Q+A – Why Do You Meditate?

Over the past few millennia we have been introduced to meditation.  Our teachers have taught us how to become aware of our bodies and our minds.  This awareness has helped us foster a better understanding of our own thoughts and actions, both within ourselves, as well as with those, and even the universe around us.
Meditation has even allowed some to peer past the veil of existence to see what lays beyond.

Those same teachers have, through faiths like Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, taught us the art of compassion, love, and kindness. While their philosophies do not always overlap, they do interconnect through the paths of meditation and awareness.

For those of you who choose the path of meditation, you are often rewarded with an understanding and a sense of growing enlightenment.  Each of which enables you to grow beyond yourself.  The further you follow this path, the more you are able to move beyond the sense balance and calm you initially sought.  In time you may even find a level of insight which will free you to cultivate wisdom free from oversight.

It is this insight that opens up an entire future where you are free to explore.

Simply knowing this gives me hope for the future. While it is not in my hands, it is there in my heart.

Thanks to the methodology of Western science, the physical and psychological effects of meditation have been proven ad-infinitum.  With this approval, meditation is now being taught to children in schools and to employees at work.  Both of whom are showing greater compassion and understanding for those and the world around them.

It gives me hope that we are building a foundation of peace for the next generation. I do not say this lightly, but if it is not for you that you meditate, then it is for your children and their children after, that you meditate.  That with our energy, you can in fact leave the world a better place than when you arrived.

This is why it is so important to go beyond the self; to go beyond your own stress and unhappiness, and to look at the bigger picture – so that you truly realize how your actions are moving the world in a better direction.

So when I am asked by a student, “what is next?” I smile.  For that answer is not found in yourself.  It is found in everything and everybody around you. It is knowing that when you hit someone, you are also hitting yourself, a smack that you will carry with you for years to come.  It is found not just in one bottom line of Profit, but in a triple bottom line that balances People, Planet and Profits for the future.

“What is next?”  Next is using the stability and clarity that you have gained to develop your own wisdom and to share it with those around you.  And by wisdom, I mean the wisdom of the heart and the mind.  For it is in that wisdom that you will find your divine.  Not within yourself, but in the connections you enjoy with the those around you and with all of existence.

Keep that in mind if you ever ask yourself why you meditate.  Or more likely, if that 40,000 year old brain of yours ever asks you what you are doing, while shooting in some adrenaline and cortisol to get you worrying that you have better, more immediate tasks to do.

The next time you question what you are doing, simply stop.  Simply dip your toe in the water of meditation with three simple breaths.  Let those three breaths lead you to wade into the pool of calm as you leave the world crashing in the waves behind you.

Let yourself be carried away in the gentle currents of Love that you will quickly remember is meditation.

 

Meditate to Embrace Your Emotions

Embrace your emotions
Without feeling trapped in having to pursue them.
That is the goal and the path to the calm you seek.

Emotions are not the problem.  It is how you deal with them that is.

If you lose yourself to the emotions you feel, then they become your master.

The next time you feel an emotion rising.  Love or Hate.  Anxiety or Comfort.  Lust or Disgust.  Do not respond to it immediately.  Stop.  Breathe.  Separate yourself from whatever it is that is triggering it.  Train yourself to contemplate what you are feeling even if for a moment.  Acknowledge it, label it, contemplate it, and then ask yourself if responding is really what you want to do.  Or do you simply want to let it go?

It is not the emotion that is the problem.  That is simply your brain telling you something out there is about to effect you, in here.

It is up to you to decide how you want to respond.

After all, it is your life.  Living in a meditative manner is the difference between pain and anguish, Love and joy.

 

 

The Simple Life – More of Less

When I search for more, I am, in reality, seeking less.

Every time I hear someone saying they need “more” I am reminded that it is not more things they are looking for, but more authenticity.

I am no different.  The more I am looking for in life, the less that I am willing to settle for.  It is not more for the sake of having more stuff, but more for the sake of being able to live a richer, deeper, more passionate life.  And it is a bit of a trap, because the more authentic you become, the more your life is lived in the details.  Which means having less of the material, but making sure that what you do have is the most authentic, real objects you can find.

The inevitability of this means less product and more you. Items that are more reflective of your true self, and for where you want to go.

Once you realize that, living a richer life is about simplifying.  It’s about getting rid of everything that does not support who you are at your core.  Getting rid of those things that no longer support your authentic self and your Simple Truth.  If I were in advertising I would say something like, “It is about being true to the core values of your brand.”

But I’m not, and we’re talking humans not brands.  But the idea is the same, as it should be.  After all, inauthentic brands, just like people, exist to sell. They become whatever it is you want them to be. Which is exactly why they fail in the end.  Authentic brands, just like authentic people have a strong personality. They have core values and insights.  They have integrity with which they build trust.  They have lines they will not cross.

Which is why the products you buy, the food you eat, and the places you go are so important to who you are.  They reflect your own personality.  After all, the values of the products and people and places you support reflect who you are.

Which is why having more means taking your time to find the right food, the best books, the small things that support your life as you want it to be.  And yes that goes for people as well.  Letting go of those people who do not support who you are in favor of those who do.

So that’s a nice manifesto, but what does it mean?  It means stopping, looking around, and most important looking inward.  It means looking back and looking forward.  Because once you reset your priorities to your own authenticity, your own Simple Truth, then it simply becomes a matter of maintaining it, rather than searching for it.  And that is truly a strategy for happiness.  Letting go of those things that do not support your true nature, in favor of those things that do.

For me, this means visiting more museums and galleries to find upcoming artists and talent that fascinate, enthrall, excite and stir.  It is about jazz, in all its forms.  It’s about cooking and exploring food.  Of late nights with good friends knowing that you’re doing is creating.  It’s about living in the city for as long as I can take it before escaping to some seaside town to enjoy the salt in the air and the sound of the waves.  It is about writing and creating in my own way; and realizing that whether it sells or not is not the goal, but in having my voice heard is.

In the back of my mind this all points to a destination, a place where people can go to escape and enjoy and relax and be inspired to do whatever it is they want to do.  After all, isn’t that why we remove tumors from heads and get people back on their feet – to give them a voice and enable, no empower, them to express all of those wonderfully crazy ideas that they’ve kept hidden and bundled up deep down inside them for years and decades – afraid to bring them to life?

Isn’t this what this crazy thing called life is about?

Or simply put , to LIVE and LOVE and BE.

 

Q+A – Recognizing Your Habits is The First Step To Changing Them

I met with a student last night who was overcome with the seemingly endless list of habits she was now noticing within herself.  “My God, it never ends,” she exclaimed.  “I almost wish I had never started to meditate.  Now, I see all of these auto-responses that I am living my life by.”

I smiled. Not with humor, but in understanding.  Yes, deep meditation will remove the layers that you hide behind. It will open you up to the light of truth.  You will have moments of enlightenment like this, when you see the reality of your life through the fog you have been living through; and this is not a bad thing.  Because before you can get rid of the old habits that are holding you back, you must first be aware of them.

It is usually a shock when you first see how little of your life is YOUR life, and how much of it is lived through the choices that others have impressed upon you.  The question is quickly not “why do I have so many habits dictating my life?”  It becomes “what will I do with them.”

Will you continue to live your life making the same mistakes and living by the same auto-responses that you always have, or will you begin to peel them back and start LIVING THE LIFE YOU WERE MEANT TO LIVE?

So many people turn back when they first recognize a bad habit for what it is.  That habit of yelling before thinking. Or reaching for a drink before you know why you want it.  That habit of asking for the food that, while it may satisfy you in the moment, you will regret eating for days to come.  Even that habit of listening to that small voice inside your head that leads to self-loathing.  All of these come from the same place.  And you recognize all of them through the regret that you inevitably feel after you have followed them.

The good news is, you can change, because as doctors, neuroscientists, and psychologists have found, the brain changes every day, based on the input you allow into it.  If you allow your brain to respond in anger to everything that goes on around you, you will become a very angry person – at the world and with yourself.  If you look down and deride others to feel good about yourself, you will begin to see all the ugliness in the world and in yourself, while seeing none of the beauty that is within and all around.

So the next time you feel regret for your actions, smile as you acknowledge that you have just recognized a bad habit that you can change.  If you feel yourself act out of emotion instead of logic, smile that you noticed it, and recognize that you can make a different choice in how to act in the future.

Congratulate yourself that you have taken the first step toward enlightenment.  Then stop, breathe, acknowledge whatever it is that you have done or are about to do, and let it go.

Then repeat a short mantra to yourself.

MAKE GOOD CHOICES

Because that is the way to change your life.  Simple make good choices.

Take a meditative approach to life and start living the life YOU were meant to live – TODAY.

Stop, breathe, acknowledge, and let it go.