Tag Archives: Meditation

Quiet time – at the end of the day

I enjoy sharing other people’s thoughts on meditation and quiet, reflective time, so was delighted when I stumbled upon a website featuring the poems of the late Jim Metcalf, the unofficial poet-laureate of New Orleans.   He has a lovely way with words and if you’re interested in reading poetry accompanied by beautiful soothing music, then do pay a visit to the site (see below for link).

I hope you enjoy this poem of his, and take time to ponder the thoughts behind it.

Before I Sleep

If I have let this day pass by
and can’t remember something good about it,
then I have been ungrateful
and I beg forgiveness.


If I have been involved too much with me…
my wants and woes, to see the beauty that surrounds me,
then I have played the fool and I am sorry.


If I have not stretched out my hands
to loved ones to show them that I care,
then I have been unfeeling and I am ashamed.


If I have failed to help when it was needed,
yet asked others to help me
then I have been selfish and I apologize.


If I have not seen the face of God
reflected in a million ways and places,
then I have been blind and I ask for another chance
to try again tomorrow.

Jim Metcalf

Do you have a favourite poem or know of a good website for meditative reflections for your quiet time?  If so, I would love to hear from you.

Quiet Reflections

Earth consciousness has been practised by indigenous people for many centuries, often through meditation and reflection on their simple lives and surroundings.  Their attunement to nature is borne out by quotes and sayings of the wise ones passed down through the ages.  We can be grateful for these pearls of wisdom that are so applicable in our rushed lives right now.

As one who loves to meditate in quiet, peaceful places, let me share some beautiful spaces with you as we ponder on the wisdom of people gone by.

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Honor the sacred
Honor the Earth, our Mother
Honor the Elders
Honor all with whom we  share the Earth
Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones
Swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people
Walk in balance and beauty

Native American Elder

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Earth  Teach Me

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain

A Ute Prayer

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

Ancient Indian Proverb

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

Chief Seattle, 1854

Botanical Gardens - Hamilton NZ

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

Cree Prophecy

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Have a beautiful, peaceful and reflective day!

Mantras – pathways to joy

I first became aware of and interested in mantras after visiting the Himalayas in 2002.  I wanted a Tibetan meditation cd and stumbled upon the famous Om Mani Padme Hum mantra whilst visiting a small market in Kathmandu.  This mantra is found on every conceivable surface in Nepal and Tibet  but mainly on prayer stones and prayer wheels.

Om Mani Padme Hum Prayer Stone

Om Mani Padme Hum Prayer Stone

For anyone not knowing what a mantra is, let me explain.

There are many definitions of the meaning, but I think that the most understandable is to break the word into two:  “man” being the root sound of the word “mind” and “tra” being the root sound of the word “instrument”.  A mantra is therefore an instrument of the mind.  Traditionally a mantra is repeated one hundred and eight times, but there is no hard and fast rule in this regard.  People who hear them for the first time often wonder if the songwriter was stuck for lyrics!

For those new to meditation, chanting a mantra is a great starting point as it helps to focus the mind on a single sacred power phrase.  We all know how impossible it is to still the ‘chattering monkey’ mind and it can take years of practice to get to the state of altered consciousness that meditators strive for.  This often puts beginners off, but if they started with joyful mantra practices they would soon become hooked!

The world is made up of vibrations that, with practice, can be heard if one sits very quietly.  According to ancient Vedic wisdom the vibrating sounds in nature are expressing the cosmic mind and are the means through which the infinite potential expresses itself as the manifest universe.

Reciting or singing a mantra out loud creates a special pattern of vibration that has transformational properties which can manifest effects in our physical realm.  These properties can be anything from healing to stress reduction and can take one to the field of pure consciousness where the vibration originated.

I said earlier that a mantra is a sacred power phrase, but in itself, a mantra is meaningless.  Once one adds intention to one’s chanting of the mantra it becomes a sutra.  Sutra is literally the Sanskrit word for stitch or sew (‘suture’ in English) and it means to stitch an intention to a mantra to give it a sacred purpose.  Mantras have been repeated by millions of people over thousands of years and this repetition has added strength to their power of manifestation.  It is far more potent to repeat an old much-used mantra than a new one, as one taps into the higher probability of the intention being fulfilled.  It is also not essential to know exactly what the words mean, as long as they are said with intention.

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I struck gold with the Om Mani Padme Hum cd that I bought, as it is the most practiced mantra in the world.  It is a mantra of compassion and roughly means “Hail to the jewel (the mind) in the lotus (the heart).  When the mind and heart are used together the possibilities to transform oneself and the world are incredible.

As a regular meditator, I can highly recommend the work of Henry Marshall and The Playshop Family for joyful and meaningful mantras for both beginners and seasoned meditators alike.

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These simple, yet powerful mantras that combine the wisdom of the East with the music of the West, are easy to sing along to, both in meditation groups or on one’s own and they leave one feeling uplifted, expanded and happy.  Henry gives an explanation along with each mantra so that one can choose the most appropriate mantra and visualize the effect that one desires.

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I personally love all the songs but daily chant the hauntingly beautiful one called Dhanyavad Ananda (a mantra of gratitude) that can be found on Henry Marshall’s cd “Mantras II – To Change Your World”.  If you haven’t already experienced the wonderful world of mantras do yourself a favour and give it a try.

Namaste and all the best for 2010.