Hello there sweetie! Today's post is from a very special guest: Loran from Loran's Heart. Here's why I adore her. I first met her on the Goddess Circle last year. She was running a weekly Self Portrait/Journaling prompt project and I enjoyed jumping in, becoming comfortable with taking my picture, and answering really insightful prompts that made me think. It was an important part of my journey, I really admired her Buddhist inspired wisdom and it inspired me to research Buddhism myself. Today Loran is going to tell us a little bit about her thoughts on meditation.
There are as many kinds of meditation as there are people. It can be complicated or better yet, simple. Science has been able to document the beneficial effects of regular meditation. I’ve discovered a few benefits from my own practice.
What are those benefits????
Leads to a sense of calm.
Enhances the immune system.
Increases serotonin level and influences mood and behavior
Helps reduce stress
Ultimately attain enlightenment
Almost always the first thing anyone says about meditation is: “I can’t quiet my mind!”
The important thing to remember is that the mind chatters, processes, and thinks thoughts. Efforts to stop the mind are futile. The trick is to watch the mind without attachment to see where the story line is headed.
For instance, you light a candle and sit. You think I must be quiet now and you are for a second. Then you start wondering what to fix for the next meal and whether or not you have the ingredients and if you have to go to the store that means taking a shower and doing your hair. Oops.
Return to sitting. One of the easier beginning techniques of meditation is to count the breath. Count the breath in ten times. Count the breath out ten times. Count the space between the in and the out breath ten times. It gives the mind something to do and it helps train you to focus on one thing, the breath. If you can, spend a few minute focusing on your breath without counting after the three cycles of ten. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back. If you lose count, start over.
The most helpful advice I think I can give is to love yourself while you are practicing meditation!
Don’t beat yourself up if it’s difficult. You can sit in a chair. You can lie on the floor. Five minutes at a time to begin with is fine.
Subtle changes, slowly, over time
Did you know that when Sharon Salzberg tried to explain low self-esteem to the Dalai Lama that he did not understand what she was talking about? Can you imagine it? No concept of self-loathing, negative self-talk or harmful behavior?
By Sharon Salzberg
"What do you think about self-hatred?" I asked when it was my turn to bring up an issue for discussion. I was eager to get directly to the suffering I had seen so often in my students, a suffering I was familiar with myself. The room went quiet as all of us awaited the answer of the Dalai Lama, revered leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Looking startled, he turned to his translator and asked pointedly in Tibetan again and again for an explanation. Finally, turning back to me, the Dalai Lama tilted his head, his eyes narrowed in confusion. "Self-hatred?" he repeated in English. "What is that?"
All of us gathered at that 1990 conference in Dharmsala, India-philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and meditators-were from Western countries, and self-hatred was something we immediately understood. That this man, whom we all recognized as having a profound psychological and spiritual grasp of the human mind, found the concept of self-hatred incomprehensible made us aware of how many of us found it all but unavoidable. During the remainder of the session, the Dalai Lama repeatedly attempted to explore the contours of self-hatred with us. At the end he said, "I thought I had a very good acquaintance with the mind, but now I feel quite ignorant. I find this very, very strange."
One of the many things I like about writing blog posts, guest or otherwise, is that there is usually an opportunity to create a learning moment. It’s not something I can explain other than to say that it’s an uncontrollable urge.
Loran’s Heart, is filled with journaling prompts, nature photographs, and inspirational products to help others grow personally and spiritually. You can find Loran on Facebook and Twitter.