Buddhism, Healing, Meditation, Mindfulness

Brief Practice – Grateful Brain

The Covid Daze – I am so aware of the strains it has placed on myself and my world. I am a little short on joyous and grateful states of mind and short on enthusiasm. Apparently, this is a pretty common reaction from such an event and is actually a perfectly reasonable response to trauma. A malaise state. but I am feeling a little done with it personally.

Mind Clouds

Throughout these “times” I have continued to check in and sit with a group of Insight Meditators – on line. They have been my anchor point to return to practice again and again. “Just Begin Again” being my motto for 2021.

Sitting with Mission Dharma this week the teacher Howie Cohen shared his wife’s technique for gratefulness. She is using the phrase “I get to” instead of “I have to”. I get to go to work. I get to clean the house. Etc. I tried “I get to pay my taxes” and it brought the benefits I receive from the tax system to my mind!

It is an insightful short practice to interject into the day here and there. Reframing the lens the mind is viewing through. Creates the added benefit of giving a positive spin to something that needs to be done. I found it helpful with my “ Malaise”. Doing it with a compassion for self is even better. These have been strange days indeed.

🌎Peace

Meditation

The Covid. Is There something I should be doing?

On The British TV series The Crown a young Queen Elizabeth learns that what she must do most often is – nothing. That waiting for the right moment is what needs to be done and sometimes that moment just does not happen.

The COVID and ensuing crisis have given me a great sense of urgency. I feel I must be alert and at ready. My parasympathetic nervous system has become frayed by this as what I mostly need to do is – nothing.

Busy Brain Churning

Really – I tell myself there is not much to do BUT Be Sage, Be Kind and Be Calm. Still in the swirl of thoughts and emotions I am overly vigilant. I think that ties into my last post on Epigenetics. There is a part of me that was born vigilant and it is pretty certain This COVID means business. This part of my wiring isn’t going to take much downtime right now. What I do is transfer that need to do something to small daily tasks. Everything seems more urgent than it really is.

The other day though, the vigilance just cut out. It stopped and I lay on the spare bed relaxed. In fact oddly relaxed. No racing thoughts, no chatter, No desire to check on the state of affairs. I just lay there in a state of calm. I became more aware that I have been engaged in this over functioning behaviour. It seemed to lessen with the awareness.

Just prior to this in a few of my meditations I had begun to see that part of myself that is deeply wired to watch for threats. Constantly looking for threats – I have very little trust. I think some version of this survival focussed mind has been running since birth.

The Journey

The learning never stops. COVID is the new teacher.

🌸 May you find peace – May you be sage.

2020, Buddhism, Contemplation, Meditation, Mindfulness

On being – slowed

I lived for a time on a small island in the Salish Sea. I was so used to being in the “busy” city of Vancouver that I would get in my car and drive around the Island a few times just to do something. I’d take the ferry to the next Island and back just for a feeling of busy . I am doing the likes of that again. While trying hard to react and respond with sanity to first The Covid situation and now deep smoke from the disastrous fires along The West Coast of North America … some days working on projects in my little yard, townhouse and on my self, are just not enough. I get in my car and drive around the neighborhood for no good reason. I am in many ways – back on the Island

Babellz Art
Smoke at The Lake 2020

Apparently the neural pathways laid down in childhood stay there for life. My family were not sitting still folks. It was go go go. Lots of car trips, people, parties along with a good dose of parental relationship chaos sprinkled in. The family method to cope with any stressor was to kick into action. A favourite of my father’s was to throw the four kids into a car with The Wife and head down Interstate 5 to California for fun. Just Go was the motto.

I am grateful for much of what the current situation is teaching me but gawd it is not easy. The greatest gains seem to come from stillness and reflection and not action. A complete reversal of my life long strategy. At times I wonder if we are in a chapter of the Bible’s Revelations, experiencing the end of a Kalpa or if I myself will just be taken out by this virus. My mind can run amok pretty easily with it all. .,

I am grateful to the Teachers of Calm who put themselves on Apps like Insight Timer for so many to access. I am also deeply grateful to Sanghas like Insight Meditation Scottsdale.

🌸 Peace

Meditation, Mindfulness

Sangha – in These Times

I dwell in both Arizona and British Columbia. I was summoned back to Canada my birth country in March along with many other people to shelter in place from The Covid – since then my movements have been pretty contained. Like most of the rest of the world. I miss my easy ramblings.

You would think being restricted to home would be the perfect situation to practice meditation but the push back inside me to not practice has been tremendous. I have rebuilt a deck, shredded an enormous amount of documents, gardened a lot, ate a lot – but sitting has been really hard.

I have been joining my Meditation group from Scottsdale Arizona Monday nights and I have done 2 weekend Vipassana retreats led by Howie Cohen – via Zoom. This has been fabulous but my daily practice has been spotty. Just when it would be most supportive – I let this intense restlessness interrupt.

Last night Genevieve Tregor who leads the Scottsdale Sangha spoke directly to this. Like she magically could read my state! She shared she was feeling it – other’s in the Sangha did too. She suggested that agitation masks emotion we may want to look deeper into. A fellow practitioner pointed out that a walking meditation is helpful for the agitated body. Other ideas were discussed. What stayed with me was that I was in the company of folks having similar reactions to The Covid situation. Sangha is an immense support – in times like these. Just touching base with like minds has encouraged me and once more, as I suggested in my last post, I Begin Again.

Contemplation, Meditation, Mindfulness

The Collective

As I write this it has been a rather distressing few weeks in the North American social order. Young adults seduced by poisoned internet chats running amok, killing their own people. A steady diet of nutrient deficient “Mind Kool Aid” (created by corporate greed) finally frying brains.

I sense increasing unsettled and anxious feelings in my self and others. The relentless doomsday talk about global warming, Trump, impending economic shifts – psycho killers running loose – all creating anxiety. Caught in some kind of web created by these influences I skipped my meditation practice for a few days – the anxiety grew. I watched mainstream news more. More jumpy feelings ensued. The point is that this chaos – it weighs heavy on my heart and I sense it in the recesses of my mind. It chats away back there – unsettling. I am concerned for my society and the planet. Yet the way things are reported makes me feel helpless. Crazy issues reported with few solutions.

Then I recalled the notion of each of us having a part to play in the the group mind.

Babellz Art

The belief held by some that we share mind – that there is a collective unconscious. While part of the mind is proprietary another part runs deeper and shares components with other people. We all contribute to it and are affected by it. I like this idea.

The Transcendental Meditation (TM) folks are big proponents of the idea. They believe that if many of us practice meditation it will benefit the whole community in a profound way. The Maharishi Effect. Prayer is often viewed as having a similar effect. I decided that I at least have the power to practice meditation and prayer. I Pray that it will be beneficial to more than just myself in some way. So this week I resolved to get back to a 30 minute basic mindfulness practice – every day. Talk about resistance! Still, I made myself sit in mindful practice – daily.

I noticed immediately that I am calmer at the end of my meditation and the day goes better. Clearer in thought – Perhaps this is beneficial to The Collective? It is definitely beneficial to me!

We are living in a complex system with rapid rates of change. Emergent phenomena arising from the system – in good and bad ways. Taking this 30 to 60 minutes a day to create some calm is something I just can not afford to skip.

What a difference it makes to my day. Perhaps it does more.

🌓 Peace

Healing, Meditation, Mindfulness, Non Attachment

Star Tetrahedrons

At a guided group meditation I had an unusual experience of energy flowing through my body. It was a physical and visionary experience. I saw and sensed the energy as a geometric form. I assumed I had entered into Theta level brain waves. It is at the slower and deeper Theta level that vision states occur. A subconscious meets conscious mind – affair.

When the star first contacted me I blocked it – Control Mode but then I let go into a mindful meditation state. The grid of energy centred itself in and through my heart chakra. As the meditation went on the grid connected to more of my body’s energy network. I felt like a powerful healer was doing a hands on energy session with me. Super Reiki!

I have since come to know that what I saw is called a Tetrahedron Star. When I googled what I saw I located geometric images and a huge number of sites with their interpretation of a what is also called a Merkaba. The best graphic I found belongs to the Aurora Ascension site.

My experience of it felt very personal and it didn’t feel right to take an interpretation of it from The Web. It was interesting to read other people’s thoughts about what it might be though. It is a fairly well known phenomena (in certain circles) that can occur during prayer and meditation. The question was what did it mean for me?

What I decided was that the “Star Tetrahedron” manifested from the vortex (as Esther Hicks would say) to let me know that there IS more than 3D World. A moment of connection to the larger soul group – perhaps god. I decided not to over interpret the experience. To keep the analysis to a minimum. The experience hasn’t come again and that is okay but I haven’t forgotten it either. I keep it as a touch stone for when I need a reminder that we are more than what usually appears in this 3D world.

Peace 🌸

Buddhism, Contemplation, Meditation, Mindfulness

Simultaneous Co-existence

I have come to believe that we are energetic beings existing here materially as we co-exist simultaneously – elsewhere. This belief formed via a meditation/vision where I caught a glimpse of myself as quite connected to a realm beyond. I had a sense of 80% of myself in the “elsewhere” with the rest filtering down a connecting cord into my body. The body – the ‘I’ was experiencing the material world and sharing it with The Elsewhere. As fast as I saw this – it disappeared. Just a glimpse, a moment’s insight.

The vision reminded me of the Chilean scientists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varella. I studied them during my thesis writing days. I perceived in their theories the notion that that mind is not located in the brain nor body. Mind connects through us in relation to others, perhaps – The Elsewhere. I reviewed their writings thinking that I could find a concise quote about their take on this to share here. It couldn’t be easily found and I realized that what I thought they had said was actually my personal synthesis and understanding of their very complex work. I have no doubt over simplified it. Still – something there resonated with my meditative insight. We are more than what our day to day conscious being is aware of. We are not in this alone.

I get to thinking that all Earth beings are looping here in the material world. Cycling our material bits about the constructs of the planet – like water does on earth. A cloud one day – dinosaur pee the next. “Ashes to ashes – dust to dust but Then I get a glimpse of myself coexisting in more than one dimension. A powerful spiritual moment that leads me to believe in the etherical cycle along with the material one.

Babellz Art
Soul Light

PEACE 🌼

Healing, Meditation

Dimensional Healing

Babellz Art
Dreamscape Streams

As a child I had a reoccurring dream where I would place my hands on people, and heal their ailments. This went on until I took an energy work class in my late 20’s. At that point I guess I had brought the ability up to my conscious mind and my subconscious let that message go – the dreams stopped. I continue taking healing classes of different kinds as there are many ways to do this. I never took up being a healer formally. I have participated in it for a long time though by occasionally working on myself, friends and family.

I was at an Adam Dreamhealer workshop where he explained he had moved from doing healing to teaching healing because we heal better when we do it ourselves. I gained a lot of insight from Adam’s work. His books have these really useful illustrations, his talks are sensible and full of “how to” information. When I check in on his social media sites I still find his writing and presentations most interesting. He has gone from being the youthful Dreamhealer to mature father and Dr. McLeod – Naturopath as an adult. Busy and evolving – he doesn’t do exactly the same workshops now as I had access to but he is still most interesting.

Through Adam and other classes on healing I began to practice Long Distance Healing akin to Focused Intention and Remote Healing. This is done while away from the person. It entails being in a meditative state where your mind is settled, clear and in alignment with your higher “best” self. You approach the person or your own self with respectful separation (make sure there is agreement that your intentions are appreciated and allowed). Visualize the person or an image of your self at arms length or so away from you.

Ask for permission to send healing light, wait for a reply – just listen to the person first. What comes up? – pay attention and then offer the person your healing energy transmission. I think taking a class in this is important but it is simple to try it on your own to get the idea.

I do more listening than sending than I used to. One of the things that seems to really help is to simply assist the person with grounding to the earth through their base chakra and connect them to their own higher self /star through their crown chakra. Help their own energy to flow and release. Yup – I think maybe a class in Reiki or other healing modality or two is a good thing to do if you are interested in this work.

Peace 🌟

Meditation, Mindfulness

The Low light Daze

It is a cold winter day here in Vancouver. The height of what I call The Canadian Depression Season. I am not depressed this season like I have been in some winters past. I attribute part of this to a regular meditation practice.

It is no wonder people hesitate to go for assistance with depression or other conditions as once you enter the medical system you are given labels that stay in your mind and become absolutes. Once a person in authority like a Physician (or other expert) labels you this or that – it goes deep into the subconscious. I know they need to do this to make sense of an issue but the downside is that it comes to be a fixed story that you and the system fixate on.

I took hypnotherapy training a long time after my “diagnosis” and this phenomena of a person in authority programming the unconscious was explained. It is known as Waking Hypnosis and Hyper-suggestibility.

It is usually covert … everyone is subject to suggestions made by others, especially those in a place of greater authority or expertise. When a patient seeks an opinion from a doctor, what the doctor tells the client can be very powerful.1

The part of the mind that normally filters and critiques is bypassed when in a heightened state of emotion like anxiety. The information goes straight to the subconscious as a fact.

In spite of my dislike of labels and authority, I owned the idea that I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with a dose of mood disorder. I took physician recommended steps to deal with it. I still use a big Daylight Lamp each day through Depression Season and I take medication as needed. I eat right now and keep a normal sleep schedule. Unless I intend to hibernate like a bear all winter and get all moody – I need to keep an eye on the “condition”. But … I also realize that when I was initially labeled I bought into a sense of despair about being damaged “forever” that did not help the situation.

Since I took up a regular practice of Mindfulness Meditation I have become aware of the states of my mind. I see them shift and change and I know they are not absolute. I also see the story lines that the labels created. Like weather systems the states and stories of the mind pass and I have ceased to fear that they rule me. I have become more confident in myself again as I see the transience of thoughts and emotions. The meditation practice is part of an overall lifestyle change that I have been working on – for quite some time. A work in progress. I appreciate the assistance I received from the medical community – particularly the lifestyle guidance. I value the meditation training very much.

Peace 🌼

1 Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Calvin D. Banyan and Gerald F. Kein p218

Meditation, Mindfulness, Non Attachment

Clouds – Thoughts – Mind

There is a spectacular drive in British Columbia called The Coquihalla Highway. It climbs an astonishing 1200 m in 47 km ( 3900 feet in 30 miles). Takes about a half hour to drive that from the town of Hope, BC. It is the first really big mountain pass heading east out of Vancouver, BC. As weather comes into it from the Pacific Ocean it gets very complex systems rolling about it’s mountain peaks and fabulous skies to go with that. I have had white knuckle drives across it when it is winter (made famous by the Highway through Hell series). After a winter drive I often swear I will never brave it again but then spring comes.

This past fall I drove it in it’s glory. Blue skies, fresh green trees and big fluffy white clouds greeted me. Babellz Art

I was really taken with the clouds against the blue sky. I drove along thinking about my issues in life – looking at the clouds and trees. Eventually I stopped and got out of the car to really look at the sky and the clouds. They were like big beings floating about. I felt they were very close – just above my head but when I went to take photos of them they seemed far away. A trick of the camera and a trick of the mind. From the perspective of my mind the sky seemed all cloud but from another perspective they were separate and there was a great deal of clear sky.

Like the thoughts of my mind – yup. I first thought of my thoughts as clouds in my early meditation days when I was with Cecile Kwiat. I was reminded of it again by Andy Puddicome in his Headspace App. It is a great way to let go.

I have been using Andy’s Headspace App for a quite a while now. I recommend it to quite a few folks. The first 10 lessons are free and can easily be repeated. Andy is a former Buddhist Monk now Buddhist entrepreneur – a beneficial entrepreneur. His free introductory section reframed my clouds to traffic on a road. That fits lately – cars move faster and beep more than clouds. My mind is pretty chatty.

Whether conceived as clouds, traffic or a river flowing by becoming aware that thoughts are constructs of the mind not absolutes is a relief to me each meditation. It allows non-attachment to develop. So much of what I conceive as urgent JUST isn’t and like clouds, cars and flowing streams will move on at their own pace without my interfering.

Peace 🌟