes to look at the forest.

I felt a surge of energy and was filled with a wonderful sense of peace and serenity. I remember thinking to myself “This is my connection to my God and my Universe”. I was Meditating.

Namaste
Jim

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Meditation Musing – Breathing

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Many Ways of meditation understand and stress the importance of proper breathing. In the Way of Yoga this process is called Pranayama and can be very complex. For most of the rest of us disciplined breathing can and should be an integral part of our practice for many reasons and these reasons bear discussion.

When talking about the disciplined breathing of meditation we are referring to slow, deep, abdominal breathing that uses the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. This is the breathing of relaxation and for many reasons it is difficult, if not impossible, to be tense while breathing in this manner.

Breathing is normally an automatic process and for most of us it fulfills the function of oxygenating our blood and organs. It is believed by many that controlled breathing bridges the gap between our voluntary and involuntary body systems allowing a stronger connection between our conscious and subconscious minds. Abdominal breathing uses our lungs in a more efficient manner and the resulting muscle movement helps massage and oxygenate our organs more than chest breathing alone. Slow, deep rhythmic breathing triggers our parasympathetic nervous system and automatically stimulates our relaxation response which lowers our heart rate and causes muscle relaxation. All of these physiological changes lead to a feeling of less tension, which most of us find to be beneficial.

Many who practice martial arts as their Way believe that breathing is the key to the focus of their minds, and hence the chi or ki which is essential to their Way. Meditators also use their breathing as a focus and, when coupled with that gentle, persistent return to the Now, breathing can be the anchor that helps extend our mindfulness and helps lead the way to that place we go when we Sit.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of our meditative breathing is that of focused awareness. By focusing on and becoming aware of our breathing we are taking the first step towards listening to ourselves and our world in real time. This is called being in the Now and is the place from which all meditation must start. Many would argue that this focus and the process of being in the Now is what separates meditation from sitting quietly and thinking. Both beneficial practices but not the same thing.

When we use breathing as a part of our meditation practice the transfer from the zendo to our daily lives becomes very valuable. With the automatic coupling of focused breathing and the calm, physical and mental state associated with meditation we can defuse our own tenseness, anxiety or fear simply by taking a few deep abdominal breaths, as we do when we start to Sit. When faced with a physically demanding situation both the meditator and the martial artist can take their deep abdominal breath and focus their energy. Children are often delighted to learn that the relaxation of their minds and bodies by the application of focused breathing can provide them with control of their minds and bodies in a time and place where they have very little control over anything else.

Namaste,
Jim

Meditation Musing-Focusing The Mind

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

When someone recently told me that they often couldn’t sleep because their mind just kept spinning around and wouldn’t stop, I suggested that they visit one of our meditation groups. I was told sadly that meditation wouldn’t work for them because their mind wouldn’t stay in one place for that long, they couldn’t concentrate like that.

I gently tried to explain that if only the people who could concentrate and focus their minds perfectly meditated there probably wouldn’t be very many meditators. In fact, I continued, I believe one of the purposes of meditating is to help build the muscles of the mind. Meditating is, for the mind, what a workout is for the body.

Using the gentle, persistent return to the Now during meditation is the mental equivalent to lifting weights. One starts with a level and intensity with which they are comfortable and through regular exercise of their mental muscles they get better and better at telling their mind what to do and having it obey. You sit in your space and when your mind goes someplace else you gently and persistently bring it back to the Now. Over and over and over. Like a would-be runner who can only jog a few moments before becoming winded and one day finds themselves trotting along for forty five minutes or an hour, the meditator gradually learns to keep their mind in the Now for longer and longer periods. Among other things this process teaches us patience and, perhaps most importantly, it teaches us patience with ourselves, which for many people is much harder than having patience with others.

Some Ways have a practitioner focus their minds on a thing; breathing, a mantra, a candle, focusing the mind like a zoom lens. Other Ways have one focus the mind on nothing, passing thoughts and sensations through the mind with no attachment or comment, a mental wide angle lens. Whichever Way one chooses, the focus is a tool to bring us into the Now. Our ability to use a tool quickly and efficiently grows with practice. So does the ability to discipline our mind

Please understand, the purpose here is not necessarily to reformat our brains to live only or entirely in the Now, although some Ways strive for just that. Mostly we want to be able to bring ourselves to that calm and stable mental place when we need or want to. That way, when a crisis occurs or we can’t get to sleep we can take the deep abdominal breaths with which we start our meditations and we will automatically return to the Now, grounded and centered, our minds calm and serene. And yes, the same processes can help us experience pleasurable moments of our lives quite intensely. Human interactions can be quite interesting when the people involved are in the Now. What greater compliment or gift could we give to another person besides our complete, undivided, focused attention?

Namaste
Jim

Meditation Musings – Mindfulness

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Mindfulness has been defined by the psychologist and meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmental.  Mindfulness is also a meditation technique in which one allows thoughts, images, feelings, and body sensations to pass through the mind without reacting to or becoming involved with, those things.

If, while meditating, one notices an itch on the end of the nose or in the middle of the back the meditator recognizes the sensation and allows it to pass. Simply, ‚I have an itch‚  No attachment, no internal discussion, just ‚ I have an itch. Most of the time, after acknowledgment, the itch fades away and your mind has already moved on. We use the gentle, persistent returning to the Now to dismiss these sensations from our mind.

If you are a regular meditator and particular thoughts or sensations keep arising during your sitting you will take note of them, return to the moment and ponder them at a later time. Quite often simply becoming aware of the recurring thoughts or images can provide a very clear picture of what’s causing us to lose our center and/or grounding.

Please note the particulars of the definition cited above: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.

We practice mindfulness on purpose. We decide it is a useful aspect of meditation, we become sensitive to it and it becomes part of our life. When we practice mindfulness in the zendo and with our sangha it’s very hard not to take it out into our daily lives.

We practice mindfulness in the present moment, in the Now. The Now is the place most meditation starts but when moved into our daily world mindfulness in the Now provides us with the real context of the events and emotions we experience, not the context we impose upon them.

We practice mindfulness without judgment. We accept what is, simply because it is. As the author R.A. Heinlein once wrote, ‚the observed phenomena requires no explanation, it simply exists‚. Observing without judgment keeps us from jumping to conclusions. How many times have we made hasty assumptions about a situation or person and later discovered that if we had just kept ourselves open and nonjudgmental we would been saved a great deal of embarrassment? This same concept dispels the ‚why me?‚ and it’s not fair‚ kind of thinking. Whatever it is, it just is.

Mindfulness can be used to help us relieve stress and anxiety simply by allowing it to pull us back into the Now. Stopping the whirling thoughts helps us move to a more stable mental place. When our technological world starts to overwhelm us a return to the Now of nature can reset our physical and mental clocks from the frantic pace of today’s techno-environment to the unique tempo nature imposes upon herself. We must never forget that it’s also our natural tempo and anything else is artificial.

Personally, I think I’ll go outside and mindfully feel the breeze on my face, smell the flowers in the garden and enjoy the Now.

Namaste
Jim

Meditation Musings – Equanimity

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

A natural process in meditation for many people is the development of equanimity- the ability to ‚Äö√Ñ√∫let go‚Äö√Ñ√π. Equanimity allows us to detach ourselves from thoughts and images that attempt to distract us from the Now. As we sit and meditate our minds may become distracted by things like ‚Äö√Ñ√∫What will I have for lunch?‚Äö√Ñ√π or ‚Äö√Ñ√∫I should be doing……‚Äö√Ñ√π or ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Why did I ‚Äö√Ѭ∂..‚Äö√Ñ√π Equanimity allows us to gently and persistently bring ourselves back to the moment. No guilt, no sense of failure, no idea of ‚Äö√Ñ√∫I must try harder‚Äö√Ñ√π. Just a gentle and persistent return to the Now.

When this feeling carries over into the rest of our world we begin applying equanimity to our daily life. We typically lose much of the ‚Äö√Ñ√∫why me?‚Äö√Ñ√π and ‚Äö√Ñ√∫it isn’t fair‚Äö√Ñ√π kind of thinking. We might spend more time in the Now, truly interacting with the people around us and seeing our environment in a mindful and sensitive way.

Equanimity and the return to the Now can help when our minds start to work in circles, become unduly anxious about something in the future or past, or obsess on a given thought or phrase. It also allows us to release negative thoughts and emotions about our daily aggravations and irritations. That petty squabble with a spouse or coworker never gets a chance to be over-thought or blown out of proportion if our equanimity allows us to release the conflict and return to a more centered and grounded mental state. The same process allows many people to release the persistent thoughts that keep them awake at night, as their minds refuse to let go of their waking activities.

Other people sometimes misinterpret our equanimity as a ‚Äö√Ñ√∫don’t care‚Äö√Ñ√π attitude. Actually, we wouldn’t have to apply our ability to release things if we didn’t care. A better interpretation would be ‚Äö√Ñ√∫I care but it wouldn’t be productive for me to hang on to this thought, feeling, image, or emotion‚Äö√Ñ√π.

For me, equanimity is the source of that small smile I often wear. It’s not amusement at the foibles and foolishness of the people around me, it’s the result of recognizing my own silliness at becoming entangled in the snares my mind creates out of unnecessary attachments to things that won’t do me any good. I release them and smile at the human nature that causes even those of us who know better to be caught up in such futile exercises.

Meditation has many benefits for the practitioner and the development of equanimity is only one of them. The ability to release nonproductive or unnecessary attachments in our mind helps bring out that sense of peace and serenity that should be a mainstay of our daily lives.

Namaste,
Jim