Meditation: Priceless Gifts for Free

I hate to admit this, but I’ve been neglecting my meditation practice lately, big time. I’ve allowed myself to become “too busy.”  The result?  Well, let’s just say that I haven’t been my usual joyful self. I gave myself an inner boost this morning, though, and it made such a difference that I felt inspired to share.

Here are just some of the benefits you might receive in a 20-minute meditation:

  • Be reminded that your life is not about the outside world and all its complications.
  • Experience a sense of privilege to have been given the opportunity to live.
  • Feel closely connected with the energy behind all of life.
  • Remember how you are really supposed to show up.
  • Become refreshed with a deep sense of peace and joy

Would you agree that this list of benefits reads like a seminar you might pay hundreds of dollars for?

Meditation is free. Here’s a great wikiHow article to help you get started.

I’d love to hear your comments on what meditation has done for you.

Your Heart: Your Wisest Compass

Giving credibility to messages from your heart is a key step to happiness in all areas of your life. Yet most of us have not been taught to lead our lives this way. We may recognize that a fulfilled heart is the key to a happy life, yet we don’t often trust our hearts to lead us there. It is as if we expect that our heart is going to lead us down an irresponsible path of whim and wild.

 

How to trust your heart more than your analytical mind:

  1. Allow your heart to play a role in all matters of your life, just as you allow it a significant role in your personal relationships.
  2. Acknowledge that your heart is the center of your spiritual essence. As such, it is the most knowledgeable entity about who you really are at the core and what is right for you.
  3. Believe that your heart always has your best interest in mind.
  4. Practice following your heart for simple decisions so that you can build the experience to trust it in larger issues.

Science Shows the Amazing Benefits of Meditation

http://innerarchitect.com

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been deep in study of the scientific evidence that has come to light that supports many of the spiritual principles that have resonated with me without any hard proof. It has been fascinating and exciting to learn about all the correlations! In particular, I’d like to recommend Lynne McTaggart’s book, The Intention Experiment to anyone interested in learning about this new frontier where science and spirituality come together.

In her book, Lynne McTaggart has taught me much that I didn’t know about meditation. I have viewed meditation as a method for tuning in to my inner wisdom and to connect with divine energy, yet there are so many practical benefits that I am guessing many of us are unaware of. If we were, we might all be clamoring to make it a vital practice in our lives. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Experienced meditators can be more effective in their ability to use their thoughts to effectively influence desired outcomes. Generally speaking, there are two different forms of meditation. Each may produce different brain waves, and consequently offer different benefits:

Concentrative meditation holds attention on the breath, an image, or a sound to still the mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge. With practice, it appears to enlarge the mechanism by which we receive information and clarify the reception.

By concentrating on focused thoughts, the portion of the brain that handles attention is exercised. This exercise enables its cortical thickness to grow larger. Ordinarily cortical thickness deteriorates with age, yet regular meditation appears to reduce or reverse this process.

Mindfulness meditation involves sitting quietly and being a witness to whatever goes through your mind, not becoming involved or reacting to thoughts, worries, or images. This helps to condition a more calm, clear, and non-reactive state of mind to whatever is happening around and within you.

Studies have shown some other general benefits of meditation to include:

  • Higher levels of gamma waves, which often are associated with feelings of joy
  • A predominance of alpha rhythms, which is the optimal state for the manifestation of your thoughts
  • More coherent brain waves
  • A positive affect on the brain’s reasoning and analytical ability
  • An increase in ability to receive intuitive information, as well as the conscious awareness of it.

Guidance on how to practice either of these types of meditations is enough for two new articles, so I won’t go any further right here. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have in the meantime.

 

Attributes of Divine Energy – Part 2

Do you want to learn more about how to align with divine energy? This is the second article in my series designed to increase your awareness of the attributes of divine energy to support your clarity on what you’re seeking to align with. (Click here to read the first article in this series.)

Divine energy is present everywhere. Its power can be found at every point in space and every moment in time. Its presence exists in the most beautiful displays of nature as well as the most violent neighborhoods of a ghetto.

How can you align with this attribute of omnipresence?

The strength of divine energy is always with you.You merely need to shift your attention to allow it into your consciousness.This means that you are never alone in your journey.You are never on your own as you pursue the fulfillment of your dreams.Think of divine energy as your constant partner in life. You can more closely align yourself with this partnership by:

  • Developing a meditation practice where you intentionally tune in to divine guidance.
  • Begin your day by asking (orally or mentally) divine energy to show you everything you need to know that day to live in alignment with its will for you.Your reaching out could be in the form of casual conversation or prayer, whatever feels most comfortable to you.
  • At any moment in which you find yourself struggling to any degree, stop and remember that you are not alone. Ask divine energy for comfort, guidance or signs to show you what you need to know to rise about the challenge.

Please stay tuned as I share more about the invitation to align with our divine power.

What Does it Really Mean to Raise Your Vibration?

sunlight.jpg

Three months ago I published an article here, Tips for Raising Your Vibration, that has been so consistently well trafficked that it has given me pause for thought. What is it about this topic that intrigues us so? And like some of the other leading edge thought concepts that I promote in this space, I wonder if we are all on the same page as to what we’re really talking about. After all, this is not a life issue that we learn about through the mainstream media. This leaves those of us who are curious about such things responsible for finding our own answers, rather than having them regularly fed to us. Oh well. It comes with the territory of being the pioneers that we are.

I love how the ordinary events of my life are always leading me to deeper understandings. Last night I sat down to dinner alone with a book I hadn’t picked up in awhile, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, by Wayne Dyer. As I was thumbing through, I came across a couple of sections that provided me with a new way of looking at the impact of energy vibration. In the words of Dr. Dyer:

“Faster vibrations mean getting closer to spirit.”

“Slower vibrations keep us in the world of ‘problems’.”

I now better understand the popularity of the vibration article. Who knowingly wants to invite problems into their life?

After reading this, I thought more about what it means to achieve a fast level of vibration. At the slowest level we are plodding through our human “stuff”, while at the highest vibration we are at the energy of the divine. To vibrate at the highest level means to be God-like. I don’t know how simpler it can get. When we understand what it means, the how-to becomes clear. To become God-like means to focus your energy on expressing kindness, generosity, understanding and all those other virtues of love that we attach to the divine.

It sounds pretty easy to me. And the good news is that as we transform the energy of our individual beings, we all make this planet a better place.

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

Interview: Inspiration for Happiness

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

shortmeditationcover.jpgsusangregg.jpg

I am delighted to share my space here today with Dr. Susan Gregg, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations. I had the honor of asking Susan some questions about the path to happiness and inner peace. I found her answers very inspiring and wanted to share them with you:

SH: I understand that you were schooled in the ancient Toltec tradition with don Miguel Ruiz and Sister Sarita. What is it about the Toltec teachings that resonate so deeply with you?

SG: Ever since I was a young girl I have been fascinated by the idea of freedom and the essence of the Toltec tradition is experiencing personal freedom.

SH: The choice to feel happy is something you focus on in your teaching. Do you find happiness a more organic choice living in Hawaii than one might find living in the mainland states? What is it about Hawaii that calls you?

SG: I believe we can be happy no matter what is happening around us – we can be in the midst of tremendous change and still be happy. So I can be happy in the middle of an airport when I have been traveling for 28 hours, as is the case when I go to Europe once a year to work in Lithuania.

I love Hawaii. I love the people, the feel of the land, the smell of the air and the climate. It is easy to say of course I am happy – I live in paradise. I live in the country surrounded by luscious greenery. But the essence of what I teach people is how to be happy no matter what. I have seen people who are miserable in Hawaii. I love Hawaii so of course I live in a place that is most suited to me and reflects inner self.

Happiness is always just a thought away – so I invite people to think that thought. I used to have a coffee mug that said blossom where you are planted – I blossom here and wherever you are you can blossom and grow too.


SH:
A question was posed by one of my readers recently asking for some advice on how one can stay focused on positive thoughts despite the pull of the outside world. What would your advice be?


SG:
Life is emotionally neutral. Life is and then we tell ourselves a story. I suggest people let go of the idea of positive and negative. When I watch the news I see events – some people make choices based on judgment and fear. If I perceive them as bad or judge them, it is like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it. So when I watch the news I send those people love.

I find it much easier to change my perspective than to stop having negative thoughts. If I say don’t think about a red fire truck you immediately think about one. I frequently ask myself, “How can I see this through the eyes of love?” and “What would love do?” Seeing through the eyes of love allows me to see the love in everything.


SH:
How did the decision to produce Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations come to you?


SG:
My literary agent contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in writing it. I love meditation and always do guided meditations for my groups so it seemed like a wonderful fit. I really enjoyed writing it and have gotten wonderful feedback from readers.


SH:
What would your advice be for someone who wants to start a meditation practice, but doesn’t know how to begin or feels intimidated?


SG:
The easiest way to start meditating is by simply focusing your attention on your breath. Whenever your mind wanders just gently bring it back to feeling your breath. I also suggest people set aside time each day to meditate – even if it is only a few minutes. Spiritual practices take practice and with practice meditation becomes easier and very rewarding.


SH:
What would you tell them to expect in their early days of practice?


SG:
They will have lots of thoughts and that’s okay. Just like going to a gym – if you go regularly and work out, eventually your body will get in shape. Allow meditation to be easy and allow whatever happens be okay. My mantra about meditation and life for that matter is allow it all to be easy and effortless and savor every moment. Savor learning how to meditate, you can only be new to meditation when you are new to it – so savor being new to the process.


SH:
You have been a teacher of human potential for many years. How would you describe the evolution of human consciousness that you’ve experienced over the years?


SG:
Life just keeps getting better and better. Once we connect with our spirit magic and miracles become a part of every day life. And I have watched people make it so much harder than it needs to be. I did for a long time until I realized I could enjoy it all.


SH:
Is there any other specific message you’d like to leave with our readers here?


SG:
Give yourself the gift of happiness. Be willing to let go of your limiting beliefs and allow yourself to feel the love that always surrounds you. We never experience life. What we actually experience is our personal story about life – change the story and your experience changes. Once you realize you are making up the story may as well make it a good one!

SG: Thanks so much for having me. Aloha from paradise.

I’d encourage you to check out Susan’s book. Follow the link to her site to obtain a personally autographed copy.

Thanks for visiting. Here’s to choosing happiness!

Susan Hanshaw
susan@susanhanshaw.com

Do You Tolerate Fraud in Your Outer Persona?

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

In yesterday’s article, Are You Doing What You Came Here to Do?, I shared the benefits of living in alignment with your true self. Today I want to follow that up with some tips on how you can begin to get in deeper touch with who you really are and what you are here to do. Today’s focus is on discerning the difference between the self that you share with the outer world and the voice that flows inside of you.

The key to knowing your true self is first in believing that there is a divine life that is you. It’s recognizing that who you really are is more than the role you play in your family or community, your job, your interests and the thoughts that run through your mind. Those things are all a part of the tapestry that makes up your physical self, yet they are really only the human legs for your divine self. Think of them like the machine and environment for your divine self to thrive and grow. With that idea as your framework, here are some practical tips for getting in touch and living in greater alignment with the soul of who you really are.

Many of us begin this journey with an outer persona that we show the world and an inner self that we keep hidden. Sometimes we put so much focus on our outer persona that we are totally detached from the essence of who we are and what is calling our heart. You can begin to get in touch with who you really are by paying attention to where you feel out of alignment in your outer world. For example:

  • Does your work feed your soul or are you just in it for the paycheck? If your work doesn’t feed you, what would you love to do if money was not part of the equation? Don’t edit or judge the dreams that you have. Consider them as significant and credible clues to who you are and what you are here to do.
  • Give yourself quiet time to listen to your inner voice. Whenever you find yourself alone, reject the tendency to busy yourself. When you’re driving alone in your car, turn off the music and pay attention to what is going on inside of you. When you’re in a waiting room, don’t distract yourself with a magazine or newspaper. Just close your eyes and turn within. Don’t get hung up worrying about what other people are going to think. Get to know your inner voice. What does it dream about? What ideas might it have about you that you may be too afraid to share with anyone else? Give this voice and its instincts credibility and strive to follow it.
  • Consider your life experiences and ask yourself during what events did you feel most alive. Do you have a nagging desire that raises its head every once in awhile that you just keep pushing down because you tell yourself that you’ll never have the guts to go for it? Is there a common theme in what makes you feel alive and those desires that just don’t go away? If so, this is a major clue calling your attention to what you are here to do.
  • Surround yourself with people with whom you can show up authentically. Sometimes we hold on to relationships simply for the sake of history. The relationship may feel like a drain or no longer a fit, yet we don’t want to hurt that person so we continue on even when it doesn’t feel good. Yet any relationship that doesn’t give you the freedom or support to express what is in your heart limits your ability to live in fuller alignment with who you really are.
  • Begin to identify with yourself as your divine self and not your bodily self. Even if you are still fuzzy about who you really are, think about that concept throughout the day. Seek to start each day off with this thought. Don’t take your divine self too seriously, though. Have fun with the idea.

Thanks for visiting. Stay tuned for more of this theme as it unfolds this week. Please feel free to email me if I can answer any questions.

My best to you,

Susan Hanshaw
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com