Most lives are spent waiting. Waiting for dreams to manifest, for trouble to end, and for life to be happy. Golden Zen reflects on the brillance of the NOW and the winks we receive from our Source to remind us we possess it all. Golden Zen is practical and mystical, instructive and reflective. You are my invited guest.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Smelling Wild Elephants

This week we are SMELLING WILD ELEPHANTS

 

Training Wild Elephant Project - Harmony Thiessen- Goldenzen

This gorgeous elephant is the work of Peggy Krantz. Inquires at krantzfarms@dfn.com.

(Learn About Training Wild Elephant series here)

No I don’t mean US  SMELLING hopefully(although be sure you check out the PS) – but our noses are part of our awareness – to relish the sensation of smell.  To notice. To allow our sense of smell to open the world and ourselves to us in ways we don’t normally acknowledge.

I am a sniffer anyway.  Smell is pretty important in my life and I avoid the smells I don’t like.  Which has me thinking…

Of course it’s smart to walk away from stink.

But if things do stink – must I walk away? Is that my only option?

And if it smells heavenly – like my ocean breeze, like my puppies fur in my face, like my grandchild’s lovely skin at my side – how do I respond?

MY PRACTICE – To notice the smell, to notice my reaction, and to ask “what then?”

Wild Elephants and Goldenzen

I know – she is not wild. She and I looked at each other through the fence at the zoo.

WHAT THEN – is a tool I use for awareness – to take me beyond just the notice…Which is tough enough in our busy lives, but to say -” what then…is there more, does this connect, am I directed”?

Almost every time my “What Then” leads to gratitude for something, which keeps me young, soulful, vibrant, alive and radiant.    Sometimes “what then” leads to action that I would not have taken had I not noticed and listened.

I offer this to all who train wild elephants.

PS  Notes on STINK.  I remember the camping trips – backpacking actually, I used to take with my husband (at the time) and my two teen kids.  We were in backcountry, and sweating like wild animals.  It was so hot and so muggy and we were hiking hard.  So STINK was inevitable.  We turned a rather smelling experience into a contest – WHO COULD STINK THE WORST at the end of the trip.  If you could have smelled the insides of our tents, you would not be my friend, on Facebook, or anywhere else.  Your instincts would have said RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!   Such a silly thing, and yet, a treasured memory.

So the question begs itself – should I always run when it stinks?

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Video

Chimpanzee – Disney Video

I saw this video today on one of my favorite blogs The Kind Life. If you click on the video it will take you to that site and you can do a quick read on the status of these marvelous creatures. Jane Goodall is still working to change our mindsets and ignite our awareness.
My hope is that we as humans begin to evolve enough ourselves as to drop the arrogance and recognize the magic of life all around us – much of it is much more sophisticated than we think.

See You Next Week

Hi everyone!

I apologize for my non-attendence to my blog this week.  I have found myself scrambling quite a bit to catch up with what appears to be an overload of work.  I am also out of town and not able to access everything the same.

I will see you again soon I hope.

May the day greet you with peace at every sunrise and leave you with hope with each emerging star.

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

 

 

 

Stop Thinking

Stop Thinking (Guest Post by Simon O.)

Simon O from  Secret of Life, greeted me with welcome arms my very first day in blogging.  He encouraged me, helped me with my questions and has supported me ever since.  I think his actions, more than his excellent posts show that Simon has some idea of what the secret to life is really about. Based in England – he is geographically a long way from me in Vancouver BC, and yet I feel he is a part of my community.

I wanted to begin hosting guest posts and promoting the perspectives and insights of others.  Who better to have the first guest post at Goldenzen, than the guy who had the first comments to make?  I encourage you to visit  Secret of Life  and check out some of the well written and researched posts.

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Eckhart Tolle  was asked how we could gauge our spiritual development. His reply was an interesting one:

by the extent to which we have learned to stop thinking.

Not so long ago, this answer would have horrified me. If I had to stop thinking, that was it. I wouldn’t have wanted any part of spiritual development, thank you very much. I valued my brain and wanted to keep using it.

But of course, Eckhart Tolle wasn’t really suggesting that we should stop thinking entirely. Our brain is a useful tool. There are times when we need to use it. What he was talking about was stopping all the *unnecessary* thinking we do: the endless ‘mind chatter’ which is the unbidden soundtrack to our lives.

A good way to explain this is to think of computers. There are times when we need to ask our computer to do something for us: like download a file, for instance, or save some photos onto a DVD. So we make the necessary clicks of the mouse and the computer starts working away. The light on the box flashes on and off and there’s a strange sort of grinding noise which I’ve never understood. I assume that this is the cogs of the microprocessor turning round or something like that, though I don’t claim to have a deep understanding of technical matters. Anyway, a short while later, the light stops flashing, the grinding goes quiet, and the task is complete. All is well and good.

If our computer isn’t working too well, however, it sometimes starts flashing and grinding away for no apparent reason. It’s clearly working away at something or other, but nothing that *we’ve* asked it do do. The flashing and grinding seem to go on for ever, and all the things we try to do on the computer are slowed right down. It’s this sort of unnecessary background activity that our brains get up to all the time. This is the ‘mind chatter’ we’d be better off without. There’s nothing useful about it. It just gets in the way of our lives.

What is Mind Chatter?

This mind chatter is usually all about regrets of the past, fears for the future, and unnecessary judgements about things which – as Harmony would put if – are ‘none of our business‘. This is not about using our brains in any meaningful way. It’s unnecessary noise which gets in the way of us experiencing the joy of the present moment. It means that we’re stuck in our heads instead of living our lives.

But how do we lose this mental chatter? How can we lose this unhelpful habit of constant unnecessary thought?

Harmony touched on this in an earlier post, Help – I Want To Lose My Mind!  in which she encouraged us to observe our thoughts. This is a very powerful practice. It helps us to understand that we are *not* our thoughts. It is the first step to taking back control of our minds, instead of being controlled *by* them. Our mind is supposed to be our tool, not our master…

Here are a few other tips you could also try:

Focus on your breathing. This gives your mind something to occupy itself, instead of the constant ‘yammer, yammer’ of the internal chatter.

Focus on your heart centre. This can shift us away from being in our heads all the time, so it can help to quieten the mind. After all, we are not just our heads. Other parts of the body are also available.

Go out into the garden – or into nature. These are good places to focus your attention in the present moment, because there’s a lot going on to distract the mind from all that thinking: the smell of the flowers, the feel of the breeze on your face, the song of the birds…

Set an alarm (e.g. on your computer) to go off every hour and remind you to come out of your head and connect with the present moment. A good way to make this connection is to focus on any one of your senses. This might be the feel of your hands on the desk or the sounds in the room.

Perhaps you also have some tips that might help us to kick this terrible habit of thinking? Please share them with us if you do!

Here’s one more before I go. This is another idea which comes from Eckhart Tolle. Imagine you are a cat, waiting outside a mousehole. Now ask yourself this question:

“I wonder what my next thought will be….”

Simon O.

P.S. From Harmony:  I think this photo is extraordinary in portraying mind chatter.  In fact, the artist, who creates marketing materials, logos, illustrations and such can be found at Dianne Johnson

As for Simon’s blog, here are a few of the posts I have enjoyed lately:

Earth Doomed – (not quite as scarry as it sounds!)

Global Financial Crises – A Blueprint for Transformation

How Does it Feel to Win a Million

Harmony had Left the Building

Hello My Dear Readers and Guests,

I apologize for being absent for the past few weeks.  I have missed communing with you.  I have been ill, and this week, although really improving in health, I have had to spend time catching up with many client expectations.

I expect to be back on my regular posting next week and look forward to exchanging ideas and energy with each of you.  This week I will be updating all my comment sections.  I sincerely appreciate all who help the blog BE, by adding your insights and stories.

Thank you to all of you who went out of your way to contact me personally.  It is amazing the bond that builds between souls despite any geographical distances.   I am grateful to be a part of such a community.

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

Help! I Want To Lose My Mind

It’s not a request you hear everyday.  Most of us are quite happy to have our minds intact.
Why would anyone inquire about how to lose their train of thought?

There used to be a constant chatter in my head from worry, past regrets, future concerns, social injustices, sad circumstances, news reports, the state of economy, pain in my body, and the rumors of impending doom in the stock market and gas prices was out of control!  There was so much going on in my head that I was dizzy with mindless drizzle.

I needed to lose my train of thought.

LOSE YOURSELF TO FIND YOU

Losing your mind is not as insane as you may think.

When you are able to lose the mind’s chatter, you have a chance at knowing your true self, and your limitless potential. In the stillness of a seeming void, where no thoughts and persistent doubts are present, life is teeming with potentiality. Your best self resides amidst space, stillness, and silent pause.

In the active mind, the egoic discourse keeps you so preoccupied, that the unlimited you is hard to recognize.

STOP THE TRAIN – I WANT OFF!

How do we begin the conscious act of losing our mind?

Unlike the alternative, the conscious loss of thought is a choice we make to step aside and view ourselves, from outside our thoughts. You already do it at times: like when you say, ‘I thought to myself,” or “I said to myself” or better yet, “I couldn’t help but ask myself.” Who is doing the asking, and who is listening?

Why you of course.

Common signs of insanity come when people are not able to make a conscious choice to see themselves as they are, and they choose instead to allow the fear, the memories, or the hopelessness they feel to take charge of their minds.  I don’t recommend this approach.

There is a grand alternative.  The choice to begin to SLOW down the machine in your skull, to BEGIN to observe it’s constant chatter, to LISTEN to the sounds of silence that occasionally occur throughout the day, and LET GO of the need to do all this perfectly or in any order or within a given time frame.

YOU MAY BE SURPRISED

The state of conscious freedom is spontaneous for some.  I have only known a couple of people who seemed to transform “overnight.”  The majority of folks “awaken” slowly, like a hibernating bear in her cave.  As we begin the journey from here to a healthy state of MINDLESSNESS, I urge you to practice non-judgment towards yourself. What you will hear in your head, and the words you’ll feel exiting your lips, will utterly surprise and amaze you.  You will begin to understand how close to insanity you have been for so long; insanity of course meaning a life that doesn’t make much sense.

 

EVERY JOURNEY BEGING WITH THE FIRST STEP

So how do you begin?

My suggestion for this week is two simple observations:

1. Stop often.  Stop and pay attention to what you are thinking.  When you are driving to work, looking at a website, changing the sheets on the bed, reading your child a story at bedtime, or getting the oil changed on the car.  Simply stop and pay attention.  The person who pays attention, is noticing the thoughts of the mind.  The person, who pays attention is beyond thought. For now, if you can experience this observation for once or twice a day and do that for the next week, something interesting will become obvious to you.  Please come back and share it in the comments if you like.
2. Notice only.  No judgments allowed.  This week is a time for tuning into the endless chatter channel in your brain.  The very act of noticing is a phase of awareness to be honored and appreciated.  If you allow yourself to fall into judgment, you are practicing the unhealthy insanity that many of our homeless friends and mental patients experience.  Our objective is only to observe and appreciate the observation.  (Come back and share – we’ve all so much to learn.)

Next week, I will share with you some of the practical tips you can use to help your mind slow down and become restful.   When the mind is at ease, you are able to tap into the unlimited “void” or “space” where LIFE permeates your being and sets your soul soaring; where the idea or desire to “be happy” is utterly and abundantly possible.

In the Grace of the Moment,
Harmony

 

 

 

 

Coffee Lovers and Meditation Unite

I am a coffee nut.  I admit it.  First thing in the morning, there is nothing finer than the smell of a great coffee bean grounded and finally dripping into my coffee cup.  I drink it strong, dark and black, so I don’t need much.

But by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, I am ready to escape the noise of my business life and find another moment to myself. 

Coffee helps me escape from my surroundings, and unless I am in meeting sharing conversation with someone else, I use my “coffee time” for a midday meditation time.

People often have a difficult time finding time for meditation so I offer a few techniques I have used over the years to get the most out of my java.  (Can be performed with tea or hot chocolate too I suppose, but the question begs to be asked, “Why”?  Smile)

How to Meditate and Drink Coffee at the Same Time

1. Go it alone.  This seems obvious but to some it may be difficult.  This is not the time to chat, or to call a friend to meet you.  It’s all ready too crowded with me, myself, and I.  That is why we meditate, to still some of the chatter going on inside in our own head.
2. Go it with gratitude.  Before you leave your car, or your office, or your bedroom, begin to say “thank you”.  Imagine the coffee, the time alone and the opportunity to enjoy silence and start the “gratitude attitude” mindset in motion.
3. Go for an empty table.  It doesn’t matter how busy it is, how many people are in line, who is talking about what on their cell phone, and how many babies are screaming.  You can do this.  It is about you and your coffee, that is all there is.
4. Go for the feel of it.  Put your hand around the cup and feel the heat come through.  What does it feel like as the heat enters your hand and begins to warm your entire body?  Bring your attention to the sensation and notice.  You may find yourself feeling comfort, welcomed, nurtured or just plain sweaty.  Don’t worry about what the feeling; just pay enough attention to your hands and the cup to feel something.
5. Go for the smell.  Smell the coffee and breathe in your silence. Use the aroma as a point of reference.  Nothing else matters.  No conversation is important.  You are entering your own world of sensation and peace.  Relax with it and don’t force your feeling.  Simply notice what you do feel.

Time outYou may feel irritated, distracted, busy, hurried, bothered, or nothing at all.  All of those and more is perfectly okay.  If you practice this meditation for 2 weeks on a daily basis, either at home or at your favorite coffee hang out (or at a new one you choose for this experiment), you will soon experience much more presence and much less distractions.

6. Go for the taste.  Stop and notice the feel of the heat on your lips, your tongue, and your entire mouth.  Notice the taste you often take for granted.  Be present to the feeling you have as you sip your java.  Have you escaped for a few moments from pressure?  This is your time after all to quiet yourself.
7. Go for a few long breaths.  Notice yourself having a sip, swallowing and then sitting back with a large, slow inhalation and slow, thoughtless exhalation.  Repeat this 3 or 4 times before enjoying your next sip.
8. Go for silence.  It may take you a few attempts to be able to disconnect from the noise around you, but it will take much longer to disconnect from noise inside you.  That constant barrage of words, thoughts, “should of”, scolds, checklists, fantasies etc… is a drain on your internal resources.  It is time for a 10-second break from it all.  So let your mind drift into space. 

Here is a trick I use to help me disconnect:

Focus your eyes on an object in the room or outside the room.  Stare but don’t follow any action.  Simply stare.  After about 3 or 4 seconds, your eyeballs will relax. 
(Usually, this type of focus is accompanied by a breath that is more “releasing” than normal.  You don’t need to force this breath, it just arrives on time by its’ own initiative.)
If you stay with it, everything but your focus will go slightly blurred.  And then stay, and breathe.  Make it a conscious choice to remain.  Your entire body will relax into the focus.
You don’t need to stay all day, but 30 seconds will make a remarkable impact on your state of being.

9. Go repeat numbers 4-8.  Do it as many time as you are comfortable with and finish your coffee (or not).

10. Go with gratitude.  Don’t judge the effectiveness, or how it should have been any other way.  Thank Life for what you just felt, and leave it alone, until the next time.

FINAL WORD OF CAUTION:  If you drink high caffeine laden coffee, and you drink several cups a day, try this meditation early in the day, before your entire nervous system is whacked! (smile)

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

PS The photo is taken from an article I feel is only appropriate to recommend to my readers who enjoy coffee, with or without meditation.  Visit Carson Valley Vitality for an interesting medical observation of coffee. 

Do you think this article is worth a read?  Do you DIGG it?

 

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