Your own treasure house already contains everything you
need. Why don’t you use it freely, instead of chasing after
something outside yourself?
Well, I’ve just hit the second year anniversary of writing this
ezine. It’s hard to believe it’s flown by so quickly. Anyway,
thank you to everyone who continues to read it, and who write in
to say how much it helps. I know that many of you have supported
this ezine from the very beginning, and I am grateful.
We are fast coming up to the anniversary of the September 11th
event. I was tempted to write an article for this issue, and in
fact began it. However, given that I am not very approving of all
that has followed in the last year, I felt it was turning out a
bit too critical. Thus, I thought it best to hold my tongue at
this stage! Nevertheless, it would be nice to hear more honest
opinions on the matter from the spiritual/personal growth
community, than the rather sugary consensus that we have been
receiving of late. Enough said. Let each of us remember the
anniversary in the way that most honors the departed ones.
I would also like to drop in another reminder for those of you
who have not yet taken the 14-day LifeBreakthrough course. It is
free and I continue to receive wonderful feedback on how much it
is helping those who took it. You can sign up for it at:
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Meditation is rightly considered an excellent practice for spiritual and personal growth. It is easy to begin, and yet there is endless scope for the accomplished practitioner to go ever deeper. Hence, a meditation practice suited to your personal needs is highly recommended. There is a vast scope within the world of meditation. At one end of the range is the simple focusing of attention upon the flow of the breath. At the other end are the highly complex visualizations of entire mandalas complete with highly ornate Buddhas and guardian beings, performed by advanced Tibetan Buddhist adepts. Between these boundaries, we have a rich range of practices suitable for all, at every stage of the path. Whether it be a visualized pathworking derived from myth or dream, or a shamanistic inner quest under the guidance of your totem animal, or simply following the rise and fall of your own thoughts, there is a practice just right for you right now. On a purely physical level, meditation is tremendously beneficial. Studies indicate that long-term meditators can slow down, and even reverse, some of the traditional biological markers of aging. The physical age of some meditators can be as much as 10-20 years behind their chronological age. Regular meditators also experience a sense of enhanced peace and tranquility in life. They enjoy an increased ability to cope with external pressures. A brief meditation period before the day begins is an excellent way to prepare for everything that lies ahead. By doing so, you set the tone, and create the inner atmosphere, that you take with you throughout the day. However, the physical planes in which we habitually live are only the grossest levels of existence. There is a vast continuum of consciousness, and other levels to the universe, of which we remain largely unaware in the course of our daily lives. The only way to become aware of these other levels of reality is to turn inwards. This is what the shamans around the world have been doing for countless millennia. Hence, meditation may be described as a doorway that leads past the illusion of material reality to the truth of all existence. Meditation also helps to unlock your inner genius. We all have buried within us abilities and wisdom that we never use. It is only through a process of relaxing and going within that we can start to contact these vast inner resources. This is one of the key secrets of every great achiever in every field of life. If you have never meditated before, and are unsure where to begin, here are a few simple pointers. You are recommended to consult more detailed books, or a live meditation teacher, as soon as you are able. To start with, you should establish a definite place and time. Developing a regular time is important. You want to build this practice into a regular habit, and not leave it as a once in a while diversion, when you have “nothing better to do”. Make an appointment with yourself to do this EVERY day, at least once a day. It does not have to be very long: even fifteen minutes is quite adequate when you are getting started. As regards place, it is good if you can reserve a space in your home for this work. A separate room would be perfect. However, if you cannot do this, then at least try to reserve an small area of one room for this purpose. You could even go outside if necessary. Wherever possible, try to select a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed, and which is quiet. Highly experienced meditators can practice in the middle of a busy street. However, when you are starting out, some peace and quiet is essential. When you seat yourself, try to make comfort balanced with alertness the priority. You want to find a position you can remain in for some time without excessive fidgeting. It doesn’t have to be a lotus posture, unless this work for you. Simply sitting on the floor cross-legged, or even sitting upright in a chair, works fine. Avoid lying on your back, as you are likely to drift off to sleep. Your eyes should either be closed, or else only slightly open, with heavy eyelids. Here are two simple processes that you can commence with, but which can stay with you for the rest of your life. Do not be deceived by their apparent simplicity. They are deep, powerful and highly purifying to the mind. The first is to simply follow your breathing. This is a technique recommended by the Buddha himself, and by countless teachers after him. With eyes closed, you focus your attention ever more carefully on the rising and falling of your breath. Throughout this process, you should be breathing from your abdomen, which rises and falls with every inhalation and exhalation. One variation is to follow the breath in through your nostrils, then down into your lungs, being aware of them filling up, and then out through your mouth as your lungs deflate. Hence, you follow the path of your breath through your body. Another variation is to focus solely on your nose, and actually feel the passage of your breath through it alone. If you do, you will feel your nostrils cool slightly as you inhale, and warm slightly as you exhale. The other process you can work with is to just be aware of the passage of your thoughts. You will find that thoughts will intrude anyway during your meditation periods. So why not make some positive use of them? In this practice, the purity of your consciousness is like the clear blue sky across which your thoughts, like clouds, arise and disappear. As you work with this process, you will come to realize that it is not really YOU who is thinking. Rather, thoughts seem to arise by themselves within the mind, from a wholly different source. In this latter practice, it is important to not get caught up with the train of thought and get carried away. Rather, you are playing the part of the detached observer, watching your thoughts, rather as you might watch the motion of waves upon the ocean. What happens if, during either the breathing meditation, or the observation of your thoughts, you happen to get carried away with daydreaming? That is fine. As soon as you become aware of it, simply return to the meditation. As you continue, you will find your practice improving. You will be able to meditate for longer. Your mind will become more focused, and ever less distracted and carried away with thinking. You will find yourself more tranquil and calm in your sessions, and throughout the day. By engaging in either, or both, of these meditation exercises regularly, you will experience tremendous mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. Indeed, you will carry this happy mental state out of the formal session and into your life. Meditation is the foundation upon which you can build a happy and spiritually enriched existence. Try it for yourself and see.
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2002. All Rights Reserved.
In this provocative book, Royal Society biologist Dr. Rupert
Sheldrake proposes that there are no rules of nature, but rather
deeply ingrained habits. Things are the way they are because
there is a memory of their own past.
He proposes that this memory is carried by a non-material medium
called a “morphogenetic field”. Thus rabbits are “rabbit-shaped”
because they tune into the morphogenetic field and through a
process of “morphic resonance” produce offspring that are also
rabbits! The same is true of the shapes of molecules, the
propagation of ideas, and the formation of ice crystals. Also,
once a habit is broken, it becomes easier for others to do the
same through this same morphic resonance. This is why, after
Roger Bannister first broke the 4-minute mile, many hundreds of
other athletes did the same within a year. A new “habit” was
It is definitely unusual for a mainstream scientist of
Sheldrake’s calibre to come out with such a challenging theory
such as this. However, he backs it up with numerous examples from
the whole realm of nature. If his ideas are correct, they give a
scientific basis mystical concepts that have existed for
If you have been watching the news recently, you are doubtless
concerned, worried, and perhaps even frightened, by the terrible
things going on. If you had been watching it last year, you would
have been even more worried and frightened.
Indeed, if you had been watching the news, five, ten or twenty
years ago, you would almost certainly have had the same reaction.
The news, as brought to us by the media, is always predominantly
bad. What little good news is presented is used almost like salt;
to improve the flavor of the foul dish we have been served up.
The threat of impending war, the Middle East situation, roaming
murderous pedophiles, floods and earthquakes. On and on and on
it goes. Yet, is this really ALL that is going on in the world?
And by paying so much attention to all of it, what are we doing
to our own mental state?
My mother is a big watcher of the news. She follows every nuance
of the Middle East situation, is concerned by what the Western
powers are planning with their warlike remedies for Terrorism,
knew every detail of the OJ Simpson trial, and so on. She
sometimes confesses to being depressed and worried; perhaps
because of all the bad things going on, and the helplessness she
feels about it. My suggestion to her was simple. STOP watching
The news, as presented by the media, is NOT reality. It is not
ALL that is going on. It is not even a small portion of what is
happening. It is a carefully selected edit of reality, designed
to sell newspapers and boost viewing figures. Bad news achieves
all of this. Good news does not.
Here is a simple proof of this fact. Someone once started a
newspaper that reported primarily good news. It went bust almost
immediately. Hardly anybody bought it. It is a perverse quirk of
human nature that people do not want good news. They want bad
news. That is what they get, and the network ratings soar as a
result. The more graphic and terrible the news, the more people
will tune in to watch it. The more it can be incessantly churned
with “expert analysis”, the more fascinated people get.
Yet, what does this constant digest of misery do to us
individually and as a society?
It adds to our anxiety, fear and
general dis-ease with ourselves and the world we live in. We come
to regard the world as a predominantly dangerous, violent and
scary place. It can even cause us to become desensitized to the
pain and suffering of others. When we are shown, for the
thousandth time, the starving human faces from the third world,
we might be tempted to flick over to “The Simpsons” or “Ally
McBeal” instead. After all, they are more entertaining, are they
None of this implies that we go through life with blinkers on. It
simply means that we need to be much more conscious of what we
are allowing to shape our consciousness. For instance, only a
fool would remain completely oblivious to the terrible happenings
of 11th September 2001. However, that does not mean you have to
become a world expert on the matter, or absorb the same images
and analysis countless dozens of times.
Much of what gets reported is not really “news” at all. It may
sound rather brutal to say this, but the fact is that most
murders, rapes, pedophile assaults, and many forms of vehicle
accident are not really “news”. Why? They have been happening
since human beings first became sentient, and will continue to
happen until the day we all cease to be. Hence, why exactly do
these events constitute news, why do we all need to be informed
about them as a nation, and why do they continue to morbidly
Moreover, it gets worse when we are obliged to hear about dire
events in countries where we have no connection whatsoever. We
learn all the gory details about coaches crashing, child murders,
people burning to death etc., in countries halfway around the
world from us! WHY? If we do tune in with morbid fascination, and
then go off and do nothing whatsoever to assist, are we not
engaging in a sort of international nosiness? Are we not merely
being ENTERTAINED? If you find this thought offensive, ask
yourself: what are you DOING with this information?… If the
answer is nothing, I rest my case.
Personal development trainer, Brian Tracy, said that one of the
the best time saving techniques is to stop watching and reading
the news. If anything truly important happens, you will get to
hear about it eventually.
This is absolutely true. For example, for the last two years, I
have lived in Italy, and have only been exposed to Italian news
networks. They tend to focus mainly on domestic issues, and this
does not greatly interest me. Hence, I lost the daily digest of
international calamity I had been previously accustomed to.
Often, I did not know what was going on in the world. Yet, I did
not find myself lacking anything. If it was a lack, it was a
refreshing one, as I found it easier to be more focused on the
present; on the NOW. As ever, if something really important
happened, I would hear about it directly or indirectly. However,
being relieved of the incessant nitty-gritty morbid fascinations
of the world news media was truly a refreshing experience.
There IS a lot of good news going on too, but you and I are not
getting to hear much of it. Hence, we have to find our own by (a)
being critical of what we are receiving through the media, and
firmly deciding how much of it we attend to; and (b) finding out
own sources of good news, be it directly in our lives or through
suitable alternative media, e.g. magazines and/or the internet.
Just as many parents censor the daily dosage of sex and violence
their children are receiving on TV, we need to do that to
ourselves as well!
Each of us has enough problems and anxieties in our own lives,
and in our own country, without being incessantly exposed to
things we can do little or nothing about. This is not intended as
a “head in the sand” approach to life. However, we do not NEED
all this tidal wave of negativity we are being force-fed, and
would be better off without most of it. Ultimately, each of us is
responsible for the state of mind we enjoy, the world we choose
to live in as a result, and the mental food we consume in order
to create both.
Copyright 2002, Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.
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