I came across a quote by Jim Carrey and I wanted to share it with you:
"After knowing Eckhart Tolle for a while and studying the books, I woke up and suddenly got it. I understood suddenly how thought is just illusory, and that thought is responsible for most, if not all of the suffering we experience.
And then I suddenly felt like I was looking at thoughts from another perspective, and I wondered, who is it that is aware that 'I' am thinking? And suddenly I was thrown into this expansive amazing feeling of freedom - from myself, from my problems.
I saw that I am bigger than what I do, bigger than my body. I am everything and everyone. I am no longer a fragment of the universe. I am the universe."
~ Jim Carrey
I like this quote but I worry it perpetuates the incorrect idea that awakening will immediately solve all of our worldly problems. It won’t.
“Spiritual awakening does not immediately solve all of your problems, nor does it mean your life from then on, will be free...
"I’ve heard that meditation can help reduce the effect of depression because of how it affects the brain. Is that true? How does it work? I’m more scientifically minded."
I can explain it, but first I want to suggest you reach out to a mental health professional for support. These people are trained to help you deal with issues like depression. You don’t have to go through it alone.
Now, with that said, let’s talk about meditation and depression.
Meditation has been found to change certain brain regions specifically linked with depression.
For example, the Medial Prefrontal Cortex becomes hyperactive in depressed people. This area of the brain is often called the "me centre" because this is where you process information about yourself, such as worrying about the future and ruminating about the past. When you get stressed about life, this area goes into overdrive.
Another brain region associated with depression is the amygdala, or "fear centre." This is the...
When you first start meditating there can be a feeling of holding on.
Either holding on to the breath, body sensations, mantra, or any number of other things.
New meditators often get annoyed when they can’t hold on. They say things like:
“I struggled to hold onto the mantra so it didn’t work.”
Holding on is a good way to start, but eventually you’ll need to learn how to let go too.
Letting go is where the magic happens.
Every inward breath requires an outward breath to complete its cycle.
Expansion follows contraction.
So learn how to hold on, but don’t forget the importance of learning how to let go as well. This will be important as your meditation journey progresses.
When I teach meditation, I make sure that letting go is built into the journey from the beginning.
There was a...
The first time I came across the idea of journaling was on a meditation retreat.
My friend Andre, the host, said it was something he did to manage the effects of stress release.
Most people think a meditation retreat sounds peaceful and soothing, and it can be, but it can also be tough at times.
When we calm the mind and rest the body deeply, suppressed emotions rise to the surface to be felt, processed and released.
Sometimes it happens quietly in the background and sometimes it’s a heavy and difficult experience.
This is what I mean when l say “stress release,” and sometimes the stress being released will have the same flavour on the way out that it had on the way in.
It’s not unusual to shed some tears while on retreat, but it’s OK. Letting go of old emotional baggage makes us feel lighter, happier, and more free in life.
Journalling can facilitate this process too. It’s a great way to move...
I came across an interesting study from a researcher named Eileen Luders, who is affiliated with UCLA.
Her team had been studying the brains of people who meditate regularly.
She used MRI scans to collect data on the participants. Her various studies showed meditation has a remarkable impact on the brain.
What’s interesting about this research is how several meditation techniques were represented, such as Zen, Vipassana, Raja yoga meditation, and Tibetan meditation.
And then Eileen had an idea!
She got her team to create an algorithm that would “guess” the age of a brain based on an MRI scan.
The algorithm was accurate. If you fed the MRI scan of an average brain into it, the program would “guess” the age of the brain correctly.
But something interesting happened when she fed the MRI scans of meditators brains into it.
The algorithm would “guess” incorrectly. It would give a much younger age prediction for those brains.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Dzogchen meditation compared to mindfulness and mantra practice?
ANSWER: Dzogchen (pronounced “Zok-chen") is a self-inquiry practice used to go directly to the heart of the Buddhas teaching of “no self.”
The Buddha taught that there is no thing inside of you that is stable and unchanging and can be called a “self.”
He taught that you are more like a process that is forever fluctuating, changing and unfolding.
Dozogchen attempts to reveal that truth by looking directly at the nature of experience and showing that there is no “watcher” in there.
There is no central control area within you that can be called the real YOU.
Instead, when you look closely you see there is awareness, which is pure, empty and self-illuminating.
And there are objects arising within awareness. Those objects include everything in your experience: things you see, smell, feel (physically or emotionally), thoughts and so on.
Your facial expressions don’t just reflect how you feel, but they contribute to how you feel too.
Research from the University of South Australia in 2020 confirms this!
The act of smiling (even if you’re faking it) tricks your mind into happiness. It’s all about the messages being sent rom the facial muscles to the brain.
Researchers made half of the participants in the study hold a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile. A comparison group held no pen between their teeth during the experiment.
Both groups were shown images of people with a range of facial expressions (from frowns to smiles) and a series of body movements (from “sad walking” videos to “happy walking” videos).
Under the “pen-in-the-teeth” condition, the forced...
Mantra meditation is known by various names in the West, like Transcendental meditation (TM), Vedic meditation, Deep meditation or Himalayan meditation for instance.
Mindfulness can also be known by other names, such as Vipassana or insight meditation.
Mantra meditation is a classic style of practice from India, usually taught by a teacher who guides practitioners to use the mantra in a very specific way during classes spread over a few days.
Mindfulness is more widespread and is often found in yoga studios and on the majority of meditation apps.
Typically in mantra meditation you sit comfortably in a normal chair with the back supported. You hold a mantra (given to you by a teacher) delicately in your mind in such a way that mental activity decreases and the body relaxes.
Mindfulness practice usually involves sitting upright with no back support observing things like breath, body sensations, sounds, thoughts or emotions (and...