Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Month: March 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

Do You Need an Experienced Meditation Teacher?

Meditation By the LakeThese days every Tom, Dick, and Harry – and even Eloise – blogs about how to meditate.

They read a book and try out a few sessions.  Suddenly they are an “expert”.  Some even mix and match and make up their own meditations.  Then they present you with “10 Easy Steps to a Brilliant Meditation” or the like.

I don’t mean to be overly harsh.  I know people have good intentions, but do they really have the necessary experience to guide you effectively?

Their blog post might give you a good start on meditation.  Their instructions may help you to some degree, but they won’t necessarily take into account what meditation really is.  They often don’t provide a gradual path for coming to know your own mind.  And, they may be useless when you meet challenges in your meditation attempts, which will indeed occur.

Meditation is simple in one sense.  Anyone can learn to meditate and it will help you enormously.  Calmness, clarity, happiness, and freedom are some of the many positives you are likely to experience from meditation.  You can also gain improvements in blood pressure, a reduction in pain or stress, and a number of other health benefits.  Meditation has the power to bring so much comfort and ease into your life.

Nuances in Meditation

But bear in mind, there are many nuances in mediation.  There are many subtle levels of mind.  Ego is mischievous in its attempts to deter you from calm abiding and clear seeing.

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Could Sadness Be the Key to True Happiness?

Sadness | Happiness

The other night I felt overcome by sadness as I reflected upon all the suffering of this world.

In many ways, I have a perfect life.  Nevertheless, a part of me will always be sad as long as others suffer.

Life is bittersweet.  And that’s okay with me.  As long as suffering persists, happiness without sadness seems insensitive.

I sat with the feelings of sadness, gazing at the dark night sky.  I didn’t try to push them away.  Quite the contrary, I felt empowered by them.

Usually, we want to move away from sadness as quickly as possible.

Often, we’re encouraged to divert ourselves from sad feelings by engaging in physical activity, imagining pleasant and relaxing experiences, or looking for humor in a situation that makes us sad.  Some people, who are naturally empathetic, have decided to protect themselves from sadness and other challenging emotions by not watching the news.  I can understand.

But I say, let your heart be broken into a million pieces.  You will be all the better for it if you allow it to open your heart. Here’s why.

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10 Important Ways to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?

I live on an island with an active volcano.  It would be foolish not to prepare.  But, I haven’t done so.  Have you?

Even though we’ve had two tsunami warnings and two small (4.5 and 4.9) earthquakes in the last year, until the disaster in Japan, my mind did not turn to disaster preparedness.

Thailand, Katrina, Haiti, Queensland, Christchurch, Japan.  Disasters seem to be happening in rapid succession.  It’s possible more are on the way.  We don’t need to panic.  But, it’s clear we need to prepare.

10 Basic Tips to Prepare for a Disaster

So how do you prepare for a disaster?  This is what I’ve learned from my recent research.

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Where Two Roads Diverge, Spring Thoughts

Green Wheat Field


A Thought for the Spring Equinox


“We stand now where two roads diverge.

But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem,

they are not equally fair.

The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway

on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster.

The other fork of the road—the one “less traveled by”—offers our last, our only chance

to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

Rachel Carson, 1907-1964

Scientist, Writer, Ecologist

Author of The Silent Spring.

This 1962 environmental classic focused on the toxic effects of synthetic pesticides following the mass death of birds after a DDT spraying. Carson touched off an avalanche of environmental awareness that continues to this day.

Almost fifty years later, what have we learned?  Will we continue to walk the path of over-consumption and disregard for the environment?

Have we taken the wrong path?  If so, can we turn around?

Related Articles

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Secret Journeys, Sacred Histories, & Spiritual Discovery in Modern-Day Tibet

Matteo Pistono in Tibet

James Bond, Tibetan Style

Intrigue, adventure, and a profound spiritual odyssey await you in In the Shadow of the Buddha, Secret Journeys, Sacred Histories, and Spiritual Discovery in Tibet by Matteo Pistono.

This is a story of courage, conviction, and compassion that you won’t want to put down for a moment.

For more than a decade, Pistono skillfully eluded Chinese security forces while gathering heart-wrenching accounts of torture and atrocities regularly and repeatedly committed by the Chinese government in Tibet.  However, Pistono didn’t set out to be an espionage agent, nor did he train as the protégé of James Bond. 

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Can We Afford to Fly? The Impact of Air Travel

I find this a hard topic to tackle.

I have friends who enthusiastically advocate distance travel in all forms.  They relish their frequent flyer status.  They blog enticing tales of exotic encounters.  They center whole blogs around adventure and travel.

They are good people.  I don’t want to hurt their feelings.  I certainly don’t want to be judgmental.  But, I also can’t deny what appear to be the facts.

My curiosity about the impact of flying was sparked by a comment on my post Minimalism vs. Moderation.   The post encouraged readers to take the Ecological Footprint Quiz.  After taking the quiz, Pavel Nosikov observed:

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