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When I'm not sure what to do, or at least when I'm not sure what I should do in my practice, I turn to hum sa kriya, because it's the first practice I learned and it's a little bit like "home" for me.
 

What’s in this episode?

This week, I'm connecting to the "center" idea within hum sa kriya. I encourage you to imagine or envision a central channel of awareness within you -- one that you build at your own pace, of course.

 

After practicing...

... I feel "whole," physically at least. That's all, just that simple observation.

What do you notice after practicing?

Give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "Ep 476 - Hum Sa Kriya Meditation" on Spreaker.

 
Be moving, be true,
esther
 
 

photo credit alexander mack on unsplash

Esther's Everyday Meditation Podcast. Episode #388 with Hum Sa Kriya.
photo credit Derek Story on unsplash

 

EVERYDAY MEDITATION PODCAST: EPISODE #388

 
Listen to "Ep 388 - Hum Sa Kriya Meditation - Imagining Sound" on Spreaker.
 
What’s in this episode?
I guide you through a version of the hum sa kriya meditation practice. Normally in hum sa, we focus on a visual of light moving along the spine and let the mantra "hum sa" take the place of "sound" (even though it's a silent mantra you say to yourself). In this practice, I ask you to "listen" to the vibration of the light -- or imagine a sound that might accompany your internal awareness of the light -- and bring a little more "hum" to hum sa.

What's it good for?
Probably just bringing variation into your practice! But it might also be the missing piece for those of you more connected to sound than to visual experiences!

If you want some detailed instructions before diving in, listen to "how to practice hum say kriya, ep #387"!

Ready to practice hum sa kriya?

I hope you'll try hum sa kriya through sound. You might find it a natural addition to your practice -- or completely at odds with the usual hum sa. Either way, I'd love to hear how it goes! Click on the bar below to drop me a line.

Practicing with you,
esther
 
 

share your experience + questions

 

EVERYDAY MEDITATION PODCAST: EPISODE #209

Listen to "Ep 209 - I, Me, Mine and the Brain" on Spreaker.

What’s this episode about?
What's going on in the brain with our "I, me, mine" system when we meditate...

Apparently, the objective of most spiritual systems and their practices is to lessen the "hold" on the self --or as Goleman and Davidson put it: a "lightening of the system that builds our feelings of I, me, mine" (Altered Traits, p 153). Practitioners learn to "step outside the self," to realize "yoga" or god or pure happiness --whatever you recognize it as (whatever experience it is we're even discussing here). And from observing practitioners who've devoted many, many hours to meditation and spiritual practice, they seem to end up with a baseline of positivity and joy.

Sounds pretty good, right? Whether it does or it doesn't, I'm curious about the story going on underneath.

We don't have conclusive evidence, but the little research we do have supports a story that correlates well with the anecdotal tales. The research may not tell the whole story yet, but for now what we have helps a lay person like me to clarify my experience with meditation and my own sense of "self".
 

Which "self" is that again?

Let's go back to what I mean by "lessen the hold on self" and take a look at some brain activity.

Once upon a time, scientists (and the world) thought brain activity was reflected in our "external" activity: thinking and moving = brain activity. No thought, no movement = no brain activity. Of course, we now know that this isn't at all how the brain works.

Your brain is active all the time, just using different "systems" or "circuitry" at different times for different purposes. So your brain is just as active when you're sleeping as when you're awake -- just different activities are underway.

Similarly, when you're doing something that requires intense focus, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex region in your brain is active (and/or, depending on the nature of the focus, possibly other parts of the prefrontal cortex, where "executive" functions occur).

When our mind wanders, we tend to end up dwelling on issues of self, and activity lights up in the brain "circuitry" that gives us our sense of "I, me, mine" that I was talking about last week. This circuitry is found in the regions known as the "midline of the prefrontal cortex" (mPFC) and the "postcingulate cortex" (PCC) which link to the limbic system, which is responsible for more "automatic" functions and behavior. And this activity is referred to our "default mode".

So, what does that have to do with meditation?

When we're super focused -- on a task or on "nothing" as in meditation -- the "I, me, mine" activity, or the "default mode" activity, is quieted in favor of the activity that creates that focus --in the DLPFC.

In meditation, since our focus on "nothing" is never perfect, we shift back and forth between a focused mind and a wandering mind (activity in the default "I, me, mine" mode). This, it appears in the research, strengthens our ability to make the switch at will --to choose to spend more time not in a state of wandering.

Because it's in the aimless wandering that our "I, me, mine" tends to get stuck ruminating on the worst angle on a situation --or the "blow things out of proportion" angle.

Meditation is the practice of focusing and creating a state of flow, which seems to correlate with the "nothing" and "stillness" that the ISHTA kriyas (what I teach) guide you into. It's a practice of shifting from "I, me, mine" to "focus and flow" --away from "self".

Maybe meditation practice enables the "step outside the self" that yields an experience of pure joy of being -- of being "one" with the collective universe, rather than one individual within the universe. Research and anecdotes suggest this much.

And it all starts with a practice of choosing the switch in focus, a switch in brain mode.
 

Yes, that's a hard switch to make

Stepping away from "I, me, mine" is not easy. I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with the apparent fact that our "I, me, mine" system exists in part to promote our individual success in the gene pool. That, in terms of life on earth, is "survival" (at least, that's what the evidence shows).

Social structures have supplanted many "biological urges" and survival isn't the only thing that drives us. Meditation is hard, but not impossible. Barring a medical condition that makes it impossible, everyone can learn to meditate!

At least, it never hurts to try, if you're curious!
 

Why look, it's a meditation you can practice right now!

Below is the week's "full practice" episode. Click here to listen to the "how to practice" instructions.

Listen to "Ep 206 - Full Hum Sa Kriya Practice" on Spreaker.

I'd love to hear about your experience -- and help out with any questions you have.

Click on the bar below to get in touch!

Practicing with you,
esther

EVERYDAY MEDITATION PODCAST: EPISODE #181

What’s this episode about?
A little bit of the brain science behind how meditation can help you improve your attention and focus.

What can I do with that?
I go into that in the episode! In brief, if you want meditation to help you improve the way you use your attention, you have to train --like an athlete training for the olympics (or little league, that'll do, too ;).

Don't want "training" to be part of your meditation practice? That's A-OK, too! Just don't expect amazing transformations in your attention skills.

Give the episode a listen and experiment with what works best for you!

Listen to "Ep 181 - Meditation and the Science of Attention" on Spreaker.

Ready to practice the meditation? Below is the week's "full practice" episode. Click here to listen to the "how to practice" instructions.

Listen to "Ep 178 - Full Hum Sa Kriya Practice" on Spreaker.

I'd love to hear about your experience.

Practicing with you,
esther

EVERYDAY MEDITATION PODCAST: EPISODE #153

What’s this episode about?
Today I'm talking about the question "why should you meditate?" -- a question I'll revisit often from various angles including those personal, scientific, anecdotal, and philosophical.

Can you tell me more now?
Sure thing. Here’s one key bit:

There are so many reasons why you "should" meditate! But "should" always needs context. Find the context and it's just a matter of cause and effect.

What can I do with that?
Ask yourself: are you trying to accomplish something (that you think meditation can help with)?

If so define it --it can be a vague goal or a crazy targeted goal, the articulation doesn't matter at this first step. From the existing science alone, we can probably drum up an answer as to whether meditation of some kind is an appropriate tool to help you move toward your goal, even if that goal is still hazy in your mind.

I talk about this from a personal/anecdotal perspective in the episode - I hope you’ll give it a listen!

Listen to "Ep 153 - Why Should You Meditate?" on Spreaker.

Ready to practice the meditation? Here's the week's "full practice" episode. Click here to listen to the "how to practice" walk through!

Listen to "Ep 150 - Full Hum Sa Kriya Meditation" on Spreaker.

I'd love to hear about your experience -- and help out with any questions you have.

Practicing with you,
esther

EVERYDAY MEDITATION PODCAST: EPISODE #147

What’s this episode about?
Mantra, where it comes from and what you can use it for.

Define that for me.
The word mantra means "mind tool" or something that "expands the mind". You can use it to focus the mind in meditation and in everyday life.

Can you tell me more now?
I'm so glad you asked.

Mantra in the sense of "mind tool" is a device you can use to focus your mind. By repeating the mantra, you train your mind to stay focused on it... to the exclusion of other thinking.

In meditation, the result is a feeling of "expansion". In meditation and in life, reflection upon this "expansion" can yield a shift --or an expansion, if you will-- in your perspective. You might be more likely to observe your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which helps create just enough distance that you can act consciously rather than reactively.

What can I do with that?
I go into that in the episode! Here's a quick summary:

- Choose a mantra to use in meditation based on your gut instinct. Pick one you like from the 7 options I offer.
- Use the same mantra throughout your day when you need to calm yourself down or reduce the effects of internal or external distractions.

I hope you’ll give it a listen!

Listen to "Ep 147 - Using Mantra in Meditation and Everyday Life" on Spreaker.

Ready to practice the meditation? Here it is:

Listen to "Ep 148 - Hum Sa Kriya Meditation Practice" on Spreaker.

I'd love to hear about your experience -- and help out with any questions you have.

Click on the bar below to get in touch!

 

Tell me about your experience with sat yam!


 

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