Have you ever sat peacefully beside a campfire or a warming fireplace and gazed into the fire? You have even lost yourself for moments as you were transfixed by the dancing of the flames. It may have even seemed difficult to turn away from the glowing center of your focus.
Or, have you ever found yourself sitting on the beach watching as the waves roll in, break, and then wash up unto the beach? It is so meditative to walk along the beach and play tag with the waves that are thrown up unto the sand beneath your feet. Sitting by a river or stream can also bring the calmness of mind as you watch the moving water and hear the sound of the water as it washes downstream.
Watching the breezes blowing through tall grasses or leaves on a tree can also lead you into a peaceful, meditative state of mind. But why do these nature visions gently create the relaxed and mellow states of mind and body?
The very act of being out in nature, or finding enjoyment by appreciating natural beauty is one of the most important and most basic tools for finding inner peace and harmony. The very act of “being present” with the glorious natural beauty is another important tool. Find a way to let go of the “past” and release the uncertainty regarding the unknowns of the “future,” even for just a few minutes, can be a practice of restoration. There are many ways to do this such as: following your slowed breath with special appreciation of the cool air as you inhale and the warmth of your breath as you slowing exhale.
In the science of neuro-physiology, you may also learn that the sound vibration of running water (from a stream or from waves upon the beach) resonates with frequency of 10 Hz per second which neuro- psychologists understand is the same as the brain wave state known as the “Alpha” rhythm which, for most people, is the quiet mind, “meditative” state that can be found in EEG (brainwave) patterns of successful meditators. By being around moving water, your own EEG pattern may begin to align with 10 Hz per second and so help you to drift into a more relaxed state.
But what has this to do with the practice of Zen Meditation, which has been taught for thousands of years? Zen meditation, at its most basic level, is the practice quieting the mind by softly gazing through open eyes at the world. It helps to have a peaceful, quiet, meditative point to focus upon such as a candle, flowing water, a mandala, or even the beauty of a flower or tree. To become “present” and to slow your breathing as you focus are the first things to practice. In the beginning your mind may be cluttered with other thoughts and memories, but with dedicated practice you can learn to quiet these thoughts by not judging them and letting flow through you and out of your mind, while returning the soft focus on the beauty in front of you. There are times when times comes more easily and times in life when the distractions are more engaging.
A few moments of peaceful and slow breathing can better help you to prepare for the quieting of the gentle Zen focusing. Your position can vary from standing, to sitting, to lying down, though many trained meditators prefer the sitting position. Whatever your position, it is best to find a comfortable position where you might spend 5 -20 minutes peacefully gazing at the object which you are focusing upon. (If you are using a candle, be advised to do this safely and protected from hot wax or melting candles which may be too close to other flammable materials…)
Be as neutral as you can be regarding the focus of your attention. Accept the beauty and the moment. Allow yourself to drift deeper into the pleasant and relaxing quiet. Many meditators will allow these peaceful feelings to return with them for use through the rest of their day. This can give them a more solid mental and emotional foundation so they can move more smoothly through the interactions of their daily activities. It may not solve all the challenges but it can be a very comforting, “centered” posture to move more gracefully through the dramas which can enter your life…
Pick a beautiful photograph if you can not get out into natural beauty. Choose a quiet time in your schedule when you are beginning this practice, because this may reduce the annoyances which can be distracting in the early stages of the practice of Zen Meditation. Some people pick early morning or sunrise. I like late afternoon or twilight times. Find the time that works best for you and stick with for a while until you know whether it is a good time in your natural schedule for meditation.
Be patient. Start slowly and for shorter periods of time. Remember to breathe slowly and more deeply than you might normally. Look to relax your forehead, your jaw, your shoulders, and anywhere else you may be holding tension.
My friend, Jim Papp, who is the author of the the book, “Inquire Within: A Guide to Living in Spirit” is a strong proponent of finding solitude in nature. His advice includes a walk or hike in a natural setting with the Zen mind of appreciation and “Presence.” The Zen experience of being with and in nature is a grounding exercise and a centering process which most people find meditative and healing of mind, body, and spirit. Finding all of your senses surrounded by the beauty of the natural world gives a healthy calmness to your mind, body, and spirit. Connecting with nature is a practice that goes back in human history to the very origins of humankind and even basic survival for all lifeforms. The “ancient wisdoms” have been filled with appreciation and “presence” with Mother Earth, though this practice has been pushed into the background by technology and “modern” scientific rational thinking. This modern approach to nature has also gotten humans into a good bit of trouble with the lack of respect and “connection” with the Earth.
Blessings to you on your path toward greater consciousness and keep your eyes “soft focused” on the beautiful moments you encounter!
In our spiritual community, Masters of the Journey, we practice a “Triad” process. This is a small group sharing of experience and the wisdom gleaned from living through the challenges of life. The purpose of the Triad is to gather three people into a conversation based around the “story” of one participant known as the “storyteller.” We are all “Masters” and have wisdom to share. If you have lived your life and survived to this age, you have learned from experiences and are moving along your “path” on your pilgrimage through this life.
As an example, the “storyteller” may share a story regarding a treasured experience with a personal mentor. It may have been a special college professor or a wise uncle/aunt or supportive coach who offered you some life changing information that set you on an important direction at one of the cross roads of your life. The lesson was a personal one yet it holds wisdom that can be used by other fellow travelers. The willingness of the “storyteller” to share and the active listening by the two other members of the Triad can make this a moment of “service” for all involved.
In the Triad process, the “storyteller” offers an experience which is heard by a focused “witness.” The second member of the Triad quietly and with focused intent, listens to the story. Using strong listening skills including good eye contact and “open” body language seeks to fully experience the story. Little or no verbal feedback is offered unless a clarifying question is required. The “witness” offers appreciation at the end of the 3-5 minute story. It may be appropriate to communicate what the value of this story has been for the witness. (A key is for the “Witness” to not interrupt or offer their own story but to allow the speaker to share their perspective until offered feedback at he completion of their story.)
The third member of the Triad is the “Observer” who focuses on watching both the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” The “Observer” feels for the connection and rapport between the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” When the “Observer” offers feedback, she/he may share information regarding the skills of the “Storyteller” to communicate their story and also may give feedback regarding the skills of the “Witness” to fully serve by observing the story. These are skills that carry over into relationships in life beyond the “Triad” process.
The act of witnessing is a powerful act of service. Focused listening and demonstrated “caring” can be therapeutic for the storyteller. In my training as a counselor for children, the theory of psychotherapeutic counseling was often less important that the act of “connecting” with the child. When these children were fully heard, respected, and Loved (Cared about) by the counselor the positive bond was created and the therapy could be effective. Outside of counseling, each of us can be of service by developing our skills to listen more fully, connect with the speaker, and then to share the wisdom of the experience of this sharing. The simple but powerful act of sharing a story and having it fully appreciated by the witness creates moments of learning for both sides of this experience. If you believe that we are actually “one” with all other living beings, then the respect and appreciation for another person’s story is a deep respect for yourself and the Divine Spirit within you (and every other soul.)
Do not take it lightly. Your witnessing of the lesson learned raises the consciousness of all the souls which are participating. Raising consciousness in all is the purpose which we all share. This common bond brings us closer and we can find the connections which offer positive learnings. Treat others with the respect of knowing that they are part of a much larger consciousness and though it may be difficult to see, every person has God within them. We may benefit from the raising of consciousness so we may better “remember” that we are all one and that each one of us is a Master with the wisdom of the Divine Spirit within our souls.
Blessings to you and all the fellow pilgrims you, and serve, along your path.
Why do so many of us not feel “Connected?” When your heart tells you to follow your “Bliss,” why is there no one around to support you? For thousands of years, humans lived in a Tribe which was much more than a family. Every daily activity was performed for and with other members of the tribe. For survival, all tribe members looked out for each other. For the educational and spiritual development other members offered support and, when needed, guidance. In today’s “modern” world, we are much more “on our own” to figure things out. There are churches and religions but many seem lacking in actually being able to support the individual’s spiritual search, though indoctrination is often well cared for…
When you had your questions regarding the meaning or purpose of life, where did you turn and what was the outcome? When you wanted to know what your ancestors believed about the transition from life to death, what information did you receive and did you find resonance? When you looked for the Divine Spirit within you, what did you find and what support helped you find guidance and direction?
Where can you find your “Tribe?” Where are the non-judgemental people who lovingly support your quest and help you to overcome the spiritual challenges we all must face? These are not easy or simple questions. So many of us feel isolated even in our families, at work or school, and certainly from the society which worships youth, so long as they are good consumers… It is difficult to question the artificial standards that are laid out for us, and, these seem to have no roots and so are ever changing.
It is often difficult to see and feel the wisdom which bind us all together when our culture rallies us to “be different” and polarized in our individuality. Our history and our genetic code actually says we have more in common than we do not. Our souls and spirits are connected to the same Divine Spirit, even though many religions survive by beliefs of separation and unnecessary judgements. Now, more than ever before, we need to pull together and release the judgements which separate us from all consciousness and life itself.
It does not feel “right,” “healthy,” or “satisfying” to find the differences and judge when we, ourselves, lack perfection and “pure” consciousness. It feels better to serve with love and caring rather than to lash out from fear and with hate. It feels better to reach out and steady the pilgrim beside you as you walk the path through life. It feels good to simply smile or find a simple way to acknowledge the efforts of another seeker. We are ALL in this together. It is a blessing to know that your are not alone and that there are other supportive people who can support your search.
The world is getting too small to ignore other cultures. Though it may seem daunting, the time is right to look to build healthy supportive tribes. If you have not found your tribe, make it your intention to connect and use whatever technologies you have to find, and then bring, the supportive people you may require to build your consciousness and to expand your remembering of the deepest wisdom within as you better connect with the source of Divine Spirit.
What feeds your spirit? What activities connect you with your spirit? How often do you seek to develop your spiritual nature? When we speak of “spirit” or spiritual development in this article, we are not speaking about learning religious philosophy or in practicing religious rituals. Instead, we are speaking of the deeper connections with the brilliance of love and light that comes from deep within every living being. In doing so, there is no exclusion of spirit due to different philosophical or religious beliefs or attitudes. There are no qualifications or exclusions from connecting with spirit. One of the main understandings regarding this celebration of spirit is that “we are all at one” with all other living creatures. We are all “connected.”
Time and space (place) are less of a division in the world of spirit. Spirit may be more a feeling rather than a thought. For people who have been able to bring these feelings back from a spiritual experience often describe a feeling of “oneness” or a sense of deep connection. There may also be a feeling of “unconditional love” which can also be described in some religions as a feeling of connection with the religion’s God, but not necessarily with all the morale or cultural beliefs.
People will visit a glorious natural environment and feel the power of connection with natural beauty that has the power to create calmness and sometimes healing. When learning to connect with your spirit it is good to be reminded that you can get there more easily if you “Quiet your mind” and control your expectations. (Neither of these is easy to do when getting started but can come more easily with practice.) It is important to be “still” and to let “it” come to you. Chasing the spirit can make it more difficult to do. A final reminder: Be Open… You may not experience the process in the way you think you might need, but actually get the experience that you will best learn from…. If, you are open to it.
I am reminded of a time when I was in a late afternoon meditation on a cliff that over looked the waves churning unto a beach in Sonoma County, CA. With my mind reaching to be in “neutral” (no extra thoughts), I found myself listening to a dialogue in my head. One voice seemed to come from the perspective of a “guide” in the form of a seagull who was describing the birth of the winds as a power to consider. The Voice suggested that the winds were created by the difference in temperatures of the ocean and the land. As the land heated up and warmed the air over it, the air would rise and the cooler air over the ocean would rush in to fill this void, so creating a breeze. Waves are generated by the movements of the wind and their force is respected for the great power that this force of nature manifests. The Voice asked me to consider harnessing the power of the winds as seagulls do as they soar, almost effortlessly, by using the currents of wind. A part of me listened to the dialogue with fascination. Another part of my mind was asking where this Voice was coming from and where the information of this Voice was coming from. I considered the experience as a connection with the “collective unconscious” described by many famous psychologists and philosophers. I felt blessed to be allowed to share in this mind expanding experience.
Another late afternoon meditation created a powerful but not uncommon learning experience. In my visualization, I imagined that I was sitting by a river with my back against a tree. I pictured myself meditating and seeing the transformation of the river in front of me into the “River of Life.” It was golden in color. It flowed from my right side to my left, slowly and evenly. I “knew” that the waters would eventually empty into the sea. Each golden molecule of water represented a living soul. The molecules of water would evaporate from the sea to form golden clouds which would lead to a golden rain high up in the mountains. The molecules would join other molecules to form small streams flowing downhill to join larger rivers until the “cycle of life” would be repeat by following the path of the golden river of life back to the sea, once again. I saw myself as a molecule of water swirling downstream occasionally being caught in an eddy and swirling in circles to learn my lessons. Most importantly, I felt myself “connected” to all other living things in this river of life. I knew that I was never alone or separate from other living beings as we struggle to improve and move forward with our lessons of life. Though this meditation happened for me almost 40 years ago, I remember it and I feel it as if it was happening right now… This type of connection with the oneness of consciousness is far from unique. It has happened before and will happen again in some form or another for people who are open to this transformative experience/lesson.
Please consider taking time to connect with your spirit and celebrating the learning that you can achieve. It will change your life.
For life balance and stress management, it is important to maintain your ideal state of mind, body, and spirit. Too focused attention on any one area, over the others, may provide an imbalance that will not allow the best quality of life. Please take good care of yourself.
In celebration of an experience from April, 2012 – Posted by L. John Mason –
I live in the Northwest on an Island North of Seattle, WA. The region is famous for gray cool days that often have some sort of precipitation. In my nine year history, I have discovered that the sunny, warm times (and warm is relative) are August and September, also considered Summer. In Seattle and Portland, from October to July when the sunshine breaks through the clouds, people will stop what they are doing and rush outdoors for what is known locally as a “sun break.” You should also know that people who live, and the ones who thrive, in the Northwest are a hardy group who function decently in the cool dampness. People will not be stopped by rain when working or exercising because this “just comes with the territory.” I tell you this because there is a special appreciation that can be found in the Northwest for being touched by the warmth of the sun, BUT, this can hold true for many people outside the Northwest as well.
So I had an experience Sunday, last, that makes me pause and think of appreciation for some of things that can easily be overlooked or taken for granted. I went further North to visit a new friend in the city of Bellingham. For me, it was a chance to learn some of the secrets of this pleasant town which has plenty of charm, history, and a population of people who are influenced by the colleges found in town. We walked and talked as we strolled down the special trails that line the waterfront. We drifted into shops and chatted with shop owners and fellow pedestrians. We found many delightful things which made our quest enjoyable.
Later in the afternoon, I experienced that wonderful moment that makes a day memorable. I found myself sharing this large chair on the sunporch of my host. The warmth of the sunlight was streaming through the large windows and I felt myself peacefully melting into this chair. My eyes closed and I soaked up the warming, relaxing rays of sunshine. To make this better, I was sharing this with my wonderful new friend who allowed me to feel safe and most comfortable. Perhaps you have experienced moments like this and you can remember these as pleasant, healing experiences.
Having shared this image, I now have a significant memory to use when I pull up my visualizations of an ideal time of warmth and peace. So, if you find yourself needing a moment of relaxation consider sitting back comfortably in a safe, hopefully peaceful environment, and start by taking several deep slow breaths. Perhaps you feel cool air as you inhale and warm breath as you slowly exhale. You might even imagine that as the warm breath flows from you it seems to carry away unnecessary thoughts or energy. Continue breathing slowly and naturally allowing every slow breath to let you sink deeper into a state of peaceful relaxation. Perhaps, you can feel the relaxation beginning in your arms and legs. You may even be able to feel yourself slowly sinking back into whatever you are sitting or lying upon. Imagine that you can feel the warmth from the sun gently and safely shining down on you. Perhaps you can imagine that you can soak up this warmth and light, and this allows you to drift deeper into a peaceful dreamlike state of calmness. As you breathe slowly and gently, perhaps you can imagine that you can breathe in the sunlight and warmth, and allow this energy to bathe every cell in your body with healing energy. Every cell can soak up the perfect amount of this healing energy and unconditional love to allow the cells to heal and recharge. You can even begin to feel the feelings of joy and health and happiness welling up inside you. Perhaps you can celebrate this perfect moment of health and happiness and see yourself in perfect health, being active.
Enjoy those moments of your life when you can bask in the radiance of warmth and unconditional love. Hold these memories and feelings within your heart so you can pull these forward to heal and recharge yourself, when needed. AND, if you find yourself sharing a large chair, on the perfect sunporch, with a person who allows you to feel safe and comfortable, honor this moment as a special treasure.
As with other articles from this blog, if you require any additional support consider the information and services provided through the Stress Education Center and visit the website at www.dstress.com
Please take good care of yourself and bask in warmth and light, as often as you can.
Powerful stress management technique, written out word for word.
A version of this technique is found on most of the guided relaxation CD’s on our Products list. Please find the one that is best for your specific requirements. Look in the health series, if you have symptoms of stress.
For the best results, have someone read this guided relaxation slowly to you, with appropriate pauses. You can also read this exercise into a tape recorder and then play it back to yourself when you want to relax. Remember, this exercise will work best for you with regular daily use and repetition over time. (4-6 weeks to see positive change and 8-12 weeks of regular use for the maximum benefits to begin.) Good health and enjoy your relaxation!
Start of relaxation. Begin here.
When you are ready to begin, start by getting yourself into a comfortable position in a space where you will not be unnecessarily disturbed, for about twenty minutes.
As you sit back or lie back more comfortably, check to see if your arms and legs are in a relaxed uncrossed position. Let your shoulders release tension and let your neck begin to relax by letting your head just sink back comfortably into the pillow or chair.
Check the muscles of your head and face, especially the muscles around your eyes, even your eye brows, and the muscles around your mouth, including your jaw and even your tongue.
Before we begin, let me remind you that I do not want you to try to relax too quickly. In fact, I do not want you to try to relax at all! Because without any effort you will be able drift as deeply into relaxation as you wish to go, by just letting go of stress, thoughts, and physical tensions.
To begin, start by taking three deep slow diaphragmatic breaths…pausing after you inhale, and then exhaling fully and completely. You might even imagine that as you exhale you can begin to release thoughts, tensions, even discomforts with the warm breath that you breathe out and away. (pause)
After these first three slow breaths, then continue to breathe slowly, but naturally. Perhaps you can feel yourself taking another step deeper into relaxation and comfort with every exhalation. As you breathe slowly and naturally, please turn your attention to the relaxation that may be beginning in your arms and down into your hands. If you look very carefully, you might feel a slight difference, where one of your arms might be just a bit more relaxed than the other. It might be just a subtle difference, but one arm might feel slightly heavier, as if the muscles in that arm were more loose or more flexible. Or perhaps, one arms feels slightly warmer, as if, blood and energy could flow more freely and easily all the way down that arm… as if it were flowing down, through wide open blood vessels, and slowly, but freely, pulsing down into the hand and fingers. (pause)
Or perhaps, both of your arms are equally relaxed, and that would be perfect as well. The only thing that matters is that you continue to breathe slowly and naturally, and perhaps you can begin to feel yourself drifting deeper into a dreamlike state where you can feel greater calmness and comfort, and where you begin to develop even greater awareness and control.
As you continue to breathe slowly and gently, perhaps you can begin to become aware of the relaxation that may be starting down into your legs and feet. If you were to look very carefully, you might become aware of a slight difference, where one of your legs might be a bit more relaxed than the other. You might also find that one leg feels slightly heavier, as if the muscles in that leg were more loose or flexible. Or perhaps, you may find that one leg feels slightly warmer, where the blood and energy can flow more freely and easily, all the way down that leg, through wide open blood vessels, and you may feel it slowly but freely pulsing down into your foot and toes. (pause)
Or perhaps, your legs feel equally relaxed, and that would be perfect also. The only thing that matters is that you continue to breathe slowly and gently, and allow yourself to drift deeper into this dreamlike state of calmness, comfort, and control.
Perhaps you can feel the control growing stronger as you feel yourself just beginning to sink back into what ever you are sitting or lying upon, as the tensions just begin to melt away.
Even the muscle of your back can begin to relax even better. You may feel the muscles of your back begin to soften or loosen as you slowly breathe away any unwanted tensions. The relaxation can begin to spread to the other muscles of your back, even spreading up into your upper back and your shoulders.
Perhaps your shoulders can drop down into a more comfortable position. And you may feel the control growing stronger as you can begin to feel your head just sinking back, completely supported by the pillow or the chair, as your neck begins to relax even better. Even the muscles of your head and face can relax even better.
Perhaps you can imagine yourself as if you were outdoors on a warm and pleasant day. You imagine that you are standing near a pond of water, where the water is calm and clear, and the surface is smooth. You may even be able to feel the warmth of the sunlight or of the warm breezes… Perhaps you can imagine, that if you were to drop a rock or a stone into the water, you could watch as the waves or the ripples spread across the surface of the pond in every direction. And perhaps you can imagine that you can send soothing and cleansing waves of relaxation down from the top of your head, in every direction, to soothe, heal, and cleanse every muscle and cell of your body. You might imagine that these waves can begin to drift down to relax the muscle at the top and sides of your head… Or you might feel the waves drifting down to relax your forehead even better… letting it go calm and smooth.
The soothing waves of relaxation can wash down to relax the muscle around your mouth, even your jaw can loosen a bit better. The waves of relaxation can slowly spread down to soothe and relax the muscles of your neck and shoulders… and you may begin to feel them drifting down through your arms… slowly drifting all the way down… perhaps you can even feel the waves slowly pulsing down into your hands and fingers. (pause)
Or you can feel the waves slowly drifting down through your back and your chest… You may even feel that your breathing is more calm and regular… Or you may feel that your heartbeat is more calm and regular… As you breathe slowly and freely, you may even be able to feel your stomach and abdomen beginning to let go and to relax more freely. Your lower back and pelvic area can begin to relax even better… The waves of relaxation can begin to spread down your legs… slowly drifting all the way down and out through the bottom of your feet, or perhaps you can feel the waves of relaxation slowly pulsing down into your feet and toes…
Now, just as if you were watching this pond of water, it can once again become calm and still. The water can begin to settle, to become calm and clear. Even the surface can once again become calm and smooth. You may wish to turn away from the pond and to follow a pathway that takes you to a perfect place… a place where you can be by yourself, and feel calm and comfortable.
Once you arrive there, you can look around to find the most comfortable place to lay down. As you drift over to that spot, you just sink back into whatever you would be sitting or lying upon. As you settle back, perhaps you can even feel the warmth of the sunlight gently shining down on you. You can begin to soak up the warmth as the tensions just melt away. You may even be able to hear the sounds that may surround you. Like the sounds of running water, or the sounds of birds, or of the warm breezes. Perhaps you can even imagine that you can smell the fragrance of salt air, flowers, grass, or of the woods that may surround you.
Imagine that you can begin to soak up the warmth from the sun. Perhaps you can even imagine that you can begin to breathe in the sunlight and warmth. As you fill with this warming, healing light and energy, remember that as you relax, there will be an increase of blood flowing more freely and easily to every cell of your body. Every cell will be bathed in an increased supply of oxygen and nutrients. Every cell will be able to soak up the perfect amounts of these nutrients to help to heal and recharge each and every cell. As the cells begin to fill health and happiness, you can continue to drift in this peaceful state of calmness and relaxation… Though you remain calm and comfortable, perhaps you begin to see yourself healing fully and completely… You may even be able to see yourself in perfect health, smiling and celebrating in the sunshine on this warm and beautiful day. You may be able to see yourself being active, as if you were smiling, or playing, celebrating, or dancing…
Remember that every time you practice this exercise you will be able to get better at it. You will be able to relax more deeply and more completely. You will be able to let go more quickly. And the effects of the calmness and comfort will last longer, carrying over throughout your day, enabling you to be more calm and efficient with your available time and energy.
If you are using this exercise at bedtime, or if you wish to drift off to sleep now, then you can begin to do so. If you wish to drift off to sleep now, then continue to breathe slowly and gently, focus on the relaxation in your arms and your legs… and drift off into a deep and restful state of sleep where you will be able to rest fully and completely. When you awaken you will be fully rested and alert. So if you wish to drift off into sleep then you can do so.
If you wish to awaken now, then you can begin to do so.
If you wish to awaken now, then you can begin to see yourself returning to this room, bringing the feelings of calmness and comfort back with you to a more fully waking state. If you wish to awaken now, then you may wish to feel the bed or the chair beneath and slowly awaken, letting the feelings of calmness, comfort, health and joy return with you to a fully waking state. If you wish to awaken now, you may wish to take a deep breath, letting the calmness, comfort, and relaxation return with you to a fully waking state. And you may wish to take another deep breath and stretch, becoming wide awake, feeling refreshed and alert.
Do you know your purpose in life? Are you living your life with the intention of getting to Heaven or reaching the highest form of consciousness labeled “Nirvana” in the Buddhist tradition? The Buddhists believe that achieving enlightenment is the goal of living and they believe that we live and are reborn to learn the lessons that will lead to enlightenment. The concept of rebirth and reincarnation is known as “Samsara.”
In researching this concept I came across the following definition in Wikipedia:
“Samsara is uncontrollably recurring rebirth, filled with suffering and problems (according to Kalacakra tantra as explained by Dr. A. Berzin). In this sense, Samsara may be translated as ‘Wheel of Suffering.’ The Buddha taught that there are six realms that one can go to through this cycle of Samsara, though Buddhists differ as to whether the realms are actual places or figurative states of mind. Many believe that when one goes through the process of rebirth that they are the exact same person when they are reborn, but this however is not true according to the teachings of Buddha. Beings bear many similarities with their former selves but they are not the same person: this is why many Buddhists use the term rebirth instead of reincarnation. The term reincarnation implies that there is a transfer of one’s soul to the new life, but Buddhists believe this is not the case in Samsara, rebirth is generally considered to be a stream of evolving consciousness. A good example to better understand the transfer of consciousness is like a billiard ball hitting another billiard ball. While nothing physical transfers, the speed and direction of the second ball relate directly to the first. This explains how the previous life has a direct impact on the next life”
So, where are you in your evolution of higher consciousness? Are you living your life in preparation for achieving Nirvana? If this is your life’s purpose, how are you going about this?
Not everyone chooses to follow Buddhism or to meditate daily. Can we all connect with a deeper spirit of consciousness on whatever path we choose? We can learn to trust our intuition and do “right” by others with the highest level of tolerance and without the fear death. We can practice acceptance and offer unconditional love, with no strings attached, to other people struggling to learn the lessons of life. We can choose to volunteer and look for the good in others rather than, through fear and distrust, looking for the things that may divide us. How prepared are you to accept the ultimate transition that we must all face of death (and then face the possible return to learn more lessons in a future life?)
My sister asked me to read a book, The Instruction by Ainsley Macleod. He offers an interesting perspective on living your purpose and developing higher consciousness. It is a basic guide with information and exercises that can assist in the process of spiritual development without subscribing to religious dogma.
No matter how you choose to find and embody your life’s purpose, I support your efforts. Along the way, I encourage you to reach out and assist others in their quest for awakening as we may all reach the end point together. My wish for you is that you may bask in the light of unconditional love and acceptance. Here’s to knowing you in Nirvana!
My colleague and I are founding a new community of support for all who seek higher consciousness through non-denominational spiritual development. We have chosen the name “Masters of the Journey” because we are all Masters with insights to share and experiences that can be valuable learning tools for others on this Journey. This is a Transformational Community welcoming the participation of open-minded members who wish to share wisdom and unconditional love. Please share this blog and join us if you wish the support of this community on YOUR Journey.