Saturday, September 4, 2010

An Easy Start to Tarot

An Easy Start to Tarot by H.P. Thomas Moore

I see many people that are interested in the Tarot and learning to read the Tarot. However many people give up right away thinking that it is too difficult to memorize all of the card meanings in order to interpret them. What I would like to do here is to give you a quick and easy way to learn to read the Tarot using keywords that are easy to remember and string together. I will go over both the Major and Minor Arcana Cards in both upright and reversed positions. After you are done with this article you will be able to do a straight and accurate Tarot reading without having to memorize many different phrases for each card. Don’t forget that if you want to add any psychic information that you get do that in your readings! I am giving you the meanings and the way that I know the Tarot, though it may differ from what you have learned it is always good to see it from a different point of view so that you can better find a way that suits to your personal needs as a Tarot reader.

Minor Arcana Cards:

The Minor Arcana cards are all of the cards in the Tarot deck that are numbered only. They usually follow suits such as Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. The numbers go from 2 to 10 in each suit. Each Card has its own personal meaning, and though they are important there is no need to worry yourself with it right away. Sometime down the line it will be good to learn but what we are doing here is teaching you an easy way to start reading Tarot so we are going to forget about that for now. Instead let’s begin with a focus on the numbers.

All Tarot cards are numbered. If any of you are familiar with Numerology you know that each number has a meaning to it. The number meanings are the first step in helping to read the Tarot. In numerology we add numbers together until we are left with a single digit. It is that single digit that we interpret, that is unless it is a double number that is the same like 11, 22,33,44,55 etc. If it is a number like that it is first interpreted in its double form and then broken to a single form and interpreted as a single digit. What will follow are each number in Numerology 1-9 as well as some doubles for extra fun. I am going to use 1 keyword for each number. The reason that I use 1 keyword is that when you begin to read the cards you are going to remember that 1 word and then use word association in order to pull other information from that keyword. It is the word association from the one keyword that makes this method so easy and fun to start with instead of all of that memorizing. This way you can begin to interpret the cards using your own feelings and wording for each and it will be easier to remember for you as the individual reader.

1: New Beginnings
2: Balance
3: Expansion
4: Foundation
5: Change
6: Responsibility
7: Organization/ Spirituality
8: Material
9: Endings

11: Master of manifestation

22: Master of Equality

33: Master of Knowledge

Each number has one meaning for you to work with so write all that down for now and we are going to move on. I promise you that it is all going to come together in the end!

Now that we know the numbers I want to talk a bout the suits of the cards. Pentacles, Swords, Cups and Wands. Each of these suits carries a lot of information on their own and is very rarely harnessed in the beginning. Each have an element that it is associated with, that element can be interpreted to give information. In addition to that, they also work with particular astrological signs that can be interpreted as well.


Element: Air – Keyword: Communication- Signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini , Winter


Element: Earth- Keyword: Material/Spiritual- Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, Fall


Element: Fire- Keyword: Action/Physical- Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Summer


Element: Water – Keyword: Emotions- Signs: Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio, Spring

With just these simple understandings you can already begin to interpret the Minor Arcana cards! Don’t believe me? By looking at all that we have learned so far lets look at a card:

If we look at the “ 2 of cups” what can you tell about the card already?

1: Cups represent water that talks about emotions
2: the number 2 talks about balance

So string it together and see what happens: the “2 of cups” talks about balancing the emotions! Now here is where the word association comes in, see what other words that you can think of that talk about emotions and balance and string them together with the original interpretation that I gave here…………………see easier than you thought right!

With all of that you already have a base understanding on how to read all of the Minor Arcana cards of the Tarot. This means that you can take all of the Minor cards and do a reading with them using all of the information that we just went through. As I said before as well if you want to at some point look further into the cards then you can get the definitions of each and go even deeper into the reading. This is a good start off point and it being so fun and easy will really allow you to experience the Tarot more fluidly. Now I said that I was going to go over reverse meanings as well so here it goes. If a card comes up reversed, it has the same meaning as it does upright only it is manifesting slower than normal. So you give the same meaning and tell the person that you are reading that it is manifesting slower. Also it is good to know that the Minor Arcana represent all of the day to day things in our lives. You can also look at the full reading once it is done and see what suits have more than others. If you have more cups than other suits then the person is working on emotional situations, more wands then it is more physical. Swords they are focusing more on mental and communication, pentacles focus more on material things or spirituality.

Major Arcana Cards:

The Major Arcana are the cards that have writing on them. Everything from The Fool to the Aces and the Court Cards are part of the Major Arcana. We already know about the numbers and the suits so we already have the Aces figured out! Aces are the number 1 of each suit that means they are new beginnings. The type of new beginning depends on the suit; wands for example would be physical new beginnings.

At this point I’m sure that you are thinking that the reading that you are going to be doing will be pretty general, and you’re right. When you are first learning the Tarot the readings are bound to be general, but as you choose to learn more and add your intuitive information to it they are going to be more and more specific as time goes on! Let’s continue on now and talk about the Court Cards of the Tarot.

The Court Cards are the people cards in the deck, Knights, Pages, Kings and Queens of each suit. These cards literally represent people! By knowing the sign of each suit you can even tell what signs that person may be. The King of Swords for instance is going to be a man that is a Libra, Aquarius, or Gemini. Kings represent men that are usually adult males, Queens are adult females, Knights are young adult males sometimes teens, Pages are children and can be male or female. There is usually not a card for young adult females and this is mainly because females tend to mature faster than men, so there is no need for a female young adult card. Now you know not only the Aces and the Minor Arcana but the Court Cards as well!

Now we are going to go into the other Major Arcana cards. This is usually where people get a little freaked out because of the memorizing but you already have some information on them because you know the numbers so what I am going to do here is list the cards as well as 1 keyword for each, then using your powers of word association you can string together other words in order to interpret the cards more fully, then after that you will have a solid base understanding on reading the Tarot Cards!

0 The Fool: New Beginnings

1 The Magician: New Beginnings

2: The High Priestess: Secret Knowledge

3: The Empress: Nurturing

4: The Emperor: Stability

5: The Hierophant: Religion/Spirituality

6: The Lovers: Choices

7: The Chariot: Travel

8: Strength: Courage/Strength

9: The Hermit: Guidance

10: The Wheel of Fortune: Cycles

11: Justice: Harmony/Law

12: The Hanged Man: Objectiveness

13: Death: Change

14: Temperance: Healing

15: The Devil: Bondage

16: The Tower: Rebuilding

17: The Star: Optimism

18: The Moon: Reflection

19: The Sun: Vitality

20: Judgment: Understanding

21: The World: Success

Now you know all of the Tarot Cards and can begin to do a reading based on what you have learned in this article. After you have practiced with this for a while go out to your locally owned bookstore and find yourself a book on Tarot and begin to learn dome of the deeper meanings of the cards as well as the symbolism that they possess. After that you will be able to do very accurate readings and you will open your intuitive abilities as well so that information can come from your psychic side too!

Rev. Thomas Moore is High Priest of The Coven of L.I.G.H.T in South West Florida, as well as a professional Psychic and Healer. He teaches a variety of metaphysical classes as well as working as Store Manager for Starchild Books in Port Charlotte Florida.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Fascinating History Of Tarot And Tarot Reading

A Fascinating History Of Tarot And Tarot Reading by Cucan Pemo

Most of what I'm going to lecture from come from Cynthia Giles' book: The Tarot, History, Mystery and Lore and some other resources.

The origins of the Tarot have been attributed a wide range of wacky sources – paleolithic cave paintings, gypsy folk lore, Moroccan mystics and even gifts from space aliens to Egyptian priests!. Most of these stories are, of course, speculation of the wildest, most ridiculous kind, and only serve to muddy the waters when it comes to understanding the Tarot. If you’re going to use the cards, it’s important to understand where they come from – so that you know their rich history, their potential and their value – and not put faith in silly urban legends.

Tarot on parade

The first mention of the cards was in Italy in the 14th century, called “Tarocco” and used for games – and already, authorities were lecturing against its use. The first known deck was made for the Vicsconzi-Sforza family of Milan, designed by the artist Bembo. According to Tarot expert Gertrude Moakley, the various characters illustrated in the major arcana represented the triomfi, or parade, that accompanied Italian celebrations.

Historians believe that there may have been other cards that existed to represent other characters but have disappeared over time. Few decks of Tarot cards exist for those early days, but there’s enough similarity in artwork to make it clear that the deck was in common use in that time. Some historians believe that the Tarot was originally only used as a gaming deck – to play a game called tarocchi – until occultists began using them for divination.

Taking Europe by storm

The next big milestone in Tarot’s history came in the late 1700's when Court de Gebelen, a member of a secret society of occultists, came across the a game of tarocchi and became obsessed with the cards. He believed them to be imbued with important symbolism which he attributed to ancient Egyptian lore. De Geblen wrote a nine-volume treatise titled "Le Monde Primitif" in which he discussed the meanings of the Tarot. That he attributed the Tarot’s symbolism to the Egyptian’s was based less on any real fact than on the fascination that Europeans had with Egypt at that time, believing it to be the center of all of man’s early wisdom. Use of the cards for divination spread during that time, with a book by a man named Etteilla in 1783, in which he offered his interpretations of the cards. In fact, professional mystics began using the Tarot throughout Europe, although there was no consensus of what the cards actually meant.

The mystical background of the Tarot

Card readings have long been associated with Gypsies, although they certainly weren’t responsible for their creation. For hundreds of years, Gypsies made their way across the world, living by their wits and earning a living by any skills that they could market. Gypsies were exotic, feared and looked down on, but there was an aura of romance about them that caught the imagination of Europeans in the 1800's. A book was published towards the end of the century called “The Tarot of the Bohemians,” attributing the Tarot to the Gypsies (who Europeans commonly believed came from Egypt). Interestingly, Gypsies used regular playing cards for divination – not the Tarot.

In the 19th century, the famed mystic Eliphas Levi Zahed (whose real name was Alphonse Louis Constant) connected the Taror with Hebrew mysticism – the Kabbalah. He saw the Tarot as a key to life, a tool that man can use to develop himself as a human being, as a way to grow so that he might find heaven. His work outlined 22 connections to the tarot major arcana, making it a tool to be used on the path to enlightenment.

The modern Tarot deck was most influenced by the cards used in the late 1800's by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The order was founded in England by three men who, according to lore, found an old secret manuscript written in code, deciphered it as the by-laws of a secret German society, and received permission to start their own group in England. Years later, the woman who gave them permission died, and the German members disavowed the British branch, saying they never got permission after all.

The modern Tarot is born

Despite its contentious beginnings, the Golden Dawn became a very influential group, with two members in particular doing a great deal to spread the popularity of occultism – Aleister Crowley and Arthur Edward Waite. Crowley, a protégé of the Golden Dawn founders in England, created a Tarot called the Book of Thoth. Waite created the Tarot deck that’s most familiar to modern users. Working with an American artist named Pamela Coleman Smith, Waite used a storytelling theme, utilizing characters from myth, legend and religion, allocating a group of symbols to each card that gives them unique meaning. His Tarot formed the foundation on which most decks that followed were based.

The next milestone in the Tarot’s history came in the 1920's, when a Golden Dawn member named Paul Foster Case started a group in Los Angeles called Builders of the Adytum (BOTA). The BOTA deck is in black and white, created so that the owner could color the drawings themselves (it was a tradition in the Golden Dawn that each member had to make their own deck as part of their training). The group offers Tarot training to this day, although their interpretations of the cards are disputed by many divination experts.

Today, there are countless versions of the Crowley / Waite Tarot available, some with magnificent artwork, others less impressive. Whatever your choice of deck, using the Tarot as a divination tool is a personal experience, one that’s origins reach far back in history. Hopefully, knowing the background of this ancient art will enhance your connection to the cards, and to your own readings.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Origins And History Of The Tarot

Origins And History Of The Tarot by Sally Jordonia

The origins of the Tarot are surrounded with myth and lore. It is hard to know for sure what the facts are. The Tarot has been thought to come from places like India, Egypt, China and Morocco. Others say the Tarot was brought to us from the Sufis or the Jewish Cabbalists. Still others contend that the origin of the tarot was from Moses. In the library of Alexandria, in Egypt, there were scrolls that were based on the Book of Thoth, an ancient book that came from Egypt’s mystery schools. One theory is that the illustrations on the Tarot cards are secret teachings of the Book of Thoth hidden in the innocent pictures.

It seems that wherever there was a secret ‘word of mouth’ tradition handed down from teacher to pupil, it was hailed as the origin or beginning of Tarot. A large group believed it was the Gypsies who brought the tarot to Europe, the word gypsy being a corrupted version of Egyptian. That is highly unlikely, since evidence points to gypsies not using Tarot until the 20th century. Before that, palmistry was their preferred method of fortune telling.

The Historical Evidence Behind the Origins of the Tarot

It seems the only evidence there is to the origins of the Tarot can be found in the cards that were made in Italy, around 1420. The symbolism of the trumps can be found in the European art of the time, with some drawings being exactly the likeness of those found on Tarot cards.

History tells us that a scholar named Marziano da Torona, who was secretary to the Duke of Milan, may have invented the Tarot deck. Marziano was a scholar and an expert astrologer. The young duke, Filippo Maria Visconti instructed Marziano to create a game, using a deck that would replace the common suits of swords, coins, staves and cups. The duke wanted the new deck to have cards that represented virtues, riches, pleasures and purities. Marziano went on to create the card deck that Visconti wanted. He wrote a companion book to go with the deck of cards. It is on display in the Paris National library. In the book, there are no divine meanings to the cards, but no real rules for a card game, either. The book focuses on the symbolic meaning of the pictures and the different ranks of the depicted characters. Michelino da Besozzo is the Italian artist credited with painting the cards.

Is it plausible that the origins of the Tarot as the curious card game invented by Marziano da Torona? If so, why doesn’t the book that accompanied the deck refer to the divination of the cards?

The Mystery Continues About The Origins of the Tarot

Where did the word Tarot come from? It has been called a Hebrew, Latin or Egyptian word. Is the word Tarot really an anagram, which when solved explains the mystery of the cards? Once again, the historical evidence of the origins of the word points to where the cards first appeared - in Italy. The cards were called Carte da trionfi, which is Italian for “cards of the triumphs”. Later, a new card game was introduced, called Trumps or Triumphs. As it was played with different cards, the original Carte da trionfi became tarocco. In French they were called tarot.

What are these cards that are shrouded in mysterious beginnings used for? Are they good or evil? The Tarot is basically a set of symbols, which are printed on a pack of 78 cards. Regular playing cards have hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds as suits. Tarot cards have different suits, with meanings. The Wands (also known as staves or rods) point to creativity and energy. There are the Cups (or vessels), relating to emotions and friends; Swords cover the area of challenge and thought; the Pentacles (coins or disks) relate to money and security. The cards are placed in a particular pattern. A Tarot reader uses the cards as an oracle that can answer questions from the past, present or future.

The philosophy behind the Tarot is that the future is subject to change. If you are given enough notice, you can avoid the event you are being warned about. The Tarot makes you think, make you take steps that you might not have considered. When you ask a question of the Tarot that relates to the future, you’ll be shown what will happen if you don’t change anything. Many consider the Tarot cards as more of a counselling guide than a divining tool. Tarot readings can provide flashes of inspiration where otherwise the problems the person may be facing may seem insurmountable.

Do the cards that are used today, all over the world come from the deck Marziano da Torona created in the 1400’s? Is the reason the origins of the Tarot are so shrouded in mystery owing to Anima Mundi? The Anima Mundi or soul of the world is seen as the vital force that presides over the growth and continuity of all living things. Like a Universal library, it contains the entire human races’ memories and wisdom from the past, present and future. It can be summoned with deep thought. Imagine all the basic figures one could find in all religions, myths, legends and folklore. When combined, this wealth of knowledge is a powerhouse. To understand this more one can look at the Empress card of the Tarot. The very essence of femininity is represented in the Empress - she is the great mother Goddess of the world. She represents ‘the eternal feminine’, in myth and psychology. Does working with the images of the Tarot somehow allow our unconscious to connect with that human collectiveness? Does the Tarot become a porthole to the storehouse of answers to any question any of us has ever had? Perhaps it is because of the mystical Anima Mundi that we can’t pinpoint the origin of the Tarot with certainty.

We may never really know the true history or the origins of the Tarot. Nevertheless, we continue to be attracted to the Tarot’s wisdom, symbols and story.

About the Author: Name: Sally Jordonia Website: Biography: Sally writes for Tarot Lines - providers of live tarot readings.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beginning Meditation

Beginning Meditation by Howard VanEs

In its’ simplest description, meditation can be described as a process of quieting your mind so that you can come into contact with quiet and peace that is always available to you inside.

A regular practice of meditation offers many benefits including: overall stress reduction, activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response), clearer thinking, more creative thinking, helps to quiet the mind, fosters an increased sense of peace and contentment, helps to balance the emotions, provides a connection to your Spirit. An ongoing practice of meditation also helps to provide a context for observing thinking patterns and emotions as well as an opportunity to cultivate peace and relaxation. Hundreds of modern research studies now confirm what the yogis new 5000 years ago!

There are various ways to meditate and they usually involve as point of focus such as your breath, a mantra or visualization. A variety of techniques are explained below.

Before you try them there are a few guidelines that are helpful to be aware of. The first has to do with time and place. It is ideal to meditate at the same time and the same place each time you meditate. In this way you create an association of meditating and peacefulness with the space you have chosen. Each time you come back to this space, you will anticipate the experience of meditation. Additionally, by using the same time and space, you will be developing a habit. This is important to nurture as the consistency of your practice is most important, even if it is just ten minutes a day. Dawn and dusk are traditional times to meditate, but anytime can work. Begin with ten to twenty minutes and work up to forty-five minutes if possible.

Another consideration regarding time is knowing when to stop. Some people just let their inner clock guide them while others prefer to use and alarm clock so they don’t have to be concerned about the time. If you practice regularly, you will most likely find that your sense of time becomes exquisite, and you will automatically know when it is time to stop meditating.

A comfortable and stable sitting position is also important. The classic meditation posture is the lotus position. The reason for this is that is quite stable and the spine held erect. However most people in the West are not comfortable in this position. The truth is that any stable seated posture can work – even sitting in a chair. Placing a folded blanket or meditation cushion under your sitz bones also makes sitting more comfortable. Some people find that their back muscles aren’t strong enough and begin to ache when they sit in one position for more than a few minutes. If this is happening to you then sit near a wall and when you feel you can no longer hold your back upright comfortably then move against the wall and you will get the support you need. Whichever way you chose to sit just make sure it is stable, comfortable, and that your head neck and spine are in one line, and erect.

As you begin meditate it is common to have any or all of the following experiences:
1.You mind wonders. This is quite natural and expected. Just bring yourself back to your point of focus.
2.You are not sure if you are doing it right. You are most likely doing it right. Meditation is pretty simple to do – more challenging to stay with.
3.You will have memories, images or thoughts that you may have not thought about in years. Just acknowledge them and bring your awareness back to your point of focus.
4.You start to analyze yourself. Remember this is a time for meditation not for psychotherapy. Analyze later, meditate now.
5.You have certain revelations. Again, acknowledge these and then bring yourself back to your point of focus.
6.A body part is sore or itchy. The first time you feel something in your body, just acknowledge it and bring your awarness back to your point of focus. Often, it will go away. If it continues to irritate you then change your body positions.

Meditation Techniques

Below are two classic meditation techniques. Feel free to try both and see which works best for you. Ideally you will want to start with ten to twenty minutes and overtime you can work up to forty-five minutes if you like. A daily practice yields the most benefit and progress. It is better to practice for fifteen minutes every day than to practice for one hour once a week.Your mind is like any other muscle - the more your exercise it the stronger it becomes!

Focusing on a sound or mantra

In this method a sound or “mantra” is repeated over and over and over again, either silently or outloud. The mantra becomes a point of focus or "object". A universal mantra is “Om” which is said to be the sound of creation. Another is “Ham (pronounced “hung”) “Sa” which means “I am that” - referring to spirit. Ham is said as you inhale and Sa as you exhale. The breathing is relaxed and easy through your nostrils Just keep bringing your awarness back to the mantra as you find your mind wondering. Remember, there is no need to beat yourself up for this as it is a natural phenomenon . Overtime you will find that mind wonders less and less. Some people like to use their own words such as “peace”, “love” or “let go”. If you have a special word or short group of words that has meaning for you, try using it.

Focusing on your breath:

Breathing in through your nostrils and though your nostrils, notice the feeling of the breath at the very point it enters your nose and follow the feelings of the air moving into your nasal passage to appoint where it ends. As you begin to exhale, notice where in your nasal passages you first notice your breath again and trace the feeling of your breath to the point where it exits your nostrils. Continue to notice your breath in this way, gently bringing your attention back to your breath when you catch your mind wondering. Another version of this technique is focus on the feeling of your torso moving in and out as your inhale and exhale.

One last point. It is sometimes very helpful to practice with others. Consider finding a meditation class at a nearby yoga studio or parks and recreation department. Practicing with like minded people and a good instructor can be very inspiring!

About the Author: Howard VanEs, M.A. has been studying and practicing yoga for over thirteen years and is a certified yoga instructor teaching in the East Bay area of San Francisco. He is author of “Beginning Yoga: A Practice Manual”, co-creator of the audio CD “Shavasana/DeepRelaxation. Howard is also a former pscyhotherapist.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Is Meditation - How To Meditate

What Is Meditation - How To Meditate by Knut Holt

Meditation is a group of mental training techniques. You can use meditation to improve mental health and capacities, and also to help improve the physical health. Some of these techniques are very simple, so you can learn them from a book or an article; others require guidance by a qualified meditation teacher.


Most techniques called meditation include these components:
1. You sit or lie in a relaxed position.
2. You breathe regularly. You breathe in deep enough to get enough oxygen. When you breathe out, you relax your muscles so that your lungs are well emptied, but without straining.
3. You stop thinking about everyday problems and matters.
4. You concentrate your thoughts upon some sound, some word you repeat, some image, some abstract concept or some feeling. Your whole attention should be pointed at the object you have chosen to concentrate upon.
6. If some foreign thoughts creep in, you just stop this foreign thought, and go back to the object of meditation.

The different meditation techniques differ according to the degree of concentration, and how foreign thoughts are handled. By some techniques, the objective is to concentrate so intensely that no foreign thoughts occur at all.

In other techniques, the concentration is more relaxed so that foreign thoughts easily pop up. When these foreign thoughts are discovered, one stops these and goes back to the pure meditation in a relaxed manner. Thoughts coming up, will often be about things you have forgotten or suppressed, and allow you to rediscover hidden memory material. This rediscovery will have a psychotherapeutic effect.


Meditation has the following effects:
1. Meditation will give you rest and recreation.
2. You learn to relax.
3. You learn to concentrate better on problem solving.
4. Meditation often has a good effect upon the blood pressure.
5. Meditation has beneficial effects upon inner body processes, like circulation, respiration and digestion
6. Regular meditation will have a psychotherapeutically effect.
7. Regular meditation will facilitate the immune system
8. Meditation is usually pleasant.


Hypnosis may have some of the same relaxing and psychotherapeutic effects as meditation. However, when you meditate you are in control yourself; by hypnosis you let some other person or some mechanical device control you. Also hypnosis will not have a training effect upon the ability to concentrate.


Here is a simple form of meditation:
1. Sit in a good chair in a comfortable position.
2. Relax all your muscles as well as you can.
3. Stop thinking about anything, or at least try not to think about anything
4. Breath out, relaxing all the muscles in your breathing apparatus.
5. Repeat the following in 10 - 20 minutes:

-- Breath in so deep that you feel you get enough oxygen.
-- Breath out, relaxing your chest and diaphragm completely.
-- Every time you breathe out, think the word "one" or another simple word inside yourself. You should think the word in a prolonged manner, and so that you hear it inside you, but you should try to avoid using your mouth or voice.

6. If foreign thoughts come in, just stop these thoughts in a relaxed manner, and keep on concentrating upon the breathing and the word you repeat.

As you proceed through this meditation, you should feel steadily more relaxed in your mind and body, feel that you breathe steadily more effectively, and that the blood circulation throughout your body gets more efficient. You may also feel an increasing mental pleasure throughout the meditation.


As any kind of training, meditation may be exaggerated so that you get tired and worn out. Therefore you should not meditate so long or so concentrated that you feel tired or mentally emptied.

Meditation may sometimes give problems for people suffering from mental diseases, epilepsy, serious heart problems or neurological diseases. On the other hand, meditation may be of help in the treatment of these and other conditions.

People suffering from such conditions should check out what effects the different kinds of meditation have on their own kind of health problems, before beginning to practise meditation, and be cautious if they choose to begin to meditate. It may be wise to learn meditation from an experienced teacher, psychologist or health worker that use meditation as a treatment module for the actual disease.

About the Author: Knut Holt is an internet consultant and marketer focusing on health items. Please go here to find anti-aging supplements, medicines against acne, eczema, scars, wrinkles, other skin problems and natural medicines against many common diseases.----

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meditation: The Best Remedy For High Blood Pressure

Meditation: The Best Remedy For High Blood Pressure by Dada Vedaprajinananda

I had a routine physical examination recently and the doctor was impressed with my blood pressure. Why? Because it was not too high like it is in many of the other people she sees every day. When she learned that I was a vegetarian, she became interested, making a connection between vegetarianism and controlled blood pressure.

But the real secret for my good showing on the blood pressure examination has as much to do with meditation, as it does with my vegetarian diet. Meditation is the best remedy, the best “medicine” for high blood pressure and heart disease, and I haven’t missed a day in the last 37 years.

Why is meditation so effective against one of the biggest health problems of today? Meditation de-stresses a person. Stress is one of the biggest causes of hypertension, and it is a part of everyday life that everyone has to face.

Our ancestors, the proto-human beings who lived thousands of years ago, mainly had physical challenges to deal with. If they saw a large predator, then danger messages were sent to their brains, and then more messages went to the rest of their bodies. Their bodies were made ready to either fight or flee.

Scientists call this a “fight or flight” reflex. The heart starts beating faster, the blood pressure increases, hormones are secreted. It is a useful reaction when you have to deal with a saber-tooth tiger, but what about when you face your boss at work?

When we are upset by someone at work or in society, danger signals are also sent to our brain and our heart starts beating faster and our blood pressure rises. However, we don’t usually run away and we usually don’t start fighting physically. We hold it all in, perhaps showing a smile on the outside. If this is kept up all day, the stress builds and if it continues over a long time it can damage our heart.

If you were to withdraw yourself completely from society you might be able to escape the stress, but this is not an option for most of us. However, it is possible to “withdraw” yourself two times a day and sit in meditation.

In fact, one of the important aspects of meditation is that it is a form of sense withdrawal. You sit quietly and follow instructions that will help you to forget the world around you and focus on an inner peace that is inside of you. When you become adept at this technique it relieves stress and is just as effective as going away to the top of a forested mountain or sitting alone on a sandy beach.

Meditation also helps you to slow down your breathing. Our mind is directly related to our breathing. When we are agitated or in distress we will take short quick breaths. When we are relaxed or concentrated then our breathing slows down and becomes deeper as well. Proper meditation helps to calm the mind and slow down the breathing. This combination of sense withdrawal and slow, deep breathing works wonders. Try and it one day you too will impress your physician with a healthy blood pressure reading.

About the Author: Dada Vedaprajinananda is a senior teacher with the Ananda Marga meditation society. He is the author of Start Meditation, Stop Smoking and Yoga Weight Loss Secrets.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meditation In A Busy Life

Meditation In A Busy Life by Judy Braley

Our hectic schedules are crammed with crises, to-do lists, issues marked urgent and overflowing in trays... Far away from everyday events, at your core, lies a place of quiet, calm, serenity, and stillness... Feeling connected to life and your core can be an everyday and effortless activity. Mark Thornton

Should you meditate? The short answer is "Yes!" So if that's all you wanted to find out, you can stop reading right now. But I hope you don't because next I'm going to give you my take on the what?, why?, when?, where?, and how? of meditation.

First I'll warn you that I'm not a purist when it comes to meditation, so if you're looking for a lecture on Buddhist spiritual principles regarding meditation, you've come to the wrong place. I'm a busy, working parent who uses meditation to calm myself, to bring peace and happiness into my heart, and to bring awareness and clarity into my life. If you're looking for an approach less wrapped in spirituality and more tailored to a modern, hectic life, then I hope this article helps you.


There are lots of formal definitions out there for what meditation is, but what it comes down to is a basic focusing of attention and quieting of the superficial thoughts of the mind. It's becoming conscious of what's going on in your head rather than being on auto-pilot as usual. Meditation is a chance to:

* get in contact with the inner stillness that exists beneath the level of your thoughts
* bring your calm attention to an issue or feeling you want to resolve
* stay calm at anytime under any situation
* relax your mind and body
* connect, on the spiritual side, with the creative energy of life.

And guess what - you already do a form of meditation all the time. You focus attention on replaying the argument you had with your spouse, or on how fat you are, or on how little money you have. These are the types of negative things that your mind turns to when you're asleep at the switch, when you're not consciously paying attention to what you're thinking.

When you decide to meditate, you choose to be consciously aware of where your attention goes and you can choose to let go of thoughts that don't support you in a positive way. When you decide to meditate, you can also choose to become quiet inside - something your thinking mind rarely lets you do.


Here's a short list of the benefits of meditation, although there are many more:
1. Reduces stress
2. Can help with depression, fears and conflicted emotions
3. Improves self-confidence
4. Helps cultivate peace and happiness
5. Slows aging, improves memory, helps with healing the body, strengthens the immune system, and relieves headaches
6. Allows you to bring calmness to any situation
7. On the spiritual side, many who promote meditation state that it is a way to consciously connect to the creative force of the Universe or God
8. Allows you to focus your creative energy to attract the things you desire into your life.

When and Where

Anytime! Anywhere! Yes, you can set aside a specific time for meditation and sit in quiet contemplation for an hour or more in a room that you designed using feng shui, but you don't have to. I know that method certainly isn't an option in my life right now, but I still benefit greatly from meditation.

You can meditate in the shower in the morning, when you're in line at the grocery store, for 20 minutes during lunch, for a few minutes before bed, whenever - the options are endless.

Many meditation proponents suggest setting aside 10-20 minutes right when you wake up in the morning and right before bed. Those are good choices if they fit your schedule. Those times do not fit my schedule so I take 15 minutes during my day at work to meditate and I slip in "mini-meditations" throughout my day when I'm standing in a line or waiting at a traffic light or anytime I feel tension building in my body.


There are as many ways to meditate as there are gurus and experts to tell you about them. If you're new to meditation, one of the most important things I want to tell you is that there are no rules except relax! Meditation is not a job or a competition. It's a path to calmness, gentleness, kindness, and relaxation.

Years ago when I first considered meditation, one of the biggest obstacles I thought I had was the relentless voice chattering away in my head, the endless thoughts. I could rarely stop them so I thought I was a failure at meditation most of the time. I remember going to a two-day silent meditation retreat where a teacher guided us in meditations. By the end of the second day, I finally experienced a quieting of my mind. I went home feeling incredibly joyous and peaceful. But by the next day my doubts returned. If it took me two days in silent meditation to get to a point where my mind was quiet, how was I ever going to fit meditation into my life?

I've since learned that you don't have to silence your thoughts to meditate. You can simply become aware of the fact that you are thinking and then let the thoughts float away. You don't have to beat yourself up over the fact that you can't stop the thoughts. In fact, it's better if you accept the fact that your mind can be a busy place and just turn your attention to what you want to focus on over and over again when your mind starts to stray. With practice, you'll find it easier to let go of the inner distractions and bring your mind to where you want it to be whether that's to inner silence or to focus on a specific issue.

There is no specific way you have to sit or stand to meditate. Sit, stand, walk, lay on your stomach at the beach and watch the waves - whatever works for you is fine. Don't limit yourself because you think you have to be sitting a certain way - that's just an excuse for not meditating.

How to meditate will probably depend on your purpose. I vary how I meditate depending on what I want to gain from the meditation. If I'm stressed, I choose to focus on my breathing or on consciously relaxing different parts of my body. If I have a goal I'm trying to achieve, I focus on sending energy to that goal. If I want to connect with the inner peace that I know is somewhere inside of me, I focus on the silence in my mind and try to let all thought float away.

Here are a few different meditation techniques that I use depending on the situation and what I hope will be the result:

* Breathing meditation: I like to put my attention on my breath as it comes in and out of my nose. I gently follow my breath and notice how it moves naturally into and out of my body. I find this technique instantly calming. Others suggest noticing your breath as it passes from your chest down into your diaphragm or belly and then back up. When my attention drifts, I gently bring it back. If I have some thoughts, I simply note that I'm "thinking" and shift attention back to the breath while allowing the thoughts to drift away. I use breathing meditation to calm myself, relieve stress, feel happier and more at peace, to clear my mind, and to connect with the stillness of the Universe. This can be done in a longer meditation session or in mini-meditations anytime during your day. If you find yourself getting upset at something, focus for a second on your breath and you'll find it gives you some space in your emotional turmoil.

* Visualization meditation: If you have an issue that you feel needs your mental and emotional attention, visualization meditation might help. Breathe slowly and use your imagination. If you have a goal, focus on the goal as if it were already complete - imagine how you will feel when it's complete and feel this positive feeling inside of you. If you have a person who you're angry with, imagine a positive energy inside yourself as a bright white light of kindness, and then surround an image of that person with the light while consciously saying "I forgive you for any pain you've caused me." (When you forgive people and release your anger, it helps you release negative energy stored inside of you, it allows you to react more calmly to that person, and it allows you to find better solutions to any additional problems with them.) I use visualization meditations for goals, improving relationships, and energizing myself. If I feel I have low energy, I imagine that white light of positive energy flowing through my body.

* Awareness meditation: This is simply the process of becoming consciously aware of your actions, your body, or your surroundings. This is an easy way to reduce stress, bring stillness to your mind, and bring calm understanding to almost any situation. It can also be done anywhere, anytime for a few seconds or for much longer periods. The technique is to simply notice what is happening. I like to use this when I need to relax or slow down, or when I start feeling worried or uptight about something. The point is to calm the mind and allow you to consciously decide where to put your attention rather than allowing your untamed thoughts to keep running the show.

1. If you choose action awareness, focus attention on exactly what you're doing and how you experience it. If you're walking, become aware of how the sidewalk looks and how it feels when you put your foot down to take a step. Become aware of the temperature of the air and the sounds in your environment. If you are washing dishes, become aware of how you hold the sponge and what the water feels like running across your hands.

2. If you choose body awareness, try to feel the energy flowing in your body. Can you feel the energy in your hands? There is life pulsing through your hands so there is definitely energy there! How about feeling energy in your legs or your shoulders? Can you locate any tension in your body and bring awareness to it? Notice how it feels.

3. If you choose awareness of your surroundings, notice where you are, what you see, what it sounds like, what the temperature is, and whether there is silence that you can find between the sounds.

Common Pitfalls

* "I can't stop thinking!" This is really common. You don't have to stop thinking. Allow the thoughts to be there, return your attention to where you want it, and let the thoughts float away.

* "My to-do list is running through my head and I'm coming up with things I don't want to forget." Keep a note pad next to you. Write down the item and then let it go from your mind. It will be on the pad when you're done.

* "I don't have time for this." Surely you have 2 minutes while waiting at the traffic light or in line at the store. In fact, if you do a mini breathing meditation while waiting in line at the store, you're much less likely to get annoyed when the person in front of you is paying in pennies.

* "I keep falling asleep." Try changing the time that you meditate, your position (sitting or standing rather than reclining), or accept that maybe you need more sleep and go ahead and take a nap.

Adding meditation to your life can be truly rewarding and there is always space for it. It can help you become more peaceful, healthy, self-confident, kind, relaxed and creative. It can help you come to know yourself better and become more powerfully connected to your life. Take a few minutes, breathe slowly, and give it a chance!

About the Author: Judy Braley is a personal development author, an attorney, and a parent. Her blog with free articles, resources, and information on inspiration for your life can be found at Copyright © 2007 Wherett Inc. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box is attached.