Category Archives: Philosophical

Silence and Meditation: 24 Ways to Do It


Yesterday we admitted that one of the reasons we don’t have a regular meditation practice is because we’re afraid it may be painful–sitting in one twisted position for hours (days!) on end…! We talked about several different types of meditation and that one of them might be just the ticket for you.

I also wanted to draw your attention to the fact that there are plenty of ways to meditate, to “sit” in silence, that don’t require sitting in one position for a long time.

Here are some suggestions, 24 to be exact:

Taking a slow walk – being aware of the sights, sounds, aromas…

Observing nature – closely watching squirrels, birds, ants, bees…

Moving your body – dance, walking, yoga, gentle exercise…

Doodling – making random marks or shapes;

Studying closely a favorite photograph – of loved ones, a landscape, flowers…

Repetitive activity – gardening, cleaning, folding laundry, kneading dough…

Making sounds – hum one or two notes, play with wind chimes, experiment with pots and pans and empty bottles…

Still water – fill a bowl with water and make ripples, waves, splashes, or gazing into the stillness…

Running water – let water run through your fingers or dangle your feet in a pond or in your bathtub!

Gazing into a flame – a candle flame, flames in a fireplace or fire pit

Gratefulness – counting your blessings instead of your troubles

Laughing – yes, this is a valid meditation technique AS WELL AS yoga technique! Even if you aren’t in a good mood or feel stupid laughing at nothing, force yourself to do it anyway. Soon, you’ll be laughing on your own. If you need a boost to get started, there are YouTube videos of people laughing.

Focus on a peaceful image – water gently lapping on a beach, a burbling brook, a field of flowers swaying in a playful breeze, a beautiful spring day, a peaceful snowy evening…

Memory – remembering and re-living a happy event: the holidays with your loved ones, a special vacation, the birth of a baby…

Listening to music – classical music, sacred music, uplifting music…

Guided meditations – many, many choices on YouTube

Breath – focusing on your breathing, counting your breaths, breathing deeply and slowly…

Rhythmic playing – gently bouncing a ball, easy tossing and catching a ball by yourself, looking through a kaleidoscope…

Letting go – letting your body totally relax, feeling as if you’re melting into the chair or floor or bed…

Daydreaming – softening your focus and gazing out the window

Holding an object – rosary beads, smooth stone, special object…

Rocking – by yourself or with a loved one in a rocking chair, standing and shifting from foot to foot…

Human contact – hug yourself, hug a loved, hold a friend’s hand…

Ponder – an inspiring thought, a sacred passage, something a friend or loved one said that has resonated with you.


The point is that there isn’t only one right way to meditate…although the one right method is the one that works best for you (there can be more than one right method for you).

Choose several of these types because you may find that when you’re in certain moods that some methods work better than others for you.

Experiment and have fun with this! Then commit to doing some type of meditation every day; you’ll be very glad you did!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Quotes to Start Your Week Off Right: Viktor E. Frankl,_New_Hampshire,_1905.JPG


Viktor E. Frankl survived Auschwitz and went on to found Logotherapy, a method of psychotherapy where the patient is guided to discover the meanings to be fulfilled by his/her future.  Frankl believed that the Will to Meaning, as he called it, is one of the most fundamental driving human forces, along with the need for food, clothing, and shelter.

Here are a few of his thoughts—ones that will encourage you to contemplate the deeper reasons for your existence and, thus, directing you toward a personally compelling meaning and purpose in your life.


Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

You don’t have to respond to everything that happens in your day or week.  You can step back, take a breath, and let the situation unfold more fully before choosing how you want to respond—if at all.  Don’t be so quick to judge or to blurt out that snappy comeback.  Perhaps it’s better to wait a beat or two and give yourself a chance to choose what you do or do not want to do.


When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.

When we encounter situations we don’t like, we’re quick to try to change them.  But perhaps the gift lies not in how strong we are and how well we overcome a setback/challenge/obstacle but rather how we can see what it’s revealing in us that needs strengthening or improving or changing in some way.


Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

This is another way of saying what Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”


When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.

Pleasure’s satisfactions are fleeting and, like a drug, one finds that they need more and more of it to receive the same level of pleasure.  Meaning, on the other hand, sates the deep need within all of us to live lives that matter.


Make a note of the quote(s) that resonated with you and keep them handy; refer to them often this week.

Which quote resonated with you?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks!

Please feel free to pass this post along to a friend who may need a boost.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Sitting in Silence: Unbound


In the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am – unbound. ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


This is quote states one of the best reasons to sit in silence and stillness every single day.

There are so many messages that each of us hears every day.  Messages that tell us we’re too old/young, we’re too tall/short, we’re too smart/dumb….  You get the idea; you hear the messages just like I do.

It’s sitting in still silence every day and connecting with the Divine within that counteracts all these wrong messages.  When we touch the Infinite within, we know that we are limitless.  Even though we may be facing difficult circumstances in our lives, when we’re connected with the All-Knowing we know that the circumstances are temporary—they’re just passing through—and beyond them is something much better.

Join with me this week in sitting in silent stillness every morning this week.  Don’t stress over sitting at a particular time that’s the same time as everyone else.  In the Infinite, there is no such thing as space or time, which means that no matter when you are sitting, we are there with you in spirit.

We’ll be talking about sitting in silence all week so let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Year End Reflections: Thank You, 2016. Farewell!


Today is the last day of 2016.  How will you turn off the lights, close and lock the door on 2016?

Many of us will go to, or watch on TV or the Internet, some type of celebration.  Some of us will participate in some type of ritual whether it’s spiritually or religious based, or some other  way to mark the passing of one year into the next.  Others of us will wait quietly in our homes with friends or loved ones—or by ourselves—as we watch the final ticks of 2016’s clock.

I will spend the day alone in silent contemplation, even as I go about practical tasks such as clearing out those items that no longer serve me, putting the final touches on systems to help me achieve some of my dreams in 2017, and finalizing and archiving files for 2016.

I’ll be reflecting on all the good that came to me in 2016, such as you, Dear Reader, sticking with me—thank you!  I’ll even reflect on the “bad stuff”—reflect, not wallow or angst or beat myself up over it.  I’ll be grateful for the benefits that were wrapped up in the rough patches, even though at the time I didn’t always see the good.  To me, this is the best way to show my gratitude of having had the honor and privilege to live every moment of 2016 when so many I knew did not.

So, at 11:59:59 local time, with deep reverence and profound gratitude, I’ll be turning off the light, closing, and locking the door on 2016.

What will you do?

Your Friend and Pep Pal,



Year End Reflections: After Holidays Blues—Another Thought


Yesterday we talked about the blues we often get after the holidays are over.  Today I want to mention that another way to look at this—just a thought to keep in mind.

Oftentimes we feel disappointed because we’re looking at a situation from our point of view, not other people’s.  We’re comparing things to the idealized version we have in our heads and we assume others are, too.  We think they’re thinking and feeling the same way we’re thinking and feeling.

That isn’t always the case.

Most likely, others don’t have that same idea so, to them, the holidays were probably much better than what we assume they’re thinking.

As I said, just another thought to keep in mind.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Year End Reflections: Strong Emotions

WEB Christmas Trees and Gazebo


A friend of mine mentioned that this time of year is filled with a lot of strong emotion and throughout the holiday season, we may experience all of them.

We can be happy and excited. This time of year is filled with special celebrations to look forward to. We can feel harried and rushed because of all the preparations that still need to be done but we feel we’re running out of time!

We can feel melancholy because we might not be able to see or spend time with everyone we care about. We might feel sad because some of those people live on only in our fond memories of them.

During this time of year, it isn’t unusual to feel discouraged. The first half of this month we talked about our 2016 goals and resolutions–the ones we achieved, the ones we’re still working on, and the ones we didn’t touch. Even though we saw that there is plenty to celebrate and feel proud of, we still might feel a little discouraged anyway.

We can feel disheartened, too, as we prepare for 2017. We might be anxious about whether or not 2017 really will be different–better–than 2016. At times we might be worried that 2017 will be more of the same–or worse.

We’ll talk about these emotions for the rest of the month. Feel free to let me know if there is an emotion you’d like me to write about. Leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Stillness and Silence: A Quote


Listen to yourself. Silence the voices all around you. People will come by and shake the snow globe that is your world:  A critical comment, some idle gossip, a slammed door, and the snow starts swirling.  Be calm, be quiet.  Let it all swirl.  It will all settle and you’ll discover that the treasure inside remains steadfast and strong.  There’s a true place for everyone.  Yours doesn’t belong to anyone else.

~Regina Brett author of Be the Miracle


Silence is critical to self-actualization. Not only to calm the constantly yakking–and even screaming–voices inside of us, but also to shut out the roar of the world.   Today’s quote reminds us of this.

How are you doing in your practice of stillness and silence?  What insights and discoveries have you made?  Let me know in the comments below!

Stay tuned to these posts for an update on my practice of stillness and silence and the new things I’ve discovered.


Your Friend and Pep Pal,




Crisis of Faith/Hope–Isn’t a Bad Thing


I was with my friend this weekend, the one I told you about who’s going through a crisis of faith/hope. She’s still grappling with her thoughts and feelings, yet I can see that she’s gradually finding her way through.

I’m very careful with my friend right now because I know she’s vulnerable and fragile. I also know that this crisis is actually very helpful.  And, it’s a very good sign for her overall personal development.  This crisis is getting her to ask and answer some deep questions–questions and answers that are essential to self actualization.

Some of the questions she’s asking herself are:

~Is this all there is?

~I’ve worked hard all my life; I didn’t think I’d wind up here!

~After a lifetime of supporting and encouraging others: What about me: my dreams, my Destiny?!

~Now what?!

What about you? Have you asked–and answered–these questions lately?  You may have asked these questions last year or a few years ago and, in the meantime, you’ve changed.  Carve out a quiet morning or afternoon to answer these for yourself.

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Quotes: All is Not Lost


I have a dear friend who is in the midst of a crisis of faith–not necessarily in a religious sense, although there is a spiritual component to her “lost wanderings”, but more of a bewilderment at Life in general.

I’ve found it very difficult to know what to say to help her. I don’t want to parrot the old maxims that are insulting in their triteness but yet there has to be something that someone has said that can give a flicker of light to someone struggling in the murk and gloom.

Below are a few quotes I found that I thought might give her something to cling to as she works her way through this.

Let me know what you think of them:


Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it. ― J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation


Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go. ― May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude


Those who make us believe that anything’s possible and fire our imagination over the long haul, are often the ones who have survived the bleakest of circumstances. The men and women who have every reason to despair, but don’t, may have the most to teach us, not only about how to hold true to our beliefs, but about how such a life can bring about seemingly impossible social change. ― Paul Rogat Loeb, The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear


Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that has been denied.

~Elif Shafak


When all else is lost, the future still remains. ― Christian Bovee


But hope is no less realistic than despair. It is still our choice whether to live in light or lie down in darkness. ― Rick Yancey, The Isle of Blood


The death of a dream can in fact serve as the vehicle that endows it with new form, with reinvigorated substance, a fresh flow of ideas, and splendidly revitalized color. In short, the power of a certain kind of dream is such that death need not indicate finality at all but rather signify a metaphysical and metaphorical leap forward.

~Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams


To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing ― Raymond Williams


Which quotes did you like? Let me know in the comments below.

Please pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


Self-Actualization: What it Isn’t


A few thoughts on what self-actualization isn’t:


It isn’t a race to the “top of the ladder”

Even though Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need is depicted as a pyramid, that’s just a rough way of characterizing esoteric concepts. There is no real “top” to get to.  It’s all about being more of who you Truly Are.


It isn’t about getting more money, more power, more prestige

Although these things may come to people who are fully committed to self-actualization, they aren’t at all what these people strive for.


It isn’t becoming better than anyone else; it isn’t about narcissism or self-aggrandizement

It’s about being who you were born to be and doing what you were born to do.


It isn’t about finally getting to Easy Street

It can be a difficult journey because self actualization is about giving up ego and looking yourself in the eye and accepting yourself as you are in each moment; it’s about forgiving and letting it all go.


It isn’t about any religion or philosophy

Although, self-actualization is deeply profound and sacred.


What are your thoughts about self-actualization or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need, or the Chakras. Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,