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Forgetting To Go Inward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we often forget to do on a regular basis–go inward.

Category: Emotions, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: inquiry, introspection, meditation, Selfseeds stillness

Inner Work

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When I look back over the past 4 years of extended stays in India, my focus has been on learning about the place behind the mind, the quieting of the mind, and the ability to live with a more stable sense of inner peace. It has taken single-pointed focus and grace. I wasn’t a meditator, but it has required sitting still and reflecting inwardly as part of the teachings. Plus, integrating the inner work in all of my more outward life. Try just 5 minutes and see what happens.

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Category: Emotions, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: inner peace, meditation, quiet mind, Selfseeds, spiritual life in India

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

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

Journey Inward

 

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Currently, I am examining Selfseeds Stillness a lot while meditating and learning at the feet of a spiritual master. When I first put stillness on the list, I had no idea of the layers and depth that were involved. The past three years have been focused on just this one selfseed.  When I look at the collection of selfseeds, in many ways I would put stillness as a priority, because as I am learning, it effects everything else on the list–emotion, balance, partnering, etc.  Our inner state obviously influences our outer state–it is a direct connection without any wavering.  It is not realistic for most people to devote years to this topic, but 5 minutes a day is useful.  The point is to have very strict focus in the 5 minutes.  Work to have a straight spine and good posture.  Use the time to discipline the mind and remind it to be single-pointed.  Enjoy having a chance to focus inwardly and start to explore the origins of the real you. At the very least, use it as a well deserved time out to regroup, slow down, and breath.

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Category: Balance, Emotions, Partnering, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: breath, inward focus, meditation, regroup, Selfseeds, stillness, time out

Rhythm of Running & Sitting

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Outer and inner rhythm

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Category: Rhythm, Selfseeds
Tag: breathing, heart beating, meditation, rhythm, running, Selfseeds, spiritual heart

Challenges of Sitting Cross-legged For Meditation

 

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Another range of flexibility…

If you didn’t grow up sitting cross-legged or don’t practice on a regular basis, it could be daunting.  Sitting with a straight spine is the most important, so if you have to sit on something, legs to the side, or some variation, the straight spine with the core connected should be the focus.  Since I am “sitting” on the floor for 4-6 hours a day, I am noticing there is a fitness with the process that one may take for granted.  Symmetry is a big piece too. If  I sit too much on one side, push down harder on one half, head too far forward, upper back not supporting my head, and the list goes on–the asymmetry puts undo tension on an area, so posture is key. Even when we are still, posture is important.

I have tried to ignore when my body is yelling that I need to change position, but that hasn’t worked out well, so I listen.  I don’t shift because I cannot concentrate, but I do shift if my leg is going numb or my hips/knees are tired of being folded.  After you build some fitness for sitting, you start to notice how awesome the position actually is and how it makes sense when you go deep.

Mentally and physically there is plenty to work with while touching into stillness.  Little by little, the desire to be distracted lessens and you find a tranquility in the stillness, but the bodies flexibility and fitness are undeniable components.  It is not to say that you cannot meditate if you don’t sit on the floor cross-legged either.  It is about the journey.

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Category: Flexibility, Selfseeds, Stillness, Weight Distribution
Tag: core, cross-legged, meditation, posture, Selfseeds, stillness, straight spine

Stillness In Distraction

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How long do we navigate our lives without going inward?  How quickly do we want to back out of going inward once we go there?  What an interesting duality.  Can we find the solutions outwardly?  At this point, I would say temporarily. Relief by self medicating.  Take your pick–food, alcohol, drugs, retail therapy, etc. They can all be fun, but not lasting. What is the value of inner stillness?  Peace, calm, tranquility, alignment to right action, kindness, love, truth…  Is it our true nature?  Yes, so why is it so hard to find?  Living has provided a lot of opportunities for obscuring it.  The mind loves living with stories, creating stories, and finding jobs that aren’t required.

Meditating in India can provide part of the outer distractions that challenge attempts at going inward.  The good news is it provides contrast, so when you aren’t distracted than you have probably touched some aspect of inner stillness.   It becomes recognizably quiet as something different than being disturbed by the lack of a quiet practice zone. Don’t get me wrong, meditating in a quiet atmosphere is delicious and recommended.  I tend to migrate into a quieter corner of the ashram when I want to just go inward with less effort.  My mind is always available for providing effort, so it isn’t like I am getting a free pass.

The connection to horses and other animals have given me an access point and an awareness of this inner place. but learning to walk it alone is well worth the journey.  At the end of the day, the self is the access point for all aspects of being and doing. Life changing often.  Take 5 minutes and plant a Selfseed Stillness in your personal garden.

(short video below)

Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: ashram environment, disturbances, India, meditation, quiet, Selfseeds, stillness

Daily Selfseed #6 Touching Inner Stillness

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Can you have inner stillness without having outer stillness?  My experience is yes. Is it easier to find inner stillness in a quiet, safe environment?  Most likely in the beginning, but since it is an inner state, one can grow to experience it in all situations.

Wonderful article on bringing meditation into your daily life as a living practice.
By now, almost everyone is aware of the powerful benefits of meditation. When we become conscious of our breathing and direct our awareness inward, our body relaxes, our blood pressure and heart rate drop, and our brain state shifts from anxiety producing beta waves to the smoother experience of alpha waves.

Modern neuroscience now confirms what yogis, monks, and saints have known for years – meditation is good for the mind, body, and soul.

But here’s the problem – who has the time? It would be great to spend two hours each day at an ashram or a retreat center, sitting on a meditation pillow in serene silence. But most of us have jobs to go to, families to care for, and errands to run. In the midst of the chaos of daily life, we simply don’t have the luxury of meditating all day like monks in a monastery.
There is, however, a simple solution to this problem. It requires that we rethink the very nature of meditation. It requires a shift from “monk-style meditation” – where meditation occurs in isolation from the rest of our day – to “anywhere meditation” – where it occurs in the midst of life’s chaos.

We don’t need more time to meditate. We just need to learn to meditate in any situation – not just at a yoga studio or on a mountain retreat but in a traffic jam or an airport security line.

This is the kind of practice that Ralph Waldo Emerson describes in “Self-Reliance.” As he says, “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

How do you bring meditation into the chaos of daily life?

It’s All About the Breath
You can get lost in the details of meditation. You can become obsessed with posture, mantras (repeated phrases), and mudras (finger locks). But reduced to its essence, meditation is all about the breath. We always breathe, but, when we meditate, we breathe consciously. We bring our awareness to each inhale and exhale. So while you may not be able to sit in lotus pose during a board meeting, that doesn’t mean that you can’t meditate.

No matter what the situation, you can always bring attention to your breath and work toward lengthening each inhale and exhale. No one else even needs to know you’re doing it.

Finding the Gaps
All of us, no matter how busy, have small gaps in our day that are perfect for meditation. It might be the five-minute wait in line at the grocery store, the 10-minutes you spend stuck in traffic, or the two minutes you spend waiting for your computer to start up. In these moments, try shifting from frustration to meditation. Try bringing your attention to the breath and using these gaps as unexpected opportunities for calming the mind and body.

Meditative Multitasking
Finding gaps in the day gives you a time to go fully into meditation. But you can also bring meditation into almost any workday task.

Take meetings. In my experience, most meetings only require about 50% of our attention. You need to keep tabs on the flow of the conversation and offer your input when needed. But this leaves about 50% of your attention open for meditation. So rather than getting bored, try meditating. Experiment with bringing your attention to the breath as you follow the flow of the meeting. With practice, you can learn to meditate while doing just about any task – while checking emails, talking on the phone, or commuting to work.

You may never have a two-hour chunk of each day to devote to meditating. You may never have the time to sit cross-legged on the banks of a river or on the beach for hours each morning.

But if you master the art of “anywhere meditation,” that shouldn’t stop you from spending hours each day deep in meditation. The key is to shift from meditation as a separate activity performed in serene settings to meditation as a moment-to-moment way of being.

What do you think? Have you experimented with this shift from “monk-style meditation” to “anywhere meditation”? It’s super simple so why not give it a shot?

Written on 4/28/2011 by Nate Klemp. Nate earned his PhD at Princeton and is a professor at Pepperdine University. He founded LifeBeyondLogic.com, a website dedicated to exploring philosophy as an art of living. You can follow him on Twitter @LifeBeyondLogic and on Facebook. Download a free copy of his new ebook, Finding Reality: Thoreau’s Lessons for Life in the Digital Age.

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Category: Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: 5 minutes, India, inner peace, living inner stillness, meditation, Selfseeds