We are pleased to announce STILLNESS, Dean Evenson’s latest album. Official release date is November 18. Preorder on amazon.com. Digital downloads available now on iTunes. Dean’s long, slow keyboard tones and rich atmospheric arrangements blend with the pure sounds of his silver flute and the deep bass flute of Doug Tessler. This deeply soothing music connects with the still, quiet place within creating the perfect mood for meditation and going deep.
We realize it has been a challenging time for many people and emotions are running high and deep. Dealing with grief and loss calls for us to lean in on the tools we know work. Any time we are confronted with situations not to our liking, we are reminded that clearing the mind and letting go of attachment to our position can be a tremendous help. This principle works both ways and applies even if we are ecstatically happy about something.
For some peace of mind, join Dean Evenson as he plays his flute and meditates by mountain lakes
Meditation can support us in letting go of negative emotions such as anger and sadness and make way for a more compassionate, joyful and expansive state of being. We can’t always control what goes on around us but we can learn to control how we react to and internalize what happens in our outer world.Meditation can have immense benefits for our spiritual and physical wellbeing. Through listening to calming music and a regular meditation practice, we strive to reach a state of inner peace and move ourselves much closer to the realization our divine nature.
Michael McGillicuddy, Owner Central Florida School of Massage Therapy, had this to say about Stillness: “I love Dean Evenson’s new Stillness album. It is like listening to soft waves of flute while laying in a peaceful place. Very relaxing, peaceful and perfect for massage and other healing modalities. I received an acupuncture treatment today and listening to the CD was very healing to me.”
We invite you to check out our free download this week to listen to a track from Stillness.
And we love to hear from you. How do you deal with challenges when they come up, whether personal or societal? We always like to know what tools and techniques others have to get through difficult times. When you comment here, we’ll send you a free download in appreciation.
Are you feeling stress? Well, it sure seems like the times we live in are getting more and more crazy. With so much bad news (or even fake news) coming toward us, we tend to stress and get caught up in worrying about what did happen or what might happen to us and our world. Watching too much television or reading too many political posts on Facebook can get us quite worked up and even cause us to lose sleep at night. So, we’re here to remind you of some very basic tools to help overcome stress, whether it involves personal issue stress or stress based somewhere ‘out there’ in the world beyond.
For almost four decades Dean Evenson and I have been involved in creating peaceful, healing music. In the process of following our spiritual and creative path, we have learned of many simple, easy to use techniques that can help reduce the stresses in our lives and many of them involve music, our life passion. We are especially interested in accessing the power within us that is available when we close out all that busyness, the apparent conflicts and dichotomies pulling us in one direction or another. We are looking to get to that place inside where there is absolute stillness and a sense of inner peace and quiet.
Simple Sound Tools to De-stress
Most of the tools you are probably familiar with. Some of our favorites include breath, meditation, music, mantra, chanting, toning and affirmations. We recognize that quieting the mind is easier said than done, especially today when we are instantly aware of events occurring all over the world, many of which have nothing to do with us. What goes on in your mind is really the key. It is what forms your perception of your world. So having some tools or systems to tune into can carry us through troubled times. These are tools that we use to bring us back into that inner stillness, the quiet place within. And just so you know, we are rooting for humanity to thrive in this next coming time but more on that later.
The Basic Sigh
Probably the tool easiest to access is the breath. Simply taking a deep breath in, holding it a moment, and then letting out a long, slow exhalation is a good place to start. This basic sigh can help you reset your mind and body to a more peaceful vibration. Often when we are stressed or afraid, we are practically holding our breath, or at the very least, taking very shallow breaths. With conscious breathing, we are really bringing in the life force. Call it air, oxygen or prana, but know that without it, life ceases to exist. So take those long deep breaths and enjoy the calmness it brings. Focus on the breath and let the random or worrisome thoughts drift away.
Modern life is structured to get us geared up and ready to be productive members of society, or so they say. Drink the coffee and get the treadmill of the fast-paced world. Unfortunately, after all that gearing up we often find it difficult to unwind and settle down or are unable to fall asleep at night. So we need to develop practices that help us to slow down and bring ourselves to that place of inner stillness.
Repeating a short affirmation or mantra can help clear the mind. Simply saying (or singing) to yourself ‘I am. I am. I am,’ or another such positive phrase, can help to ground and center yourself. Getting the whole body to relax helps as well. Doing yoga or some stretches relaxes the body and at the same time, releases tension in the mind. In fact, one of the most important functions of yoga is not just to make your body strong and flexible, but it is primarily to ‘still or calm the whirlpools of the mind’ according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Walking is another simple way to move the body and calm the mind and conscious walking in nature takes one even deeper.
Often when you’re getting ready for bed and trying to fall asleep, that’s when all the mental chatter comes in. We recommending playing quiet, peaceful music in the hour or so before bedtime so that you can start to calm down from all the gearing up you have done all day. With a regular meditation practice you can develop control over your mental thought processes leading to a more relaxed and peaceful state of being. You can read more about chanting, affirmations, toning and mantra in other blog posts or articles at soundings.com. These are simple tools that will benefit you in the long run and make you a more calm and peaceful person. I believe that whatever peace we have inside us will extend out and when we touch the people around us with our peaceful nature, and they touch the people around them with their peaceful nature, we will surely have a more peaceful world.
Keep in Touch
I hope you watch my video. You can hear the fun story about singing my prayer song for Dr. Larry Dossey. I’m sharing these simple possibilities so you’ll know there are some easy and meaningful things you can do to make your life better. Let me know what resonates with you. I love to hear how others navigate their own turbulent waters. And when you comment on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 of our music in gratitude.
Do you start your day with a dose of news and then find it’s hard to get all that negativity out of your head? Or maybe you feel overwhelmed by a massive ‘to do’ list and can’t seem to complete all the tasks you have set up for yourself. I recently read a great book called The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8 am and I have been implementing the practices that the author, Hal Elrod, has suggested.
Even if you’re not a morning person, you can still have a miracle morning!
I like the idea of starting my morning with a miracle, but since I am not a morning person, I wondered if it would work for me. When I looked more deeply into the idea, I discovered that there is a lot to be said about starting your day off in a conscious, mindful way and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. For many years I have had a simple practice of doing eye exercises and a prayer before I even get up so I have at least started my day before it officially begins. My next ideal practice after drinking some water and making my tea is to do a half hour of yoga. Then if I am not in a rush, I like to sit and meditate. Often, however, the phone would ring or I would get up and move toward my computer, emails and get caught up in the outside world. Of course for most people, even taking that much time starting their day would be too much when they have to get breakfast for the family or run off to work.
Here’s my video further explaining the Life S.A.V.E.R.S. System so you can have your own Miracle Morning
Life S.A.V.E.R.S. System
With so much to do and so little time, I wondered how could a slight change in one’s morning procedure make a meaningful difference that would last all day. That’s where Hal Elrod’s system called ‘Life S.A.V.E.R.S’ comes in. It’s a very simple system that is easy to remember and simple to implement. I like that he says you can do each one of these practices for only a minute and you will still experience a beneficial effect. The main thing is to actually do the practice. I am still trying to implement it into my morning and find that when I don’t start my day with this practice and instead let myself get caught up in computer work or the outside world, my day does not go nearly as smoothly and I feel that I accomplish less.
Here is his magic formula for a Miracle Morning. He calls it ‘Life S.A.V.E.R.S.’ You can do each one of these steps for as little as one minute and still feel the benefit. Five minutes or more for each one is better of course. You can also do them in any order. You may exercise at the beginning or at the end. Remember, it’s your morning practice so it needs to work for you.
SILENCE: Sit quietly, let go of busy thoughts, and focus on your breath AFFIRMATION: Affirm what you want in life to set the tone for your day VISUALIZATION: Picture yourself living your ideal life and it’s ok to be specific EXERCISE: Moving the body benefits physical as well as mental and emotional selves READ: Read something inspiring and uplifting to start your day SCRIBE: Journal your thoughts and dreams or add to that great book you are working on
Be sure to pick up a copy of the book to gain a much deeper understanding of how you can create your own miracle morning. We would love to hear your ideas of how you begin your day so you maximize your full potential. We love to hear from you so when you comment, we’ll send you a free mp3 music track that can be a perfect accompaniment to your morning meditation.
Ever since he discovered information about the Earth Resonance Frequency (ERF), Dean Evenson has included that sub-audio tone under the mix in his healing music albums. We’ve had lots of requests for more information so here is some background on why it is such an important frequency and why we use it.
Our physical body is affected by vibrations that are below the range of hearing. One ‘ultra low frequency’ is called the Earth Resonance Frequency (ERF). This common frequency of our beautiful planet is located primarily at 7.83 Hertz or cycles per second. One reason we are interested in this frequency is because it is very similar to the frequency our brains emit when we are in the Alpha brainwave state. There are several factors at play here and we will share our understanding of the scientific basis of resonant frequency and explain how that ties in with the state of our consciousness. We will also describe how the ERF or other ultra low frequencies can be used in music to support reaching a meditative or healing zone more easily.
It may be more than coincidence the Earth Resonance Frequency of 7.83 Hz is similar to the frequency our brains emit when we are in the state of consciousness right on the cusp between the Alpha and Theta brainwave states. As you may know, our brains emit ultra low frequency sound waves that vary depending on the state of our consciousness. When we are in our busy, rational frame of mind, our brains emit Beta frequencies in the range of 14-20 Hz. This is called our Beta brainwave state and occurs when we are active and thinking, doing computer work, driving a car, or something that requires left brain thinking. We need to access this state to function in the world on a daily basis.
When we are seeking a space to meditate or heal, we want to drop down into the next state which is deeper and more relaxed, so we enter the Alpha state. This is when we are awake and alert but very peaceful, calm and centered. The Alpha range is around 7-14 Hz. and is a very safe state to be in because one is still awake and alert to the surroundings but also open and receptive to being at peace and accessing our more intuitive faculties.
The Music of this World. Guest blog by Madisyn Taylor, DailyOM co-founder.
The tool most commonly used to focus our minds in meditation is the breath. When we sit down to meditate, drawing our attention inward counteracts our habitual tendency to be scattered. Meditation on the breath helps us gather our energy into our bodies, centering and grounding us in the present moment.
Almost as readily available as our breath are the sounds of the natural world. From rain to wind to the ocean and birds, meditating on these aural manifestations brings us not only a sense of peace, but also an experience of connection to the physical world.
It is easy to get stuck inside our own heads and our individual lives. We get caught up in our goals and plans and almost forget that we live in a world that is always there, humming away in the background. There is an internal shift that occurs when we tune into that background and really give it our attention. It’s as if we are discovering a more expansive world, because we are. We are also experiencing ourselves in relation to something larger. This discovery makes us feel rejuvenated and more expansive.
The vast and ceaselessly churning ocean is an ideal place for meditating on the sounds of nature. Sit quietly and surrender to the sounds of the thundering, crashing waves. Let go of your ambitions and listen. Rivers and lakes also sing their own songs. Even if you live in the middle of a city, the wind howls and whistles and the rain taps out a variety of sounds depending on where it falls ~ on the sidewalk, a tin roof, a car window, or a muddy slope. Tune into these sounds next time you hear them instead of letting them fade into the background. Stop and listen as if you are hearing a sublime piece of music. Let the music of this world take you on a journey of natural sounds.
Note from Dudley: I hope you enjoyed this guest blog. It was the article I was going to write but then it appeared in my mailbox from DailyOM, one of our favorite sites where we offer several online courses. For years, my husband, Dean Evenson, has recorded the sounds of nature. In fact, Desert Dawn Song, the very first album we made in 1979 included the sounds of dawn in the desert along with our peaceful music and helped to launch a whole new genre of meditation music.
Recently we put together an album and video that are just the sounds of water from four different eco systems. You can find out about them on our website soundings.com. Here are links to those projects and special discounts apply.
Recently I was invited to do a presentation for veterans at the Bellingham Vet Center. Several years ago, Dean and I had visited there and dropped off some of our music and videos and it turns out they had been showing our Eagle River DVD at their gatherings and potlucks where people really enjoyed the relaxation effect of the images of nature and the peaceful music. Eagle River was actually created after our first visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC where we did a presentation on music and healing to the patients, many of whom were wounded in combat or suffering from PTSD . We received feedback from the commanding officers that they really needed that video of eagles and nature along the Nooksack River as it would help people dealing with their flashbacks and nightmares from the trauma related to their combat experiences. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which is what many people suffer after extreme combat situations. These are the dog tags the chaplain at Walter Reed gave us when we visited there a few years ago.
I was pleasantly surprised when I got a call a few weeks ago requesting a presentation about music for one of the local PTSD men’s groups. I wasn’t sure what to expect but found a group of older Viet Nam era vets as well as some younger ones from more recent wars who were ready to work on dealing with their issues. As the leader said later, the men appreciated being able to step out of their comfort zone. I actually had them breathing, toning, singing a mantra and doing ‘I am’ affirmations. I also shared the RELAXATION TRAINING GUIDE we created for Walter Reed so they would have an overview of how to use music in their process.
Then a few weeks later I was invited back to work with a group of women dealing with PTSD, either as veterans themselves, or because of being married to a veteran who was suffering form PTSD. I found this group of women very open to what I was teaching them and much more able to express themselves through the singing, toning and affirmations I had them doing. It is interesting to me that what I am actually teaching these military folks is based on the yoga of sound and it really seems to work. The women want me to come back and go deeper into the process so I am excited to be able to share what Dean Evenson and I have been learning and teaching all these years about the healing power of sound and music, meditation and self-expression.
This will be a short post but Dean and I are very excited to be getting on a plane tonight for Costa Rica where we will take part in a week long Chant and Tantra retreat with our dear friends Deva Premal and Miten and their fabulous flute player Manose. This is literally the first vacation we have taken that wasn’t part of a business trip. The setting will be at the exquisite Blue Spirit Resort in Nosara, Costa Rica. We are all packed and ready with our various techno tools, cameras, recording devices, iPad, etc. Oh did I say vacation. Well we are ardent videographers and photographers so that part of it is fun. Along with yoga, meditation, swimming in the ocean, walking on the beach – this will be a welcome respite for us. Stay tuned for more pictures and videos. We hope to come back with renewed energy and with lots of media and musical inspirations to share with you.
Mantra is a tool that can help us focus and quiet our minds. In Sanskrit, the word mantra means mind protection since using a mantra or short spiritual phrase or affirmation can replace and overcome incessant tape loops and negative thoughts, thus clearing the mind and bringing it to a calm quiet space.
I like to use mantra to clear my mind and prepare for meditation. Typically, we have a constant dialogue going on within our minds. This inner conversation can range anywhere from the news we heard on the radio, to making a ‘to do list’ or replaying an unpleasant interaction with a friend, co-worker or relative.
It is very difficult to get these thought patterns out of our minds and they especially tend crop up when we are trying to meditate. This is why in meditation we use several concentration techniques to overcome the busy monkey mind and allow for the one-pointed concentration of the meditation process. In addition to focusing on the breath as a concentration device, we can use mantra, chanting and affirmations to help clear the mind of unnecessary clutter and allow us to enter a deep state of inner quiet.
A mantra is a short sound or phrase, usually with a spiritual significance which carries a vibration and frequency that extends beyond the simple meaning of its words. In the highest sense, mantras carry thought waves that can energize the prana or life force through constant repetition and they can reach deep into the subconscious mind. More simply, they can help overcome the mind chatter and prepare the way for an expansion of consciousness.
By becoming aware of the rampant mental processes that we wish to control, we can learn how to use our minds and our voice in harmony to stay focused. We need a guardian at the gate of our awareness to keep the demons of our mental processes from distracting us and a mantra is one way to do this.
I would love to hear how you use mantra or affirmations in your own meditation process so post a comment here. I am also giving away a free mp3 download to people who post comments.
Oh and here are some of the recordings I have created that include my guided affirmations. Enjoy!
This is the first in our series of 52 weekly meditations and a good place to start after the busy holidays.
I sit quietly and center myself, breathing deeply and fully. I feel myself firmly connected to the earth as I let the spirit flow through me. I let go of busyness and of anything that may be overwhelming me. I open myself to the new, to new possibilities, to a new day, and to the fresh new cells being constantly created in my body with every breath I take. I feel the refreshing inspiration of new opportunities coming my way. I welcome this new and wonderful time in my life and see it filled with goodness, creativity and peace. I let go of the old and allow the new to come gently into my life.
Often, we tend to cling to old patterns and habits that may be holding us back. It is these attachments that can keep us from living fully. In this centering affirmation, we allow ourselves to open up to the many blessings that exist within the vast sea of infinite possibilities surrounding us. When so-called negative experiences present themselves, we frequently tighten up and form an armor of resistance around us, thereby closing ourselves off from the magic inherent in the unknown. By always being open to new possibilities, we allow the Universe to harness all its forces to help us in the best ways possible. This affirmation is a wonderful way to begin our year of weekly wisdom meditations.
We hope you will take advantage of the 52 Weekly Affirmations and go through your year focusing on these universal principles. They are guaranteed to make your life happier, healthier, more prosperous and even improve your relationships. Below are the several different formats available to suit your needs. And coming soon is an iPhone App. We will let you know when it’s ready. But no need to wait as you can begin now with the CD, DVD, download or DailyOM online course.
I am not a Buddhist but the words here are so inspiring and relevant for modern times and our busy lives and busy minds. See if you can get through this long poem and let me know if it resonates with you…
Choices From the Dhammapade translated by Thomas Byron
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.
“Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.
“Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed me.”
Abandon such thoughts, and live in love.
In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.
You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel?
How easily the wind overturns a frail tree.
Seek happiness in the senses,
Indulge in food and sleep,
And you too will be uprooted.
The wind cannot overturn a mountain.
Temptation cannot touch the man
Who is awake, strong and humble,
Who masters himself and minds the dharma.
If a man’s thoughts are muddy,
If he is reckless and full of deceit,
How can he wear the yellow robe?
Whoever is master of his own nature,
Bright, clear and true,
He may indeed wear the yellow robe.
Mistaking the false for the true,
And the true for the false,
You overlook the heart
And fill yourself with desire.
See the false as false,
The true as true.
Look into your heart.
Follow your nature.
An unreflecting mind is a poor roof.
Passion, like the rain, floods the house.
But if the roof is strong, there is shelter.
Whoever follows impure thoughts
Suffers in this world and the next.
In both worlds he suffers
And how greatly
When he sees the wrong he has done.
But whoever follows the dharma
Is joyful here and joyful there.
In both worlds he rejoices
And how greatly
When he sees the good he has done.
For great is the harvest in this world,
And greater still in the next.
However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act upon them?
Are you a shepherd
Who counts another man’s sheep,
Never sharing the way?
Read as few words as you like,
And speak fewer.
But act upon the dharma.
Give up the old ways –
Passion, enmity, folly.
Know the truth and find peace.
Share the way.
The Dhammapada, an anthology of 423 verses, has long been recognized as one of the masterpieces of early Buddhist literature. Buddhist tradition has it that shortly after the passing away of the Buddha his disciples met in council for the purpose of recalling to mind the truths they had received from their beloved Teacher during the forty-five years of his ministry. Their hope was to implant the principles of his message so firmly in memory that they would become a lasting impetus to moral and spiritual conduct, for themselves, their disciples, and for all future disciples who would seek to follow in the footsteps of the Awakened One.