Meditation and Giving

April 26, 2010 at 10:17 am (Meditation Basics, Visualization)

This is a bit of a difficult post to write. I have a certain feeling or idea in mind, but I am not completely able to articulate it as well as I would like. I think it is important, so I will try anyway.

What is Giving?

Giving is a word that has many meanings in our language. We can give physical items such as objects or money, we can give mental energy such as concentration or attention or we can give emotional energy, such as friendship, hatred, empathy or love.

Why and how we ‘give’ any of these items varies with the individual and circumstances. Sometimes we give concsiously, as when we donate to a charity. We may unconsciously give off signals about our feeligs when we’re frustrated or distracted.

Live and give with intention

What if we thought about eveything we give? What if we intentionally gave every feeling or action to those around us or to the fabric of the universe? What if we lived more intentionally instead of accidentally?

One aspect of meditation is learning to live in the moment. To live fully conscious of the sensations, emotions, nuances and activities of the present moment of where we are, what we are doing and thinking and with whom we are interacting.

Research has demonstrated that we actually don’t multitask very well. The studies demonstrate that the best that happens is that both items in our multitasking window receive poor attention and reduced quality. What if, instead, we focused entirely on the most important thing that was at hand in each moment of our lives.

One Thing at a Time

If we are working on a project, we do it fully, completely and with every fiber of our mind focused on the task at hand with the intention of doing it the best we are able.

If we are feeling an emotion or expressing a feeling, we completely understand the emotion and its nuances in our minds and hearts and pay it full attention. We express if freely and fully without reservation. 

If we are with someone, we are completely with them and every thought and idea is centered on the relationship, the conversation, the feelings and the moments as they pass one at a time.

Meditation will show you that when you do this, the number of moments that you have do not increase. But instead, your life will be much more intense, more full of meaning and more powerful because each moment is so much more meaningful, focused and full of the intention and energy that make up that moment.

Give youself fully to your life. Every moment, every thought. Focus on the seconds of the day as they pass and fill each with purposeful thought and action. Live Fully, Love Freely, Act Boldly.

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Meditation and Recovery

April 23, 2010 at 11:33 am (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

One Week Update

This is the final post about my surgery and recovery. Today is Friday, just 8 days after the surgery. I have practiced my meditation every day since the procedure and I feel like the recovery has been greatly enhanced by this practice.

The balance issues decreased rapidly, and they were gone completely in about 3 days. My hearing has been improving gradually, although I can feel the packing that was left in the ear that they operated on. They will remove the packing on my post-op visit on May 17.

I have been able to resume most of my normal acitvities, although I have to be careful about pressure in the ear from blowing my nose or sneezing. I am going to mow the lawn tomorrow and do all the regular yardwork, so I guess that will tell about outdoor work.

I have been taking long walks with the dogs in the morning, and yesterday I did my old 16 mile bike ride. I was about 10 minutes slower, but I felt great afterwards.

I can’t tell how much my hearing will improve yet, but that is supposed to take several weeks and even as long as 3-4 months to completely develop. I am happy and feel very blessed in every respect after this procedure.

What Does This Have to Do With Meditation?

What is the point of putting all this in a meditation blog?  The point is very simple.

Many people feel that meditation is basically a feel good exercise that has no real impact in the practical areas of life. This small example is strong evidence to the contrary. In preparation for the procedure I used meditation to remain calm and focused so that my body responded well.

During the procedure, meditation, even in the semi-conscious state was helpful in how I felt during and immediately after the procedure.

The first day afterwards, I was able to resume many activities far in advance of the normal time associated with short-term recovery.

Now a week later, my life is basically returned to normal, with my hearing improved, my heart light, and my prospects good. The recovery was faster, my heart and mind felt easy and clear and I am eagerly anticipating the full recovery of hearing and even the next procedure on the other ear in 6 months.

Learning and using meditation did not do the procedure for me. It did not repair the damage in the ear, but it facilitated every aspect of preparation and recovery from the surgery in a rapid and positive way. What a great blessing!!

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Meditation After Surgery

April 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

Real Life Meditation Applications

I just had surgery on Thursday. I had my ear operated on and had a procedure called a Laser Stapedotomy. The purpose is to help repair my severe loss of hearing. As I noted in my last post, this is something that I have had for a long time.

The procedure went well, and I came home before noon on Thursday. I was supposed to rest until Friday morning, and then resume activities very gradually. Generally, a person experiences loss of balance, nausea and several other side effects for a few days and then diminishing over a couple of weeks.

I began meditation while waiting for the anethetic to take effect. The nurse asked me about it and I explained what I was doing. During the procedure, I was somewhat aware of the happenings, even thoough I was under anesthesia. I had enough awareness to continue with the focus of the meditation, which was the cooperation of my body with the procedure and rapid healing.

I resumed full meditation as soon as I returned to awareness after the procedure. I did experience some balance issues for a few hours, but I was able to walk and take care of all my needs immediately, which is unusual, as I understand the procedure.

After getting home, I took a nap for 3 hours, and then by 3 pm I was able to get up and resume most of the activities I wanted to around the house and on the computer. 

I was even able to go to a 2 hour choir rehearsal. I am in a professional choir in the Phoenix area with a demanding rehearsal schedule. I was able to rehearse and concentrate without difficulty.

On Friday, I got up at 8am which is much later than normal, (I usually get up at 5am) but for the most part, I was able to do everything I needed to do on Friday, and I did not need any extra rest during the day.

Today is Saturday, and I have been able to resume some exercise and my normal routine. My hearing is improving, the balance issues are gone, and I feel fantastic. I have needed very little of the pain meditcation that was given to me afterwards, and have mostly just taken ibuprofen.

I know that the meditation that I did before, during and since the procedure played a substantial role in this dramatically accelerated healing process.

I am sharing this with you because it is a real life example of the benefits of meditation with respect to health and wellness.

I would invite you to learn to meditate. The benefits are limited only by your own effort and your imagination.

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Meditation and Surgery

April 14, 2010 at 3:28 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Visualization, Why do we meditate?)

At first, this may seem like a strange topic for a blog post. I have the opportunity to have surgery on my ear tomorrow. It is something that I am looking forward to, and at the same time something that I am a little worried about.

The Situation

I have substantial hearing loss and have had to wear hearing aids for about 10 years. I had always assumed that it was heriditary since my father had hearing loss as well. It has gotten progressively worse over the years.

I was always mostly ‘resigned’ to the fact that I had hearing problems, but I was never angry about it. I did however, meditate frequently on the problem and visualized strongly a world where I could hear. This went on for many years.

Recently I want to a doctor to have another test to get a new set of hearing aids since the ones that I have were not working well enough any more. She tested my hearing, confirmed the increase in hearing loss and then stunned me with the announcement that I was a candidate for a type of surgerty that could restore a good portion of my hearing.

Apparently, I have good bone conduction hearing and terrible ear drum path hearing. This means that a problem in the inner ear with the 3 little bones – (mallus, incus and stapes) is causing the hearing loss and that it could be correctable by surgery.

The Solution

She sent me to a specialist in this type of procedure downtown who did further testing and then confirmed that I could have thie surgery and that it would likely give me a substantial portion of my hearing back.

This procedure is scheduled for tomorrow, and I am excited and a bit apprehensive since I have never had any surgery or hospital time of any kind. It is outpatient, and I will be home in one day. They will do one ear tomorrow and the second ear in 6 months. I will keep you posted on how it works.

The hearing problem has affected my work in some ways, since it was difficult to do the meditation music with the hearing challenges. I have developed over the years a combination of reference music and visual tools to help with the technical aspects of the recording process.

My Feelings

I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude and wonder toward God for the miracle of getting my hearing back. I have meditated on this miracle often since learing of this possiblility a few weeks ago.

I am fully at peace and prepared for both the procedure and the new world that awaits me afterwards.

The possibility of having my hearing back is almost more than I can imagine at this present second.

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Meditation and Peace

March 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Meditation Basics, Why do we meditate?)

This post is a continuation of the series on the relationship between meditation and various feeling that we experience as we live our lives.

What is Peace?

If we think about the word peace, several different definitions come to mind. If we were just viewing the news about a war or conflict somewhere in the world. we my associate peace with the absence of violence, or a state where the war is ended.

In the middle of the night if a barking dog has awakened you, you may first think of peace a a synonym of quiet – so you can get the sleep that you so desparately want.

If you have been in a heated discussion with someone and the situation was unresolved, you may think of peace as a resolution to a tense or explosive emotional situation.

If you have some deep emotional pain from a situation in your life with a loved one, or a personal issue that torments you, then peace is purely an internal feeling that you might define as the way you want your heart or mind to feel.

The common theme in all these situations is one of conflict. In each situation there is a conflict between what you want to have or feel and what the reality actually is.

In that light, peace could be defined as the ‘absence of conflict,’ whether or not the conflict is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

That would be a definition that works on the superficial levels, but a few moments of reflection will clearly show that the absence of conflict is necessary but not sufficient to have peace.

True Peace and Superficial Peace

True peace is an upward lifting emotion. To be sure, there is an absence of conflict, but there is also an aspiration upward. Peace is a gentle feeling of reaching for, achieving and enjoying that which is good.

True physical peace, mental peace, emotional peace and spiritual peace all depend on a clear heart, a true intent and a desire for that which is best in us. It comes as we are true to the things that we know to be right.

Meditation Can Help Bring Peace

Meditation is a wonderful tool to help us achieve true peace in our hearts. Meditation will help you sort our feelings and thoughts in a way that drives action for thigs that can be changed or improved and gentle acceptance of those that cannot.

Regular meditation practice gives a perspective that brings peace, even amid the sometimes chaotic pace of life and being. It will give you a longer perspective, a greater measure of patience and a larger understanding of  the human condition.

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Meditation and bitterness

March 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm (Benefits of Meditation, Why do we meditate?)

In the last post I talked about meditation and revenge. A compansion feeling is often bitterness. When we have been wronged, or think we have been wronged, we hold terrible feelings of anger or hurt towards the person or situation that has harmed us.

This is natural, particularly if we had nothing to do with what happened and were innocently affected.

We talked last time about revenge, or the active process of seeking personal retribution. In this article, we will discuss the longer term feelings that often stay behind and how they can affect us in a negative way until we choose to clear our hearts.

Whether or not we ever feel that the person or situation that harmed us has ‘justice served’ on them, we often hold feelings of bitterness in our hearts. These often take the form of questions or statements like these: 

  • That was not fair
  • I did not deserve this
  • How could they be co thoughtless and cruel?
  • Why did God allow this to happen?
  • Who are they to think they can get away with this?
  • Why does this always happen to me?

We then carry around a grudge or a feeling of having been ruined, or disadvantaged. Often we think obsessively about what would have happened if… and other similar thoughts.

Studies show that these thoughts and feelings are harmful. They generate hormones and chemicals that damage our brains and impair our judgement. In extreme cases, they cause atrophy of important parts of the brain and diminish our capacity to experience good emotion.

In addition, and perhaps most importantly we are harming ourselves far more than the original insult or act. In addition, the person or situation where our bitterness is directed is often unaware, and certainly not affected by our bitter feelings.

We become unpleasant to be around, we may talk incessantly about the injury or wrong and we stunt our own growth and development by focusing on a past that cannot be changed.

Fortunately we also have the power to effectively mitigate and often erase the emotional anchors that we needlessly carry around.

Some situations require counseling and professional help and some do not. All situations will benefit from meditation and learning to rid ourselves of these feelings. We can become free of the emotional residue of other’s acts or of difficult situations if we choose that path.

Learning to meditate will give you the power to dismiss the dead weight of the past. It can free up your heart to live joyfully in the present. It can give you a breath of fresh clear air instead of the stifling stench of old wounds with their decay and damage.

Your life and heart are your own. Meditation is a wonderful tool that restores perspective and gives energy and life.

Give yourself this wonderful gift!!

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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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