Friday, October 17, 2008

Morning meditation vs Night meditation

Morning meditation:

1) You are fresh in the morning after a decent night's sleep. Your mind isn't filled with thoughts of the day's work. It's a clean slate unless you have got some pressing appointment during the day. But you can switch off that worrying mind just for those 20 0r 30 minutes and get a good start on the day.
2) Helps you be centred before you begin the day which ofcourse affects how you go about your day.

1) I don't think there are many cons. One disadvantage of meditating in the morning, specially if you are just getting into making this a habit is that you can skimp on the duration of meditation. This might be because you have to get going quickly because you woke up late or you have to prepare for a meeting, etc. But again, if the habit of early morning meditation is established, then this shouldn't be a problem.
I mean, you wouldn't skip brushing your teeth because you had to prepare for a meeting, would you?

Night Meditation:

1) It has helped me sleep better and sooner. As a graduate student, I find that it is easier to sleep late than early. What happens when you meditate after a tiring day is that because you are tired, your body goes into a recharging/relaxing mode and the brain gets the cue to trigger sleep and you feel sleepy.
2) I look forward to my night meditations because there is no time limit I have to follow (I don't have to get going for work) and it's also pretty quiet at say, 11:30 pm.

1) I wouldn't call this a con, but since we are limited to a pros vs cons discussion, I would say that if I meditate close to my sleep times, my meditation gets truncated because 10 minutes into the meditation, I am very sleepy. Almost like, my head is going to hit the floor if I don't exercise control.

I would view the above text as a healthy comparison of morning vs evening/night meditation. I just started meditating regularly 3 months ago, so I have found that a morning and night meditation is pretty fun-tastic.
Sometimes when I meditate during the middle of the day, I feel sleepy immediately. This is like a signal to me (the ego, the mind, etc) that my body is running on a sleep deficit. I like those reminders.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My core spiritual beliefs

Here are my core beliefs. Feel free to disagree with them. These beliefs are not taken from any religion but are definitely borrowed from the multitude of spiritual (not to be confused with religious) books that I have read:

a) We are all one (despite the apparent physical differences) - The essence of us all is one.
String theory in theoretical physics says that the fundametal elements of our body are not atoms or sub-atomic particles but strings of 'energy' that have different vibration frequencies. If our fundamental essence is indeed energy, and if energy can neither be created nor destroyed, then the next belief follows:
b) There is no death. Death is just a horizon, death is to the physical body, not to my 'identity'. My 'real self' doesn't die. And 'self-realization' is all about knowing and experiencing this 'real-self' which is eternal. That is to say, I don't fear death. Why will you fear an illusion?
c) God is not a person, sitting out there in heaven. God is in the present moment, in the mundane, in everything basically: God is an omni-present, omni-scient, omni-potent entity. Hence, it makes perfect sense to see god in every 'thing' (even rocks or mud or filth/garbage or air or water, etc) and every 'sentient being' (person: male, female, asian, black, white, blue; animals, birds, earthworms!!, reptiles, etc ).
In short, I believe that anything that you can imagine (Real or unreal) is a part of god. There is only 'one'.. but that 'one' has infinite 'manifestations', giving rise to these multitude of lifeforms and universes.
The mistake religions do is to limit god to a human form. If god is indeed a 'god', shouldn't that 'god' be all-encomapssing? Shouldn't that god have no boundaries? If god is really 'god', then it should be able to take up any form it so chooses or no form at all. Only then will god be truly limitless. Why don't religions get this?
Also my concept of god is one that loves unconditionally, a god that does not judge or condemn. Some religions have a hard time understanding this concept. Also they inject the component of fear anywhere and everywhere. You have to fear god's wrath, etc.. What total crap!!!
Man is made in god's image. The problem is that the man faltered. God didn't. So if you equate a
faltered man to a god, that is a mistake. A faltered man judges people, condemns people.
A sage neither condemns nor judges. A sage exudes peace and unconditional love. Now, equating a sage to god makes sense.
d) We are on this earth for a reason. We are here to learn from our experiences and grow.. grow spiritually. Indeed we are spiritual beings having a human experience (oft quoted).
e) Reincarnation exists and makes sense since if you only had a lifetime, your growth is limited to the experiences learnt from that particular lifetime. But you are a spiritual being that keeps on evolving (See d)), therefore, it makes sense to have many lifetimes of the 'earth experience' to evolve and learn all possible lessons on the earth plane of existence.

My first ever(professional) reiki experience

In short it was relaxing, it was interesting, and it was "spacey".

Detailed description
The Reiki session was held in a spa room. I comfortably settled onto a nice bed, laying on my back, and I was told to relax myself and be open to any experience I would have and also be open to let the ki or chi or prana do its work. Eileen started out with placing her hand gently on my chest and then going on to behind my neck, my forehead, my scalp, then moving down to the shoulder and chest again. Each hand placement was initially made for a minute or two. Thus far, I was just relaxed and didn't feel any sensations or heat that are usually said to accompany a Reiki experience.
She then moved her hand to my chest and placed it there for a prolonged period.. I started feeling heat on my chest and felt 'lightness' in the chest.
I asked her if she still had her hand on my chest, for I was not sure, even though I 'felt' pressure, as though from a hand. Just as I asked this question, I felt her two hands on my feet. Wow, so her two hands were on my feet, and I was feeling pressure on my chest, just as if there was a hand placed there. This was amazing. The pressure stayed for a while. Periodically, I was reminded to take deep breaths and allow the chi to work through.
I was then asked to flip over and Eileen worked her hands on my back and did I feel some heat there or what. I wasn't imagining it for sure, it was searing out there, though in a sort of bearable way. Eileen worked on the back of my neck, my hands. I remember her pressing my hand hard and the pressure stayed (similar to the chest), even though she went to work on my legs.
So this was again the case where, there was pressure applied onto my legs from her two hands and then there was the 'phantom hand' (sure did feel like that) applying pressure on my wrist.

At this point, I started feeling spaced out. I was feeling a little disoriented and the eastern instrumental music in the background seemed to be aiding this 'spacey' feeling. I was kind of scared, and mentioned this to Eileen. She suggested that I imagine myself grounding my body to the earth. I did that visualization and in a few minutes, I felt less dis-oriented. This dis-orientation is really new to me. I have felt this feeling once before, when I was undergoing a lot of changes in my life. And as before, it felt frightening and weird.

The reiki master mentioned that she had seen very few clients getting 'spacey' on their first reiki session. Hmm, I have been meditating regularly, the past three months, and that might have contributed to my current experience. So, after exchanging some more ideas, and having my questions answered (a lot of them), I left the place feeling a little 'spacey' but oriented back to the so-called 'real' world.

So from what I understand, the philosophy behind Reiki is that: The 'chi' (china) or 'Ki' (Japan) or 'Prana' (India) or the life force is a universal energy that can supposedly be tapped by anyone if required. Reiki is one such way of tapping into this 'ki'. The patient's or client's body is considered intelligent and wherever there is a need, the body directs the flow of the Ki through the Reiki Master's hands to the affected part of the body. So, in accordance with this understanding, Eileen let me know that I needed the energy most on my back and shoulders and hence I felt the ki there as 'a lot of heat'. This makes sense, since I sometimes carry a laptop along with many books in my backpack and my shoulders and back take a beating when I do that.

I am going to go for some follow-up reiki sessions and see how they go and what I experience.
I am pretty open to energy work and the like. It fits my belief system pretty well (although you don't need a belief system for Reiki, which is a secular practice) .

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Reiki session

I am gonna try out Reiki tomorrow. Scheduled for a 1 hr session with Eileen Dey.
Will post my first experience of Reiki...well actually not the first. I remember getting a mini reiki from my uncle, when he placed his hand on my forehead and I could feel the heat on my forehead..This was when I was in 5th grade. Hmm, anyway, I am excited..

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Twice a day meditation

I have upped my meditation practice to twice a day, roughly 20 minutes per session.
The last few weeks I haven't been having a great sound sleep for different reasons. I started incorporating meditation before sleep and so far (past one week), my sleep has turned out better.

It's amazing how you can give the excuse, " I don't have the time".. Do you mean to say, every moment of your life is occupied in some task or the other, without a break? I don't know about married folks, they sure have a lot going in their life, but bachelors like me, we don't have a good excuse to give for not finding time. I spend around 1 hr everyday doing random surfing (including checking mails, etc). Surely, that's not a great way of spending time is it?
You can always divert a portion of your day towards meditation..You will always find the time, if you are committed to meditation and realize its benefits in your life.
And don't worry about the lost time, the paybacks from committing to a meditation practice is pretty good.. balance, centredness, inner peace, joy, living in the moment, etc.

I see my meditation fit neatly into the morning ritual: Get up, have a bath, meditate, breakfast and off to work. When you think of meditation as a part of your routine, it's automatic.. There's no.. "Oh, I have to meditate today". Do you think, "Oh, I have to brush today?". It's automatic and almost sub-conscious.