Thomas Merton, Honorable Reader: Reflections On My Work
WEBMD: Even very brief instruction in meditation appears to help people cope with pain, and a newly published brain imaging study may explain why.
After just four, 20-minute instructional sessions in mindfulness meditation, most participants in the small study experienced big reductions in pain intensity and unpleasantness when subjected to painful stimuli.
Prior to learning the meditation technique, brain imaging showed significant activity in a key area of the brain when the participants were subjected to intense heat, but this activity was reduced when they were meditating.
Sound of Flowing Cloud (by zeissizm)
When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment."
"Just try this some time. Take into your mind an image––somebody that you care for, some image that you would care to contemplate––and try to hold this image still in your mind. You will find that you are immediately thinking of other images, associated with the first; for the mind continues spontaneously to move. Yoga is the intentional stopping of this spontaneous activity of the mind stuff. It is an intentional bringing to rest of this continuous action.
"But why should one wish to do this?
"A favorite simile used in Indian discussions of this is that of the surface of a pond with its waves in action––a wind blowing over the pond and the waves moving. If you look at the surface of a pond moving in this way you will see the many reflections––many broken forms; nothing will be perfect, nothing complete; you will have only broken images before you. But if the wind dies down and the waters become perfectly still and clear, suddenly the whole perspective shifts and you are not seeing a lot of broken images, reflecting things round about. You are looking down through the clear water to the lovely sandy bottom, and perhaps you will see fish in the water. The whole perspective changes and you behold, not a multitude of broken images, but a single, still, unmoving image.
"This is the idea of yoga. The notion is that what we see when we look around, like this, are the broken images of a perfect form. And what is that form? It is the form of a divine reality, which appears to us only in broken images when our mind stuff is in action.""
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, translation by Stephen Mitchell
1. Recognize that the voice in your head is not “you”
2. Learn to observe that voice and its effect upon emotion
3. Recognize that that voice is under your control
4. Through practice learn to control that voice and to quiet it at will
Yogic meditation is a technique for reining in the inner voice and obtaining a state known as mindfulness. First described nearly 3000 years ago it is practiced by Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists and anybody else who seeks a quiet mind.
A British band and a group of scientists have made the most relaxing tune in the history of man.
Sound therapists and Manchester band Marconi Union compiled the song. Scientists played it to 40 women and found it to be more effective at helping them relax than songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay.
Weightless works by using specific rhythms, tones, frequencies and intervals to relax the listener. A continuous rhythm of 60 BPM causes the brainwaves and heart rate to synchronise with the rhythm: a process known as ‘entrainment’. Low underlying bass tones relax the listener and a low whooshing sound with a trance-like quality takes the listener into an even deeper state of calm.
Dr. David Lewis, one of the UK’s leading stress specialists said: “‘Weightless’ induced the greatest relaxation – higher than any of the other music tested. Brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain, stimulating not only those regions responsible for processing sound but also ones associated with emotions.”
The study - commissioned by bubble bath and shower gel firm Radox Spa - found the song was even more relaxing than a massage, walk or cup of tea. So relaxing is the tune, apparently, that people are being advised against listening to it while driving.
The top 10 most relaxing tunes were: 1. Marconi Union - Weightless 2. Airstream - Electra 3. DJ Shah - Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix) 4. Enya - Watermark 5. Coldplay - Strawberry Swing 6. Barcelona - Please Don’t Go 7. All Saints - Pure Shores 8. AdelevSomeone Like You 9. Mozart - Canzonetta Sull’aria 10. Cafe Del Mar - We Can Fly
“Zazen ([Zen [sitting] meditation]) is not “step-by-step meditation”. Rather it is simply the easy and pleasant practice of a Buddha, the realization of the Buddha’s Wisdom. The Truth appears, there being no delusion. If you understand this, you are completely free, like a dragon that has obtained water or a tiger that reclines on a mountain. The supreme Law will then appear of itself, and you will be free of weariness and confusion.”