The Still Mind

Our world observed from stillness


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The Gland That Puts The “EYE” in InSIGHT

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Housed deep in the center of the thinking organ known as the brain, as a protruding component of the epithalamus (the topmost portion of the diencephalon), is the pine cone-shaped gland lovingly referred to colloquially and indirectly as “the third eye”, or the pineal gland. This gland has been revered for centuries by cultures all over the world, and is displayed in various places as a pine cone shaped symbolic form, though I’m sure that most people are unaware of it. A commonly known function of this gland/body is the regulation of the sleep wake cycle via commandment of the production of melatonin, and regulation of aspects of mood. But ancient knowledge, and now recent scientific studies, have pinned the pineal gland as a major psychological and spiritual center of the body, and it is now being discovered that it may be due to the release of a certain chemical that has been used by indigenous peoples for centuries.

Dimethyltryptamine (or DMT), a potent psychedelic compound that has been cited as causing the dreams that we have at night, has been found by science to be released by the pineal gland. DMT is not only found to be present in humans, but as has been Continue reading

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Progressions in Meditative Practice – The Bi-directional Effect

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It is no mystery anymore of the degree to which meditation can be an instrumental force in the overall health of an individual, and if you would like to see the myriad of benefits which meditation brings (and have not done so already), you can read my post “100 Benefits of Meditation“. In addition to the health benefits, are some pleasant consciousness expansion effects which deserve some attention.

Once you have been meditating for a few months (maybe longer or shorter, depending on the individual), the benefits will slowly begin to manifest in ways that one might not expect. Today, I will introduce briefly one marvelous effect that the correct practice of meditation will present to the sitter. This effect is one where the dedicated focus on stilling the mind and body births an exhilarating phenomenon I call “The Bi-directional Effect”. Why? Because the sensation that I’m speaking of feels as though the body is Continue reading


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Mindful Steps – The Art of Moving Stillness

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The walking of everyday life tends to be birthed of a certain purpose, and rarely is a purpose of walking for the sake of walking. Busy-ness serves as the bow that launches the arrow of intent of such walking. Hurried walking from one day with the intent of making it through to the next day as quickly as possible, leads to weeks, then months, then years, and left unabated, then a lifetime of hurried steps. Hurried steps are not limited to walking, for the movement from place to place is the offspring of the workings of the mind. Thus, hurried steps reflect a hurried mind, and a hurried mind becomes a hurried life (I’m sure we all are familiar with the adage “haste makes waste”).

Walking may seem like the most simplest of activities, and sure it may be, but when we walk, are we really aware of the act of walking, or is it more of a means to an end? Mindful walking, however, is something far more involved than one might realize, simply because Continue reading


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Song Shu Says: Clean Your Mind As You Would Clean Your Room

I will let Song Shu speak in a few moments…

Clutter is not just something that amasses in the available bare areas in one’s living space. It can be anything and anywhere. As we live, things come into our lives, either brought home from the store, gifts, or just things that we have no idea how, when, or why they are there, but they are there nonetheless. With all this, clutter can grow from nothing to something intrusive in the blink of an eye.

Like a living space, the mind is no different, and it can be argued as casting an even larger wake of clump than clutter in a house. Thought clumps. Ways of mental workings that accumulate and come to rest on the invitingly empty spaces of the desk of your subconscious mind. Here, their very presence can incite a persuasion of the body to action, like looking at a pile of books on the floor automatically leads one to read the title of the one on top, and have an invocation of thoughts and emotions spring up. They cover the surface, so all that can be seen is the “auto-thought”. This is why we clean – clean the mind.

To do this, we must watch our brain at work. When we are quiet and not “doing” we can see that which the eyes fail to see.

In the words of Song Shu… Continue reading


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The Zen of Indoor Vegie Gardening ^_^

It is always wonderful to marvel at the intricate processes of nature. When one takes the time to slow down and look, the ultimate stillness of growth can be the most potent teacher that one can find. For the growth of a plant, for instance, is composed of a myriad of processes beneath the threshold of what the senses can observe. To help a plant grow, is to align your mental workings with the ways of the plant. Witness its beauty, then witness the line blur between where plant begins and you end. If you are to look at its constituents, going deeper and deeper, could you tell the difference between “you” and “it”? When you spend time with it, the oxygen from its inner biological interactions gives your body life to breathe; the carbon dioxide from your breath gives the plant what it needs. The molecules in the water, in its cells, vibrate in tune with the vibrations of your atomic make up, and that of the world around it. It is here where you will see yourself. Once found, never let it go.

This year, my indoor garden does not have any hydroponic elements, but it’s still buxom with activity nonetheless.

Spicy, but yummy mustard ^_^

Spicy, but yummy mustard ^_^

This mustard sprung from seeds that were apparently already in the soil from when I had the garden outside in the warmer months, because they grew, and I didn’t plant them hehe. This pot held its mother plant, that spawned seeds, and it seems that they fell and ended up in the soil. A pleasant surprise ^_^

Some happy tomatoes showing themselves ^_^

Some happy tomatoes presenting themselves ^_^

I have a group of tomato plants all grouped together in one pot, and they are doing phenomenally. Before long, there will be nice ripe tomatoes smiling at me from the green stalks. Growing tomatoes outdoors has caused me to develop a new habit, and that is to Continue reading


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The Taliban and Inner Peace

“Definitely! I would love to stretch my hands to Talibans because I would like them to see from a broader perspective the universe” – Ravi Shankar

Here at The Still Mind, while tickling my creative neurons to manifest content of a still nature, I tend to come across articles and stories which I feel reflect the new direction that the world seems to be taking as of late; the direction of acknowledgement of our connected consciousness. Things are changing faster than ever, and for the most part it seems to be on a vector with a positive slant. Thus, I came across this article from The Raw Story that I felt deserved attention, for if a man can be so bold as to attempt to still the minds of the Taliban, then that’s the kind of story that The Still Mind can get behind. I’ll reserve the details of the story for the article below, but ultimately, this article represents what I aim to do (eventually) but as of yet lack the resources, so The Still Mind will have to live vicariously through Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of The Art of Living Foundation.

Image courtesy of http://thehindu.com

Image courtesy of http://thehindu.com

Reposted from Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/14/indian-guru-sri-sri-ravi-shankar-wants-the-taliban-to-de-stress/

An Indian Hindu guru may be the last emissary the Taliban expect, but Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would love to teach inner peace to the world’s most notorious Islamist insurgents. Continue reading


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100 Benefits of Meditation

Greetings! I am reposting this from a page that I stumbled upon on, well… StumbleUpon. It’s a list of 100 benefits of meditation, and that much more of a reason as to why it should be a part of everyone’s daily life. Please read and enjoy ^_^

Reposted from: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/20GMVm/www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2008/05/100-benefits-of-meditation/

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There are so many advantages to meditation. When I first originally thought of this post, I indeed wanted to make it 100 benefits long (think big right!), however, I wasn’t sure I could find more than perhaps 20-25 benefits. Well, I made it happen! Meditation is as powerful as I thought it would be. Here is the definitive list of benefits that meditation can provide you with:

 

Physiological benefits:
1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigour.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- harmonizes our endocrine system
33- relaxes our nervous system
34- produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).

Psychological benefits:
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behaviour
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility
71- Reduces road rage
72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgements
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity

Spiritual benefits:
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- helps learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper relationship with your God
93- Attain enlightenment
94- greater inner-directedness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life

Meditation is also completely FREE! It requires no special equipment, and is not complicated to learn. It can be practiced anywhere, at any given moment, and it is not time consuming (15-20 min. per day is good). Best of all, meditation has NO negative side effects. Bottom line, there is nothing but positive to be gained from it! With such a huge list of benefits, the question you should ask yourself is, “why am I not meditating yet?”

If you need a point to start from, you should try guided meditation courses. They are inexpensive and can provide you with a good foundation from which to begin meditating.

Make sure you meditate, there are quite simply too many positives to just ignore it.

 

Related articles from The Still Mind:

The “Silent Five” – Sitting With Your Self

Meditation And The Power of The Mind – Documentary

Still The Mind: How To

The Most Important Thing In Meditation: Relaxation

Zen Cooking – The Art of Mindful Practice