Tag Archives: mindful meditation

The Power of LIVE Events

 

 

Dear Friends, As much as I love teaching via the video, the blog, email, and on social media, there is nothing like a LIVE event to inspire that next level of your creative and spiritual growth. I have two AMAZING  live events coming up. One on the west coast at Asilomar State Beach; “The Yoga of Creativity & Writing” May 5-7 and one on the east coast at The Omega Institute “Writing as a Path to Awakening” May 26-29 in Rhinebeck, New York. I would love to see YOU there!

PLEASE NOTE: THE ASILOMAR REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS MONDAY MAY 1 at MIDNIGHT!

ASILOMAR: https://www.albertflynndesilver.com/meditation-classes-retreats/yoga-creativity-writing-asilomar/

OMEGA: https://www.eomega.org/workshops/writing-as-a-path-to-awakening-0#-workshop-description-block

Meditation for Health and Happiness

“Meditation is simplicity itself. It’s about stopping and being present. That is all.”

The following post gives you a terrific introduction to mindfulness meditation. And what’s the connection to writing you ask? Everything. In order to open the creative mind, silence, simplicity, and letting go are essential. Meditation is the gateway to mindful writing. Attending to the magic of language, allowing your full creative potential to flow through, this is the power of integrating meditation and writing, together. Freewriting or stream of consciousness writing straight out of meditation practice is one of the most powerful resources to help you transcend writer’s block, discover new ideas, and cultivate original possibilities with your writing.

Guest Post By Payal Bhandari

Different cultures and spiritual traditions practice different types of meditation. The more popular types include Centering Prayer, Mindfulness Meditation, Kabbalah, Tibetan Buddhism, Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), and Transcendenta Meditation.

Meditation is a lifelong process which should be practiced on a daily basis.

What Is Meditation?

Meditation connects a person’s mind or spirit with his/her physical health. It calms the mind and relaxes the body. There are many different ways in which meditation can be done. During meditation, a person will direct his or her focus toward a sound, image, word, breath, or prayer, and become still. Meditation brings balance and harmony in the middle of continual change and noise. The person opens up to peace within.

Meditation and Health

Meditation can help calm your body and mind. This calming effect promotes healing and you may find the following physical benefits manifesting in your life:

  • Increased positivity
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Less tension headaches
  • Better management of depression
  • Improvement of heart conditions
  • Better management of high cholesterol
  • Being freed from eating disorders
  • Ability to quit smoking
  • Increased lifespan

Tips on Getting Started

If you’re new to meditation, these tips might make it easier for you to get into it:

  • Find a quiet and private place to sit that you can regularly use where you won’t be bothered.
  • Set some time aside on your program for meditation. Say to yourself that you have nothing else to do during this period.
  • Find a way to gently end your meditation session, such as a vibrating alarm or someone softly calling you.
  • Find a comfortable sitting position. Keep your back and neck straight, your chin parallel to the ground, and your hands resting in a comfortable position. You can either sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, kneel on the ground, or sit with crossed legs. The most important thing is that you are comfortable.
  • While keeping your eyes open or closed, simply allow your gaze to settle.
  • Start with shorter periods in the beginning and gradually build up to 20-minute sessions.
  • Meditate on an empty stomach – a full belly can make you feel sleepy.
  • Meditate regularly. The more you meditate, the easier it gets.

What to Expect from Meditation

Meditation is a continuous process, so be patient with yourself. It may be difficult to sit still and concentrate in the beginning, but it will gradually become easier, and your mind will become more clear and stable. Over time, you’ll experience an increased sense of freedom, and you’ll find you focus less on your own needs and become more compassionate towards others.

You may experience a deepening in your spiritual life, and you’ll feel you’re able to release negative habits such as anger and fear. Don’t expect immediate rewards, but if you consistently practice meditation you will reap the rewards in time.

About the Author

Payal Bhandari M.D. is a family physician at Advanced Health. She provides personalized, comprehensive primary care to families and individuals of all ages in San Francisco since 2005. Dr. Bhandari delivers integrative, holistic care which looks at the whole person. She is consistently able to understand the root cause of any illness and effectively transform health.

A Note from Albert:

I hope you will join me at the Esalen Institute, Omega Institute, Hollyhock—Canada, or Shambhala Mountain in Colorado for one of my popular writing retreats “Writing as a Path to Awakening”, in which we integrate the power of meditation with the power of innovative writing exercises, prompts, and insights that help take your writing to extraordinary new levels! And please stay tuned for my new book by the same name due out in 2018!

Please click back to our EVENTS page for more information.

The Discipline of Silence

Guest Post By Emma Robertson

The twins both stood at the open back door. They peered outside, into our sparkling sunny garden. First one up, loudly named the “cold”, he sounded concerned. Little brother, who was stood right behind him, gave a reassuring hand on his back. “Is alright,” he said.

It is truly amazing what you can hear when you choose to be silent. The birds were tweeting and the foliage was occasionally rustling in a slight breeze as we all trooped out to exercise. The boys booped forth to bounce and play in the beautifully clean and fresh air of this morning. Meanwhile I practiced exercising my silence.

Little nods of assurance were all that were needed from me and each one was cordially accepted by my beautiful boys as they babbled away to one another, to themselves and the world at large.

This exercise gives rise to an ideal opportunity to practice communication using mainly eye contact. Patience can be gently encouraged this way. Waiting for the attentions of Mum’s eye contact is usually rewarding; I try adding different hand gestures and some pulled and exaggerated facial expressions, similar to the lovable CBEEBIES character, Mr. Tumble.

Gently stretching my self upon the slight incline that is our garden path, I gravitated to a garden chair to ponder on this wonderful feeling of love. “How can I bottle this feeling?” I wondered. A smile matched the warmth of the sun.

All of this sifted away as the day unravelled but this warm feeling of peace did endure. Each moment of stress was gently eased away with a therapeutic memory of this morning.

Does Meditation Make You A Better Pet Owner

Does Meditation Make You A Better Pet Owner?

Does meditation make you a better pet owner? Well, it certainly has a whole host of benefits for both you and your pets. Meditation also helps us cultivate mindfulness and gratitude, allowing us to let go of the concept of ownership altogether and embrace being a pet parent. Or even better, it helps us look at our pets as animal companions.

Animals are sentient beings, and as such, they are affected by our moods and energy. Ever felt stressed while you were getting ready to go out and noticed that your pets were acting excited, too? Or have you ever been sick or sad and somehow your pet just knows to give you extra snuggles that day? They know when you are sad, mad, or glad and behave accordingly.

The Benefits of Meditation for You and Your Pet

The well-being of your animal companion rests entirely on you. And how are you supposed to take care of a living creature if you are not taking care of yourself? Any anxiety in your life will spill over into theirs. This is where meditation can be a big (and easy) help.

You also want to ensure that you will be around to take care of your pet. Stress has been linked to numerous health issues, ranging from mild to life threatening. Simply taking ten minutes to meditate each day will help reduce your stress and improve your health. Benefits of meditation include lower blood pressure, feeling calmer and grounded, less muscle tension, a decrease in inflammation, and a stronger immune system.

The benefits of meditation will spill over into your pet parenting. For instance, studies show that meditation increases a person’s empathy, which will allow you to make an even deeper emotional connection with your animal companion. Meditation will keep you more calm and relaxed, which means your animal companions will also feel more calm and relaxed.

Three Ways to Meditate with Your Pet

Mindfulness Meditation: An easy way to get started is to take a minimum of ten minutes a day to sit in silence. Once you are in a comfortable position and have been sitting in silence for a moment, begin to focus on your breathing. You’ll want to take long, full belly breaths from deep within you abdomen.

While you are focusing on your breathing, think about positive qualities your animal companions bring into your life. This will help cultivate an increase of gratitude and appreciation for your pets. As well, taking a moment each day to calmly think about your pets and nothing else can alert you to any changes in their behavior. We are not always aware of things unless we make a point to focus on them. Mindful meditation will give you a renewed perspective of your animal companions and what’s going on in their lives.

Petting and Snuggling: You most likely pet and snuggle with your animal companions throughout the day. This is a form of meditation in itself. The rhythmic motion of petting your animal companion’s fur often puts people into a slight meditative state. There is a reason you find snuggling with your pets relaxing!

To take this one step further, integrate the mindfulness meditation techniques. Focus on channeling your calm energy to your pet. If you have a cat, try to match your breathing with your cat’s purr. Studies even suggest that a cat’s purr has healing powers! To get the most out of this meditation, make sure you and your pet are in a quiet place with no distractions. This is a great way to calm an anxious pet and especially helps when dogs are barking. Creating this relaxation for your pet will also help decrease pain in pets that have tense muscles or inflammation caused by disorders such as arthritis.

Chanting and Mantras: Animals respond strongly to the tone of a person’s voice. It’s one of the reasons dog trainers advise owners to not yell at their dogs during training sessions (or ever). Even looking at an animal a certain way can cause them to tremble with feelings of guilt (you’re especially aware of this one if you have a dog).

Chanting sounds such as “om” are very calming and rhythmic and are an easy technique to use as a way to calm anxious pets. For example, if you have a pet that suffers from anxiety while traveling in cars, chant a simple mantra while you’re driving. This is also a technique that can be used to help pets who have trouble sleeping. Feel free to use healthy treats to your pets when you are using the chant or mantra so they will further associate it with something positive.

The chanting can be as simple as a hum or using the word “om”, or it can be more complex, such as a lullaby or a mantra. The mantra and chanting will have positive effects on you as well; they say a daily mantra can stave off depression and foster feelings of positivity and gratitude.

If you think about it, animals meditate on a regular basis anyway. Meditation is simply finding the joy and gratitude of being in the moment. Animals do that everyday. In fact, everything mentioned in this article are benefits your animal companions provide for you. It only makes sense to return the favor.

If you happen to be in the California area on July 18th, 2015, join me for my “Writing as a Path to Awakening” workshop at Spirit Rock for a day of mindfulness meditation and writing. More details: www.spiritrock.com