Monthly Archives: February 2012

Stillness Speaks

Mindfulness and meditation is often a topic in my sessions. Many clients feel intimidated by the thought of meditating because they’ve never tried. Most of us have an unrealistic concept of what it means to meditate, thinking we must reach some unnatural level of consciousness and insight – and that we have to clear our minds of all thoughts.

There is no way to clear all thoughts – our thoughts are a natural part of each of us. We simply need to learn to slow them down and let them go. I’ve heard several people who are considered to be expert at meditation say that even they have difficulty quieting their minds at times.

There are many ways to meditate. None are the “right” way. Sometimes I use a guided meditation, other times I’ve visualized a scene that I find peaceful and use all my senses to make it feel as if I’m right there, enjoying it. I’ve learned that if I start my meditation by trying to achieve something in particular, I’ll be disappointed and frustrated. If I just close my eyes and try to sink into my surroundings, without any expectations, I usually have a much better experience. It serves to slow my life down for the rest of the day, and helps me feel peaceful, regardless of what is going on around me.

It also helps me to listen to or read something that inspires me just prior to meditating. Here are some excerpts from Eckhart Tolle’s book, STILLNESS SPEAKS that might help some understand what mindfulness is:

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.

When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself. You connect with it at a very deep level. You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive in and through stillness. Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love.

Any disturbing noise can be as helpful as silence. How? By dropping your inner resistance to the noise, by allowing it to be as it is, this acceptance also takes you into that realm of inner peace that is stillness.

Pay attention to the gap — the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, or the gap between the in-breath and out-breath.

When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of “something” becomes — just awareness. . . .

True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.

I Am Never Upset for the Reason I Think

These are some excerpts from a chapter in a little book published in the 70s, titled LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR by Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD.  While I was young and more focused on just raising my family back then, these are not concepts that were in my consciousness at the time, although they have always rung true for me.  Regardless, the message of these excerpts are just as appropriate (if not more so) now:

Most of us have a belief system based on experiences from the past and on perceptions from the physical senses. . . . Because our physical senses appear to relay information from the outside world to our brain, we may believe that our state of mind is controlled entirely by the feedback we receive. This belief contributes to a sense of ourselves as separate entities who are largely isolated and feel alone in an uncaring and fragmented world. This can leave us with the impression that the world we see causes us to feel upset, depressed, anxious and fearful. Such a belief system presumes that the outside world is the cause and we are the effect.

What would happen if we believed that what we see is determined by the thoughts in our mind? . . . that our thoughts are the cause and what we see is the effect. It would then make no sense to blame the world or those in it for the miseries and pain we experience. . .it would be possible then to consider perception as “a mirror and not a fact.”
. . .
It may be helpful to question our need to attempt to control the external world. We can, instead, consistently control our inner world by choosing what thoughts we want to have. . . Peace of mind begins with our own thoughts and extends outward.

We all have the power to direct our minds to replace the feelings of being upset, depressed and fearful with the feeling of inner peace. I am tempted to believe that I am upset because of what other people do or because of circumstances and events which seem beyond my control. . . When I recognize that I always have the choice between being fearful or experiencing Love by extending Love to others I need no longer be upset for any reason.

(The author goes on to give a personal example, where he explains that he had had chronic back pain for years, which greatly restricted his activities).

“I thought I was upset because of the pain and the distress caused by it. Then one day there seemed to be a small voice inside which said that, even though I had an organic back syndrome, I was causing my own pain. It became clear to me that my back condition became worse when I was under emotional stress, particularly when I was fearful and holding a grievance against someone I was not upset for the reason I thought. As I learned to let go of my grievances through the practice of forgiveness, my pain disappeard. I now have no limitations on my activities. I thought I had been upset because of back pain. I found however, I was upset because of unhealed personal relationships. I had let myself believe that the body controls the mind, rather the realizing that the mind controls the body.”

It is from our peace of mind (cause) that a peaceful perception of the world arises (effect).

What Others Think of You is None of Your Business

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs

Never, and I mean never, allow anyone else’s ideas of who you can or can’t become sully your dream or pollute your imagination. This is your territory, and a KEEP OUT sign is a great thing to erect at all entrances to your imagination.
– Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

I Don’t Have Much Time!

A while back, I posted a blog about how children are like paparazzi because they “take your picture mentally when you don’t want them to, when you don’t look good, and show it back to you in their behavior.” That particular post was about how I overheard my granddaughter playing with her dolls and repeating things I knew I had said.

She continues to make me look at myself! Last week, my husband and I had both been sick and were sitting on the couch at the end of a long work day – and at the end of our energy! But Jess was having none of that. She was in the middle of the living room and she wanted me to play with her doll house. Then she tried to get me to help her take care of her baby dolls, and finally she wanted me to be “the Beast” (of Beauty and the Beast) and to dance with her. Each time I put her off, telling her I just needed to rest for a while. She also tried to engage Papa with each of these activities, also to no avail.

Suddenly she yelled, “Guys, I don’t have much time!” (Another classic statement I use on those mornings [most mornings] when she decides to stop at the top of the stairs as we’re on our way out the door, hoping to get to pre-school or daycare in time for Grandma to get to the office).

We looked at each other, laughed and both got up to dance with her.

She’s one of my greatest teachers!