Friday, December 19, 2008

Some Reasons to Meditate.

We know the obvious reason for meditation - to relax, to give our brain some chill out time. That is why many of us start, because we begin to notice just how active our thoughts are, and are looking for a bit of time out.

However, some of the things I am really interested in, is changing the way we think, and the things we think about so we can become happy. I don't beleive there is much space in our lives for new ideas, new concepts, positive dreams and goals, until we are able to reduce the negativety, and poor thought patterns that can make up so much of all that mental chatter.

It is here that meditation can be so beneficial, for through practicing quieting the mind, we learn to hear what is going on in our thoughts. The mind is no longer on automatic all the time. It is from here that we can start to make changes to how and what we think, which can bring about massive change in our lives.

Therefore, meditation can be a doorway to happiness, contentment, positivety.

Please leave a comment about how meditation has made a difference to you.

Check out Open Eyed Meditation for a really easy way to start meditation. Another form of meditation is Mindfulness, take this link to look at an excerpt from The Spiritual Journey Guide for Single Mothers which gives a description of Mindfulness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ego, and the Four Noble Truths.

After spending a bit of time with Elizabeth Gilbert's idea of ego in her book Eat, Pray, Love I began to feel a little niggle about just how many other ways my ego was holding me back. My “I” was demanding my attention during meditation, as it did for Elizabeth and so many others. EVERYONE knows meditation is good for you – so if my “I”, my ego was trying to distract me, then it was not working in my best interests. I began to wonder if my ego was not to be trusted.

Something in my growing distrust of my ego took me back to my “Buddhism for Dummies” book. Obviously not my first bump with Buddhism! I reread the section on The Four Noble Truths, which is a corner stone of this belief systm. Buddha said:
1.There is suffering (that is, we do suffer unhappiness and sadness in our lives. The sadness of having and loosing, the sadness of not having, sadness of disappointment – really, it is just everywhere, and Buddha wanted us to face up to it!)
2.Our desirous thoughts are the cause of all our suffering. Buddha believes that it is the things we desire, what we want to control, hold, keep, and our attachment to things and people that is the reason we suffer.
3.There can be an end to our suffering (That is good news – finally!) All we have to do is stop wanting things, and trying to control things, and we will no longer suffer.
4.The way to Nirvana (absolute peace) is through living the way of the Eight Fold Path. This consists of 8 perfect ways to live, which of course includes right thinking.

What I get from the Four Noble Truths is this. The ego IS our desirous thoughts. It is the source of our wanting. Also it is the idea of owning, holding and keeping, which is all about “mine”. If I could stop my ego from wanting, and holding, and calling things MINE, I would suffer less. That is right thinking, and puts me on the path to Nirvana!

Once again I find my Ego is not really serving me, my trust levels have lowered again. I will find out more!

What are your thoughts?

If you would like to know some good reasons to meditate take this link to another related post. Or if you are thinking of trying meditation, you may want to look into Open Eyed Meditation as a jumping off point!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Solo Christmas

With Christmas time very near, it is time to do a little planning to keep the Christmas blues at bay. Single parents are very vulnerable at this time, when the kids rush off to Christmas day at the other parent home, and leave a vacuum in their wake. As much as you may look forward to the peace you see being yours that day, after the kids leave, if you haven't planned something special for yourself you can suddenly become a little lonely.

Start planning your lovely time now. A bath, fabulous meal, a movie (not sad), a great book. You may even concider accepting one of those offers of "drop in for a drink" to give you a focus, and interaction for the day.

Enjoy the day whatever you plan. But do plan. If you are looking for other ways to become happier as a single Mum take a look at The Spiritual Journey for Single Mothers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Resistance is Futile

Resist: to withstand or fight against. I am starting to believe that resistance to our lives is a very large part of the dissatisfaction we can often feel. We don't want to go to work, we don't want to be at work, or working. We don't want to clean, cook, or wash the clothes. We don't want to deal with the kids nagging, do the shopping, or spend time with those people.

When you think about it, our thoughts and our speech is full of resistance to what is, what needs to be done, our lives.

While we are dissatisfied with what we are doing, resentful and annoyed, irritated and angry, it is not possible to be happy too. While consumed with our general resistance we close ourselves off to contentment, satisfaction, love.

My son was sick a little while ago – just a bug. He vomited a couple of times, and had a temperature. But it was his resistance to being sick that made it the most unpleasant for him. “Why am I sick, what is the matter with me? Look, I am shaking, my teeth are chattering!” I was soothing him by letting him know it was just a bug, and I was there to take care of him. I wasn't worried, he wouldn't be sick for long. Yet, he resisted, making himself sicker, more anxious, more uncomfortable. The next day, we spoke about how much worse his resistance to being sick had made it, and that he should try to imagine being a jelly when unpleasant things were happening. To just be a blob, going with the flow, with muscles and thoughts relaxed. We joked about being a jelly, and showed my daughter jellies on the floor. I am sure the next time he is sick he will resist again, but I hope the imagery will come back to him some time when he needs it, my words and pictures in his mind.

And so, I think we need to spend a little more time being jellies. We may find that what we have been resisting in life is not as bad as we thought – that our resistance was the worst part of it. Or use those times to practice Mindfulness, a Buddhist practice of being fully present in the moment, and being completely involved in NOW. Or, by loosing our resistance we may find the quiet of the space left behind holds the answers we need when change is necessary.

Excerpt from The Spititual Journey Guide for Single Mothers on Mindfulness:(Pdf file, to open when clicked)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Meditation, the Ego, and a Great Book

It has been a year of fabulous things coming my way, that seem to arrive in just the right order, and at just the right time. That's when I picked up the best seller book, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is a persoanl account of one womans decision to take control of her life, and the year of self discovery that ensues.

I loved it – not least because the book starts out at Elizabeth's divorce – and found plenty to be inspired by. But, there is one concept that has had a huge influence on my thoughts since, and that is when she speaks about the ego, the “I”.

Elizabeth goes to India for four months to practice meditation; yet even in this most perfect environment she struggles to still her mind. She is given the advise that the constant demand on her thoughts is her ego. That the ego ( the “I”) is always looking to hold power, but that its domination over us actuallly holds us back from becoming whole. Liz was directed to distract the ego with love, in the heart.

So the next time I meditated I tried this. When my ego came up with distratction I gently sent my “I” down to my heart, with love, to wait for me. All was calm and quiet.

It was almost a relief to stop the “I” thoughts. And so much of the chattering mind is in the “I” context. I want, I need, I must, I ought, I hate, I never, I can't I love, I think, I wish, I will, I wont. All pronounced with such force and urgency that it's easy to feel it must be listened to, that it is important. But the ego can be subdued, allowing the peace of just being to occur. The perfect state to meditate!

Please leave a comment if you have read the book, or have some ideas on Ego.

The Spritual Journey Guide for Single Mothers.
Check this out if you want to get through, recover, and get past Divorce, and become happy. You also may be interested in some further reasons to meditate, or starting meditation with a really easy product.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Measuring the Wreckage

I sometimes wonder why I haven't got further along the spiritual path than I have at the ripe age of 44. But if I look at the wreckage, the debri I have had to get through I guess it makes sense. And everyones wreckage is different by degree. I imagine a picture of Lara Croft walking away from a huge crashing building. Dust is still billowing up into the air, and rocks, and bricks are still crashing down. Lara Croft is calm, confident and cool leaving the wreckage behind. And that's what it feels like when I look back to where I have come from. Stepping away from the kaos and moving to a more secure place, feeling confident in the direction.

Everyones crash site is different, the childhood wreckage, relationships and/or marriages crashes and our mental/thought war guide. Some of these wreckages are just the size of toys crashing, others are the huge real sizes of bus, train, plane collisions. Or city sized catastrophies. We can't compare wreckages, they can't be measured against anothers. And we can't race anyone else to the other side. They are not better than me because they are enlightened. I am not better than anyone else because I have found some peace. We are all just beings trying to get to our meeting place on the other side of our own individual disaster zones. Picking up little gems of truth, small treasures of hope from other people's words, books, and our own moments of light. And hopefully, passing some of them on to others to be a light for them on their journey through the obstacle course that is the spiritual journey of life.