Experience the space between…

Universal Space

Perhaps you’ve never thought about having a gap between your thoughts and maybe cannot imagine it right now. After all, our thoughts tumble one right after the other, oftentimes overlapping. I’ve heard we can entertain hundreds of thoughts per minute but only about 5 or 6 ever reach our mind to register as a thought. So how could there possibly be any gap between thoughts? There is always a gap, or space between every thought just as there is a gap between every step into the next step that you take. You never think about it most likely; you just do it without realizing there is a gap.

Think about a trapeze artist. Everyone watches in awe as the performer let’s go of one bar as he/she flies through the air, grabbing for the bar swinging towards him. But think about it – there was a momentary, split second gap between the release of one bar and the grabbing of another. A lot can happen during that split second. The performer can actually grab hold of the bar swinging towards him and wow his audience, or completely miss the bar and experience a catastrophic result. The same is true in our lives – we can experience a wonderful success or experience a catastrophe through our gaps.

In the gap is your realness, the space in which for that moment there is silence. This is where you can quiet your mind and meditate. You’ve probably heard that it’s important to meditate every day, but if you’re like many individuals, you just can’t seem to squeeze it into your busy schedule. Or perhaps you are like some individuals who find they cannot quiet their mind chatter so simply give up trying to meditate. Yet meditation is life’s most powerful tool!

So why is it so difficult to stay in the gap? Our minds have been conditioned to be active and continually moving from one thought to another. We have created the busy schedules for ourselves because we have been programmed that this is the norm and what is expected of us. But when we do this we never have a chance to discover who we really are or what our truths are, for it is in the silence that these things are revealed…in the gap. Nor can we calm our brains and our bodies if they are always in action mode.

Deepak Chopra has been an advocate of meditation for many years and teaches various forms of meditation in his centers and programs. Many other healers and teachers follow suit with meditation programs as well, and this is due to the realization of the good it does for anyone when they regularly meditate. Dr. Michael Lam promotes meditation as part of recovery for adrenal fatigue and Dr. Henry Emmons tells us that meditation is critical for calming and balancing the brain. In my own life, I was a procrastinator about taking the time to meditate, but every time I made the time for even 5 or 10 minutes of meditating, I felt so much lighter and uplifted, and my body was calmer.

Meditation really has no rules. It simply means sitting quietly for a period of time without thoughts or movements. Many assume the lotus pose, but as soon as you sit down your mind doesn’t stop running thoughts through. Your goal is to acknowledge the thoughts but not to put any feelings to them…just let them be and slip right on through your mind. Here are some tips that were sent to me when I participated in Deepak Chopra’s 21-day Meditation Challenge a few months ago. They were tremendously helpful to me and I hope they will be beneficial to you as well.

1. Have no expectations. Sometimes the mind is too active to settle down. Sometimes it settles down immediately. Sometimes it goes quiet but you may not notice. Anything can happen because the goal is not to control the session.
2. Be easy with yourself. Meditation isn’t about getting it right or wrong. Surrendering to whatever happens is also an indication that you are on the right track. It’s about letting your mind find its true nature.
3. Really be there. If your attention is somewhere else, thinking about your next appointment, errand or meal, gently shift your attention back to the “So Hum (I AM)” mantra. Focusing on your mantra will help lead you back to the gap between thought.

Using the So-Hum mantra was a big help to me. As you sit quietly, taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and then quietly exhaling through your nose, you simply think in your mind “So” as you inhale and “Hum” as you exhale. If you find your mind wandering, simply focus back on your breathing and the mantra. You may have to do this a lot in the beginning, but over time you will get the hang of this and be able to stay in the gap more readily.

The wonderful part of the gap (silence) is that it is only pure love. We want to operate our lives from love but often find ourselves operating from the fear of the world. In the space of love is where we know our truths and can create the desires of our heart. It is here that you can shift your beliefs, and inner silence is the place where you can heal. In her book Embraced by the Light, Betty Eadie, who experienced a near death experience and whose spirit traveled through death to the other side and back, said she discovered this on the other side: “Above all, I was shown that love is supreme. I saw that truly without love we are nothing. We are here to help one another, to care for one another, to understand, forgive and serve one another, and we are here to have love for every person born on earth.”

Sometimes while sitting quietly some old unpleasant experiences (stories) may surface. This is a great time to notice an experience and feel the negative feelings connected to it, but recognize it serves no purpose in your life and let it go. You can release the weight from around your neck and be free from it in this space of love.

Another benefit of daily meditation is that it has been proven to provide deeper levels of intuition and creativity. If you want to wake up your intuition and connect with the realm of spirit, or revive your stagnant creativity, this is a way to open up the channels within you. Additionally, it provides relief from stress, more restful sleep, more inner calm, and many health benefits. It has been noted that a deep meditation can literally revive the body just as sleep can!

So why wouldn’t you want to make use of this amazing gift of the gap between thoughts, given all the benefits it can provide in your life? Why not try it for just five minutes to start? The key is to simply begin, and once you get the momentum rolling, I believe you’ll see the benefits in your life and won’t want to live a day without meditating. Remember, there are no rules and there is no time-frame requirement…that is your choice. But even ten minutes per day can dramatically change your life for the better.

– Dr. Carolyn Porter

Source: http://wheremiracleshappen.com/the-gap-between-your-thoughts/#

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Vipassana – Looking within…

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looking within

In Vipassana, one simply sits in a comfortable position (lotus or half-lotus if possible, cross-legged if not), and one gives “bare attention” to whatever is arising, externally, and internally, without judging it, condemning it, following after it, avoiding it, or desiring it. One simply witnesses it, impartially, and then lets it go. The aim of this practice is to see that the separate ego is not a real and substantial entity, but just a series of fleeting and impermanent sensations like anything else. When one realizes just how “empty” the ego is, one ceases identifying with it, defending it, worrying about it, and this in turn releases one from the chronic suffering and unhappiness that comes from defending something that isn’t there. As Wei Wu Wei put it:

‘Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9% of everything you think,
And everything you do,
Is for yourself,
And there isn’t one.’

~ Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit

Meditation for one and all…

Meditation is the eye that sees the Truth, the heart that feels the Truth and the soul that realises the Truth.

Through meditation the soul becomes fully aware of its evolution in its eternal journey. Through meditation we see the form evolve into the Formless, the finite into the Infinite; and we see the Formless evolve into the form, the Infinite into the finite.

Meditation speaks. It speaks in silence. It reveals. It reveals to the aspirant that matter and spirit are one, quantity and quality are one, the immanent and the transcendent are one. It reveals that life can never be the mere existence of seventy or eighty years between birth and death, but is, rather, Eternity itself. Our birth is a significant incident in God’s own existence. And so is our death. In our birth, life lives in the body. In our death, life lives in the spirit.

Meditation: individual and collective. As the individual and the collective are in essence one, even so are meditation individual and collective. We are all children of God. Our body says that we are human. Our soul says that we are divine.

No matter whether we are human or divine, we are one, inevitably and eternally. We are the inseparable parts of the whole. We complete the whole.

Vast is the ocean. You see a part of it. He sees a part of it. I see a part of it. But the full expanse of the ocean is far beyond our gaze. Our vision is limited. But the portion that each of us sees is not and cannot be separated from the entire ocean.

What does an orchestra produce? It produces a symphonic unity. Different notes from different instruments form the symphony. As each instrument plays its own notes, so each individual may meditate in his own way. But ultimately all will arrive at the same goal and the basic realisation of oneness. And this realisation is nothing other than liberation — liberation from bondage, ignorance and death.

Tat twam asi “That Thou art.” This is indeed the secret that can be revealed in meditation. This “Thou” is not the outer man. This “Thou” is our soul, our divinity within. Our unlit and undivine nature tries to make us feel that the body is everything. Our illumined and divine nature makes us feel that our soul, which has no beginning and no ending, is everything. Indeed, it is the soul that is the breath of our existence both in Heaven and on earth.

Self-knowledge and universal Knowledge are not two different things. Everything in the universe becomes ours the moment we realise our Self. And what is this universe? It is the outer expression of our inner achievements. We are our own Saviours. Within us is our salvation. It is we who have to work for our salvation. We are our own fate-makers. To blame others for the unfavourable conditions of our lives is beneath our dignity. Unfortunately, this act of blaming others is one of man’s oldest diseases. Adam blamed Eve for his temptation. Poor Eve, what could she do? She also blamed another. No, we must not do that. If action is ours, responsibility is also ours. To try to escape the consequences of our actions is simply absurd. But to be free from committing blunders is wisdom; it is the real illumination. Trials and tribulations are within us and without us. We simply have to ignore them. If this act of ignoring is not effective, we must face them. If that, too, is not enough, we have to conquer them here and now. The paramount problem is how to conquer the trials and tribulations. We can conquer them only by our constant aspiration and meditation. There is no substitute, no alternative.

From meditation, when it is deep and one-pointed, we get spiritual knowledge and pure devotion, which act not only simultaneously but also harmoniously. The path of Bhakti, devotion, and the path of Jnana, knowledge, lead us ultimately to the same goal. Devotion is not blind faith. It is not an absurd adherence to our inner feeling. It is a matchless process of spiritual unfoldment. Knowledge is not something dry. Neither is it an aggressive power. Knowledge is the food that energises our earthly and heavenly existence. Devotion is Delight. Knowledge is Peace. Our heart needs Delight and our mind needs Peace, just as God needs us to manifest Himself and we need God to fulfil ourselves.

Meditation: individual and collective. It is easy to meditate individually. The aspirant is fortunate, for no third person stands between him and God’s Grace. It is easy to meditate collectively A student naturally gets joy while he is studying with others in the class. Here also the aspirant is fortunate, for the sincere aspiration of other seekers may inspire him.

True, there are difficulties in meditating individually, for laziness can plague the aspirant. True, there are difficulties in meditating collectively, because there is every possibility that the ignorance and weaknesses of others may unconsciously attack the aspirant’s body, mind and heart.

Whether we meditate individually or collectively, there is one thing we absolutely must do: we have to meditate consciously. Making an unconscious effort is like forcing oneself to play football in spite of one’s utmost unwillingness. One plays, but gets no joy. Conscious effort is like playing football most willingly. One gets real joy. Similarly, conscious meditation gives us inner Delight from the soul.

Finally, each human being must have the spirit of a divine hero. If he is left alone in the thickest forest, he must have the inner strength to meditate without fear. If he is asked to meditate in Times Square amid crowds of people, he must have the inner strength to meditate without being disturbed in the least. Whether alone or with others, the aspirant must dwell in his meditation unshaken and unafraid.

 – Sri ChinmoyYoga And The Spiritual Life. The Journey of India’s Soul.

True meditation…

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Meditation is your true state…now. You call it meditation, because there are other thoughts distracting you. When these thoughts are dispelled, you remain alone, i.e., in the state of meditation free from thoughts; and that is your real nature which you are now attempting to gain by keeping away other thoughts. Such keeping away of other thoughts is now called meditation. When the practice becomes firm, the real nature shows itself as the true meditation.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi