Tag Archives: Pain

Meditation, Consciousness, Sentience, and Enlightenment

In the beginning, the universe came into existence. With the universe came the properties of time and space, and the content of energy and matter. The universe also came with a set of rules, and these rules dictated the relationship between time, space, energy, and matter. These rules are known as the laws of physics.

star-clusters-74052_960_720For a long time, all things in the universe obeyed the laws of space-time-energy-matter (STEM). Energy formed matter, matter warped time and space, matter followed the warping of time and space to form dense masses which became stars, and the matter in stars released energy according to fixed rules.

And then one day, after millions of years of interaction according to fixed rules, living creatures with consciousness emerged. These living creatures continued to obey the laws of physics in the larger sense, but they also developed an ability to utilize matter and energy, and an ability to move through space time with some freedom.

Along with consciousness came a desire to survive, and to survive consciousness needed to surreal-402830_960_720gather nutrients, expel waste, find a suitable environment in which to flourish, and to reproduce. To facilitate survival, a new set of rules emerged, the rules of attraction to pleasure, and aversion to pain (APAP). Consciousness began to identify pleasure with finding suitable nutrition and reproduction, and identifying pain with hostile environments and dealing with competing and predatory organisms.

For a vast amount of time, consciousness obeyed these APAP rules, until one day, the property of sentience or self-awareness emerged from within consciousness.

In a large sense, sentient beings continued to obey the survival laws of APAP and the physical laws of STEM. But with sentience came the willingness and ability to place the needs of others over the needs of self. With sentience a new rule emerged, the rule of love.

Still constrained by the laws of APAP, at first love limited itself to the raising of offspring, but grew to include larger units of family and community.

Some became obsessed with the rules of APAP, and taken to the extreme were trapped by attraction to pleasure in the form of addictions, and by aversion to pain in the form of phobias.

universe-1044107_960_720At some point, enlightened beings began to emerge from among the sentient beings. One enlightened being known as Buddha questioned the law of attraction, and rejected being controlled by desires. In the process he found a love that transcended the constraints of family and community and included the entire universe. He shared his newfound freedom to love without boundaries with his followers.

Another enlightened being known as Christ questioned the law of aversion, and rejected being controlled by the fear of suffering and death. In the process he found a love that transcended the constraints of family and community and included the entire universe. He shared his newfound freedom to love without boundaries with his followers.

Followers of these enlightened beings wanted to experience this newfound freedom to love solar-eclipse-151211_960_720without boundaries, and so began to investigate the longstanding rules of STEM and APAP. They developed rules and techniques for finding this new freedom, but in many cases found the rules (religions) they developed were not liberating but even more constraining.

Some followers developed contemplative techniques for letting go of APAP rules. After long hours of disciplined prayer and meditation, some actually managed to let go of the rules that had constrained sentient beings for so long. But in the absence of those rules, some found a profound sense of loss. They discovered that living without the pursuit of pleasure and the fear of pain left life empty and meaningless.

For those few who continued and persevered, beyond the dark and vast plain of emptiness, 1338259321they discovered the meaning that the enlightened beings who went on before had promised. Love without boundaries, unconditional love, love for all of the universe, love for all living consciousness, love for all sentient beings. Love beyond the constraints of family and tribe and nation. Unconditional Love for all that is, was, and will be. Love that transcends the rules of STEM and APAP.

The progression of creation has been, from the beginning, a progression of increasing complexity and freedom, from matter and energy, to conscious life, to sentient self awareness, to enlightenment. Rules were established and transcended. First the rules of physics were established and transcended by the rules of attraction and aversion. Then the rules of attraction and aversion were transcended by the freedom of unconditional love.

Contemplative practices such as centering prayer and meditation are a tool, a method for increasing freedom and joy. Whether trapped by obsession with desires in the form of addiction, or trapped by obsession with fear in the form of phobias, contemplative practices can help. For those who choose to continue contemplative practices to the release of all attractions and aversions, profound freedom and joy in the form of unconditional love is possible.

We are now opening registration for our next set of introductory meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.  Our next set of classes will be held Saturday February 27th.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

mtn_sunrisePeople who attend our classes learn skills for dealing with stress and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.  More advanced classes explore increasing Spirituality through Divine Communion practice, and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

Our Saturday morning class from 10:30-11:30 teaches basic meditation skills including breath centered mind stabilization and mindfulness.  Our afternoon class from 1:00-2:00 will discuss the use of meditation in addiction recovery.  Our classes generally include about 20-30 minutes of instruction and discussion, and 20-30 minutes of meditation skill practice.

Registration is open from 10:00 to 10:30 AM, or visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 25.00 for a class or 40.00 for signing up for two classes or bringing a friend.

See you there!

 

 

Open View Meditation Exploration

In our last blog we explored the benefits of Open View meditation. Since then, our first Atlanta area Christian Tantric Meditation classes were offered in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. In those classes, we shared the practices of mindful eating, breath centered mind stabilization, open view meditation, and we even explored full body scan and pain remediation techniques. Our next class, which will cover the same materials, is offered on Saturday July 18th. Registration is open now, visit our website for more information and to register on line.

FireworksOne of the discoveries made during the last class was the similarity between open view and mindful breathing. In mindful breathing, we practice letting go of random thoughts and return our attention to our breathing.  In Open View, we notice individual features of a landscape, birds and animals as well as vertical trees and structures. If practicing open view in the confines of a room, the details we notice may be ceiling panels or furniture, or colors and textures of materials in the room. As we notice these individual features, we consciously let them go and return our attention to the larger picture, the open view.

Readers may recall the benefits of opening our view to broader perspectives. Brain waves cropped-20141025_163721_1.jpgsynchronize, heart beat and breathing slows, and digestive functions slow down as well. Open view also broadens our perspective as we experience life. “Big picture” thinking helps to put the distractions and details of life in perspective, helping us to realize that as important as the “pop up” details of family issues, work, politics, and possessions may seem at the moment, in the larger view these details fade into the background.

We will continue to offer classes 1A and 1B – Mind Stabilization and Open Consciousness – until enough interest is generated to open classes 2A and 2B – “Liberating the Mind and Heart” and “Liberating the Core and the Whole Self.” All of these practices are described in the book “Christian Tantric Meditation Guide”, available at Amazon.com in Kindle and Paperback forms.

Until our next blog – keep meditating, and may an abundance of hope, love, and faith fill our minds, hearts, and cores until our lives reflect the Grace that is shared freely through the Spirit 24 hours a day every day for all of eternity. Blessings!

 

Free Book Promotion

20150530_081901To celebrate the opening of Sunrise Meditation and Counseling in Sautee Georgia, the electronic Kindle version of Christian Tantric Meditation Guide is being offered for free for a limited time through Amazon.com.  Kindle ebooks can be easily read on PC’s, Macs, and Android devices using free Kindle Aps which are available through Amazon.com  The promotion will be running from May 31st 2015 through June 4th 2015.

Our first meditation workshops are being offered on June 13th 2015.  Based on the book Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, these workshops will introduce key concepts and introductory practices required for engaging in Christian Tantric Meditation.  The skills of Mind Stabilization and Stress Reduction Meditation will be shared in the morning workshop, and the skills of Opening Consciousness and Self Awareness Meditation will be shared in the afternoon workshop.

Christian Tantric Meditation is unique in that several practice disciplines are utilized in a series.  Each practice builds on the skills introduced in the previous practice.  After the introductory practices are learned, more advanced practices are introduced, including Self Emptying, Divine Communion, and advanced Compassion training.

While many meditation techniques are primarily focused on the mind, CTM exercises the mind, heart, and core areas of consciousness.  This holistic approach to meditation increases mind body self awareness and can be used to address issues such as anxiety, physical pain, and physical cravings.  CTM practice can also increase a person’s capacity for love, self esteem, Spirituality, and Compassion, and reduce blocks to success and intimacy.

Registration for classes is easy, either sign up on our website or call 678-358-8775 for more information.

 

Letting Go of Anxieties with Meditation

It was a day like any other day, dreary and oppressive with cold rain, and yet pregnant with possibility. Gary had been practicing Christian Tantric Meditation fairly regularly for almost a year, so he was well versed in the process, but lately he had been practicing less and less frequently.

cropped-20141025_163721_1.jpgHe knew the benefits, and he felt the consequences of not practicing creeping back into his life. Work was crazy, his wife and kids demanding, and he was drinking more than usual, which only meant 1 or 2 extra drinks on the weekend, but still, he could feel it. He was slipping away again, losing himself to the cares and demands of the world. He was also letting his temper go a little too far lately, feeling sorry for himself and blaming others for his growing sense of loneliness and lack of control.

“Lack of control” he thought to himself, smiling grimly. He remembered. He remembered the freedom and joy he felt when he truly surrendered his desires and attachments. Pushing himself, he remembered the love he felt when he surrendered his resentments and invited Christ into his heart. He remembered the feeling of hope and strength he felt when he surrendered his burdens and fears.

Motivated now, he placed his phone in “airplane mode” and retrieved the neglected cushions from closet. He had practiced in a chair for several months, but eventually purchased a meditation cushion set.  He sat on the cushions cross legged at first, noting his sense of imbalance with his knees in the air. Carefully, he folded his left foot against his right thigh, and then pulled his right heel into his right thigh. Once his right knee was somewhat locked in place, he shifted his right leg downward while lifting his right foot and resting it against his left calf.

His knees were now naturally extended to the floor, creating a satisfying 3 point weight distribution with his seat elevated on the cushions. He noted that his right foot was not crossing his left at the ankle, as that would result in a numb foot within five minutes.

He closed his eyes and briefly and noted the thoughts running through his head, the things he needed to be doing, the demands of life, and he turned his attention to his breathing. He recognized the feeling of cool air entering his nostrils, his mouth, and into his lungs. He recognized the feeling of his chest rising and falling. He consciously began breathing with his belly, allowing it to expand and relax naturally as he inhaled and exhaled.

His racing thoughts began to diminish quickly, as his breathing deepened. He consciously straightened his back, and adjusted himself a little to increase his sense of balance. Because of his experience in the practice, his mind and body automatically responded to his breathing.

He imagined the space that his mind occupied, and consciously let go of his desires. His outward desires appeared first in his mind, desires for control. With every breath they drifted away. Then his deeper desires appeared, his desires for success and happiness. He let them go as well, leaving in their place a clear blue sky in his mind.

His attention turned to his heart. He imagined his breath entering his body, and sweeping through his heart. He imagined letting go of his resentments, directed towards people he encountered recently, and long term resentments he held against family members. As an angry grandfather figure came into his mind, he resisted the temptation to work on this issue. He had practiced letting go of this image many times before, and he would have more opportunities later. Somehow he knew he needed to dwell elsewhere this time. Breathing, he allowed the image to drift away.

His attention moved to his core. There. He felt it. A persistent knot. A low ache that just sat there, haunting him day and night. He had felt it before, but never really recognized it. Until now.

Curious, he decided to imagine the space that the ache occupied. He imagined its shape, its position. It was definitely located in his stomach area, on the left side of his body. He breathed slowly and deeply, imagining every breath soothing and healing the inflamed aching area that his consciousness  occupied.

Because of his training, his mind drifted to his fears. Definitely present, but vague. Nothing specific to let go of. Still, he breathed, and imagined his generalized fear dissipating with every breath.

He also thought of his many burdens. Again, nothing specific, no one huge concern. Just a large volume of little issues. Insurance, bills, children’s schooling, etc etc. Breathing, he let them go, little by little with every breath.

He felt better, but he noted that the ache was still present.

His curiosity aroused even further, he decided to let go of his training, and forget even the recognition of fears and burdens within his core. He let it all go, all structure, all training, all thoughts, all feelings. He breathed deeply and allowed himself to just dwell there, in his core area of consciousness.

Eventually, a new sense began to grow within him, replacing the dull ache and general anxiety. He began to feel hopeful. He began to recognize the opportunities in his life, and the strengths that he had built over time, his experience and accomplishments.

He allowed his consciousness to open up and occupy his entire body. The resentment towards the demands placed upon him were replaced by feelings of love in his heart. His wife, his children. His dog. The rain, the firm earth, green lawns and flowers. God. Love. All there in his heart.

The desires to control all of those demanding voices and images in his mind were replaced by a clear blue sky. He recognized that it wasn’t in his power to make others happy. They need to find happiness on their own. He could be present, he could love, he could support, but he couldn’t bring happiness. He recognized that his attempts to bring happiness to others actually did more harm than good, as they turned to him rather than to their own resources, their own faith, their own in-dwelling sense of God.

Dwelling in the space his entire body occupied, he imagined every breath filling him completely, cleansing and healing. He rested there. He allowed his awareness to expand to include the room, the house, the yard, the neighborhood, and all the living creatures that were a part of his surroundings.

Feeling relieved, he recognized that the knot in his stomach had dissipated. He returned his attention back to his breathing, and he slowly emerged. He opened his eyes and smiled.

🙂

Publication and Meditation Groups Announcement

Welcome to all the friends, colleagues, and clients who are included in this announcement.

This week’s blog makes 2 announcements:  The release of our first publication: Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, and the expansion of our free meditation workshops.

With regard to the publication, Christian Tantric Meditation utilizes the Tantric meditation practices of self emptying, communing with Divinity, and sharing Compassion from a Christian perspective. The Christian perspective recognizes the image of God in humanity,  humanity’s connection with God through Jesus the Christ, and our calling to have compassion toward ourselves and Others.

The book is available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle form, as well as selected local bookstores.  For more information and a links for purchase, visit our publications page.

With regard to the new workshops, the following expanded FREE  Introductory Workshops are being offered:

  • Wellness Meditation for Professionals and Students

    Working Professionals and Students will find this introduction to meditation useful for reducing stress and clearing away barriers that inhibit personal and professional growth.

  • Wellness Meditation for People with Ongoing Medical Issues

    People dealing with ongoing Medical issues will find this introduction to meditation useful for beginning to deal with chronic pain and stress associated with ongoing medical conditions.  Caregivers will find this workshop useful as well.

  • Wellness Meditation for People with Habits and Addictions

    Is my issue just a bad habit, or an addiction?  Sometimes its hard to tell.  When family members are concerned and life and livelihood are impacted, its time to consider getting help.  This introductory meditation class can help start the process of building self awareness and self control, which are the beginnings of recovery.

  • Wellness Meditation for Increasing Spirituality
    Dedicated solely to Christian Tantric Meditation, this introductory workshop can begin the process of enhancing one’s sense of purpose and meaning in life, as well as growing one’s faith and Compassion for others.  The only religious or denominational requirements for this class are an openness to the possibility of communing with unconditionally loving Divinity, and the desire to be a more compassionate person.   The group is open to walk-ins, but seating is limited so calling ahead to reserve a space is recommended.

    For more information regarding these and other programs, visit our Workshops page.

    As a reminder, Ecumenical Christian Wellness Ministries is administered by Dave Miller, LAPC, NCC, MACC, MTh, and Lay Pastor.  Dave offers services under the direction of Renewal Wellness at New Hope Counseling, which is located at 330 Dahlonega St Cumming, Ga 30040, and under the supervision of Kim Waters-Rose LPC.