We Live What We Believe

Somewhere around the age of three or 4, people as a whole are pretty amazing. I am privileged to know a man who recognizes and appreciates just how amazing his 3 or 4-year-old son is, day in and day out.

I see this gentleman every week and I’m always impressed with how his eyes literally light up when he speaks about his wife or his 2 children. His daughter is just a baby so she delights him just by cooing and breathing.  His son, on the other hand, is an entirely different kettle of fish. This man regularly shares the wisdom and the absolute joy that he receives from just playing with his little guy.

Apparently one of their favorite things to do is to play ball. Positioning themselves on their long drive, the little boy would hit the plastic ball, aiming at the tree waaaaaaaay down at the end of the drive. Dad would smile and cheer him on.

Recently all of this changed. A few weeks ago, we experienced some windy days. I don’t mean Dorothy and Toto flying off to Oz sort of windy, but pretty hefty winds just the same.  You guessed it; this man and his little boy were out playing ball. The wind was at the little boy’s back so when he hit the ball the first time and it whacked the tree at the end of the drive the man wasn’t the least bit surprised. Still, he cheered his son, encouraging him to do it again and again. Which of course, the little boy accomplished easily.

Fast forward to their next playtime. The man and the boy, outside playing ball, normal weather. Still, the little boy expects to hit the tree at the end of the drive just like he did last time. And he does. Again and again. Naturally, the man continues to whoop it up, so excited for his son that he is continuously hitting his goal, the tree.

About a week or so later, it occurred to the man one day. That freaky wind that carried the ball so easily was no longer blowing. Still, his incredible little boy was regularly hitting the tree at the end of the drive. This is even more exciting! The man, however, is more clever than many might be in the situation, and he doesn’t tell his son that it was the wind that made that amazing hit possible in the first place, he simply keeps encouraging success and celebrating every hit.

No one told the little boy he could only hit the tree with the wind behind his back. So, for him, it was the simple truth that he could hit the tree. He proved it to himself and simply continued living that truth.

In 1954, Roger Bannister was the first man to prove an old truism wrong. It was believed that the human body could not run a mile in 4 minutes or less. That truism had been proven again and again since we began recording such events. But on that special day, Mr. Bannister broke the old record and made a new truism, of course, the 4-minute mile could be run and several other men accomplished the same feat in that year.

All of this matters because as human beings we are always programming ourselves. We read newspapers and yes, sometimes even books. We listen to television and radio; we speak with family, friends, and co-workers. Learning what we can and cannot do.

This is one of the reasons why life coaching and hypnotism are so very powerful. We spend part of each and every session talking about the way you talk to yourself. What words are coming out of your mouth? What ‘truth’ are you telling? We believe what we hear frequently, otherwise, TV ads wouldn’t sell us on the belief that one toothpaste is vastly superior to the other brands on the shelf. How many of us have researched our toothpaste? Not me, still I believe that one is better for my little pearlies and so I buy it regularly, even keeping back up tubes available, because I have come to believe what I have heard.

We all do it, it is human nature. This is very cool because it means that we can teach or program ourselves any way that we choose. We’re doing it anyhow, so why not do it with deliberation?

I strongly encourage my life coaching clients to speak kindly to themselves, to be deliberate in framing their words and phrases. Because it matters what they say. Not only do others hear and come to believe what words they utter, but they hear and believe as well. Repetition does that for us.

Same goes when a client is experiencing hypnotism. We share a long, interesting conversation before the actual hypnotizing happens. At least I find it interesting. I want to learn as much about the clients’ true beliefs and desires as possible. Why? Because when they are experiencing a hypnotic trance, I’m going to offer suggestions to change the clients’ life in one manner or another. If these suggestions are accepted by the client, they will become their new truth. If you’ve ever listened to a hypnotist, you will have noticed that these new truths are repeated over and over in ways that the client prefers.

For example, if I were hypnotizing myself (and I do) to release unnecessary concerns about something I would tell myself something along these lines. ‘I release concerns regarding…as I trust that all is working out as it should.’ ‘I feel more calm, more at ease regarding…feeling better and better.’ In no way would I be lying to myself, that would be totally unacceptable, I would simply be introducing a new truth. Easing into feeling better, more calm, releasing concern that is not needed. That would form my new belief and I get to relax because after all, we do live what we believe.

One of my favorite people in the world frequently tells me that I frustrate her. She tells me that everything always works out for me and that my life is just silly easy, especially compared to hers. It makes me smile, which pushes her buttons, makes me smile more…you can see where this is going I’m sure. I’ve always shared my belief that life works out well if you expect it to do so. Just that simple. And it turns out that so far my life has worked out beautifully, and I expect that it will continue that way.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had bruises and bumps, just like she has. The difference is that she believes the bruises and bumps will be hard, painful and difficult. Guess what? She finds the normal ups and downs of life to frequently be hard, painful and difficult.  I too have experienced pain and would not be surprised if life tosses a bit more my way from time to time. The man difference is that I absolutely, firmly believe that the pain will be lessened as time goes on and that I will learn from it, coming out a stronger and for me, this is the key, a happier person. That’s my belief and for my life up to this point, it’s always worked out just that way.

What do you believe about your life? How can you change up your belief just a little bit to make today better? Are you willing to see yourself hitting the tree at the end of your drive? I bet you can.

I encourage you to believe that you deserve success in whatever way you define success. This week I encourage you to believe that you deserve to be happy. This week I ask you to know that you live what you believe. Because my friend, you do.

Namaste,
Sandy

Meditation Musings – Changes

Guest blog by Jim Barrett – Serenity Community Member

 

We Sit.
We Sit because it is what we do.
We Sit without thought of goal or gain.
We Sit.

This is the beginning of my morning meditation and has been for longer than I can remember.

This is the Way I was taught, many years ago. Meditation is something I do because I am a meditator. It requires no other justification. I am a meditator for reasons even I don’t understand. I know only that it is a part of me. It is what I do.

However, while this attitude is wonderful and embraces meditation as a pure practice, the fact of the matter is that my Way is not the only Way and many people would like to have a reason, a goal if you will, for doing something on a daily basis. Even if the reason for Sitting is simply to enrich the spiritual aspect of one’s life, many people feel that if they invest several hours a week in a practice they should get something more out of it.

And, yes, even as I speak the words, I understand that if I have no other purpose my meditation completes me and that is a goal and/or gain.

So, let us move from the ideal to the practical.

True meditation, on a regular basis, often brings insight, patience, and balance to one’s life. Just sitting quietly in the Now can cause one to see and feel things in ways that most non-introspective people don’t understand.

When we have made that connection between our conscious and sub-conscious mind by using meditation there are many places we can go and things we can do with this connection.

After the phrases mentioned above my meditation turns to my affirmations, those things I wish to emphasize in my daily life. Experience has taught me that affirmations should typically be short and positive in their wording:

“I live a life of kindness and compassion.”
“I recognize and accept that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering.”
“I enjoy making healthy choices.”

Affirmations of this nature can remind you of what you want your life to look like and when you start or end your day with these positive statements they often stay with you as you move out of the zendo and into your world.

When someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of reacting with anger and outrage, your remembrance of the fact that you live a life of kindness and compassion is an antidote for the negative emotions you might otherwise feel.

When faced with the unexplained actions of someone close to you, remembering that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering might help you in your search for the true context of the actions that puzzle you.

If, when ordering food in a restaurant, you are reminded that you enjoy making healthy choices, it becomes easy to order a salad rather than a burger. It’s been my experience that if I’m going to argue with myself about such a choice I might just as well make a good choice, and even if I choose the burger I’m doing it mindfully and the next time I will most likely make a good choice simply because I’m aware of what I’m doing and know that making healthy choices is better for me.

And so, after a while, the affirmations become a part of you.

You don’t have to try to live a life of kindness and compassion, it just happens. And when you engage in thoughts or activities that don’t reflect this pattern you recognize it and realize that you are acting in a manner that is not normal for you. This often leads one to contemplate, perhaps in the next meditation session, why you reacted in such a manner and, when coupled with the gentle persistence we use in meditation, could allow you to identify a larger issue or situation that might need to be dealt with.

There are many sources for meditations that use a variety of affirmations. The easiest is your own mind. Decide what your affirmations will be and recite them to yourself on a daily basis during your meditation. If your desired affirmations are common you might be able to find a generic meditation recording that will allow you to absorb them as you listen. If your affirmations are unique to you or your situation you might wish to find someone who can make a recording that is tailored to your specific needs.

When I craft a custom meditation for a client I always start with an interview, either in person, by phone, or via email. Questions are asked in order to understand what the client wishes to accomplish with their meditation. I am also searching for phrases, attitudes or experiences that will help me craft the message in a way that makes the most positive connection possible. I explore when and how the client meditates, including what they are usually doing both before and after Sitting.

Once this interview is completed I create a recording that is specific to the information gathered. A custom meditation typically has three components: the affirmations, background sounds, and brain entrainment beats.

Affirmations have been discussed and often the client provides some or all of the affirmations, they need only be tweaked to place them in a short, positive manner. While affirmations can be made sub-audible, or subliminal, recordings provided by my label, Indigo Sangha, usually have audible vocals

Background sounds, usually nature or environmental sounds, are crafted to help the listener relax and connect with themselves in a comfortable manner.

Brain entrainment beats are designed to help the meditator move into a receptive frame of mind, usually leading them to a mental state that helps make the connection between the conscious and subconscious mind. If one meditates in the morning, after hearing the affirmations, the mind might then be led to an active, engaged state. If meditation is done at night, before bedtime, the mind might be led, instead, to a sleep or pre-sleep state. Entrainment beats can be audible or sub-audible and their construction is determined by information gathered in the initial interview.

It should be noted that this process only suggests to the brain that it go into these states. It is still necessary that one be receptive to the entrainment and a proper time and place should be provided. Entrainment beat recordings should never be listened to while driving a car or operating machinery.

Whether one uses generic or custom meditation recordings the technology should always be seen as an aid to our Way and not a substitute for proper practice or contemplation. Even with the use of this remarkable technology one should still remember that the process of being mindfully in the Now is what separates meditation from all other activities.

Namaste,
Jim – Serenity Community Member

Hypnosis – Will It Make You Quack Like A Duck?

I’ve always been fascinated with hypnosis. I suspect too much time watching old B movies when I was a kid gave me some interesting though way off the mark ideas.

As years went by I learned bits here and there about hypnosis. I learned that hypnotherapy was a valuable and very real option to help one improve their life. Everything from weight loss to stress management. But I still had some thoughts and ideas about hypnosis that were very inaccurate. Maybe fun to think about but not even close to reality.

Wanna quack like a duck? That’s the first thing I wanted to ask anyone who questioned me about hypnosis when I began learning about it. Of course, the actual fact is that I can’t make anyone quack like a duck, sing like Sinatra or play football like Favre unless it’s something that they want to do already. Hmmm…perhaps I should make that just a bit clearer. If deep down you are willing and would like to quack like a duck then you will do your best rendition of quacking when asked to do so under hypnosis. Will you sound just like Donald Duck or a mallard? Probably not, but you would quack away to the best of your ability. Again, only if it is something that you choose to do.

That’s a pretty important fact. Here are a few other pertinent and often misunderstood facts about hypnosis or hypnotherapy.

* Anyone with a normal mind can be hypnotized. So much for the theory that ‘my mind is too strong to be hypnotized’. That simply isn’t true. In fact, anyone who is able to follow simple directions and focus their mind for a short period of time is capable of being hypnotized.

* We go easily into hypnosis all the time. Did you ever arrive at a destination while driving and not remember some or all of the route? You were most likely involved in highway hypnosis. You were intently focused and simply chose not to notice outside events. In the event of an emergency, you would have reacted accordingly, someone pulling in front of you or stopping suddenly. It is a light trance.

* You cannot be hypnotized against your will. This one is a very big deal to me. After all, I don’t want anyone putting me into a trance if I choose otherwise. You are fully capable of resisting and simply not going into trance if that is your preference.

* A hypnotist cannot, simply cannot, let me repeat that one more time just for the sake of clarity, can not make you do something that is against your will. For instance, if you do not want to rob a bank, if that is not something that you would choose to do, perhaps you are morally or ethically opposed to this suggestion, then rest assured this is not a suggestion that any hypnotherapist can give you that will work. Just not the way our brains work, hypnosis or not. And may I say I am very grateful for that!

Learning about hypnotism, and working with clients using hypnosis has been wonderful for me and I hope for them as well. Each time I work with a client using hypnotherapy I am amazed one more time at how hypnosis can help us to make our world a happier place.

Being hypnotized feels great. Not much different than the way I feel right now typing this blog. There are several levels of trance, but I want to assure you, that you are always able to come out of hypnosis any time that you choose. You can’t get ‘stuck’ in hypnosis. Another fact that made me very happy. For instance, if you were to be under hypnosis, or in trance and your hypnotherapist walked out of the room and simply didn’t come back, you would have nothing to worry about. You would either gently fall asleep and take a nap or you would easily come out of the trance and be able to simply go about your business.

Needless to say, I will have lots more to say about this topic in the future. I have recently added hypnosis as one of the services available in my business, Serenity. It’s truly my pleasure to use hypnosis as one more valuable tool to work with clients to achieve their very best life.

So, no worries. When we work together with hypnotherapy, you don’t need to be concerned. You will not leave the session quacking like a duck. Unless of course you really want to quack like a duck. Let’s talk.

Namaste,
Sandy

Meditation Musing – When is Meditation?

Guest blog by Jim Barrett – Serenity Community member

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 parishioner 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 – Serenity Community Member

Meditation Musing – Posture

Guest blog by Jim Barrett – Serenity Community Member

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 – Serenity Community Member

Crossing Guard, Life Coach

The other day I was on my way to work, a short jaunt from Milwaukee to New Berlin. For some reason, I took a slightly different route than was typical for me. I’m so glad that I did.

As I approached the middle school I noticed that the crossing guard that is usually there was in fact not there today. Instead, there was a man I had never seen before. I swear this man simply exuded happiness and joy. It was in his entire being, his simple presence almost shouted in a most cheerful way ‘Happy, Joy, Fun’. Interesting. He wasn’t doing anything all that different than what many crossing guards do; it was the look on his face I think that made the difference.

This gentleman was using both arms to wave to folks driving by. Not in a frenzied, lunatic way that you might imagine as I say he was waving with both arms. Nope, he was simply sending a smile and a greeting to everyone. This man was offering his love to each and every person who happened to be lucky enough to pass him by.

As a life coach, I encourage each person I work with to think thoughts that make them happy, to offer a smile even when they don’t quite feel like it. I ask my life coaching clients to make a deliberate effort to offer peace to the world through their body language, their words, and their energy. This man had all of this down pat and it made my day better to simply see him.

Such a simply wonderful gift. You and I can offer this gift to others as we go through our day as well. It makes a powerful difference to the way I feel if I muster a small smile when I’m feeling glum. I feel just a tad bit better. Hmmm, that’s worth taking a step further. It turns out that offering a smile and a kind word feels even better to me and when I receive a kind word and smile from someone else I remember it for hours and hours. These are such simple, small steps. Practically no effort at all! But it feels so very good.

When I offer a smile and a kind word, I feel better and so does the person I shared with. The life coach in me says that it’s very important to keep this lovely energy going, keep spreading it around. I like to encourage my life coaching clients and even many of my Reiki clients to do a bit of homework. I ask them to make it a point to catch themselves when they want to offer a word that is less than kind when they begin to think a negative thought or get irritated at something that is happening in their world. At that moment, I ask them to make a deliberate offering of peace and love to the situation or people involved. If they can’t quite muster love, I ask them to offer peace and calm. This homework is to continue for a full week.

When we chat about this deliberate offering of peace,  I hear how the clients became more and more aware of their thoughts. As the week went on they more easily noticed their tone of voice, how they held their body and they became very aware of the words they were speaking. This awareness led them to make deliberate choices. They began to ask themselves if offering the words they were going to say would help or hinder the situation and then spoke accordingly. My coaching clients tell me that they find themselves less stressed, feeling better and being more patient with others. Nice, very nice.

All of this is what this wonderful crossing guard does for me each time I see him. He puts me in mind of the cheerful flowers that bloom in my yard. I now find myself deliberately taking that route so that I have the opportunity to share a cheerful smile and a wave in the morning. It feels pretty darned good. This wonderful man is acting as a life coach and I very much appreciate the continuing lesson. Thank you, sir.

Namaste,
Sandy

In Reiki the Only Absolute is No Absolutes

The first time I experienced Reiki it changed my life. Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? Well, for me it was just that. I had been experiencing severe shoulder pain for quite some time.

I vividly remember being on that Reiki table and as the hour neared ending I was getting very concerned, actually, I was preparing to be angry. You see, at that time lying still for a period of time usually ended with me being in quite a lot of pain. I had gone through two shoulder surgeries which resulted in my shoulder operating properly but left me with chronic pain. Visits to my doctor had led me to believe that I would simply need to live with this pain, nothing else could be done.

The pain was not all that had led me to seek Reiki. At the time I was experiencing stress from several fronts and really was not being successful in releasing that stress on my own. My son Jeff advised, implored, nagged and generally badgered me to try Reiki as it had helped him with stress. Finally, I caved and went to check this out for myself. And if I admit the truth, I wanted to have a reason to ask Jeff to be quiet.

During our pre-session chat, I asked questions, I wanted to know just what Reiki was going to do for me. The practitioner that I was visiting was very patient. She explained that Reiki is Universal Life Force Energy and that it would assist me to release negativity which no longer served my highest good. She went on to explain that this would assist me to heal on whatever level I was ready. Despite my many questions, or more accurately I might say that despite my badgering her to tell me precisely what to expect, she simply smiled and told me that my experience would be unique for me. She could not and would not tell me absolutely what to expect. Okay, I decided to give it a whirl.

That first experience was unlike anything I had ever encountered. As I relaxed, my mind quieted, bit by bit. I felt myself becoming calmer and I thoroughly enjoyed the downtime. However, as I said above, as the session neared its end I found myself becoming a bit nervous about the pain I knew I would experience when I got off the table. The shoulder pain I continually experienced was worse when I was still for an extended period of time. I fully expected to be in quite a lot of pain when I got up from the table. Imagine my surprise when instead of being in pain, I felt better than I had in quite some time. What happened? What was this Reiki that I could feel so much better? Had Reiki achieved this miracle? Would Reiki accomplish this calming effect each time I went for a session?

So many questions filled my mind and I asked each and every one of them after this first session. What the Reiki Master who was my practitioner told me, quietly and gently was that Reiki had allowed me to calm and relax and I was healing to the extent that I was ready. While I accepted that response, it didn’t feel concrete enough for me. So I persisted. I began reading books, visiting websites and questioning anyone and everyone I knew who either offered Reiki or had gone for sessions.

Eventually, I came to accept what I had been told after my first experience. No matter what the level of the Reiki practitioner, from Reiki level one to Reiki master, the Reiki which flows is offered to the recipient by the practitioner, but the level of healing is up to the recipient. There are absolutely no absolutes when discussing Reiki.

There have been times when I have been profoundly moved while receiving Reiki, tears of emotional release have flowed. Other times I have wanted to giggle I have felt such joy. Deep relaxation is not unusual, nor is it an odd event for my mind to flit from one topic to another. The only constant is that I now know, Reiki is flowing from practitioner to recipient and it is entirely up to the recipient to use in the manner which serves their highest good.

Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Reiki works on all levels, but it’s not for me to say to what degree at any given time. The intelligent energy of Reiki works on the level which we are prepared to accept. I find it exciting and reassuring that I do not know just what will happen. For me the trust is everything.

I know that Reiki only works for the highest good. I know that Reiki works on the level that the recipient is ready to accept. I know that Reiki is complementary with all medical treatments, that it can never do harm. What will that look like to me or to you? I can’t say for sure. That’s why once again I offer when working with Reiki, there are absolutely no absolutes.

I encourage you to experience Reiki for yourself. The experience may simply offer you an opportunity to relax and recharge…or it may change your life.

Namaste,
Sandy

Meditation Musing – Rhythms

Guest blog by Jim Barrett – Serenity Community Member

Some form of meditation is practiced by many cultures and different cultures have developed many different ways to help its practitioners archive the desired mental state. A very common form of assistance is one that enhances the mental rhythms of meditation.

While it is unlikely that early Shamans and Holy people knew much about brainwave frequencies and functions, they early on recognized that certain beats and rhythms seemed to affect them profoundly. The easiest method of providing these beats and rhythms was with a drum and indeed, some form of drum or similar percussion instrument is found in most cultures. Meditators today have many options and technologies to help them get to that place we go when we Sit and the process of entrainment is one of them.

Entrainment is the method of using sound frequencies to lead our brain to a particular mental state by providing it with the frequencies that it will give off when in the desired state. As an example, the brains of many meditators begin to generate alpha waves when they reach a deep meditative state. These waves are timed at about 8 to 12 cycles per second. Alpha state entrainment will provide the brain with sounds in the 8-12 cycles per second rate with the goal of leading the brain into that state in which it will begin to generate brainwaves in the same range. When successful, the brain is led into that deep meditative state one is striving for.

The problem is that most brainwave frequencies are below the typical human hearing threshold, particularly of adults whose threshold usually gets higher and higher with age. Getting our brains to hear these rhythms requires more than just beating on a drum.

There is a process in the science of sound that shows us that if we mix two tones together we will produce the two individual tones, the sum of the two tones and the difference between the two tones. For our purposes, if we hear a 200 cycle tone in our left ear and a 210 cycle tone in our right ear, our brain will be able to perceive the 10 cycle difference harmonic and react accordingly. The 200 and 210 cycle tones are very audible to our ears and the 10 cycle tone is in the middle of the alpha band and may lead the brain into a deep meditative state. Since the desired sounds are below our hearing range they are often called sub-audible tones (not to be confused with subliminal messages, which may be covered in a future blog). We could also have two drums, at two different beat rates, providing our ancient Shamans with the same results.

When sleeping, the brain generally settles into delta wave activity which is in the 1 to 4 cycle per second range. By the methods discussed above, we can provide the brain with delta waves and often encourage the brain to fall asleep. Theta waves, about 4-8 cycles per second seem to lead to deeper sleep, and when sustained while awake cause a deep meditative state that is often very creative and intuitive.

Many recordings that use entrainment recommend the use of headphones for experiencing the full effect of the technology. It is important to note that if the recording was created specifically for use with headphones listening to it without headphones can be disorienting and perhaps confusing.

I have used many different entrainment recordings but my favorites are generally from Brain Sync (www.brainsync.com), created by Kelly Howell. With a wide variety of titles to choose from and free downloads to try, I have always found them to provide good quality recordings that work for me. This Serenity link; will lead you to some of those recordings we like the most.

Namaste,
Jim – Serenity Community Member