Showing posts with label Meditation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meditation. Show all posts

June 3, 2019

Finding Our Innerspace

I liked this painting and the caption:
Innerspace

There is outer space.

And there is innerspace. 

Outer space is the universe, the cosmos, the galaxies, the solar systems, the stars, and the planets--it's the big picture of what is all around us.

Innerspace is the our soul, conscience, thoughts, feelings, who we are, and what we're all about--it's the infinity of what makes us up and what's inside each of us. 

The perspective is infinitely big as we look upward and outward to the heavens, and infinitely small as we zoom inside ourselves to the subatomic levels. 

The innerspace makes me think of mindfulness, meditation, and finding purpose, meaning, truth, and inner peace. 

Our search for self is really the intersection of outer- and innerspace.

We are but a speck of dust and yet we have the power to do such immense good.  

It's a contradiction that is so powerful--for who are we that G-d is mindful of us and cares for us and gives us the power to choose good from evil. 

Yet that is exactly our world and our place in it--and this is where we find innerspace in all of outer space. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

February 20, 2019

Simple And Beautiful

Thought this was a nice touch on the table. 

Just a simple drinking glass with a little water on the bottom and these three beautiful flowers inside. 

Pink, Yellow, Orange. 

So simple, yet so beautiful.

Maybe that's the point. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 21, 2017

Breaking The Bounds Of This World Thinking


Coming from the Metro, someone stopped me and gave me this card for meditation, and I thought it was really insightful. 

"Changing the human mind to infinite universe mind"

Our minds are constrained by our mortality, materialism, and physical limitations of space and time. 

But if we free ourselves even momentarily from these, we can enter into a sort of limitless universal mindset.

"Human is incomplete because human are living inside human mind world which is one's lived life and thoughts."

We are beset by a near endless barrage of life's fears and worries--like that we can't fully perceive the metaphysical and spiritual world that is the real and meaningful one for us. 

"One can live forever and [when] he has escaped pain, burden, stress, and the countless kinds of agonies; his old self has disappeared and so it is great freedom."
Through mindfulness, centered and balanced thinking, we can go above the "false world" and enter the "true world."

Doesn't this ring fundamental and true?

What an amazing approach to thinking that we can use elevate ourselves above what we live and see every day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Rockville Meditation)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 25, 2016

To The Salt Cave

So had a new experience and went to the Salt Cave in Bethesda (a second choice if you can't get to the secret superhero crime-fighting Bat Cave).

It was a large room filled with Himalayan salt for experiencing all the spa's "healing" effects.

Supposed to be good to breath in all the minerals infused from the pink salt "micro climate" air and also for exposure to the skin.

It was fairly dark in the cave except for some recessed lighting behind some of the salt stone walls.

The chairs were these weird beach chairs that you could recline in, but it would've definitely been worth it to have some fancier cushioned seating to more fully relax in and to match the spa ambiance that they were selling. 

In the background was relaxing meditation music and we were closed in the salt cave for 45-minute to enjoy the dark quiet salt effects. 

It must've relaxed me, because when I got home, I had a Buddha face on and took a nice post-spa afternoon nap. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

January 11, 2015

Return of The Hare Krisna


I hadn't heard the rhythmic chanting of the Hare Krishna since my days in New York City probably 20 plus years ago. 

Today, we see them on the streets of downtown Silver Spring, MD singing their Hindu mantra...again and again. 

The boys sitting on the rent-a-bikes are banging the drums to the chanting across from them. 

As they chant, they implore people to take their literature and chant along with them. 

Whether you see them as a cult or just practitioners of another faith...these people seem mesmerized by their own chanting "meditation", which was a steady beat but also had no meaning whatsoever to me.

As a kid, we were told and would steer clear of anything that smelled of Hare Krishna, Jews for Jesus, or others trying to pluck away at the souls of our youth. 

While Jews have wonderful people like Chabad who try to bring Jews closer to Judaism, we really don't proselytize others...it's not our belief and is more of a live and let live attitude for all. 

I never quite understood why some feel literally a mission or compulsion to convert others to their beliefs, instead of practicing what they believe themselves, being devout and good people, and letting their actions speak for themselves and inspire others, if truly deserving.

There really is no need to stand on street corners with megaphones or at the auto-da-fe stroking flames of burning flesh to get others to your way of thinking.

In my opinion, honest belief and genuine faith is not gotten through yelling the loudest, standing the longest, or even threatening or menacing others. 

Be sincere and good, and let your actions speak for themselves. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 5, 2014

Just Can't Bear To Think

Whether though endless work, family activities, exercise, computer time, or whatever, people have a hard time just stopping to think. 

According to the Washington Post, a study in Science shows that people would rather do just about anything--including administer electric shocks to themselves--rather than having to just think for a little while. 

Fully 67% of men and 25% of women chose electric shocks over sitting and thinking for just 6-15 minutes!

People are "desperate for distractions"--whether through social media or smartphones and more. 

This is why many ancient practices such as Buddhism, martial arts, yoga, and other disciplines teach meditation--sitting silently, without distraction, deeply in thought. 

People are afraid to stop their endless running, rounds of chores and activities, hustle and bustle, and just think about what they are actually doing and where they are going.

Sitting alone with yourself--you have to confront you!

  • Fears and anxieties
  • Life problems of all sorts
  • Mistakes and personal inadequacies
  • Bad habits and even dangerous addictions

Keeping yourself endlessly busy is an enabler to avoid sometimes painful reflection, introspection, and even necessary self-help. 

While you often hear that doctors recommend a certain amount of activity to keep physically healthy, I believe that similarly, mental and spiritual guidance would be for carving out time for physical inactivity and instead focusing on meditation and reflection. 

Perhaps, this is one reason that the Sabbath (kept in various ways by religions around the world) is so important to the mind and soul--it is a time to stop the work and daily mundane activities and instead focus on your spiritual side. 

Contrary to what you might think, refraining from all the activity may be one of the hardest things to actually do, but stopping and thinking (instead of just continuously doing), confronting yourself, and making life course corrections can be some of the most rewarding. 

Can you stop and think for just 15 minutes or do you need that next fix of compulsive distraction? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 8, 2014

Free Behind Bars

Fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal about going to mock prison to get away from the stresses of life.

Ok, so you know your working too hard, when your only escape is to lock yourself up and throw away the key for a few days. 

In South Korea, where they work 18% more than on average (2090 hours per year vs. 1765)--their is a great need to get away from it all.

There where life satisfaction rates a 4.3 out of 10, which is 34% lower than the average (of 6.6), putting yourself in prison is a quality of life thing. 

A two-night stay in the makeshift prison for extreme relaxation costs $146--and there you can meditate to your hearts delight. 

You can also attend "spiritual classes" and participate in "healing plays."

Normally smartphones wouldn't be allowed, but people freak out without them, so they get to check them once a day while on the inside. 

Being locked behind bars is a punishment in most places, but here its time to think, reflect, and get back to yourself--most of all you don't have to go to work on those days. 

It's funny, but one of the hardest things is generally for people just to stop and think--really stop and think--it's much easier to drown ourselves in endless activity and never have to deal with what's going on inside.

When we stop to let our thoughts catch up, to deal with our anxieties and fears, to confront ourselves and all the mistakes we make, and to let ourselves feel what can be an tidal wave of pent up feelings--that is a freedom that few can bear to make. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 6, 2012

Two Lessons On The Road To Enlightenment

I watched a terrific PBS Emmy-nominated documentary called The Buddha (2010).

The show described the life of Prince Siddhartha from India about 2500 years ago and his "quest for serenity and eternal enlightenment."

There were two highlights that I feel are really worth noting: 

1) The Story of the Glass:

Prince Siddhartha saw a glass and marveled how it held the water, how it made a distinct ringing sound when tapped, and how it so beautifully reflected the light off of it.  

After this, he imagined what would happen to the glass if the wind or shaking knocked it down and it shattered. 

Then he realized the reality of this world is that the glass was (as if) already broken, and that we should appreciate the goodness of the glass all the more while it is still whole. 

I loved this story, because it so encompasses Buddhist thinking in terms of its seeking to overcome human loss and suffering.

Like the glass, the reality of this world is impermanence and therefore, it is as if we have already lost all the people and things we love--therefore, we should appreciate them all the more while they are here. 

Further, we can learn to cope with these feelings of (eventual) loss and suffering by ending material cravings and instead seeking out inner tranquility and spiritual enlightenment. 

2) The Story of the Four Meetings:

The Prince who had been pampered his whole life (up until about the age 29) and had only known pleasure--the finest food, clothing, and women--until one day he went out and meet four people. 

- The first was an old man and so, he came to know how people change.

- The second was a sick person, and so, he came to know how people suffer.

- The third was a corpse, and so, he came to know impermanence and death.

- The fourth was a spiritual seeker, and so he came to know escape.

I thought this story was profound in understanding the cycle of life--from birth to maturity and ultimately to decline and death. 

And in order to escape from the loss and suffering (that occurs again and again through the continual cycle of birth and death and rebirth), we must seek to liberate ourselves from materialist desire, greed, envy, and jealousy.

These things ultimately causes us to sin and suffer and if we can break the cycle by meditation, asceticism, and spiritual wisdom, then we can find true inner peace and achieve nirvana. 

Some personal takeaways:

While I am no expert nor a practitioner of Buddhism, I do appreciate the Buddhist teachings and try to integrate it where possible with my Judaism, so that I can find meaning in the path toward spirituality and faith in G-d.

One of my personal goals is to overcome the senseless drive for chasing endless materialism for it's own--and ultimately--meaningless sake, and instead be able to really focus and achieve something meaningful.  

I believe that meaning is different for each individual, and is part of our path of finding ourselves and our in place in this universe. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Christos Tsoumplekas)


Share/Save/Bookmark

December 10, 2011

Try Something New, Relax


So you work hard and play hard.

You're always in "on mode".
Of course, it's a 24 x 7 world.
Welcome to the 21st century.
Well it's time to stop!
Take a time out.
Some time to think.
Enjoy life again.
Become a human being.
Here is your test: Go to Do Nothing for 2 Minutes.
- Your only goal for the next 2 minutes is to look at the ocean, listen to the waves and the birds, and relax--really.
- If you touch the mouse or keyboard, you fail and have to start over again.
See if you can do it.
See if you can calm your mind.
See if you can get off the treadmill.
See if you can free yourself from anxiety and pain.
When you can just do this--for 2 minutes, you'll realize what you've been missing.
Now try Calm--no time limit this go around--you've earned it.
You'll are better for it and your family, friends, and colleagues notice the difference.
It's not a new you, just a rediscovered you.
Find and enjoy peace!

Share/Save/Bookmark