What Happens When We Meditate?

Meditation

Sit Still And Be Present

The path of meditation implores us to do the simplest yet most difficult thing – to sit still and just be present, to reflect without thinking. There is no action involved, only stillness and observation.

Watch What Comes Up

In meditation we let whatever comes up, come up. We invite it in. We welcome all of it, including the resistance, boredom, the judgments, and the endless mental spinning. We let it come up and then we watch it. We don’t think, we don’t analyze, we don’t judge –  we simply watch and experience.

When things come up that we don’t like, we try to remember that thoughts and feelings are our teachers – we can learn from them. They’re not an enemy to conquer or get away from. So, we don’t try to change our experience, we just remain in a state of awareness.

Acknowledge Who We Are 

We watch with curiosity as our experience unfolds, without trying to make ourselves different. Doing this means we’ll no longer have to live out of our cherished self-images, such as being a calm, or “together” person. In other words, we don’t have to hang onto looking “spiritual.” Instead, we can just acknowledge who we are – including all our shortcomings. We can give up our ideals of perfection.


Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment

Ezra Bayda

Background on Ezra Bayda

How Can We Develop Mental Strength?

Mentally Strong

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

  1. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself.
  2. Don’t give away your power.
  3. Don’t shy away from change.
  4. Don’t focus on things you can’t control.
  5. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone.
  6. Don’t fear taking calculated risks.
  7. Don’t dwell on the past.
  8. Don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
  9. Don’t resent other people’s success.
  10. Don’t give up after the first failure.
  11. Don’t fear alone time.
  12. Don’t feel the world owes you anything.
  13. Don’t expect immediate results.

Getting rid of these 13 habits will help us develop mental strength, which is essential to dealing with all of life’s problems – big or small.

No matter what our goals are, we’ll be better equipped to reach our full potential when we’re feeling mentally strong.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success
Amy Morin

Background on Amy Morin

Suffering And The Feeling Of Not Being Whole

Suffering Alone
Source of Suffering

The root of suffering – the real root of all our problems – is in the mind. That means the place we can address our problems is also in the mind.

Feeling of Not Being Whole

So many of our problems arise because we feel cut off from something we need. We do not feel whole and therefore turn expectantly toward other people for the qualities we imagine missing in ourselves. All of the problems of the world, from one person’s anxiety to warfare between nations, can be traced to this feeling of not being whole.

The Truly Rich Person

The truly rich person is the one who has a satisfied mind. The affluence of satisfaction comes from wisdom, not from external things. If you are truly free from the mind of attachment, you’ll see that nothing really belongs to you in the first place.

When the Chocolate Runs Out: Mindfulness & Happiness
When the Chocolate Runs Out: Mindfulness & Happiness

Lama Thubten Yeshe

Background on Lama Thubten Yeshe

How Did The Ancient Games Shine A Spotlight On The Roman World?

Colesseum

Diversity of the Games

The Roman games were a religious festival held in honor of Jupiter. The sheer diversity of the games amounted to a celebration of the immensity of the Roman world. They consolidated the ancient bond between the plebs (Roman citizens) and the Senate. Nobility turned out in force to attend the games.

The games were more than a grand parade of the nobility – they were a time of wonder for all. Huge stocks of gold evaporated in a week so the amphitheater could be turned into a place of miracles. For a blessed moment, the rules of normal life were held in suspense.

The diversity of the games included tightrope walkers, ballet dancers, amphitheaters filled up with water for naval spectacles, and fountains with perfumed water. But, above all, the animal world poured into the city – from all over, all to Rome.

Animals Imported for the Games

  • Crocodiles from the Nile.
  • Irish wolfhounds from Britain.
  • Lions from north Africa.
  • Antelopes & gazelles from the Sahara.

What the Animals Represented 

  • Like the empire itself, their capture and eventual slaughter represented a triumph of human order over a savage world.
  • Most beasts were lethal – they were destined to be slaughtered, by skilled huntsmen, armed with pikes, who were the matadors of the classical world.
  • Beasts were slaughtered in a solemn mood.

What happened in the amphitheater was more than a blood sport – it was a fortifying lesson in the triumph of civilization. The activities celebrated the victory of human energy, human skill, and human courage over the wild. For this reason, “human animals” also made their appearance – and, like the rest of the animals, they were destined for slaughter.

Gladiators 

Saxon prisoners of war were sent to Rome to serve as gladiators, condemned to fight to the death in front of the Roman people. The deaths of such prisoners, rounded up from the coasts of the English Channel, were intended to make plain, in the middle of Rome, the most magical of all energies – the eternal victory of empire along the frontiers of the North.

Christian Nobility and the Games

The bronze tokens issued on the occasion of the Roman games show that representatives of Christian noble families presided at the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum over spectacles that were as thrilling, as cruel, and as calculated to cause the raw, pre-Christian adrenaline of worship for the city and the empire to flow in their veins just as any pagan family.

Through the Eye of a Needle
Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD
Peter Brown

Background on Peter Brown

How Do Stories Shape And Give Meaning To Our Lives?

Stories & Meaning

Our Need for Stories

We humans have a compelling need for stories that order our memories and hopes, and give shape and meaning to our individual and collective lives. A society with a belief in something that goes beyond itself, a narrative that goes beyond the immediate and beyond the self, seems better equipped to confront threats to its existence, to survive and to flourish.

Societies Exists Through Stories

At the beginning of the 20th century, the French sociologist Emile Durkheim argued that without such overarching stories there can in fact be no society. Those stories, the ideals they illustrate and the ceremonies in which they are enacted constitute for Durkheim the essential elements of any society of communal belief – and, in a sense, the stories are the society. If, for whatever reason, we lose or forget them, in a very real way we, collectively, no longer exist.

Systems of Belief – Narratives of Meaning

Systems of belief almost always contain a narrative of how the physical world was created, how the people came to be in it, and how they and all living things should inhabit it. But the stories and associated rituals usually go far beyond that. They tell members of the group how they ought to behave to one another, and crucially they also address the future – those aspects of the society that will endure as succeeding generations come and go. They embrace the living, the dead and those still to be born, in one continuing story of belonging.

Stories Become Embedded in Everyday Life

The most powerful and most sustaining of any society’s stories are the work of generations. They are repeated, adapted and transmitted, absorbed into everyday life, ritualized and internalized to such a degree that we are often hardly aware that we are still surrounded by the tales of distant ancestors. They give us our particular place in a pattern which can be observed but not fully understood – and they do it almost without our knowing it.

Cover art
Living With the Gods: On Beliefs and Peoples
Neil MacGregor

 

 

 


Neil MacGregor


Neil MacGregor

Born 1946

. Wikipedia

Robert Neil MacGregor, OMAOFSA, is a British art historian and former museum director. He was the editor of the Burlington Magazine from 1981 to 1987, then Director of the National Gallery, London, from 1987 to 2002, Director of the British Museum from 2002 to 2015, and is currently the founding director of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

MacGregor has made many programs for British television and radio. In the year 2000, he presented on television Seeing Salvation, about how Jesus had been depicted in famous paintings. More recently, he has made important contributions on BBC Radio Four, including A History of the World in 100 Objects and, in 2012, a series of fifteen-minute programs after The World at One called Shakespeare’s Restless World, discussing themes in the plays of William Shakespeare.

Books Neil MacGregor has written include: