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    Understanding Your Emotions

    Our emotions are our way of knowing whether our energy systems are aligned with, and supporting, the things we say we want, the things that matter to us. When we feel good, it means that all of our energy is linked, aligned and flowing toward our dreams. Good feelings means we are working with our intentions, not against them, and all parts of us are pulling in the same direction. When we are feeling bad, it means that our energy is discordant, weak, that there is a backflow of energy resisting our own intentions and alignment, (usually because of resistant or negative habits of thought) making it harder to do almost anything. Bad feelings mean our energy is split, unaligned, resistive -- in psychological terms, conflicted.

    On a psychological level, negative emotion is an alarm. It means there is internal discord to be worked out. On a physical level, physical discomfort or pain and suffering means the same thing -- that there is some disregulation or non-alignment within the body, which again, needs to be worked out.

    Comfort and discomfort are not information about the world around us. They are information, feedback, about our response to the world around us. An adaptive response feels good. A maladaptive response feels bad. Discomfort is merely an indicator that some adjustment needs to be made in the way we are organized relative to what we are up against. We need to get aligned.

    This is why it is so important to feel good, and this is why feeling good is the basis of meditation and healing. Once again: good feelings mean that our energies are aligned, resonant, and flowing powerfully; bad feelings mean we're at cross purposes with ourselves.

    And our physical health and ability to heal will be diminished by those mental and emotional conflicts.
    This is also why it's important to release, eliminate, and resolve all the things that "bother" us. Our health, well-being and ability to live our dreams depend on it. Putting up with unhappiness of any kind means we're persisting in states of mind that conflict with our own intentions and desires for ourselves and others. Simply put, it means we're saying we can't be or do or have what we want.

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    This World is the Tip of the Iceberg

    This world of stuff and form is the tip of a very large, non-stuff and non-form iceberg. This physical world is the leading edge, the crust, of an infinitely large world of energy and intelligence.

    Energy and intelligence are two aspects of the same thing, namely the non-physical universe that exists deep within the physical one.

    All matter is composed of energy, and the world is structured layers of energy.  The energy contains the "knowing" that "structures" and becomes the world.  We can think of the world as patterns of energy, interacting with each other in infinitely rich ways, becoming all the things we sense and feel and know, and yet still existing as pure energy, deep inside the stuff itself.

    Quantum energy becomes subatomic energy becomes atoms becomes molecules becomes subtle structures becomes gross structures and forms (the world of stuff). And even though it "becomes" these things, it remains unchanged in itself.

    Mind, our mind, is the subtle energy, the bridge, the "gateway" between the formless and the formed.

    Energy --> Mind --> Form

    Energy flows through mind to become form.

    The world is intelligent on every level, and aligned and conforming on every level. As above, so below.

    The deeper levels of energy within the atom are the source of all form in the same way that DNA is the source of all the physical growth and form of our body.

    Everything that a tree is, is contained within the seed, and everything that the world is, is contained within the deepest substrates of energy.

    Everything in and of the world flows from the deepest quantum energy levels outward to become atoms and molecules and "stuff."  This flow is continuous, the world is being created from deep inside everything into outward form.

    The world is entirely made of energy, constantly flowing into form. Form is a perceptual reality, an "interpretation" of energy.

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    Meditation 101

    I recommend and encourage meditation because it helps people relax. Regular practice helps people to relax their minds and bodies, and when people relax they just feel better. And when people feel better, everything in their lives seems to go better -- they become happier, healthier people all around. There is nothing more natural, nothing more "spiritual" than relaxation -- letting go and allowing spirit.

    Meditation, done properly, shouldn't be difficult -- it should be and feel easy and effortless . As a matter of fact, if it doesn't feel easy to do, it generally means that you are making unnecessary efforts or trying too hard.

    Think of meditation as a technique for relaxing the mind, a natural and easy way to soothe and uplift yourself whenever you feel the need to do so. Meditation is completely safe, costs nothing, is enjoyable and rewarding, and is enormously beneficial.

    Learning to meditate is learning to gently allow the flow of your mind. Meditation is the practice of consciously and deliberately relaxing mental disturbance, mental resistance, a little bit at a time. Relaxing mental resistance means resolving conflicting thoughts, negative thoughts, disturbing thoughts -- letting go of any thoughts that feel tense or stressful.

    It's gently and consistently letting go of pressure, letting go of struggle, letting go of working on things, just for a while.

    It's letting go of the need to figure things out and push against things in your mind. It's allowing the mind to relax and settle down.

    Ultimately, it is just learning to let go of mental struggle and enjoy the flow, enjoy the peace of mind.

    There are many different ways to meditate, but the purpose of all of them is the same: allowing the unbroken flow of mind, eliminating disturbance in the mind. Patanjali, the great ancient teacher of Yoga said, "Meditation (dhyana) is the unrestricted flow of mind towards it's object." In simple terms, being able to relax and focus deeply, without stress or strain. In Buddhist practice the state of meditation is called samatha bhavana, a state where "the mind becomes like a still, clear pool completely free from disturbance and agitation, and ready to mirror on its surface the nature of things as they really are."

    The mind can never really be "still," (nothing that *is* can ever be still -- not really) but when the flow of mind is undisturbed, it appears "still." Think of a river or stream -- the ripples you see are evidence of resistance of the flow, interference from the wind and from the river bed. If there was no resistance -- no atmosphere or stream bed or shore to create backflow, the flowing stream would appear as still and smooth as glass. In the same way, a calm mind is an active, flowing mind, appearing "still" only because there are no resistive thoughts disturbing or distracting the flow of consciousness.

    Think of a time when you felt great happiness or appreciation or joyful clarity, what is called by some a "peak experience." In that moment of total focus, the mind is profoundly clear and bright, very awake and at the same time, very relaxed, very open.

    Attempting to "quiet" the mind through restraint or control or resistant thought, such as "I must not think that" or "I must only think of my breath" or "I can't settle down" creates more disturbance, not less, and is not helpful.

    The mind is clear and free and flowing when the mind is happy, when the thoughts are solely of what is wanted. Unhappiness is evidence of conflicting or contradictory streams of thought in the mind, a mixed focus on both what is wanted and what is not wanted.

    Concentration or sustained focus is only meditation when it is relaxed and easy and natural. It cannot be forced. It cannot be the product of struggle or effort.

    When we review the benefits of meditation, we see that they are many: relaxation and stress reduction, mental clarity, emotion peace and physical well-being, improved immune system response, to name a few.

    Since meditation strengthens the mind-body connection, all aspects of physical health are strengthened and improved. And since meditation makes the mind clearer and stronger, we become more creative, intelligent and emotionally adaptive and responsive. Our judgment improves, and our sense of perspective expands. Meditation uplifts the spirit and inspires a sense of connection to all things, allowing a greater sense of peace and security and being-at-home in the world.

    In addition, one of the most significant benefits of meditation is the growing awareness, through practice, that our mind is ours to manage and utilize, that we can learn to manage how we think, how we feel, and how we live. We learn that we, through mind, are the authors of our own experience, and have more control over how we feel than we perhaps ever knew.

    Ideally, meditation would be a constant flow of joyful, peaceful thought towards the things that are important to us, the things we love, our favorite things. It would bring us to greater heights of joy, not numbness or detachment or neutrality. Meditation is not really quieting the mind, although it can seem that way. It is clarifying the mind, opening the mind, expanding the mind.

    We meditate, or deepen our meditation, by learning to selectively focus attention on thoughts or perceptions that are at least emotionally neutral, or, even better, more pleasing to us. Virtually all meditation techniques involve various ways of doing this.

    We use mental techniques to gently and consistently shift our focus of attention toward thoughts or feelings or states of mind that soothe us, toward thoughts or perspectives that make us feel more relaxed, more at ease.

    In meditation we want to soothe the mind, not stir it up. We are not seeking truth or figuring things out or dwelling on what we don’t like or want. In meditation we deliberately focus on what is pleasing to allow our psychology and physiology to deeply rest and experience relief and healing. We are allowing ourselves to come back to our natural peace and joy in being.

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