Mindfulness and Art
Intuition
Pride, the good side

Mindfulness and Art

It’s possible you already know that I have been teaching Mindful Mondays at the Rockhampton Art Gallery for the past few weeks; and for many more weeks to come, hopefully. We have approval for funding three more sessions, so if you think this is a great idea, don’t delay and join me at the Gallery 7am Mondays. If we don’t use it, we lose it. It sounded like a something I would enjoy when the gallery first approached me to teach mindfulness there. Ever since my high school art studies, I have been a lover of art, and a supporter of galleries where I have lived. Numerous original works by local talent hang in my home. However, I feel compelled to share with you just how special an experience it has been to teach mindfulness meditation in this beautiful space. For our first session together I chose to keep it simple and…

Intuition

There are a number of ways to define intuition: The Oxford dictionary defines intuition as ‘spiritual insight or perception. Immediate apprehension by the mind without reasoning.’ In philosophy it is defined as ‘a form of rational insight.’ Ian Gawler describes it as ‘the direct access to truth without thinking.’ Regardless of the definition, the simplest way to understand intuition is to experience it. Recently I received inspiration about Life during Sit in Stillness (a practice of meeting with people once a week for half an hour of simply being still together). It was an immediate feeling of knowing, much deeper than the thinking mind. I could feel it in my soul that life is truly precious, and to spend it in regret was a waste of the gift of living. Sometimes we might wonder if what seems like an insight is little more than just a thought, but the surest…

Pride, the good side

Many years ago in primary school, part of our English curriculum was to learn proverbs and sayings. One of them was illustrated in a picture in which a proud man was about to quite literally fall. One of my favourite novels is Pride and Prejudice, a story based around how Elizabeth and Mr Darcy almost missed out on a happy life together because of pride. The lesson of the saying Pride cometh before a fall became entrenched even more solidly in the psyche. Perhaps because we learned these sayings at such an impressionable age, and also I think, because an aspect of the Aussie culture is to not respect anyone who ‘has tickets on himself’, most people of my generation see pride as a negative quality.  Certainly, when pride is a dominant aspect of our personality, the possibility of a healthy relationship or contentment becomes a challenge. An unhealthily proud person will find themselves judging others as…

Just like you and me

I was wondering what I could possibly write about in my blog this month and feeling intimidated by the famous names in meditation and mindfulness such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh and our own Ian Gawler. When they write a post about something I anticipate wisdom and credibility. What could I possibly say that they haven’t already said, but better? Then I realized, they are just like you and me. Like you, it takes commitment for me to practice meditation every day. Like you, I feel like there is so much to learn and understand. Each time we choose to meditate, we have to be disciplined to devote that ten or fifteen minutes to practice stillness, to practice getting in touch with the mind of awareness, instead of the busy active aspect of our mind. If it is like that for us, then it must be the…

The Power of Love

The Christmas present from my son included a Typo calendar, which has little discount vouchers on the bottom of the page each month. In January, I could get a half price notebook. Being addicted to stationery and happy to take advantage of a bargain, of course I used it . It is here on my desk now, and the cover says “THERE ARE SO MANY REASONS TO BE HAPPY Cat videos. Weekends. Pizza.”  Perfect. So in this amazing country of ours where there is plenty for all (especially pizza), why is there so much fear, hate and sadness popping up in the media; and especially, why in my facebook newsfeed? Authors such as Russell Brand and Bruce Lipton caution us against swallowing the hype of the mass media which ultimately gives control to those in power by creating a culture of fear and powerlessness while we direct the blame to anyone who might seem…

Three Days of Silence

The silence became my three days of solitude, with mostly silence; because I quickly realized that silence is not practical when you are practicing at home with your beloved dog and cat. Leo the dog was especially bewildered by my absence of verbal cues, staring up at me and clearly trying to anticipate what we were up to. To continue in total silence would have been cruel. Misty, being a cat, simply persisted in meowing at me until she received the appropriate response to her demands. So really it wasn’t quite solitude either, with them in attendance, but I pressed on determined to experience what I had planned for my three days between Christmas and New Year with all the family away. I began my journal, and had my first epiphany early on that first day. For many years I have wanted to write a book. I knew what I wanted to…

Manifesting

The definition for the verb ‘manifest’ most often includes synonyms like display, show, reveal, or make public, materialisation or appearance; or in the spiritual sense, the incarnation of something or someone. Have you ever had an experience of manifesting in your life? Many months ago I decided to trial manifesting for finding car parking spaces. It was something simple and something which I believed would cause no harm or loss to another. I only need to ask for it before I need it, and believe a space will appear. It hasn’t let me down. I always easily find convenient spaces to park, even at very busy and congested times. So this led me to wanting to better understand this phenomenon. In 1925 Florence Scovel Shinn wrote The Game of Life and How to Play It, and followed with three more books. She was famous for helping thousands of people solve their…

Active Mind. Still Mind.

The two aspects of our mind can be reflected in our body. An active mind leads us to be doing. We need our active mind for survival. The planning, thinking, achieving aspect of the mind motivates us to get out there and provide shelter and food and community for life.  However, at times it can lead to too much doing and no place for stillness: active body/active mind. We need the balance of engaging with our more passive, still mind. The practice of mindfulness creates the place for simply being. It is in this place that we switch to growth and healing within the physical. Not surprisingly, this can be learned best by becoming still, relaxing the physical body, and practicing mindfulness that leads us into the stillness. I have been teaching the Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation course for a number of years and have seen evidence of how peoples lives change for the…

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