In Jack Kornfield’s book - ‘The Wise Heart - A guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology’, explain the second principle of Buddhist psychology:
Compassion is our deepest nature. It arises from our interconnection with all things
He says, “We can touch into this compassion whenever the mind is quiet, whenever we allow the heart to open.”
Compassion is the key to how we connect with ourselves and with others.
If each of us can remember that we are all struggling, in one way or another, then that is a start to connecting to compassion.
Compassion also reminds us to stay connected with one another.
In an article from Smiling Mind, ‘The importance of compassion right now’ the author writes - “Cultivating compassion – for ourselves and for others – is more important than ever right now. It has been suggested that the world would be very different if all of us felt ‘global compassion’, which means widening our sphere of concern beyond those who are familiar to strangers.”
Sharon Salzberg is a New York Times bestselling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West. Sharon explains how a lovingkindness meditation can help us discover the radiant, joyful heart within each of us.
This practice of lovingkindness is revolutionary because it has the power to radically change our lives, helping us cultivate true happiness in ourselves and genuine compassion for others.
She draws upon simple Buddhist teachings, wisdom stories from various traditions, guided meditation practices, and her own experience from twenty-five years of practice and teaching to illustrate how each one of us can cultivate love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
Take some time today, rest quietly, reflect on compassion for yourself and for the world. It will simply lift your mood.
Take care dear one.
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Life will bring many challenges, such as putting things in our way that we can’t control, and it’s not easy to embrace the suffering it brings and wishing that it’s not happening.
But if we start cultivating acceptance in our lives right now, we’ll likely cope with future crises in a different way and view them from a different perspective. We will accept instead or resisting.
Practicing acceptance prepares you to live in this changing world, where you never know what’s going to happen next.
Acceptance is like protecting yourself with your own shield.
Take care dear one.
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Do you have a mind that just keeps on churning out thoughts one after another? Do you know that it is possible to step back from these thoughts?
Mindfulness has taught me how to relate to my thoughts. Rather than allowing my thoughts to control my mood and the way I do about my day. I now can see thoughts as just thoughts. They are just random info bytes that the mind generates to keep itself active. I am not my thoughts. I am much more than just my thought stream.
Let me explain how I do this. Firstly, I sit quietly and sink into a feeling of being supported and held by connecting with my body and the support beneath it. Then, I take a deep breath in and release it with a sigh. I follow that with just listening to my breathing. At this point my mind usually kicks in and that’s when the magic happens. Instead of getting annoyed that I’m being distracted by my thoughts, I simply notice that they are there.
What does this mean, I hear you say. I say, “Hello beautiful mind. Thank you for being here and letting me know that you’re trying to keep me safe but it’s ok, I can take it from here.” Then I lean into the experience of just watching the thoughts go by as if it was a film. After a while I begin to sense a freeing away from the grasp of wanting to engage with the thoughts and my mind quietens down and I experience peace. Now on know what you’re going to say, “That won’t work with me. I have a very active mind and tend to overthink everything.”
Believe me, I hear what you’re saying and have been there myself. All I’m saying is, just try it for yourself. It might not happen right away, but with practise it will happen eventually and then you see what it’s like. After all, overthinking does lead to anxiety. The more we tend to our over active minds the less we will worry all the time and cope better with life.
Take care dear one.
Your mindset is one of the biggest pieces of the healing puzzle. What we believe about our health and healing is half the battle. Your mindset can make the difference between healing + staying stuck. Healing begins the moment you start believing it IS possible.
Here are some common health tips and ideas for getting you through the healing months and keeping your spirits high :
Spending time with others, whether that's friends, family, or meeting new people, not only does it make you feel good it also means you are less alone. Building your support circle and knowing there are always people there whom you can rely on and who have your best interests at heart is such an important piece of health & wellbeing that is often missed.
I’m one of those people who needs fresh air and movement to stay sane. If I don't go for a walk I get antsy and restless. Gentle exercise and regular nature walks are really good for your health and mental & physical wellbeing. Not only do you get some fresh air and the negative ions from nature that are good for your physical body, and the obvious physical benefits, you also release endorphins in your body (your happy hormones) that reduce stress and improve your mood. It also improves your mood, your ability to think and function, and your creativity. Getting some exercise every day and connecting with your body and your mind allows your subconscious to work and provide you with answers that might surprise you.
It can be tempting to let your good habits fall by the wayside when you feel rubbish, a little under the weather. Comfort food can be tasty at the time but they are often more damaging to your body and make you feel worse for days after. Foods that we turn towards as comfort food -- pre-packaged meals, donuts and cakes full of refined sugar, bad fats, and simple carbs. Takeaway, fast food, chocolates, processed bread... all the same problem. Unfortunately, food manufacturers nowadays pack our food with artificial and processed ingredients, sugar, and other artificial chemicals that not only damage your body but make you more addicted to those foods and want to eat more in the process. While there's nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while, don't forget to keep eating your (seasonal) fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs.
Let Your Body Rest
Maybe most importantly the thing to remember when we are healing, our bodies need a slower pace of life and to time to turn inward and rest. Just because it doesn’t feel easy or like you are being ‘productive’ doesn’t mean there isn’t healing and growth to be found while you’re healing. When we take time off and allow periods of low energy without feeling guilty, those are the times we gift ourselves — our body and mind — the space to heal, regenerate, and the time to refresh our creative energy and enthusiasm. We aren’t supposed to be going at 100% every waking moment. If this past 12 months has taught us anything it is to embrace what we cannot control and make the most of it, right?
There are many herbs you can use to support your body & mind and help you to thrive. Herbal remedies aren’t just for treating symptoms, if you know you’re prone to feeling down, depressed, or generally struggling herbal remedies and herbs can be used as support and prevention. This approach to your health and wellbeing helps you nurture your mental health, protect your energy and peace of mind, and either stop you from getting symptoms at all, or reduces the intensity of your symptoms and make them more manageable. Reach out for support from a nutritional functional medicine practitioner that follows the 5 pillars of health model - mineral balancing, whole food nutrition, healing leaky gut, reducing toxic load and stress management. Take care dear one. Embarking on a healing journey is one the most important thing you will ever do.
According to Joseph Goldstein - “Mindfulness is staying alert for the arising of thoughts and sensation and this awareness keeps us on track when we get lost in these thoughts and sensations. There doesn’t have to be any struggle in being mindful in meditation. It’s a simple as breathing, because our body already is breathing. Settling into meditation become aware of your body. Sensations from the body may begin to arise, just notice what is happening without changing anything or being judgemental. Just sit, know you are sitting and simply be aware of what the body is doing. The body is breathing. If you begin to slip into a pattern of struggle with the sensation or wanting to change the unease, simply go back to - there is a body and let everything settle. You might become aware of sounds around you and the sound of your breath. There is nothing to do. There is nothing to be. There is nothing to have. Simply phenomena passing. Any thoughts and images that arise and appear also disappear in the flow of changes that are happening and noticing that this is happening is being mindful.”
Ep.106 - The Methodology of Mindfulness - Insight Hour Podcast with Joseph Goldstein.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (what are your passions, where do you live, what do you do for work, pets, family etc) -
I live in Cammeray in Sydney. It’s a very beautiful leafy suburb surrounded by the harbour. I love walking in the bush nearby and going down to the park which has a little bay with a boat ramp. There are 3 pelicans that I see every time go down to the water. Pelicans are my spirit animal and in pelican symbolism when we see one ‘it reminds us that we need to take some time for ourselves and to go inward’. I am married (30 years this year) and have a 20 year old son. We have a cat called Devaki, who has just turned 16 years old. We all adore her and it brings us great joy to have her sharing her life with us. I was born in Melbourne. I am the eldest of 2 children from Italian immigrants. I grew up in a very traditional Italian household. In 1985 I began studying at Box Hill TAFE and became an Architectural Draftsperson. When I moved to Sydney in 1991, I began studying Architecture at UNSW. While working full time in an Architectural firm, I studied Remedial Massage in 1998 and ran a remedial massage business in my spare time until mid 2000. I became very interested in Steiner Education when my son started school and I trained as a Steiner teacher in 2008. In 2011, I began working as a class assistant and learning support teacher in a Steiner school. Since leaving in mid 2017 I have been working as a nanny on a part time basis. I love music, we all love music. My husband is a composer and my son is currently studying a BMus in composition at USyd. I first started singing in a community choir in 2015, which taught me the fundamentals of how to use my voice. My love for singing and music has led me to study Integral Sound Healing with SHA. I will be graduating this year. I intend to guide meditation with sound healing.
What attracted you to become a meditation teacher and study with ACMM?
I suffered with mental health, specifically depression and anxiety in 2017 and was unable to continue working. Something deep inside me was saying that meditation would help with inner healing. For six months I listened to guided meditations from a variety of online platforms which helped me a lot.
One day 6 months into my daily meditation practise, I had an insight. I saw myself teaching meditation. That’s when I started looking for places to get certified. The ACMM website felt really authentic and I enrolled and the rest as they say ‘is history’.
How has meditation impacted you on a personal level?
Meditation has helped me in so many ways. I have learnt so much about myself and about how meditation can be used to help me navigate the difficult stuff in life. I have become less anxious and happier with who I am and my life in general. I have also become much more compassionate and tolerant towards myself and those around me.
What does your personal meditation practice look like? What styles or types of meditation do you enjoy?
I have meditated everyday, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day depending on what I need, since beginning my studies with ACMM. I find meditating in the morning the best time for me. When I get up I make a warm lemon drink and sit in stillness on my balcony for 10 minutes to watch the sun rise. I then do a self guided meditation based on ‘self inquiry’ to see what comes up for me ie what do I need for that day. I will then do some chanting for global peace and global healing. Then I’ll go for a walk. When I come home I’ll do some yoga and do some journaling after breakfast. I really enjoy listening to recorded guided meditations for relaxation and guided visualisation meditations too. Lately I’ve been delving deeply into guided meditations for pain relief and have been reading ‘You are not your Pain’ by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman. This 8 week program includes daily guided meditations. These are based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. I have enjoyed learning all the many different styles of meditation offered by ACMM. I incorporate Mindfulness, Meditation for relieving pain and Self Inquiry meditation into my regular practise as well as journaling.
Do you have your own meditation/mindfulness/holistic business, plans to start one? If so tell us about it and how meditation is a part of this.
My meditation business is called ‘A State of Grace Meditation & Sound Healing’. This year I am intending to increase my social media presence by doing more live streaming to attract participants for future group sessions. I will be using sound healing to complement my guided meditations.
Can you describe your client base (gender, age, location, anything specific about them)? Who do you want to work with/inspire/support and why?
I am happy to work with anyone who is wanting to learn to meditate, whether they are young or old. As someone who has had a great deal of pain throughout my life and have had a great deal of benefit using meditation, particularly body scan technique to moderate the intensity, so I would particularly love to work with people who have ongoing pain issues.
Do you have any events, workshops or classes coming up in the next few months? Tell us about them and include any relevant website links!
Any upcoming events can be found on my facebook page: A State of Grace Healing - https://www.facebook.com/astateofgracehealing/
Instagram page : https://www.instagram.com/a_state_of_grace_healing/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnyLkq5FzcYn8sL8P_9DFew
I have some guided meditations on Insight Timer -
‘Mindfulness Practice for Children to Cope with Anxious Feelings’
‘Self-Inquiry Meditation - Sitting in Stillness’ https://insig.ht/8YcZ4wo8Kcb
‘Healing Light Meditation with Sound Healing’ https://insig.ht/aQxs5YD8Kcb
‘Guided Meditation for Grief’ https://insig.ht/ga8qMUG8Kcb
What would you say to someone who is thinking about becoming a meditation teacher?
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a meditation teacher, then the seed has already been planted. You probably have seen yourself guiding others in meditation and the only thing to do now is to find a course that will make your dream come true. So just do it, it will change your life.
‘Our capacity to make peace with another person and the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves.’ Thich Nhat Hanh
What have you enjoyed about studying with ACMM?
I love the ACMM community. Lisa and all the coaches are such beautiful and caring souls.
When I received my textbook in the mail with a handwritten note from Lisa, it instantly felt inclusive and personal. I started studying with ACMM in early 2018 and really enjoyed the monthly catch ups on skype with my coach Helen and then with the other coaches as I completed electives. In September 2018 I attended my first face to face retreat in the Dandenong Ranges. To date I have attended 3 face to face retreats and 2 online retreats. Retreats have provided an opportunity to connect with other students and all the coaches. Retreats are fun and can assist with enriching and deepening personal practise as well as crucial inner work in a supported environment. Life long bonds come out of these retreats and I highly recommend attending at least one.