Tag Archives: moving meditation

Extraordinary Living…

By Stephen Cope, Senior Teacher at Kripalu Center

Kripalu Center is situated just across the street from Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. From early on in my tenure at Kripalu, I found myself wandering across the street, sometimes every night, to watch conductor Seiki Ozawa’s artistry and hear the genius of musicians like Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Serkin ad Kathleen Battle. What a treat!

Gradually, I began to notice something interesting – something that linked my daytime yoga practice with my nighttime revels at Tanglewood. These artists routinely entered into profound states of concentration. I recognized these states because they were precisely the same states cultivated in yoga and meditation – the same states I was cultivating in my own practice. What a surprise! I also noticed that the concentrated states into which the musicians entered affected not only themselves, but the audience as well. There was a profound “field effect” that extended to the thousands of people participating through listening.

All contemplative paths cultivate the mind’s natural capacity to focus awareness. Yoga and meditation systematically expand and deepen this ability. In highly concentrated states, attention becomes one-pointed. External, distracting sensory input is completely tuned out. As the mind penetrates the object of its attention, the very architecture of the mental process is transformed. The stream of thought becomes laser-like, narrowed but highly organized. All extraordinary human endeavors involve this same quality of concentration. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “what makes a man is great concentration of effort.” “Winners focus, losers scatter,” says Stephen Covey, author of the acclaimed Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Yogis have another way of saying this that better conveys the spirit lying behind most extraordinary achievements: When you bring all of your energy and commitment to the table, God shows up. When you fully commit to one path, to one endeavor, then the Universe somehow responds. Mysterious doors open. We discover powers we did not know we had. Unseen beings come to our aid. We experience unboundedness – a mystical connection with the whole field of mind and matter – and act not from the individual personality but a state of unified mind.

I believe everyone has the capacity for extraordinary living. All that is required is that we bring our focus, skill, and energy together to serve on purpose. If we do it, it can lead to astonishing powers of body, mind, and spirit – powers that are note “ours” in any sense of the word, but which we simply channel into worthy endeavors.

Take A Mindful Walk On A Labyrinth…

I thought this prior post was worth reposting, especially as the beautiful spring mornings and evenings are upon us!

labyrinth image 1

 

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meaningful but purposeful path.
Labyrinths have long been used as a tool for meditation and prayer. A labyrinth
is a metaphor for life’s journey. Walking the labyrinth affords us an opportunity to go inside of ourselves and commune in the solitude of our own heart, mind, and soul.

Many people use the terms labyrinth and maze interchangeably; but the two are not the same. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind
alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into and out of the maze. A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal (one way). The way in is the way out. You cannot get lost. A labyrinth is a right brain task, and involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made, and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made: that choice is whether to enter and walk the spiritual path. A receptive mind is all that is needed.

Representing the deepest part of ourselves, the journey toward the center offers many opportunities for contemplation. Once one reaches the center, they are in a
place to receive the answers to their questions. On the journey out, a person is sent back into the world energized and with a broader sense of who they are
and what they are to become.

Three stages of the walk:

Letting go – a releasing, letting go of the details of your life. This is an act of shedding thoughts and emotions, letting the mind become quiet and empty.

Illumination – the center of the labyrinth. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive. Stay there as long as you like.

Integration – joining your Higher Power or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work your soul seeks.

Guidelines for the walk:

  • Clear your mind and become aware of your breath.
  • Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go.
  • Pass people or let others step around you as it seems appropriate.
  • The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out.

Worldwide Labyrinth Locator: http://labyrinthlocator.com

*Adapted from instructions by Rev Dr. Lauren Artress, Vereditas.