Take a Mini Break from Work or Study

February 25, 2010

Even a few minutes is enough to relax and release tension. Our latest podcast episode, Mini Break from Work or Study, is a short meditation you can use when you have just a few minutes to spare. It guides you through a process that you can use anytime, even when you don’t have your mp3 player with you.

After you’ve done it a few times, your body will remember to use it to relax. Similar in length to the Deep Relaxation Meditation in our first podcast episode, this meditation has a different approach. You’ll be guided to let go of your work, stretch, take some deep breaths and do a quick body scan with tension release. I think you’ll be impressed with how much difference a little time away from work or studies can make.

If you can take a little time here and there to relax, it can make a big difference. Making it a habit to take breaks throughout the day can really reduce your stress. I have to remind myself to do this all the time. It’s so easy to get caught up in the sense of urgency about getting things done. You may feel you can’t afford to take the time, but you really can’t afford not to! When you take time off to “reset”, you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more. When you feel clear and relaxed, everything goes better!

Online Sangha

July 7, 2008

This morning I was delighted to learn (from a comment on a blog post) that our Breath in the Heart Meditation would be shared online as part of Plumline‘s Monday morning Sangha.  In fact, it is going on as I write.  

Although Buddhist studies have not been a part of my background, and I have had no training in mindfulness meditation, I am always struck by how much my meditations seem to resonate with those traditions.  As I’ve said before, the deepest truths can be arrived at and expressed through many different paths.  

I enjoyed visiting the Plumline website.  Plumline describes itself as “Building online Sangha in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh”.  For those who don’t know, “Sangha”, roughly translated, means spiritual community.  A community of like-minded practitioners is felt to be essential to support on-going spiritual practice in Buddhism.    

Those interested in Buddhism may want to visit Plumline.  Thich Nhat Hanh, from whom they derive their inspiration, has written one of my all-time favorite poems – “Call Me by My True Names”.  (See Thich Nhat Hanh speaking on mindfulness on YouTube.)

I’ve come to feel our podcasts are like a giant group meditation.  We don’t see and meet each other for the most part, but we truly are meditating together — thousands of us.  I’ve hoped to provide some support for that experience in this blog and on our Meditation Oasis website. Perhaps there are yet other ways that we can create community for those who are interested. I’ve thought of different ways — an online course, a chat group, a conference call.  I’m not sure what will actually manifest, and would be interested in your ideas.

Discovering “aliveness” in the breath

November 24, 2007

When we observe the process of breathing, really observe it, even for a moment, a very profound meditation happens. I recently received a newsletter from the Advaita Fellowship (Wayne Liquorman), and am quoting from it below, as it is such a beautiful understanding of the gifts that observing the breath can bring.

“This aliveness we are talking about is worth investigating. It is here, in this moment. It is as close to you as your breath. In fact, your breath IS this Livingness. You do not have to remember to breathe. Your breath is literally breathing you. Stop reading the words on this page for a moment and investigate this phenomenon of breathing….

(If you did not stop, but simply read on to this sentence, I fully understand…you are a lot like me….however there REALLY is something to be seen in the stopping for a moment even if you are an “advanced” student and have examined your breath many times previously.)

Perhaps you were able to see the way in which your breath “just happens.” You breathe even when you forget to breathe. There is a force here that operates independent of your decisions and intentions… It is this Life that is living you even to the extent that you falsely believe yourself to be living IT.”

Breath in the Heart Guided Meditation

June 13, 2007

We’ve just added the Breath in the Heart meditation to our podcast. It’s a variation on meditations in which you follow your breath. In this case, you maintain awareness of the breath and the heart area at the same time. This helps open and enliven the heart chakra. The heart is the seat of love and connection. Attention on the heart helps to awaken the energy of love. This meditation can be especially soothing as you connect into the energy of the heart. At the same time, it can bring our awareness to any emotional pain which is present in the heart chakra. The pain may be from past hurts or from our current situation. If we are grieving, bringing attention to the heart will help facilitate the feelings of grief. By allowing these feelings to be present, they can move through and resolve.

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