Finding Inner Calm and Deeper Wisdom

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Using Your Angel Hour

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If you practice Zen meditation and you have reasonable success with it, you can use that skill to put yourself into a special supermind state that I call the “Angel Hour.” It is a state of being awake but where the conscious thinking mind is quiet—or perhaps not thinking at all. This can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes.

For me, this often happens during the pre-dawn hours when I’m well rested but awake. Typically, I’ve just had my early morning pee break, and I’m back in bed ready to resume sleeping. I get comfortable, relax the body, and slow the mind.

But because I’m rested, I don’t fall asleep right away. However, I could fall asleep. I’m right at the cusp of falling asleep. And THAT is when my angel hour can begin—if I want it to. If I had previously programmed myself to search for an answer to some question, or if there’s some particular problem weighing on me, that is the time it will come to mind.

The magic of the angel hour is to have that question or problem being somewhere “in mind,” but not necessarily thinking about it. Since the conscious thought machine has been slowed or stopped altogether, other parts of the mind are able to contribute images, feelings, ideas, and other thoughts that don’t require thinking.

English doesn’t exactly have a word for thoughts that don’t require thinking. Sometimes I’ll use the word smattering, which is defined as “superficial piecemeal knowledge of something.” Typically, this happens to me when some part of my mind comes up with a smattering, but at that time (because of the meditative state) that part of the mind doesn’t have access to all the speech, logic, vocabulary, and other thinking parts of the mind. Voila! I have “thought” of something that I otherwise would have never thought of.

Now, coming out of the meditative state, the conscious mind can kick in and consider the smattering that just surfaced from some normally unavailable back corner of the mind. Often, when the rational conscious thinking machine gets hold of it, the smattering will turn out to be a stupid idea. Or impractical. Or just some useless piece of mind fluff.

But sometimes, the smattering will be pure genius.

Quite often, your smatterings will be brilliant ideas. Especially after you get used to using your mind that way. You will discover creativity you didn’t know you had.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

September 8, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Use Your Loneliness

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I hate to feel lonely. Don’t you?

Believe me, I have had some long stretches of loneliness in my lifetime. But in recent years, I’ve managed to solve that problem almost entirely. I say almost, because I’m not a hermit, and for my own mental health I need to have people around me some of the time. Or maybe a lot of the time. And, I especially need a life partner for several reasons—but now is not the time to discuss that.

What I discovered was How to Use Loneliness. And how to stay emotionally stable and even happy when I am lonely. It was a stepwise learning lesson for me. Here, I’m going to describe the first level of how I escaped the pain of Loneliness and its twin problem: Depression.

My huge discovery was using writing alternated with meditation. It was huge for me. It might not work for everybody, but it should work for most people. It’s so simple. I should have thought of this fifty years ago. Here’s what I do when I’m lonely.

Step one, believe it or not, is actually recognizing that I’m lonely. Sometimes I’ll mope around for a while, not feeling very good about life, then I’ll have a eureka moment. And recognize that I’m lonely!

Step two: I grab a pad of paper and a ballpoint. I start writing about whatever is on my mind. Or whatever in life is troubling me. Or maybe, I’ll just start writing about a favorite topic that energizes me.

Step three: When I reach a point in the writing where I can’t think of what to write next, I stop. I grab a favorite cushion and sit in Zen meditation for a while. That usually lasts no longer than twelve to fifteen minutes. Sometimes it will last longer, especially if I’m having a bad case of the blues.

Step four: Repeat the writing and meditation until I feel better. Or it’s time to take a shower and take a walk. Or read an interesting book. Or maybe treat myself to a healthy lunch. Or have a date with a special friend.

Why does it work? Writing is an excellent form of self-therapy. Writing will often let one part of your mind express something that another part of your mind didn’t know. Then, the meditation will let your mind process that knowledge and help heal a part of the mind that was hurting.

Another benefit of this process is that it turns loneliness into aloneness—which is being alone but feeling better about it.

Let me know if this works for you.

Using My Angel Hour

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Just in case you don’t know what I mean by my angel hour, let me define it. When you wake up at some time between 4 and 5 a.m. and you don’t feel sleepy, maybe you’re having an angel hour. Go ahead and meditate to stop your mind, and see if you can go back to sleep.

RelaxedGirlIf you can’t sleep, your deeper mind may be trying to tell you something. So continue meditating to slow down and/or stop your conscious thinking. Stay very relaxed and very still. Soon, you won’t be entirely awake but you also won’t be entirely asleep. That is a good state to be in.

That very relaxed state of half asleep is an angel hour. When it happens, stay with it. I guess during this state of mind, people think angels are speaking to them. Who knows. Maybe so.

You might receive valuable knowledge. Or perhaps answers to a problem that has been bothering you. Or maybe not. You never know.

In any case, it’s a good place to be. During that time, you’re getting both physical and mental rest. It’s nearly as good as sleep. Some times—maybe not all the time—but for sure some of those times, you will receive deep-mind information that you might otherwise never know about. Your deep mind understands things unknown to your conscious mind. Among other things, that can be pure wisdom. It also allows you to clearly see your own intuition that applies to some matter concerning you. In some rare instances, you might receive genuine enlightening experiences.

In years past, it took a while for me to recognize an angel hour. I would get annoyed that I couldn’t go back to sleep. But then, after I realized what was going on, I relaxed into it. And I was often rewarded.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

January 4, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Using Zen to Make Difficult Decisions

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Why and how can my Zen practice help me make difficult decisions? This is a real easy question to answer. It’s a no-brainer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write one of my shortest blog entries ever.

Zen meditation is all about shutting down the conscious, thinking mind. When that happens, no thought occurs. But the rest of the whole mind can be just as active as ever—or even more active. Thus, with the noisy thought machine not hogging the stage, the whole mind (aka the “supermind”) is sometimes able to create images that come from other resources normally kept “behind the scene.” Voila! These other images often contain a special form of knowledge that I call true wisdom.

Among the most important resources of your deeper, non-conscious mind are your intrinsic values. They are the basic guidelines built into your core being that tell you what is really important in your life. Normally they are covered up by all the noise from your conscious mind. Only when the conscious mind is stilled can you access your core values.

Here’s how you use Zen to make a tough decision: Relax. Think about the decision and all the factors surrounding that decision. Now meditate. With the thought machine stopped, a clear answer based on your intrinsic value may pop into view. If not, repeat these three steps.

One caveat: If you don’t have an already-established practice of Zen meditation, this suggestion is unlikely to work. Establish your practice now, when you don’t need it. Don’t try to start a meditation practice when you’re being marched to the gallows.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

May 24, 2014 at 10:36 am

The Mirror of Your Soul

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With thanks to Khalil Gibran and other writers, we know the eyes of a person can tell us much about what lies within. If this isn’t something you’ve thought much about, why don’t you try it? Take the time to look deeply into the eyes of someone you love—or want to love—or just somebody you want to know better. Therein may be the key to a deeper connection. Also, that may give you information you need to decide how to manage that relationship.

When I’m listening to another person who is talking directly to me, I often take the opportunity to watch their eyes carefully. That gives me an opportunity to observe them very closely without making that person feel uncomfortable. It also adds another dimension to what they’re talking about. But most importantly, it provides a very important read-out on that person’s personality.

The most important thing I notice when I’m watching a person’s eyes is the amount of energy coming from inside. Vacant, listless eyes indicate low energy—which is usually an indicator of deeper problems. Eyes that are bright and active indicate a higher level of energy. A person with high energy generally uses that energy to create a happier, more productive life for himself. Whereas low inner energy often indicates a glass-half-empty person who is prone to being negative and unhappy.

If you’re like most people, you will choose to be friends with and spend time with a higher energy person rather one with low energy. Friendship with negative, low-energy people requires more work, and the payback is usually minimal. Overall, you’ll find that people with a high level of energy inside themselves are more popular, more creative, and more successful.

So, where am I going with this? Answer: I want you to look at yourself in the mirror. How much and what kind of energy emanates from your eyes? That might be the key to changing your whole life for the better. Now, if you can’t tell from looking at your eyes in a mirror, then come and see me. I’ll tell you in a minute or two what kind of energy you radiate—or don’t.

The bottom line: Abundant quantities of energy are inside you. If too little of it reaches your eyes—and thus the outside world, there are blocks and barriers preventing it. That indicates that you could profit greatly from what’s known as inner development.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

April 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Deeper Sex, Deeper Love

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I promised to write about some of the practical, real-world ways you can take your sexual love relationship to a deeper, more meaningful level. These are valuable and immensely satisfying discoveries. So, I hope this knowledge will be beneficial. If that is true for you, please leave a comment and tell me about it.

The first practical step toward Deeper Sex/Deeper Love is simply getting more of the body’s nerve endings involved in the sexual act. The genitals have the second largest number of nerve endings of any area on the body. That’s why sex feels so good. But the lips and mouth have an even larger number of nerve endings, which means that open-mouth kissing during genital sex more than doubles the physical sensation of the act. From what women tell me, most men don’t kiss while making love. Hey, what is wrong with you guys?

Men, stop being so self-centered and thinking only about your own satisfaction. Create some good face-to-face, eye-to-eye intimacy, and start kissing your girl during the act.

In addition, a lot of you women need to learn how to open up wider to receive your lover. Several beneficial movements in Yoga are hip openers that greatly enhance your lovemaking skills. One way of doing this (in the missionary position) is to bend your knees, put the soles of your feet close together, bring the feet close to your seating bones, and let your knees fall apart as far as they can. Now, you can rotate your pelvis toward your lover, giving him the maximum penetration. The man can cup a hand under your buttocks and lift it slightly which helps to take his penis to the glory land. Wow. Subtle difference, but a major effect.

The chief goal here is maximizing body area that is being touched by both of you. Your bellies and chests will be rubbing together. And of course, you both should have your hands touching and caressing every part your lover’s body you can reach. The skin is known as the largest organ of the body. Touching and rubbing makes a huge difference. In addition to maximizing bodily touching, you can also use visual and auditory communication. Look into your lover’s eyes while you are making love. Kiss, nibble, and whisper into your lover’s ears. Express your feelings.

If you can put all this together, then you have achieved a huge step forward in being a good lover, at least on the physical level. One cute little name for this skill uses three four-letter words, the first two of which are full and body. So from now on, when I talk about the FBF, you’ll know what I mean, right?

Here’s your homework: Practice the FBF for a while, and I’ll work on some ideas to take us into the deeper realm of tantric lovemaking. Meanwhile, have fun.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

May 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Increase IQ and Mental Focus

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It’s a common perception that you were born with a certain IQ, and then you simply have to live with it. Not true. You have several ways of increasing your mental acuity, some for short-term gain, and others for long-term. You’ve probably read about some of the long-term methods for increasing your mental powers: Good nutrition, physical activity, mental exercises, new learning challenges, and of course, enough sleep.

All of these methods have been researched, and many new findings recently published. But, the training work that I do is based more on methods that yield short-term improvement, which by the way, supplement and amplify the long-term methods.

The quickest, simplest, and most effective way to increase short-term mental focus is to quiet the mind. It’s just that simple. Here’s why:

A noisy mind is a distracted mind, which has it’s energy and focus going in many directions at once. Get rid of the noise and distractions, focus all your mental energy on one single purpose, and voila! You have achieved a significant, albeit short-term, increase in your IQ. It’s like hitting passing gear in your brain. You simply stop your flow of conscious thought for a short while, restart it focused on one subject, then Shazam!, you will have a short period of power thought.

The more you practice, the sharper your spike in mental energy and focus. And naturally, you’ll have a spike in your short-term IQ, too. What’s even more exciting is that, as you continue practicing this method, you may actually experience a permanent, long-term increase in mental acuity.

I like to call this technique a mental wind sprint. It’s not something I discovered or invented; the idea has been around for a long time, give or take a few thousand years.

Here’s another perk: Not only do mental wind sprints temporarily increase your IQ, they also enhance your creativity. For me, this was a very exciting discovery.

Here’s the way it works: When you quiet the conscious thinking mind completely, even if only for a half minute or so, other parts of your mind have an opportunity to manifest themselves. Sometimes they will project images which—when you later allow the thinking mind to process them—may result in new, exciting, and creative ideas.

Essentially, this is a way of thinking of things that you otherwise might never think of. That, in itself, is the core principle of creativity.


Please note: Any links that are automatically generated and displayed below are neither selected nor approved by me. –E

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

June 14, 2010 at 12:44 am

What’s the Most Important Thing You Own?

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I like to throw this question out to young people and see what answers I get back. You can imagine what some people say: my car, my iPod, my clothes, or my music collection. A few of the more mature folks might mention things like their home or perhaps their investments.

But after a small amount of discussion, you may quickly realize your most important and possibly your only real possession is your mind. It doesn’t take long to see that everything else you “own” can be taken away from you—even your body.

If you’re in a hospital or a prison, for example, you don’t fully own your body any longer—somebody else is in control of your physical being. In life, there are other forms of confinement and invasions of your bodily freedom, as well. But no matter what other people do, you still own your mind. It’s still yours, to do with as you want. Within your own mind is the only place where you can be truly free.

The inescapable conclusion is that your best and most important possession is your mind. Without that, you don’t have anything. Period. And my question is this: How well do you know how to use your mind? More importantly, do you use it or does it use you?

This work is about becoming the master of your mind and learning how to use it to your best advantage. Most people in western societies have an out-of-control mind. If you can gain essential control of your mind and train it to do what you want, your life will improve immensely. I guarantee it.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

May 2, 2010 at 10:53 am

Enter the Realm of Hyperthought

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When you learn to quiet the conscious thinking machine, that means you have found the mind’s accelerator pedal. This discovery is important and powerful. With practice, you learn that you can easily let off the accelerator and slow the mind down.  You can even stop it at will. And then, you can floorboard it and go into hyperthought.

With this kind of newly found control, you can do interesting and powerful things with your mind. This power has beneficial effects on your ability to comprehend new material and retain more of what you learned. Another side benefit of controlling the mind’s accelerator is that you can perform better under pressure.

Although an automobile engine doesn’t gain any additional power just because it shuts off for a while, your mind most certainly does. An automobile engine is a mechanical device that generates a known amount of power with a given flow of gasoline.

However, your mind is a biological/neurological device many times more complex than an internal combustion engine. The mental power generated by your mind depends on many factors, some of which you have control over, and some you don’t. As you already know, restful sleep and nutrition help get your mind tuned up for high performance. Also, researchers recently learned that aerobic physical exercise actually helps increase mental sharpness and memory function.

In order to tap into using hyperthought, you’ll need to find the accelerator pedal that controls the flow of conscious thought. Slowing down and stopping the flow of thought for a while causes the mind to gather strength. Just like a muscle, the mind builds up a reserve of energy any time it has a brief rest. Then, when you punch the pedal, your mind can kick into unusually energetic activity for a while, giving you increased mental acuity and focus. Your mind not only runs faster but, most importantly, more parts of the mind join in the effort. It’s like adding a couple of cylinders to your engine.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

April 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

How Can I Get Better Sleep?

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In the last post, I mentioned that getting deep, restful sleep is a two-step process. The first step is learning Conscious Quiescence, the art of quieting the conscious thought machine. When your noisy mind is generating a non-stop deluge of thoughts, you can’t sleep.

Step Two: Once you have learned CQ and you’re able to easily and quickly stop unwanted thoughts, then you will begin using that skill before, during and after sleep to make the sleep experience quieter and deeper.

Say what? So, now you’re thinking, “Maybe I can quiet my mind before I go to sleep and after I wake up. There’s no way I can control what happens while I am asleep.”

Oh yes you can! And here’s how it works. As you become more and more skillful with curbing the runaway thought stream, you’ll be able to do it in a wider variety of circumstances. It’s all a matter of practice.

At first, you begin using CQ to quiet your thoughts and relax your body so that you can go to sleep faster. Then, as you are waking up, you may notice your Mad Dog of the Mind racing back and forth to get loose so he can take over. You will quickly learn to use CQ so that you don’t have to wake up to stressful and unpleasant thoughts.

As time goes by and you continue practicing, you’ll find that your ability to check unwanted thoughts will gradually begin working deeper and deeper into that hypnagogic state between being awake and being asleep. (See the March 23, 2010 post.)

What you will discover is that any intentions you have in mind while falling asleep will still exist as you enter and pass through hypnagogia. Let me state this another way: While falling asleep and even when you’re totally asleep, your mind can be aware of intention without actually needing to think about the intention. Eureka, what a discovery!

After some time, you’ll discover than even during your sleep, you can remain aware of your intention to not think about unpleasant or upsetting things. A different part of your mind will remain aware and keep watch over the Mad Dog—even while you’re asleep. After some amount of self-training and practice, some dreams can be stopped at will, because you will have an awareness, even while sleeping, of how to stop an unwanted runaway thought stream.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

April 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm