Thursday, January 24, 2008

Latest Video Podcast: Contemplation


I uploaded my latest video podcast last week, entitled Contemplation. To take a look, or to subscribe to the podcast, please visit my page on iTunes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How to Use Mandalas & Fractals to Meditate


My mandalas, fractals, and moving art create intricate, geometric shapes which give the mind something to concentrate on while allowing our body to relax, tension to dissipate, and peace and an expanded awareness to flow through.

To begin meditating with a mandala, fractal, or moving art piece, first select an image to which you feel attracted. Once you have selected an image, sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor with your legs crossed, or in a comfortable, supportive chair with your feet resting flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably at your sides or in your lap without touching. Make sure the image you wish to meditate with is within reach or is hanging directly in front of you at or slightly below eye level.

Take a moment to connect with your body and feel the areas where you are holding tension. For many, the shoulders, jaw, and lower back are key points where stress is held and tension builds throughout the day.

Once you have noted these areas, take a deep breath in through your nose, gently filling your lungs with air by first concentrating on the lower abdomen or belly region, then the mid-abdomen, and finally the chest. Do not force these areas to fill, but rather, become aware of the depth of your breath and intend to deepen it with each gentle inhale.

Then, exhale out your mouth, expelling as much air as you can without forcing it in any way. As you exhale, feel the tension melting or draining out of your body and into the earth beneath you. Continue this breathing exercise until you feel relaxed and ready to begin the meditation.

Move your attention to the mandala or fractal. Allow your eyes to travel over the artwork in an easy manner. Take in the details - color, texture, depth - but do not feel the need to analyze the detail intellectually as you view it. Simply allow it wash over you as if you were seeing the image for the first time.

As you view it, you may begin to feel as though you are being drawn into the center of the image or into the spiral, feeling as if you were entering into the image itself. Some areas of the image may appear to recede while others may appear to pop out. Or, the image may appear to move or undulate. Allow all of these experiences without feeling the need to question or analyze them. Continue to view the image with a relaxed focus, blinking when necessary.

In time, thoughts may begin to pop into your awareness. These thoughts may simply be resistance to meditation. Resistance usually appears in the form of lists of things you “should” be doing rather than meditating -- making phone calls, grocery shopping, doing the laundry, getting to work, wondering about the time, etc. Gently assure yourself that all will be handled in due time and then allow these thoughts to fall away without pressure or urgency. (If you feel this will happen during each meditation in the future, make a list before you meditate. Make a note of all the things you need to do. Then while meditating, if this thought arises, you know you have already addressed this issue and can gently allow it to drop away.)

Sometimes, however, thoughts may pop up that provide sudden insight or revelation. This may indicate an opening to greater awareness. Allow this information to come through without judgement. If you feel the need to write it down, be sure to have a pen and paper handy each time you meditate. Once you have received the information, allow it to also drop away.

Continue on with the meditation for the time you had planned or for whatever length is comfortable. At the end of the meditation, close your eyes and make a mental note of the state of your body and emotions: How does your body feel? Do you feel relaxed? Energized? Emotionally how do you feel? Consider writing down any thoughts, feelings or issues that come to mind after the meditation or throughout the day as they may provide valuable insight into your life, work, relationships, health and more.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First Video Podcast of 2008: Quickening


Yesterday I published my first podcast of the new year entitled Quickening. Last year I created all 8-radiation mandala animations. This year I believe I will focus on 10-radiation mandalas, with Quickening being the first.

I must say that I am somewhat disappointed with Quicktime these days. Last year when I began creating the podcast, Quicktime compressed and converted the Flash file wonderfully — preserving the color of the original file very well. Since then, I've downloaded the lastest two updates, and now, for whatever reason, the resulting files are not nearly as colorful and vibrant. Because of this issue, I switched to iSquint a couple months ago to convert the files. Although they are coming out a bit more vibrant than Quicktime, they are not true to the original file either. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know.

Finally, I wish you all a Happy New Year and many thanks for your support and encouragement.
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