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Vipassana Meditation: Is It Wrong To Want?

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

As I continue my travels in South America on a journey of self discovery, I had the opportunity to head back into Colombia and attend the first 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat to be held in Cali.

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The Vipassana course as taught by S.N. Goenka is a unique meditative experience. It follows the technique given by Guatama the Buddha in its purest form.

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The discourses by S.N. Goenka that are shown during the course intentionally break down the teachings of Gautama the Buddha to the very bare bones so that his ancient Vipassana technique remains available to anyone of any faith or no faith.

S.N. Goenka recently passed away, but the courses on how to become completely happy and free from all suffering will continue to be held in cities all over the world. And they are always free. Having completed a course, participants give a donation as they feel fit and their individual situation allows.

Wholesome Actions

The course starts with sīla – moral practice – which the Buddha explained to mean ‘to commit only wholesome actions.’ A wholesome action is to be loving, kind and compassionate to every living creature, including ourselves; therefore the food served during the course is vegetarian, one cannot smoke, drink alcohol or take any form of intoxicants, and speech must be pure and wholesome. That means no complaining, no lying, no swearing, etc, and so it is for this reason, and also so that mediators can focus fully on their own experience for the duration of the course, that no talking is allowed until the final day.

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Awareness

Samādhi, the next stage, is to begin practicing awareness, or mindfulness.

We do this by practicing ānāpānasati – awareness of respiration – because whether we think about our breathing or not, we breathe. We are therefore training our mind to focus on something that we are always doing in the present moment, although we are usually unaware.

The Buddha said that our mind always wandering into the past or future is our biggest obstacle to being constantly happy. We understand that the past is gone forever and the future has not yet arrived, but we still struggle to live in the moment now and are unable to make the most of the reality as it is.

Cravings & Aversions

Paññā is the final stage and the wisdom that Gautama contributed. He found that we create immense attachment to the external and then suffer greatly from craving (wishing for something that we do not have) and aversion (wishing that something we do or will have would not be the case).

He found a way for us to not just understand but actually experience the impermanence of everything; thus becoming awakened (enlightened) to the true reality at the experiential level; in turn freeing ourselves of our suffering.

This technique he called Vipassanā – ‘to see things as they really are’.

Every moment there are electromagnetic and biochemical reactions on the body as we react to the environment around us, but it is the more intense sensations that we notice.

Whenever we are scared, our heart rate increases; when we are nervous, we sweat; when we are stressed, we develop twitches – we shiver, we shake, we itch. Every time we have reacted to intense situations in our life, we have formed a new sankhāra – or deep-rooted sensation -on the body. When we practise Vipassana meditation, all these sankhāras start coming to the surface. S.N. Goenka describes the course as carrying out a deep surgical operation on the mind, and it is a tough 10 days.

As we sit for an hour at a time in Vipassana meditation, we focus on the sensations of the body as they rise and pass away and the way that we are actually reacting to them. Initially, the sensations we experience are the unpleasant ones -itching, twitches, aches and pains – so we react with immense irritation and a desire to get up and leave, but as we continue, we begin to observe and accept without reacting. We experience the mind becoming balanced and peaceful, and feel no irritation; with time even our deepest-rooted sankhāras stop surfacing and fade away.

As we fine-tune our mind, pleasant sensations also arise as we begin to experience the mass of vibrations that are tingling all over our body, and the ephemeral nature of these particles as they continually arise and then pass away; yet we observe with equanimity and without craving.

With Vipassana meditation, one experiences directly the ultimate truth about matter –that everything is constantly changing and impermanent; the only moment is now.

So if all of our suffering comes from desiring things to be or not to be, is it wrong to want? Absolutely not!

Now when we decide we want something, we take positive action to make it happen rather than suffering because we wish it were so, but then if something we want does not happen, we can accept that situation without reacting with aversion, and then continue with further positive action.

But if we actually stop all of our suffering in the real world by remaining balanced and not reacting at all times, does this mean that we should never enjoy pleasurable experiences? Not at all. We enjoy our pleasurable experiences to the max because we understand their impermanence and so make the most of now, but by not reacting, we enjoy but we do not crave.

You are at a party with your friends, but that special someone that you really wanted to see does not show. Now you accept the situation the way that it is. You do not react with craving or aversion to the fact. You do not get annoyed or frustrated or sad and sit in a huff somewhere; instead you accept and concentrate on enjoying the situation as it is. You sing and dance and enjoy the party!

10 days of total silence meditating every day all day except for (yummy) meals, rest and lights out is an intensive crash course in a serious meditation technique. Not everyone may be ready, but if you have a real determination to give this technique your complete commitment, sort out some serious bum cushioning, and go take a course because Vipassana Meditation changed my life forever, and it can certainly do the same for you.

For more information on Vipassana courses near you click here

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If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Aquarius: Rationality & Seriousness

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We are having a Full Moon in Aquarius on July 23rd/24th. It will appear the brightest on the night of the 23rd throughout most of the world and on the night of the 24th in the time zones East of Japan. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon in Cancer on July 9th/10th.

The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its themes slowly build up after the New Moon prior.

This is a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Aquarius and the Sun in Leo. It can play out as either a conflict, an integration, or some sort of dynamic between the energies of both signs. The Moon reflects the expression of feeling and emotion while the Sun reflects the expression of ego and conscious self.

We may feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us; with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Aquarius side and others expressing the Leo side. In some cases, Full Moons can also reflect/trigger some sort of change or release.

Full Moon In Aquarius Opposite Sun In Leo

Leo season began 36 hours before the Full Moon and will continue until August 22nd/23rd. This is the sign of self-expression, creativity, love, affection, children, courage, vitality, passion, leadership, generosity, and playfulness. Ruled by the Sun, it is also about shining in our power and being in alignment with what really lights us up and gets us excited.

The negative expressions of Leo can be egotistical, self-absorbed, authoritarian, dramatic, stubborn, jealous, and hot-tempered.  As it is associated with seeking praise and attention, it can be demanding of respect and be boisterous without considering or caring about how others respond to that.

The Full Moon highlights and brings the energies of the opposing sign of Aquarius into this Leo backdrop. This is the sign of friends, networks, social dynamics, social issues, groups, teams, humanity, and being in the best interest of the collective. This energy is unconventional, idealistic, innovative, progressive, scientific, original, inventive, technological, reforming, and even revolutionary.

Negatively, Aquarius can be overly detached, aloof, unemotional, and very invested in the mind at the expense of the heart. Traditionally ruled by Saturn, it can also be unyielding when it comes to the ideas and perspectives that it has already decided on.

Both Leo and Aquarius have some similarities. They are ‘Fixed’ signs and therefore can both be determined yet stubborn. They are also both associated with originality and authenticity. In Aquarius, this comes from its unconventional and innovative attributes while in Leo it comes from being inspired by its heart centred self-expression.

Full Moon Quincunx Venus, Conjunct Saturn, & Square Uranus

This Full Moon is in a quincunx with Venus which has recently entered Virgo. Our feelings, emotions, needs, or domestic lives may be at odds with friendships, values, finances, pleasure, or matters of love. It can be hard to integrate these areas but being flexible and making adjustments can be the solution.

The Full Moon is moving towards Saturn in the same sign. This can reflect a serious energy and we may be faced with limitations, restrictions, delays, or obstacles. We or others may be emotionally distant, pessimistic, or reserved. However, this can be good for some sort of effort that requires discipline, structure, and orderliness. After the Full Moon period, some of these energies will be strong again on August 1st/2nd.

Following the conjunction with Saturn, the Moon forms a square aspect with the disruptive Uranus in Taurus. This is activating the square between Saturn and Uranus that is happening throughout the year which I’ve covered in previous articles. Themes around ‘old versus new’, ‘restrictions versus freedom’, ‘the status quo versus revolution’, ‘commitments/responsibilities versus liberation’, ‘elder versus youth’, ‘progressiveness versus tradition’ and so forth.

Jupiter Going Back Into Aquarius

Jupiter entered its home sign of Pisces in mid-May for a short stint as it is returning back into Aquarius on July 28th/29th. The planet of expansion, freedom, beliefs, perspective, education, is unrestrained in Pisces and gets to express itself more ideally in this sign. We have seen examples of this as many jurisdictions loosened up covid related restrictions during this period.

With it going back into Aquarius, a traditionally Saturn ruled sign with Saturn currently present there, Jupiter will be more inhibited until late December when it re-enters Pisces again. It’s possible that during this 5 month period may experience more restrictive measures return or new ones implemented. We may also experience this in different ways in our personal lives such as not being able to expand the way we’d like to. However, this might not be noticeable immediately.

The combination of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius (which began last December) can be good for building towards something or planting seeds pertaining to some sort of technological integration, social networking, collective or social pursuits, activism, new scientific approaches to things, and innovation.

Venus Square Lunar Nodes, Mars Opposite Jupiter

Venus will be in a square with the Lunar Nodes which will be strong from July 28th-30th. We may be reflecting on the past and future, or perhaps at a crossroads, when it comes to friendships, love, values, or financial matters. We may need to complete something and address what is holding us back  to help us move on and take a step forward in an evolutionary way when it comes to these areas of life. Venus is in Virgo so therefore discernment, details, practicality, health, organization, or efficiency may be key.

At this time Mars will be switching from Leo to Virgo while in an opposition to Jupiter. We may begin to feel the need to apply ourselves in a way that is more productive, sustainable, healthy, and clean. However, we can overextend ourselves and take on more than we can handle. This can also play out as conflicts around beliefs, perspectives, opinions, or judgements.

Mercury’s Superior Conjunction

Mercury will be in its Superior Conjunction on August 1st/2nd which is in an important phase of Mercury’s cycle with the Sun. From this point onward we may have a better perception around certain things that were seeded or occurred in the previous two months which may also help our momentum forward. .

Circumstances and developments that happen at this time can help us gain more clarity or facilitate necessary realizations to help us make the right decisions and appropriate mental focus. During this conjunction, the Sun and Mercury will be opposing Saturn which can play out as hindrances or the need to be pragmatic as part of this process.

Things To Consider

How can you balance or integrate your personal passions with the needs of the collective? How can you resolve any conflicts between leadership and a team or group? Are you experiencing any challenges or conflict between your heart and intellect? What areas of your life do you need to be more orderly, structured, disciplined, or take more seriously? Is there anything that you need to separate from? How can you apply yourself in a more noble way?

These are just some examples of themes that could come up or ways to approach this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release, it is best to do so after it begins to wane following the peak or during the two weeks afterwards when it is waning before the next New Moon. The exact peak of this Full Moon is at 2:37am Universal Time on July 24th, night of the 23rd. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Gain astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual potentials. Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

How To Embrace New Ideas & Envision A Better World

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

In this video I explore how to look in our minds and bodies for resistance towards new solutions and ideas. If we are to create a more thriving world, what has to happen within us? How do we use new and emerging solutions in a pure form, without applying the old dominance or capitalistic stories to them?

It can, very understandably, be hard to imagine something different than what we’re doing now. Especially when we consider we don’t know HOW things would change or what will happen to the current life we’ve built.

What if real global solutions involve shifting our long term plans? How do we gain a sense of comfort and stability in challenges we seek to solve at their core?

Every time I’ve been faced with some pretty big changes I had to make in my life, if I ever sensed resistance in myself, I had to find it in my body as well as navigate it in my mind.  I explain more in the video below.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

Raising Our Vibration Through Compassion & Unconditional Love

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

An internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization, the Institute of HeartMath dedicates itself to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology, and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with that of their minds at home, school, work, and play.

It’s becoming clearer to many of us that working together with kindness, compassion and acceptance are the missing pieces for resetting humanity’s fast and furious trajectory into separation and division. It’s also becoming obvious that we cannot create solutions from the same consciousness level that’s creating the problems. Raising our consciousness vibration for drawing peaceful solutions is an undertaking that calls for kindness, forgiveness and an inclusive love that respects our differences.

A large portion of their research has investigated heart and brain interaction. Researchers have examined how the heart and brain communicate with each other and how that affects our consciousness and the way in which we perceive our world. For example, when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a certain message. Because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, it can yield significant data for researchers.

HeartMath has discovered that  emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.

This is very important work, as it shows how the heart plays an important role far beyond what is commonly known. For instance, did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions, or that the human heart has a magnetic field that can be measured up to several feet away from the human body? Did you know that positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body, and that you can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions? Did you know that negative emotions can create nervous system chaos, and that positive emotions do the complete opposite? Did you know that the heart has a system of neurons that have both short term and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences? Did you know that in fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed? Did you know that a mother’s brainwaves can synchronize to her baby’s heartbeats? Did you know that the heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa?

All of these facts, published research papers, and more can be accessed at heartmath.org.

I recently came across an article published by HeartMath titled “Raising Our Vibration Through Compassion & Unconditional Love” written by Sara Childre, Pres. of HeartMath Institute and Doc Childre, HeartMath Founder. I thought I would post it below for those who are interested.

Vibrations

HeartMath and many systems use the term vibration in reference to the quality of thoughts, feelings, emotions and attitudes that are generated and influenced by our beliefs, memories, choices, environmental stimuli and more. For example, you often hear people say, “I had to leave that office, the vibes were so low it was draining my energy, or, “I felt a lift from being in her positive vibration.”

The vibration of our moods, attitudes, thoughts and feelings can rise and fall throughout the day, based on our actions and reactions to others, ourselves, or to life’s issues. The vibes we emanate to others and to the environment vary, based on our resilience for balancing our mind, emotions and disposition – especially in today’s dynamic emotional climate.

Lower-level vibrations can occur at every turn in connection with frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness, judgment, comparisons and much more. These emotions are part of being human, but it is within our power to shift out of these debilitating feelings into higher vibrational attitudes and perceptions.

An easy way to maintain a higher vibration is to interweave the qualities of our heart in our connections and interactions. These heart qualities include love, care, compassion, kindness, appreciation, forgiveness, and more. Anyone who experiences these qualities knows their power to lift our feelings into a kinder and more stress-free outlook.

Raising Others’ Vibrations

For evidence that the heartfelt intentions of one individual can raise the heart vibration of others, HeartMath cites studies it has conducted. You may be familiar with the study in which a dog’s incoherent heart rhythms became coherently aligned with a boy’s heart rhythms as he radiated intentional love and care to his dog. Go to Josh and Mable to read more.

Science tells us that human beings and all creatures radiate an electromagnetic field produced by the heartbeat. Our feelings broadcast like radio waves through this field. When you are in the presence of a group of friends, family or others, everyone’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes are intermingling in your immediate area — which HeartMath calls the field environment.

Another study, with 40 participants, explored the effects of being in a coherent field environment. The participants were divided into 10 groups of four people who were seated around a table. They were all connected to equipment that simultaneously measured their level of heart rhythm coherence. Three of the participants had been previously trained in the Heart Lock-In technique and were instructed to get into a coherent state at random times unknown by the fourth untrained person. Overall, as the coherent vibration of the three HeartMath-trained participants increased, the untrained person’s coherence level also measurably increased from being in that more coherent field environment.

Poised in Higher Vibrations

When poised in our higher vibration, we experience many benefits. Decisions and solutions flow more easily due to increased access to our heart’s intuitive wisdom; our discernment becomes more inclusive and our choices become clearer and more effective; it gets much easier to deflect frustration, anxiety, impatience and other chronic stress producers that strain our critical thinking and reasoning.

Most all of us feel more self-secure when in our higher vibrational composure, yet it can be harder to maintain in the midst of challenges and ramped up stress. We can learn to lift our vibration to meet challenges by adding heart qualities of conscious care, kindness, gratitude or compassion in our interactions. As these qualities of love move through our system, it lifts our attitudes automatically for the highest way to deal with the situation at hand.

Unconditional love and compassion are among the highest vibrations of love and are not subject to preconditions, limitations, or requirements of others. They serve the greater interest and benefit of all sentient beings and the environment in which they exist. Many people are realizing that unconditional love and compassion are from our higher consciousness potentials with the capacity for healing and attracting solutions for social transformation.

Uncountable numbers of people have experienced the benefits of compassion and more individuals are resonating with this powerful expression of love in these times of robust change. Practicing compassion is something we can do that benefits all, yet it takes heartfelt commitment to anchor this responsibility to the whole of which we are a part.

Summary of Benefits From Raising Our Vibration Levels

  • Increased care and kindness flow more automatically in our connections.
  • We are more clear-minded and self-secure in our choices and actions.
  • Our mind and emotions interact more harmoniously to suit our needs.
  • We deflect common stress triggers – frustration, impatience, intolerance, etc.
  • We are much more resilient and resistant to fears and self-doubt.
  • Our heart’s deeper care is not overridden by our disruptive mind and emotions.
  • The lift in our attitude wards off anxiety, excessive worries and overwhelm.
  • We tend to lift others and the environment when our vibration is up.
  • We are less judgmental and intolerant with others and ourselves, which prevents mega stress accumulation.
  • Lifting our vibration amplifies our intuitive heart feelings for better choices and outcomes.

Simple Exercises to Raise Your Vibration

(Adapted from exercises in the Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heart book.)

How to replace lower vibrational feelings, such as sadness, anger, insecurity, anxiety, self-judgment, rejection, etc.

1. Exercise: Find a quiet place where, for a few minutes, you can breathe easily, imagining with each breath that your mind, emotions and body are becoming still inside. In this stillness, desire the uplifting feeling you would like to have, and as you breathe, imagine breathing this new feeling into your being for a while. Imagine you are creating it with your breath.

2. Another Exercise: When feeling low, just sit quietly and imagine radiating love, compassion and stillness into your mental and emotional nature. Self-care is often allowing ourselves to have a low moment without compounding it with self-criticism. When our light is dim, it helps to give ourselves the feeling of compassionate heart warmth that we would give a child or a pet that is infirm. Even if it doesn’t stop the pain, we know it can help energetically. If we feel awkward while trying this, it helps to ask ourselves, “What’s the difference in nurturing ourselves with compassionate intention than taking the vitamins and health foods we consume for self-care?” Or, “Why do we teach kids to put their hand over a hurt area and radiate sunshine from their heart to help it feel better?” We do this because it’s a natural expression of self-compassion, with benefits to their mental, emotional and physical nature.

You can soon feel a difference when doing these exercises, unless extremely challenged. If it doesn’t work the first time, be patient and simply try again later. Being genuine makes a difference. This activates your heart energy. Practicing for a few days in a row strengthens your capacity to reset unwanted feelings and lower vibrations.

Simple exercises such as these can do more to lift your vibration than you may think. Make it fun to consciously reset your vibration throughout the day and watch your spirit lift and the stress accumulation diminish.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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