Full Moon Meditation: Asia, Pacific, Australia – Hong Kong

Full Moon Meditation: Asia, Pacific, Australia – Hong Kong

Full Moon Meditation

& Mind Therapy

Unlock Your Inner Strength and Overcome Life’s Challenges.

Discover the power of the AMindset Full Moon Meditation & Mind Therapy, an online group meditation experience that offers much more than just relaxation and group connection. Join our sessions during the period of each Full Moon and embark on a transformative journey guided by a mental health expert.

During these sessions, you’ll not only enjoy a peaceful and calming meditation practice but also gain valuable insights into the legendary Hercules and his psychological tests. You’ll learn how these ancient tests mirror the challenges we face in our own lives and how to approach them with grace and resilience.

By understanding the unique tests associated with each zodiac sign, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be empowered to navigate life’s ups and downs with confidence and wisdom.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to tap into your inner strength and overcome any obstacle that comes your way. Experience the life-changing benefits of the AMindset Full Moon Meditation & Mind Therapy by taking part.

Book your ticket here: Eventbrite

2024 Dates & Times

  • Topic: FM Aries (Easter Festival)
    • Time: Monday, March 25, @ 6pm Hong Kong SAR or 9pm AEDT
  • Topic: FM Taurus (WESAK)
    • Time: Tuesday, 23 April, @ 6pm Hong Kong SAR or 8pm AEDT
  • Topic: FM Gemini (Goodwill Festival)
    • Time: Wednesday, 22 May, @ 6pm Hong Kong SAR or 8pm AEDT

To learn more detailed information about Full Moon meditations, please visit the Lucis Trust Website.

The time of the full moon is a period when spiritual energies are uniquely available,
facilitating a closer rapport between humanity and the Hierarchy.

 

Meditation and Learning to Pause

Meditation and Learning to Pause

Meditation & Learning to Pause

People are often confused by the concept of meditation because it tends to be inextricably linked to the content being meditated upon. It’s important to understand that meditation is nothing more than a technique. It’s a tool that we can use to help in a wide variety of tasks, including attaining mindfulness, reducing stress or pain, and practicing spirituality. Meditation itself is not necessarily related to any of these goals, other than the fact that it can help us achieve them.

What is Meditation?

To meditate is to use focused effort to calm the body and mind. Every moment of our lives, we are exposed to a plethora of information that is generated from within ourselves. A train of thoughts and sensations constantly plows through our heads, most of which is not important to whatever we happen to be doing at the time. This background noise can be extremely troublesome, distracting us from our lives and potentially becoming a source of negative emotions. Meditation helps us to pause the chaos and allows us to focus primarily on what is important at the time.

How to Meditate

The concept being meditated upon can sometimes require or recommend a specific form of meditation, but we can find similarities among most meditation techniques. The first step in meditation is to achieve a calming of the body so that it doesn’t interfere with the mind. This is usually practiced by sitting in a comfortable position, closing one’s eyes, and concentrating on relaxing the entire body, piece by piece.

When the body is relaxed, we can move on to the mental tasks required by our content. For example, mindfulness practitioners would concentrate on things related to the present moment, like their own heartbeat or sensations on their skin. Alternatively, someone meditating to reduce pain may focus on a visualization of switches and dials that they can manipulate to essentially “turn down” the pain signal. Meditation is a valuable tool that can assist in many tasks by teaching us to pause our lives for a moment so that we can focus on what matters.

7 Ways Meditation Changes Brain

7 Ways Meditation Changes Brain

Every week there is new information about brain research and the effects that meditation can have on the brain. It is now believed that meditation changes the brain in a good way. The beneficial effects of meditation have always been known by the Ancients, people of ancient times, and for many many years meditation has been recommended for reducing stress, making you a calmer person and generally leading to an overall improvement of health. Meditation Changes Brain

However with the advances within medical science and the use of MRI’s (magnetic resonance imaging)  and EEG’s (echoencephalograph – uses ultrasonic waves) the way meditation changes the brain in a beneficial way can be clearly seen and empirically logged.  The brain has always been one of the great mysteries, but now more is being found out about it and these studies are helping with an understanding of the ancient science of meditation and its effect on the  brain. meditation changes brain

In this article about 7 Ways Meditation Changes Brain, Alice Walton writes about the most exciting studies to appear in the the last few years about meditation and the effects of meditation on the brain. In her article entitled: ‘7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain she says; “Just a few minutes of meditation may reduce stress, study finds.”

7 Ways Meditation Changes Brain

The meditation-and-the-brain research has been rolling in steadily for a number of years now, with new studies coming out just about every week to illustrate some new benefit of meditation. Or, rather, some ancient benefit that is just now being confirmed with fMRI or EEG. The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. Below are some of the most exciting studies to come out in the last few years and show that meditation really does produce measurable changes in our most important organ. Skeptics, of course, may ask what good are a few brain changes if the psychological effects aren’t simultaneously being illustrated? Luckily, there’s good evidence for those as well, with studies reporting that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and depression, and improve attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.

Meditation Helps Preserve the Aging Brain

Last week, a study from UCLA found that long-term meditators had better-preserved brains than non-meditators as they aged. Participants who’d been meditating for an average of 20 years had more grey matter volume throughout the brain — although older meditators still had some volume loss compared to younger meditators, it wasn’t as pronounced as the non-meditators. “We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating,” said study author Florian Kurth. “Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”

Meditation Reduces Activity in the Brain’s “Me Center”

One of the most interesting studies in the last few years, carried out at Yale University, found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts – a.k.a., “monkey mind.” The DMN is “on” or active when we’re not thinking about anything in particular, when our minds are just wandering from thought to thought. Since mind-wandering is typically associated with being less happy, ruminating, and worrying about the past and future, it’s the goal for many people to dial it down. Several studies have shown that meditation, though its quieting effect on the DMN, appears to do just this. And even when the mind does start to wander, because of the new connections that form, meditators are better at snapping back out of it.

Its Effects Rival Antidepressants for Depression, Anxiety

A review study last year at Johns Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes the effect of meditation sound pretty good. Meditation is, after all an active form of brain training. “A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” says Goyal. “But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.” Meditation isn’t a magic bullet for depression, as no treatment is, but it’s one of the tools that may help manage symptoms.

Meditation May Lead to Volume Changes in Key Areas of the Brain

In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain: Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There were also decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress – and these changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their stress levels, indicating that meditation not only changes the brain, but it changes our subjective perception and feelings as well. In fact, a follow-up study by Lazar’s team found that after meditation training, changes in brain areas linked to mood and arousal were also linked to improvements in how participants said they felt — i.e., their psychological well-being. So for anyone who says that activated blobs in the brain don’t necessarily mean anything, our subjective experience – improved mood and well-being – does indeed seem to be shifted through meditation as well.

Just a Few Days of Training Improves Concentration and Attention

Having problems concentrating isn’t just a kid thing – it affects millions of grown-ups as well, with an ADD diagnosis or not. Interestingly but not surprisingly, one of the central benefits of meditation is that it improves attention and concentration: One recent study found that just a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the GRE. In fact, the increase in score was equivalent to 16 percentile points, which is nothing to sneeze at. Since the strong focus of attention (on an object, idea, or activity) is one of the central aims of meditation, it’s not so surprising that meditation should help people’s cognitive skills on the job, too – but it’s nice to have science confirm it. And everyone can use a little extra assistance on standardized tests.

Meditation Reduces Anxiety — and Social Anxiety

A lot of people start meditating for its benefits in stress reduction, and there’s lots of good evidence to support this rationale. There’s a whole newer sub-genre of meditation, mentioned earlier, called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness (now available all over the country), that aims to reduce a person’s stress level, physically and mentally. Studies have shown its benefits in reducing anxiety, even years after the initial 8-week course. Research has also shown that mindfulness meditation, in contrast to attending to the breath only, can reduce anxiety – and that these changes seem to be mediated through the brain regions associated with those self-referential (“me-centered”) thoughts. Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to help people with social anxiety disorder: a Stanford University team found that MBSR brought about changes in brain regions involved in attention, as well as relief from symptoms of social anxiety.

Meditation Can Help with Addiction

A growing number of studies has shown that, given its effects on the self-control regions of the brain, meditation can be very effective in helping people recover from various types of addiction. One study, for example, pitted mindfulness training against the American Lung Association’s freedom from smoking (FFS) program, and found that people who learned mindfulness were many times more likely to have quit smoking by the end of the training, and at 17 weeks follow-up, than those in the conventional treatment. This may be because meditation helps people “decouple” the state of craving from the act of smoking, so the one doesn’t always have to lead to the other, but rather you fully experience and ride out the “wave” of craving, until it passes. Other research has found that mindfulness training, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) can be helpful in treating other forms of addiction.

Short Meditation Breaks Can Help Kids in School

For developing brains, meditation has as much as or perhaps even more promise than it has for adults. There’s been increasing interest from educators and researchers in bringing meditation and yoga to school kids, who are dealing with the usual stressors inside school, and oftentimes additional stress and trauma outside school. Some schools have starting implementing meditation into their daily schedules, and with good effect: One district in San Francisco started a twice daily meditation program in some of its high-risk schools – and saw suspensions decrease, and GPAs and attendance increase. Studies have confirmed the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation for schoolchildren, but more work will probably need to be done before it gains more widespread acceptance.

Worth a Try?

Meditation is not a panacea, but there’s certainly a lot of evidence that it may do some good for those who practice it regularly. Everyone from Anderson Cooper and congressman Tim Ryan to companies like Google GOOGL -0.9% and Apple AAPL -0.56% and Target TGT -0.5% are integrating meditation into their schedules. And its benefits seem to be felt after a relatively short amount of practice. Some researchers have cautioned that meditation can lead to ill effects under certain circumstances (known as the “dark night” phenomenon), but for most people – especially if you have a good teacher – meditation is beneficial, rather than harmful. It’s certainly worth a shot: If you have a few minutes in the morning or evening (or both), rather than turning on your phone or going online, see what happens if you try quieting down your mind, or at least paying attention to your thoughts and letting them go without reacting to them. If the research is right, just a few minutes of meditation may make a big difference.

Follow me @alicewalton or find me on Facebook.

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7 Ways Meditation Changes Brain

Curated by Liz McCaughey©Copyright 2018 aMindset.HK
aMindset
Kumarahub
Date: September 22, 2018

Related Articles:

Liz’s articles are available on both the Kumarahub and the aMindset websites 

About Liz McCaughey:

Liz McCaughey is a qualified psychotherapist with her own private practice in Hong Kong and Australia. You can arrange an appointment here.

If you are unable to travel to Liz’s practice there is an online portal where Skype appointments can be arranged.

Liz has recently opened her new business aMindset in Hong Kong. aMindset is a comprehensive mental health resource that incorporates Psychotherapy, Counselling, Mentoring and Workshops. Liz originally founded the company “Kumara” in Perth, Western Australia in 2003. Kumara is affiliated with aMindset and you can read more about Kumara in the website, KumaraHub.

Follow Liz on:   Twitter   or   Facebook

Curation

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Meditation at the Full Moon

Meditation at the Full Moon

The following information is provided by the Lucis Trust.  The Lucis Trust is a nonprofit service organization incorporated in the United States in 1922 by Alice Bailey and her husband Foster Bailey, to act as a trust for the publishing of twenty-four books of esoteric philosophy publised under Alice Bailey’s name, and to fund and administer activities concerned with the establishment of “right human relations”. These include the Arcane School, a school for esoteric training, World Goodwill, Trianglesa lending library, The Beacon magazineas well as the publishing company.

Meditation at the time of the full moon is one important form of service. The full moon each month is a time of intensified energy and of heightened spiritual activity; a time of inspiration, of vision and insight, and of increased opportunity to serve. Meditation at the time of the full moon is a technique for effective contact with the light and love needed today in human affairs. At the time of the full moon festivals, the moon stands on the far side of the earth, away from the sun. This leaves a full, direct and unimpeded relationship between the earth and the sun, the source of our life, energy and consciousness, symbolic of the relationship between the human personality and the soul.

The time of the full moon is the high tide of spiritual energies both in the planet and in the world of human thinking. Those who choose to serve this way undertake the mental work of redemption and renewal, transforming and illuminating the inner atmosphere of human consciousness. A subjective alignment with the planetary group of meditators is necessary, in order both to carry forward scientific work of this scope, and to protect the individual from possible overstimulation. The participation of people in many nations increases the effectiveness of this service work through meditation; the group is greater than the sum of its parts.

The pouring in of spiritual energy at the time of the full moon is augmented by the focussed thought of cooperating meditators. This has several effects: it strengthens the subjective relationship among all members of the human kingdom; it also influences the relationship between humanity and all other kingdoms coexisting on this planet. Right human relationships are an indication of right relations between man and man, and between man and God this in turn, clears the way for the emergence of a higher quality of life.

Each month during the full moon the sun is aligned with one of the twelve zodiacal signs. The signs indicate the quality of the subjective energies available for transmission during that month. In the annual cycles humanity as a whole is exposed to the full range of experience. These energies and qualities stimulate the evolution of human consciousness; all zodiacal energies can be used by all individuals.

Conscious work with these various types of spiritual energy brings inspiration and ideas into the reach of human minds and hearts. Meditation, especially in subjective group formation, stimulates a new factor in human awareness–a growing spiritual maturity. This vast, planetary work of world service contributes to the task of spiritually civilising planet Earth.

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Curation means finding good, well-written, and highly relevant material for our readers. By choosing content from your site, we are giving it our vote of approval. This not only means that we excerpt your content, we also give it our highest recommendation, and we encourage our readers to view your content on your website with a direct link back your source material.

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Meditation: A Spiritual Discipline

Meditation: A Spiritual Discipline

The following information is provided by the Lucis Trust.  The Lucis Trust is a nonprofit service organization incorporated in the United States in 1922 by Alice Bailey and her husband Foster Bailey, to act as a trust for the publishing of twenty-four books of esoteric philosophy publised under Alice Bailey’s name, and to fund and administer activities concerned with the establishment of “right human relations”. These include the Arcane School, a school for esoteric training, World Goodwill, Trianglesa lending library, The Beacon magazineas well as the publishing company.

MEDITATION: A SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE

Since the word “spiritual” applies virtually to the whole of life, it describes anything that leads to greater vision, understanding, and integration with the various forms life takes. Spirituality involves an ever-widening sphere of influence and responsibility.

The key word in spiritual development is discipline. A life that is self-disciplined mentally, emotionally and physically, can be depended upon by the soul. The initial occasional contacts between soul and personality, fostered by meditation, can be increased both in duration and intensity as the disciplined personality offers a ready channel for the soul to use. The careful, non-fanatical discipline of the self-centered personality vehicles-or states of awareness-establishes a working relationship between the personality and the soul, bringing the personality life into alignment with soul intention.

The discipline of daily meditation as a means of contacting the soul and of developing soul consciousness and soul fusion, is a major means of spiritualising life on this planet and helping to externalise the Kingdom of God.

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What is Meditation? Why is it a Science

What is Meditation? Why is it a Science

The following information is provided by the Lucis Trust.  The Lucis Trust is a nonprofit service organization incorporated in the United States in 1922 by Alice Bailey and her husband Foster Bailey, to act as a trust for the publishing of twenty-four books of esoteric philosophy publised under Alice Bailey’s name, and to fund and administer activities concerned with the establishment of “right human relations”. These include the Arcane School, a school for esoteric training, World Goodwill, Trianglesa lending library, The Beacon magazineas well as the publishing company.

Webster’s dictionary defines the term “to meditate” as “to engage in contemplation or reflection.” This is an accurate description of one effective form modern meditation can take. It goes beyond the mystical method of seeking the ecstasy of union with the divine or with God for its own sake. It transcends the goal of many modern types of meditation which emphasise “peace of mind” by detaching the mind from all its normal functions, often inducing a sense of mental paralysis rather than peace. The mind is thus incapable of registration, interpretation and application.

These three words probably supply the most accurate definition of creative meditation- -registration, interpretation, application. They imply mental activity, involving cause and effect, contact with a source of inspiration, and the consequent ability to use and apply the fruits of meditation.

There is a way, which can be learned and practiced by which the consciousness can be focussed aligned and turned towards the first source of spiritual inspiration–the soul This starts with mental activity; not only that of the lower mind, the analysing, directing faculty, but also the ability to bring the lower mind, through conscious direction into alignment with the higher mind and soul. A thought or “seed idea” contemplated in the light of the soul produces new thoughts, mental illumination, which the lower mind interprets and applies.

Because meditation is concerned with mental receptivity, it is essentially a means of channelling energy. Scientists today tend to agree that ”all is energy”–a basic occult aphorism. The life force that holds all manifestation in being, is energy; consciousness is response to the energy infusing human hearts and minds. Clearly directed thought in meditation, with the mind held steady in the light of the soul, is a scientific means of contacting those major aspects of the life force we call light and love and power, giving them right interpretation, and directing them, in the form of ideas and planning, into specific activity.

Meditation is a scientific technique which can be relied upon to produce results if followed through with care and precision. While the techniques of meditation can be learned, the way the techniques are applied varies for each one. Each must find that way for himself, for it is in experimentation that we gain experience in the right use of the mind, bring the consciousness into alignment with soul energy, and learn how to give right expression in meditation to the abundant spiritual resources available in service.

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Curation

At aMindset we value good content for our readers. In that spirit we will often curated or excerpt content from top quality sources on the web.The very internet itself was created on the foundation of linking, sharing, and recommending good content from other sources on the web.

Curation means finding good, well-written, and highly relevant material for our readers. By choosing content from your site, we are giving it our vote of approval. This not only means that we excerpt your content, we also give it our highest recommendation, and we encourage our readers to view your content on your website with a direct link back your source material.

Our curation is designed to send our readers to your site so you get new visitors exposed to your top quality content. We curated your content because it was outstanding in some way.

Full details of aMindsets Curation policy can be found HERE.

How To Do Psychotherapy Through Meditation

How To Do Psychotherapy Through Meditation

Psychotherapy Through Meditation

Sigmund Freud, in the early 1900’s founded what was known as psychoanalysis and today its water-downed version is called psychotherapy. Freud believed that a person could develop the ability to choose his or her behaviour patterns rather than be governed by an unconscious, rigid defence process that stops a person thinking clearly. With the help of psychotherapy through meditation this unconscious suppression, with its chaotic mechanisms, would give way to rational and more conscious behavioural patterns.

As well as using psychotherapy a person can also learn how to focus the mind through Meditation. Being able to still the mind through meditation is another way of accessing these uncompromising unconscious defence mechanism which often makes people live their life as if they are on ‘auto-pilot’. A life that is lived on ‘auto-pilot’ tends to be careless, unthinking, reactive and oscillates between one perceived crisis and another.  If a person has no control over their Thoughts, whether conscious and unconscious, then they have no control over their life. A life that is out of control can be emotionally draining and frightening.

The first step in correcting this emotional unbalance to take back control of the mind and to gain access to the hidden unconscious thoughts. This is done using psychotherapy and can also be helped by learning to meditate.  The combined practice of psychotherapy and meditation is a very potent mix. However, if at first  a person is reluctant to enagge in psychotherapy then they can at least start with meditation.

It is not hard to meditate, and a great way to start is to set aside a few minutes each day to focus on one thing and gradually with consistent practise anyone can take back control of their thoughts and have peace of mind.

“All that we are is a result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the wagon.

All that we are is a result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him”.

Dhammapada – Text from the Theravada canon

Being able to to consciously control the mind causes a shift in thoughts and helps to change the unconscious thinking. As a person becomes more aware of every thought they start to recognise what thoughts are positive and feel good and what ones are negative and feel bad.  They switch off the auto-pilot and start to recognise the negative habitual behaviour patterns and the thoughts that are no longer welcome.

This brings about a deepening awareness of thoughts and behaviours. Whether it is Psychotherapy through meditation, psychotherapy or a combination of both this deepening awareness enables a person to choose how they want to behave. as a result, they stop following the rigid defended way they have lived in the past with all its judgment and negative habits. Instead, they change their life for the better as the unconscious thoughts adjust to how they are living and thinking and their life truly changes for the better on the inside as well as on the outside.

The Power of Silence

The Power of Silence

The Power of Silence

Modern humans have lost touch with their inner ‘true self’ says Steve Taylor Ph.D  a lecturer in psychology at Leed University, UK. In his article below, Steve says that: “Silence and stillness are a means to recovering happiness and contentment. In the modern world silence has practically ceased to exist.” which few of us can deny when we reflect on our daily busyness.  The Power of Silence

The human race has stamped its authority over the planet Earth not just by covering its surface with concrete and destroying its plant and animal life, but also by burying the natural sounds of the Earth beneath a cacophony of man-made noise. We live our lives against the background of this cacophony, with the jagged mechanical sounds of urban-industrial society continually assaulting our ears: the roar of trucks, aeroplanes and trains, the clanging and thudding of machinery, the noise of building and renovating, the chatter of radios and TVs in other people’s cars and houses, and pop music blaring from every conceivable place.

But nothing, of course, has done more to obliterate silence than the car. In the modern world it’s very difficult to go anywhere where there’s no possibility of being disturbed by the sound of passing cars, and the only chance that city or town dwellers get to experience something of the quietness which existed everywhere in the pre-car world is sometimes on Sundays, when the mad rushing to and fro of modern life slows down. This quietness seems so foreign now that it seems difficult to believe that a hundred years ago and before it was everywhere all the time. Back then this quietness would even have filled the busiest city centres, which would have probably had a noise level equivalent to that of a modern small village.

There’s also more noise than ever before inside our houses. It’s unusual to go into a house nowadays where there isn’t at least one television set chattering away somewhere, even if the residents aren’t actually watching it, and other forms of home entertainment compete against TV to produce the most noise: radios, CD players, computer and video games etc. In fact the only sound which is largely absent from people’s houses nowadays is the voices of their occupants actually talking to one another.

Living in the midst of all this noise is bound to have a bad effect on us. All man-made noise is fundamentally disturbing. We find the sound of birds singing or of wind rushing through trees pleasing, but mechanical noise always jars and grates. And since we live our lives against a background of mechanical noise it follows that there’s always an undercurrent of agitation inside us, produced by the noise. This noise is certainly one of the reasons why modern life is so stressful as well. In modern life our senses are bombarded with massive amounts of external stimuli. Our fields of vision are always crowded with different (and constantly shifting) things, and our ears are bombarded with a bewildering variety of sounds — all of which clamour for our attention. Our senses have to absorb and process all this material, which takes up a lot of energy, and means that we’re liable to become drained of energy or ‘run down’ easily.

We can get out of this state by removing ourselves from all external stimuli and letting our energy-batteries naturally recharge themselves i.e., by relaxing. But there’s so much external stimuli around in the modern world and people are so unaccustomed to the absence of it that we may never be able relax properly, which could mean living in a permanently ‘run down’ state.

This lack of quietness has also meant is that people are no longer used to silence, and have even, as a result, become afraid of it. Along with inactivity, silence has become something which most people are determined to avoid at all costs, and which, when they are confronted with it, unnerves them. People have become so used to the frantic pace and the ceaseless activity of modern life that they feel uneasy when they’re left at a loose end with nothing to occupy their attention even for a few moments, and they feel equally uneasy when the noise they live their lives against the background of subsides. Why else is it that they need to have their radios and televisions chattering away in the background even when they’re not paying attention to them?

In other words, in the modern world silence has become an enemy. And this is a terrible shame, because in reality silence is one of our greatest friends, and can if it’s allowed to reveal itself to us have a powerfully beneficial effect on us.

Inner Noise

It’s not just the noise outside us which causes us problems, though, but also the noise inside us.

In the same way that the natural quietness and stillness of the world around us is always covered over with man-made noise, the natural quietness of our minds is constantly disturbed by the chattering of our ego-selves. This chattering fills our minds from the moment we wake up in the morning till the moment we go to sleep at night an endless stream of daydreams, memories, deliberations, worries, plans etc. which we have no control over and which even continues (in the form of dreams) when we fall asleep. This ‘inner noise’ has as many bad effects as the mechanical noise outside us. It actually creates problems in our lives, when we mull over tiny inconveniences or uncertainties which seem to become important just because we’re giving so much attention to them, and when we imagine all kinds of possible scenarios about future events instead of just taking them as they come. It means that we don’t live in the present, because we’re always either planning for and anticipating the future or remembering the past, “wandering about in times that do not belong to us and never thinking of the one that does” as Blaise Pascal wrote. And this constant inner chattering also means that we can never give our full attention to our surroundings and to the activities of our lives. Our attention is always partly taken up by the thoughts in our minds, so that wherever we are and whatever we’re doing we’re never completely there.

It’s probably possible to say that there’s also more of this ‘inner noise’ inside human beings than there’s ever been before. The hectic pace and the constant activity of our lives, the massive amount of external stimuli we’re bombarded with, and the barrage of information which the mass media sends our way, have made our minds more restless and active. We’ve got to juggle dozens of different problems and concerns in our minds just to get by from day to day, and every new thing we see or every new piece of information which is sent our way is potentially the beginning of a whole new train of thought to occupy our minds.

The True Self

Ultimately, the most serious consequence of both this inner chattering and the noise and activity of the modern world is that they separate us from our true selves.

Our ‘true self’ might be called the ground, or the essence, of our beings. It’s the pure consciousness inside us, the consciousness-in-itself which remains when we’re not actually conscious of anything. It’s what remains when our the activity of our senses and the activity of our minds cease. The sense-impressions we absorb from the world and the thoughts which run through our minds are like the images on a cinema screen, but our ‘true self’ is the cinema screen itself, which is still there even when there aren’t any images being projected on to it.

Experiencing this ‘consciousness-in-itself’ can have a massively therapeutic effect. It brings a sense of being firmly rooted in ourselves, of being truly who we are. We also have a sense of being truly where we are, realising that before we were only half-present, and everything we see around us seems intensely real and alive, as if our perceptions have become much more acute. But above all, we experience a profound sense of inner peace and natural happiness. As the Hindu and Buddhist traditions have always held, the nature of consciousness-in-itself (which means the consciousness inside us and the consciousness which pervades the whole universe) is bliss. Getting into contact with the pure consciousness inside us enables us, therefore, to experience this bliss. Indeed, it could be said that it’s only when we do this that we can experience true happiness. Usually what we think of as happiness is hedonistic or ego-based that is, based around pressing instinctive ‘pleasure buttons’ or around receiving attention and praise from others and increasing our self-esteem. But the kind of deep and rich happiness we experience when we’re in touch with the ground or essence of our beings is a natural, spiritual happiness, which doesn’t depend on anything external, and doesn’t vanish as soon as the thing which produced it is taken away. It’s a happiness which comes from experiencing the divine inside us and also the divine inside everything else, since the pure consciousness inside us is the same pure consciousness inside everything else, and the pure consciousness of the universe itself.

Making Contact with the True Self

Whether we’re in touch with this ‘true self’ or not depends on how much external stimuli our senses are taking in from the world around us, and on how much activity there is going on in our minds.

If there is a lot of noise, movement and activity taking place around us then we can’t help but give our attention to it; and in the same way, when there is a lot of ‘inner noise’ taking place we have to give our attention to that too. And when our attention is completely absorbed in this way either by external stimuli on their own, such as when we watch TV; by ‘inner noise’ on its own, such as when we daydream; or by both of them at the same time it’s impossible for us to be in contact with our ‘true self’ to any degree, in the same way that it’s impossible to see a cinema screen in itself when it’s full of dancing images. Being in contact with our ‘true self’ is a state of attentionless-ness, when our minds are completely empty.

What we have to do if we want to get into contact with this part of ourselves is, therefore, to withdraw our attention from these things. And this is, of course, what we do when we meditate: first of all, we remove ourselves from external stimuli, by sitting in a quiet room and closing our eyes. And then there’s only ‘inner noise’ standing between us and consciousness-in-itself, which we try to quieten by concentrating on a mantra or on our breathing. If we manage to stop the inner noise (and therefore stop our attention being absorbed in it) pure consciousness immerses us and we become our true selves.

And this brings us back to the most serious problem caused by the massive amount of external stimuli (including noise) which our senses are bombarded with in the modern world, and by the intensified ‘inner noise’ which modern life generates. It’s not just a question of completely closing yourself off to external stimuli and shutting down ‘inner noise’, so that you can experience a state of total immersion in pure consciousness. It’s possible to have a foot in both camps, so to speak; to live a normal life in the world, being exposed to external stimuli and experiencing inner noise, and at the same time still be rooted in your real self. That is, it’s possible to be partially immersed in consciousness-in-itself, and for your attention to be partially absorbed by external stimuli and inner talk. But this can only happen when there is just a moderate degree of both of the latter.

It would probably have been quite easy for our ancestors to live in this way, because they weren’t exposed to a great deal of external stimuli and because their lives were relatively slow-paced and stress-free, which would have meant that their attention needn’t have been completely absorbed by external stimuli and inner talk. Perhaps this even partly explains why native peoples seem to possess a natural contentment which modern city dwellers have lost because their more sedate lives mean that they’re able to be in touch with the ground of their being as they go about their lives, and that they can therefore continually experience something of the bliss of which is the nature of consciousness-in-itself.

For us, however, this has become very difficult. There’s always so much noise and activity both inside and outside us that our attention is always completely absorbed, so that we can’t be in contact with our real selves. We spend all our time living outside ourselves, lost in the external world of activity and stimuli or in the inner world of our own thoughts. We’re like a person who plans to go away for a few days but finds so much to occupy them in the place they go to that they never go home again, and never again experience the peace and contentment which lie there. This is certainly one of the reasons why so many people nowadays seem to live in a state of dissatisfaction — because they’ve lost touch with the natural happiness inside them. That natural happiness has been buried underneath a storm of external stimuli and what Meister Eckhart called ‘the storm of inward thought’.

As a result of this it’s essential for us, in the modern world, to go out of our way to cultivate silence ourselves. Circumstances may oblige us to live in cities, and our jobs may be stressful and demanding, but we’re still free to remove ourselves from external stimuli and to try to quieten our minds by meditating, going out into the countryside, or just by sitting quietly in our rooms. We don’t have to fill our free time with attention-absorbing distractions like TV and computer games, which take us even further away from ourselves. We should do the opposite: stop our attention being absorbed like this so that we can find ourselves again.

We need silence and stillness to become our true selves and to be truly happy. ‘Be still,’ said Jesus, ‘and know that I am God.’ But he might have added, ‘and know that you are God.’

Benefits of Meditation

Benefits of Meditation

Benefits of Meditation

In the past meditation has been regarded as a ‘way-out there’ activity only practised by people with flowers in their hair or who were regarded as the New Age Types. It was not regarded as useful for the mainstream people and certainly not for the A-type personality with their workaholic and stressful lifestyles. But that is no longer the case as meditation is now coming into its own as a result of the benefits of meditation being better understood. Meditation is now being taught worldwide in businesses, schools, prisons and hospitals. Indeed, doing meditation is akin to having your own free private health cover.  More & more studies reveal that meditation is good for the health. And meditation combined with a balanced and healthy life style, plus psychotherapy is sure to turn a person’s life around from ill-health to good-health.

Of course, it doesn’t have to have a holistic health approach of diet, therapy and meditation.  In the beginning just taking a short time to relax and de-stress during each and every day will do wonders for your health.  A daily meditation is a simple thing to do. Benefits of meditation comes in all shapes and sizes and even if you find you can’t stop the minds constant chatter if you just spend a few minutes during the day trying to focus on one thing (your breath for example) then you are starting to practise meditation.  

It is time to get rid of the old beliefs that meditation can only be practised in a cave in the Himalayas, as that is definitely not the case.  Meditation is available to you each and every day. If you persevere with your practise, even one that only lasts a few minutes each day, you will find there will be an improvement in your health.

If you don’t believe what is written in this article there is a growing list of studies being done by many universities around the world.  Harvard Medical School have recently completed a meditation study on Mindfulness that showed meditation may ease anxiety and mental stress. 

Although the studies by the scientific community are still ongoing and all the dots have yet to be joined, there is growing evidence that meditation is good for you.  It will only be a matter of time before the empirical evidence of science fully backs that up.  However you don’t have to wait for scientific proof – you can find out for yourself by starting to meditate today.

How to Meditate

  • Find a place where you can be on your own for a few moments every day
  • In that space sit or lie down and close your eyes and focus solely on your breathing
  • Count the breath in 1-2-3
  • Hold the breath for one count
  • Count the breath out 1-2-3
  • Hold the breath for one count
  • Repeat for 3 cycles.
  • Open you eyes
  • Get on with your day

You can do this as often as you like in one day

The secret is to find that quiet place where you will not be disturbed for a few minutes.

The benefits of meditation is your private health cover that does not expire, it is free and it can be used whenever you want to use it.

That is not a bad investment.

What type of Meditation suits you?

What type of Meditation suits you?

Type of Meditation

Meditation is regarded as a simple process but there are so many type of meditation that trying to find out what type of meditation suits you can lead to a lot of confusion.  As a meditation teacher I am often asked what is the best type of meditation and which one would be the easiest one to practise.  Before I say more I would like to make it clear that meditation does not have to be involved with a religious or spiritual practise.  Meditation is a discipline and like any training you will gain more by doing it often. 

Best Meditation Practise 

As with any new activity it is best to keep the practise simple and when starting meditation that is good advise. Do whatever works for you and keep doing it.  When the times comes to move onto a different type of exercise you will know when you are ready. Indeed you may find you like to vary on a daily basis how you meditate.  The main point is to spend a short time, or however long you want, doing some sort of daily meditation practise.  Just taking a short time out will help you learn to meditate but it will also improve your health as you start to relax and destress.

Preparation

  • Find a place where you will not be disturbed for at least a few minutes.
  • Make yourself comfortable – sitting or lying down.
  • Meditate

Sound Meditation

You have probably been doing this type of meditation without even realising that is what you have been doing.

  • Choose some soothing music and preferably with headphones relax as you listen to the music
  • Keep you mind focused on the music
  • Do not let random external thoughts disturb you as you listen to the music.

Do this for as long as you can stay focused on the music

Transcendental Meditation

This is a meditation that was extremely popular in the 1960’s but there are still many people who practise it.  Founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation became very popular when the Beatles made a visit the the Maharishi’s Ashram and learnt to meditate.  The discipline involves the use of a mantra, a word in Sanskrit that the meditator repeats during a 20-minute meditation session.  The Preparation is the same as the above. The mantra that suits you is given during a 2-day course, which are not cheap. Your mantra is not exclusive and is based on the teacher who trains you and your date of birth.

Breath Meditation

This is a meditation that focuses on your breathing and can be done anywhere but to start it is good to adopt the preparation above.  It consists of being aware of the breath and silently counting the breath in and silently counting the breath out.  The total focus is the breath and the idea is to keep your mind focused on the breath.  As the breath never leaves you – this is a meditation that can be done absolutely anywhere – for as long or as short as you like.

Mindfulness Meditation

This is probably the most popular form of meditation in this present day.  It was founded by Jon Kabat-Zin in 1979 and is now practised throughout the world in hospitals, and Mindfulness Meditation Schools. It involves breath awareness but also body awareness. As you focus on the in-breath and out-breath you also focus your attention on your physical body from the toes upwards.  It is a meditation that can be done anywhere.

Of course there are many other forms of meditation but any of the above will give you a good start. Learning to meditate in a group is also very helpful and it is worth searching out a local meditation group. Having to go to a class every week is another way to help you maintain your discipline.