June 21, 2014
Four times a year the solstices and equinoxes remind me of the cycles of change. As a lover of light, I always look forward to the long days of summer. And yet, when the solstice arrives, things are turning the corner. After this longest day, the days will get shorter as darkness increases. This, plus the fact that we have listeners from all over the world, and half of the world is experiencing the shortest day, caused me to wax philosophical. What started as a meditation to celebrate the light of summer morphed into a meditation reflecting on change and how we can relax into it. Our latest podcast – Summer Solstice Guided Meditation – is an opportunity to relax into change and view our current life situation from a broader perspective.
November 7, 2011
On November 7, 2006 we published our first Meditation Oasis podcast episode. We had no idea that 5 years later, there would be over 8 million downloads and that people all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds, would become listeners. Our podcast meditations have been used in ways and in places we would never have imagined. Everyday we hear from people through emails, Facebook, Twitter, website comments about how they are benefitting from the meditations. At times we are moved to tears — both awed and humbled, knowing that these reports are a testimony to the power of meditation and the tremendous capacity we have as humans to grow.
Our meditations have been used both by people wanting to enrich their experience of life and by people overcoming all sorts of challenges. Counselors and psychotherapists use them for their clients; women have used them in childbirth; they have been used in clinics and human resource departments, recovery programs, hospitals, and by troops in Afghanistan. We hear from people who are grieving or facing medical problems and surgery. Artists and musicians tell us how meditation has helped them create. And we also hear from people who simply say that life is easier, more rich and fulfilling and that they have more inner peace.
Our work has developed and expanded because of what we hear from listeners. Many of the podcast meditations came about because of listeners’ requests. The podcast has been a launching pad for our online meditation course, anxiety relief program, as well as our smartphone applications. Much of Richard’s music has been inspired by the podcast meditations.
This has been an incredibly fulfilling five years, and it’s all because of of our listeners’ openness. Richard and I feel grateful to all of you who have opened your minds and hearts to be on this journey with us.
February 22, 2008
Gratitude is the highest, most fulfilling, emotion we can feel. Yet so often we’re focused on what we don’t have, what we want to be different, what we think is wrong rather than on what we can be grateful for. There’s nothing wrong with that — it’s human nature — it happens to all of us. Yet most of us would certainly prefer to feel grateful.
When feeling grateful is so rewarding, what can we do to feel it more often? We can’t manufacture gratitude. It comes on its own. But we can give it more opportunity to appear in our lives, simply by taking time to focus on what is good in our lives, to “count our blessings”.
I feel it’s important, however, not to get caught up in the feeling that we should be grateful. There’s nothing we should feel. Gratitude has become a hot topic among spiritual seekers and often when something is seen to be spiritual, it starts to get associated with being virtuous, or being a good person. I’m not interested in gratitude because it somehow makes one a good person, or because I feel we need to learn to feel only positive emotions. I’m interested in gratitude because it uplifts our spirits and feeds our hearts.
I make this point because when I led a gratitude meditation with my local guided meditation group, it wasn’t until I gave them permission not to feel grateful that they were able to relax and have a genuine experience of gratitude arise. As you listen to the Gratitude Guided Meditation podcast episode, be easy with it. If you don’t feel grateful at times while you are listening, let that be OK. Don’t try to make yourself feel anything. Next time you listen, the experience will be different, or you might find that feelings of gratitude surprise you later on during the day. The meditation is simply designed to give you an opportunity to feel gratitude by taking the time to focus on the things in your life you are thankful for. We’re just giving gratitude a chance to come up naturally. Chances are you will at least feel moments of gratitude during the meditation, and when you do, let yourself sink into that feeling. Notice the details of the experience of gratitude — how it feels in your body, how your energy feels. Let it permeate your whole being when it comes up.
We hope you enjoy this meditation, and would love to hear about your experience with the meditation and with gratitude in your lives.
October 18, 2007
This morning I spoke with a man who called from London (UK) to express his gratitude for my guided meditations. Our local meditation group had just left and I was already feeling quite mellow, but the phone call brought me to a deep state of love and gratitude that has remained with me all day. I was so deeply touched as he related how much our podcast and CDs have helped him. As he spoke, I felt such gratitude that this is happening in my life, that in some mysterious way people receive the same grace from me that I have received from so many teachers and others through the years. It could just as easily have been me thanking him for how much he has enriched my life.
When I sit with my meditation group or to record a meditation, I enter into a meditative state and speak from that place. It seems that those who resonate with my meditations are somehow brought into that state with me. Today on the phone, it felt as if the gratitude my caller was expressing was my own. What a gift to be brought into that state of gratitude! Gratitude is said to be the “highest” possible emotion we can experience. To me, it is an experience of love — not the emotion of love but of the very essence of life itself. There’s no way to describe or understand intellectually what gratitude is, but when we have the good fortune to feel it, it’s good to dwell in it and allow it to nourish our spirits.