Tag Archives: meditation

Still Here. Still Nobody. Still Going Strong!

Still here.  Still here.

Thanks to those of you who have stuck around to read over the course of the last few weeks.  It’s been the best of times and the worst of times, but luckily, the worst of times were very short and are now getting more distant in life’s rear view mirror.

Of course, attitude wasn’t everything, but it was a big part of it, so with that being said, let’s move on in joy into 2013!  Can’t spend all our time lamenting.  Has to be some time in there for the good stuff.  I’m shooting for 98.56% good stuff.

So, the new year has brought some new news, some new surprises, and some of the same ol’ same ol’.  Has yours been the same?  I have a new recliner and a new bookcase.  There’s something for which to be thankful.  Some stones still haven’t moved, while others continue to roll on, even when I try to stop them!

President Obama was sworn in to another term and Vice President Biden also had his swearing in.  The NFL playoffs march on into another week, getting us closer to the Super Bowl which, for those of us who don’t give a hoot about either team, is really just a chance to watch 30 second commercials the cost of which could feed a poor country for weeks.

I continue to meet new people and re-connect with others I’ve not seen in a while.  Meditation techniques grow in new directions, with new techniques that help me to focus day by day.  I’m meeting cynics, skeptics, and believers, all of which only serve to drive home the notion that I am on the right path — nothing set in stone, but just trying to be that ol’ Citizen of the World.

I still dream of India.  I still wake up in my home city at 5:30am for work.  I still believe the yin-yang is one of the most beautiful metaphorical drawings ever created, and I’m finding myself more comfortable in my skin as days go on.

For those of you who care (and, surprisingly, for those who don’t), I want to give you the Nobody message for January 2013: Embrace your Nobody Nature to the fullest.  Cherish your ability to struggle in the daily grind without the benefit of prying eyes and paparazzi.  Know more and more each day that you are the trendsetter.  That fashion is only fashion because you wear it.  Top 40 is only Top 40 because you download it.  Movie starts only make it because you buy the tickets. I had occasion the other day, in my new recliner, to think about that message a little bit for myself.  I realized that when I turn the movies off and go sit for a while to meditate, I’m making a free and conscious choice that is not really informed by anything other than my own will.  Nobody’s watching.  Nobody’s reporting.  Nobody’s counting.

It’s just this Nobody experiencing.

I hope your 2013 is full of your own special brand of magic, your own special choices, and, most importantly, peace.  You are the world and you make it spin, so…enjoy!

Advertisements

As Ramadan 2011 Begins, Consider Discipline in Your Life, No Matter Your Religion

Ramadan 2011 has begun.  The sighting of the moon has signaled the start.

Are you Muslim?  Do you fast during this holy Islamic month?

Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, a commandment that fasting from dawn until dusk be part of a Muslim’s day for this one month of Ramadan.  Less time thinking about food, and more time thinking about God.  There is prayer and ritual, as well as an idea that something is greater than indulging in daily satisfaction of our human instincts, no matter how important they are.  This is also a month for enhancing one’s obligation of zakat, charity (another Pillar). Providing food for evening meals to those in need and supporting the local mosque are quite important.

Millions fast together during this month, aligning their wills into a goal of discipline.  There’s something powerful in the idea that if one fasts alone, it can be a trial (though a trial of love).  If one fasts as part of a world community, there is a social will that creates strong bonds.

Other traditions have discipline.  In Judaism, Jews have their day of fasting (Yom Kippur) and for Christians, the time of Lent might be a period of reflection as something is sacrificed for a time in order to focus the mind on something higher.

But outside of the religious processes of denial, is there a discipline you have that gives you strength?  See, true discipline is not really about whether or not you believe in a higher power.  It’s about whether you can subdue your urges and cravings for the purpose of reducing your stresses and anxieties.  Now, fasting is certainly a mainstay of world religion in terms of showing submission and gratitude.  But what about ordinary life in the secular world?

Well, in everyday life, discipline (yoga, meditation, holding one’s tongue, journaling, taking a regular walk) is about subverting your cravings and desires so that mentally, you are less agitated.  If we have the power to focus and do what we must, then we are less apt to become scattered and less prone to pining away for things we miss or can’t have.  When we realize that it is our constant wanderings and wantings that create a sense of unease, then we can get about solving those problems with a little attunement (atonement?).

This month is Ramadan 2011.  It’s a time when Muslims the world over will practice a discipline of fasting in order to serve and remember God.  No matter your religious persuasion, why not try to make this a month of new discipline?Walk for 20 minutes a day (with your doctor’s permission) or keep a dream journal by your bed.  Eat one more serving of veggies at dinner or sit for five minutes and listen to your breath as it enters and leaves your body.

Oh, and if you can drag a friend along for the ride, more’s the better.  After all, the will of two can often conquer what the will of one might not.  I hope you find that a little discipline goes a long way to a lot of peace of mind.

July 4, 2011, is Independence Day — a Time to Reflect on Freedom

We’ve arrived at that time again — a time of food, fireworks, and freedom.

July 4, 2011, is upon us, and with it, all the wonderful things we’ve come to expect from a summer day.  Some of my first memories of Fourth of July celebrations involve tart lemonade, mosquito spray, and hot dogs (not all in one bite!).  It was a time to gather in the park with other cooler-toting families for a fun-filled night of spectacular sights and sounds.

But what else does this Independence Day 2011 bring?  What other messages can we take away today?

As you may know, the Fourth of July refers to July 4, 1776, and the adoption of our Declaration of Independence.  That was no small feat, for it signaled a tangible break with Great Britain and declared a very real separation.  The history of any breakaway is messy business, and this was no different.  Leaving the Motherland behind meant war.  The Declaration of Independence meant business.

And here we are in 2011 still enjoying the fruits of decisions made so long ago.

Enjoy your day today.  Have an extra hotdog and light an extra sparkler.  If you’re so inclined, maybe you could pilfer another piece of pie.  But try something else on this Fourth of July.  As you are busy having fun and splashing around in the ol’ blow-up pool, take four minutes to simply sit in silence.  In that silence, fill your mind with all the blessings in your life.  Today isn’t simply about freedom between countries, but all the blessings freedom can bring.  Can you go out in your backyard and have a political discussion without fear of your neighbors turning you in?  Can you jump in your car to visit Grandma in another state without worrying about harassment along the way?  Can you change jobs, go back to school, hold a differing viewpoint from your boss, create a free blog, or get to work on that controversial novel you’ve been wanting to write?

You see, that four minutes I suggested isn’t a bland exercise in counting.  It’s a vibrant moment of meditation that can merge the spirit of a holiday with the joys and wonderful challenges of your life.  Our nation is not in a time of complete harmony and perfection.  No nation is!  We struggle, differ, and bicker just like any other country.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t revel in the personal ways we experience freedom.  None of us were alive on July 4, 1776 (if you were, please let me know!), but we can keep the spirit alive with a declaration of our own — a declaration to love, pursue, strive, and exist.

I wish you all the best and I want for you only joy on this Fourth of July, 2011.  Make your life whatever you want it to be.

Oh, and by the way, I’m planning on two pieces of pie later.  Don’t tell!

Chase Bank Has It Inside Out When It Comes To Yoga

Have you seen that new ad on TV with the woman in the yoga studio?

I just saw it last night.

Apparently, she is in the middle of a yoga session.  At some point, her phone buzzes to alert her that, for some reason, at that very moment, her bank balance is low.  She uses the yoga pose to stretch into a new position that allows her to transfer money into her account before she gets back into the proper pose.

The guy next to her seems to be struggling, but her smug look obviously comforts him…or something like that.

Anyway, when the teacher walks by, she is supposedly blissfully unaware of the clandestine transaction that has taken place directly under her nose.  Such a clever student!

I could only groan when I saw this.  First, if this woman is thinking about her bank balance in the middle of a one-hour yoga class, then it doesn’t matter what stretches or poses she does…she obviously needs to re-set her focus.  Also, I’m sure the other people in the class are really appreciative of her transferring money on a cell phone during their one-hour break in the day.

Obviously this rant is not about a commercial.  I know it’s just a Hollywood bit.  But the point gets back to our previous commentary on courtesy, taking it a step further.  Not only has common decency gone out the window in many places (restaurants, movies, etc.), but I am sure many of you out there have stories of how this goes on in church, synagogue, yoga class.  The list goes on and on.

If you have ever tried to meditate, you know how much concentration it takes.  You know how the mind is…”un-stilled”…with just the slightest provocation.

And, you know how hard it is to stay away from the phone and email, even when you are supposedly quieting down.

Therefore, let us all take this ridiculous commercial as a wake up call.  Let’s try to use some portion of the day for relaxation and calm, despite the pull of the world.  If you can’t devote an hour, devote a minute.  Stop listening to the TV and listen to your breath for a second.  Walk to the fridge to get an apple and count the steps.  Take a drink of water and feel the swallow.  Iron a shirt and see the wrinkles disappear.

You know what to do.  Once you put the cell phone down, it should be clear.