Talk on Mindfulness In an Age of Distraction

mindfulness-stones

Mindfulness In an Age of Distraction

Let go of your worries

and be completely clear-hearted like the face of a mirror

that contains no images…

Mv. Jalaluddin Rumi

The following is a transcript from our talk at Hope for Exceptional Needs in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Hope is the leading bilingual centre in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, founded by Dr. Uzma Raheem, which promotes the education, awareness, and success of all families with children who have Special Needs of every kind.

In an age of distraction  we aim to regain an understanding on a subject which intrigues our imagination, in theory appears to be new age wishful thinking and in reality a lost way of life.

What is Mindfulness?

According to Mindfulness expert  Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.”  

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.”  

Overview

When man has full awareness of his thoughts, is able to pay attention to them, without judgement, and keeps his consciousness in the now, in the present, in the moment, in the very second of right here, right now and not be distracted with the inner pendulum which swings between past and present over and over, he is in a state of mindfulness.

In a practical, no nonsense understanding of mindfulness, let us go over a few relatable instances which the majority of us face on a day to day basis.

Relationship disputes

miscommunication

misunderstanding

chaotic living

noise pollution

lack of focus

lack of stillness

insomnia

depression

negative thinking

stagnant lifestyle

sporadic zoning out

Believe it or not, the lack of mindfulness in our lives has become the number one if not the culprit of the aforementioned issues we face which cause us anything but a peace of mind.

On the other hand, when mindfulness becomes our way of life, we open ourselves to immeasurable levels of peace, joy, contentment, love, stability, order, focus and great achievements.

Origins of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is perceived to be a heavenly gift to man. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and the majority all spiritual traditions have emphasized the concept of flow, being present and practicing mindfulness as a core discipline. Traditionally, seekers and adherents were taught the fundamentals of concentration, meditation, stillness, breath work and emptying the mind. All these disciplines lead to the state of being PRESENT.

Numerous teachings on the practical implementation of mindfulness may be found and learnt through living teachers, guides, books, self development programs, and age old traditions ranging from Tai Chi, Yoga, Chi Gong and a variety of other forms. One of the most commonly advocated practice is through breath work; focusing on one’s breath. This practice channels the distracted ‘Monkey Mind’ from past drama of the Why’s and the future illusion of the what if’s by bringing one’s attention to breath, its subtle sound, grounding our focus in the now.

Now to life, now to the moment, now to action creates reaction and keeps one aloof from the abyss of the deadly twins; past and future.

 

When man occupies his throughs in the past of future, he begins the process of storytelling, creating tall tales, fables and his interpretation of events which are only throughs and not necessarily reality. Excessive dwelling on either past or future keeps us from action. Essentially our actions  result from thought and emotion. This mental occupation of constant thought distraction fails to produce focus, concentration and significant action which are key ingredients to change.

Evidence of the Lack of Mindfulness in our Everyday Life

scattered shoes

a messy bed

open toothpaste tube

dirty dishes

disheveled appearance

un flushed toilet

scattered clothing

forgetfulness in prayer

interrupted conversations

inability to focus on what the other person is saying

loss of personal belongings

a disorganized purse where keys cannot be located

burnt meals

car lights left on

tap left running

front door left ajar

loved ones constantly saying, “you are not listening to me!”

Insomnia

Dwelling on the past

Dwelling  thoughts on the future

and the list goes on

These are some of the proofs we can find as evidence in our very environment as to where we are in our thoughts. These proofs are great clues which serve as self check reminders of what is happening internally. The interesting thing here is that it would take mindfulness to detect our own lack of. Mindfulness is not constant, it requires discipline, practice and conscious effort. Coming out of mindfulness, entering into unmindfulness and being able to decipher between the two states requires a watchful mind.

On the other hand, had we  practiced mindfulness, then perhaps we would notice shoes placed in their designated area.

Perhaps, upon awakening we would make our beds first rather than rushing into the next, next and next.

Perhaps after brushing, our kids would place the toothpaste lid back on the tube rather than zoning out taking imaginary selfies in the mirror with the tap running 50 miles an hour.

Perhaps we would eat together as a family instead of cubicle eating where every member is occupied in watching something in different rooms.

Perhaps we would eat together without the tv on and not silence ourselves like monks of a secret mystical order who utter not.

Perhaps we would offer to clear the table and put our dishes away instead of conveniently leaving it for Molly Maid or Mommy Maid.

Perhaps we would focus more on aesthetics, physical, emotional and spiritual well being and not lose ourselves to a point where we now seek help for a quick fix, a quack, or 911 tummy tuck.

Perhaps our desks would represent mental order instead of paper clutter which hinders our productivity.

Perhaps if weren’t busy on social media , our burnt dinner would of been saved.

Perhaps if the car lights or AC were shut, the car battery would not magically run down.

And perhaps life would be kinder if mom cooled off on her social networks, and actually paid attention to her child who says, ‘mom I just failed math’, or ‘mom I need help understanding past or future tense in English’ or ‘mom a boy in school is bullying me’,  yet her thoughts preoccupied her mind to a point where she responds with the classical hmm, that’s great, yeah, nice.’ ‘See mommy, you never heard a word I said did you?’ Mom is clueless, speechless and somewhat embarrassed as all she can think about is inability to recall what her child expressed only a few moments ago.

The Technology Agenda

Technology and busy life styles, rat race syndrome, societal expectations of how we are expected to live, behave, dress, act, think has robbed our inherent right to being in the now. Constant stimulation and ADD, ADHD  in adults is on the rise as much as it is in children.

Everyday technology toxins such as, gadgets, TV/Net, noise stimulation, noise pollution, information overload, video games and social media have divorced us from the ancient art of silence, an innate love for nature, meditation, focused thinking, thinking, visualization, human company, reading books and the simple pleasures of life like enjoying the scenic view on a road trip.

Conspiracy or Lunacy-  You Choose

When masses are kept busy in everything but the act of conscious thinking, then injecting information to minds which  have been conditioned to remain off guard, becomes an easy task. Mind control, subliminal programming, subjugation, suggestive ideas, imparting ideologies, influencing lifestyle choices, consumerism, infusing propaganda are media tools utilized through intelligence agencies whose agenda is more than we could possibly grasp. Let us simply ask ourselves, are we mind control candidates?

Who is Easier to Control?

When man is conditioned to be dumbed down, he lacks the ability to tap into his creative intelligence. Creative intelligence connects us through the means of our subconscious mind to infinite intelligence or Universal Mind. The exact opposite; synthetic intelligence, is what most of us use in our day to day life as it requires the use of the conscious mind which collects data from our five senses.  Is it an irony that enlightened masters, artists, poets, thinkers, philosophers, geniuses, prodigies, operate from creative intelligence? Worth mentioning, creative individuals are harder to exercise control over in comparison to individuals who solely rely on synthetic intelligence.

Practical Mindfulness Pointers

  • Seek out individuals who are trained, authorized or who embody mindfulness
  • These are usually Meditation practitioners, coaches or spiritual mentors
  • Establish a morning meditation routine
  • Practice stillness and observe your thoughts as they arise
  • Practice Yoga-join a class, find a teacher or establish a home based Yoga routine through virtual  means
  • Eat slowly, savour the flavours and pay attention to taste, texture, aroma 
  • Observe nature
  • Spend time in nature
  • Observe details in your environment
  • Give your undivided attention to others
  • Find like minded folks who practice mindfulness
  • Eat clean
  • Eat together
  • Practice empathic listening
  • Establish a calming routine prior to bedtime
  • Find a creative outlet to express yourself
  • Take pictures, avoid in excess
  • Practice making eye contact while communicating
  • Speak clearly, un-rushed
  • Slow down and know that you are perfectly fine where you are now in this moment

Research  on Mindfulness

  • 72% of GPs think it would be helpful for their patients with mental health problems to learn Mindfulness meditation skills (21% don’t know if it would be helpful; 7% say it would not be helpful);
  • 66% of GPs say they would support a public information campaign to promote the potential health benefits of Mindfulness meditation; and
  • 64% of GPs think it would be helpful for them to receive training in Mindfulness skills themselves.

Conclusion

Life is a blessing and to live in the now is to live today as if it was our last day. Express love to those you appreciate in your life, pay attention, say sorry, take up a sport, play with your kids, spend quality time with parents and loved ones, take photos, cherish moments, practice gratitude with what life brings us. Mothers and caregivers of special needs children, know that in your home lives an angel, a spiritual guide, a lantern, a beacon who was sent from above to help you become an evolved human being who transcends the barriers of  conditional love. And finally to close off with, let us keep in mind the next time we are out on a dinner with a loved one or loved ones, to shutdown all devices and give undivided attention a priority.

Recommended Reading

Mindfulness a Practical Guide to Finding Peace in Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

Dance, Movement and the Spiritual Way

Desert Offering

Hu. Hayy. When we find ourselves inclined towards the act of motion, where a desire to simply allow source to flow through our being without interference from our separate self (ego), then know we are already in a state of spiritual dance. Then let down thy hair, let down thy hair and flow, let go, be free and spin, enrapture yourself in the sacred dance that has no rules! Find yourself moving ecstatically in motion; in trance, in the HU. Be in the HU, experience the HAYY in HU and subtly come back to earth.

Inhale, exhale: Hu,  Hayy…

Movement, whether this defines Tai Chi, Yoga, belly dance, ballet or tennis, the very fact remains that our bodies require physical movement to enable, enhance and allow Chi to flow  within, throughout and around us. A student of spirituality who fails to incorporate movement as part of their regimen, basically misses the point. Essence is kept hidden in movement. Quite commonly, we see in all spiritual orders and traditions that movement plays an integral role in the method of training administered to adherents. This may include chants coupled with dance or specified bodily movements which could vary from swaying, jumping, spinning or abstract movements with fluid energy flowing through the concerned limbs and extremities. Maintaining healthy spirituality requires us to break down the walls of resistance and return to the state of supple being; the natural disposition we came into this very abode with. The state of flow where Qudra-Chi flows with mastery within our inner being results in a happier, more grounded and unified adherent. The dervishes of the Mevlevi Order of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi perform the Sema Ceremony as an act of mirroring of the entire cosmos; a dance of cosmic love in order to connect with Love in the name of Love. The anti clock wise motion represents the universal phenomena of spin involving the macro; celestial bodies and micro, the atom. Through the ecstatic whirling ceremony, the Dervish representing the lover, ‘burns’ in Love scorching everything so that only Love (God) remains. “When fire burns in anguish to meet her beloved, all senses are diminished. She burns on cinders day and night and when fire achieves seclusion with fire, she turns to ash!” Hence, when our being is prepared, movement and dance results as second nature.

Not Two but One

Rumi drank
Shems drank
Both began to whirl
gradual and steady
speed altered
Spinning until all that existed vanished
Rumi and Shems spun in ecstasy
Drunk in love
The sema carried on the night through
Dawn exposed their frantic state
Both fused
Now only one
One body
One soul
One heart
Not two but ONE

(Qudra Healing)

Meditation Outdoors

Speaking of spirituality and affinity to the Spiritual Way or holistic living holds little weight without a daily meditation practise. Nature and early hours are a preference for regular meditators. Meditation in natural, open air surroundings raises vibrations on a level which normally would take substantially longer in indoor man made surroundings. The soul requires regular recharging and naturally embraces meditation, mantras, spiritual dance, chanting and postures which still the body, mind and spirit; resulting in a deep sense of inner calm.  QH

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Global Full Moon Meditation Event 19:19, Wednesday May 14th, 2014

Full Moon Meditation Event-19:19, Wednesday May 14th, 2014-05-14-15th Rajab

Divine Feminine Energy Shift to Take Place

This sacred month of Rajab is famed for Divine Favor, outpouring and Grace. The Universe is shifting towards the Feminine embracing all through the Energy of Love.

Article: Feminine Energy Shift

Event Page

 

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DREAMS  transport one from a state of limitation to unlimited possibilities. Many a time dreams are therapeutic and foretell future events. They unveil realities and serve as premonitions also. The following dream was shown recently to a participant for tomorrow’s Full Moon Meditation. She requested us to not disclose her identity.

“Upon joining the moon meditation event, I saw the following dream the same night.
I was preparing for a flight to the moon. The vehicle was a space shuttle, just as an astronaut would travel in. The only difference was that I did not require a space suit. I was excited, happy and looking forward for this extra ordinary journey! It seemed as if “normal” to travel to the moon. I unconsciously practice moon gazing and HIGHLY RECOMMEND those who know ‘how to,’ to do so tomorrow.

Blessing to All,
Moon Lady

 

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Methods of Seculsion Therapy

Methods of Seclusion Therapy

By Mohammed Bin Abbas

Nothing benefits the heart more than a spiritual seclusion whereby it enters the domain of true reflection.
– Ibn Ata’ Allah Iskandari

Nowadays people need simpler and easier methods from their environment and heritage that can be used when feeling tensed or depressed, or when one needs to face problems and stress that needs relaxation. It even necessitates reorganizing one’s own thinking and reprogramming the mind to be able to reformulate and arrange its objectives, and get rid of the psychological disturbances and negative feelings. This will make one capable of achieving social and psychological harmony in his life.

Undoubtedly, every human being needs a little bit of seclusion and privacy away from life problems and clamor to think quietly, reorganize his inside world, and reassess his experiences to set for himself a working plan.

Seclusion therapy includes training the person to get rid of his negative thoughts and annoying anxieties to reach a stage in which he can order his brain to immediately stop thinking and reject those negative ideas. He would then replace them with positive thoughts that recharge his psychological powers for a fresh start in the right direction. This method of treatment stems from our religious and cultural heritage which has proven to be effective, if not excel, the other western psychological methods of treatment. They often entail unsuitable concepts and ideas different from the nature and environment of one’s character.

The objective of using seclusion therapy is to change positive advices and thoughts into effective and active ones. They are implemented in the mind through meditation and repetition, conducted in an atmosphere of relaxation. This transforms these ethical sets and verbal forms into concepts and beliefs that constantly motivate one to the desired behavior.

Dr. Ramez Taha states ”We are sure after a number of studies conducted over the past years that Meditation Therapy is better and deeper in its results than both Meditation Transcendental and Neuro-Linguistic Programming NLP, which are widely spread in the West”. He also adds: ”I have also noticed that the person suffering from psychological problems can not, in most cases, benefit from the western methods of treatment. These methods encourage the patient’s sexual freedom which is considered one of the important bases of treatment and psychological health. This, however, disregards the social and religious upbringing which controls the behavior of the eastern patient. Thus, these western methods have led to many severe setbacks to patients who were treated with them. I, myself, have treated dozens of such cases that suffered from relapses due to these inappropriate methods of treatment.

What makes matters worse is the fact that many of the therapists were non-specialists and who received short-term training courses that lasted only for days or even weeks”.

Self dialogue – what a person says to his self – is extremely important in seclusion the therapy where the dialogue should include optimistic and positive sentences. This is an important step in the seclusion therapy where one sets and prepares correct sentences and positive phrases repeated with deep concentration. They replace the negative sentences that he says to himself and often cause tension and self defeat.

Seclusion and meditation is indeed one of the distinguished characteristics of the Arabs. Relying on agriculture and grazing pasture offers a chance for free imagination and meditation unlike the restricted industrial societies. Thus, the western societies realized the importance of developing the ability to meditate which is important for psychological health and effective in psychological treatment. Seclusion is a chance for physical and mental relaxation which is badly needed in our tensed age. It is also considered a training of self-control to reject negative thoughts and adopt positive ones as well as re-evaluating behaviors through constant practice. Thus, it is seen as an easy way that accords with one’s personality and helps it establish a moral system that will eventually become fixed customs and behavior patterns. At present, there are a lot of distractions coming from the satellites and the exciting cultures and habits that fill our lives. The only way to face all that is to train one self to reprogram the mind, and meditate by using the seclusion therapy. This is an attempt to change the duplicity of the traditional Arab culture which causes psychological conflicts that often wastes one’s capacities and abilities.

Seclusion in religious tradition denotes a number of meanings including relinquishing worldly matters, and devoting oneself to praying and supplicating to Allah. Also it means to stay in privacy in order to contemplate on one’s inner self to think of his mistakes and purify his own self. The prophet (PGBUH) advised Oqbah Ibn Amer, may Allah be pleased with him, to stay in seclusion where he said:” Hold your tongue and stay at home”. A number of Moslem scholars and jurists state that seclusion has many psychological advantages including the following:

– Avoiding the tongue’s mischief and slipping as Allahis Messenger (PGBUH) said: ”Allah have mercy on the one who was silent and thus safe or spoke and was successful”. – Staying away from hypocrisy, renouncing worldly pleasures, and having good manners.

– Examining one’s self and checking on its behavior. – Guarding one’s eyes against looking at what Allah has forbidden. – Devoting one self to praising and remembering Allah. It was narrated that Moaz Ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, said: ”Talk to people a little, talk to Allah a lot so that your heart may see Allah, the Almighty”.

– Refining manners and softening one’s heart. The prophet (PGBUH) said: ” Do not speak much except with Allah’s remembrance, talking a lot without remembering Allah is hardness of the heart. The farthest one from Allah is the one with a cruel heart”.

– Allowing prayer and contemplation; Al-Gazali describes it as a state of meditation beyond normal consciousness in which one realizes things that his mind and senses can not reach under normal circumstances. – Feeling the pleasures of supplication. In his encyclopedia Ihyaa Ulum Al-Din, Al-Gazali cites some of the views of righteous scholars who claim that there is no pleasure in this world similar to that of heaven except what people who supplicate at night feel in their hearts. Others said that the pleasure of supplication does not belong to this world but comes from heaven. Allah revealed this pleasure to His loyal people, the ones who can only feel it. – Reproaching and blaming one’s self. Allah says:” O ye who believer! Fear God, and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow”. This clearly indicates that one needs to hold himself responsible for his past deeds and to blame himself for his misdeeds constantly reminding it with the right path. Allah says:” But teach (thy Message), for teaching benefits the Believers”.

Thus, seclusion allows one to temporary get away from the noisy life to a peaceful place which gives him mental clarity and psychological pureness where he can clearly see the reasons and truth behind his problems. He can then reorganize his thoughts and plans to bravely face his worries with self-confidence, in addition to renewing his connection with Allah. As a result, one realizes that his worldly troubles are not worth worrying about for he can easily avoid them through seclusion where he lets go of his imagination. Seclusion entails meditation, imagination, and self-dialogue, all of which are mental factors which helps modify one’s emotions and behavior.

Many clinical and experimental evidences proved that the mental factors, which include thinking, imagination, deduction, and expectation, are connected to the emotion centers in the brain and immediately affect them. As a result, they secrete a number of hormones and neuro-transmitting substances which causes tension and other related physiological changes. Among the well-known hormones that cause stress and tension is Adrenalin which results in muscle tension, high blood pressure, and increase in heart beat and pulse. It also leads to the transfer of a large amount of sugar from the liver to the blood to provide energy for the conflict the body is prepared due to the order given by the brain’s emotional centers. These changes are also accompanied by disorders in the digestion and the secretions of the stomach and intestines.

Seclusion therapy helps the individual to practice the regulating and controlling of attention. The repetition of the seclusion sessions makes one more capable of rejecting destructive thoughts and thus turn his thinking to an opposite attitude that achieves serenity and peace, such as remembering and praising Allah.

After a period of practicing the seclusion therapy, the individual easily relinquish negative thinking and painful thoughts. It makes one well trained in controlling his mental readiness through concentrating on a desirable positive topic. He can then place this topic in the centre of his consciousness through repetition which is similar to self reciting that many students often use to refresh their memories. A number of psychologists claim that some individuals often achieve extraordinary abilities and skills through the repetition and mental alertness while concentrating on what he aspires to accomplish.