Friday, June 09, 2017
"Non" Meditation Techniques For Meditation
Despite all the possible positive results that are linked to regular meditation, many people still avoid taking advantage of the health benefits and sense of well-being that come with a regular meditation practice.
It's not that they don't believe the literature and claims. Well, in most cases it's not that. It may seem a little far-fetched to the average person to believe that sitting still and breathing quietly a couple of times a day can lower blood pressure, calm nerves jangled by modern society, aid in the solution of problems, increase creativity... the list goes on.
Then they realize that it's not JUST sitting still and breathing quietly. These meditating people must be DOING something to get all those results... if they really do! And if they're doing something, and getting such great results... well, then, they must be doing something difficult! It's difficult to imagine just sitting still and being alone with yourself for several minutes in our modern society, much less doing it properly AND getting great benefits!
Nope! It's too tough for me. I wish I could learn mediation techniques, but I don't think I could do it properly, or else I wouldn't like crawling around in my head. No telling what's up there!
It's really the fear of the unknown, the fear of having to learn some complicated technique, and the fear of failure that keeps many from trying the pleasurable experience of meditation.
WELL, I'VE GOT SOME GOOD NEWS FOR YA, BUNKY!
You don't have to travel to India, study under masters, or even light a candle and sit in the corner by yourself to get many of the benefits of meditation.
SOME NON-MEDITATION TECHNIQUES
1. Prayer. I'm not much into prayer these days, but I remember another time in my life when I was. During the moments that I was praying, I felt somewhat safe and separated from the rude world. Actually, prayer is a form of meditation. Meditators achieve many of the beneficial results by, in a way, praying. They may not be praying to a god, but they are repeating old familiar sounds, and are flowing with those utterances. Say OM enough times, or say the "Hail Mary" enough times, and you can achieve a lot of meditation. In fact, a study I read about many years ago seemed to indicate that many Catholics could achieve a meditative state by saying the Rosary.
2. Exercise. Now, I'm not talking about trying to lift a cow up over your head. Anyway, that's been done by Milo of Kroton, and see where it got him. Devoured by wild animal, you betcha! What I am talking about is a nice long walk, bicycle ride, or swim... or something like that! Just an aside here, most people who start out walking, riding, swimming or whatever tend to overdo it at first. If you haven't been walking regularly, just walk to the mailbox an extra time or two at first. Then walk down to the corner for a few days. Then walk around the block... get the idea? Get to the point where you are taking a 15 or 20 minute walk, and, in addition to the exercise benefits, you will experience many of the reactions experienced by someone meditating.
3. Breathing. Did you know there are good ways to breathe and not so good. Not breathing at all is the worst. Breathing properly can produce excellent relaxation results, and is much too broad a topic to be covered here. You might want to visit your library or do a Google search on "breathing exercises" in order to find a website or book which will provide instruction in this area.
4. Yoga. This is actually a combination of meditation, exercise and breathing. If you think you can't practice yoga because of your weight, age, or physical condition, think again! DO get a doctor's clearance before beginning any exercise program.
5. Go out in the woods. Stroll by yourself in the woods, or sit by a stream (if you can find one), and just watch the water. A few minutes of that can come pretty close to matching the effects of a few minutes meditation.
6. Read a book. Something a lot of us don't do much any more. When you find a book you really like and get absorbed in it, you're pretty close to meditation. In fact, did you ever have a time when you had been reading for what you thought was a few minutes, and it turned out to be an hour or more? Gotcha! You were meditating.
7. Go out on the porch. Don't take anything with you. Just hunker down in a comfortable chair and let your mind wander. You might be surprised what pops up! Here's the secret... let it. You might start thinking about that time 40 some odd years ago when you kissed your first girl..or guy. Geez! I haven't thought of that in years. There you go!
Well, you get the idea.
To get the maximum effects of meditation, the bottom line is that you have to ACTUALLY MEDITATE! sorry, didn't mean to shout. What a concept. Got some more good news for you. It's not really that hard to do. Oh, you will have a little difficulty concentrating (or, really, not concentrating) at first, but even the most effective meditators get distracted from time to time. If you give it a try, you will find that with time and non-effort, you will be meditating like a pro. It is so easy to learn, that I learned how to do it at the age of 15 (1960, since you asked), after reading a book in my high school library. By the way, if you want to get a non-meditating mind set, I really recommend "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living", by Dale Carnegie. That should kick start you if you've been procrastinating.
No, I'm sorry, we don't GIVE prizes to the best meditators, but they do GET some awfully big prizes in the form of the effects they experience. Those are the sort of prizes that you carry around with you all day long every day. And you know what? Nobody ever sees that bowling trophy on the mantle at home, but boy, will they notice the positive changes in you. You'll be pleasantly surprised and so will they.
Now get out there and meditate!
Donovan Baldwin is a freelance SEO copywriter currently living in Central Texas. He is a member of Mensa, a University of West Florida alumnus (BA Accounting 1973), and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. He has worked as an accountant, optical lab manager, restaurant manager, and instructor. He has written and published poetry, essays, and articles on various subjects for the last 40 years. He has a website on the subject of yoga at http://nodiet4me.com/yoga.
Article Source: "Non" Meditation Techniques For Meditation
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
We Can Be Super Heroes
In my mind, every woman can be Wonder Woman, and every man a wonder-man.
They don't need a fancy, form-fitting, every-last-secret revealing costume (Which most of us would rather not be seen in public wearing, right?), or a magic lasso, ability to leap tall buildings with a single bound, and all that other stuff, to help make the world a better place.
Not that I object to heroes, super or otherwise.
After all, I love Greek, and other, mythologies. On my wall is a picture of the Farnese Hercules. I admire the model offered bu someone, real or imagined, who is willing and able to change the world for the better. It's just that most of us have to work with a limited set of powers.
Think about it.
You don't really need a body like Wonder Woman's, or Superman's, to smile at someone. You don't need impossible strength or physical skills to help someone with a difficult task. You don't even have to look like an actor who COULD play a superhero to be one. With or without that skimpy, physique-revealing costume, make somebody's day better, and maybe they'll think you're pretty hot stuff.
True, probably nobody will put you in a comic book or make a movie about you, but you might end up feeling like a super star anyway. Just don't expect to be asked for autographs...except on checks and credit card bills.
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Monday, June 05, 2017
Personal Thoughts On Being Old
I am 72 years old as of last March. Although I have aged, and felt the effects of aging, I have never really felt old until the last two weeks.
A lot has happened in the last thirty years, a lot happened in the last six years, a lot happened in the last two years. While much of that left me sad, and, in some ways, scarred and bruised, I managed to keep going. I remained pretty much the same guy who had gotten through 21 years in the army, eight years driving a truck across the U.S., and holder of many other jobs.
For half a century, I have written poetry, articles, and, more recently, short comments on social media sites. For most of those 50 years, other than the occasional, "That sounds nice.", I received no real recognition for, or interest in, the things I wrote.
As those years passed, I grew older, but, as I said, not old.
About a year ago, I began to gain some recognition for my poems, thoughts, and comments. I actually began to believe that I had some kind of future, albeit a short one, as a writer/poet. I became excited and began producing more written works.
The best way I can put it is to say that I began to feel young again, and believe I had a future.
Then, one day, I was reminded abruptly of some of the worst things in my past. Metaphorically, physically, psychologically, and emotionally, I came crashing to the ground.
It took me several days to work through all the aspects, but, by the end, I found that I had changed. I was old. Not just physically, in years, but, for the first time in my life, I realized that I could no longer hold on to the image of a younger man which had sustained me.
I realized that I was now the old guy sitting in the rocking chair on the porch, watching the world go by. But, I was no longer a part of that world.
Oh, I still have things to say, and, probably I will not stop writing until I'm dead, or no longer to express myself coherently.
I guess this time comes to all of us, sooner or later. It's not a "bad" time, per se, however, it is a bit of a blow to realize you are not the person you thought you were.
Sunday, June 04, 2017
Love Yourself First
We "love" our pets, our homes, our jobs (maybe), our country, city, neighborhood.
To look at the world, it might be assumed we love everybody...except "them", of course.
Who are "them"?
Those others, usually not like us somehow, which for some reason, which we often do not know, we are not supposed to love.
But, all of that's another topic.
I want to ask, "Who loves you?"
More specifically, "Do YOU love you?"
It has been said you cannot dip from an empty well. The implication here being that, if you do not love yourself, how will you have love to share with others?
I know that most of us can "fake it", including love, often because we really do love the person, it's just that we don't feel it somehow.
Maybe a start is to love yourself.
I know that when it comes to love and other feelings, we cannot simply tell others, or ourselves, "Feel like this...", whatever "this" is.
However, you can try to be the sort of person you would love to love. You can do things for yourself, the things you would do for someone you love.
You ARE worth love, you know, but, you may have to show others that you are, before they can feel it. One thing you can do is love them first.
Saturday, June 03, 2017
We Start Off In Life...
Over time, we come to have our own thoughts and make our own decisions...we think.
We learn from our experiences, and, vicariously, from the experiences of others, as we go.
Usually, still keeping some sort of basic framework, we begin to modify our beliefs...about life, ourselves, and others. They say that some of the "best" lessons are based in pain. Maybe those are the ones we remember more strongly.
To me, it sometimes seems easy to forget kindness and gentleness, but harder to forget pain, shame, discomfort...stuff like that. That's how it was/is with me. If I am kind, it's because others have been unkind, and I remember the pain. If I disregard a rule, it's possibly because sticking to that rule has caused needless pain in the past.
So, when I see someone act outside of what I, or society, considers "proper" or "right" behavior, I wonder if, perhaps they were hurt in the past. I know that having a "reason" for doing something doesn't make it right, but, hating someone, including yourself, for what you, or they, were trained by life to be, is something I ask myself about.
Friday, June 02, 2017
Poem: So Far Away
The times, the places, the people that I care about,
All seem so far away.
As if all are at a great distance and can only dimly
Be sensed...or imagined?
Perhaps that's all it is, just a dream, an imagining,
Of what I wished for.
Reality is near, and I can feel its weight. Happy times,
Seem so far away.
That's how it's been and is still, this thing, "life",
A weight to be borne.
Children run and play in the Sun, without a care
In a playground far away.
Nothing here is real, because I have chosen to live
In a land so far away.
Today is the nearest thing, near to yesterday and tomorrow,
And no real difference.
When the finest things were near I should have held them,
Not let them slip away...
So far away
Thursday, June 01, 2017
Thinking Out Loud: I have a few little mantras or aphorisms, or whatever, that I use to get myself back on track, when I find myself "wandering through the underbrush", so to speak.
One of these is, "I've got to be somewhere doing something, so, I might as well be here, doing this." Handy when I get caught in some little adventure or event that I did not plan for, do not wish to be a part of, but, cannot politely extricate myself from.
A similar idea I have heard in the past, is, "If you cannot do what you love, love what you do."
Actually, both of those got me through about 90% of life, and still prove useful today.
Life, my life, at any rate, has arranged itself so that much of what I do is for the needs of others.
Doing a job well can be its own reward.
My big choices come down to which socks to wear each day, and all mine are white, so, there you go. No matter how much or how little of each day we control, however, there are times that what we are doing is NOT what we really WANT or desire to be doing. Often, it's what NEEDS to be done, and the grownups (me and you) have to do it.
Well, if we have to be somewhere doing something, we might as well be doing what needs to be done.
We will probably feel better for having done our duty, met our obligation, than shirking it.