PS: I’m sharing this great article on Ayurveda’s perspective on marijuana because it is so informative and helpful to understand how this plant can help or harm us. I have loved ones who believe that it is totally harmless and is a “cure-all” for all ailments. Please read and be educated and informed of how Ayurveda views this plant.
Happiness and Contentment
Let me begin with a question: Do you know what you want? What are you looking for?
Is it success, measured by a certain status or position of power? Is it wealth, based on material possessions and how much you have in your bank accounts? Is it love and companionship with a life partner?
What would these things do for you? Would they satisfy a “perceived” need? Maybe make your life more comfortable and pleasurable? Would they make you happy? How would you define happiness?
Fundamentally, we all want to be happy. We are conditioned to believe that we will find happiness when we find love, or money, or a career or a myriad different things but the happiness that comes from these external sources are short-lived. It is fleeting and it does not fill the void—the loneliness that comes from an unfulfilled and unsatisfied existence.
When we rely on external sources to make us happy, we are essentially giving our power away. In the end, none of these things can satisfy our deepest longing for inner peace and contentment.
Experts tell us happiness is a state of mind; that it is not attached to material things. There are many been books written about it but it cannot be learned; you have to find it inside and it starts with contentment. Aristotle described happiness as self-contentedness.
So what is contentment? The dictionary defines contentment as being happy and satisfied. You’re satisfied and content with whom you are, what you have, and where you are in life now. When you do this, you become grateful for everything in your life, and this gratitude in turn will open the doorway to the things you desire.
One way to start learning contentment is to focus on all the good things in your life and make peace with the negatives. You can experience inner peace by giving thanks daily for all the things you are grateful for.
Another, more powerful way, is to learn to connect to the “source”—the cosmic consciousness that we are all a part of. The way to connect to this source is through meditation. You tap into the cosmic consciousness of all that is when you meditate. You become more in tune with the universe and as a result, you experience more synchronicity. Your intentions and desires start to manifest and miraculously, you are able to fulfill all the material things you had wanted in order to be happy.
It works like reverse psychology. If you pursue these external things to find happiness, they will elude you. When you let go and focus on finding inner peace and contentment, then you are able to attract these things into your life.
When I started this journey in 1997, I was struggling to make ends meet and living paycheck to paycheck to support my family. I started reading a lot of wisdom and spiritual literature. Some of the books that helped me were “Manifest Your Destiny” by Wayne Dyer, “Law of Attraction” by Esther & Jerry Hicks, “Conversations with God” and the accompanying guidebook, and “Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire” by Dr. Deepak Chopra.
It didn’t happen overnight for me but I did manifest more and more each year. There is a ton of books on manifestation available today. Find one that resonates with you and when you meditate on this question, make your desires known to the universe and then let them go. Stay in that space of inner bliss and assurance that your desires will manifest.
The “Core” of Who We Are
In my last post on meditation, I talked about the four soul questions. The purpose of these questions is to help you gain insight. The first question: “Who Am I?” helps you connect to the “core” of who you are. When I ask myself this question, many answers appear in my mind.
I am known by Stephanie. I am a spirit appearing in human form. I am a metaphysics student. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a business woman, a provider for my family, a care-taker. I am a healer, a teacher and most recently, a blogger. For a few short years, I was even a singer and performer. We play so many roles in this life yet we define ourselves mostly by our professional occupation.
We are all a part of the “cosmic consciousness” (to borrow Dr. Deepak Chopra’s phrase) and of all “that is”. We are all one but we are also very unique individuals with our unique stories and experiences.
Despite our differences, we all share the same struggle and we have the same needs—to survive, to feel safe and secure, to love and be loved.
Our roles may continue to change and evolve to reflect our state of consciousness at present. After all, that’s what life is all about: change and evolution. But the “core” of who we are remains unchanged. It is infinite; it is immortal and it is pure consciousness with infinite potentiality. In essence, I am that and so are you.
I hope that meditation will help you connect to the source so that you can get a glimpse into this “core” and eventually know yourself as part of this cosmic consciousness.
…and the Elixir of Life
If you haven’t caught on by now, you will soon realize that Meditation is my Miracle Cure for everything.
In my opinion, meditation is the elixir of life. There’s nothing you cannot overcome if you embrace and practice meditation religiously.
So what exactly is meditation? Meditation takes on different forms in different cultures and different spiritual traditions. Some of the earliest references to meditation, though, come from the Vedas. The Sanskrit word “dhyāna” meaning “to contemplate or meditate” is used in Buddhism and Hinduism. It is believed that meditation was introduced to China via the Silk Road where it became the cornerstone of the Zen Buddhism school.
There are as many forms of meditation practice as there are religious denominations but the core concepts and the goals of meditation are similar. In most practices, meditation involves an effort to self-regulate the mind and body via a variety of techniques such as:
• Visual meditation using a visual object to focus the concentration.
• Silent meditation where observing the breath is the focus of concentration.
• Chanting meditation using sacred scriptures or “sutras”.
• “Mantra” meditation using a sacred or primordial sound such as “Om”.
• Mindfulness-based meditation performed while doing daily activities.
There are as many objectives and reasons for meditation as there are forms and techniques. In most Eastern spiritual traditions, meditation practice helps the practitioner attain various states including:
• Heightened sense of awareness.
• State of wholeness where the inner self is peaceful, centered and blissful.
• Understanding of the multi-dimensional aspects of one’s being.
• Integration of mind, body and spirit.
• Realization that there is a higher state of consciousness within oneself.
• Self-realization of being one with the universe and all that is. This spiritual experience—the union of self or “atman” with the universe or “Brahman”—is referred to as “moksha” in Hinduism. There is a similar concept in Buddhism known as “nirvana”.
In Western practices, meditation has been widely promoted for health purposes. Many studies have shown that meditation helps promote healing by reducing stress, anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure. It promotes relaxation and calmness in body and mind, thereby controlling thought processes to foster mental well-being and develop clarity, concentration and improved immunity.
When I started practicing meditation in 2000, I learned guided meditation and concentration exercises to mentally focus the mind on a visual image or object. The goal of the meditation was to achieve stillness of mind, inner peace and mental clarity so that I could connect and communicate with spirit or my higher self so that I could achieve my highest good.
When I restarted my meditation practice in 2012, I learned a different form of meditation through the Chopra Center. At that time, all I wanted was to connect with my higher self to get access to the internal healing power that I knew was within.
Chopra Center teaches a form of meditation known as Primordial Sound Meditation. It originated from the Yoga tradition of India. Patanjali, a sage who wrote the ancient text known as Yoga Sutras, explained that yoga is the progressive settling down of the mind into pure silence. Through meditation we are able to reach this silence and enter into the field of unbounded awareness.
In Primordial Sound Meditation, we use a “mantra” which is a basic sound or vibration of nature that is silently repeated to aid concentration and enter into a deep state of meditation. I was fortunate to have Davidji as my teacher during that weekend meditation retreat. He is an excellent teacher and speaker and has taught meditation to hundreds of thousands of people who have attended the Chopra Center through the years.
He taught that there are “gaps” between the many fleeting thoughts that move through our minds. These “gaps” are when we experience the pure silence and when we connect with our source or essential or higher self.
If you’re new to meditation, you may have experiences that we all encounter such as turbulent thoughts and restlessness, falling asleep and getting distracted easily by physical sensations or external noises. This is natural and perfectly fine. The goal is to gently bring your attention back to silently repeating the mantra or focusing on your breath if you are not using a mantra. As Dr. Deepak Chopra says, there is no wrong way to meditate. He says that “If you are doing it, then you’re doing it right.”
I start my meditation with four soul questions:
• Who am I?
• What do I want?
• What is my dharma or purpose?
• What am I grateful for?
These questions are not meant for you to focus on during meditation; they are, however, meant to help you in connecting with your source or essential nature through regular meditation practice so you can find or discover your higher self. I will expand on these four questions in the next few posts.
When I started, I was meditating for ten to fifteen minutes at least once a day. After a while, I started to notice the difference. I was more at peace; I wasn’t as easily ruffled and I was breathing easier. One day when I did lose my temper, my son asked if I had meditated yet; he told me to stop whatever I was doing and go meditate immediately.
That to me was the recognition that meditation made a difference in my life. Despite this, I was still resistant and had trouble practicing meditation consistently. Is resistance part of human nature? It wasn’t until almost a year later that I started to take my meditation more seriously and was able to transcend to the next level. I now meditate between thirty to forty minutes in the morning and another twenty to thirty minutes in the evening.
So don’t be discouraged if you encounter resistance. Keep at it and always be aware of how it makes you feel and how your day progresses after you meditate. You will realize the benefits and the benefits will encourage you to keep practicing.
If you do need help, there are many meditation classes available and even books and guided meditations that can help you get started. The Chopra Center has many Certified Instructors all over the world. You can find one in your area here.
I would definitely recommend Davidji’s book, “Secrets of Meditation” which you can find here: http://davidji.com/store/
Davidji also has a You Tube Channel that you can check out for guided meditations.