Posts Tagged ‘Self-care’

Are you Judging Your Bloom?

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

I spent some time walking around the gardens this morning. The early spring flowers are showing off their color and it’s fabulous.
When planted, many of these flowers were the smallest cuttings, some were planted as seeds or bulbs. Often so small as to be barely there.
They began to grow, nurtured by the sun, soil and rain. In the beginning, some may have said they didn’t have much to add to the garden. They needed time to mature. But they had promise, they existed and their presence was enough.
As time has gone on, each began to display their own unique beauty. Greenery that was shaped and colored differently from other plants. Even their short lived blooms change from day to day. They are evolving as they mature.
It made me wonder if these plants ever doubted themselves… did they compare themselves to their more mature neighbors and find themselves lacking in some way? Were they ‘less than’ because they were still growing into their own magnificence?
As they bloom today, are they able to recognize and acknowledge the contribution they make to the gardens? Because each of these plants makes the gardens more complete.
A daffodil cannot be a lungwort, nor should it try! The phlox that is beginning to break ground has no need to compete with Asian iris, each has it’s own gifts that does not need to be compared to those of it’s neighbors.
None of these plants are ‘fakers’ or ‘impostors’ just because they are different than the other plants.  Each has it’s place in the garden and is valued greatly for what it brings.
So, on this blooming day in spring. it’s my hope that you smile and acknowledge that you are really quite perfect just as you are.
Namaste,
Sandy

What if…I Embrace and Even Nurture My Ego?

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Again and again, when I read or listen to people that I greatly respect. Folks who are quite magnificent teachers. Leaders in the New Age world, it seems that the ego is a problem.

Now I don’t mean that ego is referred to as an itty bitty problem, something like having an irritating pebble in your shoe. Nope! Ego is often referred to as a great big problem. As though it’s a huge steel door that is standing between me and my goal of becoming an evolved spiritual being. In other words, the ego has simply got to go.

Oh my, this is beyond distressing to me. In fact the very thought of tamping down, stomping out, eliminating my ego makes me want to push back with both hands. Both feet and then I feel a strong urge to lean forward and push back with the top of my noggin’ as well.

Stomp out my ego? Unh-uh! I don’t wanna, I’m not gonna. And nobody can make me. Whoops. Maybe that is the three year old that seems to have a very vibrant life within me expressing herself. Just the same, the grown up me thinks that she is absolutely right. And here’s why.

If we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and I believe that in fact that is true, then having a healthy ego is quite necessary. It’s a vital part of us as human beings. Our healthy ego is what keeps us standing upright when doubt surrounds us. It’s what propels us forward when obstacles keep showing up in our path. A healthy ego is what allows us to be kind in the face of cruelty, compassionate in times of pain and courageous in times of great fear.

Now I’m not for one moment suggesting that we should overfeed our ego, to do so may be to create a monster. Nope, nope, nope.  An over sized ego makes for an arrogant and often uncaring human. This leads to incredible selfishness, almost an inability to consider or think about others or to care about them as they simply are not as important as our great big hairy monster ego.

On the other hand, an ego that is starved leads to true poverty of confidence and self-esteem. If the ego is not nurtured and cared for then we come to believe that we don’t matter at all. We may tell ourselves and even others, that everyone else’s needs are more important. That we really don’t matter very much. This can mean that we not only tolerate being ignored and even shoved aside, but it can also lead us to believe that we deserve to be abused in some way. This starving of the ego seems like a very bad idea.

Balance. There’s that word that I love so much. To my way of thinking our ego needs to be treated with firm kindness. Maintained with gentle, loving thoughts and words. This is balanced by compassionate honesty so that the ego does not become the afore mentioned monster.

Having this balance; which can admittedly become a tricky thing to maintain, is really a very important part of the human experience. Perhaps this learning to find and maintain balance is one more lesson that our spirit is learning by having this human experience.

Ahhhhhh, balance. It’s a desire, a goal, an intention. As humans we often fall short of our goals, that’s okay. That too is part of our experience. Each time we fall short in some way we have the opportunity to look back, reflect, learn, fine-tune ourselves. And then we do better.

My ego is part of me. I fully expect to embrace and nurture my ego because this is part of my very human experience. I invite those that I trust to let me know if I’m over-feeding or starving my ego. I happen to have some pretty honest friends who are quite happy to help out with this task. I’m a lucky gal because the simple truth is that I don’t always see this for myself. This too is part of my human experience.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                         Sandy

 

 

 

Reiki Class – Level 2

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Are you ready to move to the next level? When you move on to Reiki level 2 you increase your vibration, increasing your flow of Reiki energy. As always, this class is very relaxed and interactive. You are encouraged to share your experiences and ask questions. Discussion is strongly encouraged as we all have unique experiences and learn from one another.

I’m very fortunate in that I am able to welcome my good friend and trusted colleague Helen Mork to co-teach this Reiki class. Making it even more interesting and giving greater variety of experience.

Reiki Class – Level 2

Sunday, November 18th
9:00am to 2:00pm
$150.00
Oxford, WI

http://www.sandywalden.com/reiki/reiki-classes.php

To register for this class either visit the link above, give me a jingle at  (414) 378-8764 or drop me a line via email at: Serneity@SandyWalden.com

Remember, this is your Reiki journey. Are you ready to take the next step?

Namaste,

Sandy

Just What Do You Deserve?

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Probably the most common theme that I hear in my office, is the idea that the person is not deserving of the best life has to offer. This feeling seems to recognize no boundaries. I hear it from women as well as men. Young, middle-aged and elders. These people seem to think that they must put themselves last – always.

What some of these people think they do deserve is something less than others. A woman I know was very concerned. After all, she believed very strongly that when one is faced with an argument or conflict of some sort,  that there are two choices. Be kind or attack. As she is a very nice woman, her typical response has been to be kind to others, at her own expense.  I got the call from her when she wanted to discuss her most recent behavior. She had stood up for herself! She was direct and straight forward, realizing that she deserved to be treated with respect and appreciation. This is where we all stand and shout ‘wahoo!’.

An incredible person recently offered this thought. Is our body a vessel or host to our spirit? If you answered yes, keep going with me. If my body is host to my spirit, then my spirit is my ever-present guest. How do you treat guests in your home?  If you’re like me, you always offer guests the very best. The pretty little soaps in the bathroom. The best chair at the backyard fire. The finest cut of the entree served at dinner.

If I’m always offering the best to others, but refusing to accept quality for myself, I am treating my own guest very badly. This fascinating concept rang true for me, so I began sharing it with my clients. What I am discovering; to my absolute delight is that it rings true for others as well.

So, does this mean that I advocate being out for myself regardless of effects or ramifications to others?  Nope, not at all. It does mean that I believe in treating myself with the same sort of appreciation and respect that I offer to others. And I encourage my clients to do the same. It feels good, in fact it feels terrific!

A very nice side-effect of treating myself with the same appreciation, respect and kindness that I offer to others is that I don’t feel short changed when I do something nice for someone else. Nice bonus, huh? Think about it for a couple of seconds and I’m sure it will make complete sense to you as well.

If you are always putting others before yourself, you are being short changed. It’s completely natural and reasonable that resentment would build and that anger is likely to follow. Let’s circumvent this entire situation by simply bringing a bit of balance to the situation. That means acknowledging that you deserve to expect and receive the best that the world has to offer. I encourage you to expect that from now on.

Balance isn’t all that difficult when we practice. If need be, you may want to think of yourself as Spirit, after all that is an integral part of you. What does your guest deserve? Offer the best to your Spirit, your ever-present guest and everyone will benefit.

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

 

 

 

 

Reiki and Healing

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Reiki, pronounced Ray-kee is a modality of energy healing. If your response is ‘huh?’ then you’re in good company.

Reiki has been around for quite some time, but only in recent years is it becoming better known and widely accepted.

Energy is of course a very real part of each of our lives. The electricity which turns on our lights is energy. We may not see it, many of us don’t quite understand how it works, but it is there and very effective. Reiki energy is similar in that it is not something that can be seen; however the effects can be felt.

Generally, when one receives a Reiki treatment, you will lie fully clothed on a massage table. The Reiki practitioner moves around your body, gently laying their hands on about twelve positions of your body. During this session, the gentle energy of Reiki flows through the practitioner to the recipient. This allows your own energy to balance and that balance allows healing. Ahhh, now we’re getting somewhere aren’t we? It’s all about the healing.

In the most simple and straight forward terms, Reiki allows your body, mind and spirit to release negative energy. This may be fear, pain, despair, etc. As these less than helpful energies; these toxins are released you are able to re-balance and welcome healing. Our body, mind and spirit are able to heal themselves when we release these barriers.

There is a plethora of research supporting this healing modality. http://tinyurl.com/3hk8u7u This research simply reinforces my own beliefs and more importantly it supports my own experiences with Reiki; as a Reiki master and teacher as well as someone who continues to benefit from frequent Reiki sessions. I smile when friends or family tell me that ‘there must be something to this stuff’, because the well respected Dr. Oz tells of his own trust and confidence in Reiki.

As someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, I appreciate that Reiki has helped me and continues to help me to move through this grieving and healing process. I do believe that the process has been a bit more gentle due to receiving frequent Reiki sessions.

I’d like to be clear; this is not something magical that has taken away my pain. Rather, the Reiki has helped me to move through my pain in the way that is best for me; a little at a time. It’s helped me to become clear about what I feel, to understand what this loss means to me, to forgive myself for not keeping my son alive. While on that Reiki table I’ve shed many tears, but I’ve also felt relief, lovely, healing relief. I’m someone who tends to express my pain or fear in physical terms. Shoulder pain, migraines or an aching back. I’m grateful that Reiki is safe to receive under any conditions. It is safe to use regardless of what medications I may be taking or medical treatment I may be receiving. That offers me reassurance and additional comfort and encourages me to continue giving myself daily Reiki as well as to receive Reiki from other practitioners.

There’s something quite wonderful about being touched by another human being. It offers connection and bonding. However, it’s important to note that Reiki can be offered at a distance as well. After all, it’s energy and energy is not limited to time or distance. This means that I am able to send Reiki to my surviving sons even though they live far away from me. Like the prayers that I offer, I know that they receive the energy in the way that is right for them. I also sit down and intentionally send Reiki to my son Mike who took his life in December of 2010. As a mom it heals my heart to know that I can still offer him something quite wonderful and healing. Of course I would prefer to have any of them on a chair in a room with me or on my Reiki table. But I am blessed to know that the Reiki is just as healing in whatever way it’s received.

I continue to offer Reiki to others and I’m grateful for the balance that it brings to their lives. Gently, sometimes a little at a time, sometimes the balance comes more rapidly. I will also continue to give myself Reiki sessions and to receive Reiki from others. If this life is about learning and moving forward; as I believe it is, then I want to be able to learn, heal and move forward as easily as possible. Reiki helps me to do just that.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgive and Forget – I Don’t Think So!

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

I’m all for the forgiving part, but as for the forgetting – not so much. Let’s walk through this just a little bit and I think you’ll understand my point.

When I forgive a hurt or a wound of some sort, I do it to release myself from further anguish. I forgive for myself, not for anyone else. For me it is often a very deliberate choice. I may decide that I’m tired of being angry, irritated, depressed and defensive. In other words, I’m tired of feeling crummy! When I’ve had my fill of feeding those emotions which I do not enjoy one little bit, I am ready to begin thinking about forgiveness. I know that when I do forgive, that I will be able to release those feelings that are dragging me down and that I’ll experience relief. That relief is healing.

So, I decide that I want to forgive so that I can feel better. The person I’m forgiving may or may not know about my decision and my feelings. Remember, this really is all about me. I want to feel better, so I forgive. I believe that when my energy changes to become lighter and more loving that the offender so to speak, benefits as well, whether they realize it or not. But primarily I am taking this step to forgive someone or something so that I feel better. Me, me, me!  This is taking good care of me and I deserve to feel good just because I am me, a child of God. Whew, that feels better.

The process of forgiving is simple for me and no, that doesn’t mean that it is always easy. But sometimes it is easy and that’s okay too. In fact, it totally rocks. Forgiveness is sometimes a very deliberate process, other times it simply happens a little at a time with little thought or deliberation. Either way it unfolds just about the same – for me. It begins with a decision that I want to feel relief, that I’m ready to stop feeding the pain, irritation and anger, all of that crummy stuff we talked about earlier. That leads me to begin looking for a blessing in the incident. Strange as that may seem, I believe that everything has a lesson and if I can find a lesson I can see it as a blessing. That allows me to begin releasing my pain and embracing the relief. Sort of like a balloon that is not popped, but has a slow leak, as I embrace the blessing I feel the pain ebb. Aaaaaah, that feels really good, and so forgiveness begins.

Now, about this forgetting stuff. That is a whole other kettle of fish my friend. After all, if each experience is a lesson of sorts, how is it helpful for me to completely and entirely forget about it? Makes no sense to me, because once I’ve experienced a specific wound I’m generally pretty much okay with not having another just like it. I’m hopeful that I learn not to put myself in such a situation again and if I forget all about the incident it seems that I’m much more likely to be hurt again and again and again. Now of course, you do what is right for you. As for me, I prefer to learn and move on.

From personal relationships to global tragedies this line of thinking works for me. No matter how small or how large. If we forget what brought about atrocities than we are likely to repeat the experience. If a friend has hurt me, I want to forgive that hurt so that I can move on feeling good, not being eaten up with anger or other general icki-ness. Whether or not I renew that friendship is another thing entirely. If it’s a friendship that I want to continue, I have the ability to learn and decide if it is to my own benefit to put myself in this situation again. The wound may have been unintentional, what can I learn from this? How can I move forward in a healthier manner? Perhaps the relationship has run its course. Forgiveness allows me to bless the time that was spent together and still release the relationship feeling good. But, and this is a great big but – I don’t want to forget the lessons learned.

There are tools that I use to support myself in this process. I find that Reiki not only balances my energy but Reiki also enhances my general sense of well being; of course. The flow of Reiki makes it much easier for me to move through these steps. Okay, let’s be very honest here, the Reiki just feels so darned good that I welcome it at any time. Coaching helps too, no doubt about it. Whether I work with another life coach, coach myself through the situation or remind myself of the steps that I use when I work with my life coaching clients. One step at a time, using the appropriate tool for that situation. Hypnosis is also really helpful to me as I work through my own issues. Dovetailing and very nicely complementing  the Reiki and life coaching. You see the life coaching allows me to become aware of what I prefer. The Reiki assists me in releasing negativity that is not serving me well. The hypnosis speaks to my sub-conscious, that incredibly cute but amazingly stubborn 4 year old that lives in my brain. Hypnosis speaks to her and reminds me that I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want to do. Because hypnosis speaks to my thriving subconscious it supports my choice,offering the reinforcement that it is not only okay but my choice to move in this direction. Now all of these tools have not always been available to me, and of course I was able to forgive then as well. But I’ve got to say, I find that having hypnosis,  Reiki and life coaching all in my little tool box assists me in the process. What works for you?

Forgive and forget if it feels right to you. As for me, I’m a project that is still in the works, still in the process of development. I’m still working on forgiving some people and events, but it’s coming along nicely and that offers me lovely relief. As for forgetting, I’m okay with the remembering. After all, once the pain is released the person, incident or event simply becomes a bit of history. Something I have learned from, something that has blessed me. And that makes it all worthwhile.

For this week, I wonder if you are ready to begin forgiving someone or something from your own life. How would it feel to release some of that pain or anger and welcome a bit of relief? It’s up to you of course, but I encourage you to give it a try. C’mon, you can do it. I know you can! When you’re ready.

Namaste,

Sandy

When I Grow Up I Want To Be More Like My Dog

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I’ve decided that my dog knows quite a bit about living life to the fullest. When he’s tired, he simply heads to his favorite spot in the sun and takes a nap. When he wants his belly rubbed he comes and makes it clear just what he wants. When Indy’s hungry there is no doubt that he would like a meal. You know when Indy’s in the mood to play because he simply starts playing. Smart guy!

Because Indy is so clear about what he wants he is seldom disappointed. Indy is a brilliant life coach! He’s teaching me lessons every day and I’m doing my best to learn from him.

When I work with clients, whether life coaching, Reiki or meditation, I am always encouraging them to practice excellent self-care. While I may forget to practice this myself from time to time, my buddy Indy offers gentle reminders. If I’m a bit too serious, he reminds me that life is to be enjoyed by showing my just how much fun there is to be had in a short wrestling match.

One of the life coaching lessons I continually strive to learn better is to embrace and express certain emotions. While laughter and joy are very easy for me to share other thoughts and emotions are more difficult for me to express. Fear, anger and grief are very difficult for me to share with others or to simply release. In the past I have found that I had a tendency to stuff or simply deny these feelings. Here’s the thing, although I may prefer to deny these emotions they do still exist. The body, mind and spirit has a full range of emotions, and whether I like it or not, my body, mind and spirit will find a way to express these emotions. They are not intended to be denied, bottled up or stuffed. They are there for a reason! A full range of emotions keeps us healthy and it’s vital that we each find a non-destructive way to express these emotions.

What do you do? For me, writing is therapeutic; digging in the dirt, walking and of course being with my buddy Indiana is extremely helpful. When Indy’s sad or upset he doesn’t hesitate to come to me and indicate that he simply wants my company. Sometimes it’s enough for him to just hang out with me, other times he needs some real exercise. I have a lot to learn from my dog.

I am learning, though to be honest I am sometimes a slow learner. 🙂 At the very young age of 49, I am slowly becoming more comfortable sharing feelings, thoughts and emotions that I have always accepted in others easily. Life coaching, Reiki and meditation have all helped me to understand that being sad or angry is no more destructive or negative when present in my life than they are in anyone else.

This is a good time to acknowledge and appreciate not just my resident life coach Indy, but also dear friends and family. These folks not only allow, but at times even gently prod me to share as much as I feel comfortable. I’m so grateful for that. Equally as important, they do not demand that I share; they simply hold the safe space and remind me that all emotions, thoughts and feelings are welcome and safe. That’s powerful stuff and I can’t say how grateful I am.

Indy reminds me every single day that it’s okay to have a full range of emotions and to share those emotions with others. You will have absolutely no doubt when my buddy is happy, that nub of a tail wags so hard that I’ve often thought how remarkable it is that it’s still attached.

What do you do to express yourself? Do you dance? Perhaps you retreat to a private place with your thoughts…maybe writing is your thing. There are so many ways to express yourself, talk to a loved one, call a friend, laugh and or cry at a movie. Exercise or take a bath, read a book and let your emotions pour themselves out. I don’t know what’s right for you and you may not know at this moment either. If you can’t figure it out by yourself, give me a call and I’ll be happy to help you figure it out.

I’m going to keep studying and allowing my own personal life coach to assist me in this growth, Indy’s really quite good at this whole process. I encourage you to find discover what allows you to express yourself. In the meantime, I will continue to strive to live life more like my dog. In the moment and expressing all emotions to the fullness that is appropriate this very moment.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musing – Posture

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

There are many thoughts about the posture one should take when meditating with many Ways presuming that their Way is the only correct method. For many of us most of these “correct” ways are not practical or possible but we still meditate and we still derive benefit from our meditation.

Why does it matter?

Unless one sees meditation as a form of penance or punishment a primary aspect of our posture and position is to be comfortable. Most of us find it difficult to Sit for long periods of time if we are not comfortable. Trying to hold an uncomfortable posture can certainly be a distraction if our purpose is to remain in the Now. Most of us find little benefit if our meditations center around “I hurt Now”. Few of us would find it a beneficial mantra.

The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, generally credited with bringing Zen to America and the author of the seminal book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, tells us that we Sit with our legs crossed as a way of minimizing the duality of our body. When we stand or sit as in our normal manner we have a left side and a right side. When we sit with our legs crossed we have the right foot on the left leg and the left foot on the right leg. This is intended to merge the right and left sides of our bodies, facilitate the connection between the right and left sides of our brain, and remove or minimize our dualistic perceptions of ourselves. When we sit in a crossed leg position we are also creating a tripod stance, generally thought of as the epitome of stability. This stability of posture is thought to help provide us with a stability of mind.

Most Ways tell us that we should Sit with a straight back or spine, generally as a way to encourage or facilitate the movement of our energy (ki or chi). This emphasis on posture and head positioning can serve other purposes for the student of meditation. One purpose is to provide a focus for the mind, that is, to occupy the mind with the task of monitoring posture in order to keep the mind in the present moment. Another purpose is to allow the Master to see if and when his students allow their posture to change, usually indicating a loss of concentration or wandering from the Now. At this point the Master corrects the student in whatever manner he uses, returning the student to the Now.

For our purposes, let’s move from the ideal to the practical.

Meditating in any posture is much better than not meditating at all. Most of the meditators I know sit in a chair and many of them derive great benefits from their Sitting.

Keeping the back straight does allow energy to flow through the body efficiently but it is also the optimal position for the use of our lungs. By sitting up straight we allow ourselves to take maximum advantage of the benefits of abdominal breathing which provides maximum blood and organ oxygenation and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, activating a “relaxation response” in the body. Probably just as important is that our bodies have developed the way they have for a reason and when the human spine is properly positioned we actually use gravity to help support us.

The position that we use when we Sit can often become a part of our practice and arranging ourselves in a particular way at a particular time can be a signal to our body and brain that we are about to meditate. When I Sit at home I sit with my legs crossed in a large cushioned chair. When I Sit in the zendo I sit with my legs crossed on a meditation cushion. This is the Way I have learned over many years. More importantly, to me, is that I do many things when I sit down. I do only one thing when I sit with my legs crossed. I Sit.

Serenity is our zendo and we are located at 13825 W. National Ave. Suite 100,
New Berlin WI 53151. If you are in the Milwaukee area and would like information about our Meditation Groups or are interested in our New Meditator workshops, or would like one-on-one meditation coaching please contact me at jbarrett10@wi.rr.com. We also appreciate constructive comments or subject suggestions for this blog.

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