Inspirações da Semana (100 posts até ao final do ano)

Se há coisa que me entusiasma é partilhar informação, com a esperança de que a mesma seja inspiradora, coloque "brilhozinhos nos olhos", abra novas possibilidades e contribua para um mundo mais consciente!   

Nesse sentido, desde 2007, tenho vindo a "aventurar-me" no mundo online, partilhando informação sobre os mais diversos temas, como bem-estar, resumos de livros, curiosidades científicas, palestras inspiradoras, legado cultural com uma "pitada" de humor, experiências de meditação, entre outras.   

Percebi há poucos dias que apesar de nunca me ter visto como "blogger" ou "broadcaster", o facto é que, "grão a grão", já foram para o ar mais de 500 posts!   

Com essa tomada de consciência e com o impulso de tornar esta informação útil e acessível, decidi fazer uma selecção dos melhores 100 posts dos principais sítios onde partilho inspirações e de 12 de Agosto a 28 de Dezembro irei colocar todos os dias uma inspiração!   

O alinhamento será o seguinte: 
- 2ª: começar a semana com uma curiosidade sobre o mundo que nos rodeia 
- 3ª: os melhores oradores do mundo irão abrir sua a mente a novas possibilidades 
- 4ª: nada como um resumo de um livro para aceder a informação de forma simples e rápida 
- 5ª: como pode cultivar o seu bem-estar, serão as reflexões que deixarei neste dia 
- 6ª: para fechar a semana, nada como um vídeo inspirador para colocar brilhos nos olhos 
- sábado (extra): há livros que mudam vidas, vale a pena partilhar alguns
- domingo (extra): músicas com PIL's (Letras de Intervenção Positiva) para fechar o ciclo
Serão então 100 "inspirações da semana" e 40 sugestões extra que poderão ser seguidas através de um canal próprio do Facebook (Inspirações da Semana -, assim como dos canais do projecto ZorBuddha: 

Sentem a inspiração? Vamos a isso!? ;)

Meditation #16 - Chanting A-U-M (Chloe Goodchild)

This is a very easy practice which the only thing we have to do is to chant the sound “OM”
(it is really a combination of three sounds: “A”, “U” and “MM”).

Simply inspire and, when you expire, chant this sound.

Verdict: this practice appears to be very relaxing and to have a great impact on the Heart Rate Variability (it is until now the practice that lead to a greater heart coherence - see graph!). In terms of brain waves the results were in a medium point, not revealing a similar impact as with the heart.


7 Health Benefits of Meditation by Anastasia Stephens, SMH

It's a piece of advice yogis have given for thousands of years: take a deep breath and relax. Watch the tension melt from your muscles and all your niggling worries vanish. Somehow we all know that relaxation is good for us.

Now the hard science has caught up: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has just been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ''disease-fighting genes'' were active, compared to those who practised no form of relaxation.

In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. The changes, say the researchers, were induced by what they call ''the relaxation effect'', a phenomenon that could be just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. ''We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group,'' Dr Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the research, says. The good news for the control group with the less-healthy genes is that the research didn't stop there.

The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood and environment, revealed that genes can switch on, just as easily as they switch off. ''Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practising relaxation methods every day,'' says Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London's BodyMind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. ''After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.''

More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practised relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person's state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. It might also explain why relaxation induced by meditation or repetitive mantras is considered to be a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine.

But just how can relaxation have such wide-ranging and powerful effects? Research has described the negative effects of stress on the body. Linked to the release of the stress-hormones adrenalin and cortisol, stress raises the heart rate and blood pressure, weakens immunity and lowers fertility. By contrast, the state of relaxation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and to the growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue. Indeed, studies show that relaxation has virtually the opposite effect, lowering heart rate, boosting immunity and enabling the body to thrive.

''On a biological level, stress is linked to fight-flight and danger,'' Dr Jane Flemming, a London GP, says. ''In survival mode, heart rate rises and blood pressure shoots up. Meanwhile muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten. And non-essential functions such as immunity and digestion go by the wayside.'' Relaxation, on the other hand, is a state of rest, enjoyment and physical renewal. Free of danger, muscles can relax and food can be digested. The heart can slow and blood circulation flows freely to the body's tissues, feeding it with nutrients and oxygen. This restful state is good for fertility, as the body is able to conserve the resources it needs to generate new life.

While relaxation techniques can be very different, their biological effects are essentially similar. ''When you relax, the parasympathetic nervous system switches on. That is linked to better digestion, memory and immunity, among other things,'' Toby says. ''As long as you relax deeply, you'll reap the rewards.'' But, he warns, deep relaxation isn't the sort of switching off you do relaxing with a cup of tea or lounging on the sofa.

''What you're looking for is a state of deep relaxation where tension is released from the body on a physical level and your mind completely switches off,'' he says. ''The effect won't be achieved by lounging round in an everyday way, nor can you force yourself to relax. You can only really achieve it by learning a specific technique such as self-hypnosis, guided imagery or meditation.''

The relaxation effect, however, may not be as pronounced on everyone. ''Some people are more susceptible to relaxation methods than others,'' says Joan Borysenko, director of a relaxation program for outpatients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston. ''Through relaxation, we find some people experience a little improvement, others a lot. And there are a few whose lives turn around totally.''

7 Health Benefits of Deep Relaxation 

The next time you tune out and switch off and let yourself melt, remind yourself of all the good work the relaxation effect is doing on your body. These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits …


Relaxation appears to boost immunity in recovering cancer patients. A study at the Ohio State University found that progressive muscular relaxation, when practised daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study at Ohio State, a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater resistance to tumours and to viruses.


Emotional balance, means to be free of all the neurotic behavior that results from the existence of a tortured and traumatized ego. This is very hard to achieve fully, but meditation certainly is the way to cure such neurosis and unhealthy emotional states. As one’s consciousness is cleansed of emotionally soaked memories, not only does great freedom abound, but also great balance. As one’s responses then are not colored by the burdens one carries, but are instead true, direct and appropriate.


A study at the University of Western Australia found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. A study at Trakya University, in Turkey, also found that stress reduces sperm count and motility, suggesting relaxation may also boost male fertility.


When patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome began practising a relaxation meditation twice daily, their symptoms of bloating, diarrhoea and constipation improved significantly. The meditation was so effective the researchers at the State University of New York recommended it as an effective treatment.


A study at Harvard Medical School found that meditation lowered blood pressure by making the body less responsive to stress hormones, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication. Meanwhile a British Medical Journal report found that patients trained how to relax had significantly lower blood pressure.


Stress leads to inflammation, a state linked to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and skin conditions such as psoriasis, say researchers at Emory University in the US. Relaxation can help prevent and treat such symptoms by switching off the stress response. In this way, one study at McGill University in Canada found that meditation clinically improved the symptoms of psoriasis.


The simple difference between those who meditate and those who do not, is that for a meditative mind the thought occurs but is witnessed, while for an ordinary mind, the thought occurs and is the boss. So in both minds, an upsetting thought can occur, but for those who meditate it is just another thought, which is seen as such and is allowed to blossom and die, while in the ordinary mind the thought instigates a storm which rages on and on.

How to switch off stress 

How can you use relaxation's healing powers? Harvard researchers found that yoga, meditation and even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced the relaxation effect. ''The more regularly these techniques are practised, the more deeply rooted the benefits will be,'' Jake Toby says. Try one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day.

Body Scan: Starting with your head and working down to your arms and feet, notice how you feel in your body. Taking in your head and neck, simply notice if you feel tense, relaxed, calm or anxious. See how much you can spread any sensations of softness and relaxation to areas of your body that feel tense. Once your reach your feet, work back up your body.

Breath Focus: Sit comfortably. Tune into your breath, follow the sensation of inhaling from your nose to abdomen and out again. Let tension go with each exhalation. When you notice your mind wandering, return to your breath.

Mantra Repetition: The relaxation response can be evoked by sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes twice a day, and mentally repeating a simple word or sound such as ''Om''.

Guided Imagery: Imagine a wonderfully relaxing light or a soothing waterfall washing away tension from your body and mind. Make your image vivid, imagining texture, colour and any fragrance as the image washes over you.



Meditation #15 - Happiness Visualization (Robin Sharma)

This is a very easy guided practice and that generates without effort some moments of relaxation and wellbeing because it brings up to the present moment some good happy memories of our lifes.

Verdict: this is a good practice for people with a little practice (like most visualizations) and for everyone who want to recall some good happy memories from the past and to feel with a peak of joy.


Meditation #14 - Separating the Two Arrows (Ronald Siegel)

This is a good meditation for dealing with pain and body discomfort. It starts with ±10 minutes of breath awareness and then it passes to the focus on the pain/discomfort. It can be very useful for people to look at pain with an objective “lens”, without attachment to ideas and thoughts.
Verdict: the data shows that this was not a deep meditation experience. It could be nice in cases of body pain but not probably like a routine meditation technique.


Meditation #13 - Focusing on change (Rick Hanson)

This is a meditation focusing on the transient nature of our experience. Everything is constantly changing moment by moment. Everything appears and everything will disappear, from the most single things (eg. a sound) the the most complex ones (ex. a human being, a galaxy, etc.). The idea is to find peace within the acceptance of this fact of nature.
Click on the image to enlarge
Verdict: A good practice to become more aware and conscious of our own experience and of the roots of some of our suffering. 


Meditation #12 - Taking in the good (Rick Hanson)

This a meditation designed for get in touch with the good things that arrive to us through 4 different brain systems: avoidance, approach, attachment and undefined. The idea is not only to evoque good emotions that arise but, after bringing them to awareness, actively stick them to our implicit memory system, has it was proveen scientificaly to be possible. It is also a practice that the author suggests to be used every day, with your eyes open to the good things that happens everyday in your life.

Click on the image to enlarge
Verdict: All the results points to a great practice. A really valid resource to use in our daily life.


Meditation #11 - Deepening your responsive mode (Rick Hanson)

This a meditation to get in touch with the simple good things that happen all the time in our lives. We are, for instance, invited to remind some positive episodes, people with whom we feel good with and to accept the present moment as a perfect one.

Click on the image to enlarge
Verdict: It is a very good and simple meditation to activate positive emotions. These can be cultivated and trained to use as a valid resource in our daily life.

Meditation #10 - Being on your own side (Rick Hanson)

This is a compassion meditation. We are first asked to recall some situations so that we can sense how compassion feels in the body (note: everytime we felt a strong compassion during the meditation, the HRV changed immediately to a coherent cicle). Then we take this same emotion and project it throughout our whole life: since the beggining, when we were a child, until our last moments.

Click on the image to enlarge
Verdict: It is a simple meditation which can activate some positive emotions. These can be cultivated and trained to use as a valid resource in our daily life.

Meditation #9 - The True Nature of Awareness (Eckhart Tolle)

This is a very simple meditation, of just being in the present moment, accepting what emerges in the now, and observing the true nature of awareness. Because it is so simple and subtle, it turns out to be very difficult, mainly for people who aren’t familiarized with practices like mindfulness.

Click on the image to enlarge

Verdict: the results, in the overall, are medium, because although simple, this meditation require some experience from the meditator.

Meditation #8 - Discovering the Unchartered Territory (Gangaji)

This is a meditation focused on guiding questions, beginning with the classic "who am I", and evolving into others like "where do the words come from?", "where do they go next?", etc. Her calm and smooth voice, in conjunction with the questions, originated a great stillness and deepness inside me, like the data also show.

Click on the image to enlarge 

Verdict: the objective data as well, as the subjective one, pointed out to a recommended meditation practice.


Meditation #4 - Thought Labeling (Ronald Siegel)

Click on the image to enlarge 
Check this quick minute video about the process


Scientific benefits of meditation techniques - I

According to Daniel J. Siegel, here are some benefits of Mindfulness:
- improve the capacity of regulate emotion
- combat emotional dysfunction
- improve patterns of thinking
- reduce aggressive mind-sets
- treat and prevent depression

More to come in future posts!


Meditation #1 - Allowing Everything to Be as It Is (Adyashanti)

Click on the image to enlarge

Here is how it is going to work

I will go through different types of meditation (check the list in the previous post) and the idea is to keep a log of each experience. I'll share two types of data: subjective and objective.

Subjective data
- Difficult rate: from -- (low) to ++ (high)
- Stillness/deepness rate: from -- (low) to ++ (high)
- Relaxation rate: from -- (low) to ++ (high)
- Some comments about the experience

Objective Data
- Duration (in minutes)
- Heart Rate Variability: from -100 (low) to +100 (high)
- Meditation Rate: from 0 (low) to 100 (high)
- Concentration Rate: from 0 (low) to 100 (high)

I hope you enjoy!

Important Note for the "sceptics"/"puritans": 
This is not a scientific experiment. I will do it just for the fun of doing it. :)


"Where" I'm going to "dive"

Here goes the list I have "in mind":

Allowing Everything to Be as It Is Adyashanti
Shamatha Alan Wallace
Holosync - The Dive Bill Harris
Holosync - Immersion Bill Harris
Blissitations - Melow Brian Johnson
Blissitations - Ocean Brian Johnson
Blissitations - Rain Brian Johnson
Guided Meditation Brian Weiss
The True Nature of Awareness Eckhart Tolle
Anti-Stress Francisco Nobrega de Lima
Discovering the Unchartered Territory Gangaji
Redução da fadiga Hearth Math
Resonant Tuning Hemi-Sync
Meditation Hemi-Sync
Guided Meditation Jon Kabat-Zinn
Meditating on the breath Kim Eng
Meditating on sense perceptions Kim Eng
Inner body meditation Kim Eng
A meditation for dissolving the pain-body Kim Eng
Walking meditation Kim Eng
Meditating on nature Kim Eng
Drinking and eating meditation Kim Eng
A meditation for entering sleep consciously Kim Eng
Natural Meditation Lama Surya Das
The Experience of Unconditioned Awareness Peter Fenner
The doorway to your dreams Robin Sharma
Connecting to your life guide Robin Sharma
From stress to success Robin Sharma
The Treasure Box Robin Sharma
Happiness Visualization Robin Sharma
Craft your Ideal Day Robin Sharma
Breath Awareness Ronald Siegel
Breath Practice Sampler Ronald Siegel
Breathing Together Ronald Siegel
Listening Meditation Ronald Siegel
Thought Labeling Ronald Siegel
Befriending the Changes Ronald Siegel
Body Scan Ronald Siegel
Raisin Meditation Ronald Siegel
Loving Kindness Ronald Siegel
Mountain Meditation Ronald Siegel
Separating the Two Arrows Ronald Siegel
Stepping into  Fear Ronald Siegel
Stepping into Sadness Ronald Siegel
Tonglen Practice Ronald Siegel
Urge Surfing for Cravings Ronald Siegel
Urge Surfing for Pain Ronald Siegel
Raja Yoga Meditation Sahaj Marg
Cleaning Sahaj Marg
Body Scan Strosahl & Robinson
Mindful Standing Yoga Strosahl & Robinson
Mindfulness of the Breath Strosahl & Robinson
Mindfulness of the Breath and Body Strosahl & Robinson
Mindfulness of Sounds and Thoughts Strosahl & Robinson
The Breathing Space Strosahl & Robinson
Body Meditation Upaya
Breathing Meditation Upaya
Mind Meditation Upaya

Any suggestions / practices are welcome.

Please let me know your thoughts and ideas!

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes (Carl Jung)

Today I'm are going to start a new experiment. We know from science that practices of focused attention develops the pre-frontal area of our brain, which is responsible for many important functions (eg. body regulation, empathy, idea generation, fear modulation, etc.) and that is even associated with happiness and well-being.

My goal with this blog is to go trough different types of meditation and gather different kinds of information:
Objective data - Heart Rate Variability and brain waves
Subjective data - difficult rate, relaxation rate, "deepness", other comments

Come with me and dive into my own inner world!

I hope you enjoy it!