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Everyday Meditation: An Interview with Tobin Blake

by New World Library

Tobin Blake is the author of Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief, and Everyday Joy. He has been practicing meditation for twenty years. Visit him online at www.TobinBlake.com.

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Meditation seems like a mysterious, foreign practice to a lot of people. Can you tell us more about what meditation is and why it is attracting so much attention these days?

In order to understand meditation and how it is capable of producing such dramatic effects in people’s lives—both physically and emotionally—you only need to compare it to how most of us live each day. If you are like many people, from the moment your alarm goes off you are out the door and running. You probably spend the vast majority of your days racing through life, focused almost exclusively on the external world. The practice of meditation involves inverting your attention one-hundred and eighty degrees. During meditation, you close your eyes and shift your attention inward into a deeply restful, but highly alert, state that is aligned with your inner self, or what I call core self. As you join your awareness with your core self, you release a tremendous healing energy that is capable of producing extraordinary life-changes.

You talk about “core self” quite a lot in the book. Can you tell us more about it?

Core self is the same thing most people call the soul or spirit. It is the essential life force that exists at the deepest core of all human beings. Core self is pure, creative energy. Think of an infant. In newborns and young children, ego is substantially undeveloped, meaning they still exist in a state of union with core self. This is why an infant’s eyes are so beautiful and clear. They are reflecting their core. As we develop, however, we begin forming individual personalities, likes and dislikes, judgments, grievances—or what psychologists and spiritualists call ego, which literally means false self. Essentially, ego is all this mental clutter that has been added onto core self. The problem is, as we develop into adults we become increasingly fixated on this clutter and by doing so we lose touch with core.

Why is losing touch with core self a problem?

What many people don’t realize is that most of the depression and anxiety they experience is the result of losing conscious connection with their core. Everyone longs to reconnect with their core self, even if they don’t realize this need. In fact, the more deeply removed from core we feel, the more emptiness and dissatisfaction we experience. Without core self, life often feels dull, pointless, and at times hopeless. In contrast, the closer you come to aligning with your core, the more energized, balanced, and empowered you become because its energy, which is the same energy that brought the entire universe into existence, will automatically fill your life.

When you say this is the same energy that brought the universe into existence, are you speaking of God?

I usually use the word Source instead of God for the same reason I prefer core self instead of soul. Traditional terms have many negative connotations attached to them. But yes, core self energy derives directly from Source energy. This is what makes meditation so powerful, and it is also why it is so good for us—not only for alleviating depression and anxiety, but also physically. Think about this: by aligning with your core self, you are opening a channel between your life and Source. Essentially, what you are doing is plugging into the same energy that brought you and everyone else into existence—along with every plant, animal, insect, planet and star in our universe and beyond it. Can we, as humans, even begin to imagine such a force? It is difficult. But if you want to get an inkling of the magnitude of this Force, just try looking up at the stars that light the sky tonight. Gaze up at the billions of points of light overhead and remind yourself that what you are seeing is just a tiny speck compared to what exists beyond your senses. And you are an intimate and irreplaceable part of that Force, directly connected to it through your core. Your core self is literally a sliver of God, and through meditation you learn to tap into that power. This is where meditation gets its healing energy from.

There has been quite a lot research on the health benefits of meditation. Can you tell us what science has found?

The recent research has generated a lot of buzz. Two of the most profound effects scientists have observed are huge dips in the incidences of two major killers—heart disease and cancer. On average, regular practitioners of meditation experience a fifty percent decrease in overall cancer rates. Think about that number. Statistically speaking, fifty percent is huge! And when it comes to heart disease, the numbers are even more dramatic. Some studies have shown that meditators have an eighty percent less chance of developing heart disease than non-meditators, which is the number one killer of both sexes in America. Cancer, by the way, is the second leading cause of death in the States. Besides heart disease and cancer, meditation has been shown to positively affect many other illnesses too. It is the very best of natural medicine, and it has no negative side-effects and no cost.

Have they discovered just how meditation is causing these dramatic health effects?

No, but they are getting there, and a recent groundbreaking bit of research lends a clue. In a well- designed study performed by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, researchers discovered something remarkable: Meditation appears to affect us at the level of our genetic programming. They discovered differences in the expression of more than 2200 genes in meditators versus non-meditators, including critical genes involved in the handling of free radicals, inflammation, and programmed cell death—three of Father Time’s right-hand henchmen when it comes to aging and disease.

What makes Everyday Meditation different from other meditation books?

The book centers around one hundred meditations that not only teach meditation, they offer a daily guide to living a more self-aware and empowered life. It is both a journey into meditation and into healing in the most profound sense of the word. The exercises are simple and they don’t require much time. They are designed to help readers reprogram what Buddhists call “the waterfall of thought.” This expression comes from the observation that the human thought process is so forceful and constant, it resembles the background drone of a cascading waterfall—endless, white noise. It is important to understand, however, that this white noise is not without effects in our lives. It isn’t passive. Our thoughts have incredible power.

How do our thoughts affect us?

Our thoughts shape our entire experience of the world, our health, whether we fail or succeed, our careers, relationships, and how we feel day to day. In a sense, your own unique thinking pattern is like a computer program running in the background of your mind. Essentially, your thoughts are the operating system of your life. During the first thirty daily exercises of Everyday Meditation, the book focuses primarily on meditation and its techniques, but the last seventy days are intended to help readers begin the process of reprogramming their own inner waterfall. It is through reprogramming our thought system to reflect peace, compassion, and loving kindness that we are finally able to release our restlessness and enter deep meditation—and it is during deep meditation that we can experience the most incredible, joyous states human beings are capable of achieving. The Hindus, who have been using meditation for thousands of years, call such states samadhi. They are intense experiences of pure spiritual ecstasy.

Is samadhi the goal of meditation?

Not necessarily. Some people are seeking such states, but others just want to learn to de-stress and unwind, or improve their health. There are many great reasons to meditate, and anybody can learn. You don’t have to change your religious views. You don’t have to change your lifestyle. You don’t have to give up sex or alcohol. If there is any helpful change that you need to make to learn meditation, it is changing thoughts of fear, anger, and guilt to thoughts of peace, forgiveness, and innocence. Meditation works on the things that are inside of you, not outside.

Can people who are restless or who have very active minds learn to meditate?

Absolutely. Mind training is a major component of meditation. Many people believe they could never sit still long enough to meditate, but that’s just not so. The key to meditation is not so much learning to focus; it involves learning to be at peace at the level of the mind. The more peaceful your thoughts become, the deeper your meditations. You don’t have to shut your mind off. You just need to learn new ways of thinking that inspire inner tranquility instead of conflict.

How can an ordinary person find inner tranquility?

It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds at first. It requires some training and discipline, but given that, experience is a profound teacher. When a person learns through their own experiences that one way of living and thinking brings them joy and peace while another way causes depression and conflict, they adjust pretty fast. Day to day, it is our own our minds and thoughts that cause us the most pain, but most people never even realize this. We tend to attribute our feelings to things going on outside of us. We tell ourselves, in one form or another, “If only this person was different, if only this circumstance was changed, if only this hadn’t happened, then I would be happy!” This is a line of B.S. we’ve been feeding ourselves our entire lives, and some people will never escape this thought loop—and so they will never find lasting happiness and peace. However, the great law of peace says this: as long as you believe peace can be found by changing the external circumstances of your life and other people, you will never find it because the world is inherently unstable and you can’t control others. True peace is an internal state.

In one chapter you discuss using something you call “the law of reciprocity” in order to facilitate inner peace. Can you explain this idea?

The law of reciprocity is all about cause and effect. We understand that, for instance, when we throw a ball against a wall, it will bounce back to us. Actions cause reactions. What we don’t realize is that our thoughts are bound by the same principle. The thoughts you think—whether they are good or bad, happy or sad, peaceful or fearful—have a profound impact on the way you feel and experience life. Thoughts are pure energy. This is not a metaphysical principle, but an observable fact. In reality, everything is composed of raw energy. If you were to look upon the world with true vision, you would see a vast, interconnected energy field, which has organized into various shapes, people, and specific objects, but which is, at its fundamental reality, still just raw energy. This includes the thoughts that pass through your mind every minute of every day. The law of reciprocity is all about honoring the power of your thoughts. This is a major aspect of mind training, and it leads to much more than just deeper meditations. It is life changing. This is why I formatted Everyday Meditation as a daily guidebook. It gives readers the opportunity to examine their own mind and feelings in a nonthreatening way, and helps them retrain their thoughts one easy step at a time. It is the perfect book to keep on your nightstand, and try just one short meditation a day. In this way, you invite a little more peace, a little more light, a little more joy into your life each day, and before you know it, you wake up one day feeling stronger, healthier, and more emotionally balanced. This transformation is subtle, yet profound, and it begins the very instant you set your intentions to become a more aware, lucid human being.

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Everyday Meditation by Tobin Blake

February 10, 2012 • Spirtuality/Personal Growth • 208 pages • Trade Paperback

Price: $14.95 • ISBN 978-1-60868-060-3

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