Meditation

Taking Time for Tea and Meditation: A Retrospect

Boat House

DAY 24 of Tea and Meditation:

Yesterday was an amazing day on my tea lifestyle journey and wonderful way to wrap-up my Alert Peacefulness series!

I had heard about a place in Winona, Minnesota that sold some pretty spectacular tea from China, so I definitely wanted to visit their tea shop. But the weather hadn’t been cooperating— rain, rain and more rain. Then the rain stopped.

However, there was still the threat of the Mississippi cresting, which would put Winona in jeopardy of flooding, so I waited patiently and hoped for the best.

Then, thankfully, the danger had passed.

With the all clear, my mom and I took advantage of the beautiful fall day yesterday and drove over to the great river valley for a little tea adventure.

I really had no idea what to expect when we finally found the Mandala Center for Wellness on Fourth and Main, but as soon as we walked in, I knew I had found a little slice of tea paradise.

We were greeted by the owner, Garret, who was extremely generous with his time. When he learned that I had just started the tea lifestyle journey myself, he shared with me that he had started his journey nearly fifteen years earlier.

We talked for nearly an hour all about tea and the tea lifestyle. Needless to say, I walked out with a bag full of high-quality tea and a new mini-teapot to use for multiple infusions (which I had never done before).

What I’ve Learned Over the Last 24 Days:

My experience yesterday really got me thinking about my own tea lifestyle journey—where I am and where do I want to go.

I started my journey by simply making the commitment to take five minutes each day for tea and meditation. I had some days that didn’t go as planned and some days that really inspired me to keep moving forward.

I’ve learned quite a bit about myself as well as meditation over the last twenty-four days.

Here are just a few of the things that I’ll take away from this experience:

1. Once I really set my mind to do something and let go of trying to be perfect, I can accomplish amazing things.

2. When I allow my passion to be my compass, I can keep moving forward even when it seems like the forces of the Universe are working against me.

3. The key to meditation is to find the space between my thoughts, to find the gap, and to allow myself to fall into it.

4. Alert peacefulness can be experienced in many ways, from sipping tea to creating art.

It All Started with One Small Step:

I’m feeling ready for something bigger, for the next step on my tea lifestyle journey.

For many years, I had wanted to live a more natural and holistic life, which I touched on briefly in my first post in this series, but I could never seem to find my groove. I’d start down the path of transformation, only to find myself back-peddling towards old habits.

By beginning with the small step of taking five minutes each day for tea and meditation, I feel like I’ve conquered some invisible foe; that thing that kept me from moving towards the lifestyle that I truly desired.

Now, I am feeling energized to take the next step. However, that next step is a little fuzzy because there is so much I want to change. I know that I need to chunk it down and make it doable.

I think my mission for the next few days will be to simply spend time contemplating and meditating about where I want to go from here.

Trying to Avoid Cliff Jumping:

I’m going to avoid leaping into just anything that “feels right” in the moment. I’ve found that this strategy can work, but more often than not, I’ve found myself back to square one because I didn’t take the time to set the intention and create a plan.

Imagine jumping off a cliff and hoping for the best, then half-way down realizing that it might have been a good idea to pack a parachute!

Perhaps, this is a bit dramatic, but I think it illustrates what happens when I fail to plan before leaping.

Although, I have to admit, that I can go to the other extreme and think about something forever, and fail to take action.

Knowing this about myself, I am limiting the amount of time I spend considering my options. I am going to take the next couple days to mull things over, make a decision and then take action.

The End and A New Beginning:

It has certainly been a wonderful experience doing this twenty-four day series on alert peacefulness as part of my tea lifestyle journey. I hope you’ve found a nugget or two of good information.

I know my journey has really just begun, but I am excited for what lies ahead. I have no doubt, it will be truly amazing.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: © Lance Davis – Fotolia.com

[box] Do you feel ready to make a change in your life? If so, what are you thinking about changing? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Day 18: Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Day 19: Visualization Meditation

Day 20: Relaxing Nature Sounds for Meditation

Day 21: Meditating to Sounds of the Jungle

DAY 22: Short Guided Meditations

Day 23: Experimenting with Guided Meditations

Experimenting with Guided Meditations

Meditating Stones

DAY 23 of Tea and Meditation:

Yesterday, I had written about some guided meditations I had discovered on The Chopra Center online library. I thought I’d try one out today for my tea and meditation time.

I decided to try the “Awaken Your Creativity” guided meditation. However, the link actually took me to a guided meditation for “How to Get What You Really Want.” After getting over my momentary disappointment, I settled in and gave this particular audio my full attention.

How to Get What You Really Want Guided Meditation:

The audio is a brief fifteen minutes and starts with a body scan, or passive muscle relaxation (does not involve tensing the muscle as required in the progressive muscle relaxation technique).

By the time the body scan is complete, I’m feeling superbly relaxed. I am then gently guided to feel the flow of energy all around and within me. This creates a subtle awareness of being connected with something larger than myself.

This is when the audio directs me to ask, “What do I really want?” However, there is not enough silence for me to listen for the answer. The guide fills the silence by giving several examples of things that we might want to ask for, which I personally found a bit distracting.

The audio then encourages me to choose one action I can implement today. But once again, the lack of silence impedes my ability to find the answer from within. Next, I am told to let go of any attachment I might have to the outcome.

At this point I notice the statement, “ …move in the direction of creation.” I wondered if this was why the link was called: Awaken Your Creativity. Perhaps this particular phrase was used to refer to the idea that we can create whatever we desire when we are in alignment with the field of pure potentiality.

That sounds really cool, but I’ll be honest, I’m not a true believer.

Struggling to Believe:

I really, really want to believe that anything is possible and that I can create whatever I want for my life. On some level I do believe this to be true, but then there is a part of me that says this is all a bunch of feel-good malarkey to help me feel a little better about my current circumstances.

Although, the alternative—to feel crappy about my life—isn’t exactly appealing, so I guess I’ll try a little harder to trust that the Universe wants for me, what I want for myself.

Now, if I can just figure what I really want…

Despite the lack of silent pauses in the audio, I think I’ll be listening to this guided meditation several more times. Maybe someday I’ll even be a true believer. For now, I am happy with just experiencing a little more alert peacefulness in my day.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit:  tiseb – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Do you know what you really want from life? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Day 18: Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Day 19: Visualization Meditation

Day 20: Relaxing Nature Sounds for Meditation

Day 21: Meditating to Sounds of the Jungle

DAY 22: Short Guided Meditations

Short Guided Meditations

Guided Meditation Flower

DAY 22 of Tea and Meditation:

wasoxygen - via Flickr CC Attribution License

Today, I was thinking about guided meditation. I actually have a couple guided meditation CDs that I’ve listened to once or twice; now they’re just collecting dust.

I’m not sure why I’ve never gone back to them, but it’s most likely that I just never made the time. They are both an hour long and I am scarcely making time for a measly five minutes of meditation each day.

So, I set out looking for some shorter guided meditations and I found several on The Chopra Center website—a name I trust.

I know it’s silly, but when it comes to dealing with my subconscious mind, I really don’t want dodgy people playing around in there.

This suspicious attitude may have begun many moons ago when I had read a book about subliminal advertising for a high school project. To this day, I can still recall that I found the topic both fascinating and disturbing. Yet, this experience has encouraged me to be vigilant when it comes to protecting what passes through the golden gates of my unconscious mind.

Okay, so back to the guided meditations I found on Deepak Chopra’s website…

There are several free guided meditations to choose from including topics on: abundance, creativity, empowerment, global peace, healing, inner fire and summer love.

If these sound intriguing to you, here is the direct link: Guided Meditations

I’ve only just begun listening to these guided meditations. I’m thinking that I may even listen to several of them over the next few days. I’ll see what tomorrow brings on my tea and meditation journey.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

 

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Day 18: Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Day 19: Visualization Meditation

Day 20: Relaxing Nature Sounds for Meditation

Day 21: Meditating to Sounds of the Jungle

Meditating to Sounds of the Jungle

Tiger Jungle

DAY 21 of Tea and Meditation

You’re in the jungle baby!

And I’m not talking about the concrete jungle that Guns & Roses had etched upon the minds of a whole generation, but the actual sounds of the jungle in stereo.

For my tea and mediation time, I’ve been really loving the natural sounds of a tropical rainforest. There is something quite soothing about hearing nature’s orchestra.

I actually found a twenty-six minute video on YouTube that I’m listening to right now as I write. If you’re interested, here is the link: Amazon Rainforest (no music)

Instead of actually watching the computer screen while listening to this video, I like to close my eyes and imagine I am right there in the jungle surrounded by lush green flora, exotic creatures and ancient runes—Indiana Jones style.

Why Tea Helps You Stay Alert While Meditating:

Speaking of closing my eyes, today, while listening to the sounds of the jungle, I discovered the benefit of holding a warm cup of tea while meditating.

As I was enjoying the peaceful sounds of the rainforest, I started to feel my eyelids get heavy. I nearly slipped into slumber, but the warmth of my teacup in my hands reminded me that I needed to stay attentive and focused. It was definitely a moment of alert peacefulness.

And, hey, I got to remain vigilant in case any tigers creep up on me!

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: kabils  – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] What do you think of using natural jungle sounds as you meditate? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Day 18: Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Day 19: Visualization Meditation

Day 20: Relaxing Nature Sounds for Meditation

Relaxing Nature Sounds for Meditation

Rainforest

DAY 20 of Tea and Meditation:

After spending an hour looking for the perfect nature sounds to listen to for my tea and meditation time, I finally found some wonderful selections on Amazon.com that I downloaded as MP3 files to my computer.

My favorite selections is Ancient Woodland by Calmsound. I’m listening to it right now in fact, and it is highly relaxing to listen to even as I sit here and type. It’s as if I am out in the forest miles away from civilization.

The selections I found are simply sounds of nature, without music. I find music distracting when I am trying to meditate, or concentrate matter.

Below, you’ll find some of the other nature sound albums I found on Amazon.com that I thought offered some good choices.

As a caveat, I found a couple of the selections to be a bit spooky. There was one that kept giving me goosebumps. I guess I’ve watched too many horror movies that involve the outdoors! Can you say ki-ki-ki…ma-ma-ma?  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself! I’ve seen too many Friday the 13th movies over the years.

Anyway, forget about Lake Crystal and enjoy the beauty of nature with these albums, that is if haven’t freaked you out. I think I’m going to go hide under the covers now:

This is just a small sample of the pure nature sounds available for immediate download from Amazon.com! I love how easy Amazon.com makes it to download your selection, plus you can preview a sample before choosing to purchase.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: certified su  – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Do you have a favorite nature sound that you find relaxing? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Day 18: Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Day 19: Visualization Meditation

Visualization Meditation

River Rocks

DAY 19 of Tea and Meditation:

I have the I’ve-got-stuff-to-do-blues today.

Saturday is supposed to be a day to relax, forget about the work week, and do something fun. But, it’s actually a work day for me, by choice, if the truth be told.

I’ve often thought that I should choose one day a week to do absolutely nothing, just enjoy the day and do whatever tickles my imagination. It would be good for me, I think.

I inevitably end up with the I’ve-got-stuff-to-do-blues, which causes me to feel on edge and slightly overwhelmed.

Today, during my five minutes of tea and meditation, I tried something a little different.

I sat down with a warm cup of tea and closed my eyes. Then I tried to visualize all the anxiety flowing up and out of my body. If I could have taken a picture of what I saw in my mind’s eye, it would have looked as if a geyser was shooting up into the air from my head!

Regardless of the amusing imagery, I could almost sense my breath and heartbeat slow down. I do believe in the power of visualization and am thinking that I should explore this area a bit more.

For today, it was an interesting experiment that provided another avenue towards alert peacefulness.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: krossbow – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Have you ever tried visualization to help you relax? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Day 18: Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Meditating to the Sounds of Nature

Snow River

DAY 18 of Tea and Meditation:

I often have difficulty sitting in silence for my tea and meditation time because there are just too many auditory distractions. As a result, it is challenging to focus on the moment and reach that state of alert peacefulness.

However, today I came across a simple video that really helped me to fall into that space between thoughts and momentarily forget the din of the world.

Even though yesterday’s video was beautiful and relaxing, it also encouraged me to focus on the imagery and music instead of my inner self.

On Day 16 I had written about the purpose of meditation from Deepak Chopra’s perspective. He stated that meditation is about tuning in, not tuning out. I think the video from yesterday was a great way to get away from it all, which has its own benefits, but it really didn’t allow me to connect with my inner self or spirit.

The video I found today is purely nature sounds. It is a recording of water rushing downstream. There is just something about nature that makes me feel connected and at peace.

If you’d like to view this YouTube video just click here. Oh, this video does have an advertisement at the beginning and the end, which can be a bit annoying. But, once you get past the ad, you’ve got ten minutes of uninterrupted relaxing video.

Until I can find a DVD or CD to purchase with purely nature sounds and no music, I think I’ll take advantage of the free videos online.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: Zach Dischner – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] What are your favorite sounds to listen to when meditating? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Day 17: Video Art Meditations

Video Art Meditations

Colorful Lights

DAY 17 of Tea and Meditation:

It got to be rather late in the evening before I sat myself down for a little tea and meditation time today.

In fact, it was getting to be so late, that I was really debating whether or not to skip my meditation commitment and just go to bed. Plus, the neighbors were having a vulgar get together next door involving liquor of some sorts. Subsequently, being able to concentrate on the moment would have been a bit difficult.

But, just as I was about to toss in the towel for the evening, I came across several video art meditations on YouTube. I was absolutely mesmerized by the kaleidoscope like digital images moving in harmony with ambient music.

Before settling in to watch one of the videos and attempt to be in the moment, I made a cup of tea to help me stay alert.

Then I turned off all the lights. I wanted to be able to fully appreciate the artistic mastery of the moving images, without any other visual distraction. I put on my headphones, and voilà, I was transported to a serene and captivating space.

After taking a few minutes to focus on the video and my cup of tea, I turned the lights back on and found myself feeling quite refreshed.

I am delighted that I stayed true to my original goal of five minutes of tea and meditation; otherwise, I would have gone to bed feeling guilty and demotivated. Now, I can wake up tomorrow morning feeling ready for another day!

If you’d like to look into the video meditations for yourself just click here. There are several videos available for your viewing pleasure. I personally watched Origins

I also found that the artist has a Facebook page, under the name Liquid Vistas, which you may want to check out as well.

Enjoy!

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: xposurecreative – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] I’d love to hear what you think of the artistic meditation videos! [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Day 16: Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Meditating Budda

DAY 16 of Tea and Meditation:

Last night I did a little research about meditation online and came across a wonderful video by Deepak Chopra.

In his video, Meditation Techniques for Beginners, he defines the real purpose of meditation and how it actually works. Then he walks you through two meditations, one for healing and the other for the law of attraction.

I thought I’d share a few pieces of information from the video that I found of great interest.

The Real Purpose of Meditation:

Chopra explains that the real purpose of meditation is to tune in, not to tune out.

He further explains that many beginners believe that meditation is about trying to get away from it all and de-stress.  Although this can be a worthy goal, it is only part of the big picture.

To gain the optimal benefit from meditation, Chopra suggests that the key is to “get in touch with it all” and find peace from within.

How Meditation Works:

I love Chopra’s description of meditation. He states that: “Meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts.” This space is a window to the infinite mind, our core consciousness, or spirit.

He explains that there are four things that are true about this space, or gap, between our thoughts.

  1. It is a field of infinite possibilities or pure potentiality
  2. Everything is connected to everything else
  3. It is a space of infinite creativity and imagination
  4. It is a place where intention is very powerful and it can orchestrate its own fulfillment

I don’t know about you, but this description blew my mind. It’s as if we have the power of the universe within our reach when we take time to meditate.

Chopra then walks you through the healing and law of attraction meditations, which I haven’t done yet myself, but plan to try in the near future.

Falling Into the Gap:

During the last couple minutes of the video, there was one more tidbit that I found quite fascinating.

Chopra suggests that we use a mantra such as, “I am” to help us find the space, or gap between our thoughts.

When we mentally say, “I am” during meditation, this interferes with any other thoughts we are having. As our thoughts and the mantra interfere with one another, they eventually cancel each other out. That is the moment when we “fall into the gap” or space known as core consciousness.

I’ve already started to put this last suggestion into practice and it has significantly improved my ability to focus on the moment and silence my monkey brain. As a result, I am feeling as if my goal to experience more alert peacefulness in my life has really moved to the next level.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: randomidea – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] If you watched this video, what did you think about Chopra’s suggestions for meditation? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain

Day 15: Learning to Meditate Not as Easy As It Looks

Learning to Meditate: Not As Easy As it Looks

need for speed

DAY 15 of Tea and Meditation:

As I sit here listening to some relaxing music, sipping a cup of tea, and reflecting on my alert peacefulness journey, I realize something.  I know absolutely nothing about meditation, other than my own unsophisticated attempts to sit quietly over a cup of tea.

I’ve never studied under some spiritual guru, read a book, listened to a CD, or even watched a video about meditation.

Nope, I had naively set out on my tea and meditation quest without any information on what it truly means to meditate. I figured that I knew enough to at least get started.

I just have to sit here quietly and try to think about nothing, right? I mean, how hard can that be?

Perhaps I was wrong…

Meditation and Learning to Drive:

Considering my struggle with trying to find a state of alert peacefulness during meditation, I’ve come to understand that learning to meditate is kind of like trying to drive a car for the first time.

When we set our minds to getting behind the wheel, we tend to make the assumption that driving is easy. Over the years, as we watched people cruise down the road in their freedom-mobiles, we thought to ourselves: “Well, that looks pretty easy, I can do that!”

What we don’t realize is that driving a car requires a bit of practice in order for it to look easy.

I remember my first time behind the wheel after taking a drivers education course. I was petrified and I found out rather quickly that driving was not as easy as it looked.

In fact, I think I horrified the instructor when I headed straight for a light pole and was fumbling about trying to figure out what pedal to stomp on to stop the car. Luckily, he had his own set of pedals for emergency sitations such as this. He made me sit in the backseat after that.

I guess sometimes, you’ve got to have a near mishap before you realize you need a few more driving lessons.

Luckily, there isn’t any bodily harm associated with meditating…well, that I can think of anyway.

Although, I suppose you could accidently spill hot tea on yourself. Your legs could fall asleep making you fall over when trying to get up. You could burn up in a fire because you lit a candle to close to the drapes…

Sorry, I let my imagination run wild there for a moment. Where was I? Ah, yes. I was talking about knowing nothing about how to meditate.

Beginner’s Mind:

Being the intelligent creature that I am, I like to learn about things. So, I’ve decided to spend a little time each day not only meditating over tea, but also learning about meditation. I want to approach the process with a beginner’s mind and be totally open to absorbing all that I can.

Hopefully, by reading up on meditation, I’ll have a more enjoyable experience and won’t sit there listening to my monkey brain prattle on and on and on.

So, that’s the plan.

In my coming posts, I’ll share what I am learning about meditation as well as my own personal experience trying to find alert peacefulness in a cup of tea.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: © yellowj – Fotolia.com

[box] Have you ever studied meditation? Do you have any recommended resources? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Day 11-14: Dealing with My Monkey Brain