Stillness

Stillness is not a dead pond,

But a flow of energy you can cultivate.

 

A Buddhist might call it upekkha. A Muslim might speak of aslama. In Hebrew, the word is hishtavut. And in the second book of the Bhagavad Gita, the epic poem of the warrior Arjuna, it is samatvam.

Regardless of the word, stillness is the idea of that calm that comes from a balanced mind; a peace that never wavers.

For many stillness brings to mind the calm, reflective surface of a pond. But how far down does that stillness go? We all know that just beneath the surface run currents of water that gently feeds the pond and carries away whatever troubles have sunk beneath the still surface above.

For me that is a wonderful reminder that for a pond to be alive there is always something going on beneath the surface. There is some kind of activity that either provides freshness or removes the impurities from its depths. Without this flow beneath the surface the pond would just be another dead or dying body of water.

It is no different with people. Beneath the calm exterior there is always some kind of activity. There is a transfer of energy that proves the body and mind are still alive.

Each breath acts like a fresh stream that feeds and purifies the mind and body. There is a flow that breathes in nutrients while eliminating the negativity that inevitably builds up from day to day throughout life.

How deep that stream runs is different for each of you. But without some level of disturbance there is no life.

To find stillness is to act and think without frenzy. It is found in your ability to observe the circus that spins around you without feeling the need to join in the madness. It is to hear only that which needs to be heard, to speak only what needs to be said, and to think the thoughts that are relevant in that time and place. It is the focused calm of a serene mind.

The truth of stillness in the human mind, body and spirit is to be mindful and observant of everything as it speeds past free from attachment to any of it. It is to possess a sense of serenity that allows you to be you like the calm surface of a pond. Knowing that your stillness goes as deep as it needs to in that moment and that its depth changes every moment of every day.

Know that on the surface you are calmly smiling while inside you are accepting the raw data of your world as the stream of energy keeps your heart pumping and your mind clicking.

To be still is to be able to hold the silence as it arises around you. That silence is your buffer to the world. Free from the distractions of the busy world you live in is where you are free to explore the world within you, and within you is where your inspiration is born

When you still your brain, your mind is free to search through your memory for the right answer instead of just an answer. Within your stillness your mind is able to sift through your thoughts free from the physical distractions that your brain is so often drawn to.

Stillness makes room for gratitude and joy. It is the spiritual center of your energy. That energy can be one of the most powerful forces on earth once you learn to harness it.

We all talk about the need for stillness but so few are able to attain it. You are told from an early age that you need to charge ahead of the pack if you are ever going to amount to anything. Which, as you learn later in life, rarely works.

Finding the stillness within does not just happen. It takes training and an incredible amount of work to cultivate the stillness that is within you. There are very real ways to bring about the stillness you so want to feel in your life.

What follows are several exercises to explore on your own. Take a moment for each when you need. Practice them one by one and be mindful of the process rather than focused on the outcome. You will arrive at the outcome but only when you are not obsessed with it.

 

Write.

I am not a fan of journaling in the traditional sense of the word or of keeping a diary. The idea of either reeks of needing to do it every day. If you miss a day you grow filled with remorse, regret and a sense of failure for not keeping up with such a simple task.

So, don’t journal, but do put pen to paper. Write when something needs to be written. Do not force your feelings or observations. If something big happens in your life, then write. If you have a stroke of inspiration then write, but do not force your ideas. That is the quickest way to make waves in the pond of your own stillness.

I think it was Anne Frank who wrote “Paper is more patient than people.” It is true. Pen and paper are a door to your inner spirit and your inner mind because they require time. They have a way of helping you explore your inner self without being an intrusion.

Take small steps toward self-exploration through writing rather than typing or speaking. Just make sure you are not searching for issues that may not be ready to be expressed. They will come in time which is why the slow process of putting pen to paper is so much better than sitting in front of a computer screen or speaking.

 

 

See the World as an Artist Would.

Beauty is everywhere. You simply have to slow down to see it. Beauty is in the big picture. It is also in the details. No two artists see the world or express their visions of it in the same way.

Each learns to express their impressions in their own way. Learn to do the same. Slow down enough to give your mind the opportunity to translate what your brain has processed.  Stay in the moment and observe the raw data as it arrives. Give your brain time to translate that raw data and for your mind to create from that raw data in whatever way works best for you.

This is why some people create music or art or write beautiful literature after seeing the same event. Each artist translates the information that they witness in their own way. Let go of all your preconceived notions of how you should see or hear the world. Clear your mind and just allow your heart to be filled by whatever energy comes to you. See the details and the big picture. Notice the colors of the vista before you. Be aware of the aromas from your world. Let your taste buds awaken to the flavors. Allow your ears to come alive to the music. Let your fingers explore the textures of a tapestry. Then smile at the stillness that comes to you from each.

 

Do not allow raw data to overwhelm you. 

I describe raw data as the most basic input your senses send to the brain. You live in a world gone mad with it.

Napoleon taught his secretary to wait a week before opening any letters. He had that ability in this time. Churchill refused to look at any idea that had not been reduced down to a single sheet of paper. It was their way of making sure that whatever ideas were being presented to them had been well thought out and distilled so that neither got overwhelmed with irrelevant information.

The same is true for you. In the contemporary world you live in it is important to allow your brain to rest and be still so that you can focus only on those things that are most relevant. Do not allow your energy to be drained on the meaningless facts and figures that do not apply to your life.

Keep your buffer fresh so that you always have a space between your inner self and the circus that will forever spin around you.

 

Enjoy A Long, Slow Walk

I don’t mean take a power-walk or go for a run. I mean take the time to enjoy a slow, leisurely walk. Allow the inner-working of your unconscious mind to come alive as your brain is distracted with the details of balancing your body with every step and of the world around you as it tries to keep you safe.

Hemmingway was famous for getting through his writers’ block by taking long walks along the rivers of Paris. Nietzsche said that his best ideas came to him on his a long walks. Nikola Tesla developed his idea for his rotating magnetic field on a walk through a park in Budapest. It is arguably one of the most important inventions of all time, and this was in 1882.

 

See past your limitations. 

One of my best martial arts masters was Grand Master Bong Soo Han taught me that when trying to break a board, do not stop at the board, but punch through the board – at a spot beyond it. “Do not think about the outcome, simply punch into your future, after your outcome has happened. It is not the board you break but your limitations,” he would say.

Do not only focus on the what is in front of you. Learn to let go of your immediate world so that you can look up and see what is possible in order to see the opportunities of what can be.

 

Follow Your Simple Truth. 

Discover your life purpose so that you can live a purpose-driven life. When all of your decisions are aligned you will stop chasing after the distractions that your brain thinks will end your suffering through momentary distractions. Instead apply all of your energy in the natural direction of your mind and spirit. Your mind will lead you in a direction that supports your very being. You will feel fulfilled with every decision you make and with every step you take. The calm stillness you will find in the choices you make without even thinking about them will become second nature to you as you become the being are truly meant to be.

 

Break from the News. 

If you want more stillness in your life filter out the news. It really does not move as quickly as the media makes it seem. Stay uninformed with the facts, the raw data. The moment it changes from facts to opinions, turn it off and spend your time making your own decisions.

Being informed is important but being indulged is foolish. Watch the news to learn what has happened. But when the newscaster brings in talking heads who give you their opinions it is time to reflect on what you have learned so that you can form your own opinions in the of stillness of your mind.

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

Jeff Cannon

People Are Your Answer to Stress

Your life is filled with stress. Between your work and personal life, bills to pay, the occasional flus and aches, even getting access to a wifi hotspot at your favorite cafe, all add stress to your day-to-day life. In fact anything that takes you out of your run of your daily patterns with increase your stress and anxiety; like discovering that the wifi password was on the receipt you just threw out.

You know it’s all good in the end but it just adds a layer of self-judgement onto that ever-present tension that you’d just rather not have in your life. “Should I dig through the trash for that password, or embarrass myself by asking for it again?”
Stress isn’t just your issue, it has become a very real foundation in everyone’s life. It’s almost laughable that we now stress about how much stress is affecting our sleep, our blood pressure, our health, our performance, and it is a very real factor to your living a shorter life.

I’m not going to mention meditation or deep pranayama breathing, instead I’m going to give you a few ways to change your perception of stress and how to release it through some common actions you already do every day.

What if I told you the answer lies in something as simple as opening up to the people in your life? I say people in your life rather than friends or family, because for many of us the people you trust and hold your confidences are not always the friends and family you spend your evenings and holidays with.

That’s okay, we all live in a new world defined by online conversations and digital relationships that simply never existed before. So why not update your social circles to acknowledge this fact? Why not expand your social circles to include friends, family, confidants, associates, and those online confidantes that may just be people passing through, or may be real people you have grown to trust and rely on?

Being able to simply talk and release whatever you have bottled up inside of you is an obvious way to destress. It’s even better when you know that person will hold your confidences in their own little vault or is a certified professional who knows when to speak and when to just hold the silence up and listen without judgement or their own need to “help”.

For those of you who are stewing in stress and looking for a way out, innumerable studies have shown that your perception of stress is more positive when you have friends around and hugely more so when you have someone outside your circle of friends that you can simply open up to, knowing that whatever you have said will never be shared with anyone, ever.

Let me ask you a very simple question. How do you feel right now, just knowing that there is a way out? Do you feel just a little less stress and anxiety, or more?

Life doesn’t always schedule itself at your convenience.

So, when you find yourself in the middle of one of life’s transitions, learn to break free of the fear you may be feeling so that you can find a safe place to land and begin to plan your next chapter.

There are two core fears that will keep you frozen in time; the thoughts of a) losing what you have, and b) not getting what you want.

The key to breaking free of your fears is not to fight them but to acknowledge them so that you can let them go as you learn to enjoy the life you have always wanted to live.

I know it’s not always easy to practice this in the real world. Your mind is using logic to find a  safe place for yourself to land while your primordial brain is screaming to find the safety of solid ground as quickly as possible.

Guess which one wins every time. That’s right, your primordial brain. Your mind and brain will always give your primordial brain the room it demands because it is there for one reason only – it is there to keep you alive, and your life is far more important than any amount of logic ever could be.

Don’t worry though, there is something you can do to break out of the loop you feel trapped in. You can do what you do when you sit in meditation. You can breathe slowly and deeply to quiet the noise of your primordial brain. You can acknowledge that you are in the middle of a transition, and even label your discomfort as just that, discomfort, then you can let it your panic go as you press on.

Allow yourself to find comfort in your discomfort, because until you do, you will never find that space for a soft landing so that you can begin to write the next chapter in your post-transition life.

It may not be as easy as it sounds if you don’t already have a meditation practice. Which is why I encourage everyone to start a meditation practice that works for you before you actually need it. Don’t get caught up in what lineage to follow. Build your own that works on your terms. Whether it’s a ten minute here and there practice or a deep seated practice that runs over an hour, it is a way to train your mind and brain to see beyond the here and now, to find a place of calm, and to focus yourself for the space and time ahead of you.

If you want to learn more click here to my new mindful life coaching website at jeff-cannon.com.

Just remember, do not wait for your panic to set in before you create a small practice for yourself. In the end, this is your life. So why not start living it your way?

I hope this helps

Walk With Me

When you walk somewhere you have a destination in mind. Your entire walk is spent anticipating your arrival or looking back at the place you just left. So little time is spent just being present and enjoying the experience of walking or driving.

How many times have you driven somewhere and spent minutes driving with absolutely no idea of what you just drove past? How many times have you walked somewhere and had the same experience?

With walking meditation, every step is your destination. Every time your heel touches the ground is an experience all on its own.

Why not use this exercise the next time you need to clear your mind or to take a break? It’s simple and easy and a great way to start your week, or even better, to start your vacation so that you can actually enjoy your time away from the stress and anxiety of your work?

If you’re in New York City join me as I step into each week with a series of walking meditations every Monday morning. I created this program with the Rubin Museum to celebrate Meditation Month and the launch of Walk With Me – a film that explores celebrated monk Thicht Nhat Hahn’s spirituality. Click here to find out more.

Learn more here: https://simple-truth.com/thicht-nhat-hahn-walking-meditation/

The walk is free and attendees will receive discounted admission to the Rubin Museum’s screening of Walk With Me.

If you’re not available for the walks you can learn more about creating your own Walking Meditation by clicking here.

https://simple-truth.com/walking-meditation/

 

 

Stop competing against yourself

Here’s a newsflash you may not want to hear, all of those challenges you won and all of those opponents you bested were not real. You were never really competing against anyone else you were really only competing against yourself.

Your urge to win and the competitive spirit you have always been so proud of were never about beating everyone else, your need to win was always about filling an empty space within yourself.

If you really want to find a place of calm then the real question you should ask is not how many people you have to beat until you are satisfied, but how big is the hole within you and where did it come from?

No matter how many trophies you line up you will still have that itch to step up to another challenge. The empty hole within you will still need to be filled, and after you are finished with the last opponent what will you do then?

No matter how many people you beat your need to win will still be there. Even the applause that once excited you will begin to ring like the empty clapping of people you don’t know because that is what it has always been, and that will never fill the empiness within you.

The only way to overcome your need to win is to recognize it for what it is, to come to terms with it, to accept it as a part of who you are, and then to work on filling the empty space with the love and empathy that you truly yearn for.

Whether your need comes from a parent who never gave you the attention you deserved or whether it stems from being the poor kid at school who you thought never measured up; those are the real issues you need to resolve if you are to findthe calm within you. Why do you have to take generic cialis every time? Winning is your stigma to carry around until you are ready to address the root issue that it stems from – and that my friend is far easier said than done. Growing up is easy, maturing is not.

You see, society places a constant pressure that forever pushes you to fit in. Your parents and siblings push you to be the person they wanted to be, never realizing that person is the person they never were.

Nobody ever tells you that their idea of who you shoud be is simply the person they were never able to become. Each is a delusion that you think you have to accept as you struggle to find yourself and fit in. The shoes they want you to fill come from a long line of failed lives.

Just as you are trying to fill the expectations of your family and friends, each of them is trying to fill the expectations of those around them. Everyone turns to “winning” as a way to do this never realizing they are just perpetuating an endless cycle of trustration and dstriving to measure up.

If you follow this cycle as you grow and mature you will forget about who you are as you try to satisfy the people around you. In the end you will lose yourself to the crowd of empty admirers trying to fit in to their own cycle of frustration. Their failed dreams become your reality. Their lost lives become your actuality and that empty need to win will trap you within yourself.

It is why so many stars of the entertainment and sports world have very empty and lonely lives in the end. The positive thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

You know the saying about loving yourself before you can love anyone else? The same is true for knowing yourself before you know anything else. If you don’t know yourself then everything you think you know may not be as real as you think it is. More than likely it is just a series of delusions that you created to protect yourself as you grew up in the world as it really is.

Knowing yourself is not as easy as you may hope but it is essential to your well-being. 

As you mature you change. The way you speak changes, your mannerisms change, your tastes change, your needs and desires change. Just look at yourself, you wear different clothes than you used to, you think different thoughts, you want different things, and all of this is good. I pray it never stops as long as it leads you to find your authentic self. It is far too easy to follow someone else’s ideas of who you should be without question. The problem with doing that is that sooner or later you wake up and discover that you are not who you want to be. You are who they want you to be and that you have strayed from your path without knowing why.

Finding yourself is a lifelong process. Every time you learn something about yourself it changes who you are. But at some point in time you lost your true self to those changes. Was it a slow slide down a slippery slope as you adopted someone else’ identity? Or was it a sudden shift like when you started your first job and realized your clothes and your mannerisms were no longer right for where you wanted to go?

The answer is different for everyone. It is not easy to figure out. It takes a life time to find the answer if you ever do. But what did you expect? It took a lifetime to get to where you are, and yes, it will probably take the rest of your lifetime to get to where you want to go.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to give away everything you worked so hard for or run off to a monastery to live the life of a monk. You can still go about your work and your family life just like always. It will be a gradual shift as you slowly learn to recognize the delusions you thought were real as you begin to live in the real world right here and right now.

Ask yourself some very straightforward questions.

Just take out a slip of paper and respond to these questions as honestly as you can. Make a note of which ones make you slightly or even fully uncomfortable.

  1. What does your ideal day look like?
  2. What did you want to be when you were younger?
  3. Who are you most inspired by? Why?
  4. Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?
  5. What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?
  6. Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?
  7. How do you like to relax?
  8. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?
  9. What are you most proud of?
  10. What are you most afraid of?
  11. If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?
  12. Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?
  13. What qualities do you admire in others?
  14. What practical skills do you wish you had?
  15. Imagine you’re in your 90s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell?
  16. What is your favorite book/movie/song? Why?
  17. If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?
  18. What do you love to do for, or give to others (not an object – something from you personally)?
  19. What excites you?
  20. What do you wish you did more of?
  21. Pretend money is no object. What would you do?
  22. What area of your life, right now, makes you feel the best? Which area makes you feel the worst? Why?
  23. Let’s jump forward a year. What would you like to have achieved in the past year?
  24. What piece of advice would you give to five year old you? Sixteen year old you? Twenty-one year old you? Right now?
  25. How do you want to be remembered in life?

Want to learn more? Reach out and let us guide you through the process of a Strategy for Happiness

 

Emotional Management

You are an emotional being.

We all are.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, emotions are simply how your brain speaks to you in times of stress, for good and for bad.

Your emotions are an incredibly simple system that all animals share. They have kept us alive for thousands of years. There are no long winded sentences or punctuation to slow everything down, there are simply feelings like Fear, Hate, Anger, Pain, Love, Wonder, Curiosity, or Compassion that drive us to take immediate action.

It is why I become overjoyed [an emotion] when something that I have been speaking about for years is finally proved true by hardbound “research” rather than watching the natural world that is all around us and following one’s  “gut”.

Today emotions are not the wonder they were 40,000 years ago. They are still just your brain trying to speak to you, and unfortunately if you do not learn to manage them they can quickly manage your life in the wrong direction. Take a moment to think back at all the ways your emotions have steered your life in the wrong direction again and again and again.

I have been telling my students and clients that your emotions are neither good nor bad; they are simply your brain’s way of telling you that something in your world is about to effect your life. Anxiety is your brain’s way of saying, “we have been down this path before, so beware because the last time it didn’t turn out so well.” Physical pain is your brain’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you need to attend to it quickly. Anguish is your brain’s way of telling you that there is a loss in your life that you need to fill. Love is your brains way of saying something wonderful is about to happen if you just follow that trail, that person, or that animal to wherever it leads.

Back when your ancestors lived a constant fight, flight or fornicate mode, the emotional system was a great solution to staying alive. In today’s world, however, there you have time to step back and consider your actions before you commit yourself by running after your emotions – an act that often gets you into more trouble than whatever it was you were facing.

To do this you need to be awake to what is going on around you so that you can recognize the reality of your situation. Acting on your emotions is a choice and you can prevent yourself from taking the wrong path of following your auto-response with a breath so that you no longer feel trapped by the need to pursue whatever it is you are feeling without thinking.

Psychology Today recently published a new study about how your emotions drive most of your decisions without your even being aware that they are.

It is why I have always said that learning how to not respond to your emotions is the best step you can take to living a more meditative and mindful life to find the calm you want in your life.

Anxiety is not something to lose yourself to, it is simply your brain’s way of warning you to be cautious and to watch out. In many ways the anxiety you feel is your brain telling you hat you have faced a similar situation in the past and that it did not end up so well. Perhaps the person that you are haggling with over the cost of something reminds your brain of a person who cheated you in the past. You may not remember the person or the situation that your brain does, or perhaps it remembers something it saw on television and does not remember that that movie is not the real world. After all, why would you get so emotional about a movie or TV show if it wasn’t real? And since your brain recognizes it as real, the person in front of you with the same tic as the person in the movie is just as bad.

Your brain can’t always tell the difference between reality and make believe, so are you going to blindly follow your brain, even though the person in front of you is being fair and honest, but shares the same tic as a villain in a film?

It is important to remember that emotions are not the problem.  It is how you deal with them that is. If you lose yourself to your emotions, then they become your master – and that is never a good thing.

Don’t give up, we can help on this front. The next time you feel an emotion rising. Love or Hate, Anxiety or Comfort, Lust or Disgust, do not respond to it immediately.  Train yourself to stop, breathe, separate yourself from whatever it is that is triggering your emotion and relax.

Take a moment to really look at your situation so that you can ask yourself “is this emotion really right for what is going on?” Contemplate what you are feeling and try to remember the last time you felt this emotion. Acknowledge it, label it, contemplate it, and then ask yourself if responding in such a way is really what you want to do. Or would you be better off by simply letting it go?

Remember, your emotion is not the issue. It is simply your brain trying to talk to you using an antiquated system. Your brain is simply trying to tell you that something out there is about to effect you in here. It is up to you to decide how you want to respond.

Living in a meditative manner is the difference between joy and pain, love or anguish. After all, it is your life, it’s time to decide how you live it.

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

j.

Discipline of Freedom

Freedom is not attained by sitting back and waiting for things to happen. It comes from participating in life, by living your life beyond the distractions and delusions that are everywhere in today’s world and facing reality.

It comes from knowing who you are and what you want so that you can keep yourself on the right path. With every step you will find your time opening up so that you have the time to enjoy your life in whatever way that means for you, free from the self- doubt and guilt you will find that you will have the freedom to truly enjoy the things that are most important to you, even if that just means watching the trees pass by with every step you take.

When you have the discipline to avoid the distractions and side-step the delusions that hold so many back then you will have the time and the freedom to travel as you wish, to think your thoughts, to paint or snap photos or do absolutely nothing if that is what you truly want to do.

Just as deep meditation comes from many hours of disciplined practice, freedom calls for you to overcome the delusions and distractions of every day life so that you actually have the time and energy to do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it. It takes work to accomplish and discipline, but I think you will agree with me when I say it is worth it.

For some, freedom can be found in your work because that is where your heart is. For others it may be to write or take photographs, to enjoy a long hike, to surf or to simply swing in a hammock. There is no right or wrong to what freedom means to you, that simple word is simply an expression of what you find is in line with your authentic life based on your own simple truth.

I’m sure if you asked a dog and a cat what freedom means to them you would get two very different answers. It is no different if you asked two people, each will have a very different answer based on their own life experiences.

Having the freedom to pursue what you want in life means understanding yourself. It means exploring what living an authentic life means to you, and that requires work and focus. It calls for you to know what you want from the freedom you have pursued all these years. It happens slowly. It requires maturity. It takes practice and discipline so that when you face the winds of uncertainty you can walk into them free from the delusions and distractions that are sure to knock you back in line with what society views as “normal”.

Freedom means having an understanding of what your authentic life feels like. Whether that means cultivating the friends and family or enjoying the lifestyle that you want no matter where it may lead, freedom means making some mistakes so that you know which paths to avoid and which to wander onto.

With practice you will be able to observe the world with a sense of calm detachment, free to watch life pass by without feeling the need to comment on it, prove your worth, or follow your ego to feel better about yourself. Instead you can enjoy the freedom to live your life on your terms, without the distractions and delusions that undermine so many.

You can step away from the fight, flight or fornicate impulse so many people continue to live by even though those impulses have not been relevant here for several hundred years. Those may have been important to your ancestors 40,000 years ago, but today, in the modern world, they only get you into trouble.

When you take your first step toward freedom, in whatever form that means for you, you will find that getting rid of that continual voice of doubt that rings in your head, you will be free to pursue whatever direction you want to go. And that is a real freedom that few have the pleasure of living.

You see, freedom does not come from outside yourself. It comes from within. You can start right now if you really want to enjoy the rich and rewarding life you deserve. All you have to do is learn to let go of those emotions society has taught you are so important and start to live your life on your terms, free from guilt and self-criticism. It starts deep within you and blossoms outward until you can pass through the world in calm abiding, right here and right now.

Right here and right now is the time to find your freedom in today’s world. It starts with your desire to create an authentic life, one that is based on your own Simple Truth. It starts with a smile toward someone else, a smile you can carry to wherever your freedom leads. You just need a little discipline to relax your lips and open your heart just like the meditation practice you have built.

Learn how with the simplicity of the Simple Truth Project.

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

 

j.

Box Breathing

When you feel as if you just hit the wall and you can see your energy slipping away, when every page becomes a twenty-minute struggle to focus your thoughts, this is exactly when you need to breathe into your box. There’s no magic to it, you don’t have to sit in lotus or hold your hands in neat little circles. All you have to do is sit exactly where you are and breathe.

In minutes you will feel yourself settle into your breath. Your stress and anxiety will go somewhere that isn’t you and your focus will return so that you can return to being the person you were. You know before the circus of the world overcame your best efforts.

It’s so easy and simple, you can do it over and over again no matter what the world throws at you. Yes, it comes from the Navy SEALs, but that’s an entirely different story. All you have to know is that it works and it is there for you whenever you need it.

All you have to do to activate your box breath is to breathe in for a count of five, allow your breath to settle for a count of five, then breathe out for a count of five, and again allow your breath to settle for a count of five, before beginning again.

In for five, settle for five, out for five, settle for five, repeat, repeat, repeat.

If five is too long, make yours a count of four. If it is not long enough, make your count six. The important thing is not the count, but the consistency of your breath. As with every other exercise I teach, find your own flow and make this one yours. Own it, re-frame it, fit it into your style and your life as you need to. Do not try to fit your needs into my or anyone else’s – but yours.

Blood pressure should be normal if you are taking generic Sildenafil Citrate.

That is it. As the shampoo bottle says, wash, rinse, repeat.

Now breathe into your own box and enjoy your day, your week and your life.

Be the person you were meant to be.

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

j.

 

Sexuality

There is no homosexuality. There is no heterosexuality. There is only human sexuality.

Every one of you has a range of traits buried within you that expresses itself differently. For some there is a recognition that you prefer men or women over women or men. For others there is a recognition that you see beyond labels and see only the Love within, regardless of gender, race, religion or creed. Neither is right nor wrong, neither is good nor bad, better or worse, as long as it comes from a place of Love.

The bible wrote about homosexuals in the time of Abraham, and in the story of David and Jonathan, the animal kingdom is rife with examples. You see, sexuality is not a human thing, but a think of the spirit. It is like a color wheel that you can scroll around, selecting just the right mix of reds and greens and blues, that lies deep within hues and tints that make every color an entire color wheel in and of itself.

The combinations are endless just like the mixture of possible expressions of sexuality that lie within each of you. Whether that expression is nature or nurture, genetics or learned, does not matter. How comfortable you are with yours is all that does. How you express you sexuality is an endless display that is as human as the mix of features on your face.

For a man or woman to look at another person of the same sex and say they are not able to tell if they are beautiful is the greatest lie of denial I know. For a man to stand before Michelangelo’s David and deny he can find the beauty in it is to deny that he can find the beauty within himself. The same goes for a woman. If they cannot find beauty within others, what they are really saying is that they cannot find the beauty within themselves, and that is a shame. To them the world is a dark and ugly place that is led by fear, not worthy of their rejoicing in who they are. It means they cannot find or appreciate the Love within themselves.

The label of LGBT or Q is just that, a label and nothing more. It is a reflection of the very human need to label define everything around us. Those labels are arbitrary and meaningless, important only to those people who are so insecure in their own skins that they hide their weakness behind the neat little boxes they proudly display on their shelves, all lined up and sealed with a bow, never to be pulled out and examined until they come across it at some future point while looking inward in self examination with a “wow” or an “aha!”, as if in sudden recognition of the thing that has been with them all along.

Sexuality is a funny thing, because it exists in denial, just as Love exists in denial for so many. It is not a convenience to be pulled out and paraded around when it is time. Human sexuality is something to be proud of every minute of every day of every one’s life. No matter what you consider yourself – gay, straight, lesbian, bi, trans or queer – you are all of those things, each expressed at different levels at different times.

Coming to terms with your sexuality is like saying I am coming to terms with my need to drink water or to eat food. When you are hungry you will eat, when you are thirsty you will drink. It is less about if, as it is about when. When you are comfortable admitting your own sexuality to yourself and to those around you – family, friends, associates, the world.

When you come to terms with your sexuality and grow comfortable with the sexuality of others, what you are really doing is coming to terms with the Love that flows all around us and through us, connecting each of us and protecting us as the global family we truly are. That Love is the true community we are all a part of, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality.

So welcome to the contemporary world and to contemporary thinking – Love is Love. It is what it is to be human.

Love expresses itself in many ways and on many levels of intimacy. Sometimes is the friendship you feel with someone. It can be expressed as kinship, a sexual bonding or even as an all consuming relationship. Within each of these your sexuality plays a part. So be comfortable with your sexuality or your ability to Love on any level will be unable to move past that age old and stodgy handshake of yesteryear.

If you consider yourself asexual or sapiosexual, that is still a statement of sexuality.

It is why the idea of trying to out someone for their sexuality is absurd. It only matters to those who are dealing with their own fears of being banished from the tribe that has not existed in modern society for centuries except in our own minds. Like all things we will evolve past the notion eventually. The only question is, when…

The story of David and Jonathan or of Abraham and his head servant were written into the bible thousands of years ago. Yet people still fail to embrace them.

In this day and age to label people as this or that, black or white, suntanned or untanned is not just a mark of ignorance, it is the mark of living in another time and another era – one that humanity outgrew ages ago.

Within each of us is a conscious, sentient being. And your consciousness is not a binary element that is turned on or off with the flip of a switch. It is more like the dial on a stove that allows you to turn the heat up or down, from 0 to 10. Sexuality is about finding the right number for you, and that number will probably change throughout your life. So learn to be comfortable with your sexuality no matter where it leads you.

Remember, no matter how hard we try to classify each other, there will always be someone who will surprise you, who will remain – unclassifiable, and that is what being truly beautiful is all about. Surprising each other with discovery and being comfortable with that discovery.

Just remember the more you ridicule somebody, the more you show your own fear for what you know is inside you. The greater your hate or anger, or need to act out in violence, the more you show your own true desires that live deep down inside of you, beyond the wall you built that you hope no one else will see over.

But that is for an entirely different post.

Be well

Live Life Richly, Deeply, 100%

Deep meditation is a wonderful way to remove the stress, anger, negative thoughts, and distractions that can so easily undermine our lives. We all know by now that meditation is a way to calm ourselves so that we, you, can turn dreams into ideas and ideas into actions, free from the delusions that all too often undermine the higher purpose to which we are trying to arrive.

But who ever said that is what the human experience is really all about? Having an issue to resolve is rewarding at times. It can give us meaning and a sense of fulfillment. We have all followed the fast rising celebrity who, at the height of having it “all”, suddenly lost track of what makes life worth living and tumbled a long, slow path back to humanity.

Perhaps that was their lesson to learn in the human experience we are all here to live through.

I recently told a student of mine, do not create issues that do not exist just so that you can solve them. There are more than enough issues out there for you. Just open your eyes and look ahead. They are out there, in all their miserable glory. Take the time to contemplate those issues as you develop a resolution based on your observations.

If you jump to a solution too quickly, you may end up resolving the delusions you created, not the underlying issue at the root of the problem. In time the core issue will resurface and you will be left to once again scratch your head, wondering how similar your current issue is to the one you had a week, a month, or a year ago as you once again jump to resolve the problem that seems to surface again and again and again. Each time failing to look any deeper than is needed.

When a thought interrupts your meditation, do not simply ignore it or let it go. Take a breath, take a moment to examine it. Hold it in your hands and contemplate it as you turn, to see it from a different perspective. Ask yourself if it is a thought that is worth further examination, or one you should simply release back into the ether.

Use this same approach for all the issues you stumble upon in the “real world”. Do not jump to a solution too quickly. Take the time to examine the issue. Take time to explore whatever obstacle lies in front of you. Take a breath to look at it from a new perspective. Some obstacles you think are there may not even be relevant, they are things you can avoid by simply side stepping, adjusting your direction, until you have passed it.

Do you really have to bump into that person walking toward you on the sidewalk, or can you simply drop your shoulder to avoid them altogether? Do you really have to wait for that car to drift into your lane? Or can you be fully present when you slow down to avoid them with little or no interruption in your journey. In some instances you may need to stop or step off your path, but is that really all that bad? Considering all the regret in your life from blundering forward, will that really make a difference to your future?

There are many ways to avoid an issue or an obstacle without confronting it. Simply give yourself enough time to plan an appropriate response and you will be surprised by how many seemingly insurmountable issues fade away before you even arrive at them. Take a meditative approach to your life, so that you can live your life without changing your life. Simply bend with the winds and currents of life, rather than obstinately standing up to them. Trust me, no matter how tough or strong you are, no matter how cunning you think you are, life will eventually throw a wave or a wind in your path that will knock you down, as long as you look ahead to see it coming.

I know many meditation “masters” say to be present, to remain in the here and now if you want to be happy. But who said happiness is all that life is about? There is something far better in looking ahead to make sure your path is a safe one. You do not have to live an either/or existence. Perhaps you can spend 80% of your time in the here and now while spending the other 20% looking just far enough ahead so to see the obstacles that may block your path in the future. Perhaps you need to take a break and be 100% present, know that tomorrow or next week you can look up to make sure your path is clear, or if there is even a path at all to continue on.

This is the difference between living a meditative life in the here and now, in the 21st Century world we all live in rather than the world of 2,500 years ago when meditation as we know it came to be. If happiness was the goal of life, rather than learning the lessons you were meant to live, then the Buddha would have never ventured outside the walls of his father’s compound.

Being aware is more important than being happy, if you want your life to unfold as it was meant to be.

I know it is not always easy, but for better or worse, that is not what this life is about. It is about awakening, enlightenment, and learning the lesson you are here to learn.

I hope this helps.

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