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Posts Tagged ‘Mindfulness’

Release, Recoup, and Reorganize

cartoon flowersMay I be blessed with the Faith, Freedom from Fear and Patience to truly make the most of this beautiful resting phase.

….a place to rest, wind down and relax following a period of extreme turmoil, particularly in the areas of financial security and relationships. This place can be of great blessing if we can muster the patience to appreciate the blessings of this place joyfully and gratefully and of course with great Faith in the wisdom and compassion of God and the Universe.

let go and let god

It is imperative that I take proper care of myself during this transition in all ways…spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally, without becoming anxious or fearful.

I have no idea where the path is heading or even if I will continue along the same path I am now on.  Perhaps big upheavals are in store, or perhaps little changes which will slowly lead me in a new direction.

My natural curiosity and impatience make this waiting difficult and I need assistance in curbing them.  It is an essential part of my daily prayer and meditation session now to request this assistance from God, the Angels and other Enlightened Beings and Ascended Masters.

Springtime is a natural period for cleansing, rebirth and rejuvenation. We see it all around us in Nature and feel it instinctively in ourselves.  Just as the caterpillar must retreat into his cocoon for this period of quiet resting before metamorphosing and emerging as a butterfly, so we must have the patience to quietly accept this period of “non-doing” to completely move forward into whatever new wonders and adventures await us down the road.

doing nothing2

“Sometimes doing nothing is doing something very Important”.

It would be wonderful to be able to peek through the fence, so to speak, and get a sneak preview of what lies ahead.  At times we may be given gentle hints if we are extremely mindful along the way. But not always.  Patience, and Faith, once again are the things we need to pray for most during this period of quiet “being”.

As a flower peeks through the fence, we would also love a preview of what awaits us

As a flower peeks through the fence, we would also love a preview of what awaits us

The unknown always brings up fears and these also must be acknowledged and released.  It is all part of the cleansing process which is preparing us for whatever the next stage in our life holds in store for us.

May I be blessed with the Faith, Freedom from Fear and Patience to truly make the most of this beautiful resting phase.

With love light and JOY

Jane

 

 

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January 20, 2012 – Mindfulness – Living in the Moment

This was written originally in 2006, but it is no less applicable today than it was then. I have once again gone through a difficult period ending with a few weeks of illnesses and dis-ease, bringing me to a new understanding of the ever present need for awareness of our current state, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well, and how mindfulness , and acceptance with gratitude and joy, plays a part in our overall health and wellbeing. Once realizing how out-of-touch and out of balance I had become over the past 6 months, I was able to put things back into proper focus and perspective, and regain my harmonious and tranquil sense of being! I am always Blessed. Happy reading (or re-reading) to all.
with love light and JOY

I’ve been going through some difficult, but interesting and rewarding personal experiences the past few weeks which culminated in my being ill this past week, apparently as a final cleansing following certain processes which have been set in motion. While spending time feeling miserable, as we tend to do when we are not feeling well, I realized what should be the next matter of concern on the blog and will begin writing about it today. It may take more than one sitting to get it all done, but I feel the time is right to begin exploring together with you the matter of Mindfulness.

Before discussing Mindfulness itself however, just some food for thought which will lead us into a full discussion of the topic… Previously I wrote about the power of forgiveness in helping us get out from under the Shadow of the Past. (See earlier post). Well, let’s say we have figured out how to release the past and its control over our present. That’s great! But now the big question arises…We’ve managed to escape the past, but where are we NOW living…Being? Are we now able to focus on the present, on the day, on each special, precious moment which comes our way and is over instantaneously? Can be catch the wonder and beauty of each second? Can we experience our life as it unfolds in the moment in all its amazing wonder? Or, are we still living in a place which is not NOW! And if we are no longer burdened by the past, then where are we? Truth be told, most of us are probably abandoning the now for the dream of what will be in the future. Always longing for the time when…always planning for the time we will be able to…always looking for the opportunity which will allow us to…We dwell on things that happened in the past or anticipate future events. But we almost never experience the moment itself. It is for this reason that we often find our lives boring and meaningless. This sense of meaningless does not come from our lives, but from the quality of awareness with which we live our lives. And where does that leave us today? Craving, discontented, unfulfilled, lonely, jealous and completely unaware of, and unable to experience the joy of each moment. Waiting to finish school, waiting to get out of the army, finally going on our travels but then thinking all the time about what we have to do when the trip is over, waiting to find that special someone, waiting for the baby to sit up, to walk, to say his first word, waiting for the kids to leave home, waiting to retire….and before you know it, life is over and we are still waiting for…what? And what happened to all those precious moments in between? How many of them do we remember? How often did we savor the delicious moment? How often did we look at the sky, at the grass, feel the breeze, notice the insects, examine a flower, see the animal tracks on the path, feel the hand of our lover or our child, REALLY listen to someone talking or to the sounds of Nature, hear the hum of the electric appliance running in our house (!)…notice the silence when there is an electricity cut.

How often do we actually HEAR, pay attention to, enjoy the music we are listening to? How often to we see the smile, or sadness on our childrens’ faces, pay full attention to their stories when they come home from school…How often do we really fully experience the moment? Mindfulness is a concept in Buddhism, but is something which all of us can benefit from understanding. In Buddhist terms “Mind” is defined as awareness of objects or events, rather than “mental factors”, which contain the content of thoughts etc. And from this definition of “mind” comes the simple yet amazingly powerful concept of “mindfulness”. Mindfulness is being completely and totally aware of everything you are doing as you are doing it. From simple everyday things such as brushing your teeth in the morning, to driving to work, to sitting at the computer and writing this post. (I make it a point to notice everything that I feel, see, touch, sense at each moment. The breeze from the open window to my right, the hum of the computer, the feel of the hard plastic on my finger tips as I touch type, the growl of my stomach as I put off eating just to get a drop more of this written, the tenseness in my shoulders (which I instantly relax to avoid pain later in the evening), the birds singing outside the window as dusk begins, etc) It means living in the now, savoring every moment, as the moment is ALL we truly have.

Just a couple of examples, one from my own personal experience…I remember my walks in the mountains which I usually did alone, and did not truly appreciate the pleasure of these walks until I started walking with other people. It seemed that everyone who went walking, was walking in order to get somewhere! The walking was goal orientated and they didn’t begin to experience the day until they “got” where they were “going”. I found this all very upsetting, as they walked at a brisk pace, totally unaware of their surroundings, talking about inconsequential things, never once experiencing the walk itself. It was only after several walks like this that I began to understand the beauty of my isolated walks…I would sometimes walk fast, but mostly just move with the flow of the surroundings. I would look around, hear my footsteps and the noises of the forest, notice the color of the undergrowth, hear the far away ripple of a brook, see the sun shining through the trees…as a matter of fact, I will post right after this a Journal entry I wrote describing one of these walks…which in itself becomes a kind of Mindfulness Meditation. An exercise in BEING in the NOW! You can skip over the following Journal Entry and go on to further discussion of Mindfulness and the example of washing dishes and come back to reading this later, or read it now to get a better feeling for what I am trying to describe and then continue on with the rest of the post.

Just walked up TIPA road to Dharamkot after not taking that road in about 2 weeks. And it’s as if I am walking someplace for the first time. Seems familiar but no place I’ve actually been this trip No more whizzing rickshaws to jump aside from or taxi’s rushing up blowing their horns. And only 2 other people were seen the whole way up. As a matter of fact, the only human sound accompanying me the whole way up was the occasional scrape of my hiking boots on the road or the soft rustling of my jeans as my legs brushed against each other. And so the forest came alive! At one place there was a tree standing alone with 18(!) ravens on it just enjoying their perches in the sun and “chatting” quietly with each other. None of their usual shouting and squawking to disturb the peace of the day. It’s as if the change has relaxed them as well. Further up a little hollow in the wood filled with layers of flitting butterflies. Also seeming to have been invited as well to enjoy the peace of the forest. And the foliage has all become richer and greener and more luxuriant. The fronds on the ferns are enormous with brown stems running through their centers. Some as large as huge banana leaves. And the mosses have spread to cover enormous spaces that used to be just dark damp earth. One kind had little “leaves” in the shape of stars with miniscule white pointed “flowers” almost like sitting atop the “leaves”. The cicadas no longer competing with the vehicles or human voices are heard in full force. And many different kinds of bird calls can be heard from the trees. The sun is gloriously warm and blessedly obscured from time to time by the shade of the forest. Making the walk the perfect combination of cold crispness and warmth. As I approached Dharamkot, even the lilting voices of the school children seemed almost in an intrusion. A few sparse lower branches seem connected by enormous spider webs. One lone butterfly disappearing inside a clump of low lying rhododendron. A few lonely rays of sunshine manage to beam their way through the thickness of the 20-30 meter high pines to rest on the forest floor which is a combination of pine needles, low greenery, rocks and moss covered earth. Surrounded completely on all sides by total silence, except for the ever present cicadas and distant call of ravens and the occasional magpie. I feel embraced not only by the splendor of the trees all around me, but my Mother Nature herself! The trees soar upwards like needles topped with triangles of green pointed at the sun as if striving to reach the heights of heaven itself. Posted by Picasa And I sit insignificantly here but knowing that I am just as much at home here as the trees!

I am adding a video here taken this year (2007) while once again in my beloved mountains with my new digital camera…it will give you a further feeling for what I am referring to in the above…

Forest Walk in Dharamkot


The Above is one of the reasons I so miss being in India, (As of this second posting today, this winter,2012, is the first time I have NOT been back to India since 2007 (!) and I am really feeling the loss) as I have been 3 times in the past 5 years just at this time of the year. It does something to my soul…seems to awaking things which, try as I may, usually find hard to arouse when taking a walk anywhere here at home. Although today (this written about year later after taking a walk in the middle of Raanana) I DID have a very pleasant walk, with much mindfulness of my surroundings which actually brought tears to my eyes, allowing me to feel for a short few minutes the intensity of being in the moment that I feel so much more in the mountains in India.

Now back to the very famous example of simple every day Mindfulness presented by the Vietnamese Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh who writes about the benefits of washing dishes to wash dishes.

This is a very important point because normally we wash dishes in order to have clean dishes. Whenever we do anything, we do it to get a result. We write a letter in order to produce a letter which we can then send; we are washing dishes not to wash dishes, but so we can have clean dishes and go on to the next task. As we wash the dishes we are thinking about what we will do next, how e will have a cup of coffee, what somebody said to us this morning, what TV program we watched last night, what our kid is doing, what our husband said to us before he went to work. The last thing we have on our mind is the dishes. Then when we come to drink the coffee, we are thinking that after that we have to go shopping and what we are going to buy…or we might even go OUT for coffee with a friend but then we are talking to each other (perhaps even listening to the other person talking), but not really being there with the cup of coffee and its wonderful aroma and taste. Our entire lives pass in this way. Even when we are doing something nice, like eating a delicious meal, we are thinking about dessert. We never even truly enjoy the good things. Tenzin Palmo (the first Western woman to be ordained as a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition*) speaks about this in her teachings and books as well…” I like Tirimisu very much with coffee and lots of cream-totally degenerate, but I love it. So when I eat tiramisu, it is a very pleasurable thing. At the first mouthful, I’m completely with the Tirimisu. But by the second mouthful, I am comparing it with a Tirimisu I had somewhere else which was my idea of the perfect Tirimisu, and I’ve lost this one. For the rest of the mouthfuls, I’m not really eating it anymore. It’s eating itself. I’m already somewhere else, with former glorious Tirimusus which this one should have been but isn’t. We do this every day, not only with what we think of as unpleasant things like washing the dishes, but also with pleasant things. We’re not there. We don’t experience it.” Back to Thich Nhat Hanh who asks “Why not wash dishes just to wash dishes?” We get clean dishes anyway! But it means that while we are washing the dishes, we are completely with it. There is no action in the world more important at that moment than washing the dishes because that is what we are doing. Everything else is just our thoughts. But the thing happening in the moment is the actual reality and, therefore, the most important thing. If we miss it now, we miss it forever, because we can never get that “now” time back once it has passed. So let’s try to wash the dishes and just know we are washing the dishes. It’s not a big deal. We are conscious that we are standing at the sink. Now the hand is picking up a dish. We can feel the water. We can feel the soap suds. We are conscious of what we are washing. We are completely attentive to what is happening in that moment. In this way we become centered in the moment, and that moment is all we ever really have. Our whole life is made up of moment after moment after moment. If we miss these moments through thinking about something else, they are gone forever. If you try this, you will discover that it is extraordinarily difficult. It sounds very easy, but after the first minute the mind is already either thinking, “oh, this is easy, very easy to be mindful..I can be mindful anytime….” And where are you? You’re not with the dishes, you are thinking ABOUT the dishes. Or you may be thinking “Hmmm…where did I get this dish? Ah yes…it was part of a set…where is the rest of the set…?” etc. It is very difficult to remember to be present. It’s easy to be present once we remember. But if we can do that, if we can bring this quality into our daily lives as often as possible, even for a couple of minutes each time, we will open up whole new vistas of awareness. Each moment will bring new understanding and pleasure to us, and we will truly begin to understand the wonders of each moment, of BEING in the present, which is all we truly have. In a future post I will write about Mindfulness Meditation**, which takes the above exercise one step further, but for now, even washing the dishes, or walking to the supermarket, or working on the computer, can be a form of meditation if it is done with mindfulness and if we remain completely in the moment. Remember: We have nothing if we don’t cherish and enjoy each moment. Live as if we may die tomorrow-make the most of each day. Enjoy the beauty of every minute. Live with youthful enthusiasm for each thing that comes our way. Experience things with all our senses as they happen. Be Mindful. BE…LIVE… * Recommended reading either about or by this amazing English born woman- who lived for 12 years in a cave in the Himalayas and has become a living legend: “Cave in the Snow” by Vicki Mackenzie; “Reflections on a Mountain Lake” by Tenzin Palmo. You can also check our the website of the nunnery she founded and find more interesting information: http://tenzinpalmo.com/ I met her on my last trip to India at the nunnery and will post a journal entry about that visit at a later date. If you are interested in hearing more about her, you can comment here and I will get back to you. **Good first book on the topic: “Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday” by Jon Kabat-Zinn

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One Day as a Tourist in Tel Aviv – The Blessings of Mindfulness

Buildings of Old Tel Aviv

We tend to take the familiar for granted, so when I had to go into Tel Aviv on an errand, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity, brought along my camera, put myself in complete “mindfulness mode” and used the eyes of a tourist for the short while I was walking around. It is quite wonderful the things that are all around us and that we don’t normally see. I had a surprising lovely day and hope you enjoy the photos. Lots of beautiful old buildings, some restored, others not…and other scenes I found worth photographing:  see more photos at this link:

I found my senses so keen and alert to everything around me, not just what I photographed – but the smells, the feel of the breeze on my face and my hair blowing in the wind, the noises from the street, from the people, from the birds and dogs, to my own footsteps on the pavement…I felt so fully alive.  It was wonderful.

Maybe I will make this a new habit….just get on a bus, go someplace with my camera, and enjoy the day wherever it takes me!!

Hope you enjoy the photos in this link:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150188135521545.297832.547896544&l=37e55cc6e2

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Living in India 2009– How a Dream Becomes a Reality

So many people have asked me how I have managed to arrange my life so that I can spend 6 months a year in India, that I’ve decided to write about it as there hopefully are lessons for others to learn from this as well.

I have done some thinking about the whole concept of turning dreams into reality. It is a fairly simple concept actually, but seeing it truly work is the amazing part. When we have a focused intention and can visualize it, and then release it completely to God and the Universe, our new reality begins to be created for us. The catch here is that we must TOTALLY release it, in complete Faith, knowing that it will be taken care of. The “how’s” are well beyond our human capabilities to imagine.

If we continue to “second-guess” the wisdom of the Universe, or mix fear into the equation, we sabotage the final outcome.

Asking each day for the best possible outcome to our prayers, our dreams, for our Higher Good and the Higher Good of all who come in contact with us, on all levels – asking for openness to accept and embrace ALL that comes our way in COMPLETE FREEDOM FROM FEAR – asking for the wisdom to “hear” all the messages we receive – is all we need to do to insure the successful manifestation of our dreams into reality.

In 2001, at the age of 54, when I quit my high paying job in hi-tech (more…)

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