Category Archives: Spiritual

Silence and Meditation: 24 Ways to Do It

https://pixabay.com/en/balance-meditation-meditate-silent-110850/

 

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,

Lauren

Quotes to Start Your Week Off Right: Viktor E. Frankl

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mark_Twain,_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,

Lauren

Sitting in Silence: Different Types of Silent Meditation

https://pixabay.com/en/the-mother-of-grandma-woman-478319/

 

When we think of meditating, the image that comes to mind is someone sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion, back straight, eyes closed, and hands with palms up resting on the knees.

That’s only one way to meditate or to sit in silence.

If sitting like this doesn’t work for you, try a reclining position on a bed or couch.  For instance, sometimes I will sit in my recliner.  There’s a certain angle that’s impossible for me to achieve when sitting upright that, when I’m leaning back in the recliner at that particular angle, my lower back seems to instantly relax, which then allows me to meditate deeper.

Perhaps a walking meditation would suit you better, especially if it’s in a lovely garden or lightly wooded park.  You may find that being near moving water works for you, such as walking along a beach or sitting beside a burbling brook.  Or maybe it’s still water that does the trick for you.  A serene and calm lake or pond with its mirror-like surface may inspire you to release, let go, and to become calm and unruffled like the tranquil waters.

I came across this website that lists and explains 23 types of meditation.  Try a few of the methods.  Perhaps you’ll find that by combining a few and tweaking them a bit, it’ll be the perfect vehicle for your daily silent mediation practice.

Give it a try!

Let me know which of the meditation styles you like.  And, please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Sitting in Silence: Unbound

https://pixabay.com/en/looking-up-hope-black-white-906888/

 

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,

Lauren

A Meaningful Life: An Additional Thought

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L%C3%A9on_Perrault,_1894_-_Mother_with_Child.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L%C3%A9on_Perrault,_1894_-_Mother_with_Child.jpg

 

Yesterday we talked about how self-actualization, purpose, and meaning work together. I gave a few examples and today I want to add an additional thought about creating a meaningful life.

As I said yesterday, we often think of famous people when we think of those living meaningful lives. Their accomplishments are huge and their impact is enormous.

It seems that from a young age they are just a little bit different from those around them. Even though they may claim to have been unremarkable children, they seem to have had a drive or passion or strength of spirit that was just a little more than the other children in their school and neighborhood.

All of this adds up and then makes us think that in order to have a life full of meaning, we “should have” started when we were young by knowing we were cut out to do something different, something more. And, we think that from a young age, there “should have” been something that captured our attention, almost to the point of obsession. And since none of this happened to us we think that a meaningful life is not meant for us.

But that isn’t true!

Those of us who are mere mortals can still have a life that’s rich, fulfilling, satisfying, that brings us contentment and joy, where we feel we’re making a difference and that our lives matter. Even though history may never record our names or achievements in the annals of time, our lives can be deeply profound.

So don’t write yourself off or think that your life is wasted. If you’re still breathing—if you’re still on this side of the dirt (on top of the dirt instead of underneath it)—then you can still have a deeply profoundly meaningful life.

I believe in you!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Year End Reflections: Thank You, 2016. Farewell!

https://pixabay.com/en/mural-girl-balloon-heart-graffiti-1331783/
https://pixabay.com/en/mural-girl-balloon-heart-graffiti-1331783/

 

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,

Lauren

 

Year End Reflections Merry Christmas Quotes

Copyright 2016 Artisans Workshop Designs
Copyright 2016 Artisans Workshop Designs

 

Merry Christmas!  I wish you and your loved ones all the best the Season has to offer.

It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!… Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more! ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect. — Oren Arnold

Enjoy your celebrations!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Lauren