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Waiting

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Notre Dame of Bellac, France Formal place of stillness

 

No anxiousness or distracted thinking while waiting now. A bonus to sit in stillness, even with eyes open. Stillness is now filled with aspects of doing.

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: being, contemplating, meditating, Selfseeds stillness, sitting

Tranquility

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Tranquility while floating

 

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Category: Balance, Emotions, Personalize 5, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: flow, fluid, peace, Selfseeds stillness, tranquility, water

Being With Water

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Mississippi merging with another river

Living on the water, going to the water, sitting near the water, walking in the water, diving in the water, floating on the water, and the multitude of ways to engage with “the water” are all cathartic in their own ways. What is so magnetic and mesmerizing about  water whether still or moving? Is it the qualities of steadfastness, depth, emersion, expansiveness, power, presence, rejuvenation, and more? Take five minutes (or more) to be with one of nature’s sources of water–listen, sense, and be what with what is has to share and teach.

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Category: Emotions, Personalize 5, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: being, nature's water, Selfseeds Program, stillness

Double Bonus!

 

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Double bonus, meditating in nature. Inward and outward beauty!

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: meditation, nature, Selfseeds stillness

Where It All Starts and Finishes

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Lotus flower

 

Vibration, resonance, energy, and other names.  Everything starts and finishes with these, so all is one and the same.  Getting to know one’s self at this level will help support all of the outer layers.  Take 5 minutes to plant a Selfseed Stillness and go inward.

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: energy, inward, resonance, Selfseeds, stillness, vibration

Yogic Lifestyle

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Does the yogic lifestyle require doing yoga?  No, but it can be enhanced by adding yoga postures. The original idea of the yogic lifestyle was living in alignment with body, mind, and soul.  The postures support these three aspects, but just doing yoga and forgetting about what the postures represent in one’s daily walk of life is a missed opportunity.  A person can live a healthy life without yoga postures too.  Attention to exercise, diet, quiet time, flexibility, awareness, and more can be created through other modalities. It is your choice, but take 5 minutes to plant a Selfseed and watch your personal garden grow.

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Category: Fitness, Flexibility, Nutrition, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: body, mind, Selfseeds, soul, yoga, yogic lifestyle

Breathing: Controlled and Uncontrolled

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Psychology Today

Breathing And Your Brain: Five Reasons To Grab The Controls
Deep breathing could be the most powerful brain-management tool we have.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/em/128488

 

Read More www.daviddisalvo.org

The advice to “just breathe” when you’re stressed may be a cliché of Godzilla-sized proportions, but that doesn’t make it untrue. The substance behind the saying is research-tested—and not only to manage stress.
Breathing is an unusual bodily function in that it is both involuntary and voluntary. Other major functions—take digestion and blood flow, for example—occur without conscious influence, and for the most part we couldn’t influence them if we tried. They are involuntarily managed in the vast processing system of the unconscious mind.

Breathing is also managed in the unconscious, but at any moment we can grab the controls and consciously change how we breathe. We can make our breathing shallow or deep, fast or slow, or we can choose to stop breathing altogether (until we pass out and the unconscious takes over again).

Since we are breathing all the time, the oddness of this dual-control system doesn’t usually dawn on us—but it’s this control flexibility that makes breathing especially worthy of attention. We can change how we breathe, and to an extent change how breathing affects our bodies.

Controlled breathing, also known as “paced respiration,” “diaphragmatic breathing” and “deep breathing,” has long been a feature of Eastern health practices. It became more visible in the West after Dr. Herbert Benson’s book, “The Relaxation Response”, hit shelves in the mid 1970s. Whatever you choose to call controlled breathing, the dynamic at work is full oxygen exchange: more oxygen enters the body and more carbon dioxide exits.

The basic mechanics of controlled breathing differ a bit depending on who is describing them, but they usually include three parts: (1) inhaling deeply through the nose for a count of five or so, making sure that the abdomen expands, (2) holding the breath for a moment, and (3) exhaling completely through the mouth for a count longer than the inhalation.

Benson argued that controlling breathing in this way triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to come online and counter our sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response to daily stresses. In effect, the relaxation response is the anti-fight or flight response. Subsequent research has backed up and expanded Benson’s argument.

What follows are five science-based reasons for paying more attention to an ability most of us aren’t maximizing.

1. Managing Stress.

This is the most direct application of controlled breathing and the one we hear about most. Our brains are routinely on high alert for threats in our environment—we’re wired to react defensively to anything that hints of imperiling us physically or psychologically.

Controlled breathing may be the most potent tool we have to prevent our brains from keeping us in a state of stress, and preventing subsequent damage caused by high stress levels. The relaxation response is a built-in way to keep stress in check.

2. Managing Anxiety.

The means by which controlled breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system is linked to stimulation of the vagus nerve—a nerve running from the base of the brain to the abdomen, responsible for mediating nervous system responses and lowering heart rate, among other things.

The vagus nerve releases a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that catalyzes increased focus and calmness. A direct benefit of more acetylcholine is a decrease in feelings of anxiety. Stimulating the vagus nerve may also play a role in treating depression, even in people who are resistant to anti-depressant medications.

3. Lowering Blood Pressure and Heart Rate.

Research suggests that when practiced consistently, controlled breathing will result in lower blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn results in less wear and tear on blood vessels. As described above, the vagus nerve plays a key role in this response.

Over time, using controlled breathing to lower blood pressure and heart rate can help prevent stroke and lower risk of cerebral aneurysm.

4. Sparking Brain Growth.

One of the more intriguing research developments involving controlled breathing is that when it’s used to facilitate meditation, the result can be an actual increase in brain size. Specifically, the brain experiences growth in areas associated with attention and processing of sensory input.

The effect seems to be more noticeable in older people, which is especially good news because it’s the reverse of what typically happens as we age—gray matter usually becomes thinner. The result is consistent with other research showing an increase in thickness of music areas of the brain in musicians and visual-motor areas in the brains of jugglers. As in those cases, the key is consistent practice over time.
5. Changing Gene Expression.

Another unexpected research finding is that controlled breathing can alter the expression of genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion. The study uncovering this finding was co-authored by none other than Herbert Benson himself, some 40 years after he brought controlled breathing into the spotlight with his book.

And this isn’t the first study linking controlled breathing to changes in genetic expression. Benson was also involved in a 2008 study indicating that long-term practice of the relaxation response results in changes to the expression of genes associated with how the body reacts to stress.

You can find me on Twitter @neuronarrative and at my website, The Daily Brain.

 

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: brain function, breathing, controlled, Selfseeds stillness, uncontrolled

Sitting Cross-Legged For Months

 

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The possibility of sitting cross-legged without external support and for long periods of time is starting to emerge. If one can sit supported from the core enough than no extra pressure is put on the limbs, neck, shoulders, feet, etc. it is as if one is in a balanced state while seated. One step is getting into the position another step is maintaining the position without stress for extended periods of time. Pain free sitting has involved attention to many details. Extending the time is the continuing aim.

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Category: Balance, Fitness, Flexibility, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: balance, cross-legged, fitness, flexibility, meditation, Selfseeds, stillness

Nonsense Mind

 

Walking in Jaipur, India

Is there anyone who hasn’t noticed how much nonsense can surface while trying to quiet the mind in meditation? Mine even invents scenarios that haven’t ever happened like watching a television sitcom. “Creative bugger!”  All I can do is have compassion, amusement, and continue.

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Category: Emotions, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: amusement, compassion, creative, meditation, mind activity, nonsense, Selfseeds stillness

Got My Stopwatch Out

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My teacher has given me a two part, (5 minutes each part),  homework assignment to do several times a day for my mediation practice. I got my stopwatch out, so I could really get a feel for what 5 minutes is in this scenario.  I highly recommend it!  My perception alone was very inaccurate. It was fun to experience how much can be accomplished in such a short, committed amount of time.  My teacher doesn’t know about Selfseeds, so it was an even a bigger bonus when he clearly stated 5 minutes for each awareness practice!  I am going for 3 times a day…

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: 5 minutes, perception, power of 5 minutes, Selfseeds, stopwatch