There is a growing body of neuro-science evidence that meditation slows the aging of the brain, enhances attention, calms the mind by producing more alpha and delta brain waves, and even increases grey matter of the brain related to these functions. While this is very encouraging physical evidence of the benefits of meditation, the subjective psycho-spiritual experience of meditators is probably the greater contributor as to why more and more people are drawn to meditation. We can say that meditation is a science of intuition; a subjective approach to an objective adjustment that honors science and mysticism of all cultures. Mysticism is defined here as the journey that reduces the distance between our ego and our inner self.
Meditation is our birthright associated with appreciating silence, awareness of the nature within and around us and often accompanied by a sense of returning to our “true home”. Everyone is on this journey, knowingly or unknowingly. Everyday we face the inner and outer world’s demands and we long to return home. This home is always there, wherever we wander. Home is none other than our own true self. We reach there through some form of contemplative practice, connecting our ego with our inner most self, our intuition, our true voice.
This is not an easy journey as the mind chatter and the currents of our senses relentlessly buffet us. In the beginning of this journey it is the determined effort that gets the results, not the perfection of attaining the goal. It is the love of the heart felt journey that gives us the bliss and happiness we long for. It is the longing for union with our inner most self that finally brings us home. Yes, you can go home again and again while still in this body. The goal of self-realization is attainable in this life. The final liberation from all attachments will happen eventually for all as a result of our longing for that quiet, blissful place in the center of the storm.
REAP WHAT WE SOW
It is important to know where you are going but equally important is to have a meditation practice that transforms emotional longing into that quiet place of what the heart loves most. This may seem like a paradox but it’s a little like a homeopathic remedy, increasing symptoms at first, followed by alleviation of those symptoms. Depending on your accumulated karma acquired through your past positive and negative actions, meditation ripens the needed reactions to these former actions, bringing these reactions to the surface of your current life. This leads to the creation of circumstances internally and externally that gives you the opportunity to finish the business of the accumulated karma of your past actions by experiencing their negative and positive reactions in the present; reaping what we have sown. As a consequence of reaping these reactions you are less burdened by the past and acquire a more joyful heart.
The biggest misconception about meditation is that it is all about creating a calm relaxed state- well maybe eventually. The Buddhist saying, “pain is inevitable but suffering is optional” applies to the process of meditation. For those willing to endure the labyrinth of light and darkness of our being, witnessing ourselves in meditation yields the golden ore of peace of mind. The root Latin word for meditation and medicine is “mederi” which translates- to heal by being self-observing. This personal work of self-realization can be postponed indefinitely or accelerated by a practice of mindfulness and positive ideation applied through our daily meditation.
The choice is between bumping into the same old lessons and resolutions year after year or committing to a regular meditation practice to lessen the unfinished business of the past. Embracing this challenge we can begin now to strengthen our meditation practice for the new year. The rewards, as many have witnessed, are far greater than the needed sacrifices you make to develop a consistent practice.
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The body’s digestive system has two main functions: to bring nutrients in and toxins out. When we digest food and liquids, the nutrients in the food and liquids is absorbed into the blood stream to be utilized by the cells in the body for fuel. What is not used by the blood to keep our cells, muscles, nerves and bones energized and healthy is excreted through the urine, the skin and the stool in the form of toxins.
Spring has finally sprung! The flowers are out, the rain is pouring down, and when the sun peaks through the clouds, it is warming and bright. Since spring is generally wet and damp, which, in Ayurveda (the yogic system of health) is characteristic of Kapha season, it is common for people to cough and sneeze. In fact, the English word “cough” comes for the Sanskrit word “kapha”.
Traditionally, juice cleanses are not recommended during this time, especially not for people who also have a thin, agile and energetic vata constitution. During the cold season, our digestive system tend to weaken and raw juices may make us bloated and tired. Does that mean it is not good to juice in the winter time? You can still juice, but it is best to follow some important insights from Ayurveda.