Greetings, and welcome back to The Barrage. This Monday’s edition is solely dedicated to the art of mindfulness and meditation. I briefly discuss the benefits of meditation and why I practice it in Meditation on my Mind. I run down my morning meditation ritual in the section called Um…why Om?, and I explain why Meditation is also for Kids. I’m delighted to bring you much of this information with the help of some wonderfully written articles that I’ve researched and attached for your reading enjoyment.
I encourage you to click the links for more information related to each topic, and feel free to subscribe to this blog site, plus our Youtube channel, to see episodes of At Home with the Bostons. Thank you for reading!
1. Meditation on my Mind
Okay, what’s the deal with everybody and their mama talking about meditation these days?
I once was the guy asking this question, and making inquiries into meditation in an attempt to find out how I could make it work for me. About 7 years ago, I began meditating semi-regularly with many fits and starts. I kept coming back to this practice because, when I did take the time to meditate, I felt great. But it wasn’t until just over a year ago that I took my meditation practice to another level.
I had reached a point in my life that I was forced to take a hard look at myself and ask if “here,” is where I wanted to be. I began to ponder various internal questions like:
- Am I happy enough?
- Am I healthy enough, both mentally and physically?
- Am I being the best person I can be?
My answer was a resounding no, or at least not consistently!
We are all a mix of light and shadow in that we have many great qualities, and some that need working on – this is what makes us human. But it’s when those flawed parts of ourselves begin to overshadow our good ones, and begin to be what we are known for, or hinder our forward movement, is when we know that a change is needed.
If you don’t currently have a mindfulness practice but you’re a bit more curious about it and would like to get started, follow the link to this article on Pickthebrain.com to learn more about meditation, some common practices, and the many benefits.
The advantages of meditating include:
- Improve focus and concentration
- Less bothered by the little frivolous things of life
- Increased self awareness
- Increased Health
I am a living testament to the power of mindfulness and conscious living. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent many years self sabotaging attempting to run away from myself. Meditation has been the warm hug my soul longed for, and it is the foundation for so many of the miraculous building blocks I’ve used to ascend to a much more authentically joyful life.
Unfortunately, many of us are quite reluctant to make life altering changes and would rather stick to what we know, or continue to do the things we’ve always done (whether they serve us or not). There’s a saying that goes something like, “by the time you think it’s time to make a change in your life, you should have made that fix six months ago.” Not sure if I got the quote exactly right, but the point is, if you’re thinking about making a change, then a change is overdue.
I came to the point that a priority shift had been many months in the making, so it was then that I decided that I needed to make a few lifestyle tweaks that would place me squarely on the path toward a much improved self. Mediation is at the center of this change.
“Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal bliss and supreme joy in the end.” – Swami Sivananda
2. Um…why Om?
Om chanting is something I just started doing in recent months and I’ve found that it accentuates my meditation experience. Om is the chief mantra (a word or sound repeated to aid concentration during meditation) used during Yoga practice and meditation.
According to mindfulness.com, there is deep meaning behind the sound and pronunciation of this word. Om is pronounced Aum, and consists of 4 syllables: A, U, M and what’s known as the silent syllable.
- The first syllable A, is pronounced as a prolonged “awe.”
- The second syllable U, as a prolonged “ooo.”
- The third syllable M, is a prolonged “mmm.”
- The fourth syllable is associated with the silence of the Infinite, for “as intelligence rises from the deep silence, you have to merge your chant from the ‘M’ to the deep silence.”
There are many benefits associated with Om chanting, and I use it to vibrationally tune myself for the day. It’s a way for me to mentally declare that I am ready to give of myself, and to proclaim my intention to be the very best that I can be. Now that I’m using this mantra, my daily meditation practice has become far more rewarding, so I encourage you to try it for yourself.
My daily morning mindfulness ritual:
- Wake up each day at 5 am
- Drink a glass of water
- Stretch for about 20 minutes
- Turn on some Gregorian chant or other mediation music from Youtube
- Light a candle and incense
- Set my Simple Habit meditation app to 30 minutes
- Grab my Buddhist prayer beads (malas) and chant 108 times
- Read some spiritual literature for about 10 minutes
After all is this, I’m ready for the day! What morning mindfulness rituals do you have? Hit me up.
Above are screen shots from the Simple Habits app I use to keep track (and motivate me) to meditate daily. I’m currently on a 27 day streak for using this particular application. As you can see, the best I’ve ever recorded was 50 days straight. I’m shooting for that elusive 80 days!
3. Meditation for Kids
If meditation is a useful tool for promoting happiness and reducing stress in adults, then why wouldn’t it be just as helpful for children? We would be mistaken to believe that children don’t have their share of anxieties and frustrations. Maybe if we introduced them to these mindfulness techniques sooner, there’d be a chance that they could avoid some of the issues we develop as kids and carry with us into our adulthood. Check out this empowering video below.
4. Osho, is Oh So Great
Osho on Zen, is the book I’m currently re-reading that stresses the importance of meditation in our daily lives.
Osho states that, “Zen is not morality, it is aesthetics. It does not impose a code of morality, it does not give you any commandments, like do this or that…it is not coming from outside of us. It comes from our innermost core. And when it comes from there it is not a slavery, it is freedom. When it comes from there it is not that you are doing it as a duty, you enjoy doing it, it becomes your love.”
Meditation and developing an understanding of Taoism and Zen has become my love, my way of life, and as a result, my world has become more alive, more rich, and more psychedelic than ever before!
5. To Play Music or Not to Play Music, that is the Question
I absolutely love music and I couldn’t imagine living my life without it! Music has a way of altering our moods, sharpening our focus, and creating ambiance by adding to the experience of whatever we’re doing.
I was never one to listen to music while I meditated because it seemed like it would be a distraction. That was until I read a book co-authored by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson entitled, You Can Create an Exceptional Life. In it, it was mentioned that Ms. Hay plays Gregorian chant music in her home. I wasn’t sure exactly what that sounded like, so I looked it up and had a listen. I knew immediately that I could incorporate it into my practice. So the answer to the question of whether to play or not to play, I say, “let the music play!”
Below is an example of one of my morning main stays…enjoy
Mindfulness Quote of the Week – “To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
Stay tuned as I continue to discuss mindfulness topics and meditation, and how it has opened me up to a world of new possibilities!
IN ADDITION TO THIS EDITION
What The…?? Who Knew? Black Contributions and Veterans Day
Last week Delaney spent some time knocking a few balls around on a golf course. She learned quite a bit about the game, but here’s a little known fun fact: The golf tee…you know, the little piece of wood that you stick into the ground and sit the ball on before you take your opening shot? Well, it was invented by the son of two former slaves.
In this edition of What the…?? Who Knew? Black Contributions, we feature George Franklin Grant (1847-1910). He was the first African American Harvard professor, and while working as a dentist, he also patented a device that allowed patients with oblate palate issues to “speak more normally.”
Tune in for more, What The…?? Who Knew?? Black Contributions in the weeks and months to come.
Today is Veterans Day, so let us remember all those who’ve served, especially those who performed their duty in spite of the oppression they faced from their own country. Check out this interesting article on time.com detailing the The Complicated History of African Americans in the Military.
This Week’s Pics