Blogs

6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World

6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World 6 Mindfulness Practices from Around the World
Many cultures around the world have deep traditions of mindfulness practices. Learn how mindfulness is practiced all around the world.

If you look at any culture throughout history, you’ll find that their traditions include some form of meditation or mindfulness practice.

Christians and Muslims pray. Catholics recite rosaries. Buddhists meditate. People in India practice yoga. Native Americans perform sweat lodges…

…and so on.

So why do so many different societies evolve some sort of practice dedicated to helping people clear their minds, and access deeper levels of awareness and consciousness?

It’s because the wisest people in every culture understand the same profound truth: that the quality of our thoughts create the quality of our reality.

So if you want to experience a more peaceful, joyful and fulfilling reality, you must learn to raise your consciousness and access a higher level of thoughts.

But not all mindfulness practices are tied to religion or take the form of prayer or meditation.

Today I’d like to share some of the other interesting ways people around the world cultivate mindfulness to maximize their happiness and fulfillment in life.

Continue reading
1
  62 Hits
62 Hits

Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

flowerbuddha Finding Balance Between Mind and Heart on the Path to Liberation

There are many tools that all serve the process of awakening or liberation, and when you listen inward you can feel – or situations present themselves to show you that your energies are out of whack, or that your heart is too closed off.

Your mind can be full of high wisdom, but that’s in your head. There are times when I listen to somebody, and I can hear with my body. I hear in a certain way in which I’ll feel pressure in my head, or I’ll feel tightness in my chest.


There are two theories about how you do this: One is that you go for broke with whatever you do. For example, if you focus on quieting the mind, and the mind gets quiet enough, at the latest stages the heart will automatically aline and the energies will aline. The first strategy is to find your method and just keep doing it, and wait for the others to all fall into place behind it. There will be tremendous imbalance until very late in the game. The other is where you keep correcting the inner process along the way. I don’t really know that one is better than the other – you have to intuit which way to go.

Continue reading
1
  64 Hits
64 Hits

Mindfully Manifest a New Beginning

mindfulmeditation Mindfully Manifest a New Beginning

Most of you know, if you’ve been following my blogs, that we lost my husband’s father recently. If anything forces you to stay in the now, it’s this kind of loss. Everything stands still as you take stock after the shock, even before the arrangements, etc. there is this sense of being suspended in time. For me, as I have lost both my parents and now my second dad, I know it’s a precious moment that is filled with gratitude and heartbreaking love, breaking open to appreciation and reverence for all life and for the Spirit that is inherent in all things. You don’t have to lose anything to find that spot, you can enter it through mindfulness meditation and then by choosing to be aware and awake to both inner and outer conditions. 

Continue reading
0
  188 Hits
188 Hits

Spirit Doesn’t Need a Mobile Phone

meditationbylake Spirit Doesn’t Need a Mobile Phone

Are you tired of always rushing around? How are you handling your digitally driven life? I’ve noticed that everywhere I go, everyone has their eyes on their cell phones. We’re living in a new world where our digital devices are speeding up and maybe even taking control of our lives.

I remember the days before email, before Facebook, and even before everyone, including young children, had mobile phones. My older friends remember having to handwrite letters and drop them in a mailbox to correspond with their family and friends. Then there was the dial-up landline telephone followed by the novelty of sending a fax. Now it’s the explosion of all things digital.

The net affect of all this instant communication is that we’re always rushing. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. We’ve become more impatient, more intolerant and more about results than the journey getting there! These days, we want things done yesterday and expect things to just materialize or happen when we want them to.

I see how dependant we’ve become to our phones, especially when I’m at the movie theater. Seconds before the film starts, everyone takes one last glance before turning them off. The glow around the cinema says it all.

Continue reading
1
  179 Hits
179 Hits

Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

morning-yoga-childs-pose-picture-id515675096 Making The Quantum Flip™: Changing Discipline to Devotion

If there was one thing that could make you more successful, prevent depression, and allow you to maintain healthy weight, would you do it? What if I told you it had nothing to do with working out or eating right?

We all know that maintaining a consistent physical practice as well as healthy eating habits positively affects our physical, emotional and mental well-being. However, there is something more than simply maintaining a dedicated routine that brings even greater benefits to our lives.

More important than the routines, is who we are when we do them.

When we go about our daily routines, we do have to maintain consistency, but we must do it in a vibrational frequency that is closer to the truth of who we are.  Our vibrational frequency has everything to do with who we perceive ourselves to be which plays a role in the state of our choices, disposition, orientation in the world, sense of self and our ability to maintain clarity and consistency in our lives.

Continue reading
3
  263 Hits
263 Hits

The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

balancedmind The Balanced Mind: A Better Model

Now that meditation has caught on widely, it’s time to understand why it works. The physical findings measured by neuroscience gives intriguing hints about changes in brain wave activity, but that’s an effect, not a cause. The same holds true for physiological changes outside the brain, such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure. The how and why of meditation must be sought “in here,” in the meditator’s subjective experience.

This isn’t a mysterious route to take. Pain studies are based on how much pain a subject feels; there is no objective way to measure this. In the case of meditation, I believe the correct model is that the mind in meditation is rebalancing itself. Medical studies have known for a long time that the body tends toward a state of dynamic balance known as homeostasis. If you push your body out of balance by shoveling snow off the driveway or running a marathon, as soon as you stop that activity, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen use in the muscles, and even digestion and the immune system return to homeostatic balance.

Continue reading
1
  220 Hits
220 Hits

Make The Most of This Day (Mindfulness)

mindfulness Make The Most of This Day (Mindfulness)

Being mindful, understanding and keeping track of your thoughts and emotions is critical in being able to change your state.

This simple but powerful tool will raise your awareness of exactly how you’re feeling at any given moment and can help you change the way you feel from one moment to the next.

Practice this technique and make a habit of using it.

Answer the questions truthfully and spontaneously. Stay focused on the answer to question number four for as long as you can.

Use your own words and the wisdom of your own heart to answer the questions.

Continue reading
2
  465 Hits
465 Hits

Desire: A Current of Homecoming

breakingfree Desire: A Current of Homecoming

Desire is intrinsic to our aliveness, yet when we have unmet needs, it can possess us. This talk explores how to relax open the grip of wanting and heal the suffering of addiction. You will learn how to bring mindfulness and compassion to the roots of desire, and be carried home to open loving presence (a favorite from the archives).

For us addicts, recovery is more than just taking a pill or maybe getting a shot. Recovery is also about the spirit, about dealing with that hole in the soul.
~ William Moyers

You might also enjoy Tara’s online course, curated from this talk, plus several of her others: Freeing Ourselves with Mindfulness: Using mindfulness and meditation to heal harmful habits, attachments, and addictions. Register at any time. Link includes discounted price.

Continue reading
0
  307 Hits
307 Hits

How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

phonedistraction How to Stay Mindful in the Age of Digital Distractions

People have loved practicing mindfulness and meditation for centuries – and for good reason. Studies have found that this time-honored tradition has huge mental and physical benefits. Research attributes mindfulness to increased focus and working memory as well as increased quality of life. Also attributed are reductions in anxiety and stress, so with all these reasons to be mindful what's stopping us?

In this new age of technology, distraction is just a click away. Tiny pocket-sized devices provide hours of entertainment with a few taps of a finger. This daily intake of likes, notifications and messages does come at a cost. Technology has brought with it many great conveniences but not without consequence. Overuse of technology has been linked to depression, anxiety and many other mental health issues that are currently on the rise. Developing mindfulness can help to prevent and even repair these negative impacts of technology.

Continue reading
1
  278 Hits
278 Hits

Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

buddha-in-meditation-picture-id488655799 Mahasati hand meditation practice for stress

Mahasati hand meditation is a practice that can be particularly useful during times of excessive stress or emotional upheaval, or when our minds just won’t shut the f__k up no matter how much yogic breathing or how many rounds of mantras we’ve done. And yeah, I speak from experience.

I learned this practice at my most rock bottom of rock bottoms. I was at a rehab facility, three days into a seven-day stay in detox from alcohol. My body was still squeamish, my brain still racing, my hope nonexistent, and my self-loathing at an all-time high. As I lay in bed aware of the physical battle going on between withdrawal and the benzodiazepines I’d been given to help relax me and keep me from having a seizure, my thoughts raced—I’d just lost my job, my car was about to be repossessed, I had a court date and jail time awaiting me, and last but (definitely) not least, I was going to miss my brother’s wedding, the one where I was supposed to be his best man. Yeah, I was in rough shape.

Later that morning I stumbled into our group session, where a young, prayer-bead-wearing, bald-headed man announced we were going to practice meditation. Grunts and grumbles filled the room, and the corner I’d staked out as my own was no exception. I’d been meditating for several years already and knew that I was in no place mentally or emotionally to sit quietly and let my mind cause me even more trouble than it already was.

In all fairness, yes, those are often the times when meditation can be extremely beneficial. I’m all about gently and compassionately leaning into the pain and allowing it to teach us what it can, but I also believe that there are times in life when the pain is too great and it’s counterproductive to lean into it. There’s no such thing as a spiritual superhero; no trophies are awarded to those who can endure the heaviest shit, so please, honor what you can and can’t do in the moment and go from there. Only you can know for sure, so be honest with yourself.

Continue reading
2
  1332 Hits
1332 Hits

Can Mindfulness Help You Be Healthier?

happy-smiling-woman-rides-a-bicycle-on-the-country-road-under-blossom-picture-id1131658795 Can Mindfulness Help You Be Healthier?

Raise your hand if you’ve met all your health goals and are in perfect shape. Anybody? Okay, how about those of you who are never self-critical and love the way you look every time you look in the mirror. Any takers?

Let’s get serious for a moment: most people have long since abandoned their New Year’s health goals, and a whopping 79 percent of Americans feel at least occasionally unhappy with how their body looks. Rather than being stifled by unmet goals or struggling with our reflection though, what if there were a gentle and effective way to encourage healthier behaviors? Let’s take a closer look at how mindfulness practice can help us improve our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Continue reading
2
  430 Hits
430 Hits

Higher Consciousness in Less than a Minute

elderly-hawaii-woman-practicing-yoga-picture-id884298208 Higher Consciousness in Less than a Minute

There are very old, rich traditions of higher consciousness around the world, and diverse as they are, they seem to have one thing in common: Arriving at higher consciousness takes time, perhaps a lifetime. Along with this idea comes other, closely related ones. Higher consciousness is exceptional. It requires intense inner work. Only a select few ever reach the goal.

The overall effect of these ideas is to discourage the average person from even considering that higher consciousness is within reach. For all practical purposes, society sets those apart who have become enlightened, saintly, or spiritually advanced. In an age of faith such figures were revered; today they are more likely to be viewed as beyond normal life, to be admired, shrugged off, or forgotten.

Much of this is a holdover from the merger of religion, spirituality, and consciousness. For centuries there was no separating the three. Most traditional societies developed a priestly class to guard the sanctity—and privileged status—of reaching near to God. But these trappings are now outdated and even work against the truth, which is that higher consciousness is as natural and effortless as consciousness itself. If you are aware, you can become more aware. There is nothing to higher consciousness than this logical conclusion.

Continue reading
2
  402 Hits
402 Hits

Strategies for Mindful Living

mindfulness-picture-id1025938216 Strategies for Mindful Living
Getting rid of stress is imperative, and we spoke of this in my earlier blog, as to how living consciously in the present moment, we could actually manage to eliminate stress. We call this Mindfulness. 

In simple and lucid words we could say that, any activity that you perform, where you stay fully present, and very well rooted in the "here" and "now" along with a completely non judgemental attitude, can be called Mindfulness. 
 
How to get there and start practicing and living in this state of mindfulness, is of course the crucial answer. As I had mentioned earlier, there are various strategies which we can adapt to this very vital and extreme state of relaxation,  but I am going to concentrate here today on what we will call Mindfulness meditation. 

Continue reading
3
  296 Hits
296 Hits

Better Living with Mindfulness

betterliving Better Living with Mindfulness
In today's world where everyone and everything is constantly on the run,  it is extremely important that one is mindful of one's own everyday life. 

Stress is normally a two way process.  It is about how stress affects one's physical and mental health,  and how that physical and mental health affects us. 

Since we as individuals are, each one of us, unique in our own lives,  it would be correct to experiment with certain stress relief strategies to arrive at the right one. We must try to find strategies which help to manage stress in a healthy manner,  and keep it at a manageable level. 

Whatever we put into our minds will greatly impact our mental and psychological quotient. This includes doing things that keep your mind sharp. It can be activities like reading books or watching movies or any other activities that could be fuelling the mind. On another level, compassion, healthy inner dialogues and gratitude help mental peace. Many other activities  enhance inner peace.

Continue reading
1
  302 Hits
302 Hits

Murder in a House of Worship

sad How mindfulness and self-compassion can help you manage fear, sorrow, and rage

Lori Kaye, gunned down on Saturday morning, April 27, 2019, at the Chabad Synagogue in Poway, California was an acquaintance of mine. She was an observant Jew, so when I heard about the shooting I feared she might have been in her house of worship on the last day of Passover.  

I texted her “sending love” and didn’t receive a reply. I thought she might not be responding because it was still Shabbat until sundown, and I didn’t know whether she followed the custom of not using her electronics on Shabbat. I called and texted Stacy (one of her best friends from childhood) and her husband Jon – our close friends – so they would know that a shooting occurred in case they wanted to reach out to Lori. 

I’ll never forget Jon’s voice on the line, “I think Lori is dead, Stacy and Michelle are on their way up to the hospital.” 

What unfolded is surreal, unthinkable, and unfortunately not unusual on this planet. Our town is still reeling; her funeral was an international event that was live streamed over the internet. Over four thousand people gathered on the sports field at the public high school in Poway for a unity rally against hate the night she was buried. 

Continue reading
1
  1424 Hits
1424 Hits

Why is it important to be aware of the breath?

breathing Why is it important to be aware of the breath?

Try these directions for mindfulness of breathing, a basic concentration practice: When you’re ready to meditate, close your eyes and bring your attention to the motion of your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. Keep your focus at the nostrils, noting the full passage of each in-breath and out-breath from beginning to end. Don’t follow the breath into your lungs or out into the air; just watch its flow in and out of the nostrils. If you can, notice the subtle sensations of the breath as it comes and goes. Be aware of each in-breath and out-breath as it passes by the nostrils, just as the doorman watches each person who comes and goes through a door.

Continue reading
1
  254 Hits
254 Hits

Antidote to Anger? Mindfulness.

woman-writing-dreams-in-diary-picture-id1135542281 Antidote to Anger? Mindfulness.

Everyone struggles with anger at some point in their lives. From lingering frustrations to outright rage, it’s easy to feel helpless when anger strikes and, too often, people end up speaking or behaving in ways they later find regrettable. However, there are tools we can use to lessen our experience of anger and live more peacefully.

In my classes, I teach that below anger there is usually a softer emotion – one that’s more vulnerable – and the anger rises up to protect it. I discovered my own anger while discussing an issue in my life during a recent therapy session, and underneath that anger was fear.

Identifying my anger and looking deeper allowed me to recognize this fear – a primal fear – and it brought me to tears, which was great! I’m not a big crier, and crying is such a wonderful stress reliever – so it felt good to let it out. From there, I was able to consider what I could do next to help myself heal.

There is a Buddhist saying that goes: “We make our own hell by wishing things were different than they are.” There are many things in life that we can’t control, and my anger was over one of these things in my own life. My solution? I decided it was time to renew my gratitude practice.

Continue reading
2
  419 Hits
419 Hits

The Game of Balance and Liberation

monk The Game of Balance and Liberation

There is a story about an old Zen monk who was dying, who had finished everything and was about to get off the wheel. He was just floating away, free and in his pure Buddha-mind, when a thought passed by of a beautiful deer he had once seen in a field. And he held on to that thought for just a second because of its beauty, and immediately he took birth again as a deer. It’s as subtle as that.

It’s like when we begin to see the work that is to be done, and we go to an ashram or a monastery, or we hang out with satsang. We surround ourselves with a community of beings who think the way we think. And then none of the stuff, the really hairy stuff inside ourselves, comes up. It all gets pushed underground. We can sit in a temple or a cave in India and get so holy, so clear and radiant, the light is pouring out of us. But when we come out of that cave, when we leave that supportive structure that worked with our strengths but seldom confronted us with our weaknesses, our old habit patterns tend to reappear, and we come back into the same old games, the games we were sure we had finished with. Because there were uncooked seeds, seeds that sprout again the minute they are stimulated. We can stay in very holy places, and the seeds sit there dormant and uncooked. But there is fear in such individuals, because they know they’re still vulnerable.

Continue reading
1
  319 Hits
319 Hits

Three Attitudes that Nourish a Liberating Practice

woman-relaxing-in-a-crowded-street-picture-id143920635 Three Attitudes that Nourish a Liberating Practice

A key spiritual inquiry is, “In this moment, what most serves awakening?” Rather than a particular style of meditation practice, it is our way of relating to our experience – our attitude – that frees our hearts. This talk explores the attitudes that are an expression of our innately open, wakeful and loving awareness, and that carry us to realization. (a favorite from the archives)

Settle in the here and now.
Reach down into the center
where the world is not spinning
and drink this holy peace.

Feel relief flood into every
cell. Nothing to do. Nothing
to be but what you are already.
Nothing to receive but what
flows effortlessly from the
mystery into form.

Nothing to run from or run
toward. Just this breath,
Awareness knowing itself as
embodiment. Just this breath,
awareness waking up to truth.

Danna Faulds (2006). Awareness Knowing Itself. In From Root to Bloom: Yoga Poems and Other Writings (p. 17). Kearney, NE: Morris Publishing.

Continue reading
0
  482 Hits
482 Hits

Be of Help to Others

helpingothers Be of Help to Others

Do not underestimate the impact of a small deed. 

What can I do?

The Practice:
Be of Help to Others.

Why?

I'm doing a series on my personal top five practices (all tied for first place), and have so far named three: meditate (including mindfulness, self-awareness, and, if you like, prayer), take in the good, and bless (including compassion, generosity, and love).

I saw one way to bless on a trip to Haiti, in the efforts of many dedicated people: be helpful. As you probably know, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with roughly 80 percent unemployment. The national government seemed like a tattered sheet in the wind. A public middle and high school I visited was missing half its schoolbooks as well as the funds for the last two grades. Imagine your own child in such a school . . . and that the $30 it takes to buy the books she needs is a month's wages, as out of reach as the moon.

Continue reading
0
  292 Hits
292 Hits