Let’s jump on the back of Pegasus and have him lift us to higher realms of awareness!

Statistics from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health  confirm that practices in mindfulness such as yoga and meditation have been on a steady rise since 2002.

That comes as no surprise to people who practice regularly and who experience the benefits. We feel our physical health improve as well as notice mental and emotional benefits of meditation. It is encouraging to see it acknowledged in studies. It is for good reason that these practices have been around for thousands of years.

What I do find impressive is the growth of a specific Meditation Organization.

They are the Vipassana meditation centers where I had an amazing experience during a retreat in October 2017.

The movement started in 1969 with only one person, S.N. Goenka, who brought this pure form of Buddhist meditation technique from Myanmar (Burma) to India. It is open to any practitioner of any faith (or no faith). From there it eventually spread around the world to over 300 places where people meditate together year-round and gather for retreats ranging from 3 days to 10 days at a time. These centers book out months in advance and rarely have down times without scheduled events.

What is so remarkable is that this organization is 100% funded by attendees’ voluntary donations.  All meditation retreats world-wide are free of charge – Neither a foundation nor corporate interest are driving the effort. Volunteers, many of whom are past participants, come and serve at the event. When they are not working, they join in parts of the daily meditation routines. The centers are clean and provide basic comfort that allows the participants to truly escape from everyday life and engage in “Noble Silence”, a strict commitment to remain silent throughout the retreat. Participants effectively live the life of a monk or nun while at the center. Attendees donate any amount they can at their own discretion during or after the event, because they feel they gained more than what their contributions can compensate for. Can you think of any organization or corporation who experiences similar growth without any kind of marketing – spread simply by word of mouth? I cannot!

This trend of more and more people being drawn inward through meditation can hopefully build up to a tipping point for improving our societal dynamics. What I mean by that is the potential of changing our human gene activity and expression at the chromosomal level in every one of our cells. As we build our inner strength and resilience and enjoy moments of acceptance, compassion and peace during yoga or meditation or both we are literally altering our genetic make-up. This ability of the brain to adapt and change not only our thought patterns but also our perceptions, essentially describes what Alchemy is all about: Transmuting Fear into Understanding, Ignorance into Comprehension, Anger into Compassion and Aversion or Hatred into Love…..

The specific meditation technique taught in Vipassana centers is very simple and yet so effective. Its primary focus is breath and body sensation awareness.

It’s important for people to experience for themselves that they are capable to “check-out” and sit through hours of uninterrupted meditation. For this reason alone, these 10-day retreats can be strongly recommended. The days are very tightly structured around an early rise at 4:00 AM with dedicated times for meditation, meals and rest without any other distractions and ending the day with an hour of new meditation guidance each day and “lights off” at 10:00 PM.

Whether or not people choose to continue with that particular technique isn’t important. Mantras are useful for some; others might prefer guided meditations to help keep their minds from interfering with unnecessary “monkey-mind chatter”.

Focus on colors or sounds associated with our chakra centers or other energy connection points in the body during meditation is also popular.

My personal favorite meditation sessions are those where there is a spirit connection with any kind of energetic archetype…. Be that plant spirits, crystals, or other kind of guides or beings from other realms….. In other words, I like to open myself up for any wisdom that is helpful during my current life situations, wisdom that is known to the universe and communicated to us when we engage in this conscious energetic reverence of and focus on other beings.

It does not really matter how anybody meditates. As little as ten minutes of meditation a day is considered effective according to Mengran Xu at the University of Waterloo, Canada, to overcome repetitive anxious thought patterns.

Knowing that we can visit that place of our spirit home any time is a wonderful resource. Retreating there to be completely at rest and at ease is one of the most effective ways we can passively allow ourselves to heal on so many levels.

Anybody can benefit from this simple stress management tool that makes us feel so much more alive while at the same time providing us with an emotional boost and mental clarity.

So, let’s jump on the back of Pegasus and have him lift us to higher realms of awareness!