What does the man who thinks he can and the man who thinks that he cannot both have in common? They are both right!

Human development is affected by a varied succession of life events. The path that ones life takes is greatly influenced by the outcome of such events. Success or Failure in educational systems greatly affect one’s life path if merely based upon one’s perception of their capability which, was formed as a direct result of their performance.

Fortuitous Determinants of Life Paths Inevitably Affect the Outcome of One’s Life

Are you Feeling Lucky? The choices you make to take advantage of an opportunity relies upon your ability to see them as such. Luck is what you make of it? The ability to benefit from a fortuitous scenario or opportunity first requires us to see it as a chance to change our path, a chance to change the road we are on. Many such encounters are presented to us frequently, perhaps each and every day.

The piece of the equation that we may be missing is that it does require our ability to perceive this opportunity as such. We desire to see the gifts that are all around us. We aspire to reveive our blessings. Yet, how can we do this if we are blind to them in the first place? You can’t win if you don’t play? No truer words have ever been uttered.There are numerous benefits of joining this community. It is a coming together of goal setters and winners. It is packed with dreamers and those who want more from their life. There are those willing to put up a good fight, those not afraid to fail, and those who will never stop getting back up if they do fail.

Most human behavior is regulated by forethought. Think about what you will gain from surrounding yourself with people who have the same drive that you have and those who are even super charged for the race. This community is full of motivators and innovators. Ambitious people who are willing to go to any length to create a better world and a better life for themselves. People just like yourself and yet possessing qualities that you lack and vice versa.

Think about what you might allow to pass you by if you do not come aboard and make a difference in your life by saying, “Yes, I want to be a part of this transformation. I want to be the change that I wish to see in the world. Allow this opportunity to make me a part of something bigger than myself”

“DO NOT PASS ME BY ON THIS DAY!”

I say, “Yes!”

People anticipate the likely consequences of their prospective actions. They set goals for themselves and they otherwise plan the course of action that is most likely to produce the desired results. Through the exercise of forethought, people motivate themselves and guide their actions with great expectations.

Join us, this is the path that leads you home.

What is Meditation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; this article is about the induction of specific modes or states of consciousness. 

Meditation is a practice where an individual operates or trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content,[1] or as an end in itself.[2]

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that include techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration[4] meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs.[5] Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure,[6] depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active way—for instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training.

Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state—such as anger, hatred, etc.—or cultivating a particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion.[7][8][9] The term “meditation” can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state.[10] Meditation may also involve repeating a mantra and closing the eyes.[11] The mantra is chosen based on its suitability to the individual meditator.

Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as “being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself .”

The benefits of mindfulness meditation, increasingly popular in recent years, are supposed to be many: reduced stress and risk for various diseases, improved well-being, a rewired brain.

A study published in Biological Psychiatry brings scientific thoroughness to mindfulness meditation and for the first time shows that, unlike a placebo, it can change the brains of ordinary people and potentially improve their health. 

To meditate mindfully demands ‘‘an open and receptive, nonjudgmental awareness of your present-moment experience,’’ says J. David Creswell, who led the study and is an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Health and Human Performance Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University. One difficulty of investigating meditation has been the placebo problem. In rigorous studies, some participants receive treatment while others get a placebo; they believe they are getting the same treatment when they are not. But people can usually tell if they are meditating. Dr. Creswell, working with scientists from a number of other universities, managed to fake mindfulness. 

First, they recruited 35 unemployed men and women who were seeking work and experiencing considerable stress. Blood was drawn and brain scans were given. Half the subjects were then taught formal mindfulness meditation at a residential retreat center; the rest completed a kind of sham mindfulness meditation that was focused on relaxation and distracting oneself from worries and stress. 

‘‘We had everyone do stretching exercises, for instance,’’ Dr. Creswell says. The mindfulness group paid close attention to bodily sensations, including unpleasant ones. The relaxation group was encouraged to chatter and ignore their bodies, while their leader cracked jokes. 

At the end of three days, the participants all told the researchers that they felt refreshed and better able to withstand the stress of unemployment. Yet follow-up brain scans showed differences in only those who underwent mindfulness meditation. There was more activity, or communication, among the portions of their brains that process stress-related reactions and other areas related to focus and calm. Four months later, those who had practiced mindfulness showed much lower levels in their blood of a marker of unhealthy inflammation than the relaxation group, even though few were still meditating. 

Dr. Creswell and his colleagues believe that the changes in the brain contributed to the subsequent reduction in inflammation, although precisely how remains unknown. Also unclear is whether you need to spend three uninterrupted days of contemplation to reap the benefits. When it comes to how much mindfulness is needed to improve health, Dr. Creswell says, ‘‘we still have no idea about the ideal dose.” aware of anything except awareness itself.”[12] In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice, and many different types of activity commonly referred to as meditative practices.[13]

Seeing colors during meditation is a common, healing experience. According to Ayurveda and other Eastern healing systems, each color relates to a specific chakra or energy center in the body, so when you see a given color, it means that healing is taking place in that area of the body. If you see green colors, for example, your heart chakra is being rejuvenated and renewed. Visions of blue indicate that the throat chakra area is healing itself. 

Interpreting Chakra Colors 

RED: life-force, survival, raw passion, anger, frustration, menstruation, determination, sense of importance, feeling overwhelmed by change ORANGE: sensuality, physical pleasure, emotional self-expression, creativity, lacking reason, lacking self-discipline, health, vitality YELLOW: mental alertness, analytical thought, happiness, optimism, child-like, ego driven, thinking at expense of feeling GREEN: healing, peace, nurturing, new growth, fear, need for security, jealousy and envy, balance BLUE: verbal communication, free thinking, relating to structure and organization, emphasis on business, male energies, sadness, possibilities PURPLE: wisdom, authoritative, female energies, matriarchal, sense of superiority, controlling, imagination, intuition BROWN: grounding, down to earth, practical, male energies, invalidating, emphasizing body and denying spirit, feeling worth-less BLACK: issues relating to death, hatred, lack of forgiveness, unresolved karma, dark intentions, shadow games, needing compassion for self PINK: self-love, tenderness, female energies, gay energies, emphasis on physical appearances, being ‘nice’ at expense of being ‘real’ WHITE (CLOUDY): New Age or religious energy, lacking consciousness, a cover-up, denial, being ‘good’ at expense of being ‘whole’ WHITE (CLEAR LIGHT): very high spiritual vibration, godly, divine, inspiration, seeing spiritual big picture, compassionate GOLD: high spiritual vibration, integrity, respect, freedom, clear-seeing, integrating spirit and body, creating as spirit 

 Application and Objectives of Meditation

Meditation has varied applications, its scope ranging from simple relaxation to Self-realization.

Broadly one can speak of five of them: behavioral, clinical, epistemological, psychological, and sociocultural.

  1. Behavioral refers to the enhancement of efficiency in terms of focal attention, present-centeredness, skill in action, and decision making.
  2. Clinical applications include the heightening of awareness of physiological and psychological processes leading to their voluntary control and inducing psychobiological and psychotherapeutic effects.
  3. Epistemological application refers to the acquisition of knowledge of self and reality through a process of transcendence, in which meditation serves as “experiential way” as contrasted with “empirical way”.
  4. Psychological application enables effecting changes in different aspects of mental functioning and personality, personal growth and self-actualization and inducing changes in interpersonal and social behavior.
  5. Sociocultural application of meditation as already mentioned is a response to different types of crisis viz., economic, energy, ecological, demographic and humanistic world over, and it involves fostering a sense of belongingness and oneness of humanity and oneness with the cosmos, through a shift in perspective.

Alteration in Consciousness

Ornstein (1972) observes that meditation refers to a set of techniques, which are the products of a different type of psychology that aims at personal rather than intellectual knowledge. According to him, meditation exercises are designed to produce an alteration in consciousness, which means a shift away from an active, outward-oriented, linear mode towards receptive and quiescent mode with a shift from the external focus of attention to an internal one.

These exercises constitute a deliberate attempt to separate oneself for a short while from the flow of daily life and to “turn off” the active mode of normal consciousness so that one may enter a complementary mode. This process involves inhibiting the usual mode of consciousness in order to cultivate a second mode that is available to man. The basic understanding underlying meditative exercises is that our ordinary consciousness is a personal construction and that it can be extended to a new mode of operation

Action & Receptive Modes of Consciousness

Deikman (1971) has listed several characteristics of the action and the receptive modes of consciousness.

Most importantly as a psychological state, the action mode is:

A state of striving whose functional orientation is achieving personal goals, from nutrition to defense to obtaining social rewards, a variety of symbols and sensual pleasures and avoidance of pain. This involves manipulation of the environment.

The psychological manifestations of action mode include:

focal attention, object-based logic, heightened boundary perception the dominance of formal over sensory characteristics and predominance of shapes and meanings. The time orientation of this mode is future. The physiological correlates of this mode are dominance of striate muscle system, sympathetic nervous system, b-waves on EEG and increased muscle tension.

In contrast

The receptive mode is:

a psychological state of non-striving whose functional orientation is to “be” in the here and now without any personal goals to achieve of material or social nature, which leads to maximization of intake of the environment.

The psychological manifestations of the receptive mode are:

diffuse attention, paralogical thought, decreased boundary perception, dominance of sensory over formal characteristics of objects or events, and dominance of color and texture. Physiological correlates are dominance of sensory-perceptual system, parasympathetic system, a-waves on EEG and decreased muscle tension.

Definition and Classification of Meditation in Modern Psychology

Clinically Standardized Meditation (Carrington, 1987). Sitting quietly, relaxing, closing the eyes, breathing deliberately, focusing attention on an object or image non-analytically, observing the thought process without judging, repeating sounds mentally, rhythmic moving of the body as in Sufi dervish dance, and so on are all considered as meditation.

As Carrington (1987) notes the term is used as a “conglomerate word” and under this conceptual umbrella a number of “different techniques and intents” are grouped.

According to Shapiro (1982) meditation refers to “a family of techniques which have in common a conscious attempt to focus attention in a non-analytical way and an attempt not to dwell on discursive, ruminating thought”.

The objective of spiritual meditation is to attain spiritual development, through a process of deepening the range of the human spirit and changing the entire life of a human being.

Practical meditation affects the practitioner’s life in certain practical ways, without changing their lives in an essential fashion. The objective of practical meditation is to enrich the experience of the average Westerner who continues to function within the framework of ordinary society.

Most contemporary researches and the propagation of meditation have focused on practical meditation. From the practical angle meditation is a cost-effective way of stress management and yoga is viewed not as a way of life but as a relaxation strategy. However, present situation calls for not just stress management but a fundamental re-vision of our outlook towards life and reality and meditation can bring about this change in us if rightly understood.

Reflection and Awareness of Ourselves

Meditation as exercises to facilitate receptive mode means turning inward; quiet observation, reflection and awareness of ourselves; to be conscious of consciousness; to become a detached observer of the stream of changing thoughts, feelings, drives and visions, until their nature and origin are recognized (Govinda, 1978).

Walsh (1983) understands the original goals and purposes of meditation within the context of consciousness, as development of certain qualities like calmness, equanimity, concentration, compassion, wisdom, generosity, and perceptual and introspective sensitivity; and of alternative states of consciousness.

Shapiro (1985) notes that the original purpose of meditation as delineated in the philosophical and cultural context of the techniques, is to create a deeper sensitivity to perceptual and cognitive stimuli and to bring about a change in a person’s awareness and reaction to oneself, others and the world around.

Self-Regulation Strategies

With the introduction of Transcendental Meditation, by Maharshi Mahesha Yogi in early 1960’s in Western culture researchers from many disciplines, primarily from physiology and psychology, have investigated the phenomenon of meditation.

Many investigators have documented its practical utility for psychosomatic and psychological problems (Murphy & Donovan, 1997; Shapiro & Walsh, 1984; Walsh, 1999; West, 1987).

In psychological jargon, meditation techniques are “self-regulation strategies” (Shapiro & Giber, 1978). Self-regulation strategy primarily refers to the ways and means of controlling and directing the activity of a system by itself, which are built-in.

At physiological level, self-regulation through meditation reduces the activity of the sympathetic nervous system that is crucial in causing stress and tension. It increases the dominance of the para-sympathetic nervous system activity, which enhances relaxation. Meditative practices which involve sitting and chanting mantra, focusing on breathing, being passively aware of thought processes are also considered as self-regulation strategies which act at the mental level.

Many studies have been conducted on them and the relative efficacy of these techniques have been discussed and debated (Holmes, 1984; Shapiro, 1982; Woolfolk, 1975).

Investigators have found that meditative practices enhance psychological growth and well-being. They also serve as therapeutic adjuncts both in re-educative and re-constructive therapies, besides serving as a supportive therapy technique.

Self-realization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Self-realization is an expression used in psychology, philosophy, and Eastern religions. It is defined as the “fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality.” [1]

In one overview, Mortimer Adler defines self-realization as freedom from external coercion, including cultural expectations, political and economic freedom, and the freedom from worldly attachments and desires etc. Paramahansa Yogananda defined Self-realization as “the knowing – in body, mind, and soul – that we are one with the omnipresence of God, that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God’s omnipresence is our omnipresence, that we are just as much a part of Him now as we ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing.” [2

As taught by Ramana Maharshi, awareness or consciousness of “I am,” plays a key role in achieving self-realization, tracing back to the source of awareness by asking oneself the question “Who am I?”, the true self becomes obvious. Focusing attention on the qualified “I-am” is a powerful means to achieving the end which is being one with the completely unqualified “I,” the True Self which is experienced as Silence.[4] Replacing the confused duality of Self and ego with the pristine non-dual experience of Self is the essence of Ramana’s teaching. True happiness is the manifested Self. It only seems like a result because it is not felt or known permanently before the ego is removed. As explained by Ramana Maharshi, happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realize himself in order to experience his unalloyed happiness. All spiritual scriptures are meant to make man retrace his steps to his original source.

Where are you now? Are you in the world or is the world within you? You must admit that the world is not perceived in your sleep although you cannot deny your existence then. The world appears when you wake up. So where is it? Clearly, the world is your thought. Thoughts are your projections. The “I” is first created and then the world. The world is created by the “I’ which in its turn rises up from the self. The riddle of the creation of the world is thus solved if you solve the creation of “I”. So I say, find yourself.

Illumination

Main article: Divine illumination

Another equivalent term is Illuminationism, which was also used by Paul Demieville in his work The Mirror of the Mind, in which he made a distinction between “illumination subie” and “illumination graduelle”.[36[web 16] Illuminationism is a doctrine according to which the process of human thought needs to be aided by divine grace. It is the oldest and most influential alternative to naturalism in the theory of mind and epistemology.[37] It was an important feature of ancient Greek philosophy, Neoplatonism, medieval philosophy, and in particular, the illuminationist school of Islamic philosophy.

Western Understanding 

In the Western world the concept of enlightenment in a religious context acquired a romantic meaning. It has become synonymous with self-realization and the true self, which is being regarded as a substantial essence which is covered over by social conditioning.[note 12]

As ‘Aufklärung’

Main article: Age of Enlightenment

The use of the Western word enlightenment is based on the supposed resemblance of bodhi with Aufklärung, the independent use of reason to gain insight into the true nature of our world. As a matter of fact there are more reseblances with Romanticism than with the Enlightenment the emphasis on feeling, on intuitive insight, on a true essence beyond the world of appearances.[34]

Humanistic psychology

Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, leaders in the Humanistic Psychology movement, developed the concept of self-actualization. Based on Maslow, the most common meaning given to self-realization is that of psychological growth. It represents the awakening and manifestation of talent potentialities of the human being – for example, ethical, esthetic, and religious experiences and activities.[14]

Maslow

Maslow defined self-actualization as: The impulse to convert oneself into what one is capable of being.[15]

Western Esotericism

Western esotericism integrates a broad variety of traditions, some of which view self-realization as the ultimate goal of a human being.

Let us begin the journey inward to find our self!