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Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

Who Says the Words?

“Who says words with my mouth?” This is probably the most profound question for introflective thought I’ve ever heard. It was posed to me through an ancient poem written by a 13th Century Persian poet, the Sufi philosopher Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, more commonly referred to as just Rumi today.

I heard this question, and I thought to myself, ‘Ok! I’ll play your silly game. Who does say words with my mouth?’ I shut my eyes, and went looking. I quickly found the mechanism for saying the words, but not the director. My modest and humble knowledge of brain housing group function and physiology assisted me in finding where the words were stored, but I didn’t find who strung the words together. I looked deeper.

I found myself standing on the stage of my mind. ‘You big dummy!’ I said to myself standing on the stage of my mind, ‘You are the one who says words with your mouth.’ However, if I am standing on the stage of my own mind talking to myself, then to whom is the me standing on the stage of my talking? This started a descending spiral of antilogic which I quickly abandoned.

Who does say words with my mouth? Who does see things with my eyes? Who does taste things with my tongue, and who feels things with my fingers? The mechanism The – I – That – Is – Me occupies perceives them, interprets them, and stores them in memory. These are all superficial functions. Where is the observer? I never did find The – I – That – Is – Me.

My own speculation is that the Observer is Consciousness. I also speculate that Consciousness is one of the Basic Constructs of the Cosmos, the others being Time, Space, Matter, and Energy. We all know that Humans, like everything else we discern, are made up of Matter, propelled by Energy, occupying Space, in Time. Consciousness is a little harder on which to grasp as it is that which actually does the discerning.

Carl Sagan proposed that Mankind is a mechanism for the Cosmos to gaze back on its self. I, myself, adhere to that proposal … and I’m really glad my own, particular belief system lacks the dogmatic restrictions which would prevent me from exploring the minds of ancient Sufi poets, and modern Atheist scientists.

I’ve provided a nice, jazzy, multi – media, Modern English interpretation of the poem Who Says Words with My Mouth? by Rumi for your enjoyment, below. And, just remember, you are spectacular.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y8YSw7fUWw]

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Finding the Inner Voice

I was talking to an associate once about meditation.  I was explaining to him about controlling the inner voice.

“You mean voices.” he said, ”I have a lot of voices talking in my head sometimes.’”

So, what we came up with during that sitting was how to find ones control voice among ones inner voices.  Getting a handle on your control voice will help you get a handle on controlling your thoughts, and, thereby, have better control over your life.

Here’s how you find your control voice:

1. Look at the palm of your hand.

2. Wiggle your fingers.

3. Say to yourself, with words inside your head, ‘This is the palm of my hand, and I have just wiggled my fingers.’

4. Mentally note where this voice is, and how to refer back to it.

Here’s another way to look at this feature of the mind.  It is focus, a trait and ability of the Human mind.  Aside from short confirmations, such as, ‘I’m going to enjoy this.’, focus does not need to talk in order to function efficiently.  In fact, it is probably better if it keeps its mouth shut most of the time.  All you want is the place from where the voice comes.

Learn to control it.  Get quiet, and relaxed.  Have that voice count your breaths.  Don’t allow any of the other stray voices, nor stray thoughts passing through your mind to interfere.  Practice this till you can do it for several minutes.

Following this phase, get quiet, and relaxed, then set your focus in a lawn chair out in the yard of your mind.  Let stray thoughts, and voices wrestle, and tumble, and fool around further out in the yard of your mind.  Observe them, but don’t acknowledge them, nor interact with them in any way.  Most of those stray thoughts, and voices will just leave.  This is a more Buddhist form of meditation.

Another thing to do is to allow your focus to rest entirely.  Set up a guard in your mind that intercepts those stray thoughts, and voices.  This guard informs those stray thoughts, and voices that you are busy at the moment, and asks them to come back later.  I actually use the vision of a theater usher in an ushers monkey suit and a flashlight that approaches stray thoughts, and voices, saying, ‘Shhh!  If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.’  This is a more Christian form of meditation.

When you are skilled at controlling your focus, you can practice ‘contemplation.’  Contemplation, like meditation, is a form of mindfulness.  To practice contemplation, one picks a subject, or a phrase, or a system, or an object, and explores it with their mind, excluding  thoughts on anything else.  This practice is often referred to as Platonic Exploration, due to certain philosophical views Plato professed.  A contemplative session is also referred to as an ‘Edisons Nap,’ as Thomas Edison was adept at overcome engineering problems using this technique.

Till next time, remember, you have one of the rarest, and one of the most phenomenal material matrices located up there in your brain housing group.  Learn to get the best out of it.  You are spectacular.

Reflexive Mind Control

Energy has the habit of dissipating all over the place.  You can get energy to do work for you by learning how to harness it, and focus it in a specific direction.  Energy becomes very potent under these conditions.  You can start a camp fire with just a little bit of Sunlight focused through a magnifying glass at a spot on a piece of wood.

Mental energy is the same way.  If we allow it, our mental energy will dart around all over the place.  Our minds will jump from one issue to another, then back again, then off again, over here, over there.  This is not a good way to get things done.  If we learn to harness our mental energy, focus that energy, we may not only accomplish more, but feel less batty in the long run.

Thomas Edison was very focused.  He accomplished more in a day than most of us accomplish in month.  He would focus on one issue, settle that issue, then move on to the next.  During his time, people thought Leonardo da Vinci was flighty.  It is said he would finish a statue, set his chisel and hammer down, then dive into a painting.  On whatever DaVinci was working, he gave his full, undivided attention.

I see advertisements in the help wanted ads seeking ‘multitaskers.’  I see images of octopuses walking into offices applying for these jobs. Cutting edge management philosophy dictates that multitasking is a mistake, grotesquely ineffective.  One can not handle customer complaints over the phone, rewrite a memo, make a pot of coffee, give the boss an ego boost, and vacuum the floor all at the same time … or not, at least, without failing at each and every task.  However, each task taken in turn can be accomplished effectively.

Mental focus is a trait with which we humans are born, such as health and fitness.  However, like our health and our fitness, if our mental focus is not maintained, it tends to go to Hell in a hand basket.  Here is a simple exercise to help you sharpen your mental focus, it is a modification of the Buddhist practice of Meditation on Form:

Select a common, simple object, such as the cap from a stick pen.  Sit quietly with the object, and examine it. Let your mind rest on the object.  Mentally take note of the objects details right down to the most insignificant and infinitesimal.  What color is it, how much does it weigh, what are its features, for what is it used, how was it made, etc.?  At first, only do this two to five minutes, building yourself up to longer chunks of time.

Set the object aside, and pick it back up to examine during your next session, noting additional details.  When you feel you have noted all the details of this object of which there is to note, select another common, simple object to examine with the same process.

When you feel ready, move on to examining more complex objects, such as the page in a book.  Of what is the page made, how may it have been produced, how many words are there on the page, how many letters, are there any miss-spelled words, or imperfect letters printed, etc.?  As before, set this object down when you are finished, and revisit it during your next sessions till you feel you have noted every detail there is to note.

As I’ve suggested, start slowly, and work your way up.  Two to five minutes at first … you can’t do 100 push-ups the first time you hit the deck, and the same dynamic applies.  Work your way up to 20 minutes, or so.

Your mind is the only thing in the Cosmos over which you have total, and complete control.  Take control, and be even more spectacular.

Busy, Busy, Busy Meditation

I was talking to a woman the other day. She said that in order for her to meditate she’d have to go find a cow pasture and sit in the middle of it. That would almost be an ideal situation, but, I think what she was inferring was that her life was too busy for such a thing.

Here’s the big secret about meditation. You don’t have to go sit in the middle of a cow pasture, and you don’t have to find a cave on a mountain side in front of which to sit. You don’t have to put on fancy robes, nor arrange cushions on the floor. You don’t have to light candles, nor burn incense. You don’t even have to sit in front of a wall chanting for five days in a row.

These things are all very nice, if you can integrate them into your life style. Most of us are too busy trying to make ends meet, and balancing plates on the ends of broom handles.

Here is the microwaveable version of meditation. Take 5 minutes, preferably 15. Close your eyes, and relax. Envision that you skip a rock across a pond to the other side. It skips across the surface of the water 15 times, flying just a little further between each skip progressively as it approaches the other side. Count the skips. On the 15th skip, it lands on the opposite bank. This skipping across the water to the other side should only take 10, to 15 seconds at the most.

Now, for the remainder of the 5 to 15 minutes, just watch the rock on the opposite bank. Contemplate the rock. If any vagrant thoughts try to get your attention, have those thoughts wait their turns; you’re busy watching a rock.

Till next time, take a few moments for mindfulness. You’ll be glad you did, and it will make you even more spectacular.

City Lights

The other day I was sitting out in my sitting spot pondering.  The Sun went down and left me a nice dark sky pock-marked with shimmering points of light.  A few months ago I bought a little telescope.  I thought this would have been an ideal time to break it out and see what it cold do.

I brought the telescope outside, and set it up on its tripod.  I picked out a particularly bright star in the sky, and used the aiming device to bead in on it.  When I looked through the eyepiece, there was no star there to see.

I checked the aiming device again, and the star was dead center.  Not being necessarily a precision system, I thought the aiming device must be wrong specifically, but must have been at least close.  I gently loosened the anchoring screws that held the telescope steady on the tripod, and trolled for the star.   I couldn’t find it.  All I was getting was dark sky.

I turned the telescope on another star.  I got the same results.  Then a third, and a fourth, with the same results.  I could find the stars with the aiming device, but could not find them with the telescope.  Finally, I took the telescope off the tripod, and swept the sky with it free hand.  I couldn’t see one single star through the telescope.

I live in a small town.  On the corner by my home is a street light.  There is also a light which illuminates a parking lot close by.  It seems that the light from these sources were negating the light from the stars.  I dismantled my toy, and put it away.

Sometimes our dreams and aspirations are like the stars in the sky.  We can aim in their direction, a million miles away but still discernible.  However, when we try to get closer, the glitz, and the glitter, and the pressing problems immediately at hand negate the vision.

The next day my buddy Tom told me a story.  He’d gone fishing the night before out at one of the lakes nearby.  He’d made himself a little camp fire, and slept out under the stars.  So, I told him my star story of the night before.

Tom told me I should take my telescope out to the lake if I wanted to see the stars with it.  He said there is a kid whom takes his telescope out to the lake to look at the stars, and he has no trouble seeing them.  Tom pointed out that one can’t see stars through a telescope from under a city light.

So, till next time, don’t abandon your dreams and aspirations, nor dismantle the devices for their realization.  Remove yourself from the glitz, and glitter, and the pressing problems of day-to-day living.  Listen to Tom, take your telescope to the lake if you want to see the stars.

An Exercise in Reflexive Contemplation

Sorry I haven’t written in such a long time.  Recently, I admonished my cousin, who is a painter.  He was experiencing painters block, and couldn’t seem to paint a stroke.  I told him that if he wanted to be a painter, and he wanted to eat, he needed a pick up the brush and paint something.  See there!  When you point your finger at someone, three fingers point back to you.

So, I wrote this early this morning, and didn’t know what else to do with it, so I’m posting it on my personal development blog.

Don’t you just love the title?

Remove yourself from distractions. Set yourself up for about half an hour. You may want to set a timer, but one with a pleasant alarm.
Get comfortable. It really doesn’t matter if you are sitting, or standing, or lying, or hanging upside down, as long as you are comfortable. However, keep in mind that it is better to remain awake during the entirety of this exercise.
Relax. Quickly survey your body. If you find any tension, fix it. If for some reason you can’t fix it, do the best you can with it, and continue with the exercise.
Take a deep breath, and hold it for just a second. Let it rush out as you exhale, then breath normally.
Your breath is your constant companion. It is with you always. It is your friend, and helper. Don’t go into your head and try to find breath at this time, just admire it working. Your breath is an excellent craftsman. It is able to take a complex task, and make it appear simple. Your breath is a genius. Observe the simplicity of its function from your vista, but with your eyes closed.
As you observe your breath in this way, count its repetitions by 9s three, or four times; five times if you feel like it.
As you near the end of counting the repetitions of your breath, move your attention to your toes. One way of doing this is to imagine you have a flash light, and you slowly shine the beam from your chest down to your toes.
Now, imagine that you are suspended comfortably above a pool of calm, clear, luke warm liquid. This pool of liquid is actually air that has the consistency of water, and possesses other special qualities. If you are a little too cold, you may want to imagine the liquid being warmer. If you are a little too warm, you may want to imagine the liquid being a little cooler.
You slowly immerse into the pool, starting with your toes. The liquid is soothing to your skin. Where your skin goes through the liquid there is a slight glow and it tickles just a little. You can see the ripples you’ve made from being immersed roll off into the distance till they are too small to see from where you are, but still moving. The parts of your body that have passed through the surface and into the pool are now weightless.
If you come to a part of your body that is unhappy for some reason, say this to it, “I know you want my attention right now, and I would like to give it to you, but I’m very busy with something else at the moment. I’ll get back to you.” Don’t fib to your body parts; revisit the issue later.
You are immersed past your toes, and they are relaxed in weightless suspension. You immerse past your feet and your ankles, and they are relaxed in weightless suspension. You immerse past your calves, and your knees, and your thighs, and your hips, and your waist, and they are relaxed in weightless suspension. You immerse past your abdomen and your chest up to the nap of your neck and throat, and they are relaxed in weightless suspension … don’t forget about your back. You immerse past your neck and throat, past your chin, you lips, your nose, your ears and eyes, your forehead, and your scalp, and you continue to sink in relaxed, weightless suspension under the surface of the pool another foot, or so.
Take a moment to enjoy the sensation of the weightlessness of your entire body in this pool of liquid.
Bring your attention to the area in front of your face. The liquid that is caught up in the draw of your breath becomes energized by the movement, and glows with a bright, white aura. You are inhaling bright, white light, which goes through the exchange process in your lungs. What you exhale is sooty, and grainy, and dark. It is heavier than the liquid, so it instantly sinks away from you, and disappears below you, and is carried away and diluted in currents traveling off into the far distances of the Cosmos.
Follow a stream of this light into your chest as you inhale. It is very bright, and full of energy, and excitement. Observe as thousands, and thousands of little workers in your lungs eagerly absorb this light, and take on its aura. Watch them scurry to pass this light on to blood cells waiting in line to be restocked. Watch as the blood cells themselves become brightened with the aura of the light passed on to them. They, too, become eager, and excited, and rush off to pass this light on the cell they’ve been assigned to refurbish. You can hear the cells of your lungs and your blood cells begin to hoot, and holler enthusiastically … but no fighting, they are all very disciplined and organized organisms. You can detect the same enthusiasm coming from all the cells in all of your system, each excited at the prospect of receiving their light.
Ultimately, every cell in your body has been infected with brightness, and your person becomes a glowing aura. Getting to this point may take some practice. However, when you get to that point, stay that way till the end of the exercise.
When the time comes for the exercise to end, don’t just snap out of it. Slowly open your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and reflect for a minute or two on this very pleasant experience. Then, go take care of the rest of your day.
This exercise is contemplative as opposed to meditative in nature. The ego remains engaged, for the most part, and the participant encourages dynamic mental activity. In meditation we shuck away the ego, and think of nothing. However, this exercise does have a number of meditative qualities, and, thereby, is prone to glitches experienced during meditation … namely, unwanted thoughts.
You may experience impatient, mean, vain little thoughts that may climb up on the stage of your mind and demand your attention right now. They say they can’t wait.
Too bad. Tell them to take a number, and wait their turn. You are busy, and if the issue is pressing enough, you will take care of it soon. These thoughts are nothing more than your ego trying to regain full control of your consciousness. Your ego thinks it cannot survive without your full and constant attention. Disengage … ‘take a number, sit down, and wait your turn, I’m busy.’
You may find it useful to develop a mental mechanism for dealing with these thoughts. Many old mediators conjure up the image and likeness of Jesus, or Buddha, or some other religious figure to engage these thoughts, and have them take their places to wait their turns. Personally, I can’t do that. If I did, the way my imagination and sense of humor works, I would wind up distracted by a South Parkish episode unfolding in my head. If you are like me, you will need to develop a non-authority figure to assume this duty. I use a pimple faced, squeaky voiced kid in the guise of a theater usher carrying a flash light, and dressed in a monkey suit, wearing a monkey hat, complete with a monkey chin strap. If the thoughts don’t cooperate, the kid says he’ll need to go get the manager … and since I’m the manager, I’ll be really irritated if I get interrupted … and since I am my own ego, these thoughts that think they want my attention right away tend to sit back down, and shut up.

Till next time, remember, you are spectacular.