Stop fighting your Mind

My students often ask “I can’t still my mind during meditation class. What should I do?”

 “It’s what you should NOT do, is more like a solution.” I say.

Trying to stop thoughts coming into our meditation practice is counterproductive. For the mind, we notice what we are resisting, is persisting.

It is the mind’s nature to generate random thoughts when not being called upon to solve problems. The mind is always thinking- awake and asleep in dreams. Trying to go against this natural process of mind is like forcing a needle into a computer hard drive.

This conflicting want or need for quiet, when mind wants to continue, invites tension . Unrelieved tension causes stress. What NOT do do?

Best approach is to let the mind run free, no controlling.

 “What?” you ask. “The mind will run away, or scatter or explode!”, but that is not the case. Such fears come from the “little voice within” – our ego. As you can hear on my Podcast, the ego is a construct. (Link to my Spotify here).

Our mind is a natural organ that like water, seeks it’s own “level” of balance. The mind and body tend toward good health when not interfered with. And within balanced mind, in subconscious, is “authentic self”- who you really are, without all the constructed “should” statements, drama, competition and self judgements of your ego.

 Authentic self was born within you at the moment of your creation. Authentic self cannot leave you. Authentic self is not in conflict with anything. Simply silencing ego opens a portal to authentic self, which can then be invited to manifest in silence and stillness to evolve, manifest, decay and evolve again. So it is not a question of doing during meditation, it becomes an exercise of letting go while noticing the gaps between the thoughts where there is no ego.

In fact, you cannot be acting from the ego and the authentic self at the same time. If we allow mind total freedom, to see the intervals between thoughts, that is not “nothing” in the intervals – they are authentic self moments forming, arising, decaying, reforming in beautiful cycles.

If we are simply an observer to our thoughts when engaged in meditation that is enough. This witnessing triumphs over ego long enough to allow the gaps between thoughts to become a route toward authentic self.

Can we agree to look with deep reverence and love to the sudden jumps mind makes, the dreams our mind conjures, awake and asleep, the memories it stores? This observing with reverence is the antidote to trying or seeking enlightenment. It is the only path to enlightenment

What? Evening Meditative Psychology in Trenton !

When? 5 classes for $70 – Starting 7 pm Tuesday May 24, 31 June 7, 14, 21

Where? Royal Canadian Legion Boardroom- Trenton – 19 Quinte St.

Registration Required at 613 438 3399 or e-mail

Learn from Positive Psychology and Meditation Practitioner Rob Owens.


Develop and practiceCoping Skills, creative Intention Setting, Preventing Emotional Overload, Deep Relaxation

Ego Stories and Authentic Self – Part 2 Jan 24 2022—Stories-about-Ego-and-Authentic-Self-e1dbkij
How we construct Ego. Where inside us is Authentic Self? How we unconsciously allow Ego to block Authentic Self.
Contact me if you encounter problems listening, please.

Pine Cone, Symbol of Enlightenment

Why is the pine cone revered as a symbol by so many and diverse cultures from ancient times to now, and what does it mean? In Vatican City, Rome, Italy, there is an ancient bronze statue not of Jesus, nor Moses, nor Mary, but of a four meter tall pine cone, flanked by peacocks.

Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Temples in the ancient city of Angkor Wat in modern day Cambodia are crowned with huge pine cone shapes.

Ancient city of Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Mexico’s Aztec goddess Chicomcoatl is depicted presenting pines cones as gifts.

chicomcoatl, Aztec goddess of maize

The staff of the ancient Egyptian god Osiris is crowned with a pine cone, as is the center point of the trident staff of the Hindu Shiva, and the Christian Papal Tiara (crown) worn by successive Popes is shaped like a pine cone, Buddha is often depicted wearing a pointed pine cone cap or crown.

staff of Osiris

Q. Why is the pine cone revered as a symbol by so many and diverse cultures from ancient times to now, and what does it mean?

A. Pine cones, pineapple scales, peacock feathers and flower blooms are all examples of natures fractal patterns. Fractal patterns begin again at the end, ending again where they begin, like infinity. Similar patterns occur in flowers. This symbolism adopted by early civilizations was trying to represent eternity, a beginning without end, never-ending spiritual progression, a world without end. More abut fractals and mental health here (Link, Psychology Today article) Modern theory points to a natural reaction between the human eye, fractals and the pineal gland in the human brain. How did ancient peoples make this connection?

sunflower in full bloom

Archaeological study points to the pine cone representing enlightenment, hence its symbolism connected to religious leaders, or ancient gods, also of the pine cone being at the top of a staff (spine) or summit (mountain) that is closer to the eternal of nature. Typically, benevolent leaders were said to be endowed with enlightenment.

Attaining Enlightenment

“Enlightenment” implies a removal of a burden, a relief of what weighs us down, what holds us back. Enlightenment implies a moving away from darkness toward light, a lightness of being, or what we could be, if were better characters. But attaining enlightenment suggests an object in the future, separate from ourselves, sets up craving, desire, disappointment and frustration. Modern research points to ages old meditation and mindfulness as a source of enlightenment.

I have discovered in myself and others that enlightenment accumulates gradually, until enough of it causes conscious inner recognition. Then, like the pine cone that only opens to disperse its seed when conditions are exactly right, does enlightenment manifest itself, often as a conscious awareness, a still point, a place of diminished suffering.

If there is a “secret sauce”, a way to be happy regardless of external conditions, then it is how meditation and mindfulness cultivate conditions, like the pine cone opening to disperse, that are exactly right.

Some talk of a “path to enlightenment”, indeed I have used the phrase myself as catchy Blog title, but this implies a start/finish. Really, enlightenment is being able to focus on where you always are, sharpening your base level of concentration to what is relevant to you, your community, and the world. More on the naming of the pineal (pine-al) gland in the human brain, pineal as the third eye, and human reasoning in a future Post.

Wishing peace and abundance to all. Rob

Meditation Mindfulness Classes

With the best information you can decide for yourself if you want to take my courses or classes.

These research based classes are designed to provide you with your own set of meditation and mindfulness skills. (to read more, click on article title)

Ethics, Rob Owens (Links to Verify)

Personal health, safety and integrity is of great importance. I assure you that I am in 2020 a certified Meditation Mindfulness Teacher, certified Medical First Responder plus a fully accredited First Aid CPR/Defibrillator Instructor for St. John Ambulance Canada.

I have completed all Police criminal records checks for working with the public and volunteers, including the Vulnerable Sector check.

About Classes

I have assembled the classes to be educational, as well as practical. These are not merely stress relief classes, but contain a rich variety of active and passive meditation and mindfulness practices. From this rich variety of experiences you will know by the end what works for you.

Each class starts with a brief group discussion on the previous class, then from me an education of what we are trying to learn in this class. To facilitate learning I have some written handouts for you to keep, as you experiment in your home practice. Some handouts I request you return to me anonymously with your comments, so that you may feel free to express your need for improvements as we progress.

I encourage you to share about your meditation home practices, your challenges and success with the group.  In this way the group shares their collective wisdom. No one should feel pressure to speak. I might ask the group about individual meditation home practices only to refine techniques for my future lessons, not to pry into your affairs. You may Email me on this Web site using the Contact Author link, on the Pages Menu.

My ambition for You

My ambition for you is to furnish you with self-created a set of your own meditation and mindfulness experiences, that become your own rich toolbox of meditations. At the end you should know which meditation practices suit you best at this point in your life.

As you grow in meditation practice and wisdom you might take a higher level course, or a dedicated mindfulness course.

Or you may simply refer back to this website and these articles to become inspired. For more information on courses, where, Zoom format courses, see the Pages Menu “Classes”, or type Classes in the Search Bar.

I recommend in-person classes where there is greater mind-resonance in the group.

My Teachers

I am very proud of my diploma Teacher, Itai Ivtzan PhD, and his Associates. Click on any of these Links

Dr. Itai Ivtzan, Naropa University, Boulder Colorado

Dr. Ivtzan T E D Talks

Tara Brach, author and Buddhist meditation teacher

 Mindfulness Teacher Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn

Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff Self Compassion Program





Life is difficult….

Things happen that we do not want. The things that we want do not happen.

Life is unsatisfactory. All of us seek peace and harmony, because this is what we lack in our lives. Even if we are free from unhappiness at this moment, we can remember a time when we were miserable, we can foresee a time when unhappiness recurs.

Our personal dis-satisfactions are not limited to ourselves. As we go about our day we unknowingly share our suffering with others with irritability, manipulation, restlessness, a discontented attitude. Because the atmosphere around each unhappy person is vaguely unsettling to everyone who enters it, anyone adjacent begins to feel agitated and unhappy too. In this way, individual tensions combine to create the variety of tensions spreading through our North American society.

Ignorance, or more simply, to ignore reality- or what is real- is a powerful root of dissatisfaction. If I am unhappy in my relationship I need to acknowledge it as truth to fix things.

Through meditation we find the truth. We learn to approach the truth in a workable manner, a bit at a time, working slowly but steadily to make our lives better. When our lives are better, everyone else feels better too.

Suffering is common to everyone, it makes no distinctions. Therefore the remedy for suffering  must be equally available to everyone. You are not too busy, lack the time or inclination to help yourself. You are not the unique person whom meditation will not work for.

Don’t be discouraged by presuming that your busy life means you can’t meditate.

Don’t think that you need to attend a retreat or monastery to begin to relieve your suffering.

A nun or a monk who forsakes home and worldly responsibilities in order to follow a path has the opportunity to work more intensively, to assimilate the teachings more deeply, and therefore to progress more quickly, but the practice of meditation is not reserved for zealots and hermits.

Certainly a period of time must be given to the task of learning how to practice; but after these first steps, one can be able to apply the teachings of meditation to daily life.

If meditation is truly a way to relieve suffering, then as we progress in the practice we should become more happy in our daily lives, more harmonious, more at peace with ourselves.

Simultaneously, our relations with others should become more peaceful and harmonious. Instead of adding to the tensions of society, we should be able to make a positive contribution that will increase the happiness and welfare of all.  To follow the path we must live the life of truth and purity.

Through these pages I hope to share my experience , strength , and hope as we progress away from suffering and toward enlightenment.

Peace and abundance to all.   Rob

From Autopilot to Awareness

Thinking no more depends on our conscious contact with it than walking depends on our continuously keeping track of the position of our arms and legs.

Proof: after learning how to ride a bicycle, the ability remains within, despite having not ridden one for many years. Just get on and go! How is this?

These actions require constant balance, rhythm, distance perception… our brain is thinking from “stored consciousness” enabling us to walk or ride.

This is good because stored consciousness frees up the “conscious” part of the brain to handle more complex tasks- using our example- thinking about avoiding dangerous potholes in the road, or deciding to continue or turn back  if it rains.

Knowing that we have these two kinds of consciousness gives us a choice. What if we could bring both types of consciousness to bear? We can.

With practice it is highly effective.

But we can be tricked into using stored consciousness decisions when the unexpected arrives. The popular phrases “snap judgment” “coulda, woulda, shoulda” are words of regret for lack of conscious thinking. “Ballpark decisions” and “knee jerk reactions” are similar excuses.

Next time you are surprised by something that demands a decision, I would challenge you to schedule an appointment with yourself, to think about it later. Start with small stuff, until you prove to yourself this works.

Now, put the issue out of your conscious mind until the appointment is due. Try hard to do this. Try harder.

Scheduling time with yourself to think on problems allows our stored consciousness flexibility to intuitively examine more than one solution.

At the appointment with yourself you now have two abilities; one from the conscious thinking part of the mind, plus another from the stored consciousness mind that has been working on the task over time.

Reactive is rooted in “stored consciousness”, what I call the autopilot mind. Responsive comes from our conscious, awareness mind.

Wishing you Peace and Abundance- Rob

Fear Visits

Fear cartoon 1If we have a quantity of fear that we can’t bear to  examine, we cope by busying ourselves to ensure the unwelcome guest of fear does not set up residence in our mind.

We busy ourselves with other “guests” – we turn on the TV that fills our environment with sound and images, we go shopping or open a bottle of wine to drink. We do anything to divert our attention from what is scaring us, which is defined as “repression” or denial, that plays a role in many mental illnesses.

Even if what is on TV isn’t interesting, or if drinking we know it harming us, we think it is still better than going home to ourselves and meeting our inner discomfort or pain. Adopting a non-violent attitude toward our own suffering can help. This is an early form of universal acceptance.

Most of us practice repression to exclude or fear, depression or personal shortcomings. But the difficulty with these emotions is that they seem so powerful we assume we can’t survive them, so we repress them or deny that we have them, until they explode and cause hurt to ourselves and others. Simplified, emotions come, stay for a while, then leave. To understand this is to allow emotions, and their disturbing feelings, to flow through without residing.

Prolonging the “staying” interval of the flow of emotion increases suffering, but if we practice looking deeply, we can uproot the sources of troubling emotions. Through practice with, and observant of our breathing, we gain the awareness in this moment that we can and will survive these powerful emotions, letting them flow through our awareness.

As we begin to experience our own survival of strong emotions, we gain the knowledge that next time they come, we can survive them with less pain.

If we model this calm in the face of fear as a way life in the presence of our loved ones, we are teaching them and others that they can weather their own storms.