Meditation

Death and Transition, “Are we there yet?”

“If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man… Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now,” spoken by the camel driver to the boy; from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. We can experience the Now, moment by moment; but that requires quite a bit of focus. With practice we can have a sense of being in the moment when we are on our yoga mat, in class or at home, moving through asana, pranayama and meditation. When the mind wanders we discipline it back to the breath, to the feeling of being in our body here and now. We might even pride ourselves that we are becoming quite proficient at knowing how to utilise awareness of the sounds, awareness of our experience of the present moment, and become quite proficient at mindfulness as we go…

The Three Wise Men were Yogis

I was raised a Christian. Not just a Christian so I had a religion to write on forms when required, (Lutheran in my case), but the every week attending church and Sunday school type of Christian, where in our family you lived the teachings of compassion, love, and non-judgement – ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ kind of Christian. So, when I discovered yoga in my late teens and enjoyed it like so many of us do when we first experience the practice of asana, it bothered me when it was first suggested to me that yoga might be in conflict with my beliefs. Initially I justified continuing to practice yoga by telling myself I was just doing it for the exercise. I thought if anything arose that was in conflict with my beliefs, then I just wouldn’t do it. It was a great relief to me when…

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…

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…

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