Friday, 29 February 2008
Thursday, 28 February 2008
Monday, 25 February 2008
This is no surprise to me or to you either I'm sure as it just confirms the expansion we've all experienced in the presence of an open warm, loving heart and the contraction felt in an atmosphere of fear.
One measure of your hearts' activity that reflects your emotional state is called heart rate variability, which shows variations in the intervals between heartbeats.In Studies researchers have found that people's heart patterns look different when they're happy then when they are angry,frustrated or sad.
(See graphs below)
Negative emotions cause erratic patterns called heart rhythm incoherence which has a damaging effect on the body. Feeling angry,frustrated or sad leads to the release of stress hormones and cholesterol into the body.Your heart pumps faster and your blood pressure rises. In contrast feelings of appreciation and love create heart rhythm coherence ie smooth even patterns in the heart rhythm's. According to research heart rhythm coherence increases production of good hormones, normalises blood pressure, improves cognitive functions and strengthens the immune system.
Step 1: Heart Focus
Gently focus your attention on your in the area of your heart.It may help to place your hand over your heart. If your mind wanders just keep bringing your attention back to the area of your heart.
As you focus on the area of your heart , pretend your breath is flowing in and out through that area. This helps your mind and energy to stay focused and your respiration and hearth rhythms to synchronise. Breath slowly and gently, until your breathing feels smooth and balanced.
As you continue to breathe, recall a positive feeling, a time when you ' felt good inside.' Now try
to re experience the feeling. This could be a feeling of appreciation or care toward a special person, a pet, a place you enjoy, or an activity that was fun. Allow yourself to really' feel ' this good feeling of appreciation or care. If you can't feel anything, it's okay, just try to find a sincere attitude of appreciation or care. Once you have found a positive feeling or attitude, you can sustain it by continuing your heart focus, heart breathing, and heart feeling.
Since my accident in January I've found this exercise great while waiting in doctor's surgeries etc. It's made me much more concious too of those occasions in my day when my heart opens spontaneously. It actually feels that it's happening more often or maybe thats's just more evidence that what we pay attention to grows!
I remember Steven telling me about John's practise of recalling all his loved ones as he stands in attention before beginning the session or form. Is it any surprise our practice can be called 'Heartwork'
Saturday, 23 February 2008
Friday, 22 February 2008
Satsang is much broader though than the group session; any meeting where ones spirit is nourished and encouraged to shine is Satsang. So I consider practising Tai Chi with others to be our 'Satsang'. I love the way this term includes both the silent practise and the dialogue. In our practise both are also important in a session.
For more information on Satsang : http://www.satsangbhavan.net/
Friday, 15 February 2008
My friend Margaret introduced me to the teachings of Adyashanti , an American Zen teacher. "Allowing everything to be as it is" , is the title of one of his meditation talks in which he guides one to the silence beyond the mind. I love the way he leads this meditation and invites one to notice any remaining tension in the body which he describes as resistance to 'allowing everything to be'. I have found this to be a great help in my daily life and especially my practise. By slowing down I can become aware of any pockets of tension remaining in my body. In the noticing of them , they often dissolve or if not, awaken me to what I'm resisting. This gives me the opportunity to let it go and return to my practise.
Friday, 8 February 2008
Across the summer stream
With such joy
My sandals in my hand
The winter gail
Blows the evening sun
Into the sea
With one who does not speak his every thought
I spend a pleasent evening
Resonance is the response of the body to vibrations of its own natural frequency. This best describes what I feel when I read a Haiku that touches me.
Yesterday, yet again, I was surprised and delighted to feel this response in my body.
I don't usually notice this pulsing in my body as I practise Tai Chi , but whenI stand still at the end of a form , there it is; that deep, rhyhthmic pulsing which I have come to regard as one of the fruits of my practise.
They say everything grows with attention and now, as I write in the gaps beetween the thoughts, there it is again; that resonating presence, mysterious and quiet.