“We Must Go [Beyond The Mind] To Access The Answers”

 

The mind, by its nature, functions on the basis that reality consists of things…things that can be broken down into individual bits of information and explained in a linear fashion.

To realize how flawed this mindset is, you must first accept that this is a relative world in which we live.

On the conscious level, we interact with other human beings and the rest of the universe in a linear fashion. This is the nature of the mind.

We must go beyond the mind to access the answers.

“When we bring into our awareness that every moment we experience is a given moment [given to us], we can approach our actions to be in alignment with gratitude, honoring the present with each action we take…making the most of that action to better the world around us every single moment that we are gifted. And in return, bettering our own world from within.

We have the strength within to shift our life in any given moment. It is here, from the heart, where we begin to access answers from beyond the mind.

This now moment is the first moment of the rest of your life, make it your best”

-Austin

How Do We Live In Oneness?

The First of the Twelve Universal Laws is the Law of Oneness.

It reflects that everything is connected to everything else. In essence, we are all bits of energy that join together to create one energetic stream. Much like those amazing mosaics we see, we are each our own unique image joining together to create one beautiful masterpiece.

But, understanding this in theory does not easily allow us to understand how to execute it in practice. We, as human beings, have a basic understanding for how to live within our individual image – but how do we begin to expand beyond this and join our image to the masterpiece? How to we begin to see beyond our own reality and realize the Oneness?

One way is to begin to release the way we perceive our role. We, as a culture, are incredibly adept at understanding our role within our own picture. In our day-to-day lives we are relatively clear about the flow and, at some level, how that flow interacts with the images (people/experiences) that are directly around us.

For example, we know that our average day consists of meditation, holding sessions, writing, creating and implementing action steps, maintaining the sanctuary and a moderate amount of other activities. We touch other images (people/experiences) around our personal, unique images through many of these activities, creating a ripple effect to the images that surround them.

However, in Oneness, there is an entire masterpiece at play. We aren’t simply seeking to understand how our actions impact those images around us and so on. Instead, we become consciously aware that any actions that effect our image and those around us alter the entire picture.

In Oneness, we not only take time to view the beauty in each individual image, we deliberately and lovingly take moments to pull ourselves out of these images to see the masterpiece at play to observe how our choices, our moments, our energy is contributing to the greater whole.

Today, take a moment to view the masterpiece. Are the choices you are making and the moments you are contributing creating the lasting image you desire?

Yours in love,

Amber & Austin

Meditation Ideas for Kids

 

Are you looking for fun ways to get your young ones to meditate with you? Kid’s aren’t eager to sit still and zen out with their parents, but when meditation is turned into an active exchange, their interest increases.

Below are a few Active Meditation Ideas to consider. A link to all 20 ideas from our kid’s classes is also listed at the end of the article. Enjoy!

Body awareness method – Ask child to close their eyes and pretend that they are a tree, starting out as a small seed and growing toward the sky. Allow them time to shift their body however they choose as they grow into a large tree. If it is helpful for your child, guide them through the growth process: you are a tiny seed, now you are sprouting small roots into the earth, now you are growing out of the ground, now you are growing branches. Only do this if the child needs assistance, otherwise allow them to use their imagination and guide you through their growth process. This serves to bring awareness into the body. When done, ask what kind of tree they pretended to be. When they were growing, how did it feel? Did they think it was fun or funny?

Sound awareness method – Have the child close their eyes and focus on a sound. Begin by having them tell you what type of sound it is. Is it a bell, a whistle, a drum? Once the child is focused in and able to identify the type of sound, begin to move the sound around the room. Ask them to identify where in the room the sound is coming from. Is it coming from the right, the left, the back the front? This begins to bring focus out of the mind and out of the body and heighten sensory perception.

Visual imagery method – Both the adult and the child close their eyes, allow themselves a moment to relax and center into the meditation with two deep breaths. Once centered, the child begins to explore their imagination through stories. For example, if the child goes into their imagination they may see something like this and choose to share it so that the adult can share in the visual imagery: “I see us walking beside a rainbow river and there are animals that are part dog and part frog and they are hopping up and licking us in the face.” There are no restrictions or limitations placed by the adult on what the child can express. The adult allows the child to guide them through the meditation based on the child’s visual imagery in their imagination. This allows the child to share with the adult in a way that they may not otherwise be able to share. It is key that the adult does not judge or assess the guided meditation, only allows the child the ability to show the way.

Breath method – Make a game out of breath. Ask the child to begin by breathing normal. Don’t change anything, just notice how they are breathing. Is it at the top of their lungs, the middle of their lungs, the bottom of their lungs? Wherever it is, have them take a piece of masking tape and mark it across their shirt. Now, the object of this game is to have them focus enough on their breath that they can take new pieces of tape and begin to mark as the breath moves down, giving them a visual mark on their shirt for how their lungs are expanding and their diaphragm is dropping as they bring awareness to the breath (and body). In order to move the tape down their shirt, breath exercises are a must. Here is a great site to for some of these exercises. DO NOT OVEREXERT. Do not push beyond what you can handle. Take it slow and focus. http://cas.umkc.edu/casww/brethexr.htm

Singing method – In this method you combine song and touch. Take any affirmation or mantra – for example we can use the affirmation I am love, I am light – and form a tune that resonates for you and your child. As you sing the tune, touch a different finger to your thumb on each syllable. It isn’t always necessary to sing aloud, though it is often far more fun. A benefit of this method is that it can be used to quickly bring calm to the child in situations where they feel stress or anxiety.

 

>>> Click Here For 20 Meditation Options For Kids <<<

Energy for Spiritual Health


Energy is defined as the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental health and activity.

Most of us have an awareness that food and mental stimulation are required sources of energy to be physically and mentally healthy. But how often do we take a step back to examine the energy required to sustain spiritual health? Or the source(s) we’ve allowed to provide this energy?

>>> Overall wellness includes body and soul <<<

As with the physical body, our spiritual body requires energy to be healthy. And like the physical body, there are sources of energy that are better suited to maintain the spiritual body than others. Let’s relate spirituality to food. It’s safe to say that most fast food is not healthy for you. It may be quick and convenient, but the nutrition level is extremely low…much like negativity/judgment/hate…all quick and easy to feel. The most nutritional food you can have tends to be food you make for yourself. Although it may be more difficult and take a bit longer, the preparation yields more nutritional and healthier results…much like love/patience/kindness.

When we take the time and connect directly to the source that is infinite love for us (whatever that source might be), we are preparing our own spiritual food, which will generate a stronger yield of love. We are all our own beautiful connection to love and love energy can naturally flow through us if we allow it. The energy then has an opportunity to flow from us and build love energy blended with love energy, until we’re all in a reality filled with love/patience/kindness.

Take the time to consider what you leverage as energy sources in spiritual aspects of your life. Do you tend to place your sources in others versus yourself? How can you begin to prepare your own personal connection, allowing that love to flow forward?

Be Aware – Become Relaxed

 

Body Awareness Meditation

Have you ever found yourself getting ready for bed at the end of a given day and noticed there is tension in your shoulders and neck? You don’t know how it got there, but somehow the stress of the day ended up in your body and now you feel every ounce of it!

>>> Body awareness meditation is a practice of bringing our focus onto our body and mindfully releasing the stress that crept in <<<

By feeling into the tension and allowing it to release, we not only become more physically relaxed, but we also increase our ability to mentally relax. How? When we are physically tense, we engage our sympathetic nervous system. Our brain believes our body is tense because there is potential danger present and it is preparing to protect itself. But, when we take the time to relax our body, we allow the parasympathetic nervous system to regain function and our body returns to a balanced state.

Below are a few tips to begin this meditation practice. As with all practices, it may not flow perfectly the first few times. You may have difficulty relaxing every muscle in the body, that is fine! If this is the case, focus on the muscles that create the most tension and stress for you. Another common complexity faced at the onset of the practice is that there isn’t a great deal of release the first few times through. Don’t become discouraged. It may take a few times through the practice for your body to understand what you are asking of it. But once you have it, relaxation is yours anywhere.

Step-by-Step Guidance
  1. Find a quiet space to lay down for 5 to 10 minutes
  2. Begin with 3 deep breaths in through the nose – breath down into the abdomen, relaxing the stomach and allowing the breath to sink deep down. Exhale fully and slowly through the nose.
  3. After completing 3 deep breaths, bring your awareness to your feet. Feel your feet fully – any sensations that are in your feet, any stress in the toes, arches or heels. Begin to imagine a warm sensation flowing into your feet, relaxing and releasing any sensation that feels stressful or tense.
  4. Once your feet are warm and relaxed, begin to move the warm sensation up over the ankles and into the calves and shins. Feel any tension or stress in these muscles begin to fade away as the warmth fills them.
  5. Feel the flow continue up the leg into the knees. As you feel the sensation enter the area of focus, allow all tension to fade and the body to fall heavier against the surface you are on.
  6. From the knees, continue the movement of warmth and relaxation up into the thighs and so on, until eventually the entire body is warm and relaxed
  7. If tension does remain, return your focus to the tense area and allow the warmth to flow into the muscle until it releases.
  8. After you have navigated through the body, take a few moments to allow the sensation of relaxation.

Active Meditation – Get Moving…Get Meditating!

 

When we say meditation, often thoughts immediately go to sitting in a low light room with candles flickering, music playing, sitting cross legged with our eyes closed and mind blank. But if you are like many, starting here in meditation would drive you absolutely mad!

We spend so much of our time in activity, that to begin meditating by abruptly stopping all activity and dropping into non-activity doesn’t calm the thoughts in the mind. It may actually do the opposite, giving time to feed the thoughts and agitating us more.

So what do we do if we desire to begin meditating but fall into this category? We can begin with Active Meditation.

In active meditation, we use movement to calm the mind, gradually bringing us into a space where we can sit in that quiet state without feeling we are going to crawl out of our skin. These activities slowly bring us out of our normal routine, connecting us with our environment, our bodies and eventually ourselves.

One example of Active Meditation is walking meditation. Here is how this might flow:
  • Find a quiet place in nature where you can spend anywhere from a few minutes to as long as you desire walking slowly – a park, your yard, anywhere that has some type of natural setting and isn’t overpowered by cars and noise
  • Begin to walk slowly and observe your environment – the colors of the trees and flowers, the feel of the wind against your skin, the smell in the air…bring all of your focus on what surrounds you.
  • Begin to bring your awareness onto your breath, as you continue to walk and observe. Deepen your breath by relaxing your stomach and expanding it as you breath in. Use each breath in to relax the stomach and deepen the breath just a bit more, until you feel your body begin to relax.
  • Take a moment to sit quietly and allow any feelings or emotions to present themselves once you feel relaxed. Don’t linger on any one of them. Simply allow them to present themselves and pass.
  • Gently return to your normal activity, when you feel ready, with the refreshed and renewed feeling.
>>> There is no single way to meditate <<<

…it is meant to command your awareness and become present. Whether you like to play music, paint, engage in good conversation with a friend, play a sport…. The key is to find the path that leads you to calming your thoughts and connecting with self. From here, the gates will open and meditation won’t seem like an endless struggle of fighting thoughts.

Meditation: Breathing Exercises


Why Is Breathing So Important?

Yes, breathing is absolutely important because it keeps you alive. However, breathing is much, much more than that. It is truly fascinating that our subconscious completely controls our breathing. Think about it…could you imagine what life would be like if we had to constantly monitor breathing in and breathing out? It would be extremely difficult to do multiple things at once, which leads to an important thing to recognize about breathing…

If you do switch your focus to breathing, you will realize what a tool it is. Simply focusing on breathing in and out will command your awareness. One of the keys to meditation is being present, in the now. Focusing your full attention to your breathing will make you be present. When you breathe, you may do this any way you like. What is recommended is to either sit down with your back against the wall or a pillow (on a couch for instance) or to lie down on your bed or floor. Any way you want to do your breathing exercises is fine, it is just important to be comfortable.

Hear yourself breathe and feel your body melt into the ground. Close your eyes and simply be.

Breathing Exercises

Here are a few breathing techniques that can be used for either relaxation or energy:

  • Relaxation
    • Deep Breath
      • Take one deep breath in through your nose (open up your diaphragm and release the tightness in your stomach as you breath in)
      • Hold the breath for a count of 3
      • Release the breath through your nose (don’t release quickly)
      • Repeat 11 times
    • Alternate Deep Breath
      • This will be the same as above
      • However, when you breath in, you will keep one nostril closed and the other nostril open, then vice versa when you breath out.
      • Example: Use your ring finger to close left nostril. Take a deep breathe in through the right nostril. Hold breath for 3 counts and then use your thumb to close the right nostril. Breath out through the left nostril that is now open. Keep left nostril open and breathe in. Then switch and etc.
      • Repeat 11 times
  • Energy
    • Fire Breath
      • Take 3 short breathes in through your nose then 3 short breaths out through your nose
      • Do this 4 times, then speed it up
      • Do the higher speed 4 times, then speed up again
      • Do the higher speed 4 times, then speed up again
      • This will be your highest speed – do this 4 times
      • After you complete this exercise, take a few deep breaths and realize how much deeper your breaths are and how much natural energy you now have

All You Need Is 2 Minutes…

Instead of watching that extra two minutes of TV or instead of surfing on the web that extra two minutes, take the time to relax and learn how to breathe.

How Can Meditation Benefit Me?

How Meditation Benefits You…

is solely based on how much you want it to. It can simply be a tool for relaxation and stress relief, or it can be the way you find out who you truly are and what your purpose is in life. For those who are beginners and just starting to understand what it means to meditate and how to meditate, finding out who you are and what your purpose in life is may seem like a lofty goal. And that may be true…but remember, you are your only limitation.

The more you take time to appreciate the message of meditation (being present), the more you will recognize how much it can benefit you. Start with the simple things: focus on your breathing, which will help alleviate built up stress that causes your mind to race and, subsequently, affects your moods, sleep and over all quality of life. Allow yourself to embrace the now. Breathing will also help teach you to focus on what you are doing, versus the norm of focusing on what you need to do or what you’ve already done.

Being present, in the now, is not easy. It takes dedication to unlearn what we have engrained in our daily lives. Once you have learned to be present, you will start to recognize that your days will go slower. Not in a bad way, it will just seem slightly slower because when you are present, you are able to think more clearly and respond versus react to situations. Many of us don’t live in the present because we are too busy worrying about what we did in the past or what may happen in the future.

 

> Regret only exists in the past and fear only exists in the future <

 

If you are constantly worried, your body builds up stress and automatically places you in the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, we naturally rely on instinct and quick reactions. This is an issue because this doesn’t allow us to take the time to truly think about a situation. Many people make bad decisions and/or overreact because they are in this state. In addition, in this state, emotions can get the better of us and truly affect our behavior irrationally and negatively. Furthermore, living in this accelerated state of being and high level of stress can be extremely taxing on your body, leading to poor health.

If you are present, you have the time to respond to a situation versus react. Because you are responding, you will be able to make logical, clear and more succinct decisions. Also, you will be in a calmer and more relaxed natural state, leading to these benefits:

  • Provides a Sense of Peace and Balance 
  • Reduces Feelings of Anxiety and Anger 
  • Reduces Pain 
  • Increases Blood Flow 
  • Increases Energy 
  • Helps Reverse Heart Disease 
  • Helps Control Thoughts  (No, not other people’s thoughts, just your own.)
  • Reduces Stress

Taking time to meditate every day sounds tough, but in reality, all you need is two minutes! Two minutes per day can make all the difference in the world for you. If you haven’t tried meditating yet or if you have and you feel like you don’t know what you are doing…don’t worry, that’s normal!

To get yourself started on meditation, click here and read Meditation: 10 Tips for Beginners To Get You Started.