Mantra with phonics

Something be mindful with.. whether college educated professional, Laymen Child or impaired:

Today we are bombarded with noises and data, seemingly at a increasing rate..
This can be disorienting for even adults.  Whispering or bellowing mantras has been a practice in various paradigms: Hindi, Buddhist, Yoga , Pacific- & African- practices..

The phonetic Alphabet is excellent choice to meditate to or to chant to.

    what can one discover when being mindful of these sounds?

  •  Do I feel or imagine something on any given letter or sound ?
  •  Do I feel apprehensive or embarrassed about listening to letters and sounds?
  •  Do I sense my awareness drifting away to day dream or something else

Written Language and Phonics is fundamental, to most, in our social consciousnesses and contexts—
from our first words to our parents. Something to be Mindful of.

props to:

additionally on this blog, Breathing and Counting.


tomato meditation

Still hot, right off the vine on a warm summer after noon — nothing beats cherry tomatoes. Some are just superficially sour…,
The best of them sour first..
then molasses sweet
then sour again..

This cool August day’s sun would not bake these little fruit morsels today to anymore than 70 degrees in my small tomato garden of the backyard. None the less, at room temperature, (I was sitting outside) they were a tasty reward for my zazen meditation..
It all started today when I was reading a book on subjects related to gardening, I was having a little bit of trouble concentrating, So I thought to myself, “Self… its a beautiful day out, lets go out back and get a little focus back.” The back patio, which faces my tomato, pepper and leak garden is as good as spot as any.

The things you notice, and notice that you weren’t noticing.

During meditation I became mindful that my grass was the lawn was tall enough to mow. This is typical for me, thoughts of having to do work, or some task always surface when I meditate — roughly ten minutes in..
I chuckled to myself about the cicadas that I had not noticed before. “How many days have they been chirping in the afternoon, grasshopper, and you had only now noticed!”


Cherry Tomatoes!

So after sometime, 30 minutes, 40 minutes, twenty minutes, who knows… I decided I was finished meditating .
Time to reward myself. Ahh!!! I have ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine!
Most who meditate regularly, may report that, after a period of letting go of thoughts, one become closer to his senses and that included taste…
I can still taste the tomatoes as of this writing.

The following is a haiku I wrote about tomatoes.:

reddened and ripened,
oblong, fireball bulbousing;
flashes her nature.

I wrote it for Alan Watts after enjoying one of his lectures on tape some time ago…
you can find more poetic musings here..
All work and no tomatoes make jack a dull boy.

Symphony of Rain

So busy doing other things, some times I forget the beauty of the rain. Its not until I “sit” do I remember. I already was sitting — on the front porch playing chess against my android device on an otherwise “dark and stormy night”. Tired of that I just “sat” in the Zen definition:
Sitting, on the same porch on bench: posture square, straight… confident through the shoulders but relaxed; Legs straight with feet flat on the ground. I should point out that I was covered in bug repellent, so I felt safe from the army of mosquitoes of the damp night.

Soon the sound of the rain filled my awareness. The sound of droplets against asphalt roof and asphalt road with the grass, bushes and flower beds in between: quite a symphony.
Then I could fill the touch of the cool damp breeze. My thoughts meandered to other arbitrary ideas. When I caught myself thinking.. (I almost just wrote “When I caught my mind thinking” ) When i caught myself thinking about stuff: I let go of the subvocalizing process… I became aware of my breathing and posturing. And then the symphony of the rain, again

There is always a point, while meditating, where I want to get up and do something else. As if to say, “Well i am done. Yep I’m satisfied with the moment. Lets go do something else. Lets go be somewhere else. Lets go dancing!
I always have to catch myself, as if to say “hey! where do you got to be? Sit your ass back down and enjoy the moment.
The tricks that I play on myself (I almost wrote “the tricks that my mind plays upon me”) while meditating. Meditating is seldom peaceful for me. Neither is writing apparently, since I keep treating ‘my mind” as if where separate from the rest of me.

The bug repellent wore off, leaving me the anxiety of being eating alive by mosquito who have been seeking refuge from the night by porch lights. I love the rain, but I don’t like mosquito bites.

So I went inside and wrote about it.

Filtering Out Noise with Information Zoning

In his work ” Introduction of Permaculture“, Mollison explains his use of “zoning” to allocate areas of gardening and agriculture in a landscape. “Zones”, are prioritize by importance and demand of work. most important and/or work/time intensive crops are located closes to the dwelling area. Un-farmed areas are designated as “the wild”.

Mollison’s (and fellow permaculture father Dave Holmgren) application of zoning is, essentialy, the act of organizing one’s environment — in the case of permaculture — the garden or farm, around and including living-space. In the image above the living quarters in graphically centered; the most labor intensive and important areas of the garden are kept close .. the least important tasks are pushed to “the wild” or unmanaged land.

I’ve been thinking about the Permaculture method of zoning in gardening and agriculture and I have wondered if one could apply (pattern, if you will) zoning to managing the flood of stimula and information that seems thrown at us in our day-to-day busy lives.
So many things we sense or think about  in any moment of our conciousness, One could easily feel overwelmed and overloaded.
I am wondering if i can make a connection with Gestalt talk as well, as one visualize  zones as figures formed out of a ground (what Mollison calls the wild) by designers.

Could one organize, or garden , his rough conciousness landscape of raw stimuli, senses thoughts, worries, brainstorms and activities? Keep the meaningful tasks, ideas and concerns close and push meaningless data to the backgound?

From Dischord find Harmony

— Albert Einstein *

Image, senses and thoughts arise as Gestalts, figures from the backround of constant noise,dischord… It’s up to you and I to decide what is meaningful, important at a given moment, and reject unimportant information, zone back to “the wild”, or background.


so how can i improve my abilty to “zone” the flood of information each day?
one way could be to create a simple todo list:
here is one: Pennsylavania Echoes — Todo List.

I keep a todo or task list on my computer, also a calendar — and I have learned not to worry about them until I look at them again.

Another way to learn how to stay relatively “mindful” of important things in the moment and filter out the meaningless to “the  wild ”  or “backround”:
Sit or stand somewhere in …

  1. relax, be confident, be square in posture.
  2. breathe in and out from the belly
  3. become aware of your breathing
  4. when you catch you mind thinking of some else return to step one

I like this breathing exercise and practice often. I am less distracted by unimportant thing in the present- centered moment.


When being mindful of only breathing, breathing fills the whole of mindfulness, a single zone, while all else is ignored and left to the backrground of wild data.
Overtime, breathing exercises and meditations are helpful in developing an intuitive ability to zone:
cognating and doing what is important at the moment, and letting go of the unimportant.

Its a great way to reducing stress, feeling more organized, focused and at-peace.

A Quick Guide on How to Meditate

In our world of techniques, hacks and quick plans and how to guides, I offer my own quick guide to meditating.


  1. Find a place to sit (preferably but you can stand), that does not offer a lot of distractions.
  2. Correct your posture… sit with your body even and squared, without slouching or leaning back.
  3. Refine your posture. relaxed and confident. breath from the belly.
  4. Be aware of your breathing, one thing, or no thing, or everything* for the rest of the sit.
  5. When you catch yourself thinking of something else, imagine those thoughts floating away and then return to step 3

* I think it is easiest to  be mindful of breathing at first, but  one can meditate on an  idea, object (including his/her body), the “external world” or just being.

Remember to:   Find, Correct, Refine, Be, & Return… and to remain a beginner
for this exercise.

Many who meditate regularly will dismiss the notion of techniques or 5 step plans after some time. However meditating like journaling can be what you want it to be, it has many uses.

Extra curricular homework.

the  word Experiential  refers to learning by experience. That’s how one learns while meditating.

click for journaling
After you have meditated  a couple time jot down some notes:

  • Did you notice any stress, anxiousness or restlessness  in your body and where?
  • Did You notice  your posture effecting  your sharpness or mindfulness? How?
  • Did You want to get up and do something else?
  • Did you notice and self judgements , frustration,”should be”s or self criticism?
  • Were you “bothered” by things?
  • Did you feel satisfied or calm at times?
  • How do you feel after meditating?

Combining journaling and meditating can strengthen awareness.  One may resolve or let go of   his or her  “ailments’ much easier when he is aware of them, and find peace of mind.

for more check the following posts:
Pennsylvania Echoes: Meditation Category

Tao Te Ching chapter 16


Lao Tzu

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
thanks to

The  consciousness of  the happenings of one’s  body is his mind.  When he or she is  aware of  the particulars of  his body: thoughts, cognition,  feelings, perceptions, reactions – He   calls this  awareness  his  mind.

In Taoism and Zen, meditating is a holistic practice of consciously Letting Things Flow.
(“a thousand”) Things come and go in the moment.  If one is being mindful of things coming and going in the moment, without attempting to capture or control, suppress or force… Then his mind is  resting  at peace.
I have read many times the words “Let things go” during meditation. Its difficult to find the perfect description in contemporary English. What is really being let go of .. is   the clinging and coercing that we usually do of  things that come to mind. What  I really do is “Let things Flow“.

Things are  Happenings.
They  rise and fall  like a figure from a ground of some moving  painting or work- of- art.  No figure is ever truly separated from the ground.  The ground is Nature happening  or the” Tao”.  Things rise and fall, they exist in consciousness as  a singularity of two  (like  figure &  ground;   word & context;   matter & space)  but   the Tao is constant. The Tao flows, but is always here.

from the words of Lao Tzu  the supposed author of  the Tao Te Ching:
Being divine is harmonizing with the flowing nature.
And though the body dies, the Tao is Eternal.”

Simple Pranayama Breathing Exercise for Stress

The following Breath Exercise is based on simple Pranayama, an Indian Breathing exercise and meditation.
Its a great way to release  stress, anxiety or irritability.
Find a quiet peaceful place to sit, for five minutes to 10… Its best  to sit with a confident , but relaxed square posture.
Remember that proper breathing  is done with the diaphragm. Try the following:

  • Let out all  your breath…slowly,
  • hold your breathe and relax (for a couple seconds)
  • Take in a deep breath…. slowly,
  • Hold your breath and relax (for a couples seconds)
  • Repeat this  for about five to ten minutes.

Be mindful of breathing,
If thoughts intrude, imagine them floating away… and return to being mindful of breathing.
As with most breathing exercises, one can modify this, standing or laying down. its a good idea to learn it sitting first.

From  Youtube  “Simple Pranayama Breathing Pattern”:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pranayama, is practice of controlled breath from Indian Yoga. With a commitment to regular practice, Pranayama  is a basis of Yoga meditation, that can be used to improver fitness,  health and wellness , or self realization and spirituality.

The simple and basic  version above, can be used as a breathing exercise for stress and anxiety management. I feel  sharper and a little more energized afterwards. This breathing exercise can be used along with other physical fitness exercise.

You might also be interested in the page:
Pennsylvania Echoes: Breathing
where some basic breathing exercises are listed.