Always Well Within

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

Tag: Meditation (Page 1 of 3)

How Mindfulness Meditation Can Help You Find Happiness

Mindfulness and Happiness

Cathy Taughingbaum helps parents find peace when they are coping with a child’s addiction.  You can feel her care, commitment, and clarity in every one of her articles.

I’m delighted to be featured on her blog today in a written interview that covers these topics:

  • How to reconnect with happiness even though you’re in the midst of family challenges or trauma.
  • The benefits of meditation, how it can improve your life, and what mindfulness really means.
  • How to grieve and let go of dreams that are not longer relevant or useful to you and your family.
  • Ways to accept and flow with unexpected changes in life.

Read the full interview by clicking this link.  I would love to hear from you in the comments there!  And, please help me spread the word by sharing this post.

Thanks so much for your interest and support.  May you always be well, happy, and safe.  With love, Sandra

Ordinary and Extraordinary Mindfulness: What’s the Difference?

Secular Mindfulness | Buddhist Mindfulness

People throw the word “mindfulness” about these days as a panacea for almost every possible trouble from pain to high blood pressure to psoriasis.  For many people, mindfulness does indeed offer an effective solution for an array of practical challenges.  Research backs up its potency too, in studies conducted with participants who have received bona fide mindfulness training.

More and more, people view mindfulness as a self-help technique, entirely divorced from its origin or ultimate purpose.  This single word describes a spectrum of awareness training used in such oddly different places as the military and law enforcement, elementary schools, health care settings, cognitive behavioral therapy, and traditional Buddhist centers.

This concerns me because secular mindfulness typically differs from traditional mindfulness in significant ways.  The modern world has appropriated the word “mindfulness,” just like it swallowed up the word “zen,” which originally contained such profound meaning.

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How to Gather Your Mind and Heart and Find Peace

To Be At Peace, Gather Your Heart and Mind

Would you like to be at peace?  Pause then to gather your mind and your heart.

Usually, mind is all over the place:  pondering the past, anticipating the future, or gripped by a crippling emotion born from desire, aversion, or confusion.  The gamut runs from self-recrimination and fear to competitiveness, anger and greed.

Take a moment to pause and gather your scattered mind from everywhere it’s gone – from yesterday, tomorrow, your to-do list, a problematic encounter, worries about work, the French Riviera or whatever pulls on you.  Bring your mind back home into your self.

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Four Steps to Joyful Work

Wildflowers, Joy

I’m delighted to welcome Dan Zandt from Stillmind today.

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart. ~ Rumi

The word “spirituality” is banded about a lot these days. To be called a “spiritual person” is a compliment. Bookstores have dedicated sections, usually next to the one labelled “New Age.” We talk about spiritual paths, disciplines and teachings without a second thought.

Yet do we really have a clear idea of what the word means?

In his book Seeking Spirituality, Ron Rolheiser writes that human nature is marked by a “fundamental dis-ease, an unquenchable fire that renders us incapable, in this life, of ever coming to full peace.”

We can, I think, see this truth wherever we look.

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How to Cultivate a Spacious Mind

Blue Sky

If you’ve ever wished for a moment of peace, you were longing for a more spacious mind.

An overactive mind seems to be the norm in our over-the-top busy lives.  Your mind may be cluttered with distracting thoughts, to-do lists, plans for the future or ruminations about the past.  Or maybe it’s brimming with fear, worry, doubt, anger, jealousy or desire having been triggered by a comment, occurrence or your own imagination during the day.

Is a busy mind a happy mind?  Probably not.  In fact, the root of all our dissatisfaction and suffering lies in holding onto whatever arises in the mind.  Observe for yourself and see what you find out.

My mind has been very tense for the better part of my life – wound up by fear and a sense of inadequacy. At last, it’s beginning to loosen up!  I’m more capable at taking life in stride and living with greater ease.

What’s changed for me?

  1. I have fewer expectations.
  2. I understand that impermanence is the norm and am less likely to let it shake me up.
  3. I have an increased awareness of my deceptive internal beliefs, emotional patterns and what evokes the stress response in my life.
  4. I’m less driven and thus more willing to pause, take care, and trust.
  5. I have more clarity about my life purpose so I’m more able to focus on priorities instead of the small stuff.
  6. I’m willing to do less and trade sanity for well-being.

But, the biggest change underlying all this is a more spacious mind.  Of course, I’m still a work in progress and there’s plenty of room for added space, but what a relief not to be tied up in a ball of constant strain.

What Is A Spacious Mind?

A spacious mind is the opposite of a stressed mind.  It is open, flexible, and loving.  This open mind graciously accommodates any thought or emotion that appears without following, amplifying or multiplying it.

These are some of the qualities of a spacious mind:

  • Non-judgmental
  • Free of concepts
  • Acceptance
  • Humor
  • Love and compassion
  • Alert yet relaxed
  • Perspective
  • Clarity

How to Develop a Spacious Mind

1.  First, you have to realize that a spacious mind is possible.  Most people are blended with their thoughts and emotions and think that’s all there is.  You are not your thoughts and emotions.  You are not your brain.

2.  You need to know there’s something much bigger than these seemingly endless thoughts and emotions that are really only like trains passing by or pausing in a station for a few minutes. What do you find when the thoughts and emotions stop for a moment?  There’s a gap.  In that gap, you will find an unchanging pure awareness that’s with you all the time.  You’ll find your true essence – open, spacious, and free.

3.  Stop following the thoughts, emotions, and perceptions that pop up in your mind. Instead, allow your mind to rest in present moment awareness.  When you find yourself distracted – and you will indeed get pulled away many times – just bring your mind back to the present moment.  That’s the essence of basic meditation and the heart of mindfulness.

4.  Recognize the insubstantial nature of the material world.  Everything that seems concrete right now will someday disappear:  your body, your possessions, your work, and your worldly accomplishments.  It’s actually all moving and changing in this very moment.  It just seems more solid than it really is.  Align with your true being rather than the temporary appearances.

It takes time to stop identifying with your thoughts and emotions, a habit we’ve had for eons at least.  But, if you truly want a spacious mind, it can be yours.  In fact, it’s already there.  You just need to tap into it.  Keep practicing and gradually day-by-day the thoughts and emotions will start to lose their power and you’ll find more peace and ease.

I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by email. With love, Sandra

How to Deconstruct Pesky Thought Patterns and Wacky Emotional Habits

Our Lady of Fatima

As a child, I was fascinated by the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima to three children in Portugal. But, at night, I felt afraid.  “What if Mary appeared to me?  What if God appeared to me?”  The thought terrified me. Indeed, I would quake in my bed.

What made me afraid of Mary and God?  The “thought” made me afraid.

I concede there’s more to an emotional response than one thought alone.  For example, I’m a highly sensitive person who grew up in a less than peaceful environment. As a result, I developed a particular pattern of thinking and emotional response rooted in insecurity and fear.  The same is true for you although your patterns may be different from mine, and may even be  healthy ones.

It all comes back to mind and how we perceive even as young children.

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