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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/18/2021 in all areas

  1. Now, I realized that I need to maintain work life balance. I am planning accordingly and enjoying life now.
    2 points
  2. What did you think of these 100 Days of Mindfulness? How did it go for you? What did you like best? Least? Yes, I had completed the 100days of mindfulness practices. I feel good about it and I think mediation really support a lot when I in my emotion and it really help me calm down and being aware on myself. I think the best is I did it everyday and even I feel my resistance but I still complete it.
    2 points
  3. Today I want to talk about meditation. This is an interesting topic and at the same time, it is also a mysterious topic. This is because human beings have been meditating for at least thousands of years. And during these thousands of years, there were countless people and organizations have given meditation so many different definitions, explanations, and meanings. But most of these observations and understandings were from philosophical and/or religious views which added mysteries, here and there, more or less. Now, let’s try to look at meditation from a different view, the scientific view. Let’s find out what mediation is really about. Or what is the essence of meditation? This is the fundamental question, because only after we answer this question, we can answer other questions related to meditation easily. For example, why are there so many different meditation techniques? Do they have anything in common? What meditation technique is the best? What is the benefit of meditation? And why is that? Before we explore these questions, let’s answer the first question first – “What is meditation?”. Most people have two states in their daily life, either awake or asleep. In fact, there is a third state between the two, that is to keep the mind awake but let the body fall asleep. And this is exactly what meditation achieves. This is also the essence of meditation. In other words, mediation is sleep; it is awake sleep; it is sleep with consciousness. With this in mind, it is not difficult to understand that all those fantastical sensations that arise during meditation are just due to the changes in our body after falling asleep. Although those physical changes in our body occur every night, we never notice them because we lose consciousness during sleep, and thus miss one wonderful moment after another. Now let’s try to prove this special relationship between sleep and meditation. We know that our heart rate and respiration rate will drop significantly during sleep. Although this is exactly what happens during meditation as well, it is not good enough to prove that meditation is same as sleep. So, let’s look at what else happens to our body after we fall asleep. First, our body activates a protective mechanism that gives paralysis commands to the skeletal muscles of the joints, stopping the muscles of the limbs from functioning. This prevents us from harming ourselves and others while we are dreaming. And that is why in our dreams we always feel weak and cannot run fast when chased by enemies. In addition, some people suffer from a condition called sleep paralysis. This occurs when the body is still in an “off” state after the mind wakes up. This is also known as the “the ghost pushes you down” in some cultures. From this we can see, in normal situation, our mind and body fall asleep at the same time and wake up at the same time. But in some special situations, they can be asynchronized. And when this happens, if we cannot get out of that asynchronized state and get back into that synchronized state quickly, it is considered as a disease. On the other hand, through some practice, we train ourselves to not only get into the asynchronized state easily, but also get back to the synchronized state at any time we wish, and that is called meditation. After months of meditation practice, you may gradually feel the limbs become heavier and stiffer, as if “paralyzed”. This indicates that you have succeeded in keeping the mind awake and letting the body fall asleep. However, many people do not know how they have done this even if they are able to do so. It will be easy to understand if you ever used a smartwatch to monitor your sleep. Smartwatches can tell exactly when we fall asleep and when we wake up. This is because they are equipped with a motion sensor that can detect if there is any wrist movement. If they do not detect any wrist movement for a certain period of time, they know we are sleeping. Similarly, our body has built-in ‘motion sensors’ as well. When we sit and meditate, we keep our body still. If we practice long enough, it will eventually trick the body to fall asleep when no muscle movement is detected by those ‘motion sensors’. And consequently, the protection mechanism mentioned earlier will be triggered and the paralysis commands will be sent to the skeletal muscles even when our mind is still awake. From here we can see clearly why keeping the body still is the first important thing in meditation practice. This is also why the lotus sitting position is better than the half lotus position, and the half lotus position is better than the easy pose; It is because the full lotus is the most stable, and the easy pose is the least stable. However, for those who can only sit in easy pose, you can insert 2 small sponge blocks between the feet and the legs to improve the stability of the legs significantly. As sleep deepens, all the muscles in our body become more and more relaxed, until they finally reach a state of complete relaxation. The feeling of this full-body relaxation is way better than any masseuse can give you, but the bad news is that we lose consciousness in our sleep and cannot experience what it really feels like. Fortunately, Dr. Edmund Jacobson, an American physician, has developed a method that allows us to experience muscle relaxation even when we are awake. This method is called Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR. For example, hold your fists tightly for 7 to 10 seconds, then release them quickly; You will feel a numb, vibrating sensation in your hands. This is the sensation of hand muscle relaxation. In addition to hand muscles, Dr. Jacobson has also invented a series of muscle movements of tensing and relaxing that make people experience muscle relaxation on each part of our body. Although this method is awesome, it only allows us to experience the relaxation of one or two muscle groups at a time. If you want to experience full body relaxation, you have to use meditation. Also, by using this method, we can only experience muscle relaxation for a very short period of time, usually less than 30 seconds. But meditation can let us experience muscle relaxation for a much longer time. In fact, with enough practice, eventually you may be able to stay in that relaxation state as long as you like. Another disadvantage of this method is that it can only let you experience relaxation of skeletal muscles. But beside skeletal muscles, human beings also have smooth muscles and heart muscles. If you want to experience the relaxation of all these muscles spontaneously, the only way we can accomplish that is through meditation. After more and more meditation practice, you may occasionally experience numbness and vibration in your body here and there, just like a current flowing through. If you continue practicing, one day you will feel the amazing full body vibration from head to toe; This indicates that you have achieved the full body relaxation with all the muscles relaxed completely. This feeling is really good, but even better, while your body relaxes, your mind is also relaxed and temporarily freed from all kinds of anxiety, big and small. In Dr. Jacobson’s own words, it is “an anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body”. And this is why he invented this PMR method in the first place. This way of relieving anxiety by relaxing the body sounds interesting and works really well, but scientists aren’t stopping there. Some valid questions are – do body tension and mind anxiety happen at the same time? Or does one cause the other? Recent research has shown that anxiety is not directly generated in the brain, it is actually caused by physical stress in our body. In other words, when something outside happens, it is our body that reacts to it first, and the emotions that follow are caused by the physical changes in our body. For example, when resolving anxiety, the mainstream approach is talk therapy, rational thinking, and deep breathing. Dr. Elizabeth Stanley, author of Widen the Window: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover from Trauma, disagrees. Dr. Stanley states in her book that “people’s anxiety comes from the body, not the brain. Those practices don’t work until you get your body back to normal”. To understand why our body react to the outside world first, we need to bring up a new concept called neuroception. It is a neural process that enables humans and other mammals to engage in social behaviors by distinguishing safe from dangerous contexts. It is an unconscious process, and it happens much faster than any conscious process can do. When danger is spotted, it sends an instantaneous stress arousal message to our body by turning on the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in the release of specific hormones that lead to certain physical sensations related to our heart, breathing, and digestion. In fact, as early as two thousand years ago in India, people recognized this and utilized it to practice “wisdom” in meditation. Specifically, it is to observe the physical sensations of the body with equanimity. And the so-called equanimity is that all sensations should be treated equally regardless of good or bad, hot or cold, pain or itch, etc. In other words, people should not produce a distinction between likes and dislikes in their mind for any sensations in the body. Through such practice, the mind will always remain in a state of calm and harmony, and eventually one may attain liberation from all misery. Obviously, the “wisdom” here is not intelligence and knowledge. Modern people have much higher IQ and much more knowledge than ever before, but our anxiety and misery has not decreased a bit. In contrast, it may have increased a lot due to the increased complexity of human society. Scientists and physicians have found many ways to address this issue, but the simplest and the most natural way is just to sit still, to let the body fall asleep while keeping the mind awake. It will not only relax your body, but most importantly, relax your mind at the same time. May each of us have the wisdom of the ancient sages, cultivate ourselves in awake sleep, be free from anxiety and misery, live peacefully and happily forever.
    1 point
  4. Hi, I am new to this platform, and I am excited to meet likeminded individuals and learn a new skill for healing. I am a massage therapist and I desire to help diminish health disparities in my community by engaging people in free massage amd wellness education events
    1 point
  5. Day 3 I resolved start to share my journey through this challenge today, after don't be able to do day 3 yesterday. I hope that share here will be a good motivation to stay practicing mindfulness everyday. Journaling Prompts: 1. What I want from this 100-day challenge is creat a habit that I know that will help me with my mental health and also to be a better person. And because I know that I am capable to have consistency if I try really hard. 2. Some obstacles to me practicing everyday could be the procrastination and the noise enviorioment that I live. I have some dificult to find a hour that is more easy to meditate, what turn complicated to create a rotine. It's that for today.
    1 point
  6. Hey everybody, new time poster here. I love the content. I've been suffering from depression and anxiety for the last 10 years. This has severely hampered my ability to hold a job long-term. Recently, I've been getting into fitness and I was thinking that personal training could be a cool career for me to start. I was wondering if any of you guys have experience. Exercise has definitely been one of the most therapeutic things for helping my anxiety and depression. I would love to pass on that knowledge and joy to the rest of the world. Personal training might be a good vessel to do that. I would love any help from you guys regarding this topic. What personal training certifications did you get? Did it help you guys with your mental health problems? I'm excited to get started. Thanks!
    1 point
  7. Wonderful reflections! Thanks for sharing again. I have had a similar experience with nature, once coming to realize that prior to a few years ago, I never really played close attention to the signs of spring - to buds slowly forming on tree branches, to birds awakening.
    1 point
  8. What impact did stopping and practicing a minute of silence have on your next activity? its very simple excercise ...like a revision to the previous class session ..just bringing back the awareness to the current moment when mind wanders ..kind of refreshment to the next activity..Actually to be frank , i felt asleep after completing my previous body scan excercise ..then i started this simply stopping ..i felt like a refreshment to the next activity for the evening. wonderful experience !!!
    1 point
  9. Day 4 Today I was with pain and my focus was more dispersed. Reflection Question: Was there anything that surprised you on your walk? Oh, yes. I was walking in my yard and saw a lot of little animals, like a big spider between plants. The souns that I heard surprised me as well, how can have so many animals and life in my yard? Why I never payed atention to that? What impact might taking an open awareness approach have on your work? Well, my job is basically to listen and really understand what the other person is talking about. So I think the open awareness can help me be more aware of non-verbal communication, and at the same time, not get lost in my thoughts.
    1 point
  10. Hi everyone! I've recently learned that there is an upcoming Mindfulness Exercises Podcast in the works. The team is curious: What mindfulness-related topics are you interested in learning more about? What would you hope to gain or learn through listening to a podcast dedicated to mindfulness? Share any thoughts with us here and I'll make sure to pass them on. With gratitude, Gillian
    1 point
  11. I will take your technique just pause and watch the breath!!! to follow further to destress. do you follow deep breath or you follow the natural rhythm? As we have seen taking few deep breaths also relax our mind ..which one to follow? this doubt arises as we are practicing many techniques to relax
    1 point
  12. Hi @Liandra BA, Thank you for sharing your reflections and I look forward to further sharings from your journey through the mindfulness challenge. Sharing your thoughts here can certainly be a way to increase commitment and personal accountability. Wishing you well, Gillian
    1 point
  13. Great question! I will pass this on. Thanks @simoneturner.
    1 point
  14. Simply stopping is one of my favourite practices for when I feel overwhelmed, stressed, or reactive. It's so helpful to just pause and watch the breath. For me, the mind settles right down and I am better able to navigate what's in front of me and to properly address my needs in that moment.
    1 point
  15. Hi guys. My name is Mncedisi Staffa from South Africa. I am new in this group and I'm also new in the meditation space. I don't know much but heard that meditation is very helpful in changing the results in your life. I am at a stage where I am not entirely happy with how things turn out in my life. I hope this journey will yield best results.
    1 point
  16. Hey! My name is James Park. I’m glad to join the group. I am relatively new to Facebook, but not to meditation! If anybody is having any trouble as it relates to meditation, please feel free to reach out! I have been meditating for about 4 years now, so I am here to help!
    1 point
  17. Would love to hear about how to infuse mindfulness exercises in regards to moving frozen tension on the body. Is that possible through mindfulness medi's?
    1 point
  18. Good Morning. Happy Sunday. The one thing most people don't know about me is that if I love something; a movie or a song, I can listen to that song or watch that multiple times throughout the day. If I love it, I'm all in!
    1 point
  19. How does stopping to take a whole body breath affect your mood or attitude? As a first time , it increases the curiosity how a body can breath!!! When doing , mind chatters like which part is breathing now ???? one thing i realised is i need to bring the awareness to breathing when the mind chatters ..that im telling myself . Overall I felt It was a wonderful experience and the kind of relaxation when i did in the morning. Exploring the ways to connect my mind and body through breath
    1 point
  20. Thank you for these reflections @C-Nicole. I can resonate with much of what you've said. The pandemic has been an opportunity for me to examine my life with greater awareness, and as such it has been a catalyst for my growth. Another reflection on what I'm grateful for based on where I am now: I am grateful for the creativity and inspiration that this time in my life holds. I do not have children and I live surrounded by nature, and so there is plenty of time for me to explore my inner terrain and to really get to know myself. The natural world - the forests and ponds and lakes and fields - is for me a gateway into the divine, into the universe, and I'm blessed to be able to really soak in that.
    1 point
  21. I am grateful for my inner wisdom. I learned years ago, that I cannot always control what goes on around me, but I can control how I think and respond. Seems odd to say, but the pandemic with all of its challenges, forced me to reexamine what joy and peace looks like. It is possible to thrive while surrounded by restrictions and limitations. I am grateful for my ability to adapt and evolve.
    1 point
  22. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this @C-Nicole.
    1 point
  23. Hey everyone, I am new to this forum and even meditating but i would love to get to know about it more from you guys.
    1 point
  24. Absolutely. By conceptualize I mean trying to figure out the experience or understand it from a mental level. Like trying to cognitively or intellectually understand the practice, as opposed to just feeling into the practice. Does that make sense?
    1 point
  25. Thanks for your reply. It sounds like your mind was trying to conceptualize the experience but that you then came back to pure awareness of the experience sorry i didnot understand this "conceptualize the experience" can you please explain further?
    1 point
  26. Hi, I have been going through major changes for the last 3 years. I have always been spiritual, but much more now.
    1 point
  27. I felt my entire body ,Heart and mind are completely relaxed
    1 point
  28. What impact does bringing your full attention to a conversation have on you or those around you? Now a days When im starting a conversation im telling myself "Do mindful listening" and im listening them fully and gives a satisfaction.Before that conversation goes and mind chatters side by side ..That awareness came to me when ever im conversing through practice..Trying my activities mindfully
    1 point
  29. Hi, I'm Lisa. I started this part of my journey 3 years ago after major unexpected changes in my life. WHat a wonderful path to be walking with you all.
    1 point
  30. To be balanced for me is when I am in the flow of my daily life. I practice graditute meditation before beginning my day. I reflect on the day ahead so that I can respond accordingly. Doing so helps me remain grounded. Compared to my younger career days, this approach is quite different. Unless there is an emergency, I am no longer leaping out the bed rushing about only to be completely drained by the end of the work week. Living this way I am better able to sustain harmony in my work/life balance.
    1 point
  31. Congratulations Eve for your accomplishment !!! Whether u know meditation before this 100 days or u were new ?? Out of the 100 days which one did you face difficulty and how did u overcome that ? and the one which you enjoyed ? can you please share your experience ?
    1 point
  32. FYI - This article is to let people look at meditation from a different angle, scientifically, instead of philosophically and religiously. It has been submitted to the Meditation magazine and it has been accepted. Will post a link once it is published officially. Thanks! Weishan
    1 point
  33. I am 21 years old guy from Turkey. I want to live meaningful and altruistic life. I think sometimes I struggle so I want to communicate with others, because it helps. Actually I searched for forums which will help me to overcome my struggles when I try to be best person I can. Sometimes I can be very anxious but talking with others helps me.
    1 point
  34. Hello, my name is Maria Porter and I was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and complete graduation from medical University. Now my residency is at Bethlehem. I have 7 years of working experience as Psychotherapist in behavioral health services clinic in Pennsylvania. My expertise in to assess the patient and tell them about his mental health condition because I belief there is always a way to recovered from problem.
    1 point
  35. Hi Maria, Welcome to our community! Thanks for sharing a bit about your background. I look forward to learning more from you. Feel free to post questions, reflections, or comments anywhere in the forum that calls out to you. With gratitude, Gillian
    1 point
  36. Hello everyone, my name is Thomas. I have been using mindfulness techniques for a while now, mostly to control 'weight of the world' type suffering. I have taken courses in Buddhism, Mindfulness, CBT, and Holistic Health, which I have enjoyed thoroughly. It has been an interesting journey of following my own intuition and insights, and recognizing when my ego was elevated. I am currently taking a course to become a certified Life and Health Coach. I will be approaching this new endeavor from a Holistic Health perspective and want to utilize Mindfulness and Meditation into my coaching. The Universe has led me here, so I accept this direction and am excited to be a part of this community.
    1 point
  37. 1. What I noticed from this week’s practice was… Mindfulness breathing and awareness of the body 2. Things that will help me stay focused on my practice next week are… Awareness about the breathing and the body will help me to stay focused
    1 point
  38. Hi Abby, First of all, there's no competition here, thoughts included, i.e. no Winning or Losing here; whatever your feelings are, positive, negative, or even neutral; they just are. Is it easy, no, yet anything worthwhile is worth struggling for. Here's my suggestion: Start with an Intention & pick a Meditation theme personal for you & Meditate on that; remember, there is no goal or mission to achieve or to remove thoughts or feelings, just be present with whatever is befronting you. And always remember here, YANA-You are not alone:) as the Meditation, "Just Like Me" says....I, too have struggles, rambling thoughts, worries, etc. So in essence, you are, "Just Like Me". Also, I learnt a long time ago in another program, that to rationalize, is to tell yourself, rational Lies. Sounds a bit toughlove-ish; food for thought. And before you end your Meditation, try offering yourself some Loving-Kindness, ok? Have you given any thought to Gillian's suggestions to you from another post? Amy, May You Be Well/May You Be Free from Suffering/May You Be Healthy/May You Be Happy/May You Live with Ease.
    1 point
  39. It took patience to focus, but once i was their i truly felt in a strange way, both calm and energized. My mindset is now, focus on the little things.
    1 point
  40. I wanted to be a marine biologist growing up. As a young adult, I yearned to live on a sailboat. Now, as a middle aged adult, I live on an island. It’s the best case scenario of all intentions.
    1 point
  41. I am truly honored to be here and look forward to learning from every member. I am in the process of pivoting my consulting business to focus on mindfulness in leadership. I’ve been meditating for 10 years and recently had a transitional life experience that has prompted me to dive deeper into the area of mindfulness. Thank you for welcoming me into this community.
    1 point
  42. Hello everyone, My name is Tracy Lynn, I am very new here & I saw this post & wanted to introduce myself just a bit. In regards to some of the questions listed there were a few I want to share with you & a few other "about me" items as well. What did your childhood self yearn to be when he/she/they grew up? When I was growing up as I aged I had a variety of different careers I wanted to have, from veterinarian to music teacher. Though as I grew & went along my journey, including my own healing I discovered my true passion was to simply help others in any form I could which has now translated into me utilizing my intuitive & healing gifts as an Energy Healer & Healing Touch Practitioner. What was your biggest mistake turned lesson? Lessons, wow I have truly had so many, but I can say now that I do not view any of the situations as "mistakes" as I have come to accept them for everything they have taught me & made me who I am today. One thing others however may view was a "mistake" I made was I got pregnant prior to being married (my first year of college) & eventually dropped out of college & married my daughter's father. Going through that relationship I lost a lot of who I am & it was very negative. Through that however I was able to learn so much about how to speak my truth & create my own boundaries. After 12/13 years of marriage we did get divorced & I am now because of that relationship in a very strong relationship with a strong foundation & with someone who not only allows me to speak my truth but encourages it! This relationship has given me so much, but most importantly it is allowing me to heal generational traumas of constantly holding back who we are & is giving my daughter the views that she can live in her truth always as there will be someone who loves here & supports her that will also NEVER dull her light. What unique quirks do you have? "Quirks" are definetly something I have, most of the unique abilities I have are part of my healing practice, I actually as I stated am an intuitive which means I am blessed with the ability to sense other's energy & even hear/feel different things that I can work with to help others on their journey. I guess a "normal" thing about me is that I now have a blended family, in the family we have a total of 4 kids & they range in age from 16 to 8, my husband is going back to school to be a nurse, is a veteran of the United States Air Force, & I now own HT Energy Work which is my healing practice where I walk others through the healing needed to achieve their highest self. I am absolutely blessed to have learned to speak my truth & fully embrace who I am which I now use as a road map/survival guide to help others, especially my children to heal & learn to live mindful & lives that are filled with joy, love, & peace. Thank you for reading about me! I am so excited to be here, have a blessed & amazing day. Vibrate Higher in Love & Light, Tracy Lynn, Healing Tough Practitioner/Energy Healer htenergywork.com
    1 point
  43. Hey, my name is Grzegorz. I come from Poland, I am Envoy gratitude and an emotional techniques trainer. It's great that I am loved with you.
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  44. Hi my name is Erin McMahon and I like watching the sun set because it is a memory of my great grandma watched with me in the past and now I will be doing that every night.
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  45. I have taught in business settings. Usually to people with high pressure jobs and a lot on their plate. I have focused on teaching them that Mindful singletasking is actually much more efficient than "multitasking" which is really just task switching. I also put a lot of emphasis on making sure that all of the Doing that has to happen throughout the day is Mindfully rooted in Being.
    1 point

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    • Guest Laura
      I mostly feel gratitude then envy. I feel gratitude for the air I breathe, peaceful, quietness life. Waking up in the morning and seeing my children.
    • FYI - This article was published by the Meditation Magazine and you can find it here, https://www.meditationmag.com/meditation-science/awake-asleep  
    • FYI - If you haven't read my first article, Awake Sleep, yet, you can find it here,    
    • “Do Nothing”, or “Effortless” is a concept originated from Taoism more than two thousand years ago in China. Inspired by this concept, many Chinese people have found the true meaning of their day-to-day life, and many ancient emperors have used it as a secret weapon of ruling their countries. But what exactly is “Do Nothing”? Everyone’s interpretation might be different, but one thing in common is that very few people will literally interpret it as doing nothing. The reason for this is that, first, such an interpretation seems too superficial, and second, it is not aligned with the real life experience at all. From a very young age, we worked hard to study at schools, to find a decent job, to start a family, and to be promoted at work. All these “achievements” need a lot of effort instead of doing nothing. Thus, a well-accepted interpretation is that human behavior should obey the laws of nature, or Tao, as Laozi mentioned in his book. But is it true that nothing in this world can be done without doing anything? The answer is false, because at least one thing can be done by doing nothing, and that is meditation. On the other hand, it is most likely that the ancient sages got this counterintuitive idea from meditation and applied it to other fields like the politics and the everyday life. Before we jump into the meditation topic, let’s look at how human body works. Human body activities can be divided into two big categories. Some activities are controlled by consciousness, such as the movement of the limbs, brain thinking, and so on. The other activities do not require the control of the consciousness, such as heartbeat, breathing, and the automatic function of all the internal organs. In fact, the so-called automatic function is also controlled by the brain, but only by a different part of the brain. We might as well call these two parts of the brain the “conscious brain” and the “nonconscious brain” respectively. When people are awake, the body is controlled by both the conscious brain and the nonconscious brain, but because of the domination of the conscious brain, we seem unable to perceive the existence of the nonconscious brain. This state, dominated by the conscious brain, can be called the “effort world”. After falling asleep, we lose consciousness and the body is completely taken over by the nonconscious brain. This state, dominated by the nonconscious brain, can be called the “effortless world”. Note that the “effortless” here refers to the inaction of the conscious brain, but at the same time, the nonconscious brain starts working in full capacity – dropping heart rate, lowering blood pressure, slowing down breathing, making limbs “paralyzed”, relaxing muscles, generating growth hormone, renewing skin cells, repairing immune cells, consolidating memory, etc. However, because people lose consciousness after falling asleep, we are not able to experience any of these changes during sleep. As we pointed out in the previous article, Awake Sleep, the essence of meditation is to put the body into sleep while keeping the mind awake. That is to say, the only difference between meditation and sleep is that we lose consciousness during sleep but we remain conscious in meditation. And because of this, meditation gives us the opportunity to experience the magical world of effortlessness. However, while we remain conscious, we must exclude any control of the conscious brain over the human body, because once consciousness is involved in any body activity, even a little bit, it will take us back to the world of effort immediately. One special body activity which can be controlled by both the conscious brain and the nonconscious brain is breathing. In other words, you can control how fast and how slow you are breathing. But when you don’t pay attention to it, the breathing won’t stop either. In fact, it will adjust by itself without any problem. Because of this, the ancient people treated breathing as a bridge from the “effort world” to the “effortless world” and came up with a meditation technique called “observe the breathing”. This technique works great, but for beginners, a common mistake is often made when using this technique without knowing how to observe correctly. When we are not observing our breathing, everything is going well; but once we start observing the breathing, the conscious brain will try to take over the control. It may adjust the length of breathing, it may even adjust the interval between the inhale and the exhale. This will cause more and more chaos until it reaches a point where we can’t breathe at all and have to start all over again. So what is the right way to observe? Very simple, we just need to observe our breathing from the perspective of a bystander. In other words, regardless of whether the current breathing is fast or slow, long or short, do not make any intervention with our conscious brain. We have to trust our nonconscious brain that it can take care of the breathing by itself, just like it takes care of the automatic function of other internal organs in our body. As a matter of fact, as long as the conscious brain does not interfere, everything will run perfectly under the control of the nonconscious brain alone. Another common misconception for most beginners is that meditation is to empty our mind so we should not be thinking at all during meditation. In fact, either thinking or forcing yourself not to think, is an attempt to use the conscious brain to control the mind. And the purpose of meditation is to let the conscious brain give up all the control over our body and the mind. As a result, either thinking or not thinking is the opposite way to that goal. So, should we think or not during meditation? The answer is yes and no. It sounds contradictory, but actually it is very simple to achieve. Just like observing the breathing, we need to observe our own thinking from the perspective of a bystander, so that the thoughts in our mind can come and go freely. Never try to stop any thought from coming out, and at the same time, don’t let your mind go with any of the thoughts either, just observe. In fact, as the body falls asleep more and more deeply, there will be fewer and fewer thoughts, and it will eventually reach a state where there is no thought at all. But this is the result of meditation, not the premise of meditation, so don’t get them reversed. So far we have seen at least 3 different meditation techniques. We just talked about 2 of them, “observe the breathing” and “observe the thoughts”. We also talked about “observe the body sensations” in the previous article. Beside these 3, there are many other meditation techniques as well. But if you look at them carefully, you will find out that most of them, if not all, have one thing in common which is to “observe” something. This is not a coincidence. As the matter of fact,  observing is the first step of giving up control. Let’s look at an interesting real life example and you will understand why. When parents take their young kid to the playground for the first a couple of times, they tend to follow the kid everywhere no matter the kid is on the slide or in the swing. They don’t want their kid to have any accident and this is the only way they feel everything is under their control although it is really a tiring job after some time. But when the kid becomes older and more independent, the parents will not follow the kid anymore. Instead, they will sit on the benches outside of the playground and watch the kid remotely and attentively. As you can see, this is the first step for the parents to give up the control of their kid. When the kid grows even bigger and can take care some of the matters by herself or himself, the parents will stop watching their kid constantly. Instead, they will start swiping the phone or even leaving the bench to the coffee shop nearby to get a cup of drink for themselves. At the moment, they totally give up the control of their kid and let the kid play freely and independently. And only at this time, it is the best time for both the kid and the parents because the former gets out of the bondage and the latter finds the peace. Most importantly, from the parents’ perspective, it seems like they don’t really need to do anything or make any effort to get into this win-win situation, all they need to do is to trust their kid, trust her or him that she or he can take care of herself or himself. Similarly, during meditation, we don’t need to make any effort. To be exact, we can’t make any effort because any “effort” will make us fail to cross the bridge between the “effort world” and the “effortless world”. If there’s anything we need to do during meditation, it is to keep our body still, which is also doing nothing at the end of the day. As for the observation of breathing, thinking, and even body sensations during meditation, they are just some handy tools we can utilize on the way to the “effortless world”. As we saw from the example above, they are the first steps of giving up control of our conscious brain. As we are getting closer and closer to the “effortless world”, even the “observations” themselves need to be abandoned, as they have become the last obstacles to enter the “effortless world”. Only when we put aside everything, abandon all “efforts”, and really “do nothing”, can we go beyond our familiar “effort world”, and enter the unknown “effortless world”.  And only at this point, we will transcend the limitations of the body and the mind to experience the ultimate truth. Meditation is a long journey, no hurry, no expectation, the only thing we should do and the only thing we can do is to sit still, surrender everything else to the Tao, the Dharma, the God, … whatever you call it. 
    • Hello all, Thinking about what makes me the person I am to introduce myself, the first topic that I want to tell you all, is my passion. I like to move, to move on. As well physical, with my mind and my dream. I’d like to call me as a runner, a cyclist, try to swim from time to time, try to move focused and within my abilities. I am a mother of one sun, whom I ve released as a grownup adult. My thoughts sometimes takes the overhand in a not so polite and nice way. I’d like to be outdoors, life in an quite neighbourhood, next to nature or even within nature. I practise mindfulness for quite some years, with ups and downs. Trying to make it as practical as possible in my Day to Day life (also in Running, Cycling, walking, working, … ) Eventhough, having knowledge, down to earth insights, still from time to time, my monkey mind drived me to some limits, I don’t want to. Eager in Learning, eager to flatten this mind, these turbulent periods, I’m looking for inspiration in combination with trying to inspire others.  
    • When I put my attention on my breath it brings me to a moment in time a where I have the possibility of feeling peace. 
    • Mindfulness became a habit. I apply it and share it with all my people around me, showing them how being calm and patient can solve a lot of problems and keeps us away from conflicts. My friends and colleagues now ask me to teach them how I can be this kind of person who is always peaceful, and to be honest, in my free time, I gather them and listen with them to the videos that I receive from Mindfulness.com . It is really helpful, and effective.  
    • Guest Thuraya
      To live authentically, literally means to me that I have to be honest with my inner self before any boy else. Dealing with my surrounding in flexibility and just observing without judgement. 
    • I was bullied as a child to the point of hypnosis where I would look into the mirror and tell myself I couldn't measure up, and I didn't belong on this planet. I hated myself and repeated words others spoke to me when looking into a mirror.  As an adult, I finally had an epiphany, that all those words were worthless, dust in the wind, yet as I spoke them again and again, I was self hypnotizing. I also realized that the mirror does not define me, who I am.  Mirrors lie, they only show a rough idea of how we really look.  Now, instead of meditating on harsh words or actions, I choose to meditate on positive, constructive things. I am free to follow my passions, exercise my talents and help others. Like Gillian and Paige, I love water...especially in our pool, the weightlessness is bliss, like lifting all the weight of the world off of you for a time.  
    • I admire people who are kind and compassionate, and use their voice to help others and to uplift inspire those who struggle in life.   While my voice is not quite matured enough, I do have a kind heart, and I do desire to help others feel.
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