Q&A Meditation

The Light of Consciousness

Q: Is real meditation a form of spirituality?

A: It is a spiritual practice, but you don’t need to believe in anything to benefit from meditation (I have taught meditation since 1988). Atheists can meditate and benefit. There are secular forms of meditation like “the Relaxation Response”, instead of a mantra you choose a word to repeat. Meditation can strengthen the immune system, reduce anxiety, improve focus, patience, being present. You can use visualization with it to mentally rehearse situations you anticipate feeling anxious about, and use it to improve your health. It is also claimed that regular meditation can slow aging. My doctor says I look 20 years younger than my age. Recently I read that the regular practice of meditation can increase your IQ up to 26 points. This research has yet to be replicated .

Q: What chakra should I meditate the most/best if I am suffering from extreme maladaptive daydreaming?

A: It is best to meditate for chakra balancing rather than on a particular chakra. It sounds like you need grounding. When it comes to the root chakra imagine roots growing into the earth and grounding you. Also make sure in meditation you are not letting your mind daydream, rather focus on observing your thoughts and quiet them so that you can have times you have no thoughts. The daydreams are your ego trying to hang onto control and not allow access to your Higher Self. Sorry but it is the hard work in meditation that will change this, continuing to tell the ego to be quiet and listening to silence and the thought between thoughts. You might also spend time with nature, gardening is an excellent grounding activity.

Q: What happens if the third eye chakra is open? Does meditation happen without any efforts in the daytime?

A: You begin to have experiences. It is always an effort to quiet the mind, so it is called a “meditation practice” because you never get to where it is effortless, you just keep on practicing.

Q: What is meditation really is? Is it focusing in your 7 chakra point or trying to make your mind fully blank? What should I focus on while meditating and how is it done?

A: There are basically 2 forms of meditation. One is where you focus your mind on something, a mantra, a candle, a symbol or your breathing. This is a little easier than the second type which is stopping all thought and having your mind blank, which when you can achieve it is very peaceful. I like to start meditating by saying some prayers and use slow deep abdominal breathing which triggers relaxation in the body, in through the nose deep into the belly and then out through the mouth. You can balance the chakras by focusing your attention on the chakra points along the spine while doing the breathing, not on the chakras themselves and not visualizing the chakras but just focusing your attention on the spots along the spine that connect to the chakras. You can do one breath for each chakra or as many as you want. Once done with the deep abdominal breathing is when you focus on something or stop all thought. If thoughts come up you can imagine brushing them away and letting them float away or you can label them and let them go. Labels like, future, past, wants, etc. and let them go. So to your question all the above.

Q: How do I have a spiritual awakening and rebirth?

A: Spiritual Practices, definitely meditation, yoga, prayer, etc. are the most reliable method to awakening. They are spiritual practices for a reason and they are all paths to awakening.

In order to be reborn you don’t have to do anything except between lives just say yes I want to go back.

Q: Why did a life event prompt you to start meditation?

A: After some psychotherapy removed enough blocks I started having experiences. I had tried meditation many times but didn’t know if I was doing it right. But soon after the experiences began I met my teacher who encouraged me to meditate and gave me some additional instruction. Theoretically you can learn from a book and there are plenty of recorded meditations for free online.

Q: How do you unsettle the feeling of falling backwards in meditation?

A: Everyone has different sensations, so I can only guess about the reasons, but you may be having this feeling either because you are detaching from your body or the Kundalini is trying to help you straighten out your spine, pulling your head back, something I have experienced at times. People often feel a rocking sensation during meditation that is normal. Be sure to keep your spine straight from your tailbone to the crown of your head. You can change your position if it bothers you too much. You could meditate lying on your back for instance.

Q: What is the best meditation on reaching enlightenment fast?

A: The one that works for you. Try different techniques and change it up once in a while. If you practice meditation daily or twice daily that will be the fastest way to reach enlightenment.

Q: How is being in present is equivalent to meditation? For eg, While playing a sport we like, we are fully present in the moment but there is no awareness of the Self there. In meditation, it’s like getting Home to the Self by being in the present.

A: Both involve being focused which is good for your brain and mind. When I began meditating I realized I had already been meditating for years while doing artwork. Time would pass more quickly than I realized because I was in an altered state. Sports, dance, playing an instrument even things like knitting, as long as you get into “the zone” as they call it in sports you are in that present, oblivious to anything outside of your focus is like “being present” I would say self with a small s (ego) is not there, but Self with a big S (Higher Self) is and is fully present.

Q: What are the meditation techniques for opening the third eye?

A: Meditation is really necessary to opening the third eye so keep it up, the best kind of meditation for it is to work on stopping all thought. The theory is that most minds are so busy they don’t pick up on insight and intuition coming in whether from your Higher Self or your spirit guides. Flashes of intuition and visions are so quick but because our minds are so busy they miss it. And when our minds are quiet our energy spreads out during meditation because you are letting go. It is really about training your mind to do as you direct it rather than allowing it be “the monkey mind”, the ego which doesn’t want to let go or be quiet because it fears losing control over you. In meditation there are times I say to ego, “Just shut the hell up” as I am brushing the thoughts away until they finally stop. Whew! Finally peace and quiet. It is also a good idea to practice with little games. My teacher used to send me one of the 7 chakra colors at a certain time of day and them I would call her and let her know what it was, I don’t recall ever being wrong in that game. One I used to do is after talking to someone on the phone that I was going to meet in person I would try to see that person then see how much I got right when I met them. Intuit who is calling when your phone rings. These games are without pressure to be right and provide you with practice. We need to exercise that third eye.

Q: Is there any science behind meditating, or is it more pseudoscience?

A: There is plenty of science behind it. I tried to get hospitals to let me teach meditation in the early 90s and they looked at me like I had two heads. Since then there has been a lot of research. Now most hospitals are teaching some form of meditation, they would not be doing that if there were not research that showed the benefits of meditation. We all know that the effects of stress are unhealthful. Chronic stress creates illness. One thing the research has brought out is that meditation strengthens the immune system in combatting stress. Our immune systems protect us from everything from the common cold to cancer. It can also lower blood pressure. There is also research that shows that meditation has a positive effect on the brain in that it creates more connections between the left and right brain. Some say it slows aging but I have not seen any research on that other than anecdotal. My doctor says I look 20 years younger than my age. I think meditation is the reason. There is also research that shows that the use of visualization with meditation can also help in fighting illness, and has been used in helping the body and conventional treatment fight cancer. You can look up meditation research easy enough on the internet if you want to see the research yourself. Dr. Hebert Benson in his book The Relaxation Response is a good read on what meditation can do including autonomic training and the potential for many uses. Look up the work Dr. Joe Dispenza is doing and some of the wonderful results he has had teaching and using meditation for some miraculous results. You can read my article on my website about Meditation for Health. I wrote it back when I was trying to get hospitals to let me teach meditation so it may be outdated now since so much research has been done since then. https://www.nancypoitou.com/me...

Q: What are the mystic powers of meditation?

A: Hard to describe the ineffable. The more you are able to reach a deep state of meditation and deep state of peace and the mind is quiet the more likely mystical experiences and abilities will result as long as you have personal issues resolved. Unresolved issues and the emotions connected to those issues will often surface during meditation. If so it is showing you what you need to work on. Mystical “powers” which are really just latent abilities in all of us are a deep peace and knowing of your spiritual nature as a reality which is more than a belief. You may just know things without knowing how you know them and experience synchronicities in your life. Life may just become smoother, and you may draw people into your life that are spiritual and positive. All this depends on integrating and keeping the state of mind of the mystic.

Q: What is the best meditation for opening your third eye, having a clarity in your mind, and reaching your past lives records? (don’t want opinions, want to hear steps on how to do it and where to search for answers.)

A: The best meditation is the one that works for you. If you meditate daily or twice a day, balancing your chakras and are able to reach a deep peace you are on the right track. The third eye can be open without having past live recall or psychic abilities or experiences, or those experiences can just naturally begin. If you are meditating regularly and able to achieve complete peace and quiet in your mind then you will be in a receptive mode and have clarity. Ask yourself questions about your past, where phobias, talents and abilities may have come from. What do you need to know about your past lives? What questions will help you move forward on the path? Look at the issues and relationships in your life and ask yourself if they are rooted in a past life. You may receive the answers at any time, in our out of meditation they are likely to come to you in flashbacks. As you fall asleep think about what you need to know and ask for a “dream” (astral travel) to give you answers. If you want the psychic abilities you need to play with them. Ask someone to send you one of the seven chakra colors at a predetermined time, go into an altered state and receive the color checking with the sender to see if you are correct. Play little games with your intuition, if you have talked to someone on the phone and are going to meet them try to see what they look like before you meet them in person. We have to exercise these abilities to develop them, so have fun with them.

Q: Are chakras and meditation part of Buddhism?

A: The esoteric part of different cultures all include chakras and meditation, But the chakras are referred to with different names given to them by that particular religion/culture. Many religions/cultures don’t put a lot of emphasis on them until you get into the esoteric aspect of that religion. The oft used Sanskrit names come from Hinduism which very much emphasizes yoga, meditation, Kundalini and the Chakras. They are there in Buddhism, references to them are hard to find because Buddhism doesn’t pay a lot of attention to them unless you are a monk. Some Buddhist Monks in the Himalayas do a meditation in the freezing cold with wet sheets around their shoulders and nothing else. They do a type of meditation called Tu-mo in which they raise the Kundalini and the heat they produce will dry the sheets as well as keep the monks warm and if done outside in the snow they will melt the snow where they are sitting as well.

Q: Do you need to meditate to have a spiritual awakening? I have ADHD & I'm unable to meditate.
You can meditate, 

A: it is just more difficult for you. But by meditating it may in fact help your ADHD because part of meditation is learning to focus what you direct your mind to focus on and not allowing it to run amok. In meditation you will often hear the term the “monkey mind” which 99.9% of meditators have to deal with to a degree. It is called “the practice of meditation” because no one ever really masters it, but you do get better at it the more you practice. And it is the practice that does good things for body, mind and soul. Your brain is just wired a differently. The good news is what’s called “neuroplasticity” in other words we can change the brain and meditation is one way to do it. You may need to use visualization led meditations. That gives your mind a changing series of images to focus on before you take on more difficult types of meditation. As someone who has meditated for 36 years I still have times it seems impossible to quiet my mind. But if my mind is more settled at the end of meditation and I feel more centered at the end than when I started then it is accomplishing something.

As for awakening, some people awaken without any spiritual practice, so it is possible and may depend on your experiences in previous lives. Look into other spiritual practices, yoga for example has you focus on your body and you are not sitting still as in meditation.

From Buffer.com, “One of the things meditation has been linked to is improving rapid memory recall. Catherine Kerr, a researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center found that people who practiced mindful meditation were able to adjust the brain wave that screens out distractions and increase their productivity more quickly that those that did not meditate.” She said that this ability to ignore distractions could explain “their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.”

Q: In his book, “Principles,” billionaire investor Ray Dalio says that he practices transcendental meditation (typically practiced for 20 min, 2X/day, closing eyes and repeating a mantra in silence) to reduce stress and anxiety. Would you/ did you try?

A: As a meditation teacher I have experimented with many forms of meditation. I did use a mantra repeating it in silence just as TM does. TM makes a lot of claims but I don’t think it is any better than other techniques. As I have said in other answers to questions about what the best technique is, the best meditation technique is the one that works for you. Throughout the years I have tried different techniques for a period of time to see how it might be different. TM is easily taught/learned and very simple. I don’t doubt that it helped reduce his stress and anxiety, any technique will. Meditation is the absolute best treatment for anxiety, panic attacks and to neutralize the negative effects of stress. I think meditation also can help people be more successful because it puts you in harmony with the universe. There are really many benefits to any type of meditation. I have liked to change it up now and then, perhaps when what I have been doing isn’t working as well as it did, not because it was a bad technique but perhaps I needed something different at that point in time and I just like a new challenge to try something new.

Q: In meditation, I start suffocating. I mean, really suffocating, stopping breath. What happens?

A: I don’t know what technique you are using so I’m not sure how to answer. However in deep states of meditation I have stopped breathing temporarily. It freaked me out at first but I just accepted it and it does still happen when I am in deep, but I always start breathing again so I’m not worried about it. You might try consciously breathing, slow breath in through the nose deep into the belly area, soften your belly muscles filling the area like a balloon and then exhaling out through the mouth at the same time tightening the belly and pushing the air out through the mouth. You get 10x the oxygen into your brain and bloodstream by breathing this way. We naturally breathe like this when we are asleep or relaxed so by consciously breathing this way it triggers relaxation. We sort of trick the body into relaxing. I think you feel like you are suffocating because you kind of panic, like I used to but you are totally in control of your ability to breathe. If you stop breathing just accept it as part of meditation and breathe in again, you are in control.

Q: How do I overcome my fear of meditation and journaling? I'm literally scared and I cant explain why…

A: The ego fears being exposed and not being in control. Meditation is the spiritual process whereby the ego loses control and influence over you. Meditation is not about killing off the ego, we still need it but want it to be the servant and not the master of our minds. Journaling is a spiritual process too where you gain self knowledge and again the ego may fear now that you are aware of it you may not allow it to continuously chatter and think up all sorts of fears that will keep you from making positive changes. It is also a spiritual process if used right called “self inquiry”. The ego freaks out when we begin to be more aware of our true identity. Don’t let it derail you from spiritual progress.

Q: Does meditation increase gamma waves?

A: All meditators showed higher parieto-occipital 60–110 Hz gamma amplitude than control subjects as a trait effect observed during meditation and when considering meditation and IMW periods together. Moreover, this gamma power was positively correlated with participants meditation experience. Jan 24, 2017

Increased Gamma Brainwave Amplitude Compared to Control ...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov › articles › PMC5261734

Q: Does meditation slow brain waves?

A: From a Google search: Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency and calm the mind. Slower wavelengths allows for more time between thoughts which then offers us more opportunities for to skillfully choose the thoughts we invest in. 

There has been a lot of research on meditation in the last 30 years and plenty of it on the internet. One study suggests that we can gain 23 I.Q. points through regular meditation. I don’t know if this research has been replicated yet but I think it is true. I believe I gained intelligent either from the awakening or meditation or both. If meditation were a drug doctors would be prescribing it.

Q: Why isn't meditation taught in Western society?

A: In the early 90s I approached hospitals in the area wanting to teach meditation in their community education curriculum. I gave them a short article I had written about the research that had been done on meditation at that time. They looked at me like I had two heads. Since then there has been a lot of research done on meditation and brain waves, the use of visualization in healing, and more. Here in the Western nations we have been so steeped in “science” that it was thought that meditation was a spiritual practice and so science thought it silly and anything religious or spiritual was just a matter of faith and not sciencey enough for them. But besides the advent of quantum physics there has also been the new technology that can measure brain waves and map activity in the brain. So it has become more and more accepted for certain things that they have researched in the last 30 years. Although all religions have a history of meditation in them it is often only taught in the more esoteric religions.

Meditation is too empowering and people might not need religion so some religions find meditation threatening. Some churches even teach that it is dangerous and “Satan can enter and possess you”. Yes I actually had someone tell me that. My reply was “well then you better never fall asleep again because you are even more vulnerable.” And then the USA being more Christian it was hardly known here until Yogananda Parmahansa brought meditation to America in the 20s and there was a cultural revolution in the 60s it has become more known. As the world got smaller due to more rapid communication technology and now the internet it is becoming more well known and research is published on the internet. It is taught now by many hospitals that have an education component. Otherwise you have to search it out. Religions generally are threatened by it, because it is something foreign to them. Science is starting to catch on. Medicine and Psychology are starting to understand the benefits of meditation. If it were a medication doctors would be prescribing it. As a therapist (now retired) I taught it and had a group that met monthly for 14 years. The problem I saw is that rarely to people pick it up as a regular practice. They loved coming to my group but rarely meditated between group meetings. Our culture here emphasizes doing, not being and so meditation looks like you are doing nothing and so our culture has a hard time with it being valuable if they don’t have instantaneous results. But we Americans probably need it most of all to counteract stress. I hope it will be taught more widely as time goes on, the new research is finding huge benefits including (I recently read this) that it can boost your I.Q. by 23 points if practiced regularly. I think it did mine.

Q: Is meditation, observing thoughts or not thinking? What is it exactly?

A: There are basically two forms of meditation. 1. to focus on something, a mantra, a symbol, a visualization, etc. 2. to stop thinking completely which is the more difficult one of the two. Observing thoughts can be done with either. I may be stopping thoughts, but when a thought comes up I will label it, plans, past, future, worry, etc. and let it go so in essence I’m doing both. Even when we focus on something, odd thoughts will interrupt, again you can label them and let them go. By observing our thoughts and labeling them you can also gain self knowledge and get to know what your ego is doing to stay in charge. The ego likes to distract and chatter, some call it “the monkey mind”. It loses its power over us when we can recognize it and observe it. The real “I” the Self, or Higher Self is who I want to run the show, not default to allowing my ego to prevent me from having some real peace internally.

Q: Is it possible to meditate and be spiritual without opening your third eye? I do not want to open it but I want to engage in meditation and manifestation.

A: Most people associate the third eye with psychic abilities but there is more to it than that. Things like insight, inspiration, understanding yourself as a soul, understanding and integrating experiences and mediates illness in several organs. Your third eye can be open but you can choose not to develop psychic abilities if that is what you wish to avoid or are afraid of. Meditation is and always has been a spiritual practice meant to prepare for and induce awakening which involves all the chakras and it is important that they be balanced for optimum health. So if you don’t want one to open then it is best not to open any of them. In reality they are already open somewhat, it is more of an activation. And sometimes the energy surge of the Kundalini will blow them all wide open and that’s often when I get a call.

Pursuing meditation doesn’t always result in an awakening, but if you have awakened in one or more past lives you are a prime candidate for awakening again. I think you probably decided between lives if awakening would be a part of your current lifetime. Some people don’t do any spiritual practice but still have an awakening. So meditation knowing what I have said above is your choice. Whether you choose to meditate or not you can be a spiritual person. Gratitude, appreciation, seeing the Creator in all living organisms, being love. being of service, treating all living organisms with respect, inclusivity, justice, understanding, compassion, are the ways we can be spiritual.

A: Is it possible to be in a meditative state in every self-aware situation in life? Would it be beneficial?

Q: That’s a very good question. Since we’re human I don’t know if we could be self aware 100% of the time. I think it is a good goal to be self aware 100% of the time, not reacting out of ego but acknowledging our emotions to ourselves while responding to triggering situations. Being thoughtful and compassionate 100% of the time.

To be in a meditative state would mean at least being in an Alpha state. Beta is our normal awake state. Beta may be better in some situations. For example there are times when anger is appropriate, that would bring us into Beta, setting boundaries is a time that if I have voiced a boundary before and they don’t seem to take it seriously or respect my boundary anger may be what causes the other person to take me seriously. I used to say to my therapy clients, “it seems like some people don’t hear you until you get angry and others don’t hear you when you express anger.

I think the regular practice of meditation moves up toward that goal of being self aware all the time.

Q: Does meditation help? Is there any level of doing meditation?

A: Does it help what? Yes any level of meditation even 5 minutes is better than nothing. There are a lot of things it will help, your health, both mental and physical, great treatment for anxiety, panic disorder and depression. They’ve done a lot of research on meditation in the last 30 years and you can find most of it on the internet with a google search. The only thing it will hurt is if you have a dissociative disorder or psychosis, then stay away from it.

Q: What is your first impression of your own meditation and what you feel during the meditation and its effect to you?

A: I usually start my meditation with some prayers. At first there is a lot of mental chatter and as I acknowledge the thought and let it go it becomes less and less. My ego still wants to hang on, I occasionally I tell it to shut the hell up which usually doesn’t help but I am acknowledging my frustration. Eventually it settles down and I achieve some peace, sometimes a lot of peace. Years ago I would meditate for hours during which I would describe the feeling as “resting in the mind of God” which I think is just my way of describing “the peace which passeth understanding” that is often said about meditation. I would be so mellow and expansive especially after the meditation group met that people around me could feel it.

I am not meditating for hours now but since I retired at the end of 2020 I am still adjusting and creating some semblance of structure in my life of which I want to have more regular and increase time in meditation. At least I’m remembering to brush my teeth now, lol. A lot of the mental chatter has to do with what am I doing today? type chatter. It seems like anything unsettled in the mind comes up in chatter. I observe the workings of my mind this way. Because I spend a lot of time involved in solitary activities, especially writing I think it is a focus similar to meditation and a creative state as drawing and art were in childhood and early adulthood.

I usually feel more peaceful and centered when I finish. As I used to tell students who would wonder if they were “doing it right” as we all do when we are starting to meditate, if you feel better after meditation than before you are doing it right. You just need to build on that, as do I at this point in my life.

If you are disappointed in hearing that a meditation teacher still struggles with quieting her mind, as I said to my students that’s why it’s called the practice of meditation, you are always practicing.

Q: How do you complete manifesting your life in the power of meditation?

A: I don’t focus on manifesting as much as being in harmony with life. Any time I have something important coming up in my life, surgery, licensing exam, important meetings, job interviews etc. I increase my meditation time. Not focusing so much on the issue coming up as just being chill with whatever happens. My focus is more on whatever is for “the highest good” leaving it up to my Higher Self to decide what that is. H.S. is much smarter and knows more than Nancy. Yet still things usually turn out well when I do meditate more anticipating a big event. One thing specific I do is visualize myself feeling calm and confident during the event. I have meditated in the CAT scan machine which usually freaks people out, the person running the machine has said, “don’t fall asleep” because I am so relaxed it looks like I am falling asleep. I meditate while they are cleaning my teeth and stay mindful of any tense muscles and intentionally relax them. So may be manifesting things because I am in harmony with the universe and what ever is for my highest good. If I don’t get a job offer after an interview it wasn’t for my highest good.

Q: What exactly do we picture when doing Dr. Joe Dispenza's guided meditations and he tells you to be aware of the spaces on your body parts or energy centers? Do you just picture that specific part or what?

A: Although I value his knowledge and work I have not done his meditations. But as I teach it you don’t visualize chakras or as he calls them energy centers, but focus your attention and energy on the spot in the body where the chakra connects to the spine or to the body. Just as I can focus on a little finger or toe and observe how it feels, I can focus on spots in the body without visualizing them. With that awareness which I sometimes when I get my teeth cleaned I meditate and cultivate an awareness of tightening muscles and as I become aware of them I mindfully relax that area of my body. Hope that helps.

Q: Do you see images when you meditate?

A: Sometimes. I have had some past life memories come back to me during meditation. But primarily I am not trying to have images, I am trying to empty my mind and feel the peace that feels to me like I am resting in the mind of God.

Q: Should we not do energy meditations or listen to meditation music that supposedly increases vibrations of love or healing? What exactly is energy meditation?

A: I have never heard of “energy meditation” as a type of meditation however there is a lot we can do with energy in meditation, like balancing chakra energies in meditation using certain techniques. We can use visualization to fight disease, stop bleeding, take away headaches and cramps using energy techniques and using the power of the mind to help ourselves and others in meditation. What naturally happens when we meditate is our energy field expands, this also happens when we are relaxed and alone. Music can change energy. Look at Masaru Emoto's water crystal experiments using music and freezing water to different music and words. Since our bodies are mostly water this has important and powerful implications. Music of certain types can stimulate healing. Classical music can bring in good energy and be helpful in clearing negative energy. We can also choose to focus on feelings of love and healing within ourselves and send it out to others. Whenever I (many others do this also) hear a siren I send blessing to the person the first responders are heading to help.

Q: How can I meditate without falling asleep? I have been meditating for a year now but I don’t think it’s that effective as I constantly fall asleep after a few minutes, my head completely drops and I wake myself up suddenly, no matter how hard I try?

A: I wonder if you are getting enough sleep. I meditate either sitting up or on my back. I am unlikely to fall asleep sitting up and lying on my back means if I fall asleep I’ll snore and wake myself up because I don’t normally sleep on my back. I also wonder if you are really sleeping. I had a meditation group that met monthly for 14 years. Some people in the group would think they fell asleep but if someone falls asleep which only happened once in 14 years, I could hear a change in their breathing. They were not asleep they just went very deep and didn’t have recall of it. Another thought is that it is your ego afraid of losing control that’s causing you to fall asleep. Our egos will do anything to keep us from being able to quiet it and stop identifying with it. Most of us struggle with the monkey mind chatter as the ego’s usual antics. When we do put the ego aside we begin to foster a relationship with our Higher Selves. If when your head drops you wake up that’s good, you can keep going and keep focusing on meditation each time you wake up until you stop falling asleep. It’s the same process except we find thoughts going on, then you realize it, notice it and I usually label it, “plans”, “future”, “past”, etc. then let the thought go. Your ego may have just substituted sleep for mental chatter so you do the same thing as the rest of us keep practicing meditation.

Q: What exactly is meditation? What exactly are they thinking or doing?

A: Meditation is a spiritual practiced used by all religions at some point in their history if they are not currently using it. The practice involves either a focusing techniques like a mantra or stopping all thought. Like all spiritual practices it is meant to awaken us to the spiritual nature of life. We are so busy in thought especially at this time in history with multiple distractions that we miss the voice of the soul or the Higher Self and are ruled by the ego which wants, wants, wants and never shuts up for most of us. Some people say prayer is talking to God whereas meditation is listening to God. It is also great for developing intuition because visions and insights are very quick and if your mind is busy you miss these flashes of intuition. It is also very beneficial for our mental and physical health. Lots of research has been done in the last 30 years and is on the internet. So we are either using a focusing technique or a mind clearing technique both of which usually use some type of thought observation during which you learn about the ego’s role in our everyday lives. Most people do nothing to prevent the ego from running the show and one of the goals of meditation is to take control away from the ego and your thoughts and allow space for the soul or Higher Self to come through.

Q: Can mindfulness help with burnout?

A: Yes. It can help us stop ruminating on what is bothering us during burnout. It can help us focus our attention on the present moment and live in the present. Often with burnout people will begin stressing on Sunday if they go back to work on Monday and spoil their time off. In focusing on what is happening on Sunday moment to moment, not only will they enjoy time off more but also feel more refreshed to return to work Monday. It can help but I would suggest one see a therapist who treats stress and figure out the causes of burnout and what options there are to change on the job circumstances, change jobs, or change careers as well as finding a work life balance which will definitely be helped by mindfulness. Jobs are not the only causes of burnout but jobs are the most common things that we burn out on.

Q: Are there any specialists you need to learn meditation?

A: No you can learn from a book. However I think when you begin meditation I think going to group meditations helps because most people (myself included) if trying to learn on your own ask “am I doing this right?” In a meditation group you are taken into a meditative state by the consciousness of others in the group with more experience and the leader or teacher. You definitely feel the difference. You then know what it feels like to meditate and I think that is the best way to start out. Plus you can ask questions of more experienced meditators or the teacher/leader of the group. You can continue to experience the benefits of group meditation or after you feel you got it, what it is supposed to feel like you can continue on your own.

Q: How can I silence my mind sometimes?

A: Well it’s a challenge. But there are several techniques. I use an observation technique where a thought comes up, I observe it, categorize it and let it go. Like “worry”, “past”, “future”, etc. Eventually the ego figures it’s not fooling me and is unsuccessful at getting me lost in the ego’s chatter. Once in a while I say “Shut the F up!” to the ego. Not that it listens. Another trick is to focus on an unsolvable thought or koan. One I use is, “what is my next thought?” Since we can’t know our next thought until we think it it kind of sends the ego chatter to a grinding halt. But if we just allow our minds to chatter on and take no action the ego will just keep on a-talkin and that is neither meditation, contemplation, mindful nor present. For people beginning meditation it may be more useful to do a visualization to keep the mind busy with a changing set of images. Or use a focusing technique, use a mantra, a symbol, a beautiful nature scene. But as someone who has been meditating for 25 years it is always a challenge, but the peace of a completely quiet mind is worth the effort, Ahhhh . . . They call it the practice of meditation for a reason.

A: Is playing video games a form of meditation?

Q: No. It is a mind busy way to waste time. It is nearly the opposite of meditation. It is a way of living a fantasy and escaping reality. It shows us nothing about ourselves, our souls or our place in the universe. Video games can be addictive and addictions come out of our present or past we wish to avoid. Playing a video game once in a while can be fun but for those I hear play video games all day and night for long stretches it can even lead to confusion and dissociation from reality. I read of one case where the gamer was so disoriented once pried away from the game he didn’t know if he was still in the game or not.

Meditation is a spiritual practice that involves emptying the mind during meditation, becoming fully present in our lives, learning and growth and love. I’d say playing video games is just the opposite.

Q: Is there a way to communicate directly with the soul/spirit occupying our bodies?

A: Meditation. It is said that prayer is speaking to God and meditation is listening to God or your Higher Self. You phrase the question as though the “soul/spirit” is something other. Your soul is who in reality you are. Your soul is eternal. This life is like a play we are in, with roles to play and a plot that is temporary.

Your Higher Self, soul may not always communicate in words, but it is and can at our invitation always be influencing us egos which are associated with the body we have this time around. The more we meditate in mental silence the better we can recognize the difference between the ego and the soul and discern the difference. The ego will chatter and go through all sorts of tricks to keep from losing power over us. The ego wants, wants, wants. When we quiet it we can create space for the soul to be in the driver’s seat and the ego in the back seat or personally I’d like it left in the trunk, the little nuisance. No but actually we don’t want to kill the ego just take its power over us away.

We are not a body with a soul, but a soul that has a body within it. Our energy field which is our soul and ego extends beyond the body so it actually the body is in us.

Q: Can you meditate while hiking?

A: Yes there is what is called “walking meditation” that could be applied. Mindfulness out on a hike in nature as long as you aren’t listening to music and are observing nature with little ego chatter it can be considered meditation.

Some people who went hiking and camping for days to a week without any technology around had difficulty adjusting at first. However by the end of the trip and coming back to civilization was somewhat of a culture shock since they had gotten used to the peace and quiet of nature. They became hyper aware of noise and busyness of everyday life that they were previously accustomed to before the trip. It took them time to readjust to the city life once again.

We can certainly partially have that in a hike of a few hours.

Q: How do you connect to your alternate self or universe?

A: Through meditation. However having had an out of body experience into space where I experienced what’s called “Mystical Union” it was far more intense than what I feel during meditation. Also have experienced “Cosmic Consciousness” where I was in the oneness of everything it is more than connecting to, it is becoming one. I believe that meditation and Kundalini awakening made those experiences possible.

Do I feel it every day? Or on a consistent basis? No, but it would be difficult to be grounded enough to take care of myself in this mundane world if I did. Those experiences taught me a lot and are a part of me forever.

Q: When is the best time of day to pray/meditate?

A:  Whatever fits your schedule really, see what time of day you seem to have the best meditations. The time of day doesn’t really matter, the ability to have good quality meditation and a regular time that you can meditate is the best time. Personally early morning and evenings don’t work for me, I’m too sleepy or tired. I like late mornings or early afternoons and my meditations work better.

Q: Are calm people practice mindfulness meditation?

A: I guess you would have to ask the calm people you meet. But mindfulness is very calming. If you happen upon someone who you get an especially calm vibe from you might ask them about it.

Mindfulness is excellent for your mental and emotional health. The opposite of multitasking which has been found to not work. It was just someone’s idea of how to get more work out of people even if it stresses them out more. Mindfulness is just the opposite. We do things better and more accurately if we focus on one thing at a time.

Q: What is it like for you to “be here now”? What must you do to accomplish this?

A: Simply put you must keep reminding yourself to be here now. It is very similar to meditation that way we need to observe and push thoughts out in order to be here now. When ever I catch myself ruminating about something, which means I am not mentally here now, I label the thought and then push it out and refocus on what is present right now. I look around and really see what is around me what beauty is there I appreciate and remind myself what I am grateful for in my life.

Q: I'm aware that I am aware, now what?

A: If you want to go down the path of self inquiry that’s a start. Now start asking “who am I?”

Are you aware of your ego? Who is it that is observing the ego? Are you aware of your thoughts? Who is the thinker of the thoughts? Are you a consciousness filled meat suit? Or are you something more than a physical body (meat suit). Who is that? Where does that come from? Where does it go when the body dies? Are you the body at all?

Contemplation and meditation may be a new step to take in a journey of self inquiry. Start a journal, write your observations, your dreams, notice the world around you, notice your feelings about what you see around you. Keep asking yourself questions. Happy Trails!

Q: Why do I feel anxious every time I try to meditate?

A: Two possibilities.

1. Your ego is freaking out that you may realize it’s a fraud and stop letting it rule your thoughts keeping you from going deeper into meditation. The ego will try all sorts of tricks to keep control.

2. You have unresolved trauma that is trying to surface now that you and slowing or stopping thoughts and trying to go within that trauma now has space to surface.

I had a meditation student who after 10 minutes of meditation would start crying and could not understand why. Eventually repressed memories of sexual abuse and rape in her childhood surfaced.

If #2 is correct get into psychotherapy with someone who specializes in trauma. You deal with it now or you deal with it later but trauma doesn’t just evaporate over time. It will becomes a blockage in your energy field holding back your spiritual progress until you do.

Q: How do I stay mindful when I’m in motion?

A: Look around, get out of your head and into your body. Enjoy the sights, looking at nature, flowers, buildings, the street. Listen to the sounds, traffic, your feet, bird songs, etc. is one way filling your awareness with what is around you. And the second is to feel the movement of your body in motion, scan your body, feeling every movement and enjoy the amazing way it moves.

I do 3 mile walks 3 times a week half uphill. I start as the sky just begins to lighten. It is cool and quiet and very little traffic. The uphill part I’m still a little sleepy and working pretty hard one foot in front of the other. I’m not as mindful as when I turn around and am walking downhill. But if I get caught up in the mental chatter I refocus by telling myself, “get out of your head and into your body and look around” to refocus into mindfulness.

Q: Do some people actually not have inner monologues i.e., voice in their head?

A: We all do to a certain extent because we all have to think. In my 35 years of teaching meditation I have only met 2 people who had no problem not having mental chatter during meditation. There are people whose mental chatter is silent for minutes at a time during their non meditative time when in environments like nature where the mental chatter is quiet.

Q: What can be greater than meditation?

A: Once you hit that sweet spot that I describe as “resting in the mind of God” the ultimate peace that others call “the peace which passeth understanding” and the oneness of “cosmic consciousness” it is hard to imagine. But sometimes meditation is a wrestling match with the ego chatter.

An out of body experience into space was pretty phenomenal. Experiences of spontaneous past life memory were pretty mind blowing especially feeling like I touched eternity. Having spirit guides prove to me they exist was fun and validating.

I have been fortunate to have many different types of experiences and learned a lot from them. But when I used to spend hours in meditation and feel the peace and expansion of the sweet spot people around me could feel it too. I guess the only thing greater would be to stay in the sweet spot longer.

Q: How can one get very deep into meditation before getting deep insights?

A: The insights come over time and not always during meditation. Try out different ways of meditating and see what works for you. Meditate regularly and for longer and longer periods of time and it will get deeper and deeper. You might even trigger a Kundalini awakening which would likely be a leap forward in getting deep insights.

Q: What is the purpose of meditations, and how does it affect decision-making processes?

A: Meditation is a spiritual practice meant to get us in touch with the soul aka Higher Self and to be able to differentiate it from the ego/personality. As with all spiritual practices they are meant to prepare us for Kundalini awakening or Spiritual Emergence. Eventually people start having spiritual experiences.

Meditation is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. It is also used as a stress management technique. With a calm mind, it is easier to made decisions that are not emotional. Emotional decisions are often made in the heat of the moment. They are a reaction not a response. A response is something that has been thought out before responding. It can make positive changes in the brain and has a lasting effect. It also helps in development of intuition which can be a help in making decisions.

Q: What is the connection between mindfulness and wellness?

A: Think of the opposite and what it counteracts. It counteracts stress, overthinking, being distracted, difficulty focusing, the damage of “multitasking” which has been proven to not be effective except as a negative effect on mental health and work accuracy.

With mindfulness we are listening without thinking about something else. We are focused on the present. We are focused on one thing at a time including sensations. We are relaxed. We are not so much thinking as noticing and observing. When we have those things going for us there is less stress.

What the mind pictures the body believes. But if we are not picturing getting fired but focused on the present you are not sending stress signals to the body. So if you are stressed it is likely that your immune system is being suppressed. If that happens for too long a time you will become ill. The immune system fights disease even cancer. Stress ages us and our internal organs faster than normal.

Q: It seems I have created some sort of portal into a different version of myself who perceives the world through a third person perspective. I created it during meditation when I drew energy into my head. Is this even possible? 

A: It sounds like you may have accessed your Higher Self, sometimes referred to as the Observer or Witness. As an Observer or Witness it may seem like you created it, but it was always there. Because it is a Witness it is speaking through the third person perspective.

Or it could be psychosis. The auditory hallucination voices often provide a running commentary in the third person perspective. But I would have to know more about the commentary that you are hearing to be able to know for sure what it is.

Q: Can mindfulness make us kinder?

A: Yes it can. If we are mindful we are listening without already forming an answer in our heads before we have heard the complete thoughts of the person speaking. It is a deeper listening and people feel heard. We are not so quick to react which is an emotional reaction that is often hurtful and not helpful. By being mindful we are more likely to respond which is a thoughtful response.

We are also more likely to observe and hear the other person’s feelings and be more sensitive to that. As therapists we are trained to be mindful, to listen carefully and keep our personal emotional reactions to ourselves. Done right we can have both a professional distance yet at the same time a very sensitive response to our clients. Some feel heard for the first time in their lives.

There’s a saying your fee pays for the education and training, but the love is free. And many times we hear the real person behind the defense mechanisms and love them for who they really are, probably also because they let us in and are vulnerable with us after they trust us to not hurt them.

Q: As a meditation practitioner, what gets you mad?

A: Injustice, hatred of people for nothing more than their nationality, skin color or culture, ongoing mass shootings and gun violence and the lack of action on the part of lawmakers, the denial of rights of women, the lack of listening to what works for other countries but instead enacting laws based on opinion, religious or ignorance of facts. A lack of compassion, people who think they are better than anyone else and think they deserve more than others often just because they are white, ridiculous conspiracy theories that fuel all the above. Violence against women and a justice system that doesn’t care about it. Bullies. Cruelty.

I’m sure I could come up with more but that’s enough for now.

Q: Why does the culture of the meditation community value spirituality over logical reasoning?

A: I think meditation can help people be more logical. I don’t see the need to value one over the other both can exist harmoniously. We have to get over our habits of polarized thinking. It doesn’t have to be this OR that, it can be this and that. We don’t need to judge one way of thinking over another, we need both. Spirituality and logic are not contradictive of each other.

Q: What mindfulness exercise helps with persistent worry and negative thoughts?

A: All of them. They are all designed to keep you in the present moment instead of the past or the future which is usually what we are worrying about and having negative thoughts about. There is nothing we can do to change the past and the future has not happened yet. Our power is in the present. Nothing that is right here, right now in this moment is a problem. Enjoy the moment . . . and the moment after that . . . and the moment after that.

Q: I've had momentary glimpses of merging with the totality. How can I meet someone who is experienced in meditation?

A: I guess you’ve now met me.

But seriously you’re probably looking to meet with someone in person. You may want to look at a metaphysical book store for meditation groups or classes. There also may be ads in some metaphysical newsletters.

But if you have any questions I can answer here about meditation, I starting teaching meditation in 1985 and had a group that met monthly for 14 years. I taught many clients how to meditate over the years.

The experience you had is called “Cosmic Consciousness” when you become one with everything. I have experienced that a couple of times. Wow the peace is incredible.

Another similar one is called “Mystical Union” where your consciousness merges with another, whether a rock, a tree, an animal, the planet, etc.

Q: How do you go from meditating to constant day-to-day mindfulness practice?

A: By meditating daily you have already started. Meditation causes positive changes to the brain and the changes are so subtle that usually others notice before the meditator does. This change comes naturally. But a little effort can bring you closer to day to day mindfulness.

Catch yourself when you are ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Thinking about the past often brings up regrets and that turns into depression. Thinking about the future often brings up the unknown and that brings fear. Ask yourself are these thoughts really necessary? Sometimes they are. However thoughts about the past usually are not. Ask yourself if the thoughts are helpful or harmful to your mental health? Bring your attention back to the present by noticing the sights, sounds and smells around you. I sometimes say to myself this thought is a waste of energy and refocus back into the present.

It takes some self discipline to do this at first, but it gets easier and gets you more into the habit of being in the present. And you see habitual patterns of thinking start to fall away.

You could always take a course in mindfulness which many healthcare institutions and insurances offer courses in mindfulness for stress management.

Q: How do you focus your thoughts to allow healing?

A: Meditation. I sometimes visualize the condition I’m trying to heal in a healthy state. And then go into a deep peace, get my ego out of the way and surrender.

Q: What did you contemplate today in your contemplation walk?

A: Didn’t walk this morning but in meditation today gratitude for how fortunate I am and prayed for others and gave thanks for nature and the lovely trees around me. I was outside in the patio and could hear the birds and the sound of water as I sat in meditation. I love having a back yard that few new houses have these days they are built around here on tiny lots and 3 stories high. Having a 50′ x 50′ backyard is so lovely, just a little piece of nature for me to enjoy.

Q: Will a young person's brain react faster and change faster with experience? For example, practicing meditation may change the brain, will it change faster for younger people? If not, why?

A: Young people’s brains are developing rapidly so yes I believe the brain changes faster for younger people. Their brain are not fully mature until about 21 or 22. Starting meditation young can keep the brain from developing bad habits and in a recent research study can even boost I.Q. up to 26 points. Meditation creates more connections between left and right hemispheres which is advantageous. It is much easier to change the brain that is not completed its development than to change an older brain that is set in its ways. I highly recommend that young people learn to meditate.

Q: Are there any studies about the long-term effects of tummo meditation?

A: I have not been able to find any long-term studies of Tummo meditation but I would imagine they would be pretty much the same as long term effects of other types of meditation.

Q: How do I tap into my psychic/medium/empath side? I know I have something and I want to be more open to it.

A: Meditation.

Q: How can I use the eternal self more efficiently with my destiny?

A: You will need to get the ego out of the way by being able to identify when it is speaking and when it is your eternal/Higher Self. By listening to your eternal self you will be guided to fulfilling your destiny.

Meditation is the how you learn to do that. The ego chatters away bringing up fears, and many other feelings and agendas to keep you engaged and prevent you from quieting your mind to listen to “the still small voice within.”