How To Grow Your Spiritual Practice

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‘To practice Zen is to discover one’s true nature.’        – Zen saying

Don’t we all want to discover our true nature?

I am Beginning to experience Zen Buddhism, the personal exploration of my mind-body-spirit, as a discipline. I understand Zen as sitting meditation. Sitting with a focus on breath or the details of an object, like a knot.

Why would I do this?

To harness the strength and wisdom to ride life’s ever-changing waves. Empowering the self in my everyday. I do this on my daily journey at myboldspirit.com.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.

Martha Graham

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Zen is a practice. An experience of the ‘here and now.’

Excerpt from James Harrison’s Zen

Zen in Action: Settling Your Mind

Take a few deep breaths. Look ahead of you and try to focus on a single object – a tree, a flower, an insect – stare at it and absorb all the details. Then slowly release the details and look at the object as a shape and form. It

It may become an outline filled with colour and surrounded by space. That is the aim at this stage, but if it does not, do not worry.

Focus on a picture in your mind if that works for you. Your mind will continually try to process the image – each time it does, let it go; do not allow yourself to think about it. Just sit and let it be.

Did you stop thinking? Or did your mind continue to bombard you with ideas?

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Properly practiced meditation brings many benefits in its search for awareness

  • A sense of empowerment and energy
  • A compassionate and cheerful attitude
  • A feeling of inner peace and well-being
  • The ability to focus on anything for longer and longer periods of time.
  • An understanding of the beauty of the world and the value of all things living in it.

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Zen in Action: Test Your Meditation Motivation

Listen to your breathing; lose yourself in the breath.

Start to hum or say ‘om’ with each breath, keeping each hum constant. Think about the vibration of the hum or think of a repeatable mantra to focus on and whisper the words quietly in your mind.

Keep this going for five minutes.

How do you feel now? Was it strange or did it feel natural?

Meditation is about learning to focus your mind on an object, say a candle, a phrase or your breathing. By focusing in, you are blocking out all the other stimuli that bring sensations, emotions, thoughts, and impressions.

With meditation your mind ceases to swing from branch to branch.

This is the essence of good meditation, after all, to break the habit of thinking to reach a more direct level of awareness and consciousness.

James Harrison

 

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Za-zen Meditation: The core of Zen

koans: puzzles of the mind

‘Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?’

I’m learning to ponder life’s unsolvables to expand my perception.

Mu‘ : throwing out all preconceptions that you need to find an answer.  The question is both so trivial yet so mind-expanding that a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ should not be given. The Buddha nature cannot be captured by yes or no. ‘Unask the question’ is how you might interpret it.

One Zen master believed that to realize Zen, ‘You must work through every bone in your body, through every pore in your skin, filled with this question: What is Mu? And carry it night and day.’

It is about how to think; to break the ‘ego-shell’ that is the mind and to open the doors of perception. Get this enlivening book here Zen (Endless Path) by James Harrison  and begin your journey to a calm mind in the midst of the storm (stress).

Grow your spiritual practice copy

I hope you have enjoyed my sharing of James Harrison’s Powerful tool to increase your spiritual practice and knowledge.

Feed your heart,

Alicia