What is in a Moment?

Hello, There are these moments where everything stops and I feel at peace with the universe. Is it nirvana? Is it the height of the human experience? Is it what we are meant to feel all the time? I'm not sure. The most beautiful metaphor of I've heard on mindfulness is that its like looking at a stream. Your thoughts are passing by you, and you observe them. You don't disrupt the stream. You don't try to stop it or control it, you just let it be as it is. I have a friend that can feel this heightened sense of being, where he feels whatever is going to happen in the future in the present moment, it's as if he's entered another dimension. I've also had people see quite clearly and very accurately into the future, although there are loads of people that claim they can do it just to make money on the general fear that we all have of the future. I have another friend that tells me to look at my life as though I am watching a movie, to have that space between my soul, my true being and everything that is happening outside of me. What are your thoughts? If you are interested there is an application for your smart phone called "Head space" that has a ton of meditations on all different types of experiences. When I meditate, I find it hard to think of what to visually focus on. Do I picture blank, white space, a light , a tree, an ordinary object? I'm definitely in the beginning stages. I would love to have the money to go to some retreat that teaches these concepts. I would also like to be more connected to my dreams. I'm reading Car Jung's autobiography and he talks about such prominent and influential dreams that he had, some with such complex meanings that it took him years to figure it out. I'm sure there's some sort of exercise that a person can do to help remember their dreams. I feel as though everyone has a universe inside of themselves, that our brain is a solar system and much more, condensed. I know this is just a metaphor, but the brain is so complex that it's hard to get a hold of. I think that dreams and meditation can help pierce the mysterious organ as much as science can. Best, Caitlin

Learning From Others

Hello all, I'm going to be describing my experiences with people of all ages and what I have learned from them recently. I really enjoy having conversations with people where I learn from them. Usually I learn the most from people who are older than I am.  I had a lovely tea "date" with a couple from the town I grew up in who travel the world, especially India, learning about different cultures. They deepen their spiritual and yoga practices each year when they travel to India. I would love to know even more about what they discover and how it has and is changing their lives.  I was served the most wonderful tea. Green tea, a very special kind, coveted that is. It was fabulous and its own spiritual experience in itself. Their combined knowledge is so interesting and diverse that it makes me wish I could talk to them more often. I aspire to learn as much as I can about different philosophies and cultures-ways of thinking. The drive itself to the house was  spiritual journey on its own. The hills of Wisconsin are absolutely gorgeous. There is a sort of desolate beauty in the winter, but in this (cold) summer, the green fills your eyes with life and beauty. I find myself in the summer smelling something and taking in the hot air, taking my back to Italy, which I think is the happiest I've been in my most recent past.  I feel like nature is full of these triggers, a breath, a sound, a color, a movement can trigger something in you and take you to a different place.  It's so interesting how the mind works. I just started reading "An Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene, and I find myself diving into answers to questions that have been lingering inside of me for quite a long time. And what a good title, how truly elegant the universe is. I hear from friends about triumphs, young pregnancies, death of family and friends, suicide, financial struggles, artistic struggles, abuse, major physical or mental illnesses, etc. I want to know as much as I can about their experiences, to understand the world better and to support them.  These are some of the things I like to know. I feel like if I can live through them, even in a few moments, then I can pick up knowledge to use in my life in the future. On the other end of the spectrum, my job involves interacting with children. I don't learn from them, per se, but in my observations I learn about the human condition. It is so interesting to hear a 30 year old come out of an 11 year old's mouth for even just a moment. They are so sensitive, and intuitively understand before they consciously know things.  They are loving, yet also damaged and fragile. Human beings make mistakes and three is no way to protect children from the repercussions of those mistakes. I grew up as an only child, so to see the interactions in between siblings is really interesting to me. So, what I guess I'm trying to say with this mashup of different paragraphs, is that I've learned a lot about the human condition from these different sources in my life. I encourage you to do the same, to fully live in your life experiences and try to take the meaning that is given to you in that experience. Best, Caitlin

Adulthood, Philosophy and Death

Hello, Becoming an adult is a curious thing. Sometimes it's lonely and extremely exhausting and other times it's full of life and exhilarating. I wrestle between feeling 22 and 45 all the time. I'm sure a good portion of people my age feel the same, but perhaps the age gap is smaller. I seem to be collecting friends, women and men, over 50. Does that mean when I'm 50 I'll be hanging out with 80-year-old's?? I read "No Death, No Fear" by Thich Nhat Hanh.  He is a Vietnamese monk, a renowned Zen master, a poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Miracle of Mindfulness. The book explains, in Buddhist thought, how to approach death. It often uses the analogy of a raindrop to describe a human being. When one sees a raindrop in a beautiful flowing stream, one can appreciate its serenity. When that same raindrop evaporates and becomes a cloud, one can appreciate the grandiosity of the sky.  When the raindrop descends back to earth one can feel that snowflake or raindrop against one's skin, and eventually the raindrop finds its way to another stream. Do we cry when the raindrop turns into a cloud? If a person's life is a raindrop in a stream, waiting to become a cloud, should we believe that their soul, their being just gets sucked up and disappears? What if our souls, like everything else on earth, entered a cycle, a cycle where at some point the being would become a person again, perhaps different, but still a person. I like this idea of free flowing, from one state to another. It is very grounded in the earth and the principles of the universe. I can think of a million ways to argue that this theory holds no validity, especially in the area of Western though, but I do think it's worth mentioning. Matter cannot be created or destroyed, a fundamental truth about the universe. This just applies the rule in a spiritual sense. The book also helps release people from fear, so as they approach death, they can enter with a peace inside themselves. I would highly recommend reading the book. There are many other concepts I haven't mentioned that are discussed in the book, each one a gem.   Until Next Time,   Caitlin