Meanderings on Enlightenment 1990

I wrote straight out of a very powerful visualization meditation on a warm spring afternoon in 1990. I came across it this morning and thought I’d share.

Just in case no one else reminds you today, YOU are awesome!

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay inspired!

Ray

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Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise Affirmations Video

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Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss

Ray

Cultivating Equanimity – Day 264 of 365 Days to a Better You

The standard dictionary definition for equanimity is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

In Buddhism, equanimity is one of the four sublime states of being. The Buddhist teacher, Gil Fronsdal, describes it this way.

Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality’s transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.

Sounds like a quality I’d like to develop more fully, but how?

Broadly speaking, meditation, prayer, or communing with nature can gain you temporary equanimity. The goal, though, is to bottle it so you can take with you into life’s adversity and, “Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,” as Rudyard Kipling put it.

Buddha described seven qualities that create equanimity. These are qualities you and I can develop with or without Buddhist practice.

  1. Virtue or integrity
  2. Faith
  3. Well-developed mind
  4. Well-being
  5. Wisdom
  6. Insight
  7. Freedom

If this topic interests you and you’re wanting a little deeper dive, I’ve outlined the seven qualities and how to achieve them here.

Have a fantastic evening, my friends! Thank you all for your support of this blog and my work.

Ray

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Profound Moments – Day 225 of 365 Days to a Better You

In our hurry up world, it’s easy to miss the profound moments happening around us all the time. Our hurry disconnects us, I believe, from what’s authentic and real. Poetry is an amazing doorway into experiencing these moments. What the poems or what those moments mean is an experience utterly unique to you.

Today I’ll share two poems. The first was written by yours truly in 1993. It may not be world-class poetry, but describes a scene I experienced in my mind’s eye while listening to Music from The Hearts of Space.

Engaged!

In profound contemplation

on a gray wind-swept beach at dusk.

Reaching for a stone, I hurl it into the sea.

Wondering, as I do, whose universe I’ve shuddered.

And, how my universe has been fundamentally altered by the act.

Then I watch a seagull feed her young and listen as the sun sinks beneath the waves.

The second is a profound poem by the 8th century Chinese poet Li Po (also know as Li Bai).

“The Birds Have Vanished”

(English translation by Sam Hamill)

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

What are we touching in those moments of profound connection? Why does it touch something so deep within us? These are questions that must not be brushed aside by our hustle and bustle.

Wishing you all an amazing evening! That should be easy, as amazing as you are!

Ray

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Becoming Mindful – Day 128 of 365 Days to a Better You

It’s amazing how much you can get done sitting perfectly still with eyes closed and legs crossed.

You’ve been taught your entire life that you can and you must rely on your five senses to interpret and understand the reality around you. We consider this process conscious awareness, but how aware and how conscious is it?

Neuroscientists estimate that your unconscious brain can process about 11 million pieces of information per second. However, your conscious brain can only process about 40 (or 3.6/1,000,000ths). Yeah. There’s a lot coming into your consciousness and experience that you’re not aware of.

That’s under pristine conditions. Consider how fragmented you are by stresses, deadlines, and multi-tasking. You have to question the quality of the conscious data you’re receiving and basing your life decisions upon.

Two things become immediately apparent. There’s a huge amount of information available to you that you’re not benefiting from consciously. Your conscious information, when used in a hurried, frazzled environment, is unreliable. I hope you’d agree that’s not a practical state of affairs.

Mindfulness is a generalized term for age-old awareness and meditation practices specifically designed to slow you down, allow you to take more in consciously, and raise your awareness.

mindfulness_definition

2012 research submitted to and published by the American Psychological Association demonstrated amazing empirical benefits such as improved focus, better memory, less depression, stress reduction, and more cognitive flexibility.

Research subjects found over time they experienced more empathy, compassion, less stress, and a better quality of life.

Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and UMASS-Amherst, has made a career of studying the benefits of mindfulness. His focus has been on general health and on people with chronic or even terminal conditions. However, the implications of his work are applicable to all our lives.

I first became aware of his work in my 20s health and psychological crisis period through his wonderful books – Full Catastrophe Living (Amazon link) and Wherever You Go There You Are Audio Version (Amazon link). They were game-changers for me personally.

If you want to go deeper on Kabat-Zinn’s research, I’ll share some links below.

Power hack: Mindfulness is a tool accessible by any human being – you included – in any moment. You don’t need a degree or special knowledge or the wisdom of a saint. You just need a quiet space to relax, breathe, let go, and become aware. The benefits to both your health and your level of awareness are amazing.

If you’re new, Gaiam.com provides these four simple steps to get you started with mindfulness meditation. We will take this deeper in a future post.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.

Begin with maybe five minutes at a time and work your way up to 20 minutes or longer.

Mindfulness meditation is the best tool I know of to become more aware of your environment and more awake to your potential, and more in-touch with the healing energies within.

Ray

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Jon Kabat-Zinn