Tag Archives: meditation


I’m going through an extremely stressful period in my life right now. My little old lady cat died of old age, my dear husband and best friend asked for a separation, and my beloved father passed away on Monday. To say I have way too much on my plate right now is a grand understatement.

How to deal? One day at a time. One step at a time. One breath at a time.

I’ve been journaling, keeping in constant touch with friends and family back home, exercising, trying to continue to eat well and, oh, yes, meditating, every single night.

These wonderful guided audio meditations by K.R.S. Edstrom have been helping to empty my mind each night so that I can try to sleep. Edstrom has a very soothing voice and, what is unique about her technique is that, instead of pushing stress and tension away, she shows you how to train your mind to find it in your body, recognize it, acknowledge and accept it, and then let it go:


Conquer Stress: Meditations to Take You From Tension to Tranquility


Relax Mind and Body: Meditations to Soothe and Center: Two Guided Meditations


Sleep Through Insomnia: Meditations to Quiet the Mind and Still the Body

How about you? How do you you cope with stress? I welcome your suggestions.

-Maria A., striving for the mundane and peaceful


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Seeking Silence

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha

My mind is a very busy mind. It sometimes races and whirs.

And the world is a very noisy place.

So I seek ways to quiet my thoughts and savor silence:


  • Nightly meditation before I turn out the lights. Picturing the color white, I center on its sereneness; washing all other colors away empties my mind.

  • Reading happy stories; for me, lately, it’s historical romance.

  • Reading something soothing before bedtime–for me, a chapter of Jane Austen’s Complete Novels; it has a permanent place on my nightstand. Reading her elegant prose from a bygone era frees my mind.

  • Free Zen apps on my iPhone, specifically Practice Everywhere and Transform Your Life by Zen master, Cheri Huber. The former alerts me throughout the day to bring me back to the moment, with inspiring messages like “Be a human being, not a human doing” or “Kindness–the answer to every question” while the latter is a short daily lesson.

  • Taking several walks every day, in all seasons, taking time to notice nature and breath fresh air.

  • Reminders on my iPhone to both breathe and also to chew my food slowly and mindfully.

  • Early morning yoga, to ease gently into my day.

  • Handwritten correspondence; writing a letter longhand takes more time than firing off an email, allowing me more time to think of what I want to say and how to best say it.

How do you seek silence?



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I Must Focus…Oh, Look – Shiny!

Yesterday I got distracted. I got almost nothing productive done. It happens from time to time. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen to you too often. Most everyone agrees—in this age of technology, it’s easier to be distracted. If you’re trying to work on a project and your computer dings every time you get new email, you must stop what you are doing to see what it is and who sent it. Now you’ve lost your train of thought and must start again. I understand there are blocking programs to shut down these types of online distractions. Can you believe it has come to this?

To help you and yours overcome some of the distractions in life, the library has these to offer:

To remove the distractions from your life:

The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life by Francine Jay

To avoid distractions at work:

18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman

To clear your mind of distractions:

Meditation for Beginners: With Jack Kornfield

To find peace from distractions through religion:

Soul and the City: Finding God in the Noise and Frenzy of Life by Marcy Heidish

To calm distractions and improve your sex life:

The 30-Day Sex Solution: How to Build Intimacy, Enhance Your Sex Life, and Strengthen Your Relationship in One Month’s Time by Victoria Zdrok Wilson and John Wilson

To help your dog overcome distractions:

Citizen Canine: Ten Essential Skills Every Well-Mannered Dog Should Know by Mary R. Burch

-Melissa M.

P.S. Don’t forget to go vote tomorrow. For more information on Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s referendum on the ballot, please visit ourlibraryourfuture.org.


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a whole lotta nothing

I am eternally grateful to Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, for introducing me to the idea that I am not the constant stream of chatter that goes through my mind, but instead the observer of it. Tolle suggests focusing on what he calls “the inner body,” feeling your body, even just your hands, from the inside out, as a way to step out of those thought-streams.  So your mind doesn’t necessarily go blank or empty, but you experience yourself outside of it, which can open up some room for a bit of peace or restfulness that you don’t necessarily get from your day-in, day-out routine. For many, the practice of meditation offers an inner richness that rivals the most exhilarating adventures.

Of course, there are many different approaches to meditation and other practices that are intended to offer respite from what some call “the monkey mind.”  And as always, the library has a large number of resources that can assist you in learning more about it.  The list below is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s available on the subject of meditation.  Other important authors include Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield, both writing from a Buddhist perspective.  You might prefer something written for a specialty audience:  Christian, Jewish, pregnant, teen, hurried, idiot, or goddess.  In any case, here are a few items to start with:

Science of Being and Art of Living: Transcendental Meditation, by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. One of several Indian teachers who introduced meditation to Westerners in the 1960s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation was first popularized by The Beatles. More recently, scientists have been studying the effects of TM on the brain, with some very interesting findings.

The Blooming of a Lotus: Guided Meditation Exercises for Healing and Transformation, by Thich Nhat Hanh.  Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, founder of the “engaged Buddhism” movement during the Vietnam War, has written many books on mindfulness and peace. 

The Inner Wave, by Gabrielle Roth.  Available in both downloadable video and on DVD, this is just one of several videos by Gabrielle Roth, who sees dance as a path to awareness and ecstatic experience.

Guided Mindfulness Meditation, by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Use these 45-minute sessions on CD to practice different kinds of meditation and “mindful yoga” from the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.



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