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Archive for the ‘Mind’ Category

If there was one overriding message in my recent retreat at the Chopra Center it was…


MEDITATE!


Meditate, meditate, meditate and meditate some more.



Why does it matter if you meditate?


Besides just grabbing some peace and quiet for yourself, meditation has the power to change your life and the lives of others.


It can change you life by slowing you down, stopping the mental chatter and strengthening your connection to spirit so you can HEAR the answers and NOTICE the signs. We are all getting them, friends. It is whether we pay attention and act on them.


As Deepak explained: Karma = Routine (what we keep doing over and over) and anything that breaks our routine is a coincidence that give us the opportunity to break the cycle of Karma. We are not bound by our past to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. The quieter we are the better chance we will hear our message.


Meditation can change others lives simply because we are all connected. There have been many studies, but one that stands out in my mind: A large group had come together to meditate over a weekend and scientist wanted to measure the effects their meditation had on bystanders. So, they gathering stress hormone levels from random people on the street (NOT participating in the meditation) before and after the meditation weekend. The stress hormone levels were down a statistically significant amount after the weekend of meditation in people that didn’t even know the meditation was going on! It is kind of like your home – when one person is out of synch, the rest of the family pays for it. Vice versa, when mom is in a great mood, everyone benefits. We are all energetically connected so our meditation practice helps change the world.


If relaxing for 20-30 minutes a day can change your life and the lives of others, do I really have to twist your arm?


I didn’t think so.


So join me in a 21-day Meditation Challenge!


I know when I’m off my meditation practice I get all wonky and crabby, so I can’t wait for something to get me back in the routine and hold me accountable.


Here is the scoop:

  • Starts Monday, Feb 20th
  • It is totally free
  • Each day, for 21 days, you will receive a guided meditation to listen to
  • The meditations are varied to give you a good feel for meditation
  • Sign up at ChopraCenterMeditation.com (<—click this link)


Easy, Peasy!


And for those of you (I can hear you now!) that are saying, “Lina, I just can’t sit still,” or “Lina, I can’t stop my mind from thinking.”


GOT OVER IT!


You aren’t supposed to sit perfectly still on a hard wood chair and stop all thoughts. You are human and humans think. Humans move. If you didn’t think or move you would be dead. So, celebrate that you are alive and relax. Meditation isn’t something that you should worry about doing right or wrong because there is no right or wrong!


Now that you have no excuses, sign up with me and we can change the world together 🙂


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Did you know that we have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day?


Excluding sleep, that is a little less than a thought a second.


Guess how many of those are original thoughts?


In most of us, only 5%!


Which means the other 95% are recurring, repetitive thoughts…those thoughts you think of over and over again. Unfortunately, most of those recurring thoughts are negative.


Have you ever noticed a beautiful tree when you were driving? How many of you ever think of that tree again during the day? Probably never again. What about when someone cuts you off on the highway? I bet angry thoughts of that driver loop around in your noggin for a while before you let it go.


Really, what we do to ourselves should be considered torture!


Why do you think people are so addicted to TV? Because it stops the mental chatter. You can’t pay attention to the show and think about the crazy driver at the same time. This is the same for video games and really any computer time: our focus helps quiet the mind.


There are plenty of healthier ways that quiet the mind that I bet you are already doing.  You may not have even realized why you enjoyed them so much.  In their own way, they are all very meditative:


  • Reading
  • Exercising
  • Listening to Music
  • Working on a complicated project
  • Intense cleaning
  • Playing a sport
  • Taking a cat nap


So, pat yourself on your back.  You are trying to stop that crazy head of yours and you didn’t even know it.


When you are ready (if you don’t already) meditation is a great way to practice quieting the mind so that you can more easily find those quiet moments anytime during the day.  When you get used to how it feels, you can better identify when your brain is out of control.  If you want to give it a try, take five minutes focusing on your breath. Just count to six on the inhale and six on the exhale.  You will be amazed how 5 minutes of breathing can shift your mood!  It is hard to think about someone who made you mad and count at the same time.


So, here’s to breathing today. And reducing our thought imprint by…say 10%? That would be 6,000 thoughts!


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Is it possible that there may be a purpose for our winter blues?

 

Some interesting research in science may say so.

 

 

It is this time of year – those two bleak, cold months after the excitement of Christmas – when some of us feel the winter blues. If we look to nature for answers, winter is a time of hibernation and regeneration. It is a time of darkness, quiet, and solitude. Plants are focusing inward and preparing for spring’s new growth.

 

The same things are happening to us. While our responsibilities keep us going in full swing, we are still susceptible to the same rhythms of nature.

 

Thus, it is a natural time for introspection: of focusing in and solving problems.

 

Interestingly, studies show that light depression or a “melancholy” mood actually improves problem solving skills. Ruminating (fixating on a problem) is a common element of depression. A study by Andy Thompson and Paul Andrews revealed that depressed patients have increased brain activity in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which is associated with extremely analytical thinking. This part of the brain brings together all available information in our consciousness and helps us think more deliberately and methodically. But, the VLPFC can also be slow and exhausting.

 

In another study by Joe Forgas, patients were given a simple memory test. Forgas found that people with “low moods” remembered 4 times the number of items! Again, pointing to an increased awareness and attention when we have the blues.

 

So what comes first, the blues or the problems?

 

Usually the problems trigger our analytical thinking, which can lead to the blues. For example, Andrews performed another study in which he gave students an abstract reasoning test. Non-depressed students showed an increase in “depressed affect” after the test. So, any challenging problem can make us feel sad!

 

Your blues may also be a sign of creative brilliance!

 

Look to history at all of the great thinkers and creatives that had melancholy dispositions. Socrates, Plato, Keats, Darwin and Milton all had depressive personalities. In a study at John Hopkins, successful artists and writers were 8 times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population! So, you are in good company 🙂

 

Some of the best solutions to the winter blues are obvious but worth mentioning:

 

1. Exercising – it allows the stress chemicals to work through our bodies and gives us mood lifting hormones.
2. Meditating – gives our ruminating brains a break from the mental chatter associated with problem solving.
3. Writing – helps us clearly identify the problem we are trying to solve so that we can more quickly work to a solution.

 

So, never fear, you are not alone. It is a natural time for us to turn inward and work on problems. Take a yoga class and start journaling…see what bubbles up. You may find the solution is right there! Happy hunkering!

 

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Imagine that you are preparing dinner for a very important and celestial guest. For me, I’m picturing Jesus coming to dinner. Maybe you have Allah, Buddha, or just good ole God gracing your dining table. Whoever your Holy guest is, they will be eating with you tonight!


What would you feed someone Holy and Divine?


I imagine that you would choose your favorite recipes, make a list of ingredients, and take time at the store picking the perfect items. You would select the brightest strawberries, the freshest spinach and the most beautiful wild caught salmon.


You would come home, make sure you were not rushed, and lovingly prepare all the dishes for your Divine guest. You wouldn’t mind the cost, time, or effort it took because this was for someone special!


You couldn’t imagine picking up a drive-through dinner or quickly throwing together Hamburger Helper for your Holy visitor! You would never offer them a frozen dinner or Starbucks coffee. Why? Because a special spirit deserves only the best food.


What, however, would you have fed yourself if you didn’t have a Divine guest to feed?


You are Spirit and you deserve the same life-giving nourishment


Without your body, where would your spirit live? Your spirit and body are meant to work together to help you grow, evolve and succeed. Your body isn’t just along for the ride! Feeding it addictive foods like sweets, sodas, coffee, processed foods, breads, and take-out only dull the senses, keeping us stuck. Its hard to soar and excel when you are stuck in a food coma.


Imagine treating your body like the Divine vessel it is and only offering it the highest quality nourishment. You would have the keen senses, clear intuition, and vibrant health to propel you forward and achieve your wildest dreams!


Food and Spirituality and interconnected


We see this in the bible, we see this in our rituals, and we see this in our every day traditions: food is integral to our spiritual experience.


It is no coincidence that if you are a spiritual person you likely have an interest in healthy food. Likewise, often people who are very interested in whole, clean eating find themselves very drawn toward spiritual exploration.


They are dependent and enhance each other. It was designed that way.


Treat yourself like a God


For those of you that are completing the last day of the cleanse, you just spent five days treating your bodies with Divine respect. How did that make you feel?


It isn’t always easy breaking ourselves from addictive foods. Heck, I can’t wait for my glass of wine on Saturday! But, the closer we get to treating ourselves like the holy spirits we are, the more in-tuned we will become, the greater success we will see, and the faster we will achieve our goals.


Congratulations on finishing 5 days of beautiful eating! Have a great weekend and keep treating yourself like the rock-star holy hot bodies you are!



***Interested in reading more about this topic? Check out this great book: If Buddha Came to Dinner by Hale Sofia Schatz

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Do you believe in psychic abilities or are you a skeptic?


Until recently, there has been a chasm between science and spiritual beliefs. It seemed as if there was no way to measure or prove things like a unified field of consciousness or mental interconectedness.


Dr. Roger Nelson, a Princeton University scientist, has been working for 14 years on the Global Consciousness Project. The project involves researchers from from across the globe, involving several institutions and countries, all exploring if interconnected consciousness can be scientifically proven.


For the last 12 years, the Global Consciousness Project (GCP) has focused its efforts on collecting data from GCP instruments. These small electric devices are random number generators. Essentially, it is a little computer that throws out the number 1 or 0 randomly. Over time, like the flipping of a coin, the odds of seeing a 1 or a 0 will be 50/50. The project has about 70 of these devices working 24/7 all over the world, continuously collecting the random numbers.


What they found, however, it that at specific times, the random generators no longer acted randomly. In fact, it was remarkably the opposite. Imagine tossing a coin 100, 1000, 10000 times and hitting all heads…


That’s what scientist saw on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.



Similar spikes have been mathematically calculated in numerous global events, such as Princess Diana’s funeral, Haiti’s earthquake, and the Japanese tsunami.


The scientist believe that our collective consciousness (or another way of looking at it: all of our minds focused on the SAME thing) has the power to effect events outside of ourselves. Essentially, our unified minds can make a coin flip heads 90% of the time instead of 50%.


This in and of itself is amazing proof that we are all interconnected and that our thoughts are powerful.


The most amazing thing about the 9/11 attacks, is that they started registering on the ECP network 4 to 5 hours BEFORE the attacks began.


Suggesting that collectively we had a premonition of what was about to occur. The devices were not merely registering our emotions after.


This opens up endless possibilities: not only can we change things with our attention and thoughts, but that we can tap into a web of information from the past and future when making decisions.


It is there for all of us. Not just gifted intuitives.


So the next time you have a hunch, a bad feeling, or a sense that something may happen, listen! The more you listen and trust yourself, the better intuitive you will become. It is like a muscle being exercised.


Sonia Choquette recommends flexing your intuitive muscle through fun games, like guessing who is calling when the phone rings. Acknowledge when you are right and pat yourself on the back so you will be more inclined to trust yourself


Do you believe in a collective consciousness? What about intuition?


I have always been a believer, but I bet there are still some skeptics out there!


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