As the story goes, the Buddha told his followers that his teaching is a method to experience reality. Words are just fingers pointing at the moon—but they are what we have to convey concepts and attempt communication. As a non-guru, relatively novice meditation practitioner, my experience over the past decade has been that meditation practice is a constantly evolving thing.
Even if for just five or 10 minutes in the morning, a formal meditation practice drastically improves the quality of my day. I used to get so hung up on what technique to practice, what lineage to study, how to find my guru. There are thousands of techniques, hundred of intersecting and diverging lineages of Buddhism and Yoga. Let go of expectations about meditation in general as well as this specific meditation session. Each time your mind wanders, which of course it will, immediately and often, treat it like a cute, stumbling puppy. Physician, mindfulness teacher, professional speaker, media expert analyst in brain health and stress management. Letting go of the past was one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn, yet it is a practice I need to connect back to often. Physiologically, when we feel negatively towards someone, our bodies instinctively prepare to fight that person, which leads to changes such as an increase in blood pressure.
I am sharing a forgiveness meditation I teach to clients in building compassion for others through forgiveness. In almost a decade of teaching from the intersection of creativity & spirituality, I have found that everyone, literally everyone, benefits from keeping an art journal. I put these free resources together to help you make the most of YOUR art journal practice.
A strong and consistent creative journaling practice gives you space to unfold your true potential.
This art journal class is completely free – everything is accessible right here from this page.
Like a good art journal practice, this course is ongoing, more resources are added somewhat regularly – check my blog, subscribe to my blog or join my email list for updates. Every day, for 30 days, I made a video sharing the stories, insights + magic that came from my art journal that day. I also shared honestly on the days when I was cranky and scared and didn’t believe in myself to show you the true story of how my art journal practice helps me with all of that. Following my practice can help you see what kind of magic is waiting for you in YOUR art journal, when you approach journaling the dreamtastic way. I write about Healing, Journaling, Making Dreams Real and being a Creative Entrepreneur who works in a Dream Factory.
What if you could gracefully navigate the path to your dream using your intuition and inner gifts, instead of working your ass off, copying what you see other people doing or taking big (scary!) risks? These resources and the daily practice of connecting with my creativity has changed my life! It has impacted my relationships and my outlook in such a positive profound way in such a short period of time that there is no way I would ever stop playing in the Creative Dream Circle. There is no magic “list” for what to do when beginning the process of sitting, so, here’s a list anyway. Books I’ve read say to keep the back as straight as comfortably possible, but I think the act of sitting is enough.
The rising of the diaphragm, the belly expanding, the skin right below the nose (feeling cool and warm air as you breathe in and out). We do this not because we are trying to shove thoughts out of the way, but, arriving at a gentle point where thought is not the main focus.
We’re looking for the peace, an equanimity (big word of the day) that comes with sitting with all of these thoughts and choosing to do nothing. Also, the visions some people tend to have when their eyes are closed are so random, and detailed, it may be of benefit to keep the eyes open.
Anyway, ten months later—I guess it could be said that the mere fact that I sit still in one place during busy days and meditate for 45 minutes is a feat.
We have to find the middle way between these two words, where we can live and enjoy life and the moments that we might otherwise miss if we hadn’t decided to live more openly.
I have not long started meditation ( by not long I mean I have only been doing it for about 2months) and I try and do some every day, the mind wanders, the thoughts come in, they go, I count my breath, in and out etc etc, I watch the thoughts come and go and sometimes I try and chase them to see where they might end up and then I return to the breath. Thanks Marco, I am just beginning to explore my own meditation practice and I really appreciate the way you described the process and experience.
I vaguely remember some point in my early childhood in which kids told me I talked too much. I should also mention here at the beginning that for my entire childhood I had an overwhelming and anxious fear that girls would never like me and I would be alone forever. At the request of my older brother, who is eight years older than me, I went to a therapist again. Meditation has also transformed me into a more loving, compassionate, attentive and caring person. This is a wonderful meditation to do for a focused minute at the start or end of your day and you can also incorporate it throughout your day as well. I believe the more centered and at peace we are, the better we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones.


I am always honored and humbled at the quality of guest bloggers we get here at The Warm Milk Journal.
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
After a long weekend of Yoga Teacher Training my husband and I started to talk about yoga and spirituality.
My husband has played stringed instruments throughout much of his life and one of his favorites is the guitar. Intrigued, I asked him to break down his idea for those of us (me) who are musically challenged (because the idea that I could be musical at all is very appealing). It is so automatic when we come into forward fold that we often do not think about each little movement and sometimes we do not think about the body parts or muscles that are moving.
Now that we have the foundation of our metaphor, let us now return to how we actually make music when we do yoga.
This is such a beautiful way to think about how we move in yoga (not that yoga is not already beautiful) and I think it expresses a sort of non-denominational spiritual side of yoga.
Amanda Perez and her husband have been living an alternative lifestyle since 2004 that has allowed them to travel the majority of the United States. The teachings are not reality itself, just as a finger pointing at the moon is not the moon itself. Each time the puppy wanders off (the mind wanders off and hops on a train of thought about either the past or the future), you gently but firmly bring it back to the path (bring the mind back to the anchor of the present moment). Her words can also be found on The Tattooed Buddha, Rebelle Society, LeanPub, and her ever-evolving site, Love Education. Mind-body medicine focuses on the interaction between the mind and the body and the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social and spiritual factors can directly affect health. Bitter and angry people have higher blood pressures and heart rates, and they are more likely to die of heart disease and other illnesses.
Feeling this way in the short term might not be dangerous -- it might even be helpful to fight off an enemy -- but the problem with bitterness is that it goes on and on.
It is a complicated emotion because it involves feeling humiliated, shamed and sometimes wanting revenge.
Romie" Mushtaq, MD, ABIHM is a traditionally trained neurologist with expertise in the field of mind-body medicine. My dream is to live in a world full of dreams come true, which is why I founded the Creative Dream Incubator.
What makes me the right person to sit down with her and explain to her the benefits and gifts that being mindful can bring? I don’t find the middle path, I haven’t thought before I’ve acted and rarely have I ever not not let my emotions completely overtake me.
Sit down with your back straight—ideally there isn’t a slouch in the spine (but there is in mine every time). One could also count the breath starting at 1 (for both the in and out breath) and continuing to 10, starting over every time you lose track. Just return to the breath, don’t judge yourself, don’t say “I can’t do this, I should stop.” That is a continued creation of the mind. He has performed a great deal in Cincinnati (thanks in part to the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati) and throughout the country. Good genes, plenty of exercise, and eating right should help, but you might also want to sit down, close your eyes, and breathe properly to meditate. I had a vague understanding before but this certainly helps to validate that I was leaning in the right direction. Eventually I would take the step to become a Buddhist, but I didn’t do it right away.
He teaches classes in Buddhist studies at the Rime Buddhist Center, where he's starting a Zen meditation group in the near future.
Whenever you are hurt, or not feeling well do this meditation and focus on the hurt part of your body. Do this practice when you are taking a walk, making your bed, brushing your teeth, or driving to work. Too much clutter, noise or distraction can make meditating not only difficult, but downright impossible. Choose light, neutral or pastel wall colors, and opt for furniture and accents in soothing shades – nothing harsh or too bright. Many music applications, like Spotify, Pandora or Songza, have premade ambient playlists that are perfect for meditation. Be careful to keep it neat and tidy, and avoid doing work or other unenjoyable tasks in there, as you could subconsciously associate the space with bad feelings. I think of my bedroom as a sanctuary and I love the idea of making our bedrooms a great place for meditation.
If you have an idea for a post that you think our readers would enjoy, you are invited to read our guest blogging guidelines. We started to throw around ideas that spirituality can exist in so many of our daily motions or hobbies. While I was describing a sequence from a Power Yoga class I recently took at a local yoga fest, my husband compared his knowledge of song building through notes and cords to the sequence building in a yoga class.
As we make our descent, we draw the front torso out of the pelvis so that we lengthen the torso.
During this pose we keep our knees as straight as possible and bring our palms or finger tips towards the floor.


When we are ready to come up, we inhale and bring our hands back out and up as we press the tailbone down and into the pelvis, allowing us to rise with a long front torso. In the above description you will notice that all five guitar fingers are used: our two arms move out and up, our two legs are firmly grounded and connect us to the earth and our spine is straight and staying strong as we bend.
While we descend in uttanasana we are exhaling and each time we let gravity work its magic while we inhale and exhale in the posture. We pick and create our songs to create a harmony between us and the universe, or, if you will, we are tuning ourselves to the universe. If you have been to any yoga class in which you and at least one other person have practiced the same poses at the same time, you may have noticed a different feeling than when you practice alone.
Music, whether you play it or listen to it, can be very spiritual, and it is also a universal expression of emotions.
Both currently reside on a sailboat in Florida and once Amanda’s yoga teacher training ends in January 2012, they will set sail for a yet to be determined destination. She adores life at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where she shares a tiny cabin with her partner, daughter, cat and dog.
When I discuss this stage of healing in lectures or with my individual clients, I hear deep sighs. When our bodies are constantly primed to fight someone, the increase in blood pressure and in chemicals such as C-reactive protein take a toll on the heart and other parts of the body.
Feeling such a negative emotion often stems from feeling unseen and misunderstood by the other. As a board certified physician in Integrative Medicine, She heals clients at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine in Orlando, Florida. He found his way to meditation, and mindfulness through study, research, and the desire to change. I decided a couple of years ago to just do it and be present without all the effort and addiction. People are discovering that meditation practice can take you inside for an out-of-the-world experience.
I couldn’t stream things on Netflix back when I started meditating, know what I mean? I would lay down to sleep, but my mind would be off running thinking about all kinds of different things and I wouldn’t be able to sleep.
He's studied with a wide variety of different Buddhist teachers and is a dedicated follower of the Zen tradition. If you are experiencing a headache for example, focus the healing love and light to your head. However, some of these will play advertisements every few songs if you aren’t a paying subscriber, so a CD of meditation-enhancing tracks might be your best bet. Both potentially create music, and the music that is created can tune our bodies to the universe around us.
All the time we have energy moving through us and we are breathing and changing the expression of our song.
So for example let’s say a yoga teacher wants to craft a class around the Muladhara chakra (the root chakra).
Personally, I have noticed that when I practice with others there is a heat that builds up naturally from the use of all the bodies in one space but there is also something more.
A person who only looks at the finger and mistakes it for the moon will never see the real moon. Studies at Duke University show that having feelings of resentment are as dangerous as smoking in risks for heart attacks and stroke. Romie helps clients connect to inner peace despite life's external chaos as a physician, professional speaker and certified life coach with her Mindful Living Program. He received personal instruction from Shi Da Dao, in the Caodong (Soto) tradition, and he has served as jisha (personal attendant) to Karen Maezen Miller on a Zen retreat.
The hand that strums the strings is our breath or possibly our prana (life force), or in musical terminology our vibrato. And when we reverse and come back up we are using the same five notes in a different way to create another cord.
When we as a group are engaged in ujjayi breath during our practice, there is a vibration that occurs in the room that will resonate with me even a few hours after the practice. To the one who feels they are being treated unfairly, it's all the same, whether something slight or major. Effort was an enemy to me in the process because it unintentionally created it's own form identity.
Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch and is used to add expression to music. An ideal practice to harness Muladhara chakra will keep bringing us back to postures that encourage us to root ourselves into the ground, and our song will be one of feeling grounded, centered, energetic, and strong (well, only if we play the song correctly). There is also a certain feeling of joy and accomplishment that I can sometimes feel in the room (stronger than just my own feelings).
In scientific terms we’re trying to rewire our brains, to create new neural pathways.



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