Mindfulness and intuition: key to a healthy life

@GlowimagesLinda Ross addresses the concept of “mindfulness” that is so much in the conversation today.  Here is how she starts her blog first published in Hartford Faith and Values.  “Mindfulness — it’s everywhere you look today. In almost every area of living, media is buzzing that people are finding mindfulness as a conscious practice of paying attention that enhances life. It’s actually a universal principle described in ancient texts, although today given a contemporary twist.

The remarkable potential that the practice of mindfulness delineates, is that it lets people know they can choose their thoughts and in a sense their reality.” To read more of Linda’s blog click here.

Smile…you could live longer and smarter

Smile...you could live longer and smarter
@Glow Images model used for illustrative purposes only

”I am only grouchy and moody on days that end in Y” begins Steven Salt in his blog Smile…you could live longer and smarter first published in cleveland.com.

Salt goes on to say, “Keeping thoughts and emotions in check and maintaining a bright outlook has long been the purview of religiosity, faith, and spirituality.  Turning to God has been a natural inclination for generations of believers when dealing with life’s trials, not only for coping purposes, but also for healing these issues. The concept/principle underneath “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee” – i.e. calm thought focused on the divine results in good – is health enhancing whether it comes from the Bible or some other sacred text.

Now a research report out of Duke University supports what many of us have long known: the potential for spirituality in contributing to resiliency in life, especially in dealing with changes connected to aging.”  Salt concludes, “Smile. It’s better than being a grouch any day of the week.”  To read more of this blog click here.

 

The Art of Living Peacefully Includes Patience

Dear Friends,

Did you know that patience is the key ingredient to living a peaceful life?  Last year NPR interviewed author Allan Lokos.  One of the outcomes was this excerpt found on NPR’s website.  It is from his book, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living.

Patience

Any methodology for developing patience requires a multi-tiered approach. As discussed earlier, we need skills that are immediately accessible for those moments when life is intolerably inefficient, unjust, unfair, or abusive; those moments when impatience or anger quickly arise within us. Concurrently, we need an introspective practice such as meditation so that we can gain a greater understanding of our internal experiences, i.e., thoughts and feelings. This part of our practice is not so much about the actual events happening around and within us, but rather about how we relate to those events. Through this type of introspection we become more in touch with our thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise so that we don’t react while in the throes of impatience or anger. This objective, nonjudgmental, nonattached awareness is the practice of mindfulness and it is the ground for becoming a truly patient person.

In the Satipatthana Sutta (The Discourse on the Establishment of Mindfulness) specific instruction is offered for practicing mindfulness. One should go to a quiet place, sit down in the cross- legged (lotus) position, and gently but firmly establish mindful awareness. Specifically, “Having gone to the forest or the root of a tree or to an empty place, one sits down with their legs crossed, keeps their body erect and their mindfulness alert.” One would, over time, come to see that mindfulness keeps the mind from wandering and dispels confusion. We all experience mindful moments fairly frequently. The development of mindfulness as a practice involves knowing when mindfulness occurs and learning to encourage more frequent mindful moments.

It is significant to understand mindfulness as a wholesome quality (to use the Buddhist terminology) and to understand what a wholesome and an unwholesome quality (such as greed, hatred, or delusion) cannot exist on a conscious level in the same moment. It can appear as if they do because there can be many factors at play in the mind (motivations, intentions, and so forth) but in the exact moment of commencing an action only one intention can be at the fore. The practice of mindfulness offers us a clear and accurate reading of our “state of mind” before we act in a given situation. As taught in the Satipatthana Sutta, mindfulness meditation is developed by becoming aware of when mindfulness is present and when it is not. For the person working on developing a level of patience that is deep and easeful, this is an invaluable practice.

Seated Yoga Meditation Pose - Anjali Mudra , Photo courtesy of My Yoga Online
Seated Yoga Meditation Pose – Anjali Mudra , Photo courtesy of My Yoga Online

That doesn’t mean perfect, saintly, or one who can walk on the waters of the Ganges, but one who remains calm and dignified in the most trying of circumstances. Impatience or anger can still arise, and undoubtedly will, but we have learned to be mindful of our feelings as they arise so we can calmly observe them rather than react to them. In that way we don’t exacerbate what may already be a difficult situation. When we undertake this type of introspection, mindfulness is necessary because it is the quality that helps us maintain awareness of the specific occurrences arising in the moment. Developing true patience is therefore accomplished through quiet self- examination combined with integrative experience with others. This is the development of patience through insight, wisdom, and compassion. This is the art of peaceful living.

Excerpted from Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living by Allan Lokos. Copyright 2012 Allan Lokos. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Group.