There are so many schools of thought how to be in the Now emanating across the airwaves these days one does not really know who to believe or where to begin to find the most useful amongst them. I have tried many of them over my sixty years so I thought I would pass on a few I have found useful.
1. Calm Abiding Meditation
“There are many stages in mental development, but as soon as we are able to maintain the mind in a calm state, at that very moment there is joy and peace. This is reflected in the body becoming relaxed, and then the mind becomes more relaxed. As the mind calms down, the hidden enlightened qualities emerge more and more.”
—Venerable Khenpo Rinpoche
This statement sums up pretty much what you can achieve in the daily practice of Calm Abiding meditation, a practice I did for 7 years, and which I have recently taken up again after a break of 5 years. I trained to become a meditation Teacher during those 7 years and look forward to using those skills again after my practice is established again.
2. Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga describes the physical practice of yoga. In fact, sometimes the name Hatha is used interchangeably with “yoga.” The slow pace and simple breathing exercises make it a great place to learn basic poses and become comfortable on the mat. My breath cycle improved from 9 seconds to 44 while I was doing Yoga and only gave it up when I discovered the beauty of Tai Chi.
3. Tai Chi
Developed originally in China as a self-defense strategy, or martial art, tai chi—the “supreme ultimate fist”—is practiced in modern times primarily as a gentle exercise technique. Described as “meditation in motion,” tai chi consists of a standing person performing a series of postures or bodily movements in a slow and graceful manner, with each movement flowing without pause to the next. According to Chinese legend, the technique was created by a Taoist monk who was inspired as he watched a crane and a snake do battle. Impressed by the ‘snake’s ability to subtly and swiftly avoid the bird’s thrusts, he devised a series of self-defense techniques that do not involve meeting the opponent’s force with force, but rather stress evading the blow; causing the opponent’s own momentum to work against him. I do the Beijing 24 practice daily and am learning he Bamboo practice. I Also do a warm up called Qigong
Qigong, literally: “Life Energy Cultivation” is a practice of aligning body, breath, and mind for health, meditation, and martial arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine and Philosophy and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi) or what has been translated as “life energy”.
According to Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian philosophy, respectively, qigong allows access to higher realms of awareness, awakens one’s “true nature”, and helps develop human potential. This noble practice has helped me regain my well being and is my current practice.
5. 5 Rhythms Dance
5Rhythms is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. It draws from indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms.
Gabrielle describes the practice as a soul journey, and says that by moving the body, releasing the heart, and freeing the mind, one can connect to the essence of the soul, the source of inspiration in which an individual has unlimited possibility and potential.
Getting back to this has allowed me to free my body and be much more present in the Now of my body.
6. Philosophers Notes
Brian Johnson made mega dollars in the I.T. industry then went to Bali and read all the great books. His gift to the world is he can summarise them beautifully.
PhilosophersNotes are like healthy, energizing snacks for the mind, heart and soul! This is such a superb idea, and Brian has such a natural, infectiously appealing way of making it relevant to just about everybody. For avid personal-development aficionados, Philosophers Notes serve as a sampler plate of the very best reads out there, making it easier to decide which new books to crack open next, and which classics deserve a fresh look.
I did one of these for about 60 days in a row then read the books that really touched my heart. They say the day you die is the day you stop learning, in our busy world this is an excellent way to get to access the best quickly. Here’s a link if you are interested https://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes
7. Communing with Nature
We forget that Gaia has been gifted to remind us that we are all part of the greater plan. A weekend away from the chaos of the city in a forest , or near a beach or river restores our sense of Now. Leaving your phone, computer and work behind for this period has us focus on things like trees, animals and the fresh air that these places are filled with.
8. Growing and Cooking my own Food
Supermarkets are not even 100 years old, how did humans get their food prior to the existence of what is now the major supplier of Food for the human race. We grew our own and prepared and cooked it ourselves or brought it from our local producers. The joy of planting you own vegetables and having your own chickens is immeasurable and making your own meals from fresh, non toxic produce bought from a local farmers market is so good for your health.
Well, I hope this has helped you a little, Namaste until next time my Friends.