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Spirit Experiment #3: The 30 Day Meditation Challenge

 

Ommmmmmmmmmm. Or, as I used to call it, zZzZzZzZzZ.

Meditation is only for yoga teachers and hippies and bald people in robes, right? Well maybe not.

I tried meditating at least 5 times before I found a practice that made me feel calm and focused. Mostly, I just felt silly… counting down the minutes until I could stand back up, pat myself on the back and check off the box on my to do list that said, “Get Zen up in this b*tch.”shakiragif

I was more than a skeptic. I was a tried and true disbeliever. But, when you research success and happiness for long enough, you start to see patterns, strategies, and habits that you can’t ignore – and meditation was one of them.

oprahmeditationAlmost ALL of my Happiness Gurus meditate – regardless of their growth category of expertise! Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Hal Elrod, Elizabeth Gilbert, Gretchen Rubin, Tara Milhem, ..and of course, the reason why 50% of all skeptics are convinced to do anything… Oprah. (Disclaimer: that is a made up Oprah-statistic, but it’s probably true…)

Now that we’ve established that there MUST in fact be a connection between meditation and happiness/success, let’s talk about it’s relationship to Spirit Month.

One of the coolest things about meditation is the opportunity to quiet the constant buzz of your thoughts to listen for the whisper of your spirit.

Back up. I’m not saying I receive direct visits from Jesus or anything. I DO, however, believe that your soul has a lot to say if you are calm and focused enough to listen. It doesn’t happen in the same way for everyone, but the answers to most of your wishes and worries can be answered by looking within instead of on …Facebook, for example. (Unless you found this article through Facebook… in which case, ignore me… some answers are on Facebook). 😉

Now, let’s get to the experiment, shall we?

6 Types of Meditation (5 days each): 30 Day Challenge

I’m a big believer in the power of a 30 Day challenge, in fact, I run monthly fitness challenges and have personally had and witnessed extraordinary results. So what’s say we try a little 30 day Meditation challenge and spice it up?

Below are just 6 of the many meditation styles and techniques that exist. I encourage you to look up videos and a more in depth history of each practice before starting your challenge so that you may receive the full spiritual benefit! It is not timed, so do the amount of meditation that suits you, whether it be 2 minutes or an hour.

yogameditation1. Mindfulness Meditation: This form of meditation has become quite a movement in the US. Originating from traditional Buddhist practices, it is the practice of intentionally bringing awareness to the present moment, focusing on your breath, and refocusing there as distractions and thoughts arise.

2. Metta Meditation (Love & Happiness Meditation): During this meditation practice, you are focused on wishing love, kindness, happiness and general well being on each individual that crosses your mind. This is a time to channel positivity and radiate your energy towards your loved ones.

3. Mantra Meditation (OM Meditation): This technique uses the repetition of a mantra (syllable or word), creating a mental vibration that brings the mind into deeper levels of awareness. You can use “om” or other mantras. You can say the mantra outloud or repeat it silently.

meditation chakras4. Yoga Meditation: There are countless different yoga meditation techniques. Among the most popular are Kundalini (aimed at awakening the dormant kundalini energy at the base of our spine), Chakra (focusing one one of the seven chakras or “centers of energy” in the body), and Third Eye meditation (focusing on the space between your eyebrows, meant to calm your thoughts). Here is a short 2-minute video to get you started!

5. Guided Visual Meditation: This practice is particularly recommended to reduce stress and anxiety. Once you are no longer burdened by the stresses of the physical and emotional world, you will then be open to receiving the spiritual benefits of meditation. Here is a video that I love. It is 30 minutes, which is somewhat long, but even 5 minutes of it is very therapeutic.

meditationanimation6. Binaural Beats Meditation: If you’re a true happling, you know I f*cking love science. This particular meditation is that perfect harmony of science meeting spirituality. Binaural beats are the signaling of two frequencies presented separately to each ear. This is done to create alpha waves (the brain waves associated with initial levels of meditation). They are created when your brain detects the phase variation between the frequencies and tries to reconcile that difference. Groovy, right? Most Binaural Beats Meditations that I’ve found are actually done during sleep. If you want to give it a try, here is an 8-hour long recording for your meditation pleasure!

Despite everything I’ve told you, the universal truth is…

“To verbalize a spiritual experience is an attempt to describe the indescribable.”

I encourage you to try it yourself! Post “N’amaste calm” in the comments below if you’re joining me in this challenge! Let us know what’s happyning with your results. What was your favorite Meditation technique?

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The Prayer Experiment (Not Just For the Religious!)

What do you do when you’re happy, sad, angry, or desperate?

Well? Without knowing it, you are reflecting your emotions onto the people around you, so you should probably be conscious of it.

Who do you turn to when you know what you seek is outside of your control?

I’m not going to tell you WHO you should speak to, but I will tell you this whole “prayer” thing can be pretty powerful. Whether you are praying to a specific God, the Universe, or a vague higher power, the simple act of praying can be a game-changer in your happiness.prayermakeout

 

Not JUST the asking part….

 

…Or the “Thank you for this meal” type of prayer. Although that’s important! (Especially if you just had Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash like I did. YUM.)

I mean taking the time to make sense of your thoughts, actions and desires, and releasing your intentions to be received!

There is a reason that every religion I have ever heard of is linked by this practice.

The simple act of putting intention behind your thoughts can have a very powerful effect. Some might even call it miraculous.

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You may have never found a way of praying that resonated with you growing up, but now is the time to establish your PERSONAL method. Find your voice. Are you solemn or passionate? Experiment with prayer beads. Try prayer in the morning. Try it at night. Out loud or through meditation. Try a mantra! Get crazy with it!

The entire point of these happiness experiments is to sift out the things you do because they make YOU happy from the things you do because you were told they would make you happy.

Before we dive into the experiment, let me preface by saying, there is no right or wrong way to pray (or eat a Reeses), but this I can GUARANTEE: If you are not attaching emotion to your prayers, you are not going to receive the full benefit of praying.

Don’t just say your prayers, sink into your prayers.

So here goes. The Three-Fold Prayer Experiment:

1. Start With Why. Why are you praying? In my research, I came across the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). While I don’t think that your conversation with the divine has to fall under an umbrella category, this might help you start the conversation!

Adoration. Pray because you are simply in awe of the wonderful things around you. The world is an incredible place, made up of miraculous beings and places and concepts.

Confession.  Even if your moral compass doesn’t align with a religious creed like the Bible, Torah or Quran, you should still be able to recognize when you are not acting as your HIGHEST SELF prayerjonahwould act. If not, use prayer as a means of acknowledging where you have fallen short and grow so that you can be better in the future. If you have real guilt, it’s important to acknowledge that you feel remorse so that you can move on and continue to serve others!

Thanksgiving. Gratitude is not something you feel, it’s something you PRACTICE. Prayers of gratitude are the surest way for you to tell the universe that you received and appreciated its blessings and you are open to more. This kind of prayer has immediate and long-term benefits. Get after it!

Supplication. Supplication is humbly asking for what you desire. It is NOT selfish to ask, want or wish. The universe is abundant and you are going to be met with what you ask for and take action on. Putting intention behind your hopes and dreams is your way of telling the divine source that you are ready to receive all the glorious things God has to offer.

2. Make Your Prayers Limitless. When it comes to the “asking” part, there are no limits. Don’t insult the universe by asking small and for the love of God, stop acting like you are bothering “Him” with your insignificance. No matter what you believe, when you pray, you are praying to the source of everything you know. THE CREATOR OR SOURCE OF EVERYTHING GRAND. The stars. The planets. The mind of Albert Einstein. As Joel Osteen would say, make sure to “Pray God-size Prayers”.

If you find yourself asking for cleared debt, a stable marriage, or to pass your next exam, think BIGGER! Pray for the FREEDOM that money will bring, a THRIVING marriage, and a WEALTH of knowledge. Pray for everything and anything that you desire.

open-arms3. Be Open to Receiving. Prayer is a spiritual practice that can be solemn, emotional, or even fun. But what good is putting out your intentions and requests if you are not open to receiving the blessings and answers you seek. Try closing your prayer with a notion of reception. Your personal version of:

“I have opened myself up to receiving all of the blessings and wisdom that come my way. So, please, feel free to bring it on.”

You should give prayer a try even if… scratch that, ESPECIALLY if you’re uncomfortable with religion. I can promise it won’t hurt you to experiment. And hey, it may just help you shift into a higher state of living.

Can I get an Amen to that? 😇

 

Did you use ACTS? Did you find you were limiting your prayers? Post your experience with The Prayer Experiment below.

spirit month

INTRODUCING: SPIRIT MONTH

And when I say spirit, I don’t mean RA-RA, like a Cheerleader. I mean it the way Dictionary.com uses it, which is more meaningful I think.

1 spiritual

noun spir·it \ˈspir-ət\

:of or relating to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature

You might think that “spirituality” is synonymous with religion. In fact, before I turned twenty, I had little Prayer-fiveexposure to anything that would prove otherwise. It was only in my twenties, when
I began to learn about the aspects of spirituality that weren’t tied to specific rules or people. Sheltered. I know. But I know I’m not alone in this department. Before leaving home, (more…)