In my last post I described the everyday benefits of balancing the active and passive aspects of your lifestyle, and with this guided meditation you will be able to balance yin and yang in your body and mind. This meditation helps to bring awareness to the yin and yang aspects of the breath. The inhale is yang: expansive, light, and full. The exhale is yin: sinking, dense and contracted. This recording goes through the contrast and then combines the two energies in the heat, with yin energy rising from the navel, and yang energy sinking down from the third eye center. This combination creates a healing elixir within you, seeking balance and coherence within your physiology. It increases communication between your nervous system, blood, organs and other aspects of your body to facilitate the healing process. This also helps with balancing emotions, reducing excesses and increasing awareness of how you truly feel. This guided meditation is perfect to use if you have trouble falling asleep. In the beginning and end I encourage you to sink and relax into the surface that you’re laying on. Encouraging peace of mind, stillness, and silence as you drift into a sleeping state. Enjoy this balancing guided meditation, and look for a yin/yang Qi gong video to be released in the next couple weeks. Transcript: This guided meditation will help you to tap into vitality, healing and peace of mind by combining yin and yang energy within yourself. It will end in a calm and relaxing way, so if you need to be awake and aware after this meditation, you may want to set an alarm for 30 minutes to make sure you get up after the session has ended. Find a relaxed position, laying on your back on a bed or floor. You can place a pillow under your knees if you have any discomfort in your lower back. As your body settles into this relaxed position, adjusting as necessary, your mind begins to slow down. Scan your body from head to toe, noticing where you feel energized and flowing, and areas where you may feel discomfort and stagnation. As you scan your body, notice how heavy you feel. Feel the power of gravity pulling you down, deeper and deeper into the cushion. On the every breath out feel the abdomen sink deeper, allowing more space for the inhale to fill your belly, mid drift, chest, and lungs. A full yogic breath, giving your body all the relaxing benefits of deep breathing. As the breath deepens, the exhale continues to help you sink lower and lower, down into the earth. A sense of peace, silence and returning home is present within you. On your next inhale, notice the contrast of growing, expanding, filling yourself with light, love and sun energy on every breathe in. The breath out slows you down, sinking into silence and peace. The breathe in you are floating on a cloud, the sunrise light shining through you, expanding and overfilling you. The sun sets on the breath out, your body caressed by a half-moon that floats you down to the earth. Continue this practice, of floating and sinking, expanding and contracting. This is yin yang awareness through the breath. The boundless energy of yang; expansive, universal, light and vast. Contrasted with the dense energy of yin, still, peaceful, quiet, and settling. With your next breath in allow the yin energy to rise from your lower abdomen, and exhale the yang energy to sink from your 3rd eye and crown, combining in your heart center. The moon rises as the sun sets, spiraling in your heart. A full yogic breath, from your lower abdomen, up above your chest to your lungs. Allowing the yin and yang to create a white and black spiral in your chest. Breathe in and Concentrate in your heart, and with the breath out let the energy expand beyond your body, filling your entire consciousness with this healing elixir of yin and yang. Continue this visualization, cultivating and overflowing with this healing energy. The combination of the yin and yang is like home away from home, peace with power, silence with action, expansive and grounded, lighthearted and determined, playful yet disciplined. Release the visualization and allow your attention to come back to the body and breath. Scan your body once again, from heat to toe, feeling the deep peace you’ve cultivated within yourself. If you wish, you can allow your mind to wander, finding a deep, restful sleep. Slowing down, and sinking deeper and deeper into the earth. At peace and at one with the universe.
March 5, 2011 by
Yin Yang Guided Meditation
November 23, 2010 by
I know I’ve said these words: “I love the effects of daily meditation, but it is very difficult because while I’m doing it my mind wants to do everything except for observe my breath.” Why would you choose to meditate? The many benefits include stress relief, more restful sleep, lower blood pressure, developing self-discipline, and a peaceful, focused mind. I chose to meditate because I wanted a clearer mind, more lucid dreams, and to develop self-discipline. I started with practices of concentrating the mind, including counting deep breathes, focusing on a candle flame, and recorded guided meditations. When I started mindfulness meditation I found it much more difficult. My mind had nothing to control. It only had to focus on the natural form of the breath. Mindfulness meditation is observing your breath, mind’s thoughts, body’s sensations, and emotions without becoming attached to them. This type of meditation is very practical because you become more aware of how you are feeling throughout the day, and can respond consciously instead of reacting to situations. On my 10-Day Vipassana retreat, on day 5 or 6 I was becoming very frustrated with myself. I thought that this is so simple; you just sit and observe your breath. Why can’t I do that silently for even just 1 minute? I talked with the meditation teacher, and learned a lesson that I continue to learn every day. I need to observe the voice that judges myself, and learn to integrate it. I was judging myself for my mind being too busy and becoming frustrated at myself. This is something that I bring into my every day life as well, I have high expectations of myself, and if I don’t meet those expectations a voice in my head will say I’m not good enough or that I’m not trying hard enough. Through meditation I have discovered issues that I need to resolve within myself. All of us have a similar lesson that can be learned through our meditation practice. Why do you find meditation difficult? Do you have a voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough? Are you looking into the past and blaming yourself, or looking to the future with worry? Learn how your personality might take part in self-sabotaging your meditation experience. The last 3 months I’ve been contemplating my self-judgment more and have learned a lot about my self. I’ve opened up and become aware of feelings that I’ve tried to stop. I’ve talked with my self-critical voice to learn what it has to teach me, and to cooperate together. Being able to work through this has helped my meditation practice, allowing me to accept that there are thoughts, without blaming myself. So while my mind still wants to do everything except for observe my breath, I no longer find it difficult because I am not as attached to the outcome.
October 20, 2010 by
Daily habits to help promote lucid dreams, dream recall, and vivid dreams. Every morning write down whatever fraction of a dream you remember. If you can’t remember a specific dream, write down any thoughts, emotions, or feelings in your body. Wake up with full awareness you were just dreaming and write down the experience, even if it is the middle of the night. If it is early and you want to go back to bed, focus on your intention to remember your dream, and/or to stay lucid while you are drifting to sleep. Read your dreams and notice any strange situations that occurred. What locations were you in, how did you feel, what people you were with, and overall how was your dreaming reality different than waking life. Write down what these are and make sure to do a reality check if you meet the same people during the day, or are in a strange environment (construction, blocked traffic, crazy people on the street talking to you, ect). Throughout the day reflect on the dream like nature of reality. Talk with friends and family about lucid dreaming, your recent dreams, and any interesting dreams they’ve had lately. Do reality checks by reading a word, looking away and reading it again. If the word changes in any way (turns upside down, into symbols, dyslexia, ect) you are probably dreaming. Another way to test whether you’re dreaming is to try and put your finger through a mirror or glass window. In my dreams my hand will go to the other side and feel like it’s passing through a Jello-like substance. I usually have strange bathrooms in my dreams, so whenever I’m in a public restroom, I will try and put my finger through the mirror, especially if I notice something or someone that is strange. Every Night write one page on a dream you would like to have that night. Once you become lucid what do you want to do? Do you want to fly to a tropical island and surf on tidal waves? Visit Hogwarts and learn how to use magic in your dreams? Go to a Himalayan mountaintop and visit a wise old yogi who will teach you the secrets to mastering meditation? Write it in the present tense, describing the feelings, thoughts, sights, sounds, smells and tastes that you experience. Before going to bed clear your mind and become focused. You can start with counting deep breaths. Breathe from your abdomen and keep your attention on the number, and deepening your breath. Notice how you become more relaxed, and more ready for sleep. Next just sit and witness your thoughts as paint hitting a canvas, and then being absorbed and turning blank again. Notice how it feels to have a blank canvas, and if a thought carries you away just let it be absorbed and notice any other thoughts that arise and just let them pass away. Now read your dream journal and the notes you took and reflect on the strange things that happened in your waking life this day. Remind yourself that you will notice these things when you’re in the dream, and that you will become aware and remember your intentions for your dream. During the Dream you will become aware of something that is not right, and you will perform a reality check. Once you’ve become aware you’re dreaming you can fly off and accomplish whatever adventures you had planned while you were awake.
July 13, 2010 by
In a lucid dream you become aware that you are dreaming while you are still in the dream. You know that all the facets and problems of a dream aren’t worth worrying about or getting preoccupied with. You learn to detach from the chaos of the dream, and to enjoy the present moment doing what you love. Similarly with Meditation you learn to detach from outcomes and from worrying in your everyday reality and become content living in the present moment. Both have their difficulties in practice. Good intentions –> What will you do in your lucid dream? What is the intention for your meditation sit? Will you try and find a spirit guide in your dream and ask him/her the meaning of life? or will you decide to fly to Hawaii and play on the beach? Do you intend to create loving feelings of gratitude and relax during your meditation, or do you intend to become more aware of how you are feeling right now by observing the natural breath? Persistent Effort –> For both you need to practice regularly with patience in order to get results. With lucid dreaming you start by keeping a dream journal and writing your dreams every day. Then you observe recurring patterns and create the habit of doing reality checks while you are awake. After that you break up your sleeping pattern by waking up early, reading about lucid dreaming, and then going back to bed with the intention of having a lucid dream. After you have done all of this, which could take weeks, you’ll most likely have a lucid dream. The same persistence is needed with meditation, the first few weeks and months of meditating daily you could still have gotten a few moments of a still mind. If you keep practicing you will notice subtle changes that occur, you don’t become upset as frequently, and small problems don’t bug you as much. Easy to become distracted Once you’ve become lucid in a dream you may have a conversation which makes you lose awareness, and you will become caught up in finding someone, or doing something other than what you intended. In Meditation thoughts are constantly bubling in the background. They can grab your attention and suck you out of the present moment by worrying about the future or judging the past. With both of these distractions you have to stay patient and persistent, and keep bringing your attention back to the intention of your meditation or your lucid dream.
June 25, 2010 by
Sit, breathe naturally, and keep your attention on that breath. How can something so easy, be so difficult in practice? just sit down, relax, and observe. Don’t judge, analyze, predict, worry, wish, or imagine. Just observe. The technique taught at the 10 day meditation retreat was Vipassana, the technique the Buddha used to achieve enlightenment. The first three days were spent developing concentration and mastery over the mind (Samadhi) by keeping your attention confined to the area around your nostrils. Attention was placed on the normal, uncontrolled breath, and how it felt to have slightly colder air flow in, and slightly warmer air flow out. After that we were taught the main technique, which is to scan your entire body and observe sensation without judgment. You observe pain in your back, just feel it and go to the next sensation. You shouldn’t tell yourself “I wish my back didn’t hurt” or try and skip past certain parts of your body. This new habit of observing sensations without reacting to them is practiced so that when you go back to your regular life, you’ll be less likely to react as strongly in anger, depression, or craving. The Buddha’s teachings were fairly simple. He believed in order for people to find true happiness they have to live a moral life (Sila), have mastery over the mind (Samadhi), and wisdom that all experiences are temporary (Panya). Vipassana allows you to practice and experience first hand the transitory nature of sensations. When you are meditating you can notice that you have an itching sensation on your face, but if you don’t react to it, the itch will eventually pass away. The Buddha taught that this arising and passing away occurs with all sensations, and that we shouldn’t become attached to any outcome and accept the present moment. You can learn more about the philosophy of Vipassana meditation and the rules of conduct for the 10 day course at Dhamma.org. The schedule throughout each day includes 10 hours of meditation, 4 hours of rest and meal time and an hour and a half video discourse at night. You weren’t allowed to talk to any of the other meditators in the course or to write anything down. This is a pretty rigorous schedule, especially for someone’s who’s a beginning meditator. The Facilities I went to Dhamma Manda in the small northern California county of Kelseyville. The center is fairly new, being finished in 2008, and the service was great. The food was a well rounded vegan delight. A mix of Indian curries and Esalen style dishes filled the table for lunch. In the meditation hall I was having difficulty sitting on the floor without back support. I told the manager and he gave me a back-jack to use during the course. There were hiking trails outside of the meditation hall that you could walk on during breaks. Since I went in the summer the afternoons were nice and warm and the forest was scattered with insects. There were beetles, spiders, caterpillars, ants, lizards, and birds. Being in such an environment with nature is very rewarding for a meditation retreat. What I got out of the experience There were times when I would sit, and would have to bring my attention back to the breath 100 times in one hour. I learned how to be at peace with the wandering mind instead being frustrated and trying to force the mind to be quiet. Once I accepted that, the thoughts were still there, but they were in the background, and weren’t monopolizing my attention. I found I could truly relax my body and just sit and breathe, without “trying” to sit. I learned how meditation is a practice, and I should enjoy the path instead of becoming attached to any goal of a quiet mind, or enlightenment. I have to accept wherever I am in my practice, whether it is quietly sitting focused for an hour or I have to bring my attention back to the breath 100 times. Why go to a 10 day Vipassana Course? So why should you desire to wake up at 4am and spend 10 hours of your day sitting and observing yourself? Some of my reasons here were to discipline myself and have mastery over my mind. Through meditation I can calm my mind and become more focused and efficient when I go out into this world. I also wanted to become more present in every moment. In this course you are asked to be constantly in a meditative state, when you walk in between sessions you should notice the feeling of every step, the wind on your face, the touch of cloth to your skin. For 10 days you are asked to keep your awareness in your body without judging any sensation as good or bad. I will be going to massage school this next month and I plan to use this technique before class to increase my awareness of my body. Then when I receive the technique we’re learning, I’ll be more present and able to feel it completely. I recommend this to anyone who wants more peace in their life, and who’s willing to work dilligently and patiently for it. I would recommend you greatly discipline your mind before hand, especially if this will be your first meditation retreat. This can be achieved by waking up at 5am and running or exercising for an hour, eating a vegan diet, meditating for an hour a day, and/or including any other habits you would like to create. This self-discipline will make the samadhi or “mastery of the mind” part of the meditation course much easier. Keep working dilligently, persistently, and patiently and you’re bound to be successful, bound to be successful.