Meditation and Revenge

February 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

This article is about the relationship between meditation and the emotion or desire for revenge. This is the second in a series of articles started a couple of weeks ago about the relationship between meditation and various emotions, both positive and negative, that we experience as human beings.

What is revenge?

Revenge is generally thought of as returning a consequence, generally harsh or cruel, for some wrong, injury or insult that has been given. Often in the mind of the person performing the vengeful act, it is equated with some form of justice.

A person is either actually wronged or injured or perceives some wrong or injury and therefore some form of justice is required to balance things out.

In the case of some actual wrong or injury, expecially if serious, there are generally ways of reporting, intervention and help that stop the damage and judge the person who has acted wrongfully. Laws, courts, parents, teachers and other appropriate authority figures are needed for these cases.

In the case of emotional, verbal or more intangible types of damage the situation is more difficult. Often a person may be without recourse to correct the problem.

However, if the situation has been emotional or painful, we often react in anger and determine that we must somehow punish the person who acted to hurt us. Sometimes we feel this way because we are afraid that established mechanismas are too slow or won’t work, or sometimes we simply want to return the hurt ourselves.

What does meditation do?

It is difficult or impossible to meditate when one is angry. So the first thing that meditation does is to require us to calm down in order to be able to think clearly.

Meditation is also unsurpassed in its ability to calm our harts and minds. So if we are hurt instead of angry, meditation is a great soothing and calming balm for the heart.

That calmness and freedom from intense anger or deep sadness alone will give us a better perspective about what to do in the situation that has been thrust upon us.

In addition, the time spent in meditation will give us perspective about the consequences of any action that we might take for revenge.

We harm ourselves with excessive anger. Studies demonstrate that the chemicals released when we are very angry are damaging in dozens of ways to the body and brain.

We also harm ourselves if we act in foolish or irresponsible ways. We become no different that those who acted badly to hurt us in the first place. Nothing positive is achieved.

If we act in anger and do some act in revenge, then we sometimes have consequences of our own to face. At a minimum, we often feel later, that our action was too strong, inappropriate or otherwise different that what we truly expect from ourselves.

Meditation gives us the separation and time to weigh our motives, and choose our course wisely and in a way that we need not regret later.

This is not to say that those who hurt others should escape consequence. On the contrary, both law, justice and society have a right to have serious offences redressed. A person should take advantage of these means when necessary.

In cases where these means are not available or not applicable due to the nature of the problem the effects of Karma or ‘what goes around, comes around,’ will eventually set things right.

In either case, acting in our own rage and vengeful state harms us more than helps us, and certainly leaves a mark on our souls in addition to the mark of the wrong initially received.

Those who regularly meditate will have the habit and the presence of mind to thoughtfully consider a course of action when these situations arise.

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The Olympics and achievement Part II

February 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

As I watched a bit more of the Olympics this week, I had a couple of other thoughts that I feel are worth writing. As the athletes perform in sport after sport, we see such preparation and power in the pinnacle of every sport as demonstrated in these contests.

Winners and…Winners

Hewever, for every winner there are dozens if not hundreds of hopefuls, and those who strive but do not make it to the podium or even to the games. Some suggest that these others are losers.

There are those who struggle through adversity and make it, like Lindsay Vonn, and there are those who crash in the attempt, like so many of the skiers and snowboarders or ice skaters and dancers.

There are those who have personal tragedy, like the skater whose mother passed away of a heart attack just after she had arrived in Vancouver to watch her daughter (Joannie Rochette) perform. Her greatness is established by her skating at all – no matter who wins.

What defines achievement?

It is true that only one can have the fastest time or the best performance in a particular event. It is unfortunately also true that money, fame and endorsements also generally follow those who win and not those who don’t.

It is not true that this is the only or even the best measure of achievement of greatness. Achievement is a personal quality that is different for each individual and different for each circumstance.

Anyone who looks in himself or herself and finds the courage and will to do good things, to grow more, to accomplish something good and to create a life worth sharing has succeeded and is a winner.

Everyone has talents in different areas and stregnths in different pursuits. Greatness is the full use of those talents in good ways. The biggest waste is to underuse or no use at all of the talents and capabilities that we have been given – to love, to grow, to do and to be.

I have found that regular meditation clears the mind and resets the perspective as we weigh our opinions of greatness and accomplishment.  Meditation is the true art of hearing your own voice and understanding your own inner strengths and greatness, while at the same time, seeing others in their true light and understanding their talents and goodness as well.

I find that meditation helps calibrate the yardstick or how we measure what is good, and worth having.

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The Olympics and achievement

February 20, 2010 at 4:08 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

You can’t watch the olympics without having an profound feeling of wonder and amazement at the level of achievement exhibited by those spectacular athletes.

The dedication, effort and focused energy is just amazing and like nothing else. I certainly can only imagine how it would be to do some of those things since I have no experience with some of the sports.

However, I am a real ski and snowboard enthusiast and love both of those sports, so I have at least some idea of the tremendous amount of effort that goes into some of those races, aerial tricks and amazing rides.

As I watched the snowboard half-pipe the other night and saw Shaun White simply blow everyone else clear out of the arena, I was thinking back on when I met him in the summer of 2007.

I had signed up for a four day course of grand prix dribing at Bondurant school of racing in Phoenix, and it so happened that Shaun was in the same class. His schedule only allowed him to be able to stay for three of the four days, but it seemed to me that he attacked that sport with the same enthsusiasm as his other endeavors.

I thought of Lindsay Vonn and other athletes who competed despite injuries and difficulties both physical and emotional. It got me thinking about the ‘attitude of achievement.’

Our attitude and approach to things determine so much of our success. If we are truly clear about what we want, and persistent in chasing the dream then nothing can stop us from getting what we truly want.

Meditation is such a powerful force in creating the right attitude and aptitutde for all areas of personal achievement. Athletes such as these regularly visualize and some meditate to improve performance. Certainly this is true in any area of achievement, and not just in sports.

The mental aspect of the performance is as important as the physical preparation. I know this is true in the arts as well, since I perform on the pieno professionally and know how important the mental aspect to all this is.

Meditation can help each of us unlock the greatness inside of us just waiting to shine through.

Try it!

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Is your house stressing you out?

February 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Basics)

I was reading an article a couple days ago that struck me as interesting. It was talking about the effects of our environment, especially our living space, on our heart, health, feelings and the effectiveness of our lives.

Clear up your space

Be it big or small, we all live somewhere. We generally have a significant degree of control over how the place we live feels and looks. One thing that we may not think about often is how much our living space affects our lives.

We sometimes get to a point where we freak out and say ‘enough of the clutter.’ We then may go on a rampage and clean overything up for a minute or a day or a week.

There are actually many more acpects to this than just cleaning up junk. There is a great deal of evidence that clutter causes stress and reduces our ability to work and think effectively. This is an obvious relationship.

Less obvious is how we can improve our mental, physical and spiritual health and our attitude towards life by how we maintain our living environment. For example:

Simple things to do

Do we have pictures and images that are uplifting and remind us of positive things?

Do we arrange our furniture and tables and chairs in a way that is both useful and pleasing, or do we have things that we keep meaning to change but just don’t quite get to it?

Do we use a vision board or other visual reminder of goals and desires that we want to accomplish?

Do we have a space where we can effectively meditate and have the quiet and uninterrupted time, even for a few minutes, that allows us to clear our thoughts and hearts and connect  again with who and what we really are?

Do we assertively maintian our space and surroundings or do we let others invade it to the point that we get ‘lost’ in the noise?

When you come home, is the feeling one of welcome and refuge or one of sterility and even worse, revulsion (I would rather be anywhere but here?)

Is home a place where you live, or just where you eat and sleep?

Is it clean enough to enjoy or are you constantly afraid of getting something on your clothes when you sit down?

Paying attention to these seemingly little things can make the difference between a living space that is energizing and gives you power and one that is a drain on your heart and mind.

Take the time to make your living place one of power and peace. Meditation is a practice that can help you both identify changes you can make to increase the beauty and power of your living space and give you the energy and desire to carry it out.

Take the time, your peace is worth every effort.

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Meditation and Kindness

February 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm (Benefits of Meditation)

This article is about the relationship between meditation and kindness. This is the first in a series of posts I am intending to have that explore the reationship between meditation and several different emotions which seem to flow naturally from this peaceful and quiet reflection. The first of these is kindness.

In meditation we make ourselves fully present. We experience thngs in the moment. For those less familiar, a brief description might be useful. Being in the moment means to be fully aware of the present second of reality and not thinking about what was past or is to come in the future. We are absorbed – body, mind and spirit – in this present reality and yet also completely aware of the universal consciousness around us.

And, at the same time we are consciously thinking about nothing at all. In other words, we have no immeditate conscious thought, except, perhaps the flowing of our breath, and the awareness simply permeates our being.

While this may sound complicated, we have all experienced it at different times when we fully immerse ourselves in some aspect of our lives and become unaware of everything else. This momentary complete focus is the beginnings of being truly in the moment. To learn more about how to meditate, please follow this link.

An example would be the pure joy experienced in playing with a pet and completely focused on the movements, eyes and sensations of the animal. or of laughing with a child in the pure joy of discovery as they stare in wonder at some new thing.

At such times, we cannot harbor feelings of anger, resentment, or any negative emotion, we begin to feel a oneness with the living being in front of us and by extension, all living things.

At such times, if we let these gentle feelings take root, we will also think of others that we care for, and even the suffering of strangers. We may pause to reflect on the plight of those in Haiti after the earthquake or in other places that have wars or other struggles. Our hearts are naturally awakened to compassion and feelings of yearning to give and love.

These feelings are the natural response to such reflection. If we regularly stifle or discard these feelings and replace them with selfishness or personal needs, we can of course, make our souls insensitive to them. A more subtle struggle is the constant barrage of input from our world which makes it nearly impossible for such intentional quiet and devotion.

If we regularly make a habit of finding the time to reflect and meditate and be truly aware of our present second, to be truly in the moment, a natural outcome of this will be an increase in our tendency to help others, to be kinder to those around us and to be more aware of our common humanity.

Try it and see!

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Meditation and Harmony

February 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Music)

Today I was thinking about meditation and harmony. Harmony has several meanings: 1) getting along well with others is often described as ‘harmony,’ 2) in music, notes that sound good together are also called ‘notes in harmony,’ 3) ideas that blend well together are also said to be ‘in harmony.’

At the core, all these and every other description of harmony comes from the concept of ‘a pleasing blend of things where the combined substance is better, more complete and congruent’ than the single thing alone.

Let’s talk for a minute about musical harmony. A musical note has a certain frequency. That frequency gives the musical note its pitch. Notes that sound ‘good’ or pleasing in harmony with the original note are those with related frequencies. This means there is a mathematical relationship that is fairly simple for notes that are ‘in harmony’ with others.

Other frequencies that are more complex in their mathematical relationship with the original tone or have essentially no relationship sound ‘dissonant’ and are less pleasing to the ear.

Our lives are much the same. When there are elements of our lives that are strongly related or well correlated with our inner values or ‘frequencies’ those elements are ‘in harmony’ with where we are. That is reflected in our lives as peace in our hearts and balance in our minds.

If we have conflicting elements in our lives and pressures that are strongly at odds with our inner values and feelings This can generate high levels of stress. Then our hearts feel dissonant and ‘out-of-tune.’

Meditation is a simple and effective way to ‘tune up,’ as it were, the harmony of our hearts and minds. When we meditate, we can easily identify those elements of our lives that make us feel uncomfortable or ‘dissonant.’ If you use visualization then often these dissonances appear as different and often dark or foreboding colors or shapes that do not mesh well.

In mindfulness meditation, often these dissonances will appear as persistent ‘interruptions’ to the focus on the breath or peaceful tranquility of the meditation. The benefit here is that often these thoughts will reveal to us things that we were not aware of that are causing stress and emotional discomfort.

Paying attention to the dissonances and then setting them aside during the meditation for later action can be a productive way of identifying stressors and situations that are damaging to our physical as well as emotional well-being.

Later reflection on these dissonances and then deciding to make changes in our lives or to release old fears and worries is a way to restore the harmony that we want.

The process of identifying these dissonances can be educational, liberating and empowering. After all, we are in control of our minds, and how each situation and person in our lives affects us emotionally is ultimately our own choice and responsibility.

One of the greatest truths we can learn is that we are truly the masters of our minds and we can control our thoughts and decide what to do with our feelings.

Meditation is the most powerful and effective way to channel these thoughts, feelings and mental powers for our own great success and happiness.

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