All Things Become The Teacher

Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the weight of thousands of miles traveled, but I nearly cried when I saw Spam Fried Rice on the menu. The overwhelming sense of nostalgia came with that one uniquely Guam dish.

Even though it had been 25 years since I was last on Guam, the place felt the same. The individuals, the business names, and the political players changed. Roads have widened and beaches narrowed. Yet the essence that is undeniably Micronesia is perhaps stronger than before.

My trip to Guam in September of 2019 was a lesson in synchronicity and serendipity. For the 10 days that I was there, I only had one activity planned: the book launch on Wednesday, September 18. I went with an open heart and mind to let the journey unfold as it would and trusted a Higher Power to guide each step of the way.

The reason for the trip? Back in 1992, while attending the University of Guam, I was part of an Anthropology field school on Ulithi Atoll. Fast forward 20-some years, the professor retired and finally had time to compile a book about Ulithi. Papers myself and fellow students wrote as a result of the field school were part of the volume, Ulithi Atoll, Micronesia: Recalling the Past, Reaffirming the Future, along with more recent research from the 21st century.

Less than a month before the formal book launch, I was contacted by one of the book’s editors to inform me about the existence of this book. That was just one of a cascading volume of “coincidences” that were part of my Guam experience.

My former professor had tried to track me down me before. When time was running out, she asked the other editor to try. If this person had tried a week or two earlier, she would not have established contact.

The only reason she was able to reach me was that, merely a week prior, I had added the URL for this blog onto my Facebook page. If I hadn’t done that, I would have completely ignored the friend request and I would have absolutely no knowledge that this book existed, and hence, I would not have journeyed to Guam. As it was, she conveyed a message through the comments section on my blog, which comes straight to my inbox.

Guam is an island of connections. It seemed that everywhere I went and everything I did wove tiny threads of synchronism linking events, people, the past, and the future into a cohesive whole. I had such an overwhelming sense that I was exactly where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there.

The day I arrived, a two-day conference ended about decolonizing Guam. This is a topic I was actively learning about to inform the novel I’m writing. Turns out, a former classmate who I had been looking to reconnect with was very involved with the issue. When we met for dinner, it was as if no time had passed and we talked and talked, much to the annoyance of people waiting to be seated at the restaurant.

Another motivation for returning to Guam was to get more information about the Suruhana, the traditional healers on Guam. This was also to inform my writing. ‘Coincidentally,’ my friend was familiar with a number of Suruhana and an avid supporter of helping the tradition survive in the 21st century.

Oh, and so many more parallels. When I had been on Guam in the 80s and 90s, I knew my friend had grown up on-island. Little did I realize that she had gone to high school in Medford, Oregon, a rather small, rural town. At that point, I had never been to Oregon. After moving away from the island I had happened to go through Medford shortly after my husband and I married in 1995. We fell in love with the area and have lived there ever since. So, my friend and I also had Medford in common.

There were too many other coincidences and parallels to mention. I’ll just say that every conversation confirmed that I had needed to be on Guam at that moment, to have that conversation, to gain that insight.

Overall, a strong sense of “it is time” pervaded my consciousness. It was time to act. Time to show up in the world. Time to let my voice be heard. Time to move beyond fear and fulfill my purpose. Heady stuff? Yes. Yet all it really means is that I must trust myself and do what is in front of me.

I can’t help but believe that my meditation practice allowed my mind to be clear and to fully discover the joy and meaning of each moment. In Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s words, “As we grow accustomed to looking at the clear surface of our minds, we can see through all the gossip about who and what we think we are, and recognize the shining essence of our true nature.” (The Joy of Living, p. 132).

I believe that you can come to know your true nature through many different religions and paths. As my husband recently heard, when the student is ready, all things become the teacher. So whether you’re in a 12-step program, a devout follower of a religion or anything in between, my wish for you is that you come to know how amazing you truly are and can follow your passion to your ultimate fulfillment.

Reprinted fromI Am Many Things

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Easier Together: Group Meditation

Why do I find it so much easier to meditate in a group setting? I recently visited a local branch of Tergar: The Meditation Community of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. This group is from a Tibetan Buddhism tradition, yet is also heavily influenced by mindfulness meditation research.   I’ve only gone twice, but am excited about the teaching and practice I am finding there.

I frequently lapse in my regular meditation practice. Weeks (months?) go by with no ‘formal’ meditation, but merely moments throughout the day when I pause and take a quiet, reflective moment. When I do set actual time to meditate, sometimes even 15 minutes can feel like an eternity. I was using a meditation app for a while, but soon after was feeling constrained by the guidance.

When I joined the group in meditation, it felt like almost no time went by before he rang the bell at 20 minutes. I felt so refreshed. This group also has a discussion period focused on different themes. There is so much to learn! I’m looking forward to learning more, meditating more, and experiencing more joy in my life.


I originally posted this on my blog, I Am Many Things, in February of 2019. Fast forward six months, and I’m still going to those weekly meetings. It has changed my life. For the first time, I am meditating regularly, even daily. I’ve only missed a couple of days since April, and I can’t describe how much freer I feel.

While this is definitely not the only form of meditation or Buddhist teaching, I have found that it uniquely fits me. I love how Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche connects cutting edge neuroscientific research with this ancient practice. Also, the focus on practical application, consciously using the techniques in everyday life, has definitely improved my attitude, which in turn greatly benefits my family (and eases their suffering)!

Since this initial post, I’ve undergone more formal teaching in this tradition and am looking forward to continuing my journey. I believe that, at 53 years old, this student was finally ready to listen to a teacher.

MEDITATION TECHNIQUES- BENEFITS, AND A BEGINNER’S HOW-TO

Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body.
Here is an introduction to the styles and benefits of regular practice, plus a lesson on how to meditate.

CONCENTRATION MEDITATION

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations.

In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.

Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.

In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness — to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.

BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

If relaxation is not the goal of meditation, it is often a result. In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, MD, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School, coined the term “relaxation response” after conducting research on people who practiced transcendental meditation. The relaxation response, in Benson’s words, is “an opposite, involuntary response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.”

Since then, studies on the relaxation response have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Less perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • More feelings of well-being
  • Less stress
  • Deeper relaxation

HOW TO MEDITATE: SIMPLE MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS

This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
  2. Close your eyes. We recommend using one of our Cooling Eye Masks or Restorative Eye Pillows if lying down.
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.

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Be inspired today 15

What do you know about meditation? Many of us hear about meditation but don’t have a clear understanding of it.

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Ilona answers these questions for us.

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Looking Young And Ageing

Looking Young.jpg

I am in the fortunate position of looking considerably younger than I am.  It is lovely, and I do what I can to keep it this way; face yoga, meditation, seeds in my porridge.  Daily smoothies packed with ground seeds and powders.  I also take about 14 different supplements every day.

Stepping into the business world as a young-looking person, however, is a different story.  People struggle to support a young person, emotionally.  It is a primal urge.  I hold no judgement.  Ageing is hard – hence the aforementioned daily routine.

I think compassion is the only way through it, for the young and old.  We all have our struggles.  Remember young people do not have the experience to understand their emotions yet.  Growing up is a rough time.  Likewise society persecutes us for ageing, despite all the experience and understanding and philosophising we offer.

Have compassion, support.  Be the best you.

 

By www.upwardjourneys.com

A Sense of Peace

Peace-min

Every single time a monk crosses my path, I can’t help but stare. The blast of colour from their saffron robe, awakens me. This striking, bright shade layered onto glistening brown skin, a cleanly shaved head and pearly white smile. One of the most captivating images I have ever laid my eyes on.

Simply being in their presence evokes the most powerful sense of peace. No matter what is on your mind, this sensation grabs hold of you like the strongest gust of wind and leaves you wanting more.

Stepping onto the grounds of a temple resembles entering a mysterious, enchanted forest. Even if the location of the temple is right in the city centre, all of the trees and greenery easily make you feel thousands of miles away from civilization.

What a magnificent place to live! The temples alone are a sight to see with their detailed artwork and when placed in this setting, I have a terribly hard time ever wanting to leave.

I had the opportunity to participate in a Vipassana Meditation session led by the monks at a Wat in Vientiane, Laos.

Anticipating the session, I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning. Walking onto the grounds trying to take in as much as I could, the excitement I felt grew and grew.

Wild dogs happily chased each other in the lush grass while a few monks quietly raked leaves nearby. Birds chirped a familiar song in the rustling trees surrounding the temple, as I chose my pillow and sat in lotus pose. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. They began to chant…

I opened my eyes and smiled. Oh, what a wonderful day!

I tried my best to shut everything else out, except the cleansing sound of their voices.

Completely in the moment, I inhaled light, love and serenity.

F.

“If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.”

―Henry Miller

Read more: Fallen Angel On the Run

Like a Dry Sponge

There are days when I feel empty, rudderless, and godless. At moments I can feel so completely sure of a Higher Power working in my life, and other times I feel terror, like I’m fumbling, lost, a child in a grown-up world.

At those uninspired times, I need to break it down real simple. As long as I don’t take a drink or drug, there is hope in my life. When I get confused, I remember that AA is my spiritual path. Part of that spiritual path is to seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with Spirit.

I had a profound experience during meditation recently. I had been feeling completely drained, exhausted, like my skin was a collection of raw nerves. I remembered to take quiet time and sit in meditation.

I started off with my usual mindfulness meditation app. But when the app ended, I remained sitting in silence. Then  I felt, with each breath, that I was drawing up energy from the core of the Earth. I was soaking up energy like a dry sponge soaks up water. Immersed in Spirit, I drank until my nerves were calm, my mind was at peace, and I felt renewed.

Just remembering that feeling helps me at this moment feel “OK.” We are still unsure of where we will be living a month from now. There are so many pros and cons of every house we have looked at. I don’t trust my own judgement. I know that if you give me 5 possibilities, on my own I will pick the worst possible situation.

I do not know what will happen next month, next week, or even later today. I have to trust that there is as energy above and throughout that guides me… when I keep my mind open and listen. As I prepare to go about my day, I must remember to stop, pray, and seek guidance in my every step and action.

**previously posted on my personal blog, I Am Many Things.**

Mindfulness Meditation With an App

Last year I made a commitment to start meditating regularly. Well, that didn’t work out so well. Soon I was caught up in the daily frustrations and flashes of anger and completely forgot about trying to meditate. Peace of mind can be so elusive.

Then, a couple of months ago, my son asked to go off his ADHD meds. When he takes them, he doesn’t eat all day. By the end of the day, when the meds wear off, he is crazy hungry and out of control. We decided that if he was willing to commit to a regular meditation practice we would be willing to let him stop his medication.

I read a lot about meditation for kids and one idea kept repeating: the best way to help kids develop a meditation practice was for the parents to also practice meditation. I realized there was no way around it. I *had* to start meditating.

I decided to try a meditation app. Unfortunately, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of them. They range in price from free to almost $100 or more. I started downloading and trying the free ones, but found most of them to be incredibly annoying. You know those syrupy-sweet voices that are almost a whisper? I hate those. Where I live, they call that “airy-fairy.”

I asked people about apps they used and stumbled across an app called Smiling Mind. I downloaded the Smiling Mind app (it’s available for IOS and Android.) The dude is Australian, and I found his voice to be remarkably non-irritating.

This particular app is completely free. There are no parts that you have to pay to unlock. I really like that. None of the dealer’s ‘first taste is free’ thing.

Smiling Mind has a number of different programs. They have programs for kids in different age ranges, programs designed for teachers, and a number of programs designed for adults with different focuses such as sports or for the workplace.

Each program comes in several modules which are designed progressively to help you develop mindfulness and increase the time, gradually, that you spend in meditation. Each module consists of meditation sessions, but they also include activities to enhance your mindfulness.

I’m averaging about 3 times a week, but hope to increase that. You can set daily reminders on your phone or to tell  it to notify you when you haven’t been on the app for a few days.

I’m really enjoying working through the basic adult program. Eventually, I’ll be able to do longer and longer meditation with little to no vocal guidance. Of course, you don’t actually need an app to meditate. Simply following your breath can help you return to calm.

I feel like this app is helping me develop mindfulness to instill a deeper sense of peaceful contentedness. Try it! You might like it.

**previously posted on my personal blog, I Am Many Things.**

 

Meditation and Sharing no 1 by Suh E.

Greetings beloved in the Lord and welcome to Meditation and sharing of Our Masters Words:

Three keys to holy living

In Matt 6: 1-6, 16-18 Gospel reading, Jesus gives us three keys 🔑🔑🔑 to holy living: almsgiving, praying and fasting. But the keys don’ t work unless we use them in the right door, i.e., the right attitude. (right frame of mind and disposition)

The first key🔑 is almsgiving . The right attitude, which opens the door to God’s generous love, is a spirit of giving . To pick up the key and use it without hesitation or fear, we first must have an attitude of trusting God, because it’s when we believe in his generosity (even before we see it) that we can safely be generous toward others lovingly.

God promises, he will replace it abundantly. Why? 🤔💭Is it because of his generous love toward us? Yes and so that we can share even more with others . Likewise, if we are generous with love, giving it freely and abundantly whether the person deserves it or not , we open the door 🚪of our own hearts, ❤making us capable of receiving more of God’s love.💘😇🙏🏼

The wrong attitude is a spirit of giving in order to show off or to get, which is an attempt to reward ourselves, like the hypocrites 😌who “blow their own horns.”This is only briefly satisfying. The recompense given to us when our generosity is based on LOVE,💘 however, keeps us closely united to God . Those who love others are friends of God, and friends share freely with each other.

The second key 🔑is prayer 🛐. Jesus points out that there’s a right 😇way to pray and a wrong☠ way, a right attitude and a wrong attitude . The right attitude is a sacrificial spirit; we pray because we’re surrendering our own ideas and opinions of how God should help while choosing to trust in his plans. This key🔑 opens the door 🚪to God’s better ideas. The wrong☠ attitude is ~bargaining with God to force him to grant our request~ , or ~reciting formula prayers heartlessly in order to seem prayerful~ while not living out the words.

The third key 🔑is fasting . The right 😇attitude is a humble spirit that seeks purification and discipline. Fasting originated in Judaism as a personal sacrifice on the Day of Atonement (the Hebrew community’s annual event for the forgiveness of sins); its purpose was to increase personal humility and repentance. This should also be our motive as we fast to acquire _”mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart”_ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph #2043). By disciplining our free will, we open the door to the Holy Spirit’s strength for resisting temptation.

With holy 😇attitudes, our reward is a close, fulfilling, totally satisfying relationship with God. What else would be more rewarding?

Shalom beloved in the Lord and let us pray:
Jesus, help me to take risks in Your love. Help me to understand that Your generosity and Your love for me goes far beyond what I can imagine. Amen. 🙏🏼🙏🏼😇

By Suh E.

Author: The author is a …..(believer who loves to share the word of God here on SIWO).

Nature photos & Mirapuri Impressions by Mirakali

Selection of photos by Mirakali showing various nature impressions from Mirapuri, the City of Peace and Futureman in Europe (Italy)

Sea Of Clouds

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DWTXU_VX0AAoXXP.jpg

Plant

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DWOG_MLWAAE-gKR.jpg

Blossom

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Symbol at the Miravinci, the meditation center of Mirapuri, the City of Peace and Futureman in Europe (Italy)

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