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#258: The nature of consciousness Jan. 20th 19

The Nature of Consciousness from the perspective of Eastern Philosophy

Just as the Bible and the Koran form the basis of Christian and Muslim beliefs, the Vedas ( literally means Books of Knowledge ) written by several saints and sages going back over 10,000 years ago, form the basis of Hinduism. The knowledge contained in the Vedas is collectively known as Vedanta.

Vedanta acknowledges the fact that all human beings come in this world with different personalities. The common thread which runs through each of these personalities is “Consciousness”. The consciousness can simply be understood as Energy. In fact, it is this energy that enlivens the three factors of the human personality.  These are:  the physical aspect, (body), the emotional or psychological aspect ( mind) and the thinking or rational aspect( intellect). To understand the relationship between the Consciousness, the body, emotions and thought aspect we can consider consciousness as the electrical energy that energizes the circuit of body, emotions and thought which, by themselves, are inert.

Our daily interaction in the world is based on what the mind, through its senses, sees, hears, feels or desires. Because the world around us is constantly changing, our mind is also in a constant state of flux.  This is the source of emotional turbulence. Twenty five hundred years ago, Buddha recognized this and based his teachings on the control of the mind.

So how can we manage this turbulence? The answer is meditation through mindfulness. One of the ways of doing it is to sit comfortably and observe our breath going in and out. One can substitute anything else as the anchor point of one’s meditation such as total darkness, the sounds of nature etc.  Thus the busy mind has something to do and does not go into its default settings of the past regrets and anxieties of the future. The trick is to be alert to the wanderings of the mind. As soon as you realize that it is wandering, immediately bring it back to the anchor point.

To summarize, the real us is the Consciousness which is pure, stable, eternal and unchanging. It is in a constant state of equanimity and balance. However, through ignorance, we identify ourselves with the Body and Mind (which are both always changing) and thus face the world of change and experience suffering and turbulence. Inner spiritual journey starts with “taming” the mind. We can achieve this by regular meditation.  Over a period of time of regular meditation, we develop this inner tranquility and equanimity which is our real Self. This is what the great spiritual masters have been advocating.

#257 USING OUR 5 SENSES TO “PAUSE” our restless mind Jan 13 19

                                   Using one of our 5 senses to “pause” our restless mind

Description of this short mindfulness on-the-go exercise:

Several times a day, pause, pick one of your 5 senses such as vision, hearing, touch, taste or smell and then, pay attention , at this precise moment, to a selected target. The mind/brain, being very sensitive to our 5 senses, has no other choice but to comply. You are pressing the pause key by shortening the circuits of our restless mind. By doing so, you will discover what you are failing to notice all day long.

Most of the time, the process is reversed because our attention is always dictated by what our mind is thinking. We are, as Zen says, on mind-made auto-pilot or automatic physical and mental behavior.

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#256 Mindfulness meditation: how it works & what it does?

                                          Mindfulness Meditation: What it does & how it works?

Definition:

Meditation: Sitting meditation technique that focus our attention, in a mindful way, on body

posture/sensations, breathing , environment and, after awhile, mental relaxation.

Mindfulness: focusing /paying attention to x, y, z w/o intention, analysis, judgment and decision.

Mindfulness meditation: Is recognized now as a special form of cognitive behavioral therapy in which

cognitive or analytic process is replaced by simple observation, that is reflecting things as they are

and not as we want them to be. It is acting like a like a mirror.

What makes mindfulness meditation different from other types of meditation is the absence of external instruments such as music, video, guidance or mantra. No gimmicks, you are on your own.

How the benefits of mindfulness meditation leading to self-awareness come from?

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#255 The 8 PILLARS of Zen Philosophy & Practice Dec. 23th -18

The 8 pillars of Zen philosophy & practice

The following are not in specific order.

     1) Being mindful to the present moment and its content, the only existing reality.

That is to pay attention in a non-analytic and non-decisional way to the current and concrete reality of the NOW, the only reality that exists. In this space-time called NOW we experience true reality in many ways such as being mindful to our body, what we are doing, the use of our 5 senses to sense and scan our surrounding environment. Daydreaming in the past and future made of zillions of thoughts, feelings, regrets and expectations is definitely not Zen since they are the products of or restless mind and therefore pure virtual realities even if they exist.

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#254 The practice of Meditation: to be or not to be Dec 16-18

   The practice of Meditation : to be or not to to be

During a 2014 retreat in France, famous Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh asked:

“ Do you want to know what meditation is all about?”

His students were eager for the answer.

“He said: “ The secret of meditation is “thoughtless thinking” that is focusing w/o analysis, w/o judgment and w/o decision. It is practicing mindfulness in its purest form that is JUST BE……JUST BE IN THE NOW

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#253 WHAT A. EINSTEIN SAID about ZEN BUDDHISM Dec. 12th 18

WHAT ALBERT EINSTEIN SAID ABOUT ZEN BUDDHISM

 An interesting statement from a special mind.

“Zen Buddhism has the characteristics of what our modern world can expect for a so-called

“Universal religion” even if it is not a religion in its strict theological sense.

It transcends personal god or gods, avoids dogmas, theology, divinities, miracles and hierarchy.

It covers both the material and immaterial or spiritual worlds.

It is based from the connection, personal experience and empathy with all living beings and the world

around them, in a conscious mindful way, creating, therefore, a meaningful unity called “Oneness”, which will last forever and no one can explain.

 

 

#252 Meditation practice: difficulty, hesitation & doubt Dec 2nd 18

Meditation: difficulties, hesitation and doubts about our practice  Dec. 2nd 18

Maybe we have the will and good reasons such as dealing with our current issues to start meditation and keep doing it. Unfortunately, it does not work that way:

We simply are too busy with zillions of things on your plate to meditate.

We are lacking energy and discipline to sit still even for few min. every day and for many months.

We are struggling because our mind is constantly racing and we cannot control it as you wish and as

We have been told. Our mind is very talkative (~200,000 thoughts/day) and they cannot be stopped.

We doubt about meditation because you do not sense any immediate benefits from your ongoing

practice   and we don’t have the patience to wait for results.

We are finding many excuses to skip your group and solo practice and even decided to quit like 90%

of new comers after 3 months everywhere.

We don’t understand very well how meditation works or, even, we don’t believe in this Oriental practice.

Finally, we are, automatically judging negatively the quality of our meditation and its progress.

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#251 Spiritual awakening toward a new identity Part2

Spiritual Awakening: Toward a new identity Part 2

Last week we talk about 1) New identity Part 1 : Less self-centered,  2) Inner quietness and

3) Enhanced interconnection with others. Here are other traits of the new awakened self.

Empathy and Compassion:

The sense of connection described last week is closely linked to the high levels of empathy and compassion associated with spiritual awakening. When we’re connected to other living beings — animals and the natural world, we’re able to sense what they’re feeling and experiencing,

If they’re suffering, we sense it and feel the impulse to comfort them or try to alleviate their pain because the interconnection exists.

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#250 Spiritual awakening : towards a new entity Part 1 Nov 18 18

                                     Spiritual awakening: Toward a new entity  Part 1

This is the first of 7 talks about awakening: towards new self (2), new mind (2), new life (2) and new world.

Awakening is not adding something divine to what you are but simply removing what you think you are.

1) A new identity away from our egocentric one:

When we experience spiritual awakening, one common sign is that our inner life changes. There’s a shift in how we feel inside. This shift changes us so profoundly that, we feel as if we have a new and less egocentric identity….as if we have been somewhat reborn.

It may not even be a noticeable symptom or sign of spiritual awakening, except in retrospect.

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#249 What mindful people do & think differently Part 2 Nov 11 18

What mindful & serene people think and do differently    Part 2

 Mindful people try to live in the moment because this is the only time where we are alive. Past and future are mind-made noise.

Are active listeners w/o trying to judge, ignore or control.

Realize that happiness comes only from the outside world and, therefore quest for happiness is endless never totally satisfied and often out of their control.

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