Archive for the 'Having Fun' Category

Writing Meditation Poem – This is me

Left handed Portrait 4This is me
big, fat, funny
looking
soft, in the middle
the record of my habits,
of my daily life.

I discover wonder in it all
I want to know wonder
and its magic
the spark of unreason
the life blood of curiousity
the life in my blood

I want to know the flow of what creates
the life inside
me, of others, the universe.

Here’s what I know
The universe is slightly obsessed
with stars, with water, with life
in all its forms

My body seems to be obsessed with hair
growing like two Kruschevs crawling on
the edge of a non-threatening cliff
above my eyelids

Two hairy banana slugs
racing as fast they might towards
an embrace
for decades
No, eons
Yes, they see each other
But they never meet.
Bitter sweet.
Perhaps that’s a good thing

My arms seem to sprout
a jungle of wheat rushing towards my hands,
where a small battalion of hair have secured the sectors above my first knuckles.
They hold positions
with the utmost patience
threatening to advance on my fingernails,
and reach its final ground
on my finger tips.
Perhaps they are showing compassion.
I don’t need hair on my fingertips

Nature is obsessed, and
there must be a reason
I am here to find out
to answer the riddle from the
clues that are not just inside me
but on me.

If only I could feel the hairs below my skin.

Chair Exercise Idea and Meditation

Wow, I can’t believe its been almost a year of not posting anything. Lots of stuff happened in 2010, and lately I’ve thought of it as a year of purging. Purging my job mostly, which I am very thankful for. Thankful I’ve purged it, that is. And purging some investments, which took up a heck of a lot of time. I’ve given up on the idea of owning property, and have decided that apartment living is just fine.

Keeping it low, and cheap, and increasing quality over quantity is what my mantra is this year. Since I last posted a while back now, I’ve continued to focus on my health, whereby I am exercising at least 45mins a day.
If I can, I’ll do it in the morning, so that my body keeps itself cozy through the rest of these chilly winter nights.

I’ve come back to this blog, because today it occurred to me that the Laughing Meditation works nicely with
a short exercise program for my mom, who’s knee’s are not in the best of shape. Chair exercises I hope will be a good solution here. And incorporated into the program is a bit of laugh yoga/meditation in our heads. My spirits are up throughout the exercise. This is important since my mother can’t stand even the thought of movement. Hopefully, I can encourage her to move each day for just 15 mins, and then later 25 mins.

Since my mom can be quite irreverant. And for fun likes to flip her arthritic fingers at me, and stick her tongue out at me, I’m incorporating that into the exercise. This I feel is important since its familiar, and the fact that she can’t pass up the chance to get my goat.

Perhaps a youtbe video may be in store for the future, since she’ll be going to NY to see my sister’s 2 baby kids and babysit them. Which makes me think, I’ll need to create a rated G version, just in case the kids want to join in.

We’ll see…..

Happiness and Learned Optimism

Happiness has somewhat of a formula. According to Martin Seligman author of Learned Optimism (as opposed to Learned Hopelessness) happiness is more enduring when there is Positive Emotion + Pursuit of Meaning or Pursuit of Engagement. The pusuit of pleasure is short-lived and has very little effect on happiness at all. So there are huge differences in doing something Fun (short term) vs. doing something Philanthropic (lasts forever).

Gratitude is interesting in that it is philanthropic and altuistic. Seligman one exercise is to think of a person who has positively affected your life. Call them up, and don’t say why, but find a time to meet them at their door. Recite a prepared written testimonial at their door step. Its a tear-jerking experience, but you and everyone will never forget that heart felt moment. Happiness levels went up there after for the person reading their gratitude speach. This is similar to Landmark Education, which puts a strong emphasis on reconnecting with people.

One interesting note Seligman says is his in ability to come up with ways to make people happy, Instead the best another person can do for another is to return them to a state of zero. The person themselves then are responsible for their happiness.

Dr. Seligman is Known as the founder of Learned Hopelessness and Learned Optimism.
One example goes like this. There are 2 young junior high school students practicing basketball. When both are succeeding in their layups the are identical in their outlook. A coach comes by and asks them to do layups from the opposite angle, left handed layups. Their shooting scores drop. One student asks himself “How can I learn from this?” and keeps trying without feeling discouraged. The other student says to himself “How do Iook? Will I fail? Do I look like a fool?” Failure for this students starts to become a block, and soon the student starts to do wild shots,and joking around, soon he is assisting only with rebounds, and finally starts to have conversations about extracurricular activities with other students.

The former student who asked “How can I learn from this” has an attitude of Learned optimism. The latter student of “Will I fail. Do I look like a fool?” has a predispostion of Learned Hopelessness. In many ways, we are taught throughout our lives to be learning in Hopelessness. Tests cannot be retaken an each test counts towards a students grade. Its no wonder then that I see myself in both situations, but more strongly with the “How do I look” point of view. I become self conscious and am more comfortable behind the scenes. On the other hand, when I am thinking beyond myself and for the group or community, I can be more optimistic as I am less selfish (which has no end to its own misery). I will explore more about Learned Helplessness and Learned Optimism as I believe that alone is the beginning of where we face our reality. I also want to explore this and how affect “Beginner’s Mind” is in this mix.

Some Famous People Who Meditate List…

Check out the links to their names, and it has a blurb or video about their experience with meditation. I know there are tons of people out there, but it sjust fun to search and make fun list. Enjoy.

David Lynch – TM – Wow, David Lynch goes around the world teaching people to meditate. I want to be like David Lynch! And make wierd movies too!

Russell Simmons – TM – Hip Hop meditates.

Apolo Ohno -  Calm and blindingly fast. I love how he says “I leave it on the ice.” Speed Skating a perfect metaphor for life. Unpredictable and skillful.

Jim Carrey – Yes Man!!

Jet Li – Of Course. Fearless is a great Budhhist movie IMHO;)

Jenny McCarthy – Fitness Guru

Positive Mind Shifts: Subtle Smiling and Laughing in my head

Lately, I’ve been practicing how I could subtlety shift my state of mind throughout the day.

Since we are working and living the realm of form almost 90% of the time, and most of that time seems to be strife with “stuff,” the negative build-up starts to mount and soon I start to feel a bit overwhelmed. So here are somethings I do to shift my state of mind:

1) Laugh in your head.

Sometimes I am cracking up, or quitely giggling in my head, when I am walking around, checking mail, looking around, etc.  The mind supposedly can only hold one thought at a time, so instead of worry, and constant anxiety,  I just laugh in my head for no reason, especially in the morning when everyone is asleep. It can be as soft or as loud as you want in your head.  I notice that once I start laughing in my head, my face and my jaw starts to relax a little, and I can feel a subtle smile.

Dr. Mark Stibich from About.com says that Smiling actually produces endorphins, natural pain killers, and seratonin.Smiling is like a drug!

2) Subtle Smiling

Whether I am naturally smiling from the above exercise, or “fake” a subtle smile the body starts to follow. Now, a broad extreme smile is great for stretching the face. Do whatever extreme funny positive  facial expressions. When I do it the mind seems to pickup any slight negativity, and lets me know it by bringing up negative thoughts. Keeping it lighthearted, fun, for about 1 minute or longer, when start relax the body, and any anxiety will lessen with it.

Think of a statue of a Buddha. Check out its subtle smile. In a “just sitting” class, I started producing this slight smile and I was suddenly able to breathe better, and as a result I could feel my brain relax, shifting and “expanding.” When I combine that with an awareness of  heart and my heart region and chest start to expand, and my lungs start to relax and I am able to breathe deeply.  Subtle smiling and bringing awareness to different part of the body seems to expand those areas as well. Imagine what it can do if the awareness is placed on the entire body with smiling!

BTW: Check this article from Scientific American on a study/experiement that suggests that when a person’s Seratonin levels are low,  their perception of what is fair is altered.  No Fair! My Seratonin Levels are Low!
To me this suggests kind of the Mind-Body loop. Imagine how much help smiling, even just a little, could do!

Presence = Humor, Childlike Mischief (revised)

Bathroom Meditation

Bathroom Meditation

There is an article on Shambala and the way it described presence as being full of joy, was so nicely put that iI realized that this is what this Joy of Bean blog was  all about.

Many enlightened individuals develop a deceptively simple sense of humor, a seemingly childlike enjoyment of all that is beautiful and wondrous. I once saw Karma Senge Rinpoche, on his visit to Nova Scotia, be absolutely riveted watching a clown play with a child’s bubble-wand. Of course, clowns are a popular element of traditional Buddhist public celebrations in Tibet.

It seems to me that converts to Buddhism, like converts to any religion, tend to want to take it very seriously at first. Taking our spiritual path seriously is of course important, but humor is beneficial for mindfulness training, as it illuminates the joy of being present….- by Claire Heisler

Meditation or even buddhism which is based on the experience of meditation, can be such a daunting, serious, ominous, almost self-important or self-absorbed endeavor – but when you have actually discovered the Now and the Joy of Being you may realize that these descriptions are the antithesis of what its all about! I have to agree with Eckhart Tolle, when he says be careful of any guru that is too serious. And I would add too self-righteous. The best measure of our experience of the Now is our degree of Joy at each moment.

So its all making sense in some ways…this blog is about meditation, aligning myself with joy, funny cartoons, mischievousness, laughing, and my enjoyment of writing for this blog. Enjoy!

Below is the original article:

Dharma humor, Buddhist comics, and a new IPhone App.  Reported by Claire Heisler
Well, I don’t have an Iphone, and I’m not needing one now, but I will say Iphones are really cool!
http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=9894

The Worst Horse is a blog where hilarious Buddhist and pop-culture intersect (Funny Stuff!):
http://www.theworsthorse.com/why-v1.html

Here is a Buddhist Cartoon site as well!
http://www.buddhanet.net/comics.htm

I’m sure there are other comics or videos that exhibit the Funny bones of Meditation. As they come I’ll be sure to post them!

We Can Only Take Responsibility for our Own Joy

Laughter Yoga

Ha Ha Ho Ho!!!

Yea! I had my first Laughing Yoga Get-Together last night (Friday, Feb 5th). It was a potluck, with folks bringing ribs, vegetarian soup, chicken, fruit, pie, tea and root beer! After we had a feast, we did some stretches, letting the food settle, and did our HaHa HoHo clapping. Soon it was a laughter riot and everyone really got into it.

Well, almost everyone. One person, did not participate, and she had a look on her face that said this is just silly and I don’t want to look silly.  I could tell she was living in her head. And it was torturing her. Well, Laughing Yoga IS pure childlike silliness – melting way the serious “Me.”  Laughing is Living!

Well, still she opted out, sat and watched. I was dissappointed at first and then, I could see where my thoughts were going with this – “Why did she come? She wants to take control and make it her game night? Is she like a kid who is sitting out because we won’t play her way…Even though this is intended to be a Laughter Yoga get together..blah, blah, blah.” Within a few seconds the mind was going off in ALL different directions. I was getting sucked into her suffering.

Then I noticed that my mind  was going into a downward spiral.  I “saw myself” observing my “mind-thing” and was able to catch myself.  We each take responsibility for our own joy. And if joy is defined as coming from within, and happiness is found in the world of form,  then I certainly cannot hope to make any one laugh – We can only make ourselves laugh. We only stand in our OWN way of our OWN joy. And hey, I can bring a horse to water, but…Anyways, suddenly the practice for me began.  Despite what anyone says, or what I perceive them to say or mean, or what I think is happening in the world around me, it is more important for me to be aligned with Presence & Joy,  rather than “Bite the Hook” into other people’s “Me-ness” and even more importantly “Bite the Hook” of my OWN “Me-ness.”

I love the idea from the American Tibetan Buddhist Monk Pema Chodron’s “Don’t Bite the Hook: ” Audio. Even more than getting hooked into someone else’s personality, what we are really getting hooked into is Ourselves – or our attachment to ourselves or identity. If that is true, I have to ask myself, “What am I trying to protect?” What part of “Me” is getting hurt?

If we were not so attached to “ourselves,” or not so hooked into our own “Me-ness,” then other people’s  “Me-ness” could try all day long to snag you with a harpoon (the biggest hook I can think of) and there would be nothing to hook into.  The “hook” would go right through you.  This sounds great, but how does it work in practice? How do we do this???

Well, here’s one method: What if you could sustain laughter and the experience of being present and feeling joy – all day long. Instead of thinking, and going down a downward spiral, I let me mind laugh. Its a fake laugh, but the curious thing is that I can feel a smile bloom  after a couple of minutes. This is an odd experience, as I don’t remember ever laughing in my head before nor had anyone ever instructed me to do so. But so far it does a similar thing to laughing out loud. It puts you in the present and in the now, and I am not so worried about it. It is a little thing in life, and my worrying about it has more to do with my own ego – trying to be right.  I’m ok with being wrong, and it just maybe that some people are not ready for it, or consciously do not want to be open to it.  That’s ok.

I cannot take responsibility for other people’s happiness and joy, we can only assist them to a point. If I forced someone, or told someone they have to do whatever, then they really cannot claim that experience completely for themselves. If we do force it upon others, even guilt them into doing it, we take their power away.  What will happen when someone else forces them to do their own bidding? In the end, over time that person is left with no power, doubt that they cannot trust their own choices anymore. In the end, our own choice (without reason other than what we choose) is what matters. Choice without reason has NO crutch or other reason to topple it. We often don’t like to take our own responsibily and we differ the decision to others – so that we cannot blame ourtselves. I speak out of personal experience folks. Now this Choice without reason is attributed to Landmark Forum. The flipside to “being in power with Choice without reason”, is “inspiring others from your person experience”.

Now, in my opinion, if someone is consciously not participating after being in the room of a Laughter Yoga session, then it may be that person is actually doing more work in her mind to not participate. She in effect is saying no to participating to being connected to Life. Now, to be fair I can definitely be accused of this as well so I’m not singling her out, I’m just making the point (for myself really) that we have a Choice to participate in Life or Not. If others’s do not want to participate, we can only help assist and point to what we can suggest at the time. We can make a commitment to keep trying, but ultimately they have to make the final choice for themselves.

Yawning Exercise…Release Stress

Yawnnnnnn! Apparently no one knows why we really yawn, but one idea is that when we get tired, breathing slows and yawn is the body’s attempt to bring in more oxygen in to the blood stream, thereby waking us up. More air to your brain brings about alertness, not to mention it relaxes tight muscles including the brain. Yawn, and its like release some stress.

Another theory says when we yawn in allows or generates a kind of oil into the lungs called a surfacant, which lubricates the lungs so that it expand more, thus bring in more oxygen.

Most people say its uncontrollable, but doing this exercise shows that you can pretty much yawn on command.

Step 1:  Imagine your hand is like flower slowly blossoming up towards the sky.

Step 2: Let your hand  start from where it is, usually below your head.

Step 2: As your hands slowly rises, let it blossom open slowly.  As it opens, slowly open your mouth as if you are beginning to yawn.

Step 3: Continue raising your hands up, and letting you hand blossom multiple times, until…..Yawnnnnnn.

Notice: After yawning you feel more refreshed. Stress has subsided, and the mind has let go.

Experiment 1: See how many times you can yawn. I think Yawn 20 times in a row once.

Experiment 2: Just to be mischievous and silly try this exercise in public and see if people start to yawn! You are helping them relieve some stress!

Writing as Meditation – Writing Down the Bones

Natalie Goldberg - Writing Down the Bones

Writing as Meditation

My wife is a writer, and she had a copy of Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, which I picked up as my current bathroom reader. The book is geared toward writing as a meditation practice. And just like meditation, she instructs to write and create load of “shit” writing, in throw away unpretentious pee chee type spiral books. This “shit” is like tilling the compost, all the demons come out, and after a while you become aware and ok with them coming out. And just like compost the ground is ripe for it to grow the seed and in turn blossom. The discipline is to keep doing it everyday even for 10-20 minutes or so. It may take 5 years of writing “shit” but I trust something simple, beautiful, and powerful will flower from all of it.

Good stuff!

Laughing On RadioLab.org

One Podcast I enjoy is an NPR science broadcast called Radiolab. Though they haven’t done a broadcast on Meditation (though they should) they often have stories that point to an aspect of the brain or mind or human nature that makes me go hmm…

Here is the Link to the Episode about why we Laugh:
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2008/02/22

Apparently, Dr. Robert Provine, says does not necessarily occur just because there is something funny,but because it is about social relationships. He says without people there is no laughter. But I’m not so sure.
I was doing the “ha ha ho ho” exercise without the laughing last night as I getting out of my shorts, and out snapped my little friend, and
yes it was little at the time – and that juxtaposed with my “ha ha ho ho” made me laugh so hard I collapsed on the side of the bed. So sorry, professor, you can laugh by yourself – especially at yourself.

If you can laugh at yourself, that is a great ego buster says Dr. Kataria. Absolutely a real ego buster!! But funny!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT3enUDT0mc&hl=en_US&fs=1&]




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