Finding Inner Calm and Deeper Wisdom

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Archive for the ‘meditation’ Category

Almost Sleeping

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Zen meditation is such a beautiful way of dealing with insomnia. Some practitioners actually look forward to insomnia if it ever happens, because that is a perfect time for practicing. More often than not, staying in the meditative state for a while will prepare you for sleep very nicely. And you may fall asleep while meditating.

But what if that doesn’t work?

There are times when you’re exceptionally stressed, and your mind is out of control. Or perhaps you’re dealing with pain you can’t escape from. In those situations, it seems like meditation just won’t work.

That has happened to me. A few years ago, I had a head injury that created a severe headache for about seven months. It was the worst pain I’d ever known. During that time I accepted that I was likely to die from it. Worse of all, the pain wouldn’t let me sleep. But during that ordeal, here’s what I discovered I could do to get some rest:

I would lie down and get in the most comfortable position that I could find and relax as much as possible. Then I would try to enter the meditative state. Some of the time it would work for a few seconds, sometimes for a few minutes. Occasionally I would get some lessening of the pain, but not always. But if I kept after it, the times I could keep my mind still would gradually lengthen. And I’d do that over and over.

During some of the periods of meditation, the headache pain would fade just a little. Then it would come charging back a few minutes later. Over and over, I’d repeat the attempts to meditate, and gradually I would find the pain would back off just a bit. Then at some point I would come fully awake and realize that three hours had gone by without my noticing it! The pain had not ever completely disappeared, but I had somehow escaped it for a while in a way I can’t fully explain. And while I might not have actually slept, it was something close enough to sleep that it gave me some rest.

I wonder if that sorta sleep I discovered during those months might have saved my life. It turned out months later, when the surgeons went in and fixed the problem, they said I might have been close to dying, indeed. Without all those hours of meditation and near-sleep, I might not have stayed around long enough to find the healthcare wizards who fixed me.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

April 6, 2019 at 4:27 pm

Why Seek Enlightenment?

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Many of us to want to know more. We want to understand more about who we are and why we are here. Is there a god? Most people want more knowledge about life after death. All these are reasons why religions were created. As human beings, we have a driving desire for answers to those questions, even if we suspect the answers aren’t really true. Enlightenment provides answers to those questions without the need of accepting Belief.

The differences between Enlightenment and Belief are huge. Enlightening knowledge springs from within. It is pre-programmed knowledge that comes already built into the human mind. On a physical and neurological level, it is primordial knowledge. It was already there at the time of birth.

Enlightenment doesn’t require any outside source. It doesn’t require trusting any other person. It doesn’t require the bodily senses to receive the information, and it doesn’t require the mind to interpret its meaning. Enlightenment is fully pre-packaged and already comprehended.

One of the first benefits is discovering your self-nature. That is, who you are and what you are at the deepest level of your being, all without the masks and delusions of your conscious thinking mind. That in itself is an extraordinary gift.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

January 28, 2019 at 3:49 pm

Can’t Sleep?

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NINE PEOPLE I know have told me in the last month they can’t sleep. During my haircut Saturday, my hairdresser Rae-Lynn was yawning so badly I worried she might accidentally stab me with her scissors. I asked why she couldn’t sleep, as I often do with yawning people. She had the same answer as the others: “My mind was racing and wouldn’t let me sleep.” What a shame.

I should do something about that problem. Because, if there’s anything I’m a master of, it’s sleeping. I can snooooze like you wouldn’t believe—I’m fortunate to have deep and restful sleep.

Sure, I had sleep problems caused by stress when I was in the military. Which was understandable, because back then I was certain that people were trying to kill me. But, an old Tibetan monk taught me how to calm down and go to sleep even when I was scared out of my wits.

Now, I can go to sleep under extraordinary pressure. So, I should teach my insomniac friends how I do it. I imagine that if I put some effort into it, I could do damage to the sleeping pill industry.

The trick is mind control: Learning to stop the thinking machine. Another word for that is meditation. I’ve been doing it so long that I can’t remember not being able to do it. It’s so easy.

Not long ago, I sat down and wrote everything I know about Zen meditation in a book. It’s called Original Zen and can be found on amazon.com in paperback. It is also an ebook you can download to your device. If there is anything in the book that doesn’t make sense, send me an email. I will do my best to explain it.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

January 24, 2019 at 12:24 pm

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

What’s Holding You Back?

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What is holding you back from attaining genuine peace of mind? What denies you the ability of staying calm and centered? What’s keeping you from achieving the true YogaGirlmeditative state? Why haven’t you had spiritual learning experiences? And most of all, what is holding you back from receiving Enlightenment?

You might guess that, because I’m asking these questions, I think I know the answer. Well yes, I actually do have an answer. Other people may have other answers, for sure. I can only offer you what I’ve learned from my own experiences and perceptions as a meditation “teacher.”

The answer is in one word: Stress.

Of all the millions of people who want to develop a useful and rewarding meditative practice, the primary reason that most of them can’t get there is Stress. When they sit down to meditate, they close their eyes, and they are immediately bombarded with unwanted thoughts and images. The underlying cause in most cases is stress. They want to achieve a quiet mind and instead, the energy boiling up from stress makes their mind sound like Radio San Juan. A non-stop series of staccato car commercials.

Many masters and teachers over the centuries have known this. Recent studies show that over two thirds of people in the U.S. suffer from a specific type of stress, namely: Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). That is stress caused by earlier injury in life, injury that has not healed.

My take on this: A person’s meditation will always be limited to some degree by unhealed trauma.

Some teachers claim that meditation can overcome PTS. That has not been my experience. Meditation is often useful for discovering (i.e., remembering) earlier unhealed trauma. And while meditation may give the student small periods of rest and recovery time, it rarely cures the problem.

So yes, by all means meditate regularly. But keep a journal of everything that disturbs your meditations. Then go back and read your notes now and then. What you have written may point you to things you weren’t consciously aware of. And when you find a persistent blockage, rejoice! Because what you’ve found may be a huge prize. It might be the key to great forward progress in your spiritual development.

First and foremost, be aware that it might scare you. Coming up against an area that blocks you is usually frightening. You may not know exactly why it scares you. But there is something behind the blockage that wounded you in the past. And it hasn’t healed.

That has happened to me three times in my life. Maybe more than three, but I remember three very clearly. In every one of those cases, I used another person to help me get past the block, find the traumatic event, and then resolve it. In one case it was a hypnotist, in another it was a close friend, and the third was a shrink.

I learned many decades ago: Explore inward until you find the monster. Then, embrace the monster. It will no longer frighten you, and it will always give you a huge gift.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

December 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Looking for The Answer?

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Finding the right path to take when searching for inner peace and Enlightenment can be difficult and confusing. Almost every possibility means giving up one set of beliefs and adopting another. The best advice might be: Don’t adopt any belief system. There’s no need for it, and besides, you’re vulnerable to being led down a wrong path.

The old monk Bodhidharma decided to ignore everything the world wanted him to believe. He believed in No Belief. Instead, he sat alone in a cave and stared at a rock wall. It worked for him. Now he’s known as the world greatest Zen master. He went to heights of spiritual experiences that we can only imagine.

Why did it work? Because his conscious mind shut down now and then, and let deeper, more powerful parts of his mind take over.

You don’t need to sit in a cave. You just need to sit all alone in a quiet place and stop your mind. That’s called Zen. But if you can’t stop your mind (yet), then just watch it and make notes about everything it does. That’s called Mindful Meditation, and it’s the main path to Zen.

You don’t need any gods, dogma, disciples, preachers, scriptures, prayers, or belief system. Absolutely none of that stuff. And you don’t have to do any ritual whatsoever except sitting in your quiet place—just for a little while, most every day.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

November 22, 2018 at 1:26 pm

“Ultra” Meditation

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This is a meditation technique I discovered on my own. It might have been discovered thousands of years ago and documented in some ancient text. But I’ve never heard of it (yet). If somebody has read about this, please let me know where.

renPlaya_2x2Here’s how it works: After I’ve slept a while and I’m well rested, I might drift into a kind of meditative state that takes me much deeper than usual. I never know when this is likely to happen. I’m lying in bed ready to resume sleeping, but I’m not sleepy yet. I put my body into a position where I have minimum or no stress on any joint, and I don’t have any limb resting on another. Usually this means lying on my side. It’s important to note that I have to be well rested when I do this.

As you may know, I don’t advise trying to meditate lying down and especially not in bed. The chief problem is you’re more likely to fall sleep. But if you’ve just slept and you feel rested, this may work for you.

Scan your body and locate any body part that is uncomfortable, and make whatever adjustment is necessary. Stop all thought and use the mind to watch your heartbeat and breathing. Eventually, the heart will slow down and the breathing will get shallow.

After a while, as I lie there in the meditative state, I gradually sink in to an ever greater, deeper Zen state. The feeling is like separating from my physical body. During that time, the body seems to sink into an insignificant puddle of inert matter lying in my bed. It is no longer “me.” I’m sure this is what some people call an out of body experience.

I have the feeling that optionally I could return to my body. Or, if I wanted, just not return. I get a peculiar feeling of exhiliarating power, in which I could continue on farther away from my body—or onward to the pure spiritual state if I wished—or else return to my body.

Thus far, I’ve always come back. But if I were to proceed, would it really work? Would I actually transition? I don’t know. Aside from that, I’ve always returned to a super peaceful and ethereal state of mind afterward.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

November 2, 2018 at 11:47 pm