How to Add Meditation to Your Day

How to Add Meditation to Your Day

We make time for things we want to do

So, are you ready to start meditating but unsure how to work it into your busy schedule?

I’ve been there–corporate job, two kids, husband, daily commute–sometimes insanely long (1-1/2 hours one way) and most of the time we were building a house and probably living in a camper to boot.  Exercise routines were always part of my daily activities, but meditation wasn’t a part of my life during those years, and it is clear to me now that it sure would have helped! 

Fast forward to today. Retired from corporate life now, but still as busy or busier than ever with the Inner-Revolution, but my mind is set that meditation is a priority in my daily schedule.  Four hours a day are dedicated to sitting quietly, watching my thoughts.  If I had a job, I’d still meditate for four hours a day.  We make time for things we want to do, right?  You’ve just got to tell yourself that meditation is something you want to incorporate into your life and make time for.  Where did I find the time? 

I’ve always been an 8 hours of sleep per night kind of gal.  Any less than that and I wasn’t much fun to be around the next day.  Turns out that meditation is a sort of conscious rest, so it substitutes for some of your sleep–really!  It works.  I now sleep for 5-1/2 hours at night and feel great.  That means that I picked up a whopping 2-1/2 hours for meditating just from cutting down on sleep time. 

At the time I began meditating I had already given up tv.  People were more surprised that I gave up tv than when I got a divorce–go figure!  Although I didn’t watch tv, Facebook, the black hole of Pinterest, and YouTube had replaced channel surfing (YouTube does have tons of good educational material though). I picked up another hour or so just giving up spending too much time each day piddling around on unnecessary social media. There’s probably some other time waster you can recognize in your daily routine; be honest with yourself!

You don’t have to meditate for four hours either.  If you’re just wanting to learn how to deal with stress, anger, or relax more, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night will work wonders.  To do this, all you’ve got to do is get up 30 minutes early and stay up 30 minutes later–pretty much a no-brainer.  If you want to meditate more, you’ll have to adjust your schedule.  Consistency is the key. 

I get up at 5:00 am and meditate from 5-6, then I meditate from 8-9. (During the summer I get up at 4:00 and sit from 4-6 so I can spend more time outside :-)) I then sit for an hour after lunch, and again from 9-10. This schedule could easily be adapted to a work schedule by getting up 2 hours earlier (it is possible, just takes getting used to) rather than the 8-9 session, and juggling the mid-day session. It could even be broken up into 2-30 minute sessions. 

Why do I sit four hours?  Because there is a part of me that will live forever. It’s the “me” part–that spark of aliveness. I want to get to know this part of me and I want to know what life is really like.  Avi teaches that life is totally different from what we know it as, and that if you sit and watch your thoughts enough, you will have a definite physical experience of realizing the Truth about who you really are and about life that cannot be questioned or denied. That’s what Jesus called being “born again”. That’s what Buddha was teaching. That’s what Avi is talking about. That’s what I’m seeking.

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Sit Down and be Quiet

Sit Down and be Quiet

How many times have you heard that in your life?  How many times have you told someone else those words?  It’s funny how the first 2-3 years of a child’s life we are teaching them to stand up and walk, and to talk.  The next 15 years are spent telling them to sit down and be quiet.  What a contradiction! If there was one piece of advice that could be considered the most important piece of advice for someone, it would have to be “sit down and be quiet”. 

The modern world has gotten crazy.  Constant external stimulation from the news media, social media, keeping our cell phones with us continuously …. When do we have time to just sit quiet and relax?  Avi’s blog post “What is Mysticism?” is a wonderful start to figuring out how to be quiet and to learn how to appreciate what we can’t see in life.  Quiet is where the magic is. 

We are all familiar with three dimensions:  a point, a line, and space.  Well, when we are still and quiet we can experience the fourth dimension.  That’s where all the stuff is that fills the space in between the dots and lines and shapes in our shallow three-dimensional world.  Stuff like memories, love, the “self”… things that can’t be smelled, touched, measured or even seen. This dimension is what we are missing in our lives today and people just won’t even slow down long enough to notice. There are a couple of videos on the Inner-Revolution YouTube channel concerning the fourth dimension; definitely worth checking out!  (Link below, but finish reading the post ?

“Sit down and be quiet” is really another definition for meditation, but that word scares a lot of people too.  Meditation isn’t anything fancy; it’s just sitting quietly to relax your body and to start training your mind to be still as well.  We are covered up in thoughts every minute of every day of our lives so we don’t even realize it as something abnormal, but it is.  The natural state of a human mind is quiet; to be useful when needed, and quiet when not.  A good way to describe our minds would be like a continuously running chainsaw that you could pick up and use when you needed it, but otherwise it’s still running.  Once you get a taste of “quiet mind” you’ll be trying to find the “off” switch on that saw every chance you get. 

“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” is another saying I was plagued with as a child.  I can see the good intentions, but to torture a child with the belief that the devil is gonna get you if you’re not thinking about something all the time sure has its drawbacks. An idle mind is a wonderful thing!  Sure, we have to carry on our daily responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean that we have to keep our minds full-to-overflowing all the time. 

Sit down and be quiet.  Let the magic happen.

P.S. Here’s the link to the YouTube video on “Exploring the 4th Dimension – Memory” .

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This Moment

This Moment

Come sit by me child

I want to share with you the greatest secret

that has ever been shouted from the highest mountain,

sung by every bird, whispered by every leaf.

Falling on ears deafened with thoughts

of wealth, success, fame and fortune,

to be enjoyed by what? This form that you call you,

that will be reclaimed by Mother in the blink of an eye.

Come see with me child.

It is life….Life at its grandest! Take a deep breath,

that is life.  Take a sip of water,

that is life.  See the bird flying over there?  That is life.

The plants, animals, even the planet is alive with this moment.

Can’t you see it?  Can’t you feel it?

Existence has worked very hard to bring you this moment.

Won’t you share it with her? 

This moment is the secret. 

This moment holds everything

Everything you need

All she wants is for you to slow down and take time to notice.

Sit still and notice.

Don’t worry about tomorrow,

for it may never come.

Don’t worry about yesterday,

it is gone.

Sit so very still that your body disappears.

Breathe so very lightly that all you can think of is

breathing as quietly as you can.

In that moment, when your body is gone and

your thoughts are gone,

you will realize that you are existence

You are the bird, you are the leaf, the air and the water.

This body is only a temporary vehicle in which to traverse this world.

You are not of this world.

Others have told you before.

Jesus said, “It is not there, it is within you

Seek and you shall find.  Knock and the door will open”.

It is a narrow path, and rightfully so.

Buddha called it “nothingness” and it is

eternal bliss.  No doing, no desiring, no pain.

Come be with me child

Be still.  Be patient.

Only those intent on discovering what lies in this moment

Will know what lies in eternity.

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Chusi and her babies

Chusi and her babies

Back in September we noticed a stray squash vine growing, just off the back steps, with several green squashes on it.  The fruits really couldn’t be identified as any one specific squash, as it was a volunteer plant, and squash plants interbreed very readily. 

Avi kept his eye on these squashes for a couple of weeks and one morning I heard him yelling, Terry, Terry, come here!  I went out there and he pulled back the leaves of the plant and lo and behold, there laid Chusi, a beautifully colored, perfectly healthy, nice size—- ummmm RATTLESNAKE!!!  Avi said he had his face down in the plants and just happened to see her out of the corner of his eye, just inches from his face. 

I use the word “her” with confidence, because the next day she began having babies (omg).  We really wanted to relocate her but couldn’t find anyone available to do so, so we decided to just let nature take its course.  I had to chuckle at one phone call we made to a “wildlife removal specialist”—she said “could you take a picture of the snake and send it to me so I can verify that it is a rattlesnake?”  I told her that I could, but she was coiled up with the rattle right next to her head and she wiggled it when we got too close! 

Every few hours we would check and there would be another baby.  And then another.  And another.  When she was finally through multiplying, there were six baby rattlesnakes!  Seeing all the babies all wadded up in a pile was a little unnerving, sort of like one of those bad dreams you might have once in a while, but everyone remained calm throughout the entire ordeal. 

Of course we checked “the Google” to see what the behavior of a rattlesnake having babies would be, and turns out that the babies stick around mom until they’ve all molted, about a week or so.  Sure enough, they all molted, one-by-one.  Nat Geo at our back door! 

The Google also said that mama would be very hungry after giving birth.  She was.  We checked after a few days and she had an enormous bulge in her mid-section that stayed for about two days.  She didn’t move for about 3 days, just basked in the sun while her babies danced and played all around (lol)! 

After about 20 days I went out and had a talk with her.  All the babies had moved along and I told her that she was welcome for the secure place to have her babies but that it was time to move on.  She did.

BTW, the name “Chusi” is “snakeflower” in Native American language.

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Why I Dumped Religion

Why I Dumped Religion

“Life is much more of an individual responsibility than the church wants us to believe.”

I didn’t grow up in a “religious” household.  I mean we didn’t pray before we ate, but we did the cursory “Now I lay me down to sleep” at night, and we didn’t attend church as a family.   My parents took my sisters and me to a Baptist church and dropped us off.  Then they would go back home until it was over and then come back to pick us up. I always wondered “why?”

Then “it” happened.  I was twelve years old, had just finished choir practice on a Sunday afternoon, and the choir director said, “If anyone here hasn’t accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior you are going to hell.”  WHAT?  Going to hell?  What have I done so wrong to deserve to go to hell if I died today?  

So, I did the most natural thing to do.  I went up front and told him I didn’t want to go to hell.  That’s it.  Nothing else, I just didn’t want to go to hell.  The next step was to say this in front of the whole church—scary!  When the invitation time came at the end of the next church service, I went up front and stood in front of the preacher.  I was mortified and couldn’t speak.  Not an  “in the spirit “ sort of way, just terrified of being in front of all those grown-ups!  He sort of guided me through the appropriate things to say, I was dunked in the lukewarm water of the baptistry a couple of weeks later (I always wondered if people peed in that water) and I was saved—whew!  No hell for me.  I did always wonder what about everyone who never heard of Jesus?  What about all the millions of people who lived before him?—I got no answers, and that was just the beginning of questions without answers. 

Fast forward to adulthood, several years of not going to church, then my late husband and I decided to go to church.  We selected a Baptist church and started attending.  It was wonderful.  The preacher was one of those talking/teaching type preachers whom everyone loved.  You almost felt as if you could raise your hand and ask a question during one of his talks.  There were so many nice people close to our age, and the Sunday school class was amazing…. Everything was going great.  Then the preacher “got called” to Texas—for more money, I’m sure. 

The church leaders set up a pulpit committee to find another pastor.  They searched for about a month or so, and one Sunday morning we heard “Dr. Wonderful”.  He stepped up to the podium, started shouting and slobbering, blowing his nose and crying, and it was like that throughout the entire sermon.  It was really hard to get past all the drama to hear a message.  The “hallway talk” was that no one liked him and we were worried that he might get chosen.  I’m serious—I heard of no one who liked the man. 

A business meeting was called for one Wednesday night, and if you know anything about Baptist churches in the South, you know that Wednesday night has a very light crowd.  This Wednesday night the church was packed—probably 350-400 people came to vote.  The chairman of the pulpit committee stood up and asked for everyone in favor of the pastor to say “Aye” and someone shouted out “Let’s have a written vote”.  The chairman went nuts!  They didn’t want people to vote their true opinions.  Ended up that we didn’t do the “aye” thing, but actually had to stand up—lol. 

Here’s the dramatic ending—when he asked who was in favor of this man, THE ENTIRE CHURCH stood up except for my husband and me and one other couple.  We were dumbfounded.  When he asked who was opposed, we four stood up, gathered our belongings, and walked out.  I was appalled at the blatant display of hypocrisy!  Everyone was afraid to express their opinions in front of their fellow church-goers. 

I was always told oh, just look over the people in the church, it’s the Lord you’re seeking.  Excuse me—religion IS people.  Church IS people.   Since that time, I’ve figured out that what Jesus was teaching is an individual thing, it is inside us, it can’t be found in a church, and it’s not hanging on a cross. We’re not born sinners, we’re just born.  One man dying cannot save the entire world–if you think about that, it’s a ridiculous idea!  Jesus said that the way is narrow and few will enter.  Sooo, another question I have is, if the way is narrow, then how can it be the right way if soooooo many people are going that way?  If Jesus were to come back tomorrow he would be astounded that we’ve clung to the cross instead of his teachings.  He wanted us to be free, and all religion has done is put shackles and blinders on people so they have absolutely no idea that Truth even exists, and much less where or how to find it. 

I’ve also learned that the Bible has been grossly misinterpreted and edited, and nobody is going to hell—or heaven for that matter.  Life is much more of an individual responsibility than the church wants us to believe.  The Bible was written by men, edited by men, used for political purposes, and shoved down people’s throats with threats to kill them if they didn’t accept it. 

This, along with questions like If they knew that Jesus was so special when he was born, then why wasn’t someone following him around taking notes and remembering stories? He didn’t show back up in the Bible until he was in his 30’s.  If he could walk on water then why hasn’t anyone else?  Why is he called “Jesus of Nazareth” when there wasn’t even a town called Nazareth?  How did Noah fit 2 of every animal on one boat?  If we were created naked, then what’s so freaking bad about being naked?  Why can’t anyone explain what the Kingdom of Heaven is?  Are we going to wear robes and sing all the time?  That won’t be fun, and honestly, really, none of it makes a bit of sense. 

Getting rid of the religious “baggage” has been without a doubt the most liberating experience possible.   I’m on the spiritual path now, under the guidance of an amazing teacher, Avi.  The path is narrow because it’s not easy.  Jesus said to keep knocking and it will happen.  I’m knocking relentlessly, have never been surer of anything before, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. 

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Inside the head of a meditator

Inside the head of a meditator

When you observe a person meditating, all looks calm and serene.  Well, looks can be deceiving!  Unless you are looking at an experienced, well-seasoned meditator, it’s most likely not all calm and serene in there. 

See, the purpose of meditation is to step away from the constant ramblings of the mind.  When we are going about our daily business, we let our mind do whatever it wants to and most of the time we’ll do what it tells us to.  For example, the mind says:  “Eat chocolate”.  You’re not hungry and you don’t even have any chocolate, but your mind is not going to quit saying “chocolate” until you actually find some and satisfy that craving.  Annoying, isn’t it?  Or, your mind wants to think about something that happened two years ago and it keeps bringing up the thought, like a continuous tape recording. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to suppress those thoughts while you’re awake and doing daily tasks, but still you can distract yourself with other doings.  Imagine sitting still with NO distractions.  Hmmmm.  That’s what meditation is.  You keep watching the thoughts in your mind until they finally get fed up and go away.  Thoughts travel in packs, too.  You let one come in and others will follow. 

Here’s how a meditation sitting might sound (from inside the head of a meditator):

“Relax, breathe deep, watch your breath.  Don’t let the mind wander.  In…. out…….out. Hmmm this feels nice. Relaxed, calm.  Uh, I think we’re almost out of coffee, gotta add that to the list.  I like coffee.  Do I get too much caffeine?  Be quiet, focus on the breath, but don’t forget to add coffee to the list. 

Breathe in and out, focus on the breath…. Man, I’ve got so much to do, why am I sitting here breathing?  Oh yes, it’s to get rid of you – mind.  I want control of my life.  Now stop arguing with me so I can properly meditate.  Don’t forget coffee.

Breathe…… I miss mom and dad.  Wish I could have introduced them to meditation, I think mom would have been fascinated.  She probably wouldn’t have meditated, maybe would have just been fascinated with it.  Breathe one, breathe two ….. damn it’s hard not to think!  Focus, you can do it. “

At this point in time, probably 10 minutes or so into meditation, the mind will settle down if you just watch the thoughts and don’t get carried away with them.  So after a few minutes of quiet stillness in the head, here it goes again:

“It sure is cool this morning.  Reminds me of the camping trip to Colorado last year.  I didn’t get cold in the camper though.  Sure was a fun trip….. STOP!!!!   Not going to follow you into the vacation replay, mind!!”

I’ve shared this experience with Avi, and he says it’s very normal and that even experienced meditators have random thoughts to squelch during meditations.  They’ve just been practicing long enough to be able to step away from the thoughts much quicker.  It just takes time. 

I’m only one year into meditation and have been intensely (4 hours per day) meditating for 10 months now and I can say that the periods of absolute quiet, no thoughts in my head are simply “wow” and amazing.  It’s like a drink of water after a long hike on a hot summer day.  Right now I’m working my way through the brush and brambles to get to the cool drink of water!

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A day of silence

A day of silence

My spiritual journey began, in a serious way, about a year ago.  When I say serious, I mean meditating for several hours a day and studying with a spiritual teacher (Avi) for guidance.  I listen to his talks twice a day and am always on the lookout for ways to deepen my spiritual quest……


I can’t say that I talk a lot, but I do talk—I’m a woman!  Supposedly women speak two to three times more than men do. Maybe it’s because we’re more intelligent, hence we’ve got more to share— lol!  So, a couple of weeks ago we decided to have a day of silence. Yes.  Silence.  One whole day.

Most of it wasn’t that difficult. Since I have lived by myself so many years, I have no trouble being alone and not speaking.  I do converse with the dogs throughout the day, and when I’m with the chickens or the bees—yes, I’m talking.   I do have arguments and discussions with myself, but those are normally internal.  Occasionally words slip out, but mostly the discussion is within.  So, although it wasn’t difficult, it was still very different than a normal day.

 Several observations were made during the day:

I really talk a lot more than I thought I did. Several—SEVERAL—times during the day I found myself ready to open my mouth and spout out an observation I had or a thought that I wanted to share, and I had to remember—keep your mouth shut!

Most of the things said during a typical day are just not necessary. The world is too full of noise, and I discovered that I was contributing to my own noise.  By not speaking for one day I realized that most of what I was saying was just unnecessary babble. 

I found myself just ignoring other people around me because I couldn’t talk to them. Maybe that was my way of not tempting myself to speak, maybe I need to work on my nonverbal communication skills.  

I found it liberating! To be with someone and not have to come up with something to say—you know what I’m talking about!  It’s so nice just to be with someone and be quiet without that uncomfortable feeling of silence.  When everyone knows that it is a “quiet day”, it’s an amazing feeling of freedom. 

The one time during the day when I did have to say something was while someone was helping me take down a set of scaffolding and he was zigging with the walk board and I was zagging with him, so I had to whisper the words “keep it in the center” to avoid a possible injury. Other than that, no words were spoken all day long.

This exercise is supposed to help quiet the mind as well.  I can see where that would work if one were to practice silence on a regular basis, say one or two days a week.   If carefully planned, a day of silence per week would be totally do-able as long as the folks around you are okay with it.  I’ll be adding “less talking” to my repertoire of spiritual tools.

The wonderful song from the 70’s was right—“Silence is Golden”.

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