I hope this message finds you safe and healthy. The time of the year when many reinvigorate their thirst to learn and restore the daily rhythms of life is upon us (also called September or Autumn).
Like you, I have been spending a lot more time than usual at home. I have been lucky to be able to continue teaching meditation by offering the Deep Meditation course to beginners, as well as supporting those of you who already have an established practise. I am feeling very grateful for the readiness of a lot of new students, as well as for technologies which allow us to connect despite our distancing.
May I entice you to attend my free online introduction to Deep Meditation on Wednesday September 9th? It is the preparatory step for taking the course on a private basis. I will be talking about the mechanisms, the origins, and the relaxation response meditation induces, which is key to this method.
While I have your attention, allow me to also tell you about the benefits of rest as shown through many scientific studies of Deep Meditation, and the effects on both your mind and body. Let me share with you the most important results from Deep Meditation:
- Managing heart and respiratory rate
- Reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reduces blood pressure
- Decreases inflammatory disorders and cellular-level inflammation
- Regulation of mood and anxiety disorders
- Reduced stress and anxiety in general.
One of the main benefits of meditation has to do with the quality of sleep. The main benefits of restful sleep are:
- Increased cognitive function
- Better mood
- Lower risk of anxiety and depression
- Improves performance, alertness and productivity.
Meditation also increases grey matter concentration in the brain, which is involved in learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self (self awareness), and having perspective. It improves focus and attention, information processing and decision-making, gives mental strength, and emotional intelligence. Meditation helps in making us less susceptible to pain, and builds resilience. It fosters creativity and coming up with new ideas. It also manages sleeping disorders by creating a state of deep rest in both body (nervous system) and mind, helping you fall and stay asleep more easily.
So here we are, not only living with the insecurity of how much longer the coronavirus situation will last, but going through a period that might be an opportunity to learn how to take deeper care of yourself and become more resilient.
Are you ready to bring a relaxing and effortless meditation practise and its great benefits into your life? If your answer is ‘yes!’, please contact me to register for this free upcoming webinar on Zoom.
I hope to see you on Wednesday September 9th at 4PM Pacific Time (ou 7PM ET – heure de l’est)!
Deep Meditation brings a quality of rest that allows us to act from a state of harmony and fullness. It is like pressing a reset button, which allows us to reboot our inner computer. Each time we come back, we have the appropriate skills needed to perform and enjoy life more fully.
One of the teachings I received from my meditation instructor when I began my practice 25 years ago comes from the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the epic Mahabharata. It takes the form of a dialogue between prince Arjuna, the great archer, and his guide and charioteer Lord Krishna, who represents the highest ideals. Driving their chariot into battle to fight their deceitful cousins, who had taken control of the kingdom through trickery, Arjuna pauses, suddenly conflicted about killing his cousins. He knows that if his cousins become rulers, the people will suffer for generations… he has to stop them for the greater good. But to do so, he must go into battle and kill his family, cousins he grew up playing as a child!
In chapter 2, verses 42-48 of the Gita, conflicted, Arjuna asked Krishna for advice. Krishna simply said, “Yogastah Kuru Karmani,” which means “First establish being in yourself and then, and only then, perform action.” My personal translation for this verse comes from the experience of my sitting practice: “Find peace within, inner silence, and from there – act; be the main character of your life story.”
What this means is that we cannot take action upon either our thoughts (ideas of right or wrong) or our feelings (judgments based on emotion). We must act from that place of being – deep silence and knowing – where there is no “this or that”, no “should or shouldn’t”.
Once we are able to remove ourselves from our mind and emotions and establish ourselves in being, we are able to act and perform the action without attachment. These actions ultimately bring balance back to our lives.
The regular practice of Deep Meditation I sit with and teach has given me this experience of inner calm. From this state naturally and spontaneously comes the ability to act clearly, without being distracted by thoughts and emotions. That doesn’t mean I am not emotional or that I am free of so-called ‘’negative’’ thoughts, it means that I can more easily follow my intuition and feel in harmony within myself and with the environment in which I live. I gain this harmony by making decisions that enhance the quality of my life. These decisions might have to do with maintaining and supporting health, material acquisitions, gaining knowledge, participating in my community, or almost anything. All these questions are investigated through the lens of inner harmony.
We all need rest, stillness, and an experience of calm and stability on a daily basis. My invitation to you, through this teaching, is to give yourself one or two short breaks per day to cultivate peacefulness, deep rest, to replenish with calm energy and then, only then, accomplish your tasks and realize all your projects and dreams.
The style of meditation I teach is a mantra-based meditation. A mantra is a sound, or a vibration. In Sanskrit ‘manas’ means mind, and ‘tra’ means instrument, or tool. Mantra translates to ‘instrument of thought’. A mantra is part of the technique used in Deep Meditation I have been teaching since 2005 on a one-on-one basis, or to small groups. This individual instruction provides students with independence within their practice. The practice is very portable and follows you anywhere you go; you do not need to belong to a group or any institution. Among its many benefits, mantra-based meditation helps those who practise it to be calm, cultivate well-being, and gradually become self-reliant.
I started my own daily practise of this traditional type of meditation more than 25 years ago. It was easy to learn, natural to practise, and brought me rewards right from the beginning. During a mantra-based meditation like Deep Meditation, the meditator uses a mantra in a simple act of repetitive silent speech to help exert calm, or mental quiescence, without the need for intense concentrative efforts. Today, I would like to share with you a recent study about the efficiency of mantra repetition and its calming effect on the brain.
In a study published in 2015 in the Brain and Behavior, a scientific journal, scientists observed that repetitive speech, even in untrained subjects, elicits widespread deactivation or reduction in cortical activity. These regions of the brain include the thought-related Default Mode Network (DMN), which relates to a variety of self-related processes, such as predicting and planning the future, mind wandering, and stimulus-independent thought. Also, these functions have been linked to emotional stress. This study suggests a neurophysiological explanation that accounts for the relaxing power of mantra recitation, and shows that repetitive speech has a readily observable functional MRI (fMRI) signature, hence a significant reduction in thought-related cognitive processes. It is with great joy that I read this article last week because it confirms what my teachers and many years of tradition have taught us. If you are interested in reading all the details about this study, here it is.
In Deep Meditation training you will receive a tool, a mantra, to help you meditate effortlessly. From your first meditation experience you will spontaneously experience calmness, inner silence, or stillness of the mind. It is natural for your mind to rest and mantra-based meditation is a technique that allows this to happen. Such experiences are also called ‘yoga’, another Sanskrit word that translates to union, or connection, or if you prefer a state of unity within. Mantra-based meditation is a tool to experience the calm within. It is simple, natural, non-religious, and available to you.
Once a month, or as needed, I offer an introduction to Deep Meditation that you can attend for free. In this session you can ask all your questions and learn more about all the benefits of this deep meditation practice.
À votre service!
Rest is an essential part of the creative cycle and therefore the cycle of life. Everything in nature moves within the following steps: creation, maintenance, and dissolution. Each breath you take has its full cycle, each task you face, each meal you take, and each smile you make 😉 Think of the cycle of one day that begins when you wake up, lasts until you prepare to go to bed, and ends with sleep. Deep rest during sleep state is essential to allows for the next cycle to begin from the highest place. If you’ve had a good night sleep, the next day will go pretty smoothly even when obstacles come your way, and you’ll find inspiration and solutions more easily. However, if you haven’t rested deeply enough, you’ll need other strategies to help you cope with the ups and downs of life .
Daily meditation is a great tool for you to recharge fully and bring efficiency to your actions. It is the best way I know to enhance your quality of sleep, as tensions, like anxiety, are released in deep meditation, which in turn supports your ability to rest. It is in the rest and digest after the final phase of each cycle that space is given for inspiration to arise and for new projects and ideas to emerge. (In Tantra Philosophy we refer to two more steps in the cycle of life: concealment and revelation, which will be the theme of a future blog.) Without balance between rest and play, our nervous system ages faster, our quality of life reduces and clarity of mind is impaired.
In preparation for and during the holiday season, make sure you get enough rest. Not only will most of us be given many opportunities to celebrate, but we’ll receive from our bodies and minds lots of invitation to rest! While work, play, and celebration are necessary, and often fulfilling parts of life, a balanced lifestyle includes equal portions of rest and play.
Here is some advice to end 2016 in an auspicious way, which will help you begin the New Year optimally energized.
“Take pauses; say “no, thanks”; sleep; and meditate to sustain your tranquility. Rest gives you time to be with yourself, lie in your own arms and feel who you are. When you rest, your connection with life and its cycles is restored and deepened, opening your heart, so you can celebrate life.”
“Play naturally follows pleasure: say “yes”; cultivate the activities that bring you joy and stimulate your creativity. Feast on gatherings with your favourite people. Be where sacred space opens – a space where your dreams and blessings can be shared and heard.”
“You are a human being, not a human doing. You are meant to be in harmony with yourself, enjoying life in all its forms and offerings.”
Rest, play, and celebrate the deep beauty of being human with those you love. Have a really happy Holiday Season!