Lucid dreams, a side effect of meditation.

Frequent meditation over a long period of time has many positive benefits. Reductions in stress, anxiety and depression to name a few. Meditation is the formal practice of mindfulness, mindfulness is the act of paying attention to what’s happening while it’s happening, in a sense to ” take a step back” and view what’s happening objectively.

The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness and especially in this day and age, we are becoming really good at being mindless, walking around on autopilot, thinking we are awake but really sleep walking through life.

Lucid dreaming, for anyone not familiar with the phrase, is the ability to, or the sudden realisation that, while in the midst of a dream you know you are dreaming, when this realisation occurs it’s an amazing feeling, what you took to be real is realised just to be a projection of your own mind, you are in a sense ” enlightened” in the dream state, knowing for certain that everything and everyone you encounter is a part of your own mind, at which point you can start altering the dream at your desire, this too takes practice though.

What we practice often, good or bad we become really good at. It is said that all young children are natural lucid dreamers, that it is our default state of dreaming but we eventually lose the ability as we get older and as the world conditions us to see it a certain way.

As we age and are taught how to see the world, we take the ideas and concepts taught to us as reality, as something that is really real, we then start seeing life through our conditioning, we take everything that is presented to us as real, forgetting it’s all just ideas and concepts.

As we start to sleep walk through life, taking the world to be solid and real, we start getting good at what we practice. How we view and interact with daily life spills over into the dream state, in the midst of a dream we take it to be real and not question anything because that’s what we practice in daily life.

So how does meditation and mindfulness help us have more lucid dreams? Meditation and mindfulness is the act of being in reality, of experiencing reality how it is not how we think it is. When we truly start paying attention more and more to what’s happening in the present moment, when we start making a habit of becoming lucid to life, that habit starts creeping into our dream state and we become lucid in our dreams.

Like anything in life it takes time though and we aren’t going to lucid dream every night, the frequency of lucid dreams will go up though when we start practicing these daytime practices of meditation and mindfulness. The spiritual path is about waking up, it’s about waking up to life, to seeing reality as it is not how we think it is, when we start waking up to life we start waking up in our dreams too and when that happens it opens up a whole new world to us.

There are many more daytime practices that can assist in having more lucid dreams but I’ll leave it at that for now. Just realise though that a daily meditation and mindfulness practice will only help not hurt the process. I have much more to write on the subject but until then, thanks for reading and have a great day.

Simon Coleman.

Accepting what is, it doesn’t mean being passive.

Anyone getting into spiritual teachings will eventually come across the idea of acceptance. Acceptance is mentioned a lot and for good reason, acceptance is the way to inner peace in our lives. Unconditional love is another way of saying unconditional acceptance, we may ask ” why do bad things happen in the world?” They happen because as hard as it is for our minds to grasp, reality, god, the universe or whatever you want to call it doesn’t pick sides, it doesn’t operate on good and bad, right and wrong, these are human made concepts and ideas.

I’m not for one moment condoning the terrible acts and deeds committed in the world, from the relative level, the level we operate as human beings, there is definitely good and bad but from the ultimate level of reality these concepts don’t exist and this is why what we deem as bad is allowed to happen because bad and good are always one.

Getting back to acceptance though, what does it mean to accept what is? Many may think it means just to sit back and allow people or events to have their way with us. Acceptance and passivity aren’t the same thing though. Acceptance and tolerating aren’t the same thing either.

If you walked into a room of your house and you saw an intruder violently attacking a loved one, are you gonna just stand there and say ” oh well I must accept this is happening to them…” of course not! To do that is to not accept that you want this terrible act to stop. When we practice acceptance we must accept we are a person too, we must accept how we feel about a situation and accept the action we wish to take or not take.

We can accept the fact that there are terrible people in the world doing terrible acts but that doesn’t mean we have to be friends with them, in doing so we would be ignoring our feelings of not wanting to hang around these types of people.

To truly accept what is, is to just realise that whatever shape or form this exact moment right now is taking, filled with all its thoughts, feelings, sounds, perceptions etc, whatever is happening has already been allowed or accepted to happen by our true self otherwise it wouldn’t be happening.

Our ego self for sure has preferences but like I said if it’s happening already, our true self which is the self of all seemingly seperate things is always unconditionally accepting and loving what is. Our true self accepts reality, our ego self judges reality. Our true self is like a wise, all knowing, all loving parent, our ego self, which most people think that’s all that they are, judges, prefers and always asks “why this? why that?” unconditional acceptance is what we ultimately are by default.

You are much greater than you think, whether you realise it or not doesn’t matter because you can’t stop being what you ultimately are.

Have a great day, thanks for reading.

Simon Coleman.

Don’t try to be a good person.

” Why do you want to be better? The reasons why you want to be better are the reasons why you ain’t” – Allan Watts.

I really love that quote from Allan Watts. What Allan is pointing to is that we suffer and get frustrated with ourselves because we constantly feel we need to become something we are not right now in this moment, we feel we are somehow not good enough. Ironically it’s our ego that tries to fix our ego.

I titled this post ” Don’t try to be a good person” not because I’m saying to be a bad person or be a jerk, what I’m saying is trying to be anything you are not in this moment is not being genuine, it’s being a fake. Grumpy people, one thing I do admire about them is you know that they aren’t faking grumpiness, you know they are being real. The problem with people that are being nice though is you can never tell if behind that smile if they really mean it, people fake nice all the time.

All of nature if you look at it is being genuine. Nature just does what it does, why do we love animals and small children? Because again they are just being themselves, no faking. When a child starts growing and develops a sense of self, when it starts slowly learning how and what to do and say to please others we say they have ” lost their innocence” that’s when their ego is fully formed and they start putting on acts and displays for a certain outcome like the rest of us.

In Zen they want us to reach a stage of genuineness and spontaneity, we can only achieve that state when we finally accept ourselves in our entirety. Somedays we will feel negative, some days positive, some days feel like a saint other days a sinner. Trying to be a ” good” person is someone that does good deeds, speaks good words, shows that side of themselves to the world but on the other hand when negative or bad feelings arise, tries to suppress, get rid of or feel guilty about it.

What I’m really getting at is of course live a life of being loving, compassionate and committing good deeds but we should only do it if it comes from our heart. Doing things we think are the right thing to do but then feeling resentment or that it’s an obligation isn’t healthy or being genuine. To be honest some of us are destined to be jerks and must deal with the karma that it brings, others are destined to be saints and deal with the karma that it brings.

The take home message is never feel you aren’t ” doing life right” you are always doing it right, all we must do is accept the present moment whatever shape it takes and be ok with how it is. True spirituality isn’t about projecting a perfect image of ourselves to the world, it isn’t about transcending our humanity, it’s about stripping away all that nonsense and just being real, being raw, being genuine, it’s about embracing our humanity because all is divine including our flawed human traits, being genuine that’s what people respond to, that’s what people love, and we will love ourselves so much more, have a bit more inner peace in our lives as well if we can learn to live in this way.

That’s just my take on it anyway, thanks for reading, any questions or comments feel free to post, have a lovely day.

Simon Coleman.

Who do you think you are?

One of the movies I enjoy and have watched several times is ” Anger management” starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler. There is a scene in the movie where Jack Nicholson, who plays a therapist, is asking Adam Sandler’s character ” Dave” who is new to the group, who he is. Dave replies with his name and job title to which Jack says ” No I don’t want to know that just tell me who you are” Dave replies with his hobbies and personality traits, again Jack says ” No I don’t want to know that stuff, just simple, tell me who you are?” It goes on like this for a short while until Dave gets frustrated that he can’t answer the question.

This movie is a comedy and what Jacks character is trying to do to ” Dave” is to frustrate and anger him but the line of questioning is a classic spiritual exercise in Hinduism called ” Neti Neti” or in English, ” Not this, Not that”. Who are we? The answer seems so obvious it seems we don’t even have to look but when we really ask ourselves who we are we will find, like Dave, it can’t be answered.

Anything we are aware of can’t be us because we are aware of it. We are aware of our name, age, gender, nationality, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, beliefs. We are aware of our bodies, our minds, everything we are aware of is in constant change and flux but the sense of ” I” of Me, if you really look, isn’t changing at all.

The more you look to find yourself the more you will find nothing but yet you do exist. The more you search you’ll eventually come to the realisation that all you are and have ever been is just an aware, knowing presence. That knowing presence isn’t ageing but sees the body age, it doesn’t have emotions but is aware of all emotions, doesn’t experience time but sees the flow of time, etc.

Once you really look to find what you are you will realise you are nothing you experience, eventually you will realise that to be nothing you experience means that you are everything you experience. Whatever the essence of all life is that is what you are, there is only you, all is one and that’s what you are. I’ll leave you with that thought and encourage to look more into the ” Neti Neti” process, another name for it is ” Self enquiry”.

Thanks for reading, any comments or questions feel free to ask,

You are much greater than you take yourself to be.

Simon Coleman.

Mindfulness, meditation in motion.

Meditation is the formal practice of mindfulness, Mindfulness is the informal practice of meditation. We may meditate for relaxation, stress reduction etc but one of the main purposes should be to practice mindfulness.

When we sit still in silence and start becoming aware of our breathing, thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, sounds of whatever appears in our present moment experience we are practicing mindfulness. The formal setting that we give ourselves in meditation makes the practice a lot easier, it’s easier to be mindful under those conditions, it can get harder though in the hustle and bustle of life but like anything else it just takes practice.

Anyone that takes up exercise doesn’t expect to lift weights once and get bigger muscles, they don’t say ” well I tried lifting weights and I’m not any bigger so maybe I’m not good at it” everything takes time, meditation and mindfulness are a practice, a practice that never ends, Doctors practice medicine, they are always continuing to learn, we practice mindfulness, a process that never ends but becomes a lot easier over time.

So how do we practice mindfulness in day to day life? All we are trying to do is to bring our attention back to something happening in the present moment. We have five senses, all of our senses are trapped in the present moment, in fact all life is trapped in the present moment, it’s only our minds that have the ability to ” time travel” to the past or future.

Our minds have spent decades drifting off into thought stories of past and future, it gets absorbed in these stories and takes them for reality, the trick then when you catch yourself drifting off into thinking is to ask yourself ” what’s happening right now?, I’m regretting past events but where are they now? I’m stressing future events but where are those thoughts now?”. A thought can’t be taken and put on the table for everyone to see, thoughts aren’t reality, the have as much reality as a dream.

Like I said, whenever our attention wanders we must practice bringing our attention back to something happening now. What am I feeling right now? What am I seeing or hearing right now? We must get out of our minds and come to our senses. This is a constant practice, our default response when we are on auto pilot is to drift off into thinking, in time though with enough mindfulness practice of bringing attention back to something happening in the present moment, our default response on auto pilot will be to focus on reality, to focus on something happening ” Now” without any stories attached to it.

I’ll leave it at that for now, this blog will be full off more tips ideas and philosophies in the coming year, just remember though, mindfulness and meditation are daily practices that no one is 100% good at, they are life long practices, practices that slowly will bring in a sense of peace and calm into our lives gradually as we slowly get out of our heads more and more and back into our senses, back into reality. Thanks for reading.

Simon Coleman.