Om For The Holidays

Om is a spiritual symbol & sound which refers to soul or self within. One important objective of meditation is the inward communion and journey to "know thyself." With the upcoming activities of Thanksgiving week, high probability forecasts a feast of emotion, thought, and conversation in all flavors and variety.

I say a little prayer for you: that you'll consider mindful moments and sitting meditation in between the hustle and bustle. Surrender to soul, inner self, and the essence of spiritual home.

I've been meditating since 2003, and I'm currently working on a book that explains how meditation and mindfulness has brought me to this point in my life. It's a path worth considering if you're looking to shift your health, strengthen mood, extend compassion, and water your spiritual roots. When I meditate with others it's not uncommon to hear people confess how their meditation wasn't a "very good one", or "productive", because they were distracted, and their thoughts all over the place.

Listen to me.

Your mind is distracted. It's a thinker. It jumps from one vine to another. You've got to trust me on this one. Stop trying to be a great meditator, quiet your mind, or achieve a transcendent state. Meditate and wake up to an awareness of the inward. Mingle often with your Presence. 

Let your mind be, and do what it does. It thinks really well. Focus and observe every thought and emotion that shows up. Watch. Listen. Learn. Tune yourself inward. Drop judgement. Detach. Let go. Watch the internal weather of your ego mind wash across the canvas of Universal Mind.

If you suddenly sense a perfect clear sky of peace and calm, have the generosity to let it go with an exhale, and continue watching, instead of grasping.

Meditation strengthens your brain.

Evidence out of UCLA suggests that meditating for years thickens the brain (in a good way) and strengthens the connections between brain cells. Researchers found another benefit. Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Further, a direct correlation was found between the amount of gyrification and the number of meditation years, possibly providing further proof of the brain’s neuroplasticity, or ability to adapt to environmental changes.

The cerebral cortex is the outermost layer of neural tissue. Among other functions, it plays a key role in memory, attention, thought, and consciousness. Gyrification, or cortical folding is the process by which the surface of the brain undergoes changes to create narrow furrows and folds called sulci and gyri. Their formation may promote and enhance neural processing. Presumably then, the more folding that occurs, the better the brain is at processing information, making decisions, and forming memories (Wheeler, 2012).

Just as a writer only learns a spontaneous freedom of expression after years of often grueling study, and just as the simple grace of a dancer is achieved only with enormous, patient effort, so when you begin to understand where medi- tation will lead you, you will approach it as the greatest endeavor of your life, one that demands of you the deepest perseverance, enthusiasm, intelligence, and discipline.
— Tibetan Book of Living & Dying

Think of meditation like floating, being suspended in water, or space.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving I begin my annual viewing of the 1995 comedy-drama Home for the Holidays. A film directed by Jodie Foster, screenplay written by W. D. Richter, and based on the short story by Chris Radant.

It's simply perfect and cracks my quirky funny bone.

The film stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg, Cynthia Stevenson, Claire Danes, Austin Pendleton and David Strathairn.

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Kit, who's staying home for Thanksgiving, when dropping her mother off at the airport tries to soothe her panic.

KIT: Do not panic. DO NOT PANIC. Just remember the fish. When we went snorkeling, how we all just floated there. Just you and me and the angelfish. Just float. Just keep breathing. Float, float!

During dinner Leo Fish and Claudia find a common thread in conversation.

LEO: We get loaded down with all this stuff we don't need. When did we get fat? Like human cholesterol or something. Stuck in the system. Big gobs of human fat choking the economy.

CLAUDIA: Too much stuff.

LEO: Yeah.

CLAUDIA: Everywhere. We carry around all this excess baggage.

May you float this week in mindfulness, and lighten your excess baggage by turning home, towards your soul and self within, through the wise & generous practice of meditation.

Make Sit Happen!

Are you interested in meditating with me? Meditation begins in January. Coming Soon!

Alexander