Monthly Archives: October 2010

Zentraveler on why Meditate?

Meditation Garden

Is MEDITATION just for monks living in a monastery who have knowledge of some sort of secret language? The quick answer is meditation is for everyone! A woman in India asked the Prison Warden to have one hour each morning with a group of the worst prisoners outside one of India’s largest cities….and like a miracle even the most hardened criminals started crying because of the positive experience. Before meditation they had a 80 percent return rate to prison… after her course on meditation the return rate was less than ten percent.

If that isn’t reason enough to begin a Meditation Program then consider the upside consequences. You can begin today to train your mind to be still, which will give you more energy to focus on anything you want to accomplish in life. Anyone can meditate anywhere in the world and the cost is zero.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is the ancient art of inner contemplation, of focusing the mind in order to reach the true inner self. The word MEDITATION is derived from its Latin root, medite which means to rest on one idea or thought.

We become that on which we meditate. In other words, we acquire the nature, quality or condition of the object on which we meditate. Many kinds of meditation with different objects and intentions exist in the modern world. Some of these claim to be new, some very old. At some level, most of them are related to the ancient Indian science of yoga.

Why should one Meditate?

Modern civilization, particularly in the West, places little value on spiritual growth, but a great deal of emphasis on physical and material matters. It is clear that this imbalance lies at the root of many of the ills currently afflicting our societies.

Humanity needs both kinds of values to grow and develop. Like a bird we need to wings to fly…a material wing, and a spiritual wing. Neglect of either one can spell disaster, on a personal or a global basis. Meditation is a simple and natural process to achieve the much-needed balance.

QUOTE:Meditation is training for life. If we want to be free, it is important to learn how to directly experience the unbroken chaos and impersonal confusion of our own minds without being disturbed by any of it. Only if we can bear it will we be able to take responsibility for it. If we cannot calmly endure our own minds, others will inevitably suffer the consequences. If we cannot handle our own thoughts and emotions while we are simply being still and paying attention, then how are we ever going to be able to make the appropriate choices when we are walking, talking, and engaging with others? Meditation is training for life. -Andrew Cohen

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:There are some facts, which should be remembered about meditation and these include meditation being a practice and a part of every day existence. It is bound by minutes and can be described as the sacred slot between awaking and working. It has various forms and hence can be static, motionless or even dynamic and active depending upon the kind of form that you are practicing. It should be remembered that meditation is not an isolated activity but an achievement that cannot be separated from every day existence.

With regular meditation practice you can improve discipline, willpower and determination and create calm and still mind. It is more than a relaxation technique and energy is focused on one part of the mind and body. Meditation can help you to get rid of various kinds of health problems but only if done with dedication and consistency and can be done as a cooling down session after exercise.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your Meditation logbook!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Meditate daily to help humanity and yourself!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler explores Palawans Underground River!

Underground River Cavern

The Puerto Princesca Subterranean River National park is located approximately 50 km North of the city of Puerto Princesca. One of the distinguishing features of the cave, including the amazing natural formations… is that the river winds through the cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea.

River flowing South China Sea

One of the highlights of our trip to Palawan was our tour to the world-famous Subterranean River. Reported to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, which is 8.2 kilometer that runs inside the cliffs of Sabang. This tourist destination is currently vying for a spot in the New 7 Wonders of the World and is a must trip for anyone visiting Palawan. Its a good idea while touring Palawan to include Puerto Princescas underwater cavern and use Sabang as a stopping point for traveling to and from Puerto Princesca, Port Barton, El Nido, and beyond.

Pumpboat Sabang to Park

Palawans Underground cavern is ideally situated just minutes from Sabang. Park Center Headquarters is centrally located at the marina in Sabang, where you can purchase your ticket for the trip across the body of water to the park entrance. It’s good idea to get the tickets ahead of time …so you can get on the early tour and be assured you will be able to get a tour for the day. During peak holidays etc. they often times have to turn visitors away as they can only accomodate so many persons per day. You can also walk to the park….simply go along the beach and follow the signs.

Perla aboard Pumpboat

Each pump boat can accomodate 4 tourist, a boatman and his assistant. We joined a family from Manila and crossed the waters in the direction of the Underground river park …everyone took out their cameras and began taking photographs of the scenic area and enjoying the ten minute boat trip as we traversed toward the park.

Arriving at the park entrance we walk on the wooden path down to the river, you can hear the monkies chattering and the birds chirping off in the distance. We spot a rather large monitor lizard just off he footpath in the jungle. We hope we are not on his lunch menu… as he looks large enough to make us his dinner if he so desires. At the end of the jungle wooden path is the underground river cave.

Monitor Lizard

The mouth, on the right side of the cave serves as the entry point to the river. The water is a dark blue-crystaline… reflecting the blue skies above the mountain and cliffs.

Cave Entrance

At the cave site you put on your lifejacket and your bright orange hard hat, meet your tourguide, and board the canoe-like eight seater boat. Excitement is mounting as we silently move towards the entrance and can hardly beleive our eyes as we see the natural formations of the cave.

Guide Boat with Passengers

A pod of fish swim frantically just outside the cave. Our guide paddles straight through in the dark. My travel companion Perla is in the front of the boat and shines a bright spotlight as the guide points out the different features of the cave, Our boat tour, which is approximately 45 minutes is concentrated on the first 2 kilometers of the underwater cave system…. and is loaded with great images and stories to last you a lifetime. Scientists, and professionals can make special arrangements at park headquarters to penetrate further inside the cave for exploration and discovery.

Slowly we move inside the cave… water dripping on our helmets, the spot light was on and being held by my travel companion Perla. Inside the cave the guide points out areas that represent religious factors and images that stagger the imagination. The guide used humor… sprinkled with stories giving us a magical journey inside the cave. It was dark! The only light you can see is the one coming from the spotlight in the front of the boat. The guide tells us where to look. and has a story to tell about many of the different cave formations…. every stalagmite and stalactite has a story and a meaning that challenges your imagination. The cave has several chambers. The one chamber off to the right does not allow boat traffic (no motor boats allowed in the cave) and is strictly reserved for thousands of bats who take residence deep inside the cave. They need their own sanctuary… devoid of humans, noises and intrusions.

Cave Image of Christ

The Cathedral, near the entrance houses the Bat cave at the right side where fruit eating Philippine Bats lives and is not accessible to tourists. “Don’t mind the smell and water dripping over head its “holy water”.” Our guide instructed us not to look up and open your mouth because who would want a mouthful of bat doo doo! The chamber is called the Cathedral because of its high dome shaped ceiling. It looks like a Cathederal!

Moving through the cave our guide points out limstone images like St. Peter, and the face of Jesus. You have to look close and open up your imagination to clearly see these images and of course try and photograph these images using flash as the boat glides along. The guide stops the boat in the middle of the cave and declares this as the “food market” depicting various vegetables and food like formations.

Near the end of the tour before the U-turn, you can see a long strip of stone above your head representing a highway. Throughout the tour our guide interjected humor and pointed out other formations like the “Curtains” a vertical stalactite extended in the walls of the cave that’s expands our imagination beyond normal limits.!

Mushroom cave Formation

What a great tour ! You can also vote online to make this one of seven natural wonders of the world and you will feel like you are doing your part to allow the world the opportunity to experience one of the great natural wonders of the world.

Jungle Monkies

QUOTE:”When you are aware and accept that everything around you is constantly changing, and that you have no control over 99.99% of it, you are able to embrace change like a close friend! Change is a like a river, constantly flowing and moving things around. The river of life is constantly bringing you ideas, people, situations each one is an opportunity to be enriched or to enrich others, and to learn. Change is the play of the universe as it entertains us in the biggest light and sound show of all time. Why not sit back and enjoy the show!” -Innerspace

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The navigable 8.2 kilometers of cave system of Palawan was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999. No wonder it is one of the major tourist destinations in the City of Puerto Princesa

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Caves and underground rivers! Don’t laugh! Large corporations operating in West Virginia, a beautiful state, are currently taking entire mountains apart…. destroying the streams and natural rock formations… just to get at the natural resources. Anyone ever heard of solar technology?

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Plan a trip to Palawan in the Philippines and witness one of the greatest natural wonders of the world….also log onto and cast your vote online to insure the underground river receives international recognition. Don’t foget your camera and respect the sign: don’t feed the monkeys!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler on Peppermint Tea!

Wild Peppermint

When I was a kid growing up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania my father would reach down and give me a piece of peppermint leaf to chew. He would tease me and tell me by eating the leaves it was just the same as chewing PEPPERMINT gum. My grandmother would come for a visit from Ligonier, Pennsylvania and go along our gully and pick some wild peppermint leaves and make a delicious tea with local red clover bees honey!

Now here I am living in Bantayan Island in the Philippines and the land we just bought is literally covered with wild peppermint. I recently transplanted 6 peppermint stocks to our garden in Santa Fe and just brewed my first cup of peppermint tea while I am writing …it is now steeping for 20 minutes and I will let you know how it turns out. Very good! …must of did something right it reminds me of my grandmothers peppermint tea. You can also make a cup of delicious Peppermint Iced Tea served with a peppermint leaf on the rim of the glass for flavor and color.

You can either select fresh leaves and boil them in hot water or pick the leaves and tear them and let them dry in the sun. Use about two or three teaspoons of the leaves and place in boiling water. For best results leave steep for twenty minutes and then add your favorite honey as a sweetener if desired. A very good morning or evening drink and can be mixed with green tea, or black tea for a different taste.

Garden Peppermint Leaves

Peppermint tea benefits are widely-acknowledged the world over.

An herb prized for its medicinal benefits and distinctive flavor, peppermint (Mentha piperata) is a naturally occurring hybrid of spearmint (M. spicata) and water mint (M. aquatica). Unlike other mints, however, peppermint contains in its healing volatile oil the powerful therapeutic ingredient menthol, as well as menthone, menthyl acetate and some 40 other compounds.

Dried peppermint leaves are used to make a minty, refreshing tea that is highly satisfying both hot and cold. A native of the Mediterranean, peppermint leaves were often used to crown luminaries in ancient Greece and Rome. It continues to be revered for its refreshingly light aroma, as well as its natural, caffeine-free taste.

As well having superior flavor, peppermint tea possesses the following health benefits:

Peppermint tea treats irritable bowel syndrome

Peppermint tea eases nausea and vomiting

Peppermint tea controls flatulence and diverticular disorders

Peppermint tea improves digestion and reduce heartburn

Peppermint tea dissolves gallstones

Peppermint tea reduces the severity of herpes outbreaks

Peppermint tea fights bad breath

Peppermint tea controls muscle aches and chronic pain

Peppermint tea clears congestion and cough related to colds and allergies

Peppermint tea controls mild asthma

Peppermint tea fights stress

So there you have it! Why not incorporate peppermint tea into your daily regimen and add a bit of refreshing zest to your life.

QUOTE: “Medicine and disease cure each other. The entire earth is medicine.” -Essential Zen

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Peppermint is an herb that was first cultivated in England in 1750 as a hybrid between water mint and spearmint. The origins of tea are a topic of legend and mythology. The first evidence of the use of tea are tea containers found in tombs dating from the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), but tea history surely extends much further back in time.

There are several stories about how tea was discovered. One of the most famous concerns the Chinese emperor Shen Nong who lived about 5,000 years ago. Shen Nong was an herbalist who identified hundreds of medicinal and poisonous herbs by personally tasting them. According to tea history, Shen Nong, while traveling with his entourage, stopped for a rest. While boiling some drinking water, leaves from burning tea twigs blew upwards and landed in the water. Shen Nong insisted on trying the liquid and found it to be tasty and refreshing. The year was 2737 BC.

Is Tea from India?
Another legend in tea history places the discovery of tea in India in the 6th century AD. Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who believed that extended periods of sleeplessness were necessary for meditation. He chewed tea leaves to keep himself awake and brought the practice with him when he traveled to China.-Tea Genius

Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Peppermint tea plants! They make a great addition to a herb garden and what a great gift to give to someone.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Drink Peppermint Tea as a daily tonic!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


Filed under Blogging, health, Uncategorized

Zentraveler on Qi-gong Swimming Dragon!

Swimming Dragon

I was traveling in Venezuela, South America and staying on the island of Margarita when I had the chance opportunity to meet a Qi-gong expert who gave me several sessions and told me if I wanted to eliminate all sorts of allegeries, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. it was imperative to build up my immune system by practicing Qi-gong.

I was so impressed with this instructor that I was ready to move into his house for several months and live and breathe the Qi-gong lifestyle. His luncheon and dinners looked like a combination salad bar and fresh fruit market. He informed me he was a strict vegetarian for many years and neither he nor his family had any illnesses for as long as he could remember. He was leaving the area with a group of students and invited me back to become a member of his household… until I mastered the essence of Qi-gong. As they say: “timing is everything” and I had to return to the states to settle some business matters, but here I am living on Bantayan Island in the Philippines and I practive Qi-Gong every day for five minutes and feel fortunate to have met a master-instructor who had mastered the tecqniques to live a bountiful life.

What exactly is Qi-gong? There is plenty of information on the internet about Qi-gong, but Qi is life-energy and by practicing Qi-gong you are revitalizing your life-energy batteries and building up your immune system… so that your body naturally fights off every disease that heads your way!

Swimming Dragon Qigong, an ancient Taoist form that imitates the serpent-like movements of a dragon swimming in the sea. When practiced 20 minutes daily, this simple one-minute form balances the metabolism, glandular secretions and circulation of blood, lymph and body fluids, while promoting life-long health and inner peace.

Reputed to be the most effective Qigong for balancing body weight, the sinuous movements of the form help control the appetite, slenderize the waist and mobilize fats and toxins into lymphatic drainage. It keeps the spine and joints supple and pain-free, and massages the internal organs for an overall tonic and rejuvenating effect.

My friend a dentist in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was an avid runner pounding the payment and eventually had to have both knees replaced in a fancy operation in California. These high impact exercises even though they have good cardiac benefits can be very stressful to your joints and bones and cause major problems down the road.

So there you have it! Why not incorporate Qi-gong into your daily regimen and recharge your batteries!

How to do the Swimming Dragon Qi-gong exercise? The key to this highly benefical exercise is to do it daily for maximum benefits. Don’t tell me you can’t spare five minutes a day! I know you can!

You can do this exercise anywhere, in a wheelchair, at the home for the elderly, in a hospital, in the military, at your workplace, in a hotel room, and in the privacy of your home. You start by slowing swinging your left arm to the right with the head turning right-then put your opposite hand flat against your belly. Then drop your left hand against your belly and swing your right arm to your left with your head turning left then repeat for five minutes. If you don’t have a watch count to 170 movements …and that all there is to this very powerful energizer. It’s like hooking up to the energizer bunny and your wound up for a new life every single day! Wow wow eeee.. Qi gong, Qi gong!

QUOTE:The key to happiness is Gratitude, Patience, and Compassion. There is no evil greater than anger and no virtue greater than patience. (Shantideva)

But patience takes practice!

The next time someone harms, frustrates or annoys you, STOP. Say thank you and be Grateful for the opportunity to practice Patience. Be Grateful that it was not worse and feel Compassion for those who are worse off. Then, with a calm peaceful mind, allow your natural wisdom to determine the best course of action.

Be happy and at peace. Harmony is the real goal.

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Qi gong (pronounced chee-GONG) is an ancient Chinese healing art, philosophy and spiritual belief that combines gentle movements, deep breathing, self-massage, mediation and variety of other practices to exploit qi. Qi means “vital energy” and gong means “cultivate.”

Qi gong forms the basis of traditional Chinese medicine, several martial arts, and unexplained powers. Considered a “national treasure,”’ qi gong is supported by the government. It is sometimes thought of as a kind of faith healing.

Qi gong has many supernatural associations. Qi gong masters are said to be able to perform healing massages without touching the body, ignite fires with forces generated by their hands and fill entire lecture halls with uplifting positive energy particles. There is a story of ku fu master in the early 1900s who was harassed by a foreigner on a horse and killed the horse by laying his hands on the animal and disrupting its internal organs with qi.

Qi gong has been credited with improving scores on university entrance exams and locating victims under collapsed buildings. Some qigong masters attribute their powers to black holes, gamma rays, and antimatter.

Book: The Way of Qigong by Kenneth Cohen (Ballantine Books).

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your Temper! What good is it anyway? You be the judge!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Begin each day by giving gratitude for what you have and do a simple five-minute exercise of The Swimming Dragon Qi-gong for the rest of your life. You can do it anywhere and you don’t need to join a fancy gym or lift weights until you burst your guts… you simply spread your legs…. shoulder width and begin the rhythmic slow swing of the swimming dragon.

So there you have it! An excercise for life that can improve your joints, bones and immune system. What’s not to like—seeing your fellow Americans think you either are losing it or are really on to something!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


Filed under Blogging, Practical Zen, Uncategorized