Tag Archives: spirituality

Episode 7: Benefits of Meditation: How to do it and Why you want to

Photo by Joe Burke @Joeburke108 on Instagram

In this episode I’m not interviewing anyone, it’s just me talking about my favorite subject: meditation. People often ask me how to meditate or say they want to start meditating but they don’t have time, or they aren’t good at it. One, we all have time for things that are important to us, and Two, No one is good at something as a beginner. It has a learning curve but once you get past that and get a regular practice established, it is immensely rewarding for reasons I go into at length in the podcast.

I’ve done my best to make this as succinct as possible, but there is so much to say about this. Nothing like listening to your own voice for 7 hours to scrutinize my own unconscious repetitive speech patterns and my ability to create some unnecessarily verbose word salad. Aaaaand I just did it again right there.

Honestly though, I feel like making this episode is so satisfying, this is basically the stuff I was teaching to the recovery group that I need to get back to working with. After every class they would line up and thank me for coming in and tell me about their experiences, it was incredible to feel helpful in a deep and meaningful way.

All of the things that I say in this episode are my personal truth and opinion, and I realize many people may judge me as an odd duck for certain viewpoints. We all know we are different and unique human beans, and this is my humble opinion after spending over 4 years now studying esoteric ancient knowledge. I have been an avid reader my whole life, I currently read about six non-fiction books a month. I also watch lectures on Youtube, read articles, and talk to people about this stuff often. I always validate information from many sources before deciding something is true, and I look at what biases each source may have, who sponsors what articles or websites, what companies the author of my books own. Some of my sources for this podcast episode are:

Remote Viewing by Tim Rifat

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

The Source Field Investigations by David Wilcock

The Everything Answer Book by Theoretical Nuclear Physicist Dr. Amit Goswami

Thanks for listening! I’ll post the guided meditation episode next week!

Episode 6: Reiki Healing with Natalie Rodarte

photo by Jayne of the beautiful Natalia

In this episode, Reiki II Master Natalie Rodarte explains what energy healing is in the first place, how she can help people, and who might desire an energy healing. We also discuss her experience with finding a connection to her higher self through meditation and insight into what a spiritual path entails. Natalie is available and open to new clients in the Napa area. You can reach Natalie at Nads711@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram @hippyasstreehugger

Introducing the Napa Valley Fitness and Wellness Podcast

 

The Napa Valley Fitness and Wellness Podcast is a new podcast I’ve just recently started as of April 2017! The intent is to be a platform and community to motivate and inform those with an interest in fitness to start or continue their journey in the Napa Valley area, from American Canyon, Napa, St. Helena, all the way up to Calistoga.

There will be:

* interviews with fitness professionals

*physical and spiritual transformation stories

*motivational tips

*vegan nutrition information

*in depth information about gyms, yoga studios, teachers and trainers of all kinds within the Napa Valley.

You can follow me on Instagram @seejayneyoga

Episode 2: Jayne Forest’s Life Story: Transformation, Awakening and Purpose

photo by Joe Burke on IG: @joeburke108

In this episode I tell my complete, authentic story. A lot of people meet me as their yoga meditation teacher, and don’t know quite how different I used to be. I was an atheist, who loved the Napa Valley fine dining and hospitality industry lifestyle with amuse bouche, sous vide pork and truffles. After a deep depression, I turned to yoga, started meditating and my WHOLE life changed. I explain here in as succinct a manner as possible whilst allowing myself occasional tangents to further illustrate my personality.

I understand a lot of people may not “get” me, enjoy me or resonate with me, and that’s ok! You can just listen to the interviews and skip the more spiritual episodes. Before I gained a new understanding of spirituality I didn’t care and didn’t want to hear about it, because I didn’t have any experiences or understand at all what the hell all of this stuff was all about, so I understand. You have to be ready and open to this information on your own terms.

I’m just sharing my genuine self because it doesn’t do anyone any favors to put on airs for likability, and I can’t suppress who I am anymore to blend in with the masses. I realize my lifestyle is very different and that I’m swimming upstream, and that it’s not easy and not everyone’s journey. I’m simply sharing what has made me so happy and feel healthy and good in life, so others can hopefully take away some valuable motivation and tips and start to find ways to feel better in their day to day lives. If even one person starts doing something that makes them happier or feel better in any way, and appreciates this podcast, that will make me feel fulfilled!

Thanks for listening!

 

How Veganism led me to experience a spontaneous spiritual awakening

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I used to be an atheist. I didn’t care about God, or finding a religion. I thought it was a strange compulsion that I was relieved to not be afflicted with. The closest thing I had to religion was yoga. I have been doing yoga since I was a small child unknowingly, throwing my legs overhead into plow pose while watching David the Gnome, rolling my head down into rabbit pose. I continued doing yoga as an adult because I was into fitness and loved stretching. I always thought yoga people were kinda strange with their sanskrit and chanting and symbols, but I loved that they were kind, capable, flexible and calm.

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I became a vegetarian after watching Food Inc. I was horrified and traumatized by these truths, and couldn’t bare to continue. I was left feeling panicky and in shock from the intense loss of footing with my life’s foundation. I felt so stupid for not realizing that it took torture and violent death to make my favorite Short Ribs dish at Martini House. I couldn’t kill animals myself, I couldn’t pay someone else to kill animals for me. I had realized that animals desire to live, they never choose to “give” their life. Their life, dignity, and comforts are violently taken from them, and I pay someone for that service. How could I ever eat meat again in good conscience?

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Well one day, shortly after the newness of being vegetarian had worn off, I was starving on my way back from a job. I pulled into a drive thru and ordered a burger. No one would know, and I was getting hangry, so I justified it easily. I took a bite and immediately was disgusted by the texture, flesh and blood just like mine. I imagined the cow who died that I was eating, I saw her bleeding out of her neck. I wondered how many cows were in my burger. I let my mouth fall open and the meat tumbled out. I was appalled with myself and knew burgers were over for me. I wasn’t vegan though. No CHEESE or ice cream?! You’re hilarious to suggest such a preposterous notion.

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I went through a string of bad relationships. I went through bouts of depression, anxiety, self-loathing and emotional wallowing. I turned to yoga more and more to help dig myself out. Meditation at the end of yoga became a place of release, I just poured tears and breathed shaky, labored breaths.

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I started meditating at home. I broke up with the guy I was seeing and suddenly felt FREE. I felt so empowered, I starting smiling brighter. I was already vegetarian, but I decided to go vegan again to lose weight. I had no desire to drink alcohol because I was doing so much yoga.

I stopped drinking coffee which was HUGE. I used to ADORE coffee. I drank it black daily, religiously. I didn’t want it to make me jittery when trying to meditate, and being vegan, I had a ton of energy. I honestly felt like running everywhere, I felt incredibly light.

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One day I was at a concert. I was sober, surrounded by drunk, silly teenagers in bikinis and tiny shorts, and I was so happy in my sobriety. “What is happening to me?” I thought to myself.

It was Easter Sunday. My Atheist sense of humor had me joking to myself all day about this Zombie Jesus holiday. I was browsing Facebook’s newsfeed when a headline jumped out to me. “Are You Having A Spiritual Awakening?” I clicked on the article and pressed play on a YouTube video.

I was slouched over my computer screen, watching this video, and everything it was saying was fascinating me. The video was reiterating my observations of my lack of desire to partake in my normal vices. It explained my strange and abnormal lack of a sex drive, my desire for solitude, my enhanced sensitivities, all of it. I even stopped smoking weed because I was reaching greater depths in meditation without it, and it gave me similar feelings to being high on cannabis when I reached a certain state of meditation.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

Suddenly, while watching this video, I felt an energy come up from my stomach and out through my mouth, a profound feeling that was so intense and unexpected that my body rolled upright physically and I began breathing heavily and crying immediately with wide eyes. I looked up at the sky and said aloud “Thank you! thank you! Thank you!” In my head, I was like “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?! WHY ARE YOU THANKING THE SKY? WHAT WAS THAT?!” I was beyond confused in my head, and all the while, I was crying and feeling an INTENSE presence of love within my body. I felt like I was jolted with a Loving energy. I was so happy, and I had NO idea why. I KNEW I wasn’t alone. I KNEW I received a gift. My brain was so confused, I cannot begin to explain how demolished my mental foundations were. My heart, on the other hand, was rejoicing.

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The next day, I went to work and told my Atheist co-worker (whom I had always related to because we shared the same beliefs!) and tearfully and shakily told her my strange, overwhelming story. She did not know what to think or how to respond at all, understandably. My other coworker Joe, had overheard the story and was like “That was your Kundalini rising!”

Thus began my spiritual journey. There is SO much more that happened, but the point of this story is to explain the connection between spirituality and veganism. What I learned in the past two years, after hungrily diving into as much spiritual philosophy as I could get my hands on, is that the spiritual journey begins with raising your vibration.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

If you’ve studied Quantum Physics or Nikola Tesla, you are aware that everything in this world is made up of vibrations. Matter is actually an illusion, and on a molecular level, everything in this entire world is made up of atoms and ether, or space. There is more space between atoms in objects that are less dense, less space between atoms in heavier, denser items. These atoms are constantly vibrating.

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Everyone talks about vibes, but what people sometimes don’t realize is vibes are literally vibrations. When people are negative and have bad vibes, they are vibrating lower. They don’t feel in control of their lives and they often have unhealthy habits. Happy people vibrate higher. Their atoms are actually moving at a faster pace, making them feel lighter, happier, and the Law of Attraction brings more happy things into their lives faster.

 

Food also has vibrations. Fruits and vegetables have high vibrations. They are colorful, you feel light and energetic after eating them, and they provide your body with valuable nutrients that protect your immune system. Meat and dairy come from animals that experienced torture, enslavement, murder and early death. These extremely negative vibrations permeate the animal’s being and the stress hormones that have coursed through that animal’s body throughout it’s life are being ingested. This causes you to vibrate much lower, inhibiting spiritual growth.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

The main ideas I read over and over regarding spiritual growth and expansion of consciousness, is that compassion is the KEY element of spirituality. Through meditation, raising your vibration, and quieting of the mind, the consciousness within your body expands outwardly into the world around you, making you aware through personal, visceral experience that you are ONE with everything. Your consciousness within your body can be spread outside of your physical body so that you will actually FEEL as though the trees are part of you.

You begin to be able to sense subtleties in energies in rooms you enter, your innate psychic abilities start to show themselves, and you start noticing synchronicities in your life. You start being able to manifest things faster. You start to understand on a deep spiritual level that every single person you meet has the same desires you do, the same desire to live that you do, and that every person is just another aspect of YOU, which is the whole universe of consciousness. This is why I’m vegan. Through these experiences, I have come to feel within my heart and soul the pain and suffering of the animals in the world.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

The idea of being vegan is a huge turn-off for most people. Cheese is so very delicious and soothing, fried chicken was as enjoyable as sex for me at one time. Now that I’ve experienced the spiritual, healthful and peace within my mind, I could never eat meat or dairy again. The feeling of knowing I’m not supporting slaughterhouses, or the rape of female cows, is a permeating feeling of inner peace. Through meditation, I’m learning to ascend beyond my thoughts and ideas of how the world works, and instead I retain an open mind, a loving heart, and a burning desire for TRUTH. Truth even if I don’t like it. What do I know about the world, when new information can erase a lifetime of belief? I’m endlessly humbled. All I can do is share my experience with others in hopes of raising the vibration of the entire planet.

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The tree is on private property in Napa and it is amazing, I love it photo by Jayne Forest

Famous Vegetarian Quotes:

” A man of spiritual intensity does not eat corpses.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Know that the same spark of life that is within you, is within all of our animal friends, the desire to live is the same within all of us.” – Rai Aren

“Whatever we sow, we will reap. When we harm others, we harm ourselves, when we enslave others, we enslave ourselves. Spirituality is about Liberation, calls us to awaken to the interconnectedness of all life and to practice kindness and respect for others.”-Unknown

 

 

Lucid Dreaming

 

Photo by Jayne Forest

I’m a little obsessed with dreaming, specifically lucid dreaming. In bringing up the subject of dreams casually to friends and acquaintances, I’m always shocked when I hear people say they don’t remember their dreams, or that they have strange recurring dreams but they don’t really care, or that they don’t see them as important. Dreams have always been such a vivid, huge part of my life because I used to fly regularly in my dreams. I used to actually cry as a child because I was mad I couldn’t fly anymore. I’ve spent my entire life trying to regain my ability to fly.

 

One day I had a bad dream and my Dad told me “Honey, you can control your dreams. You just have to decide to change them.” No one had ever told me that! It fascinated me to know that I could choose not to have bad dreams. The following night I had a scary dream where someone was chasing me with a gun. They stuck a rifle in my face, and I realized that I was dreaming, and remembered what my dad had said. I put a tampon into the front of it, and it was unable to shoot, fully disabled! I walked away and realized he was still chasing me but had ditched the gun, so I ran off of a cliff into water. I was so scared and in the instant I was falling I said quickly “Please be warm water with tile at the bottom like a nice pool!” and IT WAS.

artwork by Jayne Forest for Trader Joe’s  @jaynesartaddiction on IG

TIP #1:

KEEP A DREAM JOURNAL

I know, that sounds like something that a ten-year-old girl would have, but seriously people, if you want to have lucid dreams you have to reiterate to your subconscious that your dreams are important to you. Writing them down is a great way to do this.

It is also is a valuable record of your recurring “dream signs”, which are things/places/people that often come up in your dreams. When you see your dream signs in waking life and do a reality check, you will do the same in your dream state and it will hopefully help trigger your awareness, and induce lucidity.

Keep your journal and a pen right beside your bed, so that you can write down any details you can remember immediately upon waking. You basically start forgetting all of your dreams within seconds of waking, so the best thing to do is just wake up and jot it down with bleary eyes.

You may find yourself remembering only a few tiny details at first, but in time you will find yourself filling pages with details. The most amazing thing to me is that I will write down details, fall back asleep, and when I wake, I barely remember having written what I wrote! Experimenting with my states of consciousness like this is fascinating to me.

TIP#2

GET PLENTY OF SLEEP

You can’t be tired, or drunk, or stoned. I knoooooow probably not what you wanted to hear. We are depending on the sharpness of the mind to become lucid, so clarity, sobriety and a rested mind and body are of utmost importance. It’s really good motivation to be all healthy and stuff though! The window of time you are most likely to lucid dream is two hours before you would normally wake up. You have to get about 4-5 hours of sleep before you begin to hit prime lucid dreaming time. So you’re looking at 6-8 hours of sleep for a few nights in a row to be rested enough.

RIP Amica

TIP#3

REALITY CHECKS

The main key thing to realize is that while you are in the dream state, everything feels totally normal. This is why we don’t always become lucid in our dreams.

By making a point to become consciously aware of your surroundings and to ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” you will start to do this in your dream state as well. What we do in ‘real life’ is what we do in our dreams, so if you do enough reality checks, you will eventually do them in your dreams and become lucidly aware!

There are a few ways to do reality checks, my favorite is to look at your hands and ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” If you are dreaming, your hands will look very strange, melty, wavy, you might have three or seven fingers.

You can also jump wherever you’re standing, and if you’re dreaming, you will float. You can also plug your nose with your hands and try to breathe in. In dreams, you will still be able to breathe. Perform these reality checks as often as you can think of it. The more, the better odds you will do it in your dream that night!

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TIP #4

AFFIRMATIONS

Your own mind is the gatekeeper of your ability to lucid dream. If you learn to control your mind with affirmations, you are much more likely to lucid dream.

Throughout the day, or right before bed, tell yourself aloud, with conviction and focus, “Tonight in my dreams I will realize that I’m dreaming.” “Tonight in my dream I will look at my hands and realize that I’m dreaming” Over and over and over. The more you believe yourself, the better it works, the more you repeat it, the more you believe it. This has totally worked for me numerous times if I start diligently repeating this a few hours before bed!

TIP #5

WAKE BACK TO BED

One trick for people who don’t suffer from insomnia, is the “wake back to bed” method. Set your alarm for 5 hours after you’ve fallen asleep, or for 2 hours before you are supposed to wake up. When your alarm goes off, find some mellow way to kill time for 20 minutes. This way you will wake your mind up, but you’re keeping yourself in a mildly dreamy state of consciousness. After 20 minutes of yoga/reading/peeing/meditating, lie back down and tell yourself your affirmations before drifting back to sleep. This technique worked beautifully for me! I don’t recommend this method for insomniacs, because you may not be able to fall back asleep, and that shit is terrible.

Viparita Karani is great for insomnia and lower back pain. Put your legs against a wall for relaxation and restoration.

I wish you the best of luck lucid dreaming! I have more tips, but this is just a brief beginner tips kinda thing. Write to me with any questions, or if you have any tips to share with me by clicking here!

Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

Meditation changed my life.

 

I am a highly sensitive person, an empath, and a water sign. Most of my life I’ve been watery and tearful with ever-shifting moods like the ocean’s tides. This used to be out of control, this emotional volatility, though it was more deeply sad self-loathing than outwardly directed anger. I felt as though I was flailing in my own dark ocean, and meditation showed up like my lifeboat, showing me how to separate myself from the depths and instead ride the surface like a surfer.

 

This is why I’m passionate about sharing the benefits of meditation. Everyone with a brain can benefit, and what an incredible joy it is to experience those precious brief moments of internal peace and silence. I’m no expert, but I have a regular meditation practice that is always evolving. If you’ve ever been curious about learning to meditate and why it’s so life changing, I will attempt to elucidate.

 

Benefits of Meditation:

  • Lengthens your attention span
  • Lessens Stress Levels
  • Helps you master your emotions
  • Unhooks you from addictions to internet, TV, food, drugs, sex: You learn to be happy just existing without endlessly seeking satisfaction to quell restlessness with external stimulation.
  • Increased creativity: A clear mind is an ideal substrate to see past mind-chatter and tap into intuitive creativity.
  • Scientifically proven to build your prefrontal cortex, which controls impulses, strengthens your willpower, makes you sharper and better able to think clearly and quickly.
  • Improves your performance in life, as everything you do will be coming from a calm, relaxed, alert state.
  • Loss of pettiness and ego
  • Enjoy life more since you will be more fully present, less stressed and less preoccupied.
  • Brain health: Meditation is like brain exercise. It reduces the effects of age-related brain degeneration and helps prevent Alzheimer’s.
  • Makes you happier! When you learn to calm yourself and reach a state of peace through gratitude, breathing and being fully present, you detach your joy from external stimuli. Once you’re able to do that, NO ONE can take away your happiness. You surf through life instead of capsizing with every wave.

 

How To Meditate:

Meditation is simple, but not easy. The best part is, you need NOTHING other than a comfortable place to sit and your breath. One VERY important thing to realize right away, is to let go of the idea of being able to clear your mind the first time you meditate. It is a practice and a skill that is not learned quickly or easily. Realize that your practice is successful if you just make yourself sit for those 20 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if your mind chatters the entire 20 minutes, your practice is still successful, because you are learning to be aware and mindful of your thoughts and your separation from them. Each time you practice, your mental agility is improving, so don’t judge yourself if you can’t seem to calm down or focus. Consistency is the most important factor in creating a meditation practice, and the very fact that you sat there for 20 minutes is beneficial and a bonafide success.

 

  1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for your meditation practice by taking a shower, washing your face, your hands, changing into light, loose, comfortable clothing, and taking your shoes off. You don’t need to do any of those things, but basically you are trying to make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Find a quiet place that you won’t be disturbed, put pets and children in another room, and put your phone on silent (or ideally, put it in another room). If you would like, you could play ambient sounds like rainfall, or better yet, go outside and experience natural ambient sounds. Set a timer for 20 minutes.                     
  2. Find a comfortable place to sit. You can sit on the edge of your bed with your feet flat on the ground, cross-legged on the ground, on a pillow, on a couch, wherever you can sit and feel at ease. It is best to sit upright, with your spine tall, but not rigid. It’s important that you keep your spine straight, imagine stacking your vertebrae and allowing gravity to keep your spine in place. Allow your shoulders to drop back and down, again not forcibly. Imagine a string on the very tip of your head like you’re a marionette, being pulled gently upward, and imagine your sit-bones grounding into the Earth below you, as if you’ve grown roots. Let your hands rest in your lap, with your hands facing up if you are meditating on gratitude or open-ness, or hands down resting on your knees to ground yourself. Allow your body to be heavy and devoid of tension. All of these feelings are subtleties, there is no straining. Loosen your shoulders and neck, and gently let your eyes fall closed.                          
  3. Take 4 deep, full, audible, slow breaths with big exhales, imagining all current thoughts being blown out of your body. Let your breath calmly come down to a natural, effortless pace. Imagine your breath entering your body and filling your lungs, spreading into all corners of your body. Turn your attention away from external stimuli, and instead toward inward sensations. While exhaling, feel the air leave your body and the feeling of your body constricting and pushing the air out. During your inhale, think about the life force that is oxygen entering your lungs and keeping you alive. Realize that your breath and this moment is the only thing that exists. Everything in the past is a memory, everything in the future is uncertain, during meditation the only focus is on this very moment, your breath, your inward focus, and this feeling of the weight of your body on the couch/chair/ground. 
  4. Since you are attempting to clear your thoughts, your mind chatter is going to get LOUD. The goal is to sit still, so your mind may tell you “I think I have an itch. OH damn I think I left the car unlocked. Did I lock the car? Damn I don’t want it to get broken into again.” Since you  are meditating, you will observe these thoughts and acknowledge them as clever stories to try and draw you in, but you will let these thoughts pass by saying in your head “THINKING, Breathing in…” and allow the enticing thoughts to pass like a canoe on a river, while you sit peacefully on the shore.  It’s not about getting all thoughts to go away, it’s more about finding that one point of concentration and making your practice basically just bringing your attention back to that point of attention, again and again and again, being gentle with yourself.                                                                                                                                                                                           
  5. Buddhists often compare the untrained mind to a drunken monkey. This belligerent monkey is not going to let you shut it out easily, it does not want to sit still and be silent. It is beguiling with the stories it begins to tell, and sometimes these stories will carry us away for minutes before we catch ourselves and remember that we are meditating. Just remind yourself “THINKING, breathing” and put yourself back on that shore, watching the canoes of thoughts pass by. You are expecting chatter when you begin your meditation practice. Peacefulness and silence come in time, realize that your journey is just beginning and that reaching mindfulness and tranquility takes time. Boredom, sleepiness, tiredness, all of these things are signs that you are doing meditation right. It’s the trudging through these states and staying consistent with your practice that will bring the desired results. It’s a strange paradox that the more expectation and results you make efforts to attain, the further away your goals get. Try and deeply relax, letting go of expectations and attachments to outcomes. Don’t judge yourself or internally berate yourself for not being able to make your thoughts shut up. Your mind is so conditioned to multi-tasking and completely unused to being forced to shut up and sit down. It will not do so without creating an entire circus of ruckus for you to quell. Luckily, you are stronger than your mind, and in time, the glorious permeating peaceful feelings that come from meditation practice will be experienced and it will be completely worth the journey.
  6. Meditation is like exercise, in that it is only beneficial when regularly practiced. You can’t get fit or expect to be healthy with only one workout, and same goes with meditation. The best way to ensure a successful meditation practice is to plan for a regular practice at the same time every day. Meditation may seem like hard work, and it is, but the pleasure of experiencing the timelessness and peace of meditation, and the incredible emotional and mental benefits, has made meditation one of my healthiest and most enjoyable hobbies. I often hear people say they can’t sleep because their brain won’t stop chattering at night. Learning to meditate eliminates those problems with techniques to maintain control of my own mind, making my life less stressful and more restful!

You may find meditation at first to be an annoying pointless practice. You may find yourself bored, tired, and feeling like a terrible meditator because you can’t get your brain to shut up. What you must realize is that like anything, getting past the learning curve is the hardest part. Once you start experiencing moments of silent, thoughtless awareness, your TRUE self, the person observing your thoughts, starts to really enjoy making your monkey brain shut up, and you start learning to truly control your mind and it’s thoughts, which in turn  will absolutely change your life for the better. Your practice will become easier and more enjoyable over time. If you are able to stick with it and experience the benefits, you will see why meditation has become my secret weapon that saved me from being a drowning and flailing emotional octopus, to becoming an adept Sea Captain, contentedly navigating the tumultuous waters of life safely within my hardy ship.

LINKS

This is a hilarious meditation with expletives for a humorous beginner’s meditation experience

This guy breaks meditation down with an entertaining explanation for kids

How to Begin a Spiritual Practice and Raise Your Vibration

These are the practices that worked for me as a coadjuvant system that helped me discover different experiences of my own consciousness. It changed my life Completely when suddenly I had a WHOLE new sense of the scope of possibility of my reality, and this exponentially expanded my understanding of the wide range of depths of consciousness that can be reached within the human experience without the aid of drugs.

Spiritual practice is called Sadhana in Sanskrit, and daily Sadhana keeps my focus and intention on spiritual advancement. The idea of advancing spiritually is not driven by ego, but rather as a natural progression that we move steadily toward, and then slightly away from, spiraling back, learning lessons and gaining deeper understanding as to how this whole life game works!

photo by Joe Burke Instagram: @joeburke108

*Breath control: Pranayama. Every breath we take is life itself. Every emotional state we experience has a corresponding breathing pattern. If we learn to use pranayama and consciously and mindfully adjust our breathing pattern, we can in turn change our state of mind at will. Pranayama is insanely powerful and in India, it is commonly  understood that there is a different pranayama breathing technique for almost every ailment.

A Dutch man named Wim Hof  learned about some of these techniques and has been able to scientifically prove and document that he can fight off viruses by releasing adrenaline at will and boosting his immune system consciously, all through breathing techniques. Click the link for a super fascinating documentary to learn more about that guy!

Photo by @joeburke108

Pranayama used to only be taught to those initiated, and was not taught to women. You could only learn Pranayama if your Guru deemed your practice sincere enough and that you were mentally and physically worthy of knowledge of Pranayama, and you were only given one at a time, working with one until you earned the right to advance. I can’t stress enough how magical and powerful Pranayama is, and how working with your breath requires respect and understanding of it’s power.

Photo by @joeburke108

*Twice daily meditation practice . For myself, if I only meditate for 10 minutes, that is barely enough time for my mind to settle. When first beginning a practice, ten minutes can seem like a treacherous goal. Like anything, with practice, your brain will be able to dive into meditation mode easier and easier, which will make the whole process more enjoyable and in turn, you’ll be able to reach deeper states of meditation. Even 5 minutes of mindful breathing each day to start is a successful practice if done consistently. The more you practice, the more adept you become, like everything!

Photo by @joeburke108

Although the learning curve can seem daunting, once you get past the first few weeks, I promise it’s an infinitely rewarding practice. The way that it changes how you FEEL and handle stress, and the way stressful feelings happen less often because calmness becomes your default mode, makes life SO much more enjoyable! I can’t type complex enough explanations to give it justice how much this practice is imperative and completely life changing. Baby steps, and just try to stay consistent! Visit my “Beginner’s Guide to Meditation” post here!

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Complete sobriety from alcohol, cannabis, and caffeine.

Alcohol lowers our consciousness to the point that we are saying and doing things we aren’t even aware we did the next day. Not only is it drowning our prefrontal cortex so that we aren’t making rational decisions, drinking alcohol poisons our body, which causes our liver to have to work hard to process it.

When doing yoga, we are purifying the mind AND body to prepare our bodily vessel for higher levels of spiritual experience. Alcohol will not help you advance your spiritual progress. Everything in moderation of course, but remembering that everything is either helping or hurting your goals, it becomes easier to abstain completely. Not to mention how good and right it feels NOT to be hungover! 🙂

Aaaaand here’s a beautiful temptation for ya now that I just told you drinking lowers your vibe. Temptation is everywhere, it’s a test of your fortitude! Photo by Jayne Forest

Cannabis is used in sacred spiritual ceremonies and can absolutely lead people to spiritual experiences. I have loved cannabis for years and have found it to be infinitely beneficial. HOWEVER….the more I study spiritual advancement, and look at my own personal experience, I’ve come to realize that the only way to really dive deeply into spiritual experiences is with complete sobriety.

When trying to explore expanded states of consciousness, such as dreams, or deep meditation, it’s best to have a clear mind to be able to stay conscious within your dream and have much better recall. It is a known fact that cannabis affects lucid dreaming ability and dream recall, which is unfortunate because there are many spiritual messages sent to us in dreams.

When we are foggy of mind it becomes even more challenging than it already is to expand beyond normal awareness and maintain memory and full waking consciousness in different states of consciousness.

When you are meditating, you are riding the line between sleeping and waking, your brain goes right in between alpha and theta brainwaves, like between being sleepy in the morning and riiiiight before you fall asleep. Obviously it’s challenging to stay conscious during this sleepy state, so cannabis does not help, in my humble personal experience. I’ve spent weeks falling asleep during meditation instead of staying conscious and possibly receiving insight, it was very frustrating!

As for coffee, it speeds up our heart rate and makes us jittery and unable to sit still! The body and mind work together, if the body is moving, the mind cannot be still. Coffee creates the opposite of what we are trying to achieve with meditation, basically.

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Conservation of sexual energy with periods of abstinence. I know you’re like “hey whoa” right? Don’t stop reading now, haha. Definitely not suggesting you give up all of these
things, sex CAN be an insanely spiritual experience. When we have sex with someone we are merging energies, body fluids, thoughts, pain, everything. So we should be aware if sexual intimacy is meaningful and helps us feel more connected with our partner, or if it makes us feel empty. If we experience the latter we can be sure this sexual union is sucking energy away and lowering our vibration. Sexual Energy is an energy that can be used for spiritual advancement, according to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There are 8 limbs of Yoga, and the first one is called Yamas. The Yamas are moral imperatives on the yogic path, having to do with self-restraint.  The Niyamas

photo by Jayne Forest

*Dedication to daily yoga practice. This doesn’t have to mean going to a yoga class every day! Just a handful of easy poses done daily for just a few minutes even, can make a big difference in your body over time. The thing about our bodies is, it is constantly evolving according to what our lifestyle is like. If we spend 8 hours on a chair in the office five days a week, and do yoga once a week for one hour, the chair sitting is going to have the most impact on our body.  The more often we can consistently train our muscles and ligaments to become more pliable, the more you will start to see the benefits of the practice.

Photo by @joeburke108 on IG

*Abstaining from consuming dairy, eggs, and meat. More about this later, but when you are consuming the corpse of an abused and mutilated innocent sentient being, it grounds you firmly in this Earthly reality.  Everything in this entire universe is comprised of vibration obviously, and there is a kind of photography called Kirlian Photography that can document energy. Here is a visual representation of the energy you’re consuming when making the choice between plant foods and animal foods.

Raw Vegan Pizzette from Lydia Organics. Photo by Jayne Forest

*Plenty of Sleep, not too much or little
*So Much Fruit and vegetables! The more plant based foods you consume, the more smoothly your digestive system will function. Plant foods contain information in their DNA that becomes our body. The more we consume plant foods, the more we tune ourselves into alignment with nature.
*Avoidance of negative people like the plague

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Exercise is key! Moving our energy is a guaranteed mood booster and will have us feeling good and moving into alignment with our highest self.

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Doing selfless and kind things for others
*Speaking your personal truth honestly, but of course mindfully, tactfully, without shame or guilt (yeah, I’m working on this one.) The more you come to know yourself in meditation, the more your faith and confidence grows, and it becomes more difficult to stay silent in the face of injustice. This is a great sign of growth because it shows that you are in alignment with your highest self by acting from the heart.


*Consistent practice of all of the above. One thing that has helped me tremendously is recognizing that every decision we make is either helping or hurting our goals, there are no neutral decisions!

*Not trying too hard. We strive so much in life and we tend to use that same trying energy with our spiritual journey out of habit. Recognize that our higher self is available to us at any moment when we learn to just be, without striving and effort. In moments of effortlessness and deep, conscious relaxation, we can receive insight. These experiences are not impossible to achieve,  they are available to every single human being who is willing to do the work, it is our birthright!

Photo by @joeburke108 on IG