Living in the Present Through Meditation

Living in the present is a true gift that frees us from our pain and anxiety.  When we focus on the present moment, we gain control of lives that can be spinning out of control. In the present, we are liberated from the mistakes, regrets, guilt, and traumas of the past. In the present, we are liberated from the worries, anxieties, and overwhelming tasks from the future.

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During meditation, we connect to the present moment because we are momentarily not distracted by our racing, chattering, ego-driven minds. We cannot have the peace and serenity we have during meditation while we aren't meditating because the voice in your head can run non-stop. One of the many tedious and arduous things about the voice in your head is that it is almost never present. The mind loves to bring up past hurts, to dwell on things we cannot change from the past or the future, and to obsess with worry about tomorrow, next week, next year, and even death.

You might think that living in the present is a pop-psychology band-aid to today's problems, but it isn't. Being present doesn't promise that you will never suffer. Being present does have the power though to help you gain acceptance and understanding, to surrender to what is. By focusing our attention on the “here and now,” much of the discomfort, pain, and agony we experience dissipates. Being present is an invitation into the stillness, which is where peace, serenity, and long-lasting happiness can be found. This is where meditation comes in. 

During meditation, one steps away from the hustle and bustle of normal living. By quieting our minds, we may not realize that what we are then doing is living in the present. With the voice in the head silent, we are unable to let our thoughts drift anywhere but to the present. When we realize, as spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says in his popular book The Power of Now, that we are not the voices in our heads, we then see that we only ever exist in the present. This means that 90% of that mental chatter filling up our minds is not us. Living in the present moment has that kind of power.

  ~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com 

 

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From the Pure Life Mediation bookstore: The Mirror of Mindfulness by Tsele Natsok Rangdrol

Meditation Myth #1 – You Don’t Have Time to Meditate

We are busy Americans and pride ourselves on how much we can get done. We live in a country
where a little more hard work can lead to a different situation for our lives. Self-made people are held in high regard. We are so very fortunate to live in a society where we have all this potential. However, it can lead us to feeling that no matter how much we do, it's never enough. Americans are terribly sleep deprived because of how much they try to fit in a day. Now add on having kids, two-income families and the never ending litany of activities that kids are involved in to keep them active and out of trouble. Or maybe you are working two jobs or one that feels like two. Sometimes we get caught up in doing, doing, doing without thinking about giving back to ourselves and fueling the fire. 

Who has time to meditate with all that we have to do in a day? You do. 

Think of it as an investment in your sanity. Think of it as self esteem, self worth and confidence. Time Think of putting yourself first and giving yourself the gift of letting go. Think of it as the most important gift that you can give yourself each day.

How much time are we really talking about? Just 8 minutes per day. 

I remember listening to Deepak Chopra many years ago. While I regard him very highly, I just couldn't fathom what he was recommending. He said that people need to meditate for 1/2 hour twice a day. That kind of time commitment was completely out of reach for me so I put it out of my mind and moved on to other ideas. Even now that I completely understand the benefit of meditation and am a fervent advocate of the practice, I still don't have an hour a day to sit. 

There is a less-drastic approach for us busy Americans that is still completely beneficial. 8-10 minutes per day can change your life. The important part is to create a lasting practice, not how many minutes each session takes. Making the commitment to yourself is a powerful statement about self-worth. 

How do you find the time? 

  1. Get up 10 minutes earlier. Meditate before the day takes over. Does hitting the snooze button really give you more rest? 
  2. Take 10 minutes before you go to bed. It's a great way to wind down and prepare yourself for sleep. You may even find that you sleep better. 
  3. How much time do you spend watching TV? In the amount of time the commercials take in an hour-long show, you could have meditated. Watch your favorite show on DVD, On-demand or DVR. Skip the commercials and give yourself time to sit. 
  4. Schedule it in. If you don't put it on your schedule like any other priority, it won't get done. 
  5. Keep to your time allowance. If you let yourself go over time, then it will feel like it takes up more of your day. If you contain your sitting practice to 10 minutes per day or whatever you choose as your time allotment, it will feel like less of a burden. Sit, meditate, timer goes off, your are done. Easy. 
  6. Treat this time as an investment in yourself. Meditation is self-help at its very best. 
  7. Teach others to respect your time. Put a sign on the door and teach your family that this is your time, that it won't be long until you are done but that you are not to be interrupted. It will be a good lesson for everyone in making time for yourself, what a great skill to pass on to your kids. 
  8. Less e-mail, more time. Can you find 10 minutes of time by reducing the spam in your inbox? By unsubscribing to newsletters that haven't turned out to be valuable, creating rules or filters to automate organization or combining messages into daily digests or RSS feeds, you can save time each day and use your e-mail for communication, not a time-sink. 
  9. Meditate when you have insomnia. It's better than worrying and a great way to get back to sleep. 
  10. Take advantage of waiting. When your schedule fails you, find those few minutes to breathe when you are waiting to pick up the kids or see a doctor.  Do a walking meditation and practice mindfulness when you are walking the dog. 

 

 ~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com

 

 

Fearlessness at Work, Karme Choling

Karme-Choling

I attended a retreat this weekend at
Karme Choling in Vermont called Fearlessness at Work. It was taught by Michael Carroll who wrote the books Awake at Work and The Mindful Leader. This was my first weekend retreat and really I was just worried about making it for three days on a cushion. I didn't do any research on the teacher or subject matter before I arrived. Fortunately, as I suspected it would be, the teaching was top notch. Michael's sense of humor and business savvy made the weekend both interesting and fun. I enjoyed getting to know the other participants as well. It was a small group which made it so that we all got to know each other and had some great discussions. 

The exciting part of the subject of using mindfulness at work for me is how to use mindfulness to perform better. Before I started meditating, I thought that if I really mastered it, I wouldn't want to do well anymore, like I would just be so peaceful nothing would matter. While I have to admit that two years into meditating I don't care as much about how I rate against others, I put even more effort into my passions than before. But now, it's from a creative energy rather than feelings of inadequacy. Being with a group of people that also wanted to excel in what they do, yet maintain their sanity while doing it, made me realize that success and mindfulness are not contrary to each other. Instead, I see that mindfulness can foster success. 

The class used the second book, The Mindful Leader as the guide which I am glad I have to read cover to cover. The most important topics for me were those of synchronizing with your surroundings and opening up your awareness to really see what is going on in any situation. I can see how it might take a while to incorporate everything but that each little step in using the learning will make small changes. My meditation practice has also taken a big leap forward with the advice and counseling from Michael as well. 

~ Jillian Avey, purelifemeditation.com