“He’s Pointing to His Ass. What Do I Say?”— A Medium’s Dilemma

In my ongoing quest to understand the nature of reality, the metaphysician's calling, I return time and again to the experience of having a reading by a medium. A powerful, compelling reading in which details regarding a loved-ones previous life, or some particular bit of information that only you could know comes through is spectacular evidence for survival of consciousness after death.

Skeptics continue to discount such medium experiences as "wishful thinking" or such tactics as the "cold reading" in which, they say, the medium throws out random statements until something familiar is grasped.  Then in an act of wishful thinking you  interpret it as some amazing revelation. This is nonsense. For those of us who are aware enough, intelligent enough to evaluate information in a dispassionate way, we understand what an amazing experience a good reading can be.

My interactions with a medium from NJ A.H. several years ago were quite fascinating. Meeting him privately I was afforded some insight into what it is like to BE a medium. A reading, from the medium's perspective, is challenging on many levels. Many books written by mediums explain the process. It involves putting themselves into a meditative state, "raising" their intuitive energy levels, connecting with spirit and finally interpreting what images, sounds, sensations they receive. At times the interpretation is the most difficult.

I recently related one of A.'s  readings to someone is has never had a reading. I have changed some aspects of this story but not the essentials. A. received a frantic call from a distraught widow. Apparently her husband had just died and his wishes were to have a joyous funeral. Her grief was overwhelming and she felt unable to follow his wishes. She was advised to seek a reading with A. It might somehow help.

 He reluctantly agrees to see her that day. He described to me the image he receives. It was of a tall middle-aged man who was standing, facing him. The man turns around, lowers his pants and points with his left hand to the left cheek of his ass. Now A. is completely baffled. What does he say to the grieving widow? He asks her if her deceased husband was a practical joker?

 She looks horrified, then angrily replies, "No ! What are you talking about?" A. knows he's in trouble but can't ignore the image before his mind's eye. He tries to communicate with the soul and obtain other information. Soon the disembodied energy is repeating the image–turning around, dropping his pants and pointing to his left cheek. But now another thought comes to A., "Did your husband have a birthmark on his left buttock?"

This time the woman the woman beams through her tears, "Yes! Yes! He did! Oh my God, it's him. His soul does live on. Thank you so much. I think I can go on with this funeral and celebrate his life."

A. smiled at me. " You see how difficult this job really is.  I do communicate with souls who have crossed over. But the process is not so easy."

I offer this story to make several points.  1} Mediumship is real. I can personally vouch for A.'s honesty.  He, and others, truly communicate with discarnate entities/souls.  2} the process is imperfect.  It requires interpretation and this is an imperfect process.

But for those metaphysicians among us, those seekers of ultimate truth about the nature of reality, the experience is truly worth it.

PLAY YOUR EMOTIONS — Don’t Let Them Play You

How do you feel right now?

Are you serene, happy, agitated, relaxed, agitated, tense, depressed, —-or some variation or combination  of all of the above? Notice how these feelings may change from moment to moment. What is behind these floating, transforming feelings?  Our minds.

In truth,  the objective events in our lives most likely haven't changed as rapidly our our feelings. So logically we are being "played" by our minds. Our moment to moment feelings reflect our mind's floating and everchanging interaction with its own thoughts.

The first step in dealing with our emotions and feelings is to recognize their source–our minds. One powerful tool by which we can accomplish this realization is through meditation. It simply and elegantly demonstrates a tool for dissociating ourselves from our feelings.

Now this is not an attempt to reject our feelings or to escape them. It is a tool for awareness. It allows our minds to understand that our higher Self is not those thoughts or emotions. We put ourselves into the position of the observer, at least during our meditation time. This is not an attempt to escape from the reality of our lives.  It is an exercise in metaphysical exploration of who we truly are.  This reflects the distinction between "nonattachment" and detachment.  The former is a Buddhist term to describe a the goal of consciousness, the later is an unhealthy form of escapism.

 We understand that we will most likely return to our ordinary state of consciousness in which we become those fleeting and chaotic thoughts and feelings. But for a few moments we have some insight which may help us throughout our day. With practice we may begin to recognize when our feelings change during our day and seek to understand what is behind this change.

We may recognize that we have received some information from the outside world which pleases or upsets us. However, we may just as often be unaware of what triggers these change in feelings. It may be that we have entered a pattern of flow, when our plans seem to be unfolding, when a blockage of some sorts is released.

A true challenge involves seeking to back away from the reflexive, reactive feelings  and seek a state of relative serenity. Meditation may the training tool to help us achieve a bit of control.

Clearly this is not easy to accomplish.  And I am not advocating remaining passive in the face of unfair treatment.  Reasonable and rational responses to being mistreated or wronged is always necessary.  But the key is to balance the appropriate response with a return to a serene mental state.  Our emotions can continue to "play" us even when doing so is not only unproductive but actually counterproductive.  Persistent anger, anxiety and frustration can result in negative physical as well as mental consequences.

But at the very least realizing how our mind creates our feelings  offers more insight into the nature of who we are and offers some remedy for healing.

VACATION 2011 — Leave the Ipad. Take Meditation

Does anyone truly go on vacation these days? 

 By that I mean, are we  really capable of escaping from the stresses of daily life by physically changing our location? 

Do we take our cell phone, I pad, laptop with us wherever we go?  Then unfortunately we are still wired, linked, connected to our sources of stress.  And whether we are sitting on a ski lift in Colorado, or a beach chair in the south of France, we are not truly on vacation.

After all, people will continue to contact us, business decisions may still be required of us.  We are still receiving news about terrorism, war, earthquakes, hurricanes, stock market debacles, financial crises in Greece etc. etc.

Technology has demolished the notion that any of us are truly "away" and cannot be reached.

It is almost impossible to believe that until a decade ago, people did escape from their daily toil……and the universe did not collapse.  The world really did go on without our personal participation.

So if physical travel is not the solution to vacations (we still need to change our physical scene and break our daily routines), how does our mind find rest?

And please take note–I did reference our mind.  Because it is truly were we reside.

 It is who we are.  It is the location of our personal heaven or hell.

The solution may just be meditation.

Meditation directs us to explore the nature of our minds.  We learn to gracefully and mindfully investigate what occurs there.  I invites us to observe what goes on, to witness our own thoughts,  with less emotional attachment than we are accustomed to.

Ordinarily every thought is accompanied by an emotion.  Whether that emotion is minimal or powerful depends on how attached we are to the thought. 

One of the goals of meditation ( I would be presumptuous to try to list them all ) is to tolerate our thoughts and feelings.  And to find some degree of tranquility and serenity in their presence.

The mindfulness approach is based upon returning to the focused attention on our breath.  When our mind wanders and attaches to a thought/emotion we recognize this fact the return our attention to the breath entering and exiting through our nostrils.

Allow our minds to be in the present moment.  If we are physically present in the beauty of nature, allow our minds to reside there as well.  Meditate on the breath and allow nature to gently carry us along with it.

This is the only way to experience a true "vacation" in our world today. So take meditation with you. 

 Don't leave home without it.

 

 

THE ULTIMATE CREATOR — Our Minds

*We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are….Anais Nin

                                                        

*Therefore, all things are primarily controlled and ruled by the mind, and are created by the mind….if a person speaks and acts with a good mind, happiness follows him or her like his or her shadow…..Buddha

 

*As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…..Proverbs 23:7

 

*Useful as it is under everyday circumstances to say that the world exists "out there" independent of us, tha view can no longer be upheld.  There is a strange sense in which this is a "participatory universe"……John Wheeler, physicist

 

*The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived.  Subject and object are only one. …..Erwin Schrodinger, physicist

 

*The world of our experiences consists at all times of two parts, an objective and a subjective part…..the inner state is our very experience; its reality and that of our experience are one….Wm James, physician, philosopher, psychologist

 

I believe the mind is the creator of the world and is ever creating…..Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer

 

As a professional mathematician, von Neumann….is led to a particularly bizarre conclusion: that by itself the physical world is not fully real, but takes shape only as a result of the acts of numerous centers of consciousness…….Nick Herbert, physicist

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BEREAVEMENT MEDITATION FOR SAM

Sam has been suffering greatly from the passing of his beloved wife Jane. 

He tells me he cries often when thinking of her.  It has been several months since her death and, in truth, none of us can possibly know how we will react under similar circumstances.  Time it is said is always a healer and in Sam's case I believe that time will be helpful to him.  But there are many whose feelings of loss don't diminish over time.  Such emotions never disappear but can they be "healed" in a manner which allows life to go on? 

I ask myself, "is it  possible to facilitate Sam's bereavement  process, his healing, through the use of mindfulness meditation?"

In this form of meditation our  attention is drawn to the breath entering and exiting our nostrils.  But there is an underlying metaphysical assumption based on Buddhist teaching  which is extremely useful here—our higher spiritual Self is the witness, the observer of our thoughts and feelings. 

 This  is clearly an unusual concept for most of us to grasp.  We live in our minds.  We have no experience distinct from our thoughts and feelings. 

But the mindfulness meditation offers us a fascinating insight into the way the mind can work.  We focus attention on the breath and then allow the intrusion of thoughts /feelings (inevitable for us all) to float into consciousness.

 When we realize that we are thinking/feeling and not paying attention to our breath, we gently return to the breath.   We must be careful not to get frustrated or annoyed with our inability to stay focused on the breath.  How difficult could that be?  Very!

In this new concept our mind is  to be conceived of as clear and without content.  It is like a cloudless blue sky.  Thoughts slip across our mind like white puffs of clouds.  We notice them.  We do not judge them. We acknowledge their presence and quickly bring our attention back to our breath. 

Feelings follow thoughts.  Depending upon the thought itself the emotional content might be so minimal we would deny there is any emotional element whatsoever.  But this is not the case.  For instance if we think about where we are going to eat dinner, there might be very little emotional substance to it–unless we were invited to a relative's home we find quite annoying . Not so simple. Consider the intensity of feelings that flood our minds with the thought of a deceased loved one. 

The Buddhist concept of non attachment has some relevance here.  We learn to dissociate the thought from its emotional content. We are less attached to the feeling, never detached.  This is not an attempt to blunt emotion, deny our feelings, suppress them or bury them.  We need to accept a different concept of mind, of who we are.  We have thoughts and emotions, we are not them

Will mindfulness meditation allow Sam to process his thoughts of his wife in a healing way?  Will the strong emotions that can incapacitate him diminish as he begins to see himself as the witness of his thoughts and feelings?

I don't have the answer at this point.  I am about to introduce this concept to him.  I am not sure he will even try.  But I hope he will. 

 It may provide us both with a tool for healing.

 

ARE YOU A NERVOUS RAT ? (OR HUMAN)– Why Exercise Works

Another NYTimes article supports the emotional benefits of exercise–at least in rats http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/why-exercise-makes-us-feel-good/?pagemode=prin   Draw your own conclusions but it adds to the research as well as personal anecdotes confirming that exercise reduces anxiety and possibly depression.

When aggressive alpha rats were confined with punier ones, the alphas so terrorized the other guys that they exhibited "anxiety-like" behavior even when away from the alphas.

After allowed to exercise at their own pace and degree they were much less anxious when away from the aggressors.  They actually seemed "stress-resistant".  And since these rats were not training for triathlons we can assume their exercise regimens were in the moderate range for rats.

Can we draw conclusions for human beings?  And does it make any difference to the reader anyway?

The interplay of the mind and body manifest in physical symptoms.  When we have stress related thoughts, we actually "feel" those thoughts in terms of an "anxious" feeling. 

It begins with a thought, then instantaneously an emotion, then instantaneously physical manifestations.  The cascading effect of stressful thoughts is so profound and so immediate that we tend to lump them all together. Yet it is fascinating to break the stress reaction into three steps:  1) thought, 2) emotion, 3) physical reactions/sensations.  Ultimately we feel our thoughts and emotions in our body's reactions.

 We breathe more rapidly, our speech quickens, our heart rate and blood pressure increase, our palms and arm pits may sweat, our eyes may dart around more quickly.   We may feel palpitations, our necks and backs may tighten, our gastrointestinal tract may develop cramping, signaling  the need to defecate.

 Where does exercise fit into this scenario?

 In my experience, it modifies, attenuates the physical manifestations.  It breaks the third leg of the stress reaction.  In may own case the best type of exercise is aerobic.  When I run and sweat my body depletes itself of the catecholamines and adrenaline and whatever other peptides lead to the physical manifestations of stress.  I "feel" relaxed because my body is relaxed.  This, of course, does not change my thoughts or even my feelings.  But when I don't "feel" the stress in my body, I'm OK.

Those of us who have incorporated "moderate" amounts of regular aerobic exercise into our lives seem to feel better, perhaps even more "stress-resisitant".

It seems to work for me.