Displaying 28 - 36 of 47 entries.

How to Slow Your Racing Mind

  • Posted on March 18, 2013 at 12:11 am

By Charles A. Francis

Do you ever find it difficult to slow down your mind? For some of us, a racing mind is a serious problem. When we’re agitated, we have no control over our mind, and it becomes extremely difficult to meditate.

An agitated mind leads to stress and a whole host of health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. It even disrupts our relationships and sleep.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem. No matter how fast your mind is racing, you can learn how to cultivate a calm and serene mind, and the good news is that it’s a lot easier than you might think. The only catch is that you have to be willing to take a few simple suggestions.

Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners

  • Posted on January 18, 2013 at 12:42 am

By Charles A. Francis

These days, mindfulness meditation for beginners is a subject that gives rise to a great deal of confusion. With the rising popularity of meditation, it’s surprising to find that basic instruction is often overlooked. At almost every meditation group and retreat that I’ve attended, it was simply assumed the I knew how to meditate.

It took me several years of trial and error to figure out how to meditate properly. In this article, I’m going to take some of the mystery out of meditation for beginners, so you’ll learn much more quickly than I did, and start making immediate progress.

4 Tips for Staying Committed to Your Mindfulness Meditation Practice

  • Posted on December 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm

By Charles A. Francis

These days there is much talk about mindfulness meditation. You often hear about how the practice will transform your life, and how you’ll achieve a multitude of health benefits.

While there are indeed many benefits of mindfulness meditation, for many people, these benefit seem elusive because they’re having trouble getting started and staying committed to their practice.

Which of these statements best describes your experience with meditation?

  • “I’m having trouble getting started, and staying committed to my practice.”
  • “I’ve tried different ways of meditating, but I still don’t see much progress.”
  • “I’m not sure of what to do when I’m meditating.”
  • “My mind is racing, and I have trouble sitting still.”

If you answered “yes” to any of these statements, then you’re not alone. I had all these problems when I started, and so have most of the people I’ve talked to. The good news is that there is a simple approach to overcoming these problems.

Letting Go of the Past with Mindfulness Meditation, Part 2

  • Posted on October 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

By Charles A. Francis

Letting go of the past can be quite a challenge for many of us. Pleasant memories lure us back to happier times in our lives, and unpleasant memories can be filled with unresolved issues. There is nothing inherently wrong with remembering the past. Rather it’s our inability to let go of our attachment to it that keeps us from being happy in the present.

This doesn’t mean that we should forget the past. It only means that we need to stop clinging to it, if we want to find freedom from our suffering. We’ll still be able to enjoy pleasant memories. In fact, we’ll enjoy them even more when we overcome the desire to recreate them. We’ll also learn to accept unpleasant memories, because we’ll be able to accept them without expecting amends from people who have harmed us.

Letting Go of the Past with Mindfulness Meditation, Part 1

  • Posted on September 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm

By Charles A. Francis

Many of us have difficulty letting go of the past, and moving on with our lives. For some of us, it may seem down right impossible, and it can have serious consequences to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Attachment to the past is such an ingrained characteristic of the human condition that a great deal of spiritual and psychological studies are devoted to the subject.

In this two-part article series, we’re going to examine the nature of attachment from a Buddhist psychology perspective. In Part 1, we’ll see how it manifests itself to draw us to the past. We will examine it specifically from the perspective of the Five Hindrances—the obstacles to our spiritual development.

In Part 2, we’ll discuss how we can use mindfulness meditation, and other tools, to let go of our past, so we can be free of it. We will see how living in the present moment will enable us to find true happiness and inner peace.

Study Finds Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Loneliness

  • Posted on August 27, 2012 at 1:05 am

By Charles A. Francis

Loneliness is a widespread problem in Western society, especially among older adults, which doesn’t seem to get enough attention. As adults grow older, there is a tendency for them to become more isolated from their families and society in general.

A study published recently in a scientific journal found that mindfulness meditation helps older adults overcome loneliness. This is good news for seniors because loneliness is a major risk factor for various health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

Healing Childhood Emotional Abuse with Mindfulness Meditation

  • Posted on August 15, 2012 at 12:27 am

By Mary Sovran

Are you an adult survivor of childhood emotional abuse? If so, then you’re not alone. Many people have been deeply wounded and scarred as children by their tormentors. They grew up with little or no self-esteem because of being abused.

This problem can trouble you for years and cause you a great deal of pain. Believe me, I understand the problem from personal experience.

Abusers Can Be Anyone

The source of childhood emotional abuse can be from parents, siblings, other relatives and even neighbors, or you may have suffered at the hands of more than one abuser at a time.

What Enlightened People Do

  • Posted on August 6, 2012 at 1:43 am

By Charles A. Francis

In the last two articles, we talked about what enlightenment is, and the qualities of an enlightened person. In this article, we’re going to look at how enlightened people put their wisdom into action.

The mark of truly enlightened people is in the actions they take to help put an end to suffering throughout the world.

As I mentioned in my previous article, 12 Qualities of an Enlightened Person, my understanding of enlightened people is limited by how far I am along on my own spiritual path. From my studies about spiritual figures in history, and my experiences with people well along their path, I’ve identified some general activities that enlightened people engage in to bring more peace and harmony into the world. Keep in mind that their activities will vary according to how enlightened they are.

12 Qualities of an Enlightened Person

  • Posted on July 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

By Charles A. Francis

”If you think you are enlightened, go home for Thanksgiving.” ~ Ram Dass

We sometimes say that some people are enlightened, but do we really know what that means? We might say that because they are kind, loving, and insightful. While these may indeed be qualities of an enlightened person, it’s hard to be sure unless we ourselves are enlightened.

I’ve been on a spiritual path most of my life, and in my experience I’ve seen how people are transformed through spiritual practices. Here is a list of qualities that most of them attain. This is not a comprehensive list, but I think it contains some of their most prominent qualities.

Keep in mind that there are varying degrees of enlightenment. That is, everyone is at a different point in his spiritual development, and some may be more enlightened than others. Also, these qualities can be possessed by both men and women. Enlightenment is not exclusive to either sex.

1. Happiness

The enlightened person is happy and joyful. He has a cheerful disposition most of the time, and is willing to share that joy with others. He is always optimistic that all challenges have a resolution. Even though the resolution may not be the most desirable, he is confident that he is capable of being at peace with it.

2. Peaceful and Serene

The enlightened person is peaceful and serene, because he is free of fear and other unwholesome emotions. He can see that the human condition reaches beyond this physical existence, so he no longer has a fear of the unknown. He is free of worry because he understands that freedom from suffering comes from within, and not from material possessions.

3. Loving, Kind, and Compassionate

The enlightened person is loving, kind, and compassionate for two main reasons: 1) he genuinely cares about other people, regardless of whether they care about him, and 2) he knows that other people provide him with the spiritual nourishment he needs to grow, therefore, he remains spiritually open to everyone.

4. Not Self-Centered

The enlightened person is not self-centered, because he has lost the sense of a separate self. He can see the interconnected nature of our existence. To him, this is a reality, and not just a concept. He realizes that all physical manifestations (humans, animals, plants, etc.) depend on each other for their survival.

5. Emotionally Stable

The enlightened person is emotionally stable because he no longer has an ego that needs validation for its existence. He is not hurt because there is no ego to hurt. He does not get angry because he is understanding and compassionate toward those who are not as far along the spiritual path.

6. Patient and Understanding

The enlightened person is patient and understanding because he appreciates how our ignorance creates our own suffering. He understands the challenge of becoming enlightened, so he doesn’t condemn people for their missteps.

7. Humble

The enlightened person is humble. Since he knows his place in the universe, he doesn’t need validation from others. Therefore, he has nothing to prove to anyone, including himself. His humble nature allows him to be kind and gentle, and be open to everyone he encounters.

8. Insightful and Open-Minded

The enlightened person is insightful and open-minded. He is able to see the world with great clarity, without attachment to preconceived ideas about people, places, and things. This enables him to observe the world without jumping to conclusions. Belief and intuition are replaced with clarity of vision and understanding.

9. Inner Strength

The enlightened person has great inner strength. He has learned healthy ways of connecting with the sources of mindfulness energy—through healthy interactions with people, and within. He no longer has a need for the power struggles that most of us engage in.

10. Leadership

The enlightened person is a leader. Having awakened to the point of understanding the nature of suffering, he realizes his duty to help other people find freedom from suffering. He leads by example, rather than control. People follow him because of who he is and what he stands for. They want to be more like him.

11. Mindful of His Health

The enlightened person is mindful of his health—physical, mental, and emotional. He knows that his mind, body, and spirit must be in harmony in order to maintain his spiritual condition. He has developed an understanding of physical and mental health, and doesn’t blindly depend on others for his health. He is mindful of the nutrients and substances he puts into his body.

12. Committed to his Spiritual Practice

The enlightened person never forgets how he achieved enlightenment. He is also aware that it takes continuous effort to remain that way. It takes a great deal of mindfulness energy to help others along their path, so he’s aware that he needs to replenish his spiritual strength on a daily basis. Otherwise, he’ll lose his effectiveness as a spiritual messenger.

Overall, the enlightened person is mindful of himself, and the world around him. Furthermore, he is curious and willing to continue learning. He is aware that even though he can see with great clarity, developing an understanding of the true nature of our existence takes time to observe and investigate.

This is not a comprehensive list of the qualities of an enlightened person. But I think these are the most prominent. My purpose for examining these qualities is to give us a compass to guide us in our spiritual journey—a vision of the path that lies ahead.

From this list, it seems clear that enlightened people live rich and fulfilling lives. Those who achieve any measure of enlightenment do so through some form of daily meditation practice, a willingness to let go of old views, and a commitment to helping others find peace. It takes work and dedication, but it is well worth it.

Best wishes on your spiritual journey!

Adapted from “Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple: Your Guide to Finding True Inner Peace.”

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