Sometimes when we’re beginning the journey of meditation it’s difficult to know if we’re meditating the ‘right’ way.

We might have been practicing for a few weeks or months, or maybe in a year or more, but it’s hard to know if we’re making progress.

Often the advice out there can be really confusing, a quick Google search and we end up with more questions than we started with.

How important is posture?

Should I breathe through my mouth or nose?

Eyes open or closed?

In silence or guided?

Should I practice alone or in a group?

How can I deepen my meditation?

You may have heard that you’re going to have good days and bad days and that you should just get on with the practice.

This is true, but it’s also true that it can become stale.

Those who are living a monastic life may be able to keep on with a very one dimensional practice because their brain remains engaged – this is because spirituality encompasses the majority of what create meaning in their lives.

For most of us however – especially when just starting out – we may become disengaged. As a result we’ll spend hours on the mat not really meditating but kind of in a half dazed state just going through the motions.

The way to overcome this disengagement is to add an element of variety and creativity into the practice and interrupt the pattern. Remember though that should be done sparingly, you shouldn’t be changing your routine all the time just because you’re getting distracted.

Here are 5 ways to deepen your meditation practice and experience a spiritual transformation.

  1. Deep Yogic breathing

There are various ways to practice yogic breathing or Pranayama.

For a basic method try to start by placing your hands on your stomach with interlaced fingers. Inhale deeply so that they separate slightly as your stomach fills with air, followed by your ribs and finally your chest. When exhaling simply follow the same sequence in reverse.

You can incorporate this into your meditation session at any time so that if you notice that you’re getting distracted more than usual or your mind isn’t engaged you can do 15-20 breaths to return your center.

If you’d like to learn more about yogic breathing and don’t have access to a teacher, there are a number of videos that explain the various techniques.

  1. Consciously interrupt the flow of your day

When we tell ourselves a story about our life we usually group our day into different activities.

I was sleeping then I was eating then I was showering then I was commuting then I was working for example.

But when we run through this experience in real time, we often forget that we’re transitioning from one thing to another, until we reach the end of the day and it can seem like we’ve just spent the last 12 hours on autopilot.

Paul Wilson, author of the Calm Technique, recommends that we take a conscious pause between each daily activity, be that one breath or ten minutes.

When moving into another action, simply take a moment to pause and recognise the transition before carrying on with your day.

  1. Introduce active meditation

When we start to make meditation just something we do in the morning or afternoon, it can cease to become a way of being and start to become a chore.

The aim of practice is not to elicit a sense of deep calm and mindfulness for a certain period of time, but to make your entire life a meditation. As Jack Kornfield has said, “meditation is training wheels for real life.”

To deepen your meditation practice, choose one activity that you do habitually every day, this can be walking, eating, waiting for a bus, brushing your teeth, cleaning the dishes – and make it a meditation. Commit to it so that every day you’re making the meditative experience flow throughout your day as opposed to coming and leaving in designating chunks of time.

Once you’ve started to remember to do this consistently for at least a month, then you can start adding more activities.

  1. Practice the fire breath

This is another yogic breathing technique that is quite different and comes from both the Hatha and Kundalini traditions.

It is used by superhuman Wim Hof to generate a meditative state that allows him to withstand extreme temperatures.

The technique can be relatively intense, so it’s advised that you start slow unless you have an experienced practitioner guiding you.

To perform the fire breath, close your eyes and breathe out through your nose in short powerful bursts. When inhaling you should let the air come in naturally – the intensity should be lighter than on the exhale.

Start by performing 10 to 20 of these breaths and work your way up to more over time, you may experience tingling or light-headedness.

  1. Perform mini-body scans when we get distracted

Sometimes when we meditate we get so focused on the object of our attention that we completely forget to keep our body relaxed.

What we need to understand is that the ability of the mind to relax is dependent on the ability of the body to relax, so the depth of your physiological relaxation will limit the depth of your meditation.

If you find yourself distracted or disengaged, go from your feet to your head placing your focus on each muscle group and relaxing them slowly before returning to your breathe.

Adding variety to your meditation can deepen your state and set the ground for a true spiritual transformation. Have you had any experience with these techniques? Let us know in the comments.

Attention Expanded Consciousness Readers!

Do you want to start your mornings off with *habits that generate true confidence? *

Then grab a free copy of our new eBook: MORNING MASTERY: The Simple 20 Minute Routine For Long Lasting Energy, Laser-Sharp Focus, and Stress Free Living.


Ben is a freelance writer, and the co-creator of Project Monkey Mind—a blog that helps you learn practical ways to live a productive, fulfilling and world-changing life in the digital age.

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Australia's "Tesla Town" Featuring Solar Roofs and Powerwalls to Be First of Its Kind

The world has slowly been shifting away from dirty-energy in order to adopt more clean energy solutions in the fight against climate change and it has many people daydreaming about what the world will look like once we’ve completely made the transition to renewable energy.

Now, we’re getting a brief look into the future, as Australian property group Glenvill has designed, developed and begun to build the world’s first “Tesla Town.”

What is a “Tesla Town” you ask? Basically, it’s a small housing development in the Melbourne business district where every home features solar panel roofing and built-in Tesla Powerwalls, which provide electricity storage to be used for domestic consumption, load shifting and backup power.

The new development has green energy advocates excited, as it should be one of the most environmentally sustainable developments ever created. Residents who purchase a home within the new suburb, which is being called YarraBend (as the Yarra River passes through it), will enjoy drastic cuts in water usage (about 43 percent) as well as in landfill contributions (by up to 80 percent).

Not to mention, the solar panel electricity generation is expected to allow residents to recharge their electric vehicles for basically zero cost.

The development will feature a combination of single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments, and will cover 16.46 hectares of land or about 2,500 new homes. These homes come at somewhat of a price, however. At the moment, 60 homes are available for purchase ranging from $1.48 million to $2.1 million.

The YarraBend community will feature electric car charging stations and all homes feature energy efficient lights and appliances, and the homes themselves have been designed to have a minimal impact on their environment.

How amazing would it be to see every home in the world outfitted with sustainable energy technology? As Thierry Lepercq of the French energy giant, Engie, recently said:

“The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here.”

You can check out more photos here!

h/t Inhabitat

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THIS Is Why We Can't See All of the Space Junk Currently Orbiting Earth

Have you ever wondered why you can’t see all of the space junk that is supposedly floating around the Earth? We often hear about the thousands of satellites that are currently orbiting our planet along with the massive amount of debris that is also caught in Earth’s orbit, but we almost never see any of them in pictures of the Earth itself.

Many are quick to support conspiracy theories, but the truth is actually much simpler and a lot less exciting--even though space debris is actually a huge problem and something to be thinking about.

At the moment, there are around 4,200 man-made satellites that float around Earth. 1,149 are still in operation and a large chunk of these are incredibly small (like CubeSats, which average about four inches on each of their sides). Other satellites can get much, much bigger, but even the big ones that are over a hundred feet in length are simply dwarfed by the massive size of the Earth.

When you’re comparing four square-inches and 100+ feet to a planet that is 7,917.5 miles across.. There’s a good chance that you’re not going to see anything other than the planet, especially from far-off distances.

The International Space Station (ISS) that often takes so many of the amazing photos of the Earth is only about 357 feet long from end to end, making it the largest man-made object currently orbiting the planet. Even the DSCOVR satellite, which is used to observe Earth from about a million miles away, can’t discern the ISS when taking pictures.

The smallest objects that the EPIC camera onboard DSCOVR can detect have to be at least eight to ten kilometers wide.

Jay Herman, who leads the EPIC camera program, explains that satellites are actually designed to avoid collision with one another, meaning they are often nowhere near each other in terms of orbit, even though there are seemingly so many of them. But, he says, that doesn’t mean space junk isn’t a problem.

“There’s a lot of space junk up there. In fact, the ISS has to maneuver occasionally to get out of the way of stuff that NORAD tracks with radar.”

And while much of the debris circling Earth isn’t exactly massive, the tiny stuff is still incredibly dangerous.

“The velocities are so high that if a little piece of junk hit you it would do a lot of damage,” says Herman.

Pictures, like the ones displayed here, illustrate just how crowded Earth’s orbit has become. If you really need convincing that there’s stuff out there, just find a quiet place outside with low light pollution when the skies are clear, and look up. You should be able to spot numerous different satellites steadily floating through the skies with their blinking lights.

h/t Popsci

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This Family Uses a Solar Geodesic Dome to Live Comfortably in the Arctic Circle

When one thinks of the Arctic Circle, it’s easy to picture some of the harshest weather conditions that exist on Earth. You might find yourself wondering why anyone would want to live in a region where temperatures can fall to negative 58°F, but about four million people live in the arctic circle (10 percent of which are indigenous people who have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years).

So, if you’re going to live there, you might as well do it right. Like the Hjertefølger family who moved to Norway’s mountainous island of Sandhornøya in 2013 and began utilizing sustainable living practices to help stave off some of the harsh weather conditions they knew they’d be facing.

Not only is their home built from a mix of organic materials, like sand, water and clay, but they’ve encased their three-story home within a 25-foot-tall solar geodesic dome that helps protect them from heavy snowfall and high winds. And as a bonus, it also retains quite a bit of heat.

The dome works so well that they can even successfully maintain a garden that provides a good portion of their food, including things like apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, apricots, squash and different melons. Which is pretty impressive when you consider that they go without sunlight for at least three months each year.

“We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house,” Ingrid Hjertefølger told Inhabitat. “The process changed us, shaped us.”

The family lives comfortably in one of the least inhabited regions on the planet and get to regularly experience breathtaking views of their natural surroundings as well as the Northern Lights overhead.

“The feeling we get as we walk into this house is something different from walking into any other house,” Hjertefølger shares. “The atmosphere is unique. The house has a calmness; I can almost hear the stillness. It is hard to explain. But it would have been impossible getting this feeling from a house someone else has planned and built for us, or a house with corners and straight lines.”

Who else is ready to go off-grid and live comfortably in a remote part of the world?

Check out Ingrid's blog here!

All image credit: the Hjertefølger family

h/t My Modern Met

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Now Hiring: Cuddle Drug-Addicted Babies to Help Them Survive

Giving back to the world through volunteer work is one of the best ways to spend your free time as well as provide much needed services to your community. There are many different ways to volunteer so it’s easy to find something that you both enjoy and feel good doing.

If you like babies, a new type of volunteer program has emerged to help provide infants with therapeutic healing experiences and the only requisite is that you have to cuddle with them.

As one might imagine, it can be incredibly emotional spending time with these special little ones who have been brought into this world already plagued with a troubled life. These babies have had parents who were drug addicts, meaning they were born addicted to certain substances right out of the womb.

Drug addiction rates all over the United States have rose as of late, leading to more and more children being born with addictions and then suffering from the subsequent neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the prevalence of NAS has increased 383 percent since the year 2000.

Symptoms of NAS vary depending on the substance the baby has become addicted to, but they include things like blotchy skin coloring, diarrhea, fever, issues feeding, seizures, problems sleeping, and inability to gain weight. And in order to survive the process of withdrawal, they need the help and cuddles of volunteers.

Cuddle care volunteer programs are being established across the U.S. as a means to help these afflicted babies, and the nurses who regularly care for these children couldn’t be happier.

“These babies going through withdrawal need to be held for extended periods. They need human touch,” says Pennsylvania nurse Jane Cavanaugh who started a similar program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

The best part is that these programs seem to be working. Maribeth McLaughlin, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, says that addicted babies who are held regularly typically need less medication and get to go home sooner than other babies who do not receive such attention.

“Cuddling is helping them manage through these symptoms,” she told “They are very irritable; they are hard to console. This is about swaddling them and giving them that comfort and safe, secure feeling.”

Sound like something you might be interested in? Great! Reach out to the local hospitals in your area to see if any cuddle care programs have been established yet and if not, maybe you can raise awareness and even suggest that they start one.

They make all the difference for babies who have been given an unfair start in this world.

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