The Still Mind

Our world observed from stillness


The Mind and Health

buddhist monk in meditation pose over black background

Why is a clear and balanced mind so important? How do you achieve a clear and balanced mind?
Well, firstly, the importance lies in the mind’s command over the entire body. Before you do anything, you think about it first, then your mind (brain) allocates the bio-electrical resources to the appropriate muscles, thus they move, and move you in the direction you want to go.

This is what one’s life is all about. Your mind moving you to do what you want to do. The efficiency of this system is determined by the ability or inability of energy to move to where it needs to go. If the energy can flow freely, the system works fine. But if the energy is obstructed, the system can not operate efficiently. Thus inefficient energy movement births sickness, with symptoms that are treated with medicines. However, medications do not deal with the root cause which is an energy inefficiency, but rather deal with the elimination of the “complaint”.

What is energy inefficiency in the body? It is stuck and blocked emotional energy. So, how exactly Continue reading


Disappearing Body Meditation

disappearing body meditation

Slowing the mind down allows the body to release from its shackles of physiological and kinesthetic sensation. At times when this happens, the world as we know it becomes something other than that which we are familiar with in everyday life. The phenomenon of the “disappearing body”, where the sensical awareness of the body literally “disappears”, and what is left in its place is what I described as the “electron effect”–one’s being existing in a blanket of probable positions around the local environment–is such a time.

For meditators, the “disappearing body” phenomenon may not be a new thing, but if you’ve never experienced it before, or are wondering how to experience it again, then I’m here to help you initiate it, if you wish. If you’ve ever laid completely still, and released yourself from kinesthetic feeling, then you’ve most likely come into contact with this body-cloaking experience.

The Meditation

As is usual, find a place and time where/when you will experience no interruptions, and commence relaxation. If you are laying on a bed or the floor (as opposed to sitting cross-legged or in a chair), as you are relaxing your muscles, Continue reading


The Most Important Thing in Meditation: Relaxation


Monkey Zen Relaxation

For some, relaxation is one of the hardest things to achieve due to seemingly endless stress, and worry as a result of the world that we humans have created for ourselves. Stress mainly manifests in the muscles, where an unalleviated sympathetic nervous system keeps the body in a virtually constant state of “fight or flight.” When the body is in this state, heart rate increases, stress hormones such as cortisol, as well as adrenaline will be released, and the digestive system slows down. Now, when one’s body is constantly under such an influence as this (as is the case with most in the everyday world of now), it is no wonder that many people find relaxation such an unobtainable hurdle when one is following the path of meditation (or just life in general). More importantly, if one does not attempt to alter their physiological state to lessen the strain of the “fight or flight” clamp down, over time the systems of the body will start to deteriorate due to the fact that, among other health effects, the body’s cells will receive insufficient oxygen and nutrients, and coupled with the erratic operation of the digestive system, will lead to disease–chronic diseases if left unchecked.

The body has special mechanisms to assist it in maintaining homeostasis (balance), however, if things get in the way of the body doing its job–i.e. constant, unrelenting stress; poor nutrition; too much of the wrong things, not enough of the right things (in diet, lifestyle, etc.)–then homeostasis will be harder and harder to achieve, and the body must then employ great reserves to attempt to remedy the problem. This also is a kind of stress–environmetal stress coupled with the strain of the body trying to cope with the stress it is enduring on a daily basis. Now one can see why relaxation is not just a good prerequisite to meditation, but can be an essential component in maintaining the overall health of the body.

How to relax the body

Sit, stand, or lay down and be sure that there are no distractions. The optimal environment for the promotion of relaxation is that of peaceful quiescence. Calm any impulses for extraneous activity, and notice that they are merely firings of neurons, and will pass. Once you realize this, you can train your mind to not attach, and to let things pass.

Scan the body starting from the top of the head, section by section, all the way down to the toes, eliminating tension as your focus descends, by envisioning it melting away like fallen snow in the mid-day sun. When dealing with matters of the brain, visualization is the most powerful tool that you have, for it is the brain’s access panel to the fabric of reality.

As you scan, breathe without attempting to train the breath. As you inhale, do not force it–simply allow it to occur naturally. On the out breath, as the air is moving out of the nose, let it parallel the release of tension in the place that the mind is focused on at the moment. Breathe it out like a deflating balloon. Do not use force.

Once relaxation has been achieved, simply sit in your body with your “empty” muscles, and the free flow of the blood pumping through your vessels.

With your newly relaxed body, you can proceed to meditate, or carry on with your day, or stay with the state as long as you wish. It is up to you.

^_^ yey!


Still Mind Health – Standing Like A Tree

The year of the Dragon is upon us. For the new year, I will introduce a Chinese system of exercise that is sure to assist one’s body to transform into a picture of health and strength — to become like a dragon: strong when strength is needed, supple and soft when not. It is called Zhan Zhuang 站桩 (roughly pronounced Jan Jwong), also known as “Standing Like a Tree”; a form of stance training that demands of oneself total and complete union of both body and mind to carry out accurately. Adding even five minutes of Zhan Zhuang to your everyday routine will deliver a desirable result.

To begin with, first start with simple warm up exercises:

Light arm circles forwards and backwards. Loosen up the hips by circling the hips in both directions. Loosen up the legs as well. Standard repetition count  for these types of exercises usually fall within the 30 to 40 range, so shoot for roughly 30 to 40 repetitions in both directions. The object is simply to loosen the muscles and tendons and get the blood flowing. The best time to do the Zhan Zhuang exercise is in the morning as the sun comes up, but it is also fine to do it any time during the day. Five minutes at night before bed is also beneficial. There is an additional exercise called Ba Duan Jin 八段锦, or “Eight Section Brocade”, but I won’t discuss that in this post. I will reserve this exercise for a later posting, as it is an entire progression of postures and movements in itself. Continue reading