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    Free to Question: What's All This Talk of Meditaition?

    Thursday, November 20, 2008, 3:19 AM [General]

    My son, like me before him, insisted that he could not possibly meditate.  He even tried to offer me physiological reasons about his inability to rest his kinesthetic nature (pretty advanced concerns for a 14-year old).  So he was especially surprised to experience an enduring state of kinesthetic awareness while resting in a meditative pose no one could resist.

    At my suggestion, my son tried a great way to ease into meditation through the "yoga nidra" pose where you lay on your back and completely relax with your legs about shoulder width apart and hands lain at the sides, palms facing up.  In this pose complete relaxation is an understatement.  I mean relaxing the teeth is even a part of the pose.  That is simply the whole point: to relax every muscle and even the internal organs so that you can take your mind away from the body and imitate the observational detachment of slumber.  The great part is that you don't actually fall asleep.  Somehow even in the most tired state, you will maintain awareness, although it does appear to onlookers that you are sleeping.

    For me, like my son, the difficulty in learning to meditate and recite mantras and the like was in the cerebral aspect of trying to understand what the goal was.  I had a hard time doing something that my mind so vehemently resisted and, above that, something I didn't even understand.  In time, the answer to my question came only in first taking the risky step of trying without knowing what I was doing or why.

    I mean I knew about the ultimate claims of increased awareness, patience, mental rest, etc, but I had no frame of reference for any of those experiences in order to have any appreciation for the claims.  Yet and still, I did have an affinity for the contexts that all urged me to meditate: yoga, tai chi, Buddhism, eastern medicine, eastern ideology & culture.  So despite my resistance I acquiesced to the desire to learn more about what all my pursuits uged, meditation.  Surprisingly, in the about the 3rd attempt something amazing happened.

    Time stood still.  In that moment, I felt every nerve ending in my body.  I heard the clack of a squirrel's claws against a tree outdoors (and I was indoors).  I saw the amber glisten of sunlight bend against the silver edge of a blade of grass through the screen door, in the field across the street.  I heard the rhythm of the wind flying about the roofs and power lines and in and out of trees.  I saw the single thread of web spin from the tail of a dime sized spider...

    ...Then I heard the click & clatter of a some rambling about tomorrow's laundry or if that midnight snack should be a whole serving of ice cream or a bit of cucumber; and what did I do?  Well, of course, like any good, self-resisting soul I nimbly followed those rambles down their rabbit holes.

    If truth be told, my whole shining moment of clarity endured for all of 3-5 seconds; but those 3-5 seconds felt like 3-5 eternities to me.  When I said time stood still, I meant it.  I learned in that unexpected and completely undeserved gift of stillness that meditation & mantras open our periphery of experience to the impeccable display of the present.  In the practice of stillness, we leave ourselves room to take ourselves much less seriously.  We can see the infinite threads that connect life and all the cacophony of ingredients that comprise a single moment of this illusive present tense.  In that flurry of awareness, the mental debate about paper or plastic along with the majority of our unimpressive pressing thoughts just seem silly.

    I say we "can" because none of these epiphany episodes are guaranteed to even the most expert practitioners among us.  For the most part, we spend our meditation simply observing our thoughts in the midst of being far too busy clicking & clattering.  Even that simple observation, is in itself a gift, though.  In those rare moments we are not immersed in thought and riding those thoughts like a rodeo cowboys, we may be lucky enough to catch the falling star of watching our brains in action.

    If you're lucky enough to catch your mind red-handed in the process of thinking, you're in the process of meditation as well.  By observing ourselves think and not being "in" the thought, we get to see that we actually are not our thoughts.  Most of us spend our entire lives immersed in thought and never get to know that our minds are merely tools to be used at our disposal.  By stepping away from the fray of thought without stopping, judging, or engaging in the thoughts, we can observe the dynamic of the actual order of the mind.  It's best understood by comparing the observation of our minds in thought to seeing yourself watching tv in a film or in a mirror.  Until then, we could get so lost in the tv production, we forget that we are not actually in the M.A.S.H. unit or on the Survivor island.

    What exactly then is the benefit of witnessing our minds thinking as spectators rather than as thinkers involved in thinking thoughts?  To see that we can find a peace or center or calm even in the midst of a storm.  We can maintain a place of stillness in the present (versus the future crisis of that thought's issue or the past glory of that thought's escape) that gives us a constant even when nothing in this world remains constant but change.  The only other time we become this centered or still away from the barrage of thought is in our sleep when we surprisingly have no problem recognizing the thought process as symbolic illusions. 

    So just how do we unravel the lifelong habit of living "in" the thoughts that drag us down that insane rabbit hole?  We create new habits of meditation or vibrational mantra to strengthen our ability to center in a changeless, unlimited, illogical, expansive, formless, fresh space--the source of our life's unique expression.  From that center, from that neutral & open space, we have the room & stillness to catch that thought which may spontaneously arise containing the wisdom to guide us along our path. 

    Catch the present moment if you can!  Meditate!

    ~ Danielle (dsjconnection)

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    Hand in Hand: Something from What Appears to be Nothing

    Monday, November 17, 2008, 3:33 AM [General]


    A Word of Encouragement in the Face of an Impossible Struggle:

    - In ALL you endure, in ALL you need, in spite of what you see, believe you have the power to call your greatest vision and deepest faith into your own life.


    A beautiful piece of Divinity exists in all that lives. That precious piece of the Divine Spirit of Life connects you to the very resources that give you the answers you seek. Every thought, every wish, every prayer, every call of truth from your heart for the blessings you need is heard, and they each play a part in the unfolding of your life's journey.

    - Furthermore, believe that you too are a valuable being worth the blessings that you are coming to you. Even when you feel far too small to matter, know that you are living to reveal a significant purpose in this lifetime. Know that you are a here for a reason and are just a valuable as even the most abundantly blessed individuals that walk the earth.

    - Behave as if you already have the blessings you seek. Find the simplest blessings you can see in each moment you presently have and voice your gratitude for ALL that you already have. As you find a bigger heart of gratitude for the people who presently do lovingly help you, the food that you do have, the clothing you do have, the work you do have... ...As you create a bigger and bigger grateful heart for what little you do have, you will find that little appears to be greater and greater portions to be grateful for.

    - Even now, even as you see an empty cabinet, be grateful for the crumbs. Be grateful for the pennies, the wisps of hope, the inklings of joy, the touch of love. Share what you can, even if it is no more than a smile or a pleasant moment or an act of kindness.

    - I know that this seems to defy what you may physically need at this exact moment, but in spiritual terms it is PRECISELY what will carry you to your answered prayers. If you find gratitude for the invisible abundance you believe you have, you will find the visible abundance you once believed in. If you share from the empty place you believe is already full, you will find the fullness you once generously gave out of. Everything is possible when it comes from a brilliant heart and a spirit full of compassion.

    - Don't just take my word.  Look at history: Helen Keller (born deaf, blind, & mute), Albert Einstein (considered hopelessly incapable of learning as a child), Jesus Christ (born & lived throughout his lifetime homeless), Oprah Winfrey (Born in rural Mississippi to a poor, teenage single mother, and later raised in an inner city Milwaukee neighborhood, Winfrey was raped at the age of nine, and at fourteen, gave birth to a son who died in infancy), Maya Angelou (once a teenage single mother struggling to raise her son through intense poverty and even prostitution--now a renowned poet and author who even delivered an inaugural address for former president Bill Clinton), Thomas Edison ("I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."), Harriet Tubman (An escaped slave herself who eventually made thirteen missions to rescue over seventy slaves bravely re-entering slave territory multitudes of times and walking them the thousands of miles to freedom from Maryland to as far north as Canada.) and many more.

    - With Divine greatness in you, all things are possible!

    - Blessings,

    - Danielle

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    Free to Question: Microcosms of a Cosmic Karmic Connection?

    Monday, November 17, 2008, 3:23 AM [General]

    To those of you who may have received this journal or a link to the post, please bear with me as I am trying to learn how this journal process works.  I hope this reaches you without imposition or inconvenience.  I welcome any suggestions or advice on how to better use this journal feature.  Additionally, the following post is also included in the group discussion of Being Oneself (administrator: Ty Clement).  Feel free to join me there too.  Thank You.  - Danielle (dsjconnection)

    What if We Are Microcosms of a Cosmic & Karmic Connection?

    371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99cIn response to an injury, in recent months I've revived my study of the body-energy system (qi-gong, chakras, reiki, meditative cleansing, etc.).  Now please don't mistake my interest as a claim that I am any sort of expert.  I simply know my own experiences and learned set of information and, as a result, readily draw upon those as reference points. 

    I realize that eight central chakras exist in addition to multitudes of addtional energy points in the body (estimated by some to be as many as 700,000).  Through a qi-gong session with a therapist, I learned about another center to be considered a minor heart chakra.  For me that additional center (making a total of nine central centers) radiates often and strongly enough to be quite sensitive to the touch. 

    I also know that the top chakra is a golden or warm center above the head radiating larger than the lower energies.  I learned that this large golden energy above us is referred to as our archetypal energy center, a center that contains our character roles or symbolic selves.  I like to think of it as the motor of our karmic path or our karmic vehicle.

    In light of the recent forum over the status of the ninth planet, now known as a dwarf planet, Pluto, we now officially have eight planets and a sun.  Ironically, I noticed that we happen to possess a parrallel number of primary centers in our bodies, eight chakras and a golden orb-like center at the head.

    What if...  Here's the fun, philosophical, think expansively, try-a-new-view-on-for-size part:  ...  What if our planet earth were no more than an energy center in the body of another being?  What if our solar system were the collective flow of one being's chakras?  What if our universe was comprised of infinite layers of larger beings ecologically or biologically existing as components of other larger beings?  Wouldn't that make us the micro-organisms of another greater being?  What if we humans actually are microcosms of a larger being?  What if our spiritual connection (that just happens to be the job of our energy centers, to link our physical beings to our spiritual realm) reflects or, let's say, emanates from a macrocosm of a sun and its eight planets?  What if we are each a physical embodiment of an idea or thought by a grander being?

    I'm not posing this question for literal investigation.  I'm proposing the notion in order to create a different perspective of just how connected we could actually be. Suppose each of us were an individual cell or a pulse of energy in the neurological system of a massive being or a quark in the cluster of nuclear particles of a universal atom.  Suppose we were each a component of one large being.  Then we so easily see how infantile our human divisions, boundaries, labels, and hierarchies appear.

    What if we could use the microcosms of our interactions and relationships to address how life on a macrocosmic level could interact and relate?  What if our vulnerability and openess to connect could translate into how our own microscopic universe relates?  What if we could find cures for pathological micro-organisms based on the effective methods that we microcosmic beings connect, create, support, heal, or destroy one another? What if we could use the interdependence of our ecology to understand our world, our relationships, and our selves better?

    See, the idea of hypothetically posing some outlandish idea could potentially create some outlandish solutions in this present reality we call life.  What do you think?

    For those of you still reading this far, thanks for humoring me Wink.

    - Danielle (dsjconnection)

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