Posts filed under Meditation

Get Siri to work! or Save Time in Setting Timers/Alarms

I don’t know about you, but once I open my iPhone to perform the simplest of tasks, I fall into a virtual world from where there is no escape.  A world where time stops and I can’t tell you how much time has elapsed from when I entered my passcode and when find myself looking at a picture of my favorite florist in Madrid on Instagram WHEN all I wanted to do was check on the weather. If you think that your phone or tablet is eating away your precious time, we are turning that around today.

Helping my client set up her “virtual home companion,” ALEXA; I was reading all the uses in the kitchen that such device could assist with (i.e., setting timers so you don’t burn your food)- which lead me to realize that my own iPhone has a “mobile assistant:” the legendary, Siri.  Well, Siri may have been resting on her laurels all these years, but no longer, no Ma’m.  I put her to work almost a year ago, and she is tireless and her help is invaluable to me these days.  One of the best uses I would like to share as a Lifestyle Engineer is how to use Siri to set alarms and timers which we know allow you to become more efficient and effective in your daily life. Siri ties right into the iOS Clock app on your iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad 4, iPad mini, and iPod touch 5 -and your desktop too, now that I think about it- which means if you want to go to bed at 10 pm or be woken up at 6 am, have a timer set for 10 minutes so the cookies don't burn, or find out what the hour is in Paris before you call, Siri can keep you alerted and on time. 

[If you don’t have an Apple product, you could use the same technology with your equivalent mobile assistant]

Here is the basic instructions:

How to set a timer with Siri

Whether you're waiting for your veggies to bake, meditating or your next set of circuit training to begin, Siri can make sure you always alerted at exactly the right time.

  1. Press and hold down the Home button to activate Siri.

  2. Tell Siri to set the timer, and for how long. For example: "Set a timer for 10 minutes".

  3. The Timer widget will remain visible on your screen until the timer goes off, or you leave Siri. Tap the timer widget to launch the Clock app and access the manual controls.

Note: Siri can only run one timer at a time. If you try to set another, Siri will ask you if you want to keep the current one or change to the new one. (Amazon’s ALEXA doesn’t have this issue, you hear that, Siri?)

How to set an alarm with Siri

Siri can set alarms quickly and easily.

  1. Press and hold down the Home button to activate Siri.

  2. Tell Siri to set an alarm, along with the time. For example: "Set an alarm for 8pm", "Set an alarm for 5 minutes from now", "wake me up at 9am".

Siri will display the alarm widget on the screen. If you change your mind about the alarm, you can simply toggle it to "off". You can also tap the widget to be taken to the Clock app.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, go forth and YouTube away the infinite ways you can be assisted by your "mobile assistant."  Get pampered by technology, I encourage you!

Urban Monk Principles to Live by

I found the Monk Manifesto written  by  Christine Valters Paintner, a couple of days ago and it really resonated with me.  A re-occurring teaching from yoga is that the practice doesn't ask you to give up your life, quite the opposite, the invitation is to engage deeper into who you already are.  When I read the Monk Manifesto that is exactly why I feel the manifesto is conveying.

The Monk Manifesto: Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention by Christine Valters Paintner

Monk: from the Greek monachos meaning single or solitary. A monk in the world does not live apart but immersed in the everyday with a single-hearted and undivided presence, always striving for greater wholeness and integrity.

Manifesto: from the Latin for clear, means a public declaration of principles and intentions.

Monk Manifesto: A public expression of your commitment to live a compassionate, contemplative, and creative life.

The Monk Manifesto

I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.

  

Posted on September 4, 2015 and filed under inspiration, Meditation, wellness.

A Subway Ride to the Divine

Since living in NYC I find my subway rides a great space for my Spiritual work.  It started as a place to catch up with my reading and it has progress to a place where I can catch up with my contemplation.  My favorite exercise is to look around and ask my self if I can observe the Divine in the faces I see.  Yes, I can probably be the creepy guy staring at you now and then.  You would be surprise what you will find when you look for the sameness in your commuting brothers and sisters.

I found this poem from the always inspiring OnBeing website.  I just love the way Ms. Simmons captures the extraordinary presence of Grace on a mundane subway ride.  

 

Subway Prayer

BY DENA SIMMONS

From her neck, a plastic rosary dangles
like a child, swinging.
With poker-player precision,
she rations coins and cigarettes with her man
who drinks Jack Daniels
on a Bronx-bound 2 train.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.

On-lookers drink in faded lipstick lips,
older white woman,
her younger black lover,
his hair, small,
cotton-ball knots,
crimson eyes and lipstick-stained lips.
Intoxicating lust.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

A beggar, heavy, duck-taped like his wheelchair,
stumbles into the train car,
fragrant with human waste.
He speaks of a world that hurls him
into subterranean fundraising.

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

He makes his rounds,
wheelchair, clinking against iron poles.
Open hands,
empty,
in front of potential donors.
He wishes God blessed him
with a winning deck of cards.

Holy Mary, Mother of God.

To the lovers,
he huffs.
Despair.

Pray for us sinners.

The gambling-pair captures him
in the midst of trading nickels and Marlboros,
gives the begging man
everything,
hoping for a better hand.

Amen.

Curiosity (galactic awareness in the everyday life)

As season moves us into darker days, I feel that my innate curiosity starts to move me inside.  I am sure we all feel those moments where we want to explore areas of ourselves that we don't know anything about (whether because we are afraid to know or because we never thought about it before).  Our curiosity is a springboard, a launching pad for that leap of faith into the unknown.  What would happen if you bring your awareness into new territories the experience of life?  

That is exactly what scientist did in 1996.  They pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at one of those dark patches in space.  The result: one of the most important images ever taken. Where we as humans saw nothing, there were galaxies — more than 3,000 of them. And when we looked more deeply, our field of view expanded to more than 100 billion galaxies.  Next time you are curious, you are afraid, you don't know, point the telescope of your own attention.  You'll never know what you may find.

 

 

Posted on October 24, 2013 and filed under inspiration, Meditation, Spirituality.

Zen Parable: the little monk and the Samurai

Love, love a good parable and this one is sweet and powerful.  As we read stories, what makes them powerful and transforming is when we place ourselves in the shoes of every character (yes, the wicked and demonic too); go ahead get your monk hat and Samurai hat before your start reading.  Enjoy.

A big, tough samurai once went to see a little monk.

"Monk!"

He barked, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience.

"Teach me about heaven and hell!"

The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain,

"Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn't teach you about anything. You're dumb. You're dirty. You're a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight. I can't stand you."

The samurai got furious. He shook, red in the face, speechless with rage. He pulled out his sword, and prepared to slay the monk.

Looking straight into the samurai's eyes, the monk said softly,

"That's hell."

The samurai froze, realizing the compassion of the monk who had risked his life to show him hell! He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.

The monk said softly,

"And that's heaven."

Posted on June 4, 2013 and filed under inspiration, Meditation, Spirituality.

Spread Your Wings; enjoy your day

Flying birds In all my studies of anatomy, philosophy, design and yoga there is the common thread of observing nature's pulsation.  This idea of contraction and expansion permeates our surroundings, our bodies, our minds and spirits.  When we are able to tab, connect, ride, touch or pulsate with the overarching pulsation of God, then we experience an authentic life that moves us closer to the sweetest experience of life itself.  I found this poem by Rumi, which evokes beautifully what all great teachers are trying to cultivate in us.

Birdwings by Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead, here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. if it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birdwings.

 

Posted on January 24, 2013 and filed under Anusara, Meditation, Spirituality, Yoga.

Words of Wisdom for Hope and for Moving Forward

HKG2005011836125My heart felt condolences to all the families and the victims of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.  Our hearts are broken. Not that long ago, I was listening to On Being's radio show about the mindfulness of anger, the talk was offered by  Buddhist Master, Thich Hhat Hanh and in times like this when our own thoughts can't possible offer an explanation, we must turn to the wiser ones,  the stronger ones, knowing that in our hearts those qualities abide too.

 I found light in this passage from the Buddhist master, I hope you do too.  It is particularly poignant:

"…there is a seed of anger in every one of us. There are many kinds of seeds that lie deep in our consciousness, a seed of anger, a seed of violence, a seed of fear, a seed of jealousy, a seed of full despair, a seed of miscommunication, a seed of hate. They're all there and, when they sleep, we are okay. But if someone come and water these seeds, they will manifest into energy and they will make us suffer. We also have wholesome seeds in us, namely the seeds of understanding, of awakening, of compassion, of nonviolence, of nondiscrimination, a seed of joy and forgiveness. They are also there.

What we see, what we hear, what we eat, always water the seed of violence, the seed of despair, the seed of hate in us and in our children. That is why it's very urgent to do something collectively in order to change the situation. Not only educators, but parents, legislators, artists, have to come together in order to discuss the strategy that can help bring the kind of safe environment to us and to our children where we shall be protected from the negative watering of the seeds in us. The practice of transformation and healing could not be effective without this practice of seeking or creating a sane environment. When someone is sick, you have to bring him to a place where he or she can be treated and to heal.

If the human person is affected by the poison of violence and anger and despair, if you want to help heal him or her, you have to bring him or her out of the situation where she continues to ingest the poisons of violence. This is very simple. This is very clear and this is not only the job of educators. Everyone has to participate to the work of creating safe environments for us and for our children."

Posted on December 17, 2012 and filed under Meditation, Pop Culture, Spirituality.

A Prayer of Thanks to Nature

We may tend to attribute ego-driven behaviors to Nature (i.e., wrath), but I know that Nature is Love, because God is Love.  And Love has no Ego.   As we prepare to gather for Thanksgiving,  I want to share this beautiful prayer that was written a century ago, but its connection with Grace and Gratitude is permanent and as relevant today as it will a hundred years from now.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Prayer for Nature by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861–1918)

O God, we thank you for this universe, our home; and for its vastness and richness, the exuberance of life which fills it and of which we are part. We praise you for the vault of heaven and for the winds, pregnant with blessings, for the clouds which navigate and for the constellations, there so high. We praise you for the oceans and for the fresh streams, for the endless mountains, the trees, the grass under our feet. We praise you for our senses, to be able to see the moving splendour, to hear the songs of lovers, to smell the beautiful fragrance of the spring flowers.

Give us, we pray you, a heart that is open to all this joy and all this beauty, and free our souls of the blindness that comes from preoccupation with the things of life, and of the shadows of passions, to the point that we no longer see nor hear, not even when the bush at the roadside is afire with the glory of God. Give us a broader sense of communion with all living things, our sisters, to whom you gave this world as a home along with us.

We remember with shame that in the past we took advantage of our greater power and used it with unlimited cruelty, so much so that the voice of the earth, which should have arisen to you as a song was turned into a moan of suffering.

May we learn that living things do not live just for us, that they live for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life as much as we do, and serve you, in their place, better than we do in ours. When our end arrives and we can no longer make use of this world, and when we have to give way to others, may we leave nothing destroyed by our ambition or deformed by our ignorance, but may we pass along our common heritage more beautiful and more sweet, without having removed from it any of its fertility and joy, and so may our bodies return in peace to the womb of the great mother who nourished us and our spirits enjoy perfect life in you.

So, Deepak, what is Meditation anyway?

As we walk in our Yoga Practice inevitable we'll encounter the path of Meditation and even though I believe that no one can teach you  meditation; I do believe that there are tools that can help you  find it and that there are great teachers that can guide you with these tools.
In case you live under a rock, and that is my favorite place to live  sometimes, Deepak Chopra issued a 21 Days Meditation Challenge.  As an introduction to this program, Chopra defined some basic terms and I loved the way he was able to define and explain it so I am sharing with you.  You can find out more visiting the 21 Days Meditation Challenge site.
Disclaimer, I pasted my notes on it, so the words are Mr. Chopra's but I highlighted words that resonated with me.  Feel free to share which one resonate with you. 
"What is Meditation?

Deepak Defines Meditation – Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that's partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there's little space between every thought.

According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the infinite mind – the mystery that some people call the spirit or God. We don't have to use those terms, but it's your core consciousness. And the more we learn about this space between thoughts, we find certain things to be true of it:

  • It's a field of infinite possibilities – infinite possibilities, pure potentiality.
  • Everything is connected to everything else.
  • It's a space of infinite creativity, infinite imagination.
  • It is a place where there is something called observer effect, or the power of intention, which means intention is very powerful when brought to this space and it orchestrates its own fulfillment – what people call the law of attraction – so those are wonderful qualities of your own spirit.

In meditation, we get into this space so we find ourselves infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power of intention. That's what meditation is really about."

Posted on November 7, 2012 and filed under Meditation, Pop Culture, Yoga.