Meditation Potpourri

Ever since someone introduced me to Steve Nobel a couple of years ago I’ve been a fan.  He’s prolific and churns out new meditations at a pace I can’t begin to keep up with.  They’re all free on YouTube.

For me there are increasing numbers down the list I mean to get back and try but he keeps enticing me into another new one.  And I now have 6 or 8 I like to repeat periodically. So the list of the ones not yet done keeps growing.

I find his work so powerful I’ve learned it’s better not to do more than 2-3 a week and to make sure there’s a day or two in between–and I have a couple of friends doing them who agree.  Other days I generally do yoga nidra.

As I’ve been moving through a selection of Nobel’s posts there have been a number I thought were particularly good so thought I’d embed some here for anyone who’d like to try.

One category I’ve been craving recently has been what I’d call the healing/protection ones.  One of my favorites lately has been, Angelic Healing Light Temple Meditation.  It’s gentler than some and doesn’t leave my energy roiling as much as some of his:

I’ve found his Shield of Michael Meditation powerful and I also like that it’s only 17 minutes.  You’re literally placing Archangel Michael’s symbol, a sword, around you in multiple places for protection.  The second time I did it I had an appointment with Hanna the next day for body patterning.  I didn’t say a word about the meditation.  Hanna, as I’ve mentioned before, is highly intuitive and at the end of the session she mentioned the odd fact that she kept seeing swords of Michael all around me!

Another one that’s nice and quiet and doesn’t radically set my energy roiling is the Super Quick Alignment Meditation.  A little under 15 minutes and beautifully brings you into balance.

One of the really powerful, but oh so lovely ones is The Ultra Violet Fire and Grace Elohim meditation, which invokes all your guides and guardians, ultra violet fire angels and the grace elohim angels who join you with these higher energies, clear you and leave you calm and connected.

One of the super powerful ones is Green Tara Transmission: Invoking a Liberation from all Mental/Energetic Poisons.  This is one heck of a clearing of old stuff, so be prepared for some big shifts!

 

Circling back to Yoga Nidra

Long ago I wrote about a year of yoga nidra practice and my ongoing love of it.  At the time I began, the lingering effects of chronic fatigue still left me exhausted a good deal of the time and the “sleep” impact intrigued me.

The practice indeed helped remarkably with the constant fatigue and after the year I moved to spending more time on energy-building practices like Flying Crane Chi-Gung, the Eight Key Breaths and the Five Tibetan Rites.  I still slipped yoga nidra in here and there but it became ever more sporadic.

As I struggle with the big shifts I’ve been trying to make, added to years of sleep deprivation due to my muscles, fatigue is more of a problem again and it finally occurred to me to circle back to yoga nidra.  In the time since I first began I’ve fallen in love with the short version on my preferred recording, Swami Janakananda’s Experience Yoga Nidra[On other recordings I’ve tried the long version isn’t as complete as this one and the short version is completely different]

I’ve hit the point in the shift where I’m finally getting up close to the time I’m aiming for, but then wandering around in a fog for hours as I’ve never had enough sleep (and I gather my internal clock hasn’t adjusted…).  So later in the morning I’ve been frequently doing one of the two versions of yoga nidra and it’s definitely helping by restoring some rest as advertised.

Yoga nidra is a deep relaxation practice and the claims regarding sleep equivalence vary widely.  Initially I was told that the long, 45 minute version equaled 6 hours of sleep, or 2 hours per 15 minutes.  Since then I’ve seen it estimated at more like 1 hour per 15 minutes and I’d say that corresponds more to my experience.  And there are other claimed variations from less to more.  At this point I usually say the long one equals 3 hours and the short, 20 minute, version nets around an hour.

I also love the practice (1) because there are a LOT of fast-moving instructions and if you want to experience all of it you really have to stay mindfully with it.  I’d say the year I spent practicing daily did more to help my mindfulness capacity than any mindfulness meditation I ever did and (2) because as your energy follows the flow you experience your whole body, shifting emotional states, chakras, connecting with nature and more, I feel a greater sense of detachment from my ordinary self than anything else has provided me.

I also like it because my low back has issues with sitting meditation practices and for yoga nidra you’re SUPPOSED to be lying down.  Yea!

In 30+ years of learning, doing and often discarding practices, I’d say this one ranks as one of my total faves.  There are some others I cycle in and out of, like the energy practices named above.  And yoga, of course, has remained a constant since I took my first class starting in July, 1986.

If you have any issues with being sleep deprived and/or fatigued, I highly recommend this.  Or if you need help with relaxation.  Or mindfulness.  What can I say, it’s an amazing practice! And I’m so happy to have cycled back to it.

Getting Bigger

Many years back my insightful acupuncturist, Raymond Himmel (still practicing in Mill Valley, CA for anyone near enough) commented, “You know it’s okay for you to be big,” as he popped another needle in.  Me holding back my bigness in one way or another has come up often over many years on this journey and among my various spiritual teachers and alternative health practitioners, he was not alone in perceiving and pointing out that issue.

Over the years I’ve done lots of work around the ideas of making myself small and fear of being big, from digging around in the issue to release work to efforts at changing my negative thought patterns, particularly those I see as keeping me small.  For me it’s one of those major, pervasive issues with tendrils, and I imagine I will be circling back to it for the rest of at least this lifetime.

Years ago I understood the tight muscles all over my body created a defensive system almost like having body armor under the skin.  More recently, as the final throes of unwinding in my face move through, I’ve been also understanding the same tightness as part of being small.

In my early yoga training, my teacher talked to us quite a bit about how we can see many things about our personalities and our ways of being in how we feel about postures, and in our relationship with the difficulty or easiness of various postures.  I, for instance, did forward bend stretches with ease from the beginning.  An indicator of introversion or inwardness.

Back bends, on the other hand, were a strain.  Initially I could barely lift an inch off the floor into a cobra pose  An indicator of being afraid to be open and exposed in the world.  I didn’t exactly mind doing them but they were hard for me.  Since I knew being more open in the world was an issue, I concertedly kept working at back bends.

My ability to move farther into postures like cobra improved in a complementary fashion with my becoming more outward in the world.  Those are just a couple of examples, but it’s a lesson I’ve always carried and reflected upon periodically.  So as my head has finally opened up significantly the import of the squeezed up muscles became a subject of contemplation.

Increasingly I’ve understood that the super tight squeezing in all the muscles in my head and face (I’ve described it as feeling like a vice grip that could squeeze to the max from every direction) served to keep me small.  And as the muscles have opened up– and opened more of my body as the patterns in my head connected into and held up patterns all the way down — the feeling of being bigger has grown.

A few weeks ago while following along to one of Steve Nobel’s great meditations I suddenly opened into a sense of a big space in me while receiving a message that it’s time to be big, to let myself be all I came here to be.  For most of this journey I’ve  had visions occasionally of me in a much bigger, more out there life and, while excited, my main reaction has always been that it’s too grandiose, too much for “little ol’ me” to imagine I could be and do all that.  Without the opening in my muscles, I don’t think I could feel the bigness as I now do.

For the first time I felt this really big, impactful life truly is the one I came here to live.  I’ve been naming some well known teachers and saying I feel like I belong on the same stages they’re on.  This isn’t a sudden complete transformation.  Any given day (or even time of day) you could find me feeling anxious about stepping out like that or tearing up because it seems like too much.

But the rest of the time I’m mulling it and taking it in and telling myself, as Raymond so long ago told me, “It’s okay to be big.”

Life and a meditation

I have posts buzzing around in my head, from my spiritual journey lately to more People Power to mulling over Mueller, but life has been getting in the way.  My 93-year-old mother relies on me to get to all appointments and to do all shopping and she’s been having lots of appointments.  Between busy-ness and periodic sleep deprivation I’m winding up writing in my head but getting nothing down.

In the meantime, I continue to periodically explore Steve Nobel’s expansive offerings and I’ve found his meditation, “Releasing Anxiety/Fear” to be powerful:

Clearing and building energy

I tried out this Steve Nobel meditation a few weeks ago and then did it again and have been so impacted by it I’m planning to do it at least a couple of times a week.

The first part does a LOT of clearing old energy from every level of your being and then you build a pillar of light which is both super high energy and creates a barrier that keeps lower level energies from entering.

In these times when I feel it is SO important to be clearing as much lower level energy as possible and also lifting the vibration of the Web of All Life higher, this meditation seems like the perfect path.

I’ll be back to this in an upcoming People Power post, but wanted to share it now so those who want to can start working with it.

Walking a different drummer/spiritual path in a secular world

A little over a week ago I started participating in an on line class called “Co-Human Harmony“.  The idea is to work on understanding and tools to help create bridges in a divisive society or situation.  I signed up because I think it’s so important right now and because I realize I even have a problem quite often about joining groups who are working for peace or justice (i.e. theoretically same view as mine) because I frame these issues so differently.

I’m loving the class but also struggling for the same reasons.  The quite valid point of the class is to learn tools for bridging divides where people are, which is generally not in a place of understanding or accepting non-duality.  And I’m realizing I’ve moved so far along the path of looking at everything from a spiritual/metaphysical viewpoint, I’m having trouble answering some of the course questions within a more “practical” framework.

I believe so thoroughly we’re all divine beings who are made of energy which is part of one unified field.  And I am so used to using tools like (1) moving into heart energy and shifting a room with it or (2) chanting lovingkindness for someone with whom I’m at odds or (3) doing a meditation that balances energy between me and another person before we actually interact, that I think in those terms for bridges and healing rifts.

The teacher has pointed out it’s fine to think in those terms (and has encouraged me to continue) but for these situations we’re addressing how to be in a room with, say, a Neo-Nazi, and find a way to connect as humans so we can talk.  And I’m guessing as we move from studying the theoretical framework to more practical applications it may become easier to just use and apply new concepts.  But right now I’m floundering in attempts to talk about my understanding of various passages, videos, etc. on which we’re asked to comment without talking about energy and chakras and stuff.

I’m really seeing how far down this spiritual path I’ve gotten.  I know, I know, seems goofy after this many years for this to be a new thought.  But I’ve wound up mostly hanging around with other spiritual seekers who’ve been at it for years and though I know intellectually that most people don’t think this way, I’m rarely confronted in person with how totally different the drumbeat to which I march really is.

Since most of the folks who regularly read and participate here lead deeply spiritual lives I’m very interested and curious to hear your thoughts and stories about participating as a spiritually-enmeshed person in secular affairs.  Comments are welcome but I’d be even more excited to see some of you write posts about living spiritually in a secular world.

BTW, I’ll still be continuing the People Power series but as I work through this class I’ll likely switch back and forth in topics.

People Power: Truth, Lies, Myths, Manipulation

For part 2 in my People Power series a lot of focus right now on truth telling and “fake” news, which is discussed as if it’s a phenomenon that started with the current U.S. administration.  The truth and what we believe and why we believe it are crucial at this point but it’s a slippery slope.

The media and people in power have been hoodwinking us for years (maybe always?) and we all now hold a lot of beliefs that are based on falsehoods and/or manipulations.  In the wake of the 2016 election I’ve read a lot of studies about belief and how hard it is to change one or more.  Bottom line is beliefs are very hard to change in all people.  Once a belief has been accepted, most all of us will ignore evidence that tells us a different truth.

By and large these studies aimed at the right wing folks who elected the not-really-a-president, but what I’m seeing is that both sides are subject to the same “set in stone” thinking.  And the liberal/left often seems so smug about knowing what’s true and what’s not that they are blind to the ways in which they have been duped and are just as gullible to believing what’s been fed.

My first three examples of ways the media shifts perception all come from events of which I was aware or in which I participated in the 1980’s:

1 Nicaragua

  In the 80’s there was a huge civil war in Nicaragua in which the socialist Sandinistas were fighting the party of the late right-wing despotic dictator Somoza.  The Somozan guerillas called themselves Contras and had death squads torturing and killing people.

Reagan supported the right wing and the giant propaganda effort he waged on their behalf led to the Iran-Contra affair.  One small but key move he made to shift perception was to start calling the Contras “Freedom Fighters” in order to portray them as the good guys.

After a while I noticed that NYT articles about the situation were using his propaganda phrasing, calling the Contras “Freedom Fighters”.  It’s a subtle but effective way of re-shaping perception by a small change of phrase.  The anti-abortion movement pulled off a similar shift by changing their movement to “Pro Life”.

[At a guess, it was not the reporters on those articles who used the phrase, but probably an editorial change commanded by somewhere up the chain]

2 Nuclear Power Cases

Nuclear Power Plant cases are giant sprawling things, with thousands of pages of complex expert testimony, briefs that are usually 100 or more pages each and opinions that are just as long.  They’re complicated and cover tough-to-grasp topics like nuclear power plant engineering and econometric forecasting.

I worked on those cases and I barely grasped the minutiae even after several years, relying on the greater expertise of older attorneys who’d been at it so long they knew every nuance.  So I can imagine how tough it must be for a reporter covering the outcome of such a case –presumably among other assignments on other topics — to comprehend the material.

Pretty much every time one of our cases came down, I’d read the newspaper report on the opinion/outcome and scratch my head, wondering if the decision on some other nuclear plant case somewhere else had come out that day and the reporter confused the opinions.  Really.  I’d read the opinion and then the news and fail to see how one led to the other.

I don’t think anybody manipulated on purpose in those cases, but in complex technical matters it’s too much for a mainstream media reporter to be able to get it all and write a concise, understandable article that accurately reflects the material.  I’ve talked to other people in other complex arenas who’ve said the same thing.  Media coverage often doesn’t reflect the kind of understanding that people within the “biz” have.  On complex topics, if you really want to know, you probably need to look at trade-specific journals or major studies.

But the news articles are often the only info the public ever sees, so any mistakes in the coverage wind up being part of the belief system.  One example in nuclear stuff I see all the time is the assumption that nuclear is the cheapest form of power.

Putting aside the incalculable issue of how much the environmental devastation will cost down the road, (1) the cost overruns of building them have been astronomical; and (2) the ONLY reason they ever seemed relatively cheap in the U.S. was the gigantic federal underwriting they received.  If you add the grants into the overall cost they’re very expensive.

But because the powers that be who favor nuclear have always referred to it as the cheapest form and the federal money supporting them is never mentioned there’s a general belief that nuclear power is cheap.  In this case the public is misled by a combo of misinformation and omission.

3 Perception of Crime

Yup, I’m back to this one again.  And before you roll your eyes and think I need to stop with this one, I really want you to take this in and understand how manipulation changed perception and what that means for us.

As a sociology grad student in the late 70’s I landed on a huge research project called “Reaction to Crime”.  The premise was that the perception of rising crime threats arose from some changes in reporting and the idea was to figure out how to assuage those fears.  Part of the project was a gigantic “crime statistics survey” in which a small group of us poured through decades of studies and articles on crime stats.

In a nutshell, what we found was that the chance of being the victim of a crime, from robbery, burglary, assault, battery, kidnapping, etc. to murder HAD NOT CHANGED IN DECADES.  Two major changes fueled the change in perception:  (1) crime used to be reported differently and not in gross numbers as it has been for some decades now and (2) the rise of television meant that many crimes that once would have been reported only locally became national news.

The change in reporting from noting probability to just counting the total number of crimes and sounding the alarm that it kept going up suits law enforcement and politicians very well because it helps them convince the public they need big budgets and fuels election campaigns.

The thing is, the population keeps growing, so the totals will always grow. The only relevant info in terms of being afraid of crime is the probability.  Has not changed significantly over all for more than 100 years.  And I keep checking in on the studies and reports as they update and it’s always the same.  Unless you’re a Hispanic or Black male between 15 and 25, the chances of being a crime victim have gone down by and large since Colonial times. (And I’ve not looked into it but I suspect some crimes related to opioid sales and distribution have gone up in recent years.  And hate crimes only have relatively recent stats as they were not considered separately).

But every time I talk to people about this I see them politely nod and then observe them a day or two later discussing the terrible crime problem.  So this is the piece I want you (and I use “you” very generally here, hoping I might reach a wider than usual audience) to really get.

I am telling you the factual evidence compiled by decades of experts in this field shows  a perception of crime as rampant and getting worse that IS NOT TRUE.  And most of you have bought so deeply into the manipulation that you do not really believe me when I tell you this.

How does this make you different from climate deniers?  Or flat earth believers?  Somebody presented those folks with an alternate view of truth and they’ve bought it so thoroughly you can’t persuade them it’s actually false.

This is how manipulation works.  It presents you with a version of events or a way of phrasing or skewed “statistics” that suits people in power and gets you to believe what they want you to.  And then you can’t be dissuaded.

In the 1940’s, when people left everything unlocked and wandered around feeling safe, the only difference in likelihood of being a victim was perception.  Not the numbers.  Perception.  So when you worry about crime and contemplate security systems, etc. remember nothing has changed since the days of unlocked doors except your perception.

A few articles:

In a broader sense, this all goes to a point I’ve been making for a while about the price of lapping up negative news and largely ignoring (instead of demanding!) positive news.  The corporate elite–who quietly (and I’d argue without a conspiracy but acting out of self interest) hold the strings of power and use them to manipulate–put a lot of effort into keeping the populace afraid and pointing fingers at one another and at “circumstances” like rising crime.

Lately I’ve been noticing in my digital Washington Post subscription, although they continue to dislike the President while also celebrating him daily via multiple posts, they’ve been tearing down the Democratic candidates and Democrats in general on a daily basis lately.  At first I was surprised but then recalled I’ve read several times that the big mainstream media folks have recouped their financial standing by covering this administration incessantly.  Which will presumably change if he isn’t elected in 2020.  Bear this mind.

The point of creating fear is to keep us from noticing (1) together we actually have the power since the 2% need us to buy their crap and (2) they’re really the ones raping, pillaging, plundering, and destroying the earth and its people.  But if we’re all hopping around about crime and racism and immigrants and refugees and dividing into camps pointing fingers at one another they just get to keep taking more power and leaving us with less of everything.

Which brings me to another item I keep coming back to, this lovely 10 minute Ted Talk by Julia Bacha on the importance of being aware of the positive and the price of focusing on the negative.

It’s time for us to wake up and look at the world with new eyes.  To step back from the “truth” as we keep perceiving it through the lens of mainstream media.  It’s time to seek and celebrate the multitudes of positive things in the world.  And by noticing and celebrating we bring attention.  Since energy flows where attention goes, that means energy moves to the good stuff.  That’s how we start moving the power.  Change the flow.

For those of us in this blogging crowd who have come to know each other here, we have been in the forefront of those who are digging deep into our own psyches and releasing the old false beliefs and delusions in our personal lives.  Now it’s time for us to dig into the false beliefs and delusions of our society and world and step back to hold a deeper truth.  I don’t usually ask this, but please forward this through social media for me.  We need to get this out there.