Meditation is the fine art of doing nothing, and I mean purposefully doing nothing. It is quite difficult at first. Once you practice it gets easier. Meditation is the practice of calming your mind which allows for clarity of thought and taming of the emotions. It is not putting yourself in a trance or allowing yourself to be brainwashed. Let me explain, in the mid 80's I was very interested in Eastern Philosophy (and still am) and explored looking at various Religions and Philosophies originating in the far east. I took an Eastern Religions Philosophy course taught by a Presbyterian Minister at the University of Wisconsin. I learned about Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, Shinto, and Confuscism as well as other belief systems. I had grown up Methodist and was read Greek Myths as bedtime stories when I was a child. All of this was new and very interesting for me. One day I saw an ad for a meditation workshop and decided to learn more. I ended up doing several meditation weekends through a nondenominational Dharmadatu on the East Side of Milwaukee, which emphasized the teachings of Tibetan leader Chogyam Trungpa, . My experience was quite enlightening and exhilarating. I spent entire weekends meditating and read the teachings at night. I found, by sharing, that others who meditated with me had a nonverbal bond of peace and tranquility that can not be found anywhere else. We found, collectively, that many of us spent our time making lists or reviewing past experiences that elicited emotions, or thought of things that we wanted to do in the future. We were often thinking of the past and the future while trying to experience the present. This experiencing the present is often referred to as mindfulness. At the time, I referred to it as the elusive state of Zen. While I meditated, I eventually concluded that even though I was sometimes experiencing strong emotions or finding myself reliving events that happened in the past, I was just sitting on the floor of a second story building on the East Side of Milwaukee. My thoughts were running rampant and triggering my emotions. I discovered that they were nothing but thoughts and I could let them go. It was quite liberating to learn that I could imagine my thoughts as a bubble and just let them float away. When I let go of the thought, watching it disappear into the clouds in my mind, then resumed focusing on the breath, which is the center of meditation, another thought would replace the thought I let go and I would begin the whole process again as soon as I realized that a thought had occupied my mind. I can tell you that after doing a weekend of absolutely nothing, I had lots of energy! My life had become more focused and efficient and effective from this experience. Each weekend was very fulfilling and I learned more about myself and how my mind is connected to my thoughts and how my thoughts are connected to my emotions. I have found that meditation is very good to help me focus, be more centered, less anxious, and more in control of my life. I am in the process of becoming a meditation instructor through the teachings of Deepak Chopra.

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