Archive for July 25, 2013


Engage your senses – The Hindu. – Excerpt 

Most of us are so caught up with the need for speed that we find ourselves mindlessly grabbing some food and quickly swallowing it to satiate our hunger pangs. Of course, the very act of eating remains just an act. It is not a complete experience. Simply throwing food into your stomach is not enlightened eating. It is mindless gobbling.

Also, when we dump food into our stomach, we do not give our bodies and senses time to register the eating process. Our brains need at least 20 minutes to register the ‘enough’ feeling. As a result, when we eat mindlessly and quickly, we tend to be overweight. Eating right is an art all of us are born with. Just as we are born with food preferences.

…………….Eating, just like everything else you do, can be meditative too. As we eat, we engage all our senses. There is no such thing as multi-tasking, which is simply a rapid succession of activity. When we eat, we engage the senses of smell, touch, sight, sound and taste. You see a luscious red apple. Your fingers touch its smooth skin before you hear the crunch of your bite. You can smell the juice as it trickles into your mouth. You chew slowly, relishing the sweet taste in every bite. The experience is complete.

Ayurvedic eating is all about engaging your senses with the food. It means eating with enlightenment. Sounds simple? It really is. In the olden days, people in India did not know about dining tables, forks and spoons. To them, eating was a simple ceremony. It meant sitting on the floor, with legs crossed. Food, cooked with love, was served fresh and hot. Every bite was always chewed slowly, relished and enjoyed. All the senses were engaged. Children were chided if they spoke while eating. It was the tradition to eat in reverent silence. Each meal was a means of meditation. The entire process of preparation and consumption was considered to be next to actually praying. This is not difficult to do now.

First, engage the sense of sight. What does the food look like? What colour is it?

Next engage the sense of smell. How does it smell? Delicious? Pungent? Bitter? Fresh?

Touch it with your fingers. Experience its texture. How does it feel? Rough? Slippery? Smooth? Grainy?

Does your mind desire this food? Is it really what you want to eat? Will you, at some level be satisfied by consuming it?

Chew slowly. Listen as you bite into the food. How does it sound? Crunchy? Soft and slurpy?

Experience the saliva mixing into the food before you swallow. Ayurveda says, “Drink your food and eat your water.” Roughly translated, this means chew the food well and don’t guzzle water down. Once you get used to eating as meditation, your body is programmed to do so at every meal.

The Art of Tasting Chocolate Mindfully 

Excerpt – LEO BABAUTA

We’re often asked if there’s a right way or a wrong way to taste chocolate. I don’t like to overthink it — if tastes good to you, then it’s right. However, there are a few tips on how to taste chocolate mindfully.

 

The first step is to slow down. Before you rip apart the packaging and dig in, take a moment to read about the bar……………….

…………..After that, gently unwrap the bar and take a look at it. Flip it over, look at the sides. Does it have a nice shine? What about its color? Is the back smooth or rumpled? Do you see any wavy patterns which might indicate that the bar didn’t release properly from the mold?

 

Next, break off a small piece and note the snap. Does it crumble or pop? Is the break clean or ragged? The snap indicates the temper — the alignment of the crystal structure in the cocoa butter –and a poor snap can often mean a mistake or improper storage, or even a different style choice.

 

Now place the small piece in your mouth. Take a tiny bite to break it into a few pieces. Let it start to gently melt on your tongue. Now move the chocolate around your mouth and coat your tongue, but avoid chewing. If you eat it quickly, you’ll miss the tasting experience that makes each bar origin unique.

 

Within a second or two, the chocolate will melt more and you will begin to taste flavor notes beyond just the bitter, cocoa rush you tasted at the first moment it hit your tongue. Look for various notes and see if you can identify them. Do they come in all at once, or do they evolve as the chocolate melts? Where do you taste the chocolate — near the front or back of your mouth? Are the notes like a single, clean instrument or more like a symphony? Or worse, like a cacophony of flavors that don’t mesh?

 

Once you’ve listened for these flavors, swallow and wait a few seconds. Notice what tastes linger — how does it finish? Is it pleasant or harsh? Does it leave you wanting more or wishing you had some water to wash away the aftertaste?

 

And that’s it — it’s best not to overthink it, just taste slowly and mindfully. Chocolate makes people happy and if it’s too cerebral, you may be missing the experience. And once you’ve tried some chocolate you like, try other origins, chocolate makers, and percentages. Many makers, especially the new, small American ones, have their own distinct styles, techniques and point of view. And if you don’t find interesting flavor notes, the first time, don’t fret and try a different maker. Most industrial chocolate has been made to have one plain, monotone cocoa note, so make sure you try a bunch of different companies and different types.

 

 

 eclecticpandas:karenhurley:om nom nommmm yes

 

Excerpt from Living the Quiet Life : zenhabits.By Leo Babauta

A lot of people who do an amazing amount of socializing online instead of in person — chatting and sending messages and tumbling and posting pictures and status updates. While I understand the need for social connection, I also recognize the addictiveness of it all, to the point where we have no quiet.Quiet space is incredibly important to me these days. I like my quiet mornings where I can drink a nice tea, meditate, write, as the day grows light and the kids are sleeping. I like quiet on my runs and long walks, so that I can process my ideas, give my thoughts some space, reflect on my life.The quiet space I allow myself has made possible my writing, but also all the improvements I’ve made to my life: healthier eating, the exercise habit, meditation, decluttering, procrastinating less, etc. Because the quiet space allows me to be more conscious about my actions, and gives me the time to consider whether what I’m doing is how I want to live my life.

And so, while I still socialize, I live a quieter life now. I have my quiet mornings of meditation, tea and writing, but also my nice runs, some time drinking tea or working out with a friend, alone time with my wife, reading with my kids, and some time alone with a good novel.

……..Today I wish the quiet life upon you.

Some ideas:

  • Create a little quiet space in the morning.
  • Meditate for 2 minutes a day (to start with). Just sit and put your attention on your breath, returning when your thoughts distract you.
  • When you feel the urge to socialize online, pause. Give yourself a little quiet instead.
  • When you feel the automatic urge to say Yes to an invitation, consider saying No instead, unless it’s something that will truly enrich your life.
  • Don’t take music on a run or walk. Instead, give yourself space with your thoughts.
  • When someone talks to you, instead of jumping in with something about yourself, just listen. Absorb. Reflect their thoughts back to them. Appreciate their beauty.
  • Make time for the people closest to you. One-on-one time is best. Really pay attention to them.
  • Make time for creating, with no distractions.
  • Spend some time decluttering, and creating peaceful space.
  • Create space between your automatic reaction, and your actions (or words). Even one second is enough. In that space, consider whether your reaction is appropriate.
  • Instead of rushing, take a breath, and slow down.
  • Pay attention to sensations of whatever you’re eating, drinking, doing.
  • Have a daily time for reflection.

You don’t have to do all of these, and certainly not all at once. A slow, happy progression is best.

In the quiet space that you create, in this world of noise and rushing and distraction, is a new world of reflection, peacefulness, and beauty. It’s a world of your own, and it’s worth living in.

Awareness It Self

As soon as you start to turn within, as soon as you begin to listen to the still small voice within you, as soon as you start to practice self-enquiry, your life begins to change drastically. You become happy. You no longer search for happiness, for you are beginning to realize that you cannot find it externally. You may appear to find it, but it does not last. ~ Robert Adams

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Solitude

Veraiconica's Blog

alban-henderyckx

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,

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Dark night of the soul……..

Sufi Ways

by Modaser Shah

“We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course, there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer,” said Wittgenstein, and what a profound statement this is! It should NOT be read with a positivistic slant that there are no objective and worthwhile answers to be looked for. What it means is that the answers are within, already there, but our scientific preoccupations prevent us from looking in the right place. Recall the story where Mullah Nasruddin was looking for the lost key under a street light, even though he had lost it somewhere where it was dark. He said it was easier to look for things near a light. Scientifically verifiable facts and scientifically respectable postulates have become that light—a light that may be shining far from the crux of the matter—in the…

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Changing ourselves first…….

Zen Flash

Correcting oneself [transforms] the world. The Sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi ~

Tao & Zen

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Learning to be open enough to listen ,see and in turn learn from the little things in life ……

tobiehewitt

On a warm summer night, we can venture out into the dark and gaze at the stars and remember that we are made of the same stuff that they are. This truth is not all the time obvious nor direct, but we need to keep the eyes and ears of the heart open to discern the messages that present themselves everywhere around us, if we but look and listen. In the smallest blade of grass and the largest tree, in the ant and the elephant, in the atom and the sun, the essence of who we are also exists and existed since the beginning in an ever present now. “We are such stuff as dreams are made on” and those are the dreams of the Creative Spirit. Namaste!

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sub rosa

In modern business institutions stress is framed as a personal problem, and mindfulness is offered as just the right medicine to help employees work more efficiently and calmly within toxic environments.

– Purser & Loy

I have been studying Mindfulness and practicing meditation for a few years. For a short while I also participated in a formal teacher training course. I find meditation in the Buddhist tradition very compelling, and very-very difficult. My mind is no good at keeping still. And maintaining a praxis on ones own is rather difficult. Still I try to sit – every day.

My favorite “online” teachers are: Pema Chödrön & Jack Kornfield. I also really like to listen to (and follow the guided meditations of) Tara Brach and Jon Kabat-Zinn. I find them all to be very serious in their work, and very well informed. I especially appreciate the combination of wisdom…

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02_NationalGeographic_1457339 few favs…..

11_NationalGeographic_1006843 http://twistedsifter.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/23_nationalgeographic_1361070.jpg

29_NationalGeographic_500032

TwistedSifter

 

Since 1888, National Geographic magazine has brought the people and places of our immense planet into the homes – and imaginations – of millions of readers. Printed in 37 languages, and instantly recognizable by the yellow-bordered cover, the magazine is revered for its world-class imagery, showcasing the talents of its intrepid photographers.

In an exclusive, online-only sale (July 19-29), Christie’s and National Geographic have selected 125 iconic pictures in celebration of National Geographic’s 125th anniversary. A selection of the proceeds will go toward preserving the archives from which these images were drawn. The sale will include extremely rare prints and other photographs never before offered at auction.

Boundless: 125 Years of National Geographic Photography is a limited online-only auction of vintage and contemporary photography, presented by Christie’s, celebrating the legacy of National Geographic Society during its 125th anniversary year. The public can register bids at www.christies.com/natgeo from July 19-29.

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