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Archive for the ‘Meditation Practices’ Category

Finding Beauty in the Ordinary

November 15, 2011 8 comments

Old Dodge Work Truck. It has had had a hard life, yet it is still beautiful.

I have recently found the website/community www.soulpancake.com, where spiritual seekers of all faiths, backgrounds, and viewpoints discuss various topics involving faith, religion, spirituality, and life in general.

Recently there was an activity which encouraged the users to take pictures of ordinary things that would normally go unnoticed, but that are inspiring in some way. This idea really resonated with me, because living in the now requires you to slow down and really experience life and the world around you. Therefore, for the past few weeks I have tried to really tune into the mundane things that surround each of us for inspiring material.

As I have mentioned previously I have a bad tendency to put my head down and push through every task in front of me, including in my spiritual path. While I have made tremendous progress in slowing down and enjoying life, I tend to focus on my emotions, thoughts, and general awareness, rather than my individual physical senses; therefore this visual activity was extremely useful for me.

The following are some pictures that I have taken over the past few weeks with a brief description of why I found the subject material interesting and/or inspiring:

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Just Breathe

October 16, 2011 7 comments

Grand Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole Wyoming

What do you do roughly 20,000 times a day, but rarely notice? If you are alive (which I hope you are if you are able to read this) I guarantee that you are doing it right now… that’s right you are breathing. The average person takes about 20,000 breaths a day, but most people rarely notice this life sustaining act.

As so many of us race through life constantly checking the new email, text message, or App notification from our smart phone, the simple act of breathing gets lost in the shuffle. However, it is important to not let breathing get lost in the shuffle, because the act of breathing is not only the gateway for bringing oxygen (fuel) into the circulatory system, but it is also a gateway into our physical and emotional states. This is because, when we enter into an anxious state, our breaths shorten and the pace quickens, which in turn speeds our heart-rate and sends signals throughout our nervous system system to release adrenaline and other chemicals in order to ready itself in case a true “fight or flight” response is needed. While this quick ramping up of the fight or flight mechanism is great when you are trying to outrun a tiger, it isn’t great for your cognitive abilities, your long term health, or for your emotional states. Read more…

7 Common Questions Regarding Meditation

September 9, 2011 5 comments

I am writing this article as a follow-up to a guest post that I wrote for The Art of Manliness Website, “A Primer on Meditation“. I feel that the article was well received, and almost all of the comments have been positive, except for the inevitable internet trolls. While perusing the comments sections, there were several questions that seem to be common amongst those unfamiliar with the practice, those just beginning the practice, or those simply in a rut. Since many of the questions presented by the readers often come up in any discussion on meditation, I will attempt address some of them, as well as other common questions. As always, I disclaim any expertise, I am merely a seeker and a practitioner.

1) Is Meditation “Evil” or Does it Conflict With My Religion?

Well no, unless you feel that any sort of self-improvement or self-introspection is evil, or conflicts with your religion. All religions teach the need for some sort of spiritual development, meditation provides fantastic ways of accomplishing the inner work that is vital to spiritual and personal development.

At its core, meditation involves delving within yourself to discover who “you” really are. There are many different ways of doing this, and some of the most common types are discussed in my article on The Art of Manliness. While some forms of meditation involve repeating a mantra of some kind, you can easily use a verse/poem/saying of your choice to recite; therefore, a mantra/affirmation is adaptable to any religious, spiritual, or philosophical viewpoint. Also, there are numerous meditation techniques which require no mantra/affirmation at all. Read more…

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