Thursday, January 12, 2012

You don't have to Shut Your Mind off to Meditate- Learn 3 simple tools to help your meditation practice

Having one point of focus is the fundamental necessity to still the mind. The "monkey" mind as it is often referred to in the Buddhist and eastern philosophical circles, is just as the label implies, jumpy and erratic.

It will jump from idea to thought to belief, just as our ape friends hang from branch to branch in the jungle. Mind activity is infinite, and that is the very nature of our mind. So I am not suggesting that we need to change it so much so our reaction to it.

Allow the mind to do its thing. But notice the thoughts, and try to observe them rather than become engaged to them in a manner that pulls you out of conscious awareness.

This takes practice and a willingness to believe in your process.

It won't happen overnight. Your mind is so gifted at throwing at you all kinds of thoughts that then become scenarios, that then become almost entire story lines. We get so pulled into the story, that we lose our connection to the awareness lying beneath the automatic thought patterns. This is what is called delusion, or total identification with the Ego mind.

So "Core Connection" brings us to awaken from this delusion and realize we are not our thoughts, or what the mind would like to make us believe we are. We are the essence that observes that mind doing the monkey thing.

That is the key.

Confused a little? This may sound very abstract, so really the only way to truly experience this practice is to practice.

How do we "Core Connect"?

To simplify things (at least for those of you who are beginning meditation and just discovering you are on a spiritual path), begin with the following 3 key practices and begin finding stillness and some relief from your mind matters.

1) Stop and get still:

It is really plain and simple. You need to make time, even 5 minutes in the beginning is a great start. You need to stop your physical body, and sit preferably crossed legged on a pillow or chair. We are a society of multi tasking addicts, and that encourages us to never truly be focused and still. So shut off the cell, the computer, and stop moving and DOING. You are thus learning the art of BEING.

2) Choose the breath as your FOCUS:
So just because you sat your arse down, doesn't mean the mind will follow and stop. Actually, it may appear to be even more active, only because you aren't moving and distracting yourself with a hundred other things. So the answer is to choose a FOCUS. One solitary thing to feel and experience. The breath is most effective focal point you can choose.

3) The quality of the breath:
So what do I mean by focusing on the breath? I give entire workshops on this specific tool or process. For now just choose one QUALITY of the breath to focus on. So you may want to feel the temperature of the inhale and how it differs from the exhale. You may want to just feel the expansion of every inhalation and the opposite sensation of the contraction of the exhalation. Or simply listening to the breath.

As you practice you develop more steadiness and can incorporate other ways. Such as inhaling a feeling, such as gratitude and then exhaling joy back to the space. This is a type of Shambhala inspired technique I learned . Just choose something you feel comfortable with.

The goal is not to stop thinking.

To get "somewhere" or get "good at meditating". That is all ego crap. The goal is simply to be present and aware of what your mind is doing, BUT without getting pulled into it and lost in the charge of the thoughts your mind will put forth.

Watch, observe, and watch some more. Be still and present for yourself. That is meditation in a nutshell.

Questions? Ask away!

For now happy sitting,



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