Tag Archive: meditation


Xmastree

So what does Christmas mean in “Western Culture” to a non practicing Christian? or perhaps a Buddhist or Atheist? Hmmm… maybe I should rephrase that: What does Christmas mean to me; a guy raised in a Christian household but his suffering and wisdom understood with more clarity and insight through eastern philosophy.  A person who is more spiritual than religious? I meditate daily, watch my Karma and really have no internal or external connection to western based religious dogma. I am not a proponent of organized faith but Buddhism does speak to me…

From an American perspective, what is this thing we call Christmas? It is a beast bigger than all of us and the religion that once defined it. We see advertising for it in October.  Some want the Christ back in Christmas! I guess I don’t blame them… Though I have seen a lot of hypocrisy lately with this notion. Something about Syrian refugees; the religious and political right and the fact Baby Jesus and Mother Mary were middle eastern refugees taken in from the cold on a clear night with the North Star sparkling above – or some sort of contradiction like that… It seems Christmas is more commercial than Christian or Catholic. Most of the big retail corporations only want your money in their coffers playing on our emotions and credit cards with heartwarming commercials and subliminal advertising… In the aftermath of Christmas you have reports of holiday heart and reports about whether Christmas was successful from a financial bottom line and not spiritual bottom line. You have got Santa competing against Jesus and Target competing against Walmart. It’s like Holiday Thunderdome out there in the streets! It is a stressful time of year and I think a lot of us caught in the cross fire are thankful when it is all over.

…still, you know what? I love Christmas! uh.. from the commercial side that is.. well, let me rephrase that: I think I am into Christmas for 50% pretty lights and presents and 50% for the holiday idea that it is good to give… .001% for it actually being Jesus’ birthday. My birthday is the day after and it is actually common historical knowledge that Emperor Constantine changed Jesus’ birthday to December 25th at the 300 AD Council of Nicaea – Historically he may be an autumn baby but who knows. What I do know is my birthday is the 26th and it is probably the worst time in the world to have a birthday. I am still damaged from my childhood. There is a lawsuit pending…. But I digress…..

So what do I love about Christmas? I do love the twinkling little lights, the decorations and yes, the food! I love how everyone is in a good mood and people give like no other season. The energy is alive and flowing during Christmas and there is something special about that moment when the dawn illuminates freshly fallen snow and the unmistakable glisten of excitement we see in the eyes of our children. For a moment it seems like everything is perfect in the world. I even like Christmas songs.. even the religious ones like “Silent Night”

Do I thank Jesus for that good Christmas feeling or Amazon.com?

Yes, my family celebrates Christmas. We strings lights, hang holly and buy our friends and family gifts. Still, Christmas for me is not about religious dogma. It is about winter solstice, light, energy and love. More pagan in nature I suppose… Winter is part of the celebration of the Mandala of life. In autumn we see the trees turn as fall takes the hand of summer. Then it is winter that casts its cold gaze over our world. Yet, there is faith that spring will come yet again. Yes, for me, Christmas and New Years is a time to celebrate our lives, be reverent,  to give and center ourselves in the energy of illumination, love and wisdom. A celebration of the past, present and yes… the future!

My Birthday is the day after so do not get mad if I say Happy Holidays to you all!

Ah, hell with it…. Merry Christmas!

image credit: playbuzz.com

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

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barefoot

The quieter you become, the more you can hear…

– Ram Dass

It’s a simple enough quote right? But what does it really mean?  Of course there is the literal meaning: When you are quiet you can hear others talk; like when my beautiful wife tells me to shut up so she can get a word in edgewise (just kidding  …. not really).

But is there a deeper meaning? What was meditation and Buddhist guru Ram Dass really implying?

The general goal of mindfulness and self-discovery is to quiet the endless parade of thoughts that march through our minds almost incessantly. Have you ever just stopped what you are doing and focused on the mind and its endless procession of thoughts? Try it sometime, there is a lot going on up there! This is how the mind works, but there is a drawback to this natural process. Most of our errant thoughts are rooted in the past and future – thoughts of fear, fantasy, frustration, envy and regret. Rarely are we completely rooted in the present moment. As Eckhart Tolle says – “The Power of Now”.

During mindfulness and meditation, when we are capable of slowing our thoughts down to more of a trickle instead of a river of chaos; there is something unique and special found within the gaps of thoughts. That’s right, within the gaps of thoughts. Pay close, special attention to your thoughts. Focus on the start of one thought and look for the gap when one thought ends and drifts off and another materializes. At first it is almost instantaneous with little or no gap. With the right mindfulness and concentration there is a distinguishable gap between thoughts.

What is the big deal? Well, that is where the magic lies. There in the quiet little reprises between our ego driven thought processes sits the answers to life’s biggest quandaries.  It is there in the silence between thoughts that our True Nature wells. There within the gaps of thoughts sits silence – a level of acute clarity, awareness and responsiveness. As Eckhart Tolle has famously said – “Stillness Speaks”, and it is there in the silence between thoughts that your true heart wish emanates. It is there in the silence that wisdom and energy arises – healing, intuitive and blissful.

So, the more quiet you become, the more you can hear. It is there in the gaps of thoughts that we find our true-self; sans of ego and the pressures and control patterns of societal immersion. It is there in the silence that we find this beautiful connection to the Responsive Universe.

What if we could stretch those gaps within thoughts? What if we could live within them? There lies the goal of Self-Discovery. The quieter you become, the more you can hear…

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

Meditation Part V

The Responsive Universe

We can take meditation much further in an effort to evolve and root our being within this amazing Responsive Universe. We have within our ability the power to manifest our own creative reality. Those that are mindful of the present now realize that our True Nature is unwavering and something we can always rely on. Our True Nature is the environment from which the instinctual energy of the Universe and God vibrates across an electromagnetic field of pulses. We are interconnected to this field of energy through body and mind.  Knowing this, we can be confident that the world is ours to possess because we are intimately connected to it. We do not need to rely on religious trappings and blind faith. Everything we need is already inside us; it just takes time and effort to reveal these truths. As discussed in the Seventh Mandala (Responsive Universe), we have the ability to…

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The Responsive Universe

We continue with the Art of Meditation – Below is a list of our previous meditation threads…

Meditation Part I.

Meditation Part II.

Meditation Part III.

We just discussed Set and Setting for a successful meditation session. Please keep in mind that though I outlined a rather detailed process for meditation, there really are no rules when it comes to mindfulness. In essence, anything goes as long as you find your mind rooted in the moment away from fear and fantasy, past and future. When you are mindful of the present you are meditating in some facet – you are evolving and centering yourself in a Responsive Universe. Any mindfulness is meditation and even one minute of mindfulness is better than an hour of mindless brain chatter.

Deepening and Appreciation

With any meditative session, you will begin with your set and focus to get comfortable and concentrate on your breathing…

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The Responsive Universe

I have been discussing a more intimate approach to meditation here on WordPress.  Meditation or mindfulness is the key to self-evolution from a spiritual and personal level which is why I am spending so much time on the subject this week. To be mindful of the present, sans of ego is where the true magic arises. It is within those gaps of ego driven thoughts that reveals the wisdom, love and energy that is our True Nature. Earlier, we began with Meditation Part I. and Meditation Part II., where we discussed mindfulness as tool for self-actualization.  A good step forward is to label all the incessant thoughts that careen through our heads as guests: Treat them all neutral and do not get frustrated by the endless trail of thoughts; in fact, find amazement in how intricate and vast the mind is and find faith and energy that you are the master of this domain.  There are three areas…

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The Responsive Universe

In Meditation Part I. we briefly discussed “daily life practice”. The objective was to become more aware of your thoughts, label them as guests and be more mindful of the present. Seems easy enough right? If you are reading this blog entry then there is a pretty good chance you have tried meditation before. I can certainly recall my first meditation attempts: A train wreck is probably the best description. One would think finding time to self-actualize would be the most difficult facet of meditation. With such busy lives, when can we find time to meditate? Others may think that the most difficult part of meditation is sitting in one spot for an extended period of time. Truthfully, the most challenging part of meditation is fielding all the thoughts that parade through our heads at any given point. Sure your first meditation seems to start off well: You feel mindful and…

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The Responsive Universe

The art of meditation is a lifestyle tool that helps one calm the mind and sharpen our clarity from within. Meditation allows us to slow and impede the incessant thoughts that ripple through our brains and find that inner realm that resides just below the surface of our ego. There is a shift in perspective and mindfulness that leaves the static of this “material world” we live in behind and thus allows us to disembark on a journey inward and outward all in the same breath – thus connecting to our true nature. There are no boundaries when we discuss the concept of true nature, much like there are no boundaries within this vast cosmos that is everything. All that is matter and energy has no edge or periphery. When we consider the mind, the same notion seems to hold true. Just as we can quantify the vastness of our…

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Mindfulness in Kauai….

kokee

The perfect hike in the back country of Kauai…

Hikes are a great way to be mindful and present in the moment at hand…

What is it about water?

In this case the Pacific Ocean… There is something tranquil about

sitting and staring at the sea… A great place to meditate!

sunset7

My favorite time of day is at sunset…

There is something about the color, energy and beauty of a sunset that makes

dusk the perfect time of day to meditate and be mindful…

Please visit www.johncbader.com for more images

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

mandalaIs it suffering and tremendous emotional pain that unknowingly thrusts those solemn few on to the path that is the Heroes Journey? What is it that motivates us to follow our Bliss? When you look at the world that surrounds us, I suspect the Heroes Journey is a gift that everyone receives; but few disembark on… I could be wrong, but I would imagine it takes some cultivated levels of mindfulness and awareness to see the signs; to walk the hero’s path; to accept the gifts of this Responsive Universe. The Hero’s Journey for me was acknowledging and then confronting my ego facilities; thus connecting to this sublime notion of True Nature… But my journey did not begin there… An abusive childhood may have been the beginning point. Low self-esteem, Attention Deficit Disorder, addiction and most definitely the bludgeoning defeat that brought my suffering full circle: The late-term, still-born loss of my first-born and namesake – truly a devastating day and a defining time in my life that saw me reach rock bottom both inward and outward. It seems as we age and mature our soul becomes calloused by the layers of ego and societal immersion. We tend to be defined by society and by our successes and failures. The cold, stark walls of that hospital continue to be a grim reminder of that awful day I lost my boy. And yet while holding my lifeless child in my arms that fateful day; it may have been that moment that I unknowingly began my own Hero’s Journey.

I recall a quote from Joseph Campbell: ““We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” Ironically for me, surrendering to life instead of fighting against it became the veering path I eventually chose. It was several months later that something unique happened that changed my life forever. After the loss of my son and after weeks of depression, sadness and self-loathing, the sun came out and showered me with the warmth of wisdom and spiritual illumination; a stark difference to the wintery, cold grip that previously enveloped my life. The sky looked bluer, the clouds seemed whiter. The trees and plants all seemed brighter and more colorful. My thoughts were clear and concise; my mind boundless; my challenges and suffering palatable. It was if I had poor vision all my life and suddenly began to see clearly for the first time. I experienced an awakening – I stumbled upon the concept of awareness and space and how it related to me, my life and surroundings, my hardships and my place within this Universe – my intrinsic connection to this Universe. This source of empowerment was not of religious origin. I knew immediate it was a much bigger picture: A vast boundless world of energy, vibration, love, wisdom and connection. In fact, religious dogma began to look very weighted and dogmatic. Thus began the process of deconstructing my belief systems and living life with an open mind.  My Hero’s Journey evolved as I allowed more space, clarity and responsiveness into my life. I no longer blamed myself for the loss of my son. I no longer blamed God or the Universe. I redefined God and the Universe…. I no longer blindly demanded answers for life’s mediocrity. For a brief moment, I saw myself connected to every atom in the Universe – a part of something so vast and immense it boggled the imagination. My fear dissolved and an illuminated path revealed itself to me. It was my True Nature… The concept of True Nature is the intrinsic, immortal potential for reaching enlightenment that exists within the mind of every sentient being. Its source and energy are born from the Cosmos. True Nature is your transcendent link to the Universe. It is everything that exists and when you consider everything that exists you must consider yourself part of that equation; connected and purposeful.

I discovered that True Nature is the opposite of ego. True Nature is everything left behind when you are egoless. Imagine stripping away negativity, evil, fear, guilt narcissism and jealousy (all ego facilities) – what are you left with? Only love, wisdom and positive energy – the heartbeat of existence. Mythologist Joseph Campbell once said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls”. Following my bliss involved accentuating mindfulness and self-discovery. Through meditation and daily life practice I became acutely aware of my ego and what reinforced its maligned energy on my actions and reactions. Through synchronicity and awareness, I began looking for the signs and genuine thoughts and epiphanies that shifted my mainstream perceptions away from the majority. There is a price to pay to society while on this Hero’s Journey – I have found that as I walk uphill most people that surround me are walking downhill. Yet, there is an acute awareness that my path is noble and genuine. By centering myself in the moment, I took the necessary steps to act and react with unadulterated empowerment.

My Hero’s Journey is not always a perfect sunset. Life can be messy. I will make mistakes and from failure will come triumph and wisdom. The key to this journey is always stepping forward and never backward. No matter how small the step, I will continue my Hero’s Journey with karma, clarity and my center of being aligned as best as possible with my True Nature. I have confidence the Responsive Universe will take care of the rest….

John C. Bader

John C. Bader is a wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

jupiter2How vast is the mind? When we conjure up huge distances in the mind our brain seems border-less in its periphery. Take our own solar system with its planets: Within the mind we can visualize the red planet Mars as we whiz by in our thoughts. Seconds later we pass Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System. To the left is an image of Jupiter I took from the backyard using my telescope. Jupiter alone is over 628 million miles from Earth! Soon we reach the rings of Saturn and the icy blue reaches of Uranus and Neptune.  We can visualize what it might be like on planets orbiting other stars in the night sky – some millions of light years away. When we look through a large enough telescope we can see other Galaxies, different from our own – some hundreds of billions of miles from Earth. Then there are the galaxies and deep space objects we can’t see – their light so ancient its energy and vibration has yet to reach Earth. How is it possible to conjure up such vast distances within the mind? How big is the mind and does it have a border? What is a thought? Where do thoughts arise and where do they go?

These are things worth contemplating….

What about the inner world of sub atomic physics. A single cell’s nucleus mirrors that of a planet orbiting afar: Electrons orbiting the protons and neutrons like moons orbiting a host planet. Each cell nucleus spaced like planets and stars across the vast and intricate structure of the human brain. Over 100 billion cells dotting the night sky of the brain – vast, border-less, and possibly infinite…

How do we fit in all this…? The Universe with its myriad of star laden galaxies and the sub atomic Universe infinite in its structure…  There isn’t just the Universe and then us – something detached and separate… In order to understand the Universe in simple terms we need to consider ourselves part of the equation. The same can be said for the sub atomic world within. Just the act of observing microscopic particles changes their result. We are part of the result. We are part of the Universe. There is not one and then the other. We need to consider ourselves part of something so vast it transcends earthly dogma. So vast and connected that anything is possible because within the Responsive Universe there are infinite possibilities.

Do you want to learn more about our connection to the Responsive Universe?

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

Now Available: Amazon    Barnes & Noble

The Responsive Universe on Facebook

John C. Bader on Twitter

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