Posts tagged meditation
Posts tagged meditation
I love deep, open-ended questions that invite us to ponder the meaning of life. In fact, I have a collection of questions useful in spiritual direction, and today I have more to add to the collection, thanks to a Huffington Post blog entry from Jewish writer Danny Cohen, director of Or HaLev spirituality center:
In our pathologically busy society where people are ever-more connected but actually more alienated, isolated, lonely, and longing, there is an enfeebling silence in the face of the ever-asserting question of Genesis: Ayeka, where are you amid all this?
He’s writing primarily to a Jewish audience, inviting them to become more open to a contemplative Jewish spirituality that they perhaps didn’t even know existed. He wishes they would look to their own tradition instead of to Buddhism for this meditative stance. A great many Christians probably feel the same way.
He goes on to say,
We must engage questions that are alive and do practices that make us more alive. How do I learn to see the miraculous in the mundane? How do I live close to my soul? How do I deal with anxiety, stress and depression? How do I connect to the confidence that is at my core, beyond failure and independent of accomplishment? How do I come to actually care about the other and feel our unity? What does humility mean? What is my purpose? How do I come to awe? How can I learn to be vulnerable and honest, and despite imperfection to live with the dignity that comes from honoring what is essentially human?
If you enjoy this, I encourage you to read the full article entitled The Time for a Spiritual Judaism is Now.
There’s an old saying among spiritual guides—“where attention goes, energy flows.” It’s really a basic tenet of Buddhist mindfulness. Now it’s confirmed by science.
David Rock, business coach and author of Your Brain at Work, says neuroscience has proven that attention changes the brain. And, he says, “it does so in seconds.” In other words, you may not have to meditate like a monk for long stretches of time to get the brain benefit.
In a Google Tech Talk that I highly recommend, Rock says we can learn to make “attentional choices.” That sounds like discernment to me! Rock isn’t pushing any religious agenda here, in fact, he would like people to understand that no one religious tradition owns mindfulness. That’s good news for us who are not Buddhist but do know the value of noticeably slowing the brain down by making “attentional choices.”
Quick way to do this? Focus for 2-3 minutes on one of your senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) and notice what you directly experience. When your mind wanders from direct experience to some other story in your head, go back to the direct experience. Rock says when we do this, we develop the capacity to control attention and our brain is able to function at a higher capacity.
So here’s an exercise. Spend a few moments gazing at the photo above and see what paying attention shows you.