Tag Archive: mindfulness


Of lockdowns , mindfulness , cooking etc

2020 was the time we literally wore (wearing) masks ,which we have been wearing in an increasingly social media /social networking driven society. Is it better to be anonymous or be your fake self on social media ?????

Social media, on the other hand became a platform for a massive public campaign – demanding justice for SSR (even as news channels abruptly stopped reporting the case – and forensic/decoding experts from the public taking an initiative and debunking the suicide/depression theory) …. , resulting in a CBI /NCB enquiry .With conspiracy theories still floating around and a lot of unanswered questions , will the truth ever come out ??

Pandemic/lockdown was also the time to hone up meditation/yoga practices and focus on mental health through mindful rituals, to get connected to and be your authentic self and #VibeHigher . When you can’t go out in nature and more importantly , have to go without Zomato /swiggy and trying out different buffet spreads at restaurants more often than not, learning to cook is the best way not only to revel in the simple pleasures of cooking for your family , but also to vicariously experience nature whilst practicing mindfulness through smelling the aromad ,tasting savouring the tastes, viewing different colours (of the greens) , feeling the textures – #slowdown #slowfoodmovement

Mint pulao with some middle eastern recipe of baked potatoes
Palak paneer
Frozen phirni – icecream??
Hyderabadi Tomato salan
Mother’s Day 2020
Carrot halwa
Lockdown Bday – Who knew Parle-G could be used to bake instant eggless cake – cake for mum’s bday 2020
Veg Biryani for Father’s day 2020
One of the umpteen attempts to emulate authentic Tamilnadu Sambar
Kerala style Appam
Khasta Kachori
Rasgullas

Awaken

tobiehewitt

Drink deeply from this life! Do not sit complacently, waiting for change to happen to you. Seek out change, even if it is a change in attitude or environment. Be mindful, meditate for five minutes, buy a new plant, decrease clutter, increase peaceful space. Awaken to the moment you are in and live expectantly for the next miracle to occur. Know that your purpose is to grow through this physical experience and to keep in awareness that you are essential spirit. Follow your passion and discover your joy. Namaste!

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Noticing simple things

Mindfulbalance

File:Flowingtap.jpg

By taking a moment to pay attention to something as simple as turning on the water tap, we give ourselves the opportunity to be aware of how things in our lives come, go, and transform, which makes us less likely to take them for granted.  Instead, we can, for even a moment, be awake to the transitory blessing they are.  And, certainly, we can carry this habit out into the larger world, applying it to whatever we find ourselves doing or encountering.

Turning on the Water:  Water flows from high mountain sources.

Water runs deep in the Earth.

Miraculously, water comes to us and sustains all life.

Thich Nhat Hanh

photo thegreenj

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Excerpts from :- How Meditation Can Help You Get Calm, Relaxed, Healthy & Happy.    http://www.thedailyzen.org/2012/02/4-informal-ways-to-meditate.html

1. By cultivating awareness, meditation can help you find peace in the present moment.  
In some forms of meditation, you practice non-judgmental awareness of the present moment by bringing your attention to the cycles of your breath. This centers you in the present moment whenever your mind wanders into the past or the future. By learning to keep the mind’s temporal pendulum in the center, you become mindful in every moment, even when you’re under pressure. Anxieties and traumas from the past begin to fade as you become more involved in the present and less fixated on the story of how you got here. Experiences that previously appeared dull and bland become textured and nuanced leading you to be more involved and interested in your life.
2. By bringing your mind into sharp focus, meditation can help you be your best.
In these forms of meditation, you keep yourself focused on a visualization, a chant, music, a person’s voice, a prayer, or some other object of attention. You may be instructed to imagine a desired future or re-contextualize past experiences.  After a short period of time you’ll, find yourself drawn into your focus and you’ll be effortlessly attentive. This state is very similar to a trance and is extremely useful for achieving specific goals like overcoming fears, becoming more productive, or letting go of dependencies. Many athletes and business-people practice this form of meditation without even realizing that they’re meditating. It can also be of great benefit for spiritual growth such as gaining greater compassion, acceptance, and universal love.
3. When you transcend your ego, meditation helps you discover yourself.
In these forms of meditation, the ideal outcome is to transcend the ego and intellect and directly experience a deeper, unbounded aspect of the self. …………………..Most techniques in this category use mantras (simple repetitive sounds), chosen for their calming effect and sometimes specifically tailored for the individual. Unlike the focus techniques, though, you’re not supposed to keep your mind fixated on the mantra, but rather go through a cycle of repeating it and letting it go; allowing the mind to follow the mantra into quieter states of consciousness.
4. When you control your breath, meditation energizes your body.
You may be surprised to know that some forms of meditation are supposed to energize the body and mind rather than calm it. When you hear someone say “exercise is my meditation,” this is what they are talking about. The runner’s high is a well known experience in which inner calm is combined with maximum performance. However, you don’t have to be an athlete to experience runner’s high and athletes could benefit greatly from refining it. The most common techniques for energizing the body revolve around breath control. In India, the subtle energy flow from the breath is called “prana.” In China, it’s referred to as “chi,” but whatever you call it the result is the same. The nervous system is stimulated and balanced leading to a feeling of flow. In this state, you feel tapped into a deeper source of energy; you’ll be less prone to injuries when you run and you’ll be able to move deeper into your yoga poses.

4 Informal Ways to Meditate

We sometimes think of meditation as being this rigid activity that must be performed under such and such circumstances.  Seated Zen practice is the ideal, but not the only option.  Meditation isn’t about sitting there and thinking you’re doing something important; it’s about detaching from thought and existing as purely as one can in the present moment.  

As you can imagine, this can be achieved in many activities.  In Zen monasteries, every menial day-to-day activities are attended to as means of meditation.  Monks ritually clean the floors, do their dishes, trim the bushes outside and rake the gardens.  There are a remarkable amount of meditative activities.  Here’s a very short list…

1.  Do the dishes.

“A monk asked Zhaozhou to teach him. Zhaozhou asked, “Have you eaten your meal?” The monk replied, “Yes, I have.” “Then go wash your bowl”, said Zhaozhou.  At that moment, the monk was enlightened.”

Living in a basic utilitarian apartment without space for a fancy dishwasher, my roommates and I share the responsibility of dish-washing.  I often find myself doing them as a form of meditation.  The repetition of an activity like cleaning a bowl or a utensil (which pile up to incredible heights over time, might I add) serves a similar purpose to counting the breath or repeating a mantra.  The whole point is just to practice mindfulness.  

2.  Walk.
Walking is akin to sitting with your eyes closed.  That sounds ridiculous, right? Not at all.  It’s been said that closed eyes are like a ‘movie screen for the ego’.  When you close your eyes and try to meditate for the first time, thoughts bombard you from every which way.  

Walking involves a similar level of constant stimulation.  As you walk, your field of view is constantly changing, and you have no choice but to pay attention to it.  Meditative walking involves treating the sights you come across as one treats thoughts in meditation.  Just let them pass naturally and don’t dwell.

3.  Clean your desk.
This is another highly productive meditative task.  Throw things away.  Sort papers.  Clean your keyboard.  Do some dusting.  Before long, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in these activities.  Your desk will also end up pretty damn clean.  

4.  Eat
I’ve discussed this before here.  Fully involve yourself with your food.  Stare at it.  Smell it.  Savor each bite.  This is preferably done in private, since you don’t want to be the strange person at the restaurant who looks like he’s about to make passionate love to his food.  

Modern culture teaches us to wolf food down in mass quantities without any appreciation or acknowledgement of what we’re eating.  Take a minute and meditate on the act of eating.  You’ll enjoy your food more, eat less compulsively, and find mindful tranquility in the process.

 

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

 

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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Zen Flash

The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves "inside the skin" of the other. We "go inside" their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering. </p><p>Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another's suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, "to suffer with.</p><p>So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person.</p><p>Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice DEEP LOOKING directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha.</p><p>~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~
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The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other. We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person.

Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice DEEP LOOKING directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not…

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Does Mindfulness Stress You Out?

Excerpts from     Does Mindfulness Stress You Out?.

What Is Mindfulness?

………….“We are not trying to actively achieve a state of deep relaxation or any other state for that matter, while practicing mindfulness… But increasingly, by opening to an awareness of how things actually are in the present moment, we often taste very deep states of relaxation and well-being-of both body and mind.”

Perhaps it’s helpful to list a few terms that point to the essence of mindfulness:

  • Awareness
  • Presence
  • “Being” rather than “doing”
  • Quieting the mind
  • Stillness
  • Attentiveness
  • Non-judgmental noticing

Mindfulness is not a modern spiritual movement. It’s not a new-age fad. It’s simply you at your most natural state of being. It’s a practical everyday phenomenon that you’ve already experienced without even labeling it. Have you ever just stared into the flame of a flickering candle? Or the intricate petals of a flower? Have you watched the twitching nose of a sleeping puppy? That was mindfulness. It required nothing of you other than to be there.

Then Why Does The Concept Stress Me Out?

There’s a lot of pressure to be perfectionist in our pursuits. Perhaps you’ve read a book or watched the news and internalized someone else’s idea of what it means to be mindful. Maybe you tried it a few times and determined that your experience didn’t match up with their description of what it should feel like. So you got frustrated and you quit. “It’s too hard.” “I’m terrible at it.”

I’m here to say that you’re not terrible at it. You don’t have to subscribe to a method, you don’t have to attend a retreat, you don’t have to spend any money, and you don’t have to expect a certain outcome. That statement will threaten a lot of people- the money makers, the retreat schedulers, the devout practitioners of a certain faith. Frankly, I don’t care. I’m not a shareholder.

So How Should I Approach It?

Like I mentioned earlier, try staring into a gently flickering flame. Pick a flower and explore its perfect imperfections. Engage your senses by smelling the flower, feeling its petals, noticing how your feet come into contact with the floor, the entire experience of just being in that moment.

………….Your mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be involved with right or wrong. It doesn’t have to feel a certain way or produce a certain result. Maybe it will have certain results – and you can simply notice those as they arise. In that moment.

find stillness to cure the illness

“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Silence is a source of great strength.” ~Lao Tzu

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on twitter .

It’s a busy day, and you’re inundated by non-stop emails, text messages, phone calls, instant message requests, notifications, interruptions of all kinds.

The noise of the world is a dull roar that pervades every second of your life. It’s a rush of activity, a drain on your energy, a pull on your attention, until you no longer have the energy to pay attention or take action.

It’s an illness, this noise, this rush. It can literally make us sick. We become stressed, depressed, fat, burnt out, slain by the slings and arrows of technology.

The cure is simple: it’s stillness.

Pause

Take a minute out of your busy day to do this little exercise: pause in the middle of all you have to do, all that’s going on around you. Close your eyes, and sit still. Breathe in, and breathe out, and pay attention to your breath as it comes in and goes out. Just sit still, for about a minute.

This stillness might seem like inaction, which we’re taught is a bad thing. It’s lazy, it’s passive, it’s against our Puritan work ethic. And yet, this simple inaction can change our world.

Stillness calms us. It gives us a small oasis of quiet that allows us to hear our thoughts, that allows us to catch our breath, that gives us room to breathe at all. It is the antibody to the stress and rush we feel daily.

“Activity conquers cold, but stillness conquers heat.” ~Lao Tzu

The Strength of Stillness

Stillness has a calming effect on the world around us as well. By becoming still, we cause others to pause, to pay attention. Our quiet also quiets others. We set the mood for those who work and otherwise interact with us.

When we rush and set a frenetic pace, it stresses others and inspires them to rush frenetically too. Stillness has the opposite effect. It slows the world down, allows us to focus, gives us time for contemplation, for what matters most.

It takes strength to be still when others rush. It takes courage to be different, to go against the stream. But while others might think us weird at first, that’s OK. Sometimes it’s the weird ones that make the most difference. And soon, as our stillness inspires others to find stillness of their own, we won’t be the weird ones — we’ll be the ones with wisdom.

It takes strength to find stillness when the world around us is a chaos of activity, but it’s a strength that’s in us, and we need only to find it. Paradoxically, it’s stillness that will allow us to find that strength. Be still, look within, and it’ll be there.

Finding Stillness

It’s pretty simple, really, and you don’t need me to tell you to do this: to find stillness, you just need to take the time to sit still, every day that you can.

Find a time in the morning, when the world is still fairly quiet, to sit still. Don’t do anything, don’t plan your day, don’t check email, don’t eat. Just sit, and learn to be comfortable being still.

In practice, we’ll gradually find that comfort, and we’ll become good at it. If mornings are no good, find time during your lunch break, or after work, or just before you go to bed.

Find a place to be still. It can be a chair in your house, or a front porch, or the roof. It can be a park bench, or the beach, or a path in the woods. Let this be a ritual that you come to look forward to.

From this small place of stillness, calm will carry to the rest of your day, radiating like a soothing force. You’ll be calmer throughout the day, and learn to find little pockets of stillness everywhere: when you first start your workday, when you are ready to sit down and create, when you’re about to eat, when you are ready to exercise, during a meeting, even.

Practice, regularly. Practice, and learn. Practice stillness, and the stillness becomes a canvas upon which you can paint the masterpiece of your life.

“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson