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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.

Become a Master

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ChablisBuddhaThe definition of a “master,” that is, a spiritual master, is a person who has had several enlightening experiences, at least two or three.

Second: In order to have enlightening experiences, you must learn to enter the true meditative state, which means sitting still and being awake, alert, free of drugs and alcohol, and most importantly without conscious thought (aka the Zen state).

Third: You must practice Zen meditation for 10 to 15 minutes every day. (Do it forever, which means at least until you die.) More than 15 minutes is okay, but not necessarily of value.

Fourth: Practice Zen faithfully and purposefully, learning over time to take your meditative state deeper and deeper.

Fifth: Sooner or later (and nobody knows how long you will need) you will become enlightened.

How to know if you’re enlightened: You will know. There will be no doubt. It is a euphoric event like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. You will discover your self-nature, meaning you will know who and what you are at the deepest level of your being without the masks and delusions created by your conscious mind. You will know your purpose in this life. You will experience profound inner peace (but only periodically, because you are still a human being).

Note: Please forgive the brief, terse way this is written. My goal was to impart the most important things I’ve learned, but in the fewest possible words. And in terms that are least likely to be misunderstood.

Namaste, ya’ll.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

October 3, 2019 at 5:02 pm

There is Stress

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There will always be Stress. That is because Stress is a normal and natural part of the universe. There has always been Stress. Just the fact that we live on a ball of dirt and water, hurtling through space with gravity gluing us to its surface–is Stress. We might as well get used to it. But that doesn’t mean we have to continuously suffer from it.

The Problem with Stress is that we internalize it. We worry about it. We open our mind and allow it to come inside, where it proceeds to gnaw at us without mercy. The human mind has been doing that since we lived in trees. The answer to the Stress Problem is to NOT internalize it. Isn’t that easy?

Ah yes, that’s so easy to say, but not so easy to do. So, let’s break it down and make it a bit easier to do. “Internalizing” some external thing in our life actually and simply means “thinking about it.” If you think about it, you are internalizing it. If you don’t think about it, you’re not internalizing it.

This is where so many people say, “But not thinking about it means I’m just running away from the problem.” Thus, based on their idea of being mature and responsible, they think. And think, and think. And wear themselves out by thinking. Like a rat in a roundhouse, running around and around. Which is is a terrible form of self-torment, agony, suffering, and self-abuse.

Therefore, your clear solution to Stress is not thinking about whatever you have to worry about. Or, better yet, controlling your thinking machine so that it only worries when you want it to. I advise people to write down everything they are worried about, and then study that list for one hour at 7 p.m. Or at 10 a.m. in the morning. Or maybe for a half hour at noon. Whatever gives you the feeling that you’re being “responsible.” The rest of the time you have my permission to not think about all that stuff.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

April 22, 2019 at 10:25 am

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

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

Does Meditation Really Help?

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Will meditation help me live longer? And will meditation help you live longer?

Almost everybody with a brain knows the answer to that question. But let’s be honest, most people don’t pay much attention to what they know or intuit about meditation. They think, “Oh yeah, meditation is great, yada yada. But I’m too busy right now.”

This morning I had an ideal opportunity to test the theory on myself. I had been annoyed by somebody. Well wait a minute. Taking responsibility for my feelings, it’s more correct to say that I annoyed myself about somebody.

I had just finished Sunday brunch, and I was sitting there at the table by myself, just thinking about that self-centered, inconsiderate, unthinking person who I’d annoyed myself about. I thought okay, since it’s time to take my daily blood pressure (which my doctor has been nagging me about), let’s see what’s going on in my body. (And mind.)

My BP meter is right beside my eating place. I relaxed a bit and took my blood pressure. It was high. Since I was alone, I relaxed for 15 minutes, meditated some of that time, and took it again. It was better. I relaxed a third time, had a nice meditation of maybe 10 minutes, and took my BP a third time. For each observation I recorded the Time, BP, and Pulse Rate in my doctor-ordered BP journal. Here’s what I got:

12:30 188/100 75
12:45 170/90   74
13:15 150/80   90

Frankly, I’m amazed. I never thought it would be such a radical change. I wasn’t even on my cushion or in a good place for meditation. But I dropped my blood pressure 38 points just sitting in a chair, watching birds eating in the feeder, and not thinking (well, not much). I guess that proves my point.

Haha, I’m laughing at myself. Here I’m a meditation teacher (or coach, actually) but obviously I don’t coach myself enough. I haven’t had any doubts for decades about the effectiveness of meditation. Isn’t this like the shoemaker who doesn’t have any shoes? Or doctors who who have more heart attacks than their patients? We gotta learn to practice what we preach.

I promise to do better.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

January 14, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Mindfulness Makes a Better Person

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We all want to become a better person.

Right? Well, perhaps I should say most of us want to be better people. It seems clear to me that people who read my stuff must be motivated by self-improvement. The topic on my mind toMeditatorInTwoPieceday is exactly how Mindfulness can make you a better person.

First, a simple and accurate definition: Mindfulness is learning to become an observer of your own thoughts and feelings. Many people who want to learn meditation, start first by sitting in a meditation position with a pad and pencil by their side. And then stopping now and then to record what is going through their mind.

Most people rarely stop to think about what they’re thinking about. And then, also rarely, to ask themselves why am I thinking about that. This is a very important step in learning to control your mind—instead of letting it control you. Of course, the next step beyond Mindfulness is learning to stop the mind, which is the very definition of the Zen meditative state.

So how does this make you a better person? Easy. By observing your own thoughts (which is accomplished at a “higher” place in your mind), you can actually witness your own beliefs and values in operation. That higher place in your mind is often free from much of the judgment and indoctrination by belief systems that control what you think, say, and do. Mindfulness permits the practitioner to think free–at least for a short while. Mindfulness gives your mind an opportunity like a breath of fresh air.

So many of us are not aware how strongly we were indoctrinated. We were “trained” by parents, teachers, preachers, and mentors. All of them authority figures who instilled our values and beliefs. We didn’t have much of a choice then. And now, you are at the mercy of the beliefs of all those people. But wouldn’t you like the opportunity to step back and examine for yourself the basis of all your values and beliefs? Wouldn’t you like to have a say in what kind of person you are? And don’t you want to become a better person as a result?

Get a cushion to sit on and a writing pad for making notes. Go to a quiet place, sit on the cushion, and watch that mind of yours. Just let it run free, and see what comes out.

 

 

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

December 20, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Why I Love Sunday

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Sunday is a great day for several reasons. It’s especially nice because most of the true believers are in their churches and we non-believers have the world to ourselves. Well, mostly.

What’s wrong with that you ask? Nothing, actually. Most of us are doing what we want to do. As for myself, I make a point of sleeping late on Sunday. I hardly ever wake up on Sunday without having at least a fleeting thought about the people kneeling and praying in their churches. And appreciating my own freedom to roll over and take an extra snooze.

I can’t imagine living in a country where the government is a religion, and a religion is the government. That is true enslavement, and it is a genuine justification for revolt.

One thing I’ve noticed about religions is they all have stories to tell. When you pick a religion (or if you were indoctrinated when you were young), you are taught that religion’s stories. Each religion’s stories are a little different.

They have books of stories. And they sing songs that tell their stories. And for emphasis, their preachers will shout and rant about their stories. Whether or not their stories are actually true doesn’t really matter. They encourage you to believe them. Because Belief is how you create Faith. And Faith is what gets you into Paradise later. That is, if you choose to believe all that.

In truth, Belief is the easy way out. Show up for church now and then, put some money in the offering plate, and you’re covered. Oh, and quit reading sacrilegious stuff written by heathens like me.

When you step way back and take a hard look at all the possible stories offered to you, you might discover one very crucial fact:

All of the stories in all the religions of the world are merely what other people believe about God. Bottom line: Every religion wants you to accept and believe what other people believe. None of them encourages or helps you take a path of learning for yourself. None of them encourages spiritual self-development.

Compared to just signing on to an organized religion, Zen might be a harder path. You actually have to do something: Practice meditation. Open yourself to your own inner knowledge. But there are no belief systems in Zen. It is a path of seeking the truth. That makes it a very rewarding path. If you stick to it.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

October 8, 2017 at 12:38 pm