John S. Suarez http://johnsuarez.net Welcome to my world Mon, 22 Aug 2016 00:36:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i0.wp.com/johnsuarez.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-profilepic01.jpg?fit=32%2C32 John S. Suarez http://johnsuarez.net 32 32 48761359 Apparently, I Am Not Good At Meditation Because I Have A Monkey Mind http://johnsuarez.net/apparently-im-not-good-at-meditation-because-i-have-a-monkey-mind/ http://johnsuarez.net/apparently-im-not-good-at-meditation-because-i-have-a-monkey-mind/#respond Fri, 22 Jul 2016 03:59:34 +0000 http://johnsuarez.net/?p=401 July 21, 2016 – 8:59PM I just took this test about what my issues are with regard to the practice and discipline of meditation. I said that the aspect I am having the most difficulty on is concentrating on meditation and apparently, lack of focus in the practice is what gurus call having a monkey […]

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July 21, 2016 – 8:59PM

I just took this test about what my issues are with regard to the practice and discipline of meditation. I said that the aspect I am having the most difficulty on is concentrating on meditation and apparently, lack of focus in the practice is what gurus call having a monkey mind.

To deal with this, I have enrolled in the class offered by MindValley and OM Harmonics, “Meditation Mastery.” I will record my experience with the course in the hope that it will help me get better at meditation. I really need this as I believe it can help me focus and in general, help me deal with my issues mental health-wise.

I have always longed to be good at meditation because I have read so many scientific and anecdotal references to the benefits of meditation.

In the short term, I expect for meditation to help me with my depression, anxiety and anger issues, and also, I expect that my health will also be benefited by the practice of meditation as science has shown that meditation is helpful to people with hypertension and other physical ailments.

The video below is the “diagnosis” I got from the test that I took:

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Simple Ways To Get Started With Meditation http://johnsuarez.net/simple-ways-to-get-started-with-meditation/ http://johnsuarez.net/simple-ways-to-get-started-with-meditation/#respond Wed, 20 Jul 2016 00:32:55 +0000 http://johnsuarez.net/?p=389 What does Hugh Jackman, Katy Perry, Oprah Whinfrey and Rep. Tim Ryan have in common? They all swear by the benefits of meditation. Of course it’s not only them but there is a plethora of other celebrities and people who are not very well known who use meditation as a practice and a lifestyle to improve […]

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What does Hugh Jackman, Katy Perry, Oprah Whinfrey and Rep. Tim Ryan have in common? They all swear by the benefits of meditation. Of course it’s not only them but there is a plethora of other celebrities and people who are not very well known who use meditation as a practice and a lifestyle to improve themselves and their lives.

But what does mediation entail? It’s a practice and discipline usually done daily and involves sitting still for about 20-30 minutes to calm and observe the mind.

Tara Brach, Ph. D.

Tara Brach, Ph. D.

What purpose does meditation have for practitioners? According to psychologist, Tara Brach, author of “Radical Acceptance” and co-founder of Insight Medication Community of Washington, the purpose of meditation is “to intentionally cultivate mindfulness — to approach life with non-judgment and compassion, to improve concentration, open-heartedness and clarity.”

Looking at meditation this way and the benefits that one can reap with the practice of mediation, there’s a lot to like about it.

“It’s the answer not just to stress and emotional issues, but also Helps improve self-esteem and address depression,” added Brach.

How and Where do you get started? What are the different types of meditation and how do you know what type suits you best?

Getting Started

Tris Thorp

Tris Thorp

The most common way to start is to go online and look for resources for “guided meditation.” This is a form of meditation where a teacher will give you instructions on everything you need to know such as observing your breath or visualizing your ideal future, according to Tris Thorp, a life coach and meditation teacher who trained under Deepak Chopra and currently teaches at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, CA.

Although there are people who report extraordinary experience upon first trying meditation, Thorp says not to expect improvement overnight.

“Give it time. I would say a minimum of 30 days and at least 20 minutes per meditation. It usually takes 10 minutes to get out of your day and get settled to where you can stop swearing at yourself for not being able to focus.”

An important part of getting settled is finding a comfortable seated position. This may sound very basic but it isn’t necessarily easy.

Danuta Otfinowski

Danuta Otfinowski

According to D.C. photographer, Danuta Otfinowski, it took her a year to figure out how to sit. And she has been practicing the discipline for the past eight years!

“You want to find a position where you are comfortable, where your legs don’t fall asleep and you are not fidgeting.”

She has actually dedicated a meditation space in her house. She assigned a space on her sleeping porch which consists of cushions she sits on where she’s comfortable, Buddhist prayer cards and the ashes of her parents.

She finds the afternoons most conducive for her to sit and meditate, which she says helps her reduce stress and increase self-compassion and inner confidence.

This raises the question about what the ideal time of the day is to meditate…

According to Thorp, it’s early morning.

“Do it right away. Get up, pee and then sit down to practice. You’re getting your day started with silence and peace.”

She says that this silence and peace will greatly help buffer you against small and big irritations and challenges that you face later as yo go about living your day.

“It’s an awareness that allows you to choose how to respond and not fall into reactivity.”

“It is much like letting other drivers go ahead of you in your lane rather than cutting them off.”

Alone Or With A Group

For some people, just sitting there makes them restless and all they can think about is a thousand reasons why meditating is a waste of time, or how sitting interferes with their to-do lists which is only getting longer.

Otfinowski says that this hurdle can be dealt with by joining a meditation group. This was what she did in 2008 and attributes it for her sticking with the practice.

“You have a community and you feel more accountable,” she says.

Joining a group also makes it feel more manageable — other people with hectic schedules took time out of their day to practice, encouraging her to do the same. “I didn’t have to put my life on hold to figure it out,” she says.

Brach also also agrees that joining a group can be a good way to start with the discipline. Sometimes having a peer meditation circle is enough. She compares it to having a running partner.

“Especially in the beginning where it can be very beneficial to put together a group, and then you can use a recorded guided meditation by a trained teacher,” says Brach, whose website has dozens of audio recordings of meditations. Brach also hosts meditation sessions through Insight Meditation Community in Bethesda and other locations.

Because of scientific and anecdotal benefits that meditation has for people, meditation circles are trending right now. Thorp says that people are joining meditation groups to be part of like-minded community for the accountability of it and for the hugs and fresh-pressed juices afterward.

Meditation Types

Getting started in meditation begs the question of what type of meditation will suit you best.

Meditation experts agree that meditation is a very personal practice and it is best that you experiment with various different classes online to see which resonates with you.

There are two basic categories of meditation — and to perhaps make it a tad confusing, many teachers use a combination of these two.

One is mindfulness meditation and the other is various forms of concentration (Thorp calls it “intention”) practices.

Mindfulness meditation focuses on being in the present and observing the mind and body without judgment. Brach explains that this is shifting from thinking to being n the bod.

Mindfulness meditations often revolve around breathing and breath awareness — in other words, paying attention to your breathing. This is quite simple and accessible. But, it is often not engaging enough for people and they tend to get bored easily.

Concentration practices center on directing your attention toward something. This may be visualizing your goals that you want to reach (visualization), focusing on showing and feeling kindness to others and yourself (loving-kindness meditation) or repeating phrases (mantras).

You have to Try various types of meditation to know what suits you best. If you know yourself to be restless, then guided meditation is preferable to, say, mantra meditation as the repetition might get on your nerves.

Religious or spiritual people often find that loving-kindness meditation is their go-to type of meditation since it’s much akin to prayer.

Freedom From The “Storyline Of Me”

At the end of the day, meditation is all about learning how to pause and observe the mind will work with you and not against you. You train the mind to the point that you control and channel the fight or flight response into a more thoughtful, mindful and compassionate response toward yourself negative self-talk and disappointment in ourselves) and others (people who try your patience on any level).

“Meditation helps me disengage from the storyline of me — my defaults, like negative self-talk,” says Otfinowski, who has brought her practice to the D.C. jail where she guides inmates in meditation.

According to Gabriella Boston, when you can disengage from the thoughts of the mind and instead observe the mind, there is an element of freedom.

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It’s Possible To Meditate Anytime, Anywhere http://johnsuarez.net/possible-meditate-anytime-anywhere/ http://johnsuarez.net/possible-meditate-anytime-anywhere/#respond Wed, 13 Jul 2016 21:57:00 +0000 http://johnsuarez.net/?p=375 In an interview with Huffington Post Tibetan Buddhist master Mingyur Rinpoche wanted to set straight a lot of misconceptions about meditation. The biggest fallacy being that people mistakenly assume that one has to quiet the mind for an extended period of time in order for someone to reap the benefits of meditation. In truth, anyone ha […]

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In an interview with Huffington Post Tibetan Buddhist master Mingyur Rinpoche wanted to set straight a lot of misconceptions about meditation. The biggest fallacy being that people mistakenly assume that one has to quiet the mind for an extended period of time in order for someone to reap the benefits of meditation.

In truth, anyone ha the ability to practice meditation anytime, anywhere. The important thing is that one focuses on what is happening inside one's head. Instead of resisting the mind to wander so that one is having a difficult time actually meditating caused by “unwanted” thoughts and emotions, Rinpoche suggests that one observes this phenomenon and see it as what he calls the “monkey mind,” the source of the constant internal “chattering.”

A simple but effective way to handle this is by being mindful and aware of one's breathing, focusing on the inhalation, the holding of the breath within, and the eventual exhalation of the breath held in for some counts. Even though thoughts and emotions creep up once in a while, you are still meditating and with practice and diligence, the chatter and emotional distraction will minimize and eventually fade, taming the monkey mind finally.

“As long as you don't forget your breath as you inhale, hold the breath and exhale, everything will be ok, according to Rinpoche. “You do not need too much concentration. Just simply be aware of your breath.”

Watch the video below where Mr. Rinpoche explains in simple terms what Tibetan meditation is and how to work with “monkey mind:”

Video courtesy of What Meditation Really Is.

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