Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Help


I recently had a conversation with my dad about my last blog post. He mentioned that most of it was over his head, but what he did share was that he remembers back to the three years he spent in seminary, when he had to meditate for an hour and half each morning. He remembers how grounded it made him, but he also recognizes that he was young and inexperienced. He explained that they were encouraged to meditate on specific things, but weren’t told exactly which ones. My father feels that had he meditated later on in life after garnering more experience, he could have benefited more. What stood out to me in those words was that even though he claims to not fully grasp the deeper layers behind meditation, he is fully cognizant of its power.

According to Deepak Chopra, meditation is not just about reaping the therapeutic benefits of slowed breathing, improved immune function, and melting stress. Meditation is more about going within, or tuning into one’s self. Quieting the mind is about accessing the gap between thoughts, which is the gateway for tapping into the field of pure potentiality, and ultimately accessing infinite creativity and imagination. Furthermore, through meditation, one learns about the power of intention that orchestrates its own fulfillment, which many refer to as the law of attraction.

What I think Dr. Chopra was describing, in a rudimentary way of looking at it, is that the more we meditate, the more we harmonize our consciousness. We think more clearly, we de-clutter the deluge of thoughts we have each day, we learn to let go of our egos, and allow the universe to unfold as it will. It’s kind of like running a defragmenter on your computer. It runs more efficiently and smoothly. Through meditation, we are allowing ourselves to run at optimal levels. I think people are misled by the idea that one can change his or her life simply by thinking positively. This is a way how people often interpret what happens to them when they meditate, but positive thoughts alone do not manifest happiness. In fact, Dr. Chopra believes that holding on to that idea too tightly may just cause you more stress. 

For me, besides the obvious physical benefits, what I get most out of meditation is detachment and surrender. Firstly, I get to take a step back from life’s hectic pace and detach myself from thought, feelings, judgments, and expectations. I guess, I do to my mind what I help other people do to their body, which is relax it. Surrendering is letting go of the ego’s illusory control and recognizing that life will show me what I need to see when I’m ready to see it. There is a greater plan at work, and I can either spend my time uselessly fighting the current, or joyfully enjoying the waves. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Transformers

Sometimes I feel as though I lead two lives. While I’m at work, I’m tapped into the mother ship. My heart and soul naturally gravitate towards the Center’s vortex of healing and nurturing energy. As though a monk’s apprentice, I am ever diligent and mindful. My body speaks to me, I listen. I hydrate, I meditate, and make conscious efforts to nurture my vessel with healthy and powerful sustenance so that I can not only facilitate my own transformation, but be ever present and grounded to help guide others through their own journeys. Being a massage therapist is hard work. Being a conduit for divine energy, guiding others towards healing, and holding space for those who must navigate uncertainty and change, adds another layer of demand on my body and its resources no matter how gratifying my efforts may be. Needless to say, I too need to replenish and rejuvenate in order to provide the best possible atmosphere for my guests.

However, when I am too far to feel the gravitational pull of the Center’s energy, it seems as though I unplug from the matrix. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t engorge on fast food, engage in voodoo, or moonlight as a serial killer, I’m just not as mindful towards ensuring mind and body balance. I still work out, feed my mind, and generally eat healthy, but I feel I still leave a lot on the table in regards to optimizing my body’s processes and guiding my spirit towards greater fulfillment. Ideally, I’d like to be eternally in tune with the universe’s plan. I don’t necessarily mean that I wish to know exactly the path that lies before me, because let’s face it, that would be boring, but I definitely want to be more acutely attentive to its voice.

How does one go about this you may be thinking? Well, I intend to follow another piece of advice I usually give my guests who visit the center to undergo Panchakarma, a powerful process of purifying the mind, purging the body of built up toxins, and increasing vitality. What inevitably happens, is after people have overcome some challenges, healed themselves, or simply replenished their batteries, they go right back to doing the things that brought them to us in the first place. We are only human, yes. And all of us, even the most mindful and transcendent souls, eventually need to rid the body of toxins and blockages. However, the idea is not just to heal enough to get back into the ring, but to incorporate lifestyle changes in one’s life until it is realized that one doesn't have to be in the ring at all.

I find that so many of us approach life in this manner at times. Our minds create the perception of struggle. Our egos immediately manifest an attitude of having to overcome, to be victorious. Before we know it, it seems like we are exchanging blows with the universe. I don’t think I need to tell you who really wins do I? Well, in my case, let’s just say I’m glad that heavily padded gloves are involved.

What I usually tell my guests before the they ride the waves of bliss back from whence they came, is to take at least one thing they learned while with us and commit to integrating that one thing in their life until it becomes a habit. Forget changing your entire way of life overnight. It can be done I’m sure, but such drastic changes are unrealistic and unfulfilling. Take small bites. Chew. Meditate for ten minutes every day, take up yoga, or make a vow to give up frozen foods. Whatever it is, tackle small endeavors and revel in achieving them. I’m going to start meditating with more frequency. I find that my writing tends to go to another level when I do. At times, it feels that inspiration looks for me, instead of the other way around. Sometimes, I even conjure something clever, funny, or inspiring. Joy and abundance are rarely achieved by climbing a mountain, but more often by smelling the flowers along the way. See, it’s working already.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I watched the new Planet of the Apes movie last night, and I must say I was quite pleased. As a fan of the originals, I was highly anticipating the remakes. Even though I am not a fan of James Franco (I feel he is a little monotone and limited as an actor), the movie was still an excellent prequel to the rebooted series.

There is a considerable amount of action, but what was most fascinating to me was the intense psychological undertones at play. I don't know if being a communication major had much to do with the that particular observation, but it was rather amazing in the way that communication was portrayed in this movie. If you have ever watched a show on chimps or monkeys on National Geographic, then you will definitely appreciate the subtle non-verbal communication within the film. The premise, as the title of the movie implies, is basically the story of how the apes became intelligent and overthrew the planet staking claim as the dominant species. The movie's protagonist, a Chimpanzee appropriately named Caesar, is exposed to a drug that boosts intelligence and allows the brain to repair itself. The drug was created by Franco's character as a cure for Alzheimer's, and is given to chimpanzees for testing.

After undergoing a significant amount of abuse, from both humans and his fellow apes, Caesar plots his escape from captivity as well as positions himself as the leader of the simians. Although all of the apes are computer generated, they are remarkably realistic looking, and their facial features accurately captivate the broad range of emotion and thought processes capable by apes and humans alike. I was particularly impressed with the methods Caesar implemented upon his own kind to establish hierarchy, and ultimately his superiority.

In short, I think The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was a great summer movie. I generally scoff at the length of today's movies, but I thought that in this instance the extra time was well used and was appropriate for the development of the story. However, any longer, and the movie would have overstayed its welcome as the film's plot is linear and obviously predictable. I would recommend that parents heed the movie's viewer rating, as there is a considerable amount of violence. Monkey see, monkey do. Now go watch it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Short Circuit

I did something yesterday that I'd never thought I'd do...I bought a netbook. I know, I know, I did try to make it as masculine as I could. I got it in black, doused it in cologne, gave it a spiked collar, and put skull and cross bones stickers all over the cover. Somehow though, I still don't think it's enough. In the end, I'm still carrying around a mini computer. Handy, but not handyman-ish, if you catch my drift. Similar to dudes at the dog park with a Yorkie or toy poodle. You can have all the muscles and tattoos in the world, but you can't make that shit look cool. Well, maybe Mickey Rourke can, possibly Mr. T., but not the average guy. Thankfully, I'm not entirely average...just half a cup.

Anyway, I mainly bought it because my laptop is a little unwieldy and the battery life sucks. I have to plug it in everywhere I go...making me feel like I'm escorting a patient with a dialysis machine. This smaller version of my laptop has 9 manly, labor-intensive hours of battery life. Essentially, I can write all day. I also got the netbook so that I might be more inclined to write, and so far, my plan is working beautifully. However, my life is never without the one two punch of cosmic irony and comedic entertainment for the Gods. As I sat down at a local internet cafe with my organic fuel and my petite lap top with grandiose plans of creating some literary magic, another patron removed his cell phone from his pocket to make a call. He didn't answer his phone mind you, but proceeded to make a call...to his grandfather. This man appeared to be in his late forty's, which puts his grandfather in...oh, I'd say hard of hearing age. Consequently, he had to yell at his relative during this painstakingly long conversation about travel plans to Salt Lake City, Uruguay, and failed plans of a home restoration project. I know more about his inconsiderate douche than I'd ever want to. I think it's cool to use your phone at a cafe where people are reading, having breakfast, and pondering the meaning of life, as long as  it is brief, or quiet, or both. Otherwise, take a walk Jack.

As I was smiling at the universe for my auspicious serendipity, another gentleman sat at nearby table that didn't seem to agree with today's news. It's not unusual to be privy to the occasional verbal display of government disapproval under one's breath, but apparently, this guy was devoid of volume control and appeared to have Tourett's. So, on one side, I had inconsiderate phone guy speaking loudly about nothing important, and disgruntled, Tourett's guy voicing his displeasure with the world on the other. I half-expected a construction crew to chime in with a jackhammer. And you wonder why I don't update my blog more often.