Let’s Talk Witch – How To Meditate

pagan19

How To Meditate

So exactly where should you begin? Do you have to sit in a lotus position, like a human pretzel? Should you press your thumbs and index fingers together and chant OM? Well, first of all, just relax. If you can do that much, you’re well on your way. The following directions offer suggestions and guidelines to help you get the most out of meditation. You don’t have to follow them exactly. Trust your instincts; if something feels awkward, don’t do it. And remember, give yourself a chance–meditation isn’t something you’ll master overnight.

Let go of any preconceptions about how fast you should be “getting it,” or what kind of magickal experience might result. If you set a lot of expectations for yourself, you’re likely to be disappointed and make learning more difficult. Meditation isn’t something you strive or push yourself to excel at. You ease into it.

Find a convenient place and a comfortable position that you can sit in for a while. The more comfortable your body is, the easier it becomes for your mind to direct its attention toward the purpose you’ve intended. At first, your mind is going to jump about from thought to thought, like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. Everything from a little twitch in your leg to a dog barking down the road can potentially break your concentration. That’s why meditation is considered a discipline.

Close your eyes and give yourself permission to put the world around you “on hold” for a bit. Breathe slowly and deeply; pay attention to your breath. If may help to shake out your arms and legs or stretch a bit before you sit down to meditate. Some people like to do some light exercise, such as yoga or walking, to release tension prior to meditation.

Begin by committing yourself to just five minutes of meditation a day, then increase the amount of time over a period of weeks. Just sit quietly, with your eyes closed. At first five minutes may seem like an eternity, but soon you’ll stop glancing at your watch and simply enjoy taking a brief time out to relax.

Relaxation Ritual

Relaxation Ritual
It is good to do this ritual before any other rituals are performed.

Sit or lay in a place where you will not be disturbed for at least five minutes.
Get comfortable. If you are sitting, you back should be straight. Whether
sitting or lying down, your arms and legs should not be crossed. If sitting,
rest your hands, palms down, in your lap. Your eyes should be closed.

Visualize a ball of beautiful, warm light surrounding your feet. If you can not
“see” the ball of light when you visualize it, that is okay. Just know that it
is there. truly know that if your powers of visualization were different, you
would be able to see it. The ball of golden warm light always brings peace and
total relaxation. Wherever the ball of light goes, tension departs. Let it go,
and as it goes, feel your feet filled with the warm, golden glow of peace and
total relaxation.

Now allow this ball to rise up your legs and up your torso. Then allow it to go
down your arms to your fingers, and finally up your neck and into your head
until you are completely covered with the warm, golden glow of total peace and
relaxation, and all tension is gone. If you notice tension anywhere, send the
ball of light there and the tension will vanish.

Stay in this state of deep relaxation for a few moments. Know that you can
return to this state whenever you like simply by doing the relaxation ritual. If
you are having trouble sleeping, try this instead of suffering or taking
dangerous pills. Be at one with yourself.

It is important not to go from a state of deep relaxation into total alertness;
the effectiveness of this ritual would be lost. when you are ready to come out
of this state of deep relaxation, take three deep breaths and feel fresh life
and energy coming into your body with each breath. be sure to record your
experiences.

Daily OM for Sunday, Sept. 29th – Learning To Meditate

Learning To Meditate
From the Learning To Meditate On-Line Course

by Madisyn Taylor


My wish for you is that meditation can be an opportunity to begin a simple practice of self-acceptance and self-
love. If the mere idea of meditating feels uncomfortable—or scary even, that’s okay. Exploring unknown territory usually does. But don’t worry, you won’t turn into a hippie, have to change your friends, or pack up and move to a commune in order to reap the benefits of your meditation practice. This is a gift you’re giving yourself and nobody even needs to know you are meditating, but you just might love it so much that you will want to teach your friends and family.

Let’s take a moment to get clear on what meditation really is. The term “meditation” can refer to any process that leads you to an inner state of relaxed awareness. There needn’t be any big mystery or drama about the process itself, and there’s really no right or wrong way of doing it. There are simply different techniques that can be used as tools to help you focus and quiet your mind, and we’ll work with some of these as the weeks unfold. This will allow you to choose which method works best for you as a person. We have all seen the vision of the yogi sitting crossed legged wearing robes and perhaps meditating in a cave. This is not what meditation is about for most of us and starting with an unrealistic idea of what meditation is about won’t make it an enjoyable experience for you. I still have a hard time quieting my mind and I find that my meditation practice is more fulfilling for me while I’m in nature. Our main purpose here is to help you develop a meditation practice that’s right for you. It’ll be something you feel comfortable doing and that you’re willing and able to do regularly.

For those of us who already have a meditation routine, we’ve come to depend on the way our practice enhances our lives. We’ve discovered an ever-present source of inner peace and wisdom from which we can now draw strength, courage, clarity and compassion. It has become easier to respond to situations from a calm and grounded place, rather than acting out old dysfunctional patterns. We’re also better able to navigate our lives in alignment with our own needs and goals. By giving ourselves the space to simply be ourselves, many of the distractions from other people’s agendas melt away. For many of us, meditation has become an important way to take really good care of ourselves. You wouldn’t dream about leaving your house in the morning without bathing or brushing your teeth and this is eventually how you will feel about your practice. A morning meditation will give you the quiet confidence and the strength you will need for your day.

Research has linked a regular practice of meditation to reduced levels of anxiety and stress, in addition to improved immune function and a host of other health benefits. Studies have shown that the nervous system actually begins responding differently to stressful situations—creativity flows more freely and new solutions begin to emerge. What’s wonderful is that many of these advantages occur after just one session and continue evolving with regular practice. As you develop your own meditation program, you’ll be able to track the benefits for yourself, from changes in your mood to improvements in your energy. Soon you will find yourself reacting from a place of centered calm rather than from your head.

GETTING STARTED

The best results of meditation are seen in those who make it a regular practice. And as with anything, practicing consistently carves out a behavioral pattern that becomes more established and easier to follow over time. Try not to be hard on yourself as you begin this process. You’re the only one who can take this journey and the best place to start is right where you are. At first you may not be able to sit for more than a few minutes and that’s ok, but soon you’ll be meditating for 10, 20 or 30 minutes with ease. The idea is to get a habit started, so aim for consistency (i.e., meditating 10 minutes a day, every day) over longer sessions (i.e., meditating for a whole half hour, every once in a while).

You generally don’t need to purchase anything to start a meditation routine and no special equipment or clothing is required as long as you’re comfortable. Some people buy what’s known as a meditation cushion, but it’s certainly not necessary. Some also find that lighting a candle or incense signals an official start to their meditation and this can help the mind to focus. (Chimes, singing bowls and bells may also be used for this purpose.) Next week, we’ll be exploring some particular meditation practices that use candles and incense, so if you don’t already have these around your home, you may want to get some that you’ll enjoy working with.

It is not uncommon for inspiring ideas and solutions to emerge during meditation. I always have a journal with me so I can jot down what comes up and return to my session without fear of losing the idea. You may want to experiment with this as well. It can help your mind return to silence.

Positioning

Let’s explore a few different ways of sitting. You may be familiar with the classic lotus position or half-lotus position (see photos below) in which many long-term meditators are pictured. This position is ideal because it allows for a balanced and unobstructed flow of energy throughout the energy centers of your body. Some people cannot sit this way because they are physically inflexible or having back or knee issues. You may find that over time you gain the flexibility to meditate in the lotus position; or, you may simply decide that an alternate posture works better for you. Please don’t feel that you have to sit in these positions right away, it can take time to build up to it.

The key to remember when selecting your meditation position is that you’ll want to keep your back straight and your palms open or facing upward. There are a few different positions for your hands to take during meditation, but for the purpose of this course we will place our hands open toward the sky and having them rest on your thighs, knees or ankles depending on what is comfortable once you are in position with the rest of your body.

Here are some positions you might try:

Using a Chair: Sit with your feet on the floor, spine straight against the back of the chair, and your shoulders back. If needed, you can add a pillow behind you for lower back support.

On the Floor: Sit crossed legged or in half or full lotus position. You may want to place a pillow under your tailbone for comfort.

On the Floor, against the Wall: If you have trouble getting your back straight, start out sitting against a wall. If necessary, fold up a small towel to tuck under your tailbone. This is usually the easiest position for beginners, with a wall supporting the back. Over time your muscles will get stronger and the support of a wall will likely become unnecessary.

In Your Bed: If sitting up straight is difficult or painful for you, start out lying down. Most of us associate our bed with sleeping and this can be a problem, as it may create the tendency to fall asleep. But turn yourself 90 degrees on the bed if it’s big enough, or turn yourself 180 degrees and do not use pillows—this may trick your mind to stay awake, as your head will be at a different place than it usually is during the night. Once you have more meditation experience under your belt, try to move from the bed. The bed may also be used in a sitting position with your back against your headboard and pillows placed under your hipbones to get a nice straight spine.

Lotus position: Sit upright with your spine straight and crossing your legs, right over left. You can see from the photo that both feet are off the ground and nested upon each of her legs.

Half-Lotus position: Sit upright with your spine straight and cross one leg on top of the other while the other leg is resting on the floor or cushion beneath you.

Finding Your Place

Once you’ve determined the most appropriate way of sitting (or lying down), select what will become your regular place for meditation. You’ll want a location where you can spend time every day without interruption. While it doesn’t need to be used solely for meditation, it is helpful to be at the same place for each sitting—especially as you try to create a new routine. The perfect spot may be your favorite living room chair, or in front of an altar if you have one, or maybe your bedroom if that’s the most serene place. It just needs to be somewhere that’s comfortable and as quiet as possible. Try to not get to preoccupied with not having a special room for meditation, few people have this luxury.

When you’ve found a place that feels good, you might choose to make the area special by having a favorite pillow or candle nearby. These things aren’t necessary for meditation; they may simply enhance your experience and help bring you to a daily routine.

Not everybody has complete quiet time. You may have children or pets that need your attention, a noisy neighbor or cars driving by. Try not to let this distract you. Meditation can be done even under the noisiest of circumstances. Please do not feel like you are at a disadvantage or that you won’t get the results you desire. In fact, you may find the opposite is true. Having practiced meditation in a loud or raucous environment, you might soon discover that it’s become natural for you to be at peace, no matter what is going on around you.

Preparation

Take some time out now to plan your meditation schedule for the week ahead. Ideally you’ll be able to sit during a morning hour, and if it can be the same hour each day, that’s even better. Many people find that meditating just after they wake up is a great way to start the day. If you’re not able to practice until later on in the afternoon or evening, or if you must sit at a different time each day, this is fine. It’s far better to meditate anytime, than not at all.

You’ll probably want to block out approximately 15 minutes for your sessions at this point. This will give you a couple minutes on either side of your practice and allow for a sitting time of 10 minutes. With 10 minutes of meditation a day, you’ll be able to see and feel results without putting too much pressure on yourself. Advanced practitioners will meditate 20, 30 or more minutes per day. Pretty soon you’ll understand how 30 minutes can be an easy routine to maintain.

After your sitting time is over, it’s important to make sure that you’re grounded. Sometimes meditating can bring you into higher realms and make it difficult to transition back to everyday reality. You may feel “floaty and this can be a lovely feeling, but it means that you aren’t securely grounded in your body and that is where you should be in daily life. There are many different techniques for grounding oneself, and you’ll need to do some experimenting to come up with the practice that works best for you. You can try focusing your attention for a few moments on your connection to the earth, as though you have a light beam emitting down the tailbone of your body or roots like a tree that burrow deep into the earth’s center. Another way is to hold your attention on your center of gravity (just below your navel) or at the base of your spine for a couple of minutes. Other things that may work are eating a light snack, drinking water, taking a short walk outside, or even stretching.

Beginning Your Meditation Practice

Now for your first big step. Over the upcoming week, your job is to faithfully follow the meditation schedule you’ve created. You’ll be sitting in meditation for 10 minutes every day and will undoubtedly have some interesting experiences. Try to pay attention to changes in the way you interpret and interact with the world outside of your meditation sessions. Do you feel calm? Anxious? Happy? Frustrated? There’s no need to judge anything. This is simply an invitation to create greater self-awareness, which can help guide the way your practice evolves.

Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on a basic meditation process. This is the method you’ll be using this week, so you may wish to print out this lesson and carry it with you into your sittings.

BASIC MEDITATION GUIDE

Before you begin:

1. Put on some loose, comfortable clothing that will not bind while you are sitting.

2. Turn off phones, TV, radio and anything else that may interrupt your quiet time.

3. Prepare your meditation area (every time) before you sit to meditate. A light dusting or cleaning up of the area will set the intention. It says to the Universe, “I am ready.

When you are ready:

1. If you have a candle or incense, a bell or singing bowl, use those items now. Light your candle or incense and ring your bell. (Again, these items are not necessary.)

2. Sit (or lie if you need to) in the position that works best for you and begin to relax. Place your hand on your knees or thighs and open them up towards the ceiling, palms heavenward. Take a giant deep breath and let it out. Acknowledge that this is now your meditation time.

3. Now simply sit and breathe. For the entire 10 minutes, just breathe. Make no judgment on what happens during this time. Most people will not be able to quiet their minds, and may drift into thoughts about their to-do lists, what other people should or shouldn’t have done, and even what’s on the menu that day. Your mind may wander and that’s perfectly okay. As soon as you realize your mind has led you somewhere else, release it and breathe deeply. Do this every time your awareness leaves the present moment. If your mind comes up with something you cannot let drift by, write it down so you can get back to your awareness.

4. At the end of your session, take a couple of minutes to ground yourself.

“Total Relaxing Meditation”

“Total Relaxing Meditation”

Ask spirit to protect you before and after you meditate

Sit in a comfortable position, clear your mind of all thoughts, close your eyes

Take 3 deep cleansing breaths (in through your nose for the count of 7, and out through your mouth for the count of 7) Now focus on your toes, feel them and than relax them.

Move up to each part of your body, calves, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, back, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, face and head.

Focusing on your breathing, still feeling very relaxed and calm. If you feel a part of your body tensing up again, go back to it and relax it again.

When you wish to finish, take 3 deep breaths and visualize the universal energy going into your body with each breath.

You may now go into another meditation while you are relaxed or begin to bring your self out of it with the 3 deep breaths.

Open your eyes and stretch your arms and legs. Drink a little water to refresh your self.

Daily OM for Tuesday, April 10 – Simple Serenity

Simple Serenity
Navel Meditation

 

 

Navel meditation can be done by a beginner as you focus your breath on your belly and your breathing.

Journeys of lifelong evolution often begin simply. No matter how complex the goal or desire we have nurtured in our souls, the first steps we take are nearly always basic and uncomplicated. Navel meditation, a creation of the Taoist tradition and the oldest form of meditation recognized in China and India, is a simple practice suitable for those experienced in the art of mediation, yet it is also a wonderful introductory meditation for novices. It utilizes the natural rhythms of the breath and the regular movement of the abdomen as a means to focus awareness and rid oneself of extraneous thoughts. As you concentrate on the breath, the chaos within reveals itself, allowing you to gently train your mind to accept stillness as its natural state.

To begin, assume a comfortable and natural seated position—either cross-legged on a cushion on the floor or on a chair with your legs facing forward. Maintaining an upright, balanced posture will ensure that you are physically centered and prevent fatigue. Close your eyes and relax your body gradually, starting at the toes and ending at the crown of the head. Take a moment to note any physical sensations you are feeling, such as the hardness of the floor under your legs or the weight of a piece of jewelry. When you are relaxed, breathe through the nose at your natural pace. With each inhalation, draw air deep into the abdomen, allowing the area surrounding your navel to rise and fall. Gradually focus your attention on the sensations caused by the inhalation and exhalation of breath. Feel the air flowing in and out of the nostrils as well as the expansion and contraction of the abdomen. If you find it difficult to concentrate on both sensations, concentrate only the movement of the navel area.

As you endeavor to commune with the breath, you may notice that your mind strays. When this occurs, do not attach any significance to your thoughts. Simply bring your attention back to the flow of air into and out of your body and the rise and fall of your navel. Eventually, the torrent of mental noise flooding your mind will slow to a trickle, and you will learn to control the current of your thoughts until you are no longer at the mercy of your reactions. The more you practice this meditation, daily if possible, the more you will be able to get back to this relaxed state easily throughout your day.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 27

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 27

“…you have to believe it first. Not wait until you see it first, then touch it, then believe it…You have to say it from the heart.”

–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

We are designed to function from faith. First we pray. Then we use our imagination to create a vision or picture in our mind. We surround this mental picture with our emotions or feelings. These feelings are available when we ask or say it from the heart. The combination of the mental picture and asking from the heart to create the emotions will cause us to believe it. Then we just need to wait. We need to believe as though it is already done.

Great Spirit, remove from me any doubt that comes up today.

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

Today’s Affirmation, Thought & Meditation for March 10th

Weekend Images, Pics, Comments, Photos, Graphics
Today’s Affirmation

My aim in life is to learn what I can from my experiences, to act on that learning and by my example to share what I have learned with others.

 

Today’s Thought

Our real blessings often appear to us in the shapes of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.

Joseph Addison (1672 – 1719)

 

Today’s Meditation

The Silver Lining

Hidden in the gloomiest outlook there is usually a tiny spark of hope to be found. Visualize this hope as a pinprick of light piercing the darkness. In your mind’s eye move toward this light and, as you do so, watch it grow ever more powerful. Use this light to reinforce your faith that in time thing will become more bearable.

Visiting the Well of Release

Visiting the Well of Release

A Meditation to Process Pain

by Melanie Fire Salamander

 

Okay, it’s that time of year again. I don’t know about you, but the first part of the year, New Year’s through Valentine’s, way too often finds me breaking up with someone. I hate it! You’d think I’d have figured out how to avoid it by now. But the pain of leaving, or worse of being left, never seems to get easier. All I seem to be able to hope for is a few more tools for dealing with it.

Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid this pitfall, pain is all around us. Life, as the Buddha said, is suffering. This is a bad time of year for family pain, our having just gone through the holidays. The earth lies fallow, exposing her wounds: building sites like open sores, old mines and dumps, places whose ruin makes you weep. And it’s a dark time of year, when during long nights and short dreary days all the specific, personal drek we’ve avoided in summer and fall can rise and engulf us.

Don’t let that happen! You can process pain. Not shove it, to find it later, having grown runners to other, older pains, but truly process it — be in it, feel it deeply, then let it go. It’s not a hasty process. Expect to do this work over and over again. But each time you do, I promise you, you can and will let go a little pain. It’s hard work, because to release the pain, I find, you have to feel it again and know its roots, its causes, which usually go back to sufferings of early life or even before. But if you’re willing to do the work, you can heal.

Following is a meditation to help that process happen. In honor of the season and of the goddess Brigid, I’ve built into the meditation an image of a sacred, healing well, an image of this goddess, whose holy day Imbolc or Candlemas is. To use this meditation, either record it on tape and play it back or ask someone to read it to you. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Before starting, find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed; take the phone off the hook and if necessary shut out your pets. If you’re prone to falling asleep, try sitting up as you meditate, preferably on a chair or against a surface that helps keep your back straight; alternatively, you can sit cross-legged or in lotus position. If you have problems relaxing, stretch out on a bed, couch or the floor.

The Meditation

Close your eyes, and begin to relax. Take a few deep breaths: in, out; in, out. Feel your body, wriggle your fingers and toes, your nose, your hips and arms; roll your head. Feel where your body ends and what’s around you begins. Feel the air around you, the surface underneath you. Be here now, present in your body, in the present moment. Feel yourself begin to relax.

Continue to breathe deeply, and begin to release the cares of your day and week with your breath. Be completely here in the present moment.

Throughout this meditation, you will have a complete, deep experience, and you will remember everything you sense and learn. If you need to return, you can always recall yourself to the physical world by moving your fingers and toes. You will feel utterly safe and protected throughout.

Relax more fully still, and breathe deeply. Feel in the center of your body, behind and below your belly button, a spark of life, your life, your eternal fire. Feel that flame pulse with life. Let that flaming center send a spark of energy downward, a liquid trail like molten fire, down through your groin into your base and down into the earth. Feel this energy flow downward, through the foundation of the building, down into the deep, wet, cold earth, the soil, through hidden underground streams, cool water slick on rocks, and below that into the solid rock of the earth’s mantle. Feel the personal flame from your body push down through rock into the deep core of the earth, the earth’s molten center, where all is fire as it is fire inside you. Feel your own personal fire connect with the energy of the earth, deep and red, the red glowing heart of the earth.

At the same time, feel a spark of energy flare upward from the center of your body, up through your torso, through your neck, through your head, through the top of your head into the air. Let this energy flow upward through the air of the room, through the ceiling, through the roof of the building into the cold air. Let the energy fountain up, up, up, through the cold damp air, past clouds of rain and ice, up into the clear sky above all clouds. Feel your personal fire energy connect with the fires of the sky, the energy of sun and stars and moon, fiery, swirling sky energy.

Feel your deep energetic connections to both earth and sky, tap into those connections and deeply feel them. Let sky energy begin to flow downward into you, and at the same time let earth energy flow upward into you. Feel the two energies combine in your center, swirling together gently and cleanly, into one combined healing energy. Let this energy flow outward from your center, filling your torso, filling your lungs and throat, filling your head, filling your groin and pelvis, your legs and arms, touching and washing away remaining tension, cleansing and healing. Let all negative energy you can let go of flow with this wave out through your grounding. Let negative energy, tension and pain and anger and everything you want to let go of flow sweetly and cleanly down your grounding, into the earth, which can reuse the energy for other things.

Now let a wave of sky energy come through you again, combine with earth energy, and fill you, cleansing you, and wash away another layer of negativity down your grounding. Release everything you need to release. Keep any information you require, but release pain, tension, fear and error with the cleansing, healing energy down your grounding.

And again, let another wave of sky energy come into you, combine with the energy of earth, fill you and cleanse you, washing trouble and pain away down your grounding into the earth. Feel your deep connection to earth, and let trouble and pain wash into the earth. Keep any information you require, but let all the pain you can go into the earth.

Feel yourself cleansed and sparkling, full of earth and sky energy, and deeply connected to both earth and sky. Ground out any energy you

don’t need into the earth.

Now imagine yourself at a stone boundary marker, standing beside a gravel road. It is dusk, wintertime, and you are in farm country. The landscape is wintry, with a light dusting of snow, the tree branches bare of leaves, but you don’t feel the cold. Smoke rises from chimneys of houses here and there, some far away on bare hills of cropped brown. The air smells cold and of woodsmoke.

You turn and walk a while down this road. To either side are fields full of stubble, tan. As you pass, crows rise cawing. Far across a field, you see a lone scarecrow standing.

The road slopes gently down a hill, and you come into a small wood. Tree limbs rise gnarled and black around you, shadowing the road. A rabbit raises its head, brown against white shadowed snow, looks at you a moment and bounds away.

You come out of the wood into a flat landscape, cropped fields to either side behind board fences. You walk awhile, the scenery barely changing, all in colors of brown and grey. The smell of the air changes, and you realize you must be coming to a body of fresh water. Walking forward, you crest a shallow hill and see before you stands of rushes around a large lake.

You continue forward on the road. The gravel stops, and you keep going on an earthen path. Tall rushes stand at either side, the air brushing through them, whispering. You push down the path through the rushes and find yourself at a dock where a small rowboat is tied up, oars lying in its bottom.

From here, at the lake’s edge, you have a clear view across. A band of gold haze lies along the horizon, between long bands of grey-purple cloud. The water is steel-grey, and in the center of the lake lies a small island, crowned by a grove of birch trees. The island attracts you strongly, and you decide to row out to it.

Knowing this is the custom of the place, you get into the boat, untie it, and fitting the oars to the oarlocks begin to row. The island is not far away, but it takes longer to get there than you think it will. The boat moves slowly and dreamily through the twilit water. The twilight stays constant; the sky does not get darker. This seems strange, but you feel perfectly safe and protected, and you accept that twilight stays in this place.

You come to the island shore, step out onto gravel and pull the boat up so it won’t float away, setting the oars in its bottom. The grey water, tinged lavender in the light, laps the gravel shore. You walk toward the grove of birch, and again though the trees don’t seem far away, it takes you longer to get to them than you thought it would. Things move slowly in this place. All around you lies dusk-purple light. Know that you will remember everything you need to from this place.

You edge between two birch trees and come to the center of the island. Here sits a stone well. Over the well hangs a weeping willow. The long arms of the willow move gently in the air, rustling.

You see among the willow branches, sitting on the edge of the well, a woman clad in sage-green. Her hair is long, falling almost to the ground, and a very fair blonde, or colorless, or grey — it’s hard to tell in the light. She greets you and tells you that this is the Well of Release, and she is its keeper.

You greet her with reverence. You know she is no ordinary person but a goddess. (Pause briefly.)

She asks you what you would release, and you tell her. (Pause briefly.)

She asks you to sit on the edge of the well, sit comfortably. When you are seated, she asks you go deeply into the problem you would release, saying she will protect you as you do.

You agree to her suggestion and begin to go into the problem in your mind. See the problem in your mind. See pictures of scenes around this issue, the people involved, the places. Take some time and bring the problem you want to release fully into your consciousness and emotions. (Pause for some time.)

Feel the emotions around the problem. Name these emotions. Be in them. Avoid resisting them, but let them be present and flow through you. Feel them fully. (Pause for some time.)

The keeper of the well watches you, understanding fully and protecting you as you do this work. When you have fully gone into, recognized and felt the emotions around this problem, she nods deeply and says she will give you something to hold this issue, a symbol or object to contain this pain. She holds out her hands, and between them is this symbol or object. (Pause briefly.)

You take it into your own hands. This symbol is a container and is meant for your use, to protect you. You feel perfectly safe and protected.

She instructs you now to put the problem you want to release into the symbol, to let flow into the symbol everything you need to let go. You do so gently and fully, letting your emotions and memories and thoughts flow into the symbol, keeping only that information you need and letting go all pain into the symbol. (Pause for some time.)

Once you have put what you need to into the symbol, the keeper of the well cranks the well-handle and draws up the bucket. She instructs you to put your symbol into the bucket, and you do. It goes easily, no matter how big or amorphous it is, as if that’s where it belongs. It disappears into the bucket.

Then the well-keeper lets the bucket back down into the well. The Well of Release, she tells you, lets into an underground stream, a stream that is able to change and break up pain and trouble and old blockages and let energy go where it belongs. You look down into the well, and you see the bucket hit the water, the dark water with just a ripple of light, see the bucket go into the water, disappear into the water. As it does, you feel released of your pain, you feel it gone. (Pause briefly.)

Now the keeper of the well brings out a crystal decanter full of water, and she motions you to stand in a silver-edged basin whose drain feeds into the source of the well. “This is the cleansing Water of Release,” she tells you. You see the water in the decanter sparkle with its own inner light. She pours the water over your head; it cascades down over you, and you feel not wet but as if cleansing, healing energy were going through you, washing away the last vestiges of pain and trouble, releasing the last blocks and letting them pour downward into the underground stream and into the earth. (Pause for some time.)

The well-keeper smiles at you and says, “Now you are cleansed and healed, and in token I give you a gift.” In her two hands she holds out this gift, and you take it. You examine it, and she tells you what you need to know to understand it. (Pause briefly.)

Know that you will keep the memory of this gift as you need to, and all else that you need to retain.

Now you say your good-byes to the keeper of the well and thank her. (Pause briefly.)

Leaving her, you pass out between the birch trees, and on the gravel shore find the boat. You draw it toward the water and get in, push off with your oar and slowly row back to the lake shore.

At the lake’s edge, you tie the boat to the dock, replace the oars in the boat bottom and, turning, walk back through the rustling reeds along the path. You pass through the reeds to the long flat land, the road with brown fields on either side, and into the dark wood. You notice that it has begun to get dark. But it is a reassuring darkness, a warm and protective darkness, a blanket drawn over the land that lets it sleep.

You pass under the black, gnarled branches and out of the dark wood, and you walk up the slope of the hill, looking at the cropped fields on either side. You greet the scarecrow and the crows that rise from the fields to caw at you. You continue along the gravel road, the landscape getting darker around you, and you find yourself back at the boundary marker from which you started.

You settle down beside this marker. All around you darkness falls, comfortable, comforting and calm. Know that you will remember everything you need to from this meditation. You will keep everything you need to keep.

You begin once more to feel your body. You are coming up from trance, feeling warm and relaxed yet energetic. Feel your body; wiggle your fingers and toes. Feel the surface below you and the air above. Retain in your mind everything you want to remember from this meditation.

Feel yourself present in your body, present in the here and now. Notice your breath; feel yourself draw breath deep into your lungs and let it go. You feel present and calm yet full of warm energy.

Breathe deeply once more, and open your eyes.

Can Meditation Be Sexy?

Can Meditation Be Sexy?

  • Ed and Deb Shapiro

From Madonna to Christy Turlington, from Sting to Richard Gere, meditation is what’s happening. We use the term “sexy” because meditation is now the IN thing, with more and more people, both young and old, chilling out by doing it. At the same time, cross-legged yogis and monks can be seen in television and magazine ads selling everything from cars to herbal teas.

You do not have to be a hippie or on a spiritual quest to meditate. We have taught housewives, athletes, musicians, and therapists, in yoga centers and town halls, high school gymnasiums, on ski slopes, and on television. We were invited to teach meditation in Thailand to corporate CEO’s, as more businesses are incorporating stress-release and meditation techniques.

But if meditation is so available and as well-known as it appears to be, why is it not already an integral part of everyone’s lives? If health reports are saying how good it is as a way to cope with stress, heart conditions, and psychological issues, why do we ignore it or find excuses not to do it? Why do we think of something as a waste of time when all the research tells us it is of such immense value?

Perhaps it is because meditation just doesn’t seem that sexy! The mind seeks constant entertainment and much prefers being distracted than facing the endless dramas racing around inside it. The idea of sitting still and watching our breath can appear boring, meaningless, even a time-waster, and not at all fun, challenging, or creative.

Yet meditation is all of this and much more. It is about discovering our authenticity and the magic of being alive. It is sexy because it feels great and there is nothing more joyful.

Meditation is simply about being fully present in this moment, no matter what we are doing. If you are washing the dishes, then let any thoughts and distractions dissolve into the soap bubbles; if you are ironing, then become one with the rhythm of the movement; when you are eating, be aware of every bite, the tastes and textures. In this way, everything can be an awakening experience.

Appreciation Meditation

Sit comfortably with a straight back. Spend a few moments watching the natural flow of your breath.

Now begin to feel a deep appreciation and gratitude for the cushion or chair you are sitting on, and for the building around you, appreciating the space they provide in which you can meditate. Silently thank those who made the building, and the work that was put into its construction.

Then extend that appreciation to the world around you, to this earth that sustains all life, for the tress, plants, animals, birds, the oceans and fish, the sun and the rain.

Now extend your gratitude to your body, appreciating how it cares for and nourishes you, how it is connected to the food you eat and the water you drink, how it is within this body that you experience love, joy and happiness.

Now bring your appreciation and gratitude to your breath. Become aware of the flow of your breath entering and leaving your body. Spend a few moments appreciating your breath and the life it brings you. Then take that appreciation with you into your day.

Slipping Off the Bed: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Slipping Off the Bed: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Author: Sage Runepaw

I’m looking out my window and there’s no air conditioner in it, having been taken down as of half an hour ago. I admire the amount of light in my room again, and gaze out at the big tall maple across the street, the quiet setting, my butterscotch-gold car sitting next to the walkway and blending in with the golden oak leaves over the carpet of dry olive-green grass that’s sticking its scraggly self out, and enjoying the airy, autumnal energy. I’ve been practicing at attuning to the Four Winds, and I’ve been enjoying the energy that the not-Mabon-anymore, not-yet-Samhain time brings. I always like the “in between” spaces- they fascinate me. Anywho…

My across-the-street neighbor’s son comes out from the driveway and comes with a ball. He kicks the ball. It goes away, rolls up his incline driveway, and rolls back to him. This got me thinking, as I’m watching him pick it up, kick at it, go after it to retrieve it in the ubercute manner tiny toddlers do this in.

We kick things we want to ‘go somewhere’, but they come back, or we retrieve them. Do we ever really let them go? Do we keep them solely because they are “ours”? Do they bring anything back with them that wasn’t originally there… just adding on and ‘snowballing’ back at us? This is much like the way of the universe, isn’t it? – Seeing our intent go “out there”, sending it out, then later on, it comes back to us in the form of karma, be it good, bad, or whatever shade of grey in between. I’m not even going into spellcraft here- I’m sure that if you take a couple minutes to think about it, you’ll find a proverbial or metaphorical ‘ball’ in your life somewhere.

For all intents and purposes, I got up this morning, got breakfast and plopped my butt down back in bed to enjoy it and to journal down some things I’ve been discovering through my 303 studies and recent dreamwork. So I sit there, turn on my beloved new Zune (I’m not one for new technological toys unless my current, older ones which did the job broke- about 5 discmen and 2 boomboxes breaking and I’m ready!) , and start writing.

My vision suddenly becoming lower and lower to the aqua bedsheets should have warned me, but as I’d been snapped out of my own personal world- that of The Word Being Written As I Think It and the Mystery of Ink Capturing It in Time, coupled with the Beauty of Ink Manifesting on Paper- I felt my butt slide, though I wore long jeans and a t-shirt.

Now normally butt-sliding is usually designated for the loose toilet seat in the bathroom that Mom and I have been too lazy to fix (which usually results on saying hello to the cold ceramic floor or the cold porcelain, whichever comes first, and at the risk of giving TMI for the readers of this article) , but this time it was a fabric, soft, warmer butt-slide thing going on. And in the meantime I’m too stunned to react (as well as being a zombie because come on, I got up at 9:00 am on a week-day after a late night of work, and caffeine doesn’t work on me) – and so the next thing I see is me sitting on the floor staring at my heap of Stuff (capitalized due to the nature of the random objects in question never quite leaving the floor, getting relocated every time I clean) next to the bed.

So I’m sitting here a little longer than others might normally do, or the “Durrrrh?” moment, which consisted of many more long moments. And I’m staring, wondering why on earth I’m on the floor. And it occurs to me, again belatedly, that my perspective is not of the journal page I was writing in. My train of thought was entirely derailed (and rightly so) when I fell on my butt.

Then the proverbial lightning bolt struck- and it occurred to me that “This is not the perspective you’re used to”. Of course not, on a mundane level- it’s been years since I fell on my butt on the floor from the bed, even though I sit in the same exact spot on the floor when I’m drawing. On a spiritual level- and a synchronicity in my life, as I’d just been journaling about perspective itself and new realizations in my life- falling on my butt reminded me of three important things.

1) It reinforced that (this is my own personal truth talking) perspective can be everything, and all we have to do is quit the mental yammering inside our heads, or the “us” factor, or stopping our emotions and/or thoughts cold-turkey, open our eyes, and really -see-. Sometimes, detachment is better than letting something ride itself out to the end with a healthy outlet, or refusing point-blank to deal with something (remember that ball? it’ll come back with crap all over it for you to wipe off!) , or worse, twisting it- among many other things people can do.

2) It doesn’t matter if you’ve fallen off your proverbial comfort zone- you can always choose to get right back up. How long it takes you or the manner in which you get back up, however, is up to you. It’s also up to you whether or not you want to go back to the comfortable position you were in before- but whether or not you can actually attain that (and whether or not you’re actually comfortable if you do attain said comfy position) is up to the Gods of Comfortable Positions.

3) No matter how well you think you made that bed, you can and probably will fall out of it from the sheets suddenly gaining a mind of their own and ejecting you forcibly from them.

So what do we -do- with that proverbial ball? No matter which angle we view it from, we’ll still have a ball. It is what it is. Its purpose is open for interpretation, but it’s that interpretation that will affect how we interact with it. And like the sphere that it is, it’ll roll into our lives some way or other.

For me, it rolled into my life by my decision to break with a slow-morning tradition of getting back in bed and parking my butt on the desk chair to look out the window and admire the autumn weather. If I tried to go back to my comfort zone, I’d have missed out.

And no matter how I look at it, something that’s round and rolls in any direction is pretty freaking cool. 🙂

What’s the ball like in your life? How are you interacting with it?

Introduction To Scrying – Preliminary Considerations

Introduction To Scrying

 

Preliminary Considerations

To start with, the reader should understand that scrying is as much a learned skill as is reading or ice skating. Persistent practice is necessary to teach the nervous system how to do it, even where the person has some innate talent. And as with other learned skills, there is a “learning curve”. At first there will be a long period when you don’t seem to be making any significant progress. Then things will suddenly fall together and your practice will improve markedly in a short period before leveling off again at something close to your highest level of skill.

It is best to expect a learning period of at least several months; don’t expect quick results. It is likely that you will have occasional sessions where things work much better than usual. Don’t be too encouraged by these, as it is likely you will fall back to a lower level in the next session. When an improvement lasts for a week or more, you are justified in judging it a genuine advance.

Before getting to scrying techniques as such, I want to discuss the various kinds of distractions that can cause trouble for beginners, and suggest some solutions. Distractions can be generally classified in three types:

  • Physical distractions. E.g., itches, muscle aches and twitches, etc.
  • External distractions. House and street noises, other residents of your home, etc.
  • Mental distractions. The internal “chatter” that we are all prone to.

Four of the traditional practices of yoga are intended to reduce and eliminate such distractions. Asana and (to a small extent) pranayama deal with physical distractions; pratyahara with external distractions, and dharana with mental distractions. These high-discipline practices are more than most people will need for our current purposes; perfection isn’t necessary, just something “good enough”. But those who find they do need more than the simple techniques described here may wish to look into them.

Traditional asana practice seeks to eliminate physical distractions by training the body to remain in a single posture for long periods of time. The muscles are trained to maintain a state of tension such that the body remains locked into the chosen posture. The lack of movement reduces the intensity of the body’s sensory signals to the brain. That is to say, repetitive, unchanging signals are completely processed at the pre-conscious level and are never brought to the attention of the conscious mind. Unfortunately, the traditional practice usually produces extreme pain for a long period before the muscles are trained to a given posture.

The same effect can be produced without the painful intermediate stage by achieving a state of profound physical relaxation. The nervous system doesn’t care why it is getting repetitive signals from the body, but only that it is so. Lack of movement engendered by relaxation is just as good at producing such signals as is lack of movement produced by muscle locking.

The practitioner should begin by choosing a comfortable posture that can be maintained without muscular tension. A sitting posture is recommended over a supine position, since relaxing while lying down easily leads to sleep. I preferred to sit cross-legged on a bed, with my back supported by a pillow against the wall. A high-backed easy-chair is as good. All that matters is that you can be perfectly relaxed in the position without falling over.

A certain type of breathing can help promote relaxation. Take a deep gulp of air through your mouth, breathing from the belly; don’t strain to take in the maximum. Hold it as long as comfortable, and then release it, allowing the weight of your ribs and the natural tension of your diaphragm to push the air out of your lungs without forcing it. Relax for a moment at the end of the breath. Repeat for one minute, or until you start to feel dizzy. You will find that as you release the breath, all your muscles have a tendency to loosen. (This type of breathing is, perhaps not coincidentally, identical to the way one tokes a joint of marijuana.)

Once you are comfortable and have done the breathing, begin to work at relaxing each muscle in your body individually. Start with the scalp and face, and work your way down the body, working outwards from the spine at each level. Complete relaxation of any muscle will be accompanied by a pleasant “melting” sensation; try to make your whole body feel as if it has melted into a puddle of warm pudding.

By the time you have reached your feet, you will probably find that your face and scalp muscles have tensed up again, just from your concentration on the task. Start again at the top and work your way down, repeating as often as needed to get to a state of complete relaxation. When the physical relaxation is complete, try to extend it to the inside of your head as well, letting your awareness float in a warm internal glow.

While this exercise is simple and easily mastered, it is very important. Most of the other forms of distraction practitioners encounter are accompanied by tension reactions in some part of the body. An extreme example is the “startle” reaction, in which some small noise triggers a state of high alert in your body; your heart suddenly jumps and increases its rate of beating, and every muscle in the body suddenly tenses. The parts of the mind responsible for these reactions and distractions are often not directly accessible to consciousness; but since body and mind influence each other, you can begin to subvert and eliminate the reactions by eliminating their physical manifestations.

The other aspect of controlling distractions is to understand the nature of the human mind. Each of us is not a single being, but a multitude. Our minds are composed of many “sub-minds”, each with its own special functions. Some of these (the visual sub-minds, for instance) are so intimately connected with our consciousness that we never notice their functioning unless something goes seriously wrong. Others act with greater independence.

But while they are not accessible in the same way that, e.g., the language forming parts of the mind are, there is communication back and forth between them, and between them and the conscious mind. The conscious self, the part of the mind which calls itself “I”, is supposed to function as a mediator, arbiter, synthesizer and director between these other aspects of our being. Its function is to take the results of their work, compare and evaluate them, make use of them to act in the world, and direct their future work on the basis of the results obtained. When there are conflicts between different sub-minds, the conscious self is supposed to “keep the peace” by balancing their respective needs and viewpoints.

Unfortunately, human evolution is not yet at the point where the consciousness automatically functions in the best way possible. The capability for it to do so is there, but it requires training and experience to develop its proper relationship to the other sub-minds. Lacking that training, we too often end up acting as censors and tyrants rather than mediators, suppressing troublesome messages from these parts rather than dealing with them. And as often as they are suppressed, they leak up through some other channel, producing distractions and what Crowley called “breaks” in one’s practice.

The key to permanently relieving both physical and mental distractions is to deal with them in the right way, _immediately_ as you become aware that they are occurring. You have to re-condition yourself into the desired response while the distracting sensations or thoughts are still present in your mind, and the physical tensions are still in your body. The sub-minds aren’t particularly time-conscious; they understand what is happening “now” much better than events in the past or future.

Once you have achieved a state of physical relaxation, try just sitting in the relaxed state, with your mind not focused on any particular thing and with no intention of doing anything else for a while. It is a sure bet that after a few minutes, some part of your mind will take the opportunity to bring its own concerns to the surface, and you will start talking to yourself mentally about whatever it is concerned with.

As soon as you realize you are following some line of thought, stop and assess your body’s state. Do the relaxation exercises until you are back in a completely relaxed condition. Then imagine that you are extending that relaxation to the part of your mind that brought up the thoughts you were thinking; imagine that part enveloped and permeated by a warm, melting glow, while simultaneously you talk to it, telling it: “Relax, be still, there is nothing you need to do right now.” Successful relaxation of a sub-mind through this procedure will produce a sensation of a sudden, mildly pleasurable energy-release in some part of your brain, sometimes accompanied by a sensation of “clearness”.

It is likely that by the time you get one sub-mind quieted — or even while you are still working on it — another part will pop up with a different thought-train. Keep working on the first instance and ignore the new one. Don’t be concerned if you don’t get to everything that comes along during this practice; the things you miss are certain to show up again at a later time. Do one thing at a time and don’t jump around. If you forget what you are doing somewhere in the middle of things, just start over with the relaxation exercises, and unfocusing your attention.

This same technique can be applied to external disturbances. The only difference is that when telling the disturbed sub-mind to relax, you tell it that the noise or other distraction is unimportant and not worth attention.

The Fellowship of the Inner Light teaches a slight variation on this method, which some people may prefer. They use a particular biblical (?) phrase when speaking to the sub-minds; it is almost a mantra in their version of this practice. The phrase is: “Be still, and know that I Am god.” The intent of this usage is to consciously and deliberately assert the conscious self’s rightful place as director and decision-maker, while at the same time acknowledging the existence of the sub-minds as quasi-separate entities.

And rather than just sitting with one’s attention unfocused, they prefer that the practitioner use a mantra: “Eheieh”, meaning “I am”, the highest name of God in the Hebrew cabala. The mantra should be spoken internally, in a relaxed and casual manner; i.e., whenever the practitioner happens to think of it, rather than in steady repetition. I personally find that the use of a mantra tends to produce tensions rather than alleviate them, but this may not be the case for others.

Continued use of this simple practice will, over time, result in a profound reduction in the amount of verbal “noise” your mind produces, and make it substantially easier to concentrate on the visual images of the “magickal space” techniques to be described in the next section. You don’t have to be proficient at this before going on to create a magickal space; the two efforts can be done in parallel, with each reinforcing the other.