Reiki distance to large numbers

reiki

I decided to start sending free reiki via Facebook to anyone who got in touch who needed it. I wasn’t sure at first how to send Reiki to more than one person at a time but I soon figured it out.

I think I had about 20 people for my first one, I wrote all names down had a peak at profile pics and started. I set up my room so it was nice and relaxing. I also advised everyone of my start and finish times and advised them of what they may want to do before and during the healing.

As long as you remain open to the healing you are being sent I find it flows much better. I personally feel a great deal doing distance healing, the energy in my hands is quite intense at times and the flow of energy I feel is just lovely and relaxing

More Distance Healing Tips

Connect with the people needing healing and their surrounding areas, to whomever or wherever your awareness is attracted.

  • Connect with your own spirituality (whatever that may be).
  • You can use an object to help focus your energy if you choose; besides the cupped hands, you can use a pillow, blanked, or some other physical object.
  • Experiment with using distant healing when watching the news. Allow the loving energy to flow into the news that you are witnessing as you exhale.
  • Remember to breathe and feel the energy moving through your body.
  • Combine different techniques.
  • Allow your love to grow stronger each time you practice distant healing.
  • Take action on the inspirations you receive while doing distant healing.

I use my reiki distance symbol and when my mind wanders I chant this symbol softly to myself over and over until my focus is stronger.

Everyone does this is their own way it’s just about finding what u feel in your heart works best for you

Three Diamonds – Polish Daily

reiki

The Three Diamonds.

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The three diamonds of Earth Ki, Heaven Ki and Heart Ki are at the foundation of the system of Reiki. They are also at the crux of many facets of Japanese culture, religion and philosophy.

A diamond is often used as an analogy of the self in Buddhism. Each and every day a practitioner polishes the diamond by performing his or her practice. This is a constant task for humans who, in this earthly realm, attract dirt: becoming muddy and tarnished. A diamond is so sharp that it can cut through almost anything humanity attaches itself to, bringing back the true essence of life as seen in the perfection of a sparkling diamond.

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The Earth Centre also known as the hara, is the most important of these centres. This is where energy is stored and drawn from to expand throughout the entire body.
A Reiki practitioner can train to link all three diamonds. This will create unity and balance. In order do this, you must first develop the Earth Centre because the Earth Centre is the body’s central axis point. It is considered the base of the pyramid of the body and where energetic strength is developed.

1. Earth Energy (Hara – approximately 3 inches (8cms) below the naval)

In this centre, Original Energy is stored. This is the energy you are born with, the energy that is the essence of your life and gives you your life’s purpose. The Original Energy is not only the energy you receive from your parents when you are conceived but most importantly it is the energetic connection between you and the universal life force. When the singular term hara is mentioned it is the lower hara that is being discussed. This is the symbolic energetic centre for Earth Ki.

2. Heavenly Energy

This is the energy connected with your spirit. When you are connected with this centre you may see colours or you might have psychic ability. It is important for you not to become unbalanced and keep yourself centred. If you can use this energy in a balanced way, you can see beyond the immediate. This is the symbolic energetic centre for Heaven Ki.

2. Heart Energy

The energy in this centre is connected with emotions. It is ‘human’ energy connected with human experience. Through this centre you learn your life’s process. From childhood through to adulthood and back to being a child. When you are a child you are without experience and as you grow older you become a child with experience. This is the symbolic energetic centre for Heart Ki.

How to Balance the Three Diamonds with Reiki

This meditation is a favourite of mine. It is very simple and will help you to feel the energy of The Three Diamonds in your body and balance them.

 

REIKI EXERCISE TO BALANCE THE THREE DIAMONDS

There are different ways to do this meditation but I found this one to be easier to remember.

Lie on your back.
Place one hand on your forehead (Third Eye Chakra/Heaven Centre) and the other on your heart (Heart Chakra/Oness of Heart Centre).
Maintain this position for 5 or more minutes.

Move the hand that was on your forehead to your lower abdomen (The Second Chakra/Belly Chakra/Hara/Earth Centre.Maintain this position for 5 or more minutes.

Move the hand that was on your heart to your forehead. Now you will have one hand on the forehead (Third Eye Chakra/Heaven Centre) and one on the lower abdomen (Root Chakra/Hara/Earth Centre). Hold this position for 5 or more minutes.

The first time I performed this exercise I was amazed at how much I was able to feel the energy moving and balancing within my body. It rebalances my energy very quickly without fail. I hope it works as well for you!

 

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Being Now is not as easy as it sounds

happy times, meditation

When I watch my kids and their friends play together I am just so amazed and in awe of their total immersion in the world of imagination. They laugh so hard at the imaginery pet frog leaping over the couch. They fall out with their friends at the drop of a hat yet when it’s time for their friends to go home they don’t want them to leave. They forget so quickly about the arguments and focus completely on the games they are playing. I am always so envious at this instinctive behaviour. There is no thought of tomorrow, they have no sense of time and no responsibility.

I practice being now, I even have Be now tattoo’d upon my hand to remind me but I am still not quite there yet!!Which again is totally contradictory as if I was being Now then I am here and this is now.

Meditation and slow breathing is my go to for being now. I use my daily reiki precepts to remind myself to focus on today and my mindfulness to gain control of my now.

It’s definitely a journey and I am slowly but surely releasing my need to be chasing my destination.

Oh to be a child again….#lovelittlepeople

First Tai Chi class

happy times, The mind

 

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As a Reiki Practitioner I do regular reiki self healing and meditation on myself in the comfort of my own little home.  Sometimes I feel I  get too comfortable in my own surrounding that I forget that there is a world out there full of things to learn and people to meet.  So I decided I would try a new thing this week which was Tai Chi.

I found a little class in a church not to far from me and took my mum along to check it out.  We were greeted with a warm welcome by many of the women in the class, who said to us “don’t worry if you cant follow it, its took us years to learn and we still muck it up, but its a wonderful class”  So with those words I felt relaxed and welcome and was looking forward to the class.

The lady taking the class was also a Reiki Teacher and this came across in her class, almost immediately I could feel the energy in the room and it  was such a wonderful calming energy.   The teacher came over to me in the break to ask if I had taken a class before, which I had not.  She said I looked so peaceful and really flowed with the movements so I told her I was also a Reiki Practitioner and this class seemed perfect for  me to keep on developing my energy.

So needless to say I will be back again next week, If its good enough for Bruce Lee its good enough for me.

“Be Still Like Water”

Discovering New People!

mind hacking, The mind

 

The more I research into Energy Healing  the more people I discover amazing new techniques to learn and practice.  I am finding that there is a theme that seems to underly most of them.  Meditation, Forgiveness, Love and Compassion, to be aware of thoughts and emotions, breathing practices and a presence in the moment.

I do love how many of these people were scientists, quantum physicists, chiropractors, doctors.  I think I like this as it proves what I have been practicing with Reiki and also for the mainstream people who may be put of by Reiki and energy healing as they think its just for hippies and New age People…

Eckhart Tolle – The power of Now and A New Earth

Dr Joe Dispenza – Breaking the habit of being Yourself.

Bruce Lipton – The Biology of Belief

Dr David Hamiliton – I love Me

Gregg Braden – The Divine Matrix

HeartMath

Frans Steine – Reiki

gaia.com

Bradley Nelson – the emotion code

Byron Katie – it works

Wow these are just some of the people that I have discovered over the years who are making such a difference to peoples mental health.  There is such a shift happening Now, and it is so desperately needed at this point in time.

Let me know what books have really changed your mental health, I love reading and finding out new techniques

5 Principles of Reiki

reiki, The mind

The 5 Reiki Principles
Just for today I will not worry.
Just for today I will not be angry.
Just for today I will do my work honestly.
Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings.
Just for today I will be kind to my neighbour and every living thing.

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The Reiki principles are spiritual ideals. By adopting these precepts you will add balance and substance to your life. It is important that you realise that you are not expected to live every moment of your life within the framework of these ideals. As humans we are all imperfect, and that is why each principle begins with “Just for today.” You can without pressure or stress work on improving yourself daily. If you slip up today, you can always begin again tomorrow. The more you work with the principles, the more you will condition yourself to adopt them as a way of life.
To become more familiar with the Reiki principles it is advisable to read them aloud at least twice a day. You may wish to place a large copy of the ideals in a picture frame. Then you could position the copy in a prominent place where you are sure to see it each day, or if you are going to practise Reiki professionally, place it in your healing room. The Five Reiki principles mean different things to each one of us. Meditation will help to unlock your own perceptions.
Simply sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Repeat one of the ideals several times aloud using it as a mantra. As you drift into a meditative state become aware of what happening inside your mind and body. You may experience many different feelings, emotions and thoughts. If you do this exercise in a group share your experiences and write down everything that happened during the meditation. It is interesting to look at your notes on this exercise on a regular basis to see how you have grown by adopting these precepts. Repeat the exercise of meditating on each principle annually and compare notes or if in a group setting discuss the differences that have taken place.

Just For Today I Will Not Worry

Worry causes stress and anxiety leading to an imbalance of the mind body and spirit and blockage to the root chakra.
The best way to overcome worry is to accept that all of us are faced with difficulties and setbacks in our lives. How we respond to them determines how we ultimately lead our lives.
If you choose to respond negatively by getting upset and anxious towards one of life’s setbacks you have chosen to damage the balance of your mind body and spirit.
If you respond positively by accepting the setback as an opportunity to learn you can live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Allow yourself time each day to really laugh and have fun. Watch a funny movie or television show. Read a humorous book or magazine. Whatever it takes to make you laugh — do it. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Man surrounds himself with images of himself.” This wonderful pearl of wisdom teaches us that if you want to be happy mix with happy people. Likewise if you want to be negative and constantly worrying you simple need to associate with people who are negative and worrisome.

Laughter is a wonderful healer. It has been proven through numerous studies that laughter can heal and in some cases prevent life threatening illnesses. Use this knowledge to live a healthier and longer life. Take responsibility for how you deal with life’s setbacks. Have fun — life’s too short to waste it worrying.
Use Reiki to re-balance your mind body and spirit and boost your resolve. Place one hand on the root chakra and the other hand on the heart chakra. Reiki will bring your mind body and spirit into equilibrium. Keep your hands over these chakra points for as long as you intuitively feel you need to. This Reiki technique will remove the blockages caused by stress, worry and anxiety. It can be used for self healing or on another person.

Just For Today I Will Not Be Angry

Anger is an emotion. When we get angry we lose control of that emotion. In order to live by the above principle we must understand what triggers our anger and how we can choose to remove this destructive emotion from our being.
In every confrontation that leads to anger the person or thing pushing your anger button has complete power and control over you.
This simple realisation allows you to take back control of your emotions and as such you can now choose to respond to a situation in a positive way rather than react to a situation in a negative way.
Every time you meet someone there is an exchange of energy. If you are both happy and find the meeting was enjoyable then the energy exchange is neutral. However, if you lose control of your emotions and become angry, the other person steals your energy. Likewise, if someone gets angry at you then you are stealing their energy.
With this simple philosophy you can counter the endless situations or people that in the past have triggered your anger and caused you to react in an unhealthy manner. Next time someone honks their car horn at you or criticises you for no apparent reason smile and say to yourself I am not going to let you steal my energy.
Just imagine how much better you will feel when you choose not to react to negative people or situations. How many times in the past have you shouted abuse at another car driver and still felt the anger in your stomach an hour or so later. That person stole your energy. They probably drove on laughing at how silly you looked when you lost your composure. You allowed them to cause you stress, anger and probably indigestion. Only one person came out of this confrontation with their energy intact and it wasn’t you.
Anger is a choice response. Decide each day not to allow your energy to be stolen from you by negative people or situations. On a physical level anger can cause stomach and digestive disorders. Choose to live a healthier life free from anger.
Use Reiki to assist the re-balancing process. Place one hand on the third eye chakra and the other hand on the root chakra. Keep your hands there for as long as you intuitively feel is necessary. This Reiki technique will help you control and eliminate this destructive emotion. It can be used for self healing or on another person.

Just For Today I Will Do My Work Honestly

Honesty means different things to different people. Many people feel it is fine to take home a few pens from the office, the company turn over millions in profit each year so they can afford to lose a few items of stationery.
While another person will judge the same incident as an act of theft and believe that anyone found stealing stationery should be dismissed and charged with theft and even prosecuted.
Everyone at some point is dishonest. You may not steal from another person or company, but instead steal from yourself.
For example if you a have a talent to help people and you choose not to then you are stealing from yourself by denying your gift.
You are also stealing from the people who could benefit from your talents. Wasting your time on meaningless pursuits such as watching television for hours each day is stealing from your sacred and special time on Earth. Try to live your life to the best of your ability as honestly as you can. Honesty lives inside of you and doesn’t care about being placed where others can view it.
Finally, in your pursuit of a happier life I urge you to encapsulate the words from Michael Landon (the father in the television series “Little house on the Prairie”) in his last interview before he died prematurely of cancer. He urged us to “Live Every Second”.
Place one hand on the third eye chakra and the other hand on the solar plexus chakra to use Reiki to assist in the re-balancing of this principle. Keep your hands there for as long as you intuitively think they need to remain on these chakra points. This additional hand position can be used for healing yourself or other people.
“Honesty is the best policy.”- Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin
Just For Today I Will Give Thanks For My Many Blessings

Life tends to give us what we need, it may not be what we want but it will be what we need. Karmicly throughout our lives we receive what we need to grow and learn in this lifetime.
If we grasp these lessons and grow accordingly we will become spiritually enlightened. Instead of wasting your life complaining of the things that have happened to you, and the problems you face.
Step back for a moment on a regular basis and discover and appreciate the many blessings in your life.
Make a list of all your blessings. You will be amazed at how many wonderful things there are to give thanks for. Leave the materialistic things aside. They are shallow and meaningless. Pay attention to, and focus on the things that are free and bring joy and humility to your life. For example, your mind, body, spirit, health, family, friends, flowers, trees, sea, sun, love, faith, knowledge, the countryside, animals, birds, etc., the list is endless.
When you appreciate the true wonders of life and let go of the materialistic things you are bound to enjoy your life more.
Place one hand on the third eye chakra and the other hand on the occipital ridge. Use Reiki to re-balance this principle in your life or in the life of another person.

Just For Today I Will Be Kind to My Neighbour and Every Living Thing

The law of karma states that what goes around comes around. Send out love and you will receive love back in return. Send out kindness and you will receive kindness. Send out healing and you receive healing. Send out positive thoughts and you will receive positive results.
Karma is a two edge sword. Send out negative thoughts and you will get negative results. Living within this precept will give you a happier and less stressful life full joy peace and love.
To bring balance to this principle for yourself or others first place one hand on the third eye chakra and the other hand on the root chakra. When you feel you are ready, move your hand from the third eye chakra to the throat chakra, and move your hand from the root chakra to the heart chakra keeping it there until you intuitively feel you have finished.
It is important to remember that the Reiki principles are only guides for a happier and more fulfilling life. Use meditation to unlock the true meaning of these precepts and incorporate them into your life. They will tranceform your life.
The 5 Reiki Principles are not commandments; they are simply gifts of wisdom.

Healing yourself is connected with healing others. – Yoko Ono

Walking Meditation

meditation, The mind

Exercise is known to boost the good hormones in the body making us feel shamazing!! But sometimes its good to just skip the gym and get outside and go for a walk in the brisk open air.  Even better is to go into nature and surround yourself with the beauty of mother earth.  There is something so uplifting about being around trees and feeling the fresh air on your skin.

That is exactly what I did today, after my morning meditation and yoga routine I decided I would brave the Scottish Winter and go for a long walk in the country.  My beautiful husky accompanied me on this walk and I left my headphones at home so I could immerse myself in the moment.

I listened to each crunch my feet made in the snow, I paid attention to each step (more so I wouldn’t slip)  and when my mind wandered I brought it back to my steps.  I breathed in the fresh air with a smile and I looked at every passing tree with gratitude filling my chest.  I filled my heart centre with so much joy and gratitude and smiled the whole way round.  This walk I seen herons, pheasants and squirrels and a few little mice that my dog tried to jump on but I am sure I would not have noticed all these animals If I had been lost in thought.

Taking time to slowly walk and fill your heart with joy practicing bringing the mind back everytime it goes off on it own for a wander, gently guiding it back to the present moment time and time again.

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Be Who Ever You Choose to BE

mind hacking, The mind

You actually have the power to be and to feel however you want. And anyone that has a vision for who they want to be and their life should be doing this. Every day.

Here’s how it works, in a super abbreviated nutshell:
• Your brain is a record of the past and a reflection of your external environment.
• You basically do the same thing every day — in essentially the same way (think of your routine: you brush your teeth the same way, you have your auto-pilot shower routine, take the same route to work, etc). This is your reality. You produce the same experiences that create the same emotions. You see the same people that push the same emotional buttons. You are thinking the same thoughts, performing the same actions, and living by the same emotions.
• You process 60-70,000 thoughts per day. And a whopping 90% of these are the same as the day before.
• The same thoughts will lead to the same choices. The same choices will create the same behaviors. The same behaviors will produce the same experiences, which will create the same emotions, and then — back to square one — drive the same thoughts.
• The good news is that you can change the pattern.
• But to change you need to think greater than your environment, greater than the circumstances of your life.

These are words from the great Dr Joe Dispenza.  I started to do his meditations, along with mindfulness.  Changing your thoughts is a full time process in the beginning, becoming aware of all the thoughts and keeping an eye on them to see what loops that are playing.  Then change them, visualise, self talk, creating the new emotion and repeat.

Personally I watched mind movies and listened to motivational speeches everyday.  I practice mindfulness, energy healing (donna eden energy routine) Exercise and eating well.  Do not give up, it takes a while for it to sink in to the subconscious mind but over time it will change.

My HeartMath Experience

happy times, mind hacking, The mind

I discovered Heartmath techniques along with so many other’s when I was at a lower point in my life.  My energy was low, I was anxious for no reason!!!None that I could find as my mind was working overtime.  I am not one to wallow in it, yes I hit hurdles but I get back up and keep on trying…what other option is there..  LOTS..I later discovered.

So I discovered HeartMath, bought the earpiece and hooked it up to my ipad.  It felt like a futuristic way to meditate but it is so much more than sitting clearing your mind and if you stick at it you will feel the difference.

Below are the steps for heart focused breathing – once you get this down, add some of your fave tunes.  I found my face aches after doing a session, I just smile all the way through it really relishing my memories of amazing adventures and loving the good tunes along the way

There are three steps:

Step 1: Heart Focus. Focus your attention on the area around your heart, the area in the center of your chest. The first couple of times you try it, place your hand over the center of your chest to help keep your attention in the heart area.

Step 2: Heart Breathing. Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. As you inhale, feel as if your breath is flowing in through the heart, and as you exhale, feel it leaving through this area. Breathe slowly and casually, a little deeper than normal. Continue breathing with ease until you find a natural inner rhythm that feels good to you.

Step 3: Heart Feeling. As you maintain your heart focus and heart breathing, activate a positive feeling. Recall a positive feeling, a time when you felt good inside, and try to re-experience the feeling. It may be a memory of your family or your children when they were young.  One of the easiest ways to generate a positive, heart-based feeling is to remember a special place you’ve been or the love you feel for a close friend or family member or treasured pet. This is the most important step.

Quick Coherence® is especially useful when you start to feel a draining emotion such as frustration, irritation, anxiety or stress. Using Quick Coherence at the onset of less intense negative emotions can keep them from escalating into something worse. This technique is especially useful after you’ve had an emotional blowup to bring yourself back into balance quickly.

How to Meditate by Tara Brach

meditation, mind hacking, The mind

Creating a container for practice:
It helps to have a regular time and space for cultivating a meditation practice.
Setting a time – Morning is often preferred because the mind may be calmer than it is later in the day. However, the best time is the time that you can realistically commit to on a regular basis. Some people choose to do two or more short sits, perhaps one at the beginning and one at the end of the day.
Deciding in advance the duration of your sit will help support your practice. For many, the chosen time is between 15-45 minutes. If you sit each day, you may experience noticeable benefits (e.g., less reactivity, more calm) and be able to increase your sitting time.
Finding a space – If possible, dedicate a space exclusively to your daily sitting. Choose a relatively protected and quiet space where you can leave your cushion (or chair) so that it is always there to return to. You may want to create an altar with a candle, inspiring photos, statues, flowers, stones, shells and/or whatever arouses a sense of beauty, wonder and the sacred.  These are not necessary, but are beneficial if they help create a mood and remind you of what you love.

 

Set your intention:
There is a Zen teaching that says “The most important thing is remembering the most important thing.” It is helpful to recall at the start of each sitting what matters to you, what draws you to meditate. Take a few moments to connect in a sincere way with your heart’s aspiration. You might sense this as a prayer that in some way dedicates your practice to your own spiritual freedom, and that of all beings.

Set your posture:
Alertness is one of the two essential ingredients in every meditation. Sit on a chair, cushion, or kneeling bench as upright, tall and balanced as possible. A sense of openness and receptivity is the second essential ingredient in every meditation, and it is supported by intentionally relaxing obvious and habitual areas of tension. Around an erect posture, let the rest of your skeleton and muscles hang freely. Let the hands rest comfortably on your knees or lap. Let the eyes close, or if you prefer, leave the eyes open, the gaze soft and receptive.

Please don’t skip the step of relaxing/letting go! You might take several full deep breaths, and with each exhale, consciously let go, relaxing the face, shoulders, hands, and stomach area. Or, you may want to begin with a body scan: start at the scalp and move your attention slowly downward, methodically relaxing and softening each part of the body. Consciously releasing body tension will help you open to whatever arises during your meditation.

The Basic Practice:
Natural Presence
Presence has two interdependent qualities of recognizing, or noticing what is happening, and allowing whatever is experienced without any judgment, resistance or grasping. Presence is our
deepest nature, and the essence of meditation is to realize and inhabit this whole and lucid awareness.

We practice meditation by receiving all the domains of experience with a mindful, open attention.  These domains include breath and sensations; feelings (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral); sense perceptions, thoughts and emotions; and awareness itself.
In the essential practice of meditation there is no attempt to manipulate or control experience.  Natural Presence simply recognizes what is arising (thoughts, feelings, sounds, emotions) and allows life to unfold, just as it is. As long as there is a sense of a self making an effort and doing a practice, there is identification with a separate and limited self. The open receptivity of Natural Presence dissolves this sense of a self “doing” the meditation.

Knowing the difference between Natural Presence and “skillful means” or supports for practice:
Because our minds are often so busy and reactive, it is helpful to develop skillful means that quiet the mind and allow us to come home to the fullness of Natural Presence. These supports for practice help us to notice and relax thoughts and physical tension. They involve a wise effort that un-does our efforting!

You might consider yourself as a contemplative artist, with a palette of colors (supportive strategies) with which to work in creating the inner mood that is most conducive for the clarity and openness of presence. These colors can be applied with a light touch. Experiment and see what works best for you, and don’t confuse these methods (such as following the breath) with the radical and liberating presence that frees and awakens our spirit. Regardless of what skillful means you employ, create some time during each sitting when you let go of all “doings” and simply rest in Natural Presence. Discover what happens when there is no controlling or efforting at all, when you simply let life be just as it is. Discover who you are, when there is no managing of the meditation.

 

Skillful Means: Our supports for practice
Presence is supported by a calm and collected mind, a mindful awareness and an open heart.  The following strategies cultivate these capacities:
Establish an embodied presence—senses awake!
You might take a few minutes at the beginning of the sitting (or anytime during the sitting or day) to intentionally awaken all the senses. Scan through the body with your attention, softening and becoming aware of sensations from the inside out.  Listen to sounds and also include the scent and the feel of the space around you in and outside of the room. While the eyes may be closed, still include the experience of light and dark, and imagine and sense the space around you. Explore listening to and feeling the entire moment–to-moment experience, with your senses totally open.

Choose a home base—a primary anchor or subject of meditation.
It is helpful to select a home base (or several anchors) that allow you to quiet and collect the mind, and to deepen embodied presence. Useful anchors are:
• The breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.  • Other physical changes during breathing, e.g., the rise and fall of the chest.  • Other physical sensations as they arise, e.g. the sensations in the hands, or through the whole body.
• Sounds as they are experienced within or around you.  • Listening to and feeling one’s entire experience, (i.e., receiving sounds and sensations in awareness).
Remindfulness—”coming back” and “being here”

Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of moment to moment experience. We train in mindfulness by establishing an embodied presence and learning to see clearly and feel fully the changing flow of sensations, feelings (pleasantness and unpleasantness), emotions and sounds.

A metaphor offered by psychiatrist and author, Dan Siegel, is helpful. Imagine your awareness as a great wheel. At the hub of the wheel is mindful presence, and from this hub, an infinite number of spokes extend out to the rim. Your attention is conditioned to leave presence, move out along the spokes and affix itself to one part of the rim after another. Plans for dinner segue into a disturbing conversation, a self-judgment, a song of the radio, a backache, the feeling of fear. Or your attention gets lost in obsessive thinking circling endlessly around stories and feelings about what is wrong. If you are not connected to the hub, if your attention is trapped out on the rim, you are cut off from your wholeness and living in trance.

Training in mindfulness allows us to return to the hub and live our moments with full awareness. Through the practice of “coming back” we notice when we have drifted and become lost in thought, and we recall our attention back to a sensory based presence. This important capacity is developed through the following steps:
• Set your intention to awaken from thoughts—mental commentary, memories, plans, evaluations, stories—and rest in non-conceptual presence.  • Gently bring attention to your primary anchor, letting it be in the foreground while still including in the background the whole domain of sensory experience.  For instance you might be resting in the inflow and outflow of the breath as your home base, and also be mindful of the sounds in the room, a feeling of sleepiness, an itch, heat.  • When you notice you have been lost in thought, pause and gently re-arrive in your anchor, mindful of the changing moment-to-moment experience of your senses.

It can be helpful to remember that getting distracted is totally natural- just as the body secretes enzymes, the mind generates thoughts! No need to make thoughts the enemy; just realize that you have a capacity to awaken from the trance of thinking. When you recognize that you have been lost in thought, take your time as you open out of the thought and relax back into the actual experience of being Here. You might listen to sounds, re-relax your shoulder, hands and belly, relax your heart. This will allow you to arrive again in mindful presence at the hub, senses wide open, letting your home base be in the foreground. Notice the difference between any thought and the vividness of this

Here-ness!
As the mind settles, you will have more moments of “being here,”’ of resting in the hub and simply recognizing and allowing the changing flow of experience. Naturally the mind will still sometimes lose itself on the rim, and at these times, when you notice, you again gently return to the hub—“coming back,” and “being here” are fluid facets of practice.
The more you inhabit the alert stillness at the center of the wheel and include in mindfulness whatever is happening, the more the hub of presence becomes edgeless, warm and bright. In the moments when there is no controlling of experience—when there is effortless mindfulness— you enter the purity of presence. This is “Natural Presence.” The hub, spokes and rim are all floating in your luminous open awareness.

Practice metta to soften and open the heart.
Metta practice, also called lovingkindness meditation, cultivates both a loving heart and a collected, settled mind. The practice uses specific phrases to send loving and kind wishes to yourself, loved ones, neutral persons, difficult people and to all beings everywhere, without exception. You might choose three or four of the below, or create whatever phrases resonate for you:

May I be filled with loving  kindness.

May I feel safe from harm.

May I accept myself just as I am.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

May I be happy.
Spend a few minutes or more offering the phrases to yourself, taking the time to imagine and directly feel the experience the phrases invoke. Then do the same as you offer it to the others mentioned above. You can bring in the metta practice at the beginning, end or during any part of the meditation.  For some people, it can be beneficial to emphasize metta as a primary practice— especially when there has been trauma or great self-aversion. This skillful means is a beautiful way to awaken the heart.

Developing concentration
Bringing attention to a primary subject or anchor can lead to a concentrated focus that naturally calms and collects the mind. This concentration can be deepened by intentionally aiming and sustaining a focused attention with your chosen anchor. When cultivating concentration, the anchor should be one that has a pleasant or at least neutral feeling tone.

Concentration supports mindfulness and requires a relaxed attention. There is often a subtle (or overt) sense of making an effort to sustain concentration, of striving to control the mind and make something happen.  It is important to not become caught in a striving effort. It is easy to be seduced into trying to achieve something, such as staying with the breath for much of the sitting, and then evaluating what is happening as a “good” or “not good” meditation. Mistaking a focus on the breath for meditation is like fixating on the quality of your hiking boots, and not really being awake of the natural world you are inhabiting!

Concentration helps quiet the mind and without some quieting, mindfulness is difficult to sustain. It also can lead to states of rapture and deep peace. Yet without a mindful presence, concentration bears no fruit. The key to concentration is remembering your intention towards presence, and then focusing on your chosen subject for meditation with a soft, clear and relaxed attention.

RAIN—healing emotional suffering
The mindful presence that helps release emotional suffering is summarized by the acronym RAIN.
• R-Recognize – notice what is arising (fear, hurt, etc.)

• A-Allow – agree to “be with it,” to “let it be.”

• I-Investigate – in a non-analytic way, get to know how the body, heart and mind experiences these energies.  You might inquire by asking yourself one or more of the following questions: “What is happening?” “Where am I feeling this in my body?” “What wants attention?” “What wants acceptance?” The “I” is also Intimacy: experiencing difficult sensations and emotions with a direct, gentle, kind attention; and offering compassion to the place of vulnerability.
• N-Non-identification, or not having your sense of Being defined by, possessed by or linked to any emotion. In other words, not taking it personally! The “N” is also Natural Presence, a homecoming to the loving awareness that is our essence.
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Practice Self-Inquiry
Inquiry (questions like “What is happening?”) can bring attention in a direct way to the changing flow of experience and reveal the truth of impermanence and the empty (self-less) nature of sights, sounds, thoughts, emotions and feelings. Self- inquiry extends this process by turning awareness back on itself. Classical questions include: “Who am I?” “What am I?” “Who or what is aware?” “Who or what is listening to sound” “Who or what is looking out through these eyes?”

Self-Inquiry is best done when the mind is relatively quiet and senses awake. Ask a question and look back towards awareness, towards that which is aware. After asking, relax with an embodied presence, open, not in any way pursuing an answer with your intellect. By enrolling the natural interest, energy and receptive attention of inquiry, the very nature of awareness is revealed.

 

Part 2: Common Issues for Meditators
Getting lost in thought
At first, you may be surprised at how active and uncontrolled your mind is. Don’t worry – you are discovering the truth about the state of most minds! Accept and patiently “sit with” whatever comes up. There is no need to get rid of thoughts; this is not the purpose of meditation. Rather, we are learning to recognize when thinking is happening so we are not lost in a trance—believing thoughts to be reality, becoming identified with thoughts.

 

Because we are so often in a thinking trance, it is helpful to quiet down some. Just like a body of water stirred up by the winds, after being physically still for a while, your mind will gradually calm down. To support that quieting, at the beginning of a sitting it can be helpful to relax and practice Remindfulness—gently bringing your attention back again and again to your home base in the senses.

It takes practice to distinguish the trance of thinking – fantasy, planning, commentary, dreamy states – from the presence that directly receives the changing experience of this moment.  Establishing an embodied awareness and letting your anchor be in the foreground is a good way to become familiar with the alive, vibrant mystery of Here-ness, of presence.

The Five Classic Challenges (called “hindrances” in Buddhist texts):
• Grasping: wanting more (or something different) from what’s present right now.  • Aversion: fear, anger, any form of pushing away.  • Restlessness: jumpy energy, agitation.  • Sloth and torpor: sleepy, sinking states of mind and body.  • Doubt: a mind-trap that says, “it’s no use, this will never work, maybe there’s an easier way”.
These are universal body-mind energies experienced by all humans. It is important to recognize that they are not a “problem.” The energies become “hindrances” because our conditioned habit is to ignore, resist, judge or otherwise try to control them. And yet when met with mindfulness and care, these same energies become a gateway to increased aliveness and spiritual awakening.
During sitting practice, if you encounter one of these challenging energies, it may be useful to name it silently to yourself, e.g., “grasping, grasping” or “fear, fear.” If it is strong, rather than pulling away, let your intention be to bring your full attention to what is arising. Feel what is happening as sensations in your body, neither getting lost in the experience nor pushing it away. As indicated through the RAIN acronym, investigate what is arising and meet the experience with an intimate, compassionate attention. When it dissipates, return to the primary anchor of your meditation, or rest in Natural Presence.
Sometimes the energy is too strong, and it is not wise or compassionate to try to stay present with it. This is particularly true if you have been traumatized and are experiencing deep fear or anger. If it feels like “too much,” shift the attention to something that brings a sense of balance, safety and/or love. You might open your eyes, remind yourself of where you are, listen to sounds, relax again through your body. You might bring to mind someone who loves and understands you, and sense their care surrounding you. You might reflect on the Buddha or the bodhisattva of compassion, Jesus, Great Spirit, your grandmother, your dog or a favorite tree. You might offer phrases of lovingkindness to places of vulnerability. Meditate on any expression of loving presence that helps you feel less separate or afraid.
If you encounter these kinds of difficult emotional energies regularly you might ask a teacher or therapist familiar with meditation to accompany you as you learn to navigate what feels most intense.
Physical pain
In addition to mental busyness and emotional challenges, it is inevitable that we all experience a certain amount of unpleasant physical sensations. If you are not used to the posture, there may be some discomfort in simply sitting still. In addition, as your attention deepens, you might become aware of tensions in the body that were ignored because of being preoccupied by thought. Or, you might be injured or sick, and become more directly aware of the natural unpleasant sensations accompanying that condition.
Meditating with physical discomfort is the same as the process of presence with emotional difficulty. Let your intention be to meet the unpleasantness with a gentle attention, noticing how it is experienced in the body and how it changes. Allow the unpleasantness to float in awareness, to be surrounded by soft presence. To establish that openness you might include in your attention sounds, and/or other parts of the body that are free from pain.  Breathe with the experience, offering a spacious and kind attention. Be aware of not only the physical sensations, but how you are relating to them. Is there resistance? Fear? If so, let these energies be included with a forgiving and mindful attention.
If the physical unpleasantness is intense and wearing you out, direct your attention for a while to something else. It is fine to mindfully shift your posture, or to use a skillful means like phrases of lovingkindness or listening to sounds as a way to discover some space and resilience. You don’t need to “tough it out.” That is just another ego posture that solidifies the sense of separate self. In a similar vein, you don’t have to “give up.” Instead, discover what allows you to find a sense of balance and spaciousness, and when you are able, again allow the immediate sensations to be received with presence.
Part 3: Sustaining a Meditation Practice
Here are a few helpful hints for sustaining your sitting practice:
• Sit every day, even if it’s for a short period. Intentionally dedicate this time of quieting—it is a gift to the soul!
• A few times during each day, pause. Establish contact with your body and breath, feeling the aliveness that is Here.  • Pause more and more—the space of a pause will allow you to come home to your heart and awareness.  • Reflect regularly on your aspiration for spiritual awakening and freedom—your own and that of all beings.  • Remember that, like yourself, everyone wants to be happy and nobody wants to suffer.  • Practice regularly with a group or a friend.  • Use inspiring resources such as books, CD’s or web-accessed dharma talks.  • Study the Buddhist teachings (e.g., the 4 Noble Truths, the Noble 8-Fold Path).  • Sign up for a retreat—one day, a weekend, or longer.  The experience will deepen your practice and nourish spiritual awakening.  • If you miss practice for a day, a week, or a month, simply begin again.  • If you need guidance, ask for help from an experienced meditator or teacher.  • Don’t judge your practice — rather, accept what unfolds and trust your capacity to awaken and be free!  • Live with a reverence for life—committed to non-harming, to seeing, honoring and serving the sacred in all beings.
You are traveling a path that has led to clarity, peace and deep realization for many people over thousands of years. May their awakening support and inspire you. And may the sincerity of your practice heal and free your spirit. ~ Tara Brach ~