Slow Down – Do More

To some people life is all about faster, quicker, sooner. Faster downloads, quicker processing, and sooner, same-day delivery. For those that think they are not performing fast enough, or falling behind in their studies, there’s always Adderall.

For some reason we think by running, running, running we will get more done. The problem is the faster you run, the more details you miss, and that is how you fall behind. It is those details that catch you in the end. Sooner or later you will have to go back and edit whatever it is you are doing. After all it is in those details that you truly live.

It is far better to attend to the details of your life the first time around than having to go back and edit them later. So why not slow down and enjoy the process the first time around? Why not pay attention to the details of your life so that you do not have to spend time re-aligning yourself with the work at hand and the inevitable edit that comes after?

In the end, slowing down and paying attention to the details of your life will save you hours and years in the end.

When you first pass by a painting or a photograph, you may think “Oh, that’s a pretty painting”, or “that’s a stunning photograph.” But it is not until you take a closer look that you notice the details. Those are what turn an artist’s perspective into a thing of beauty. How is it framed, how are the light and shadows dealt with? The subtle nuances are what make the difference.

As Mies Van De Rohe said, “God lives in the details.” Apparently so does the Devil – depending on your perspective. It is in the details that you can lose yourself and burn a lifetime or find yourself and turn an average life into a thing of beauty.

How many times have you passed a view completely unaware that it was there? How many times have you read a book, completely forgetting the words just pages before, or turned a project in with typos and misspellings? It takes a special person to slow down and see the world for what it is. It takes someone who is truly awake and present to notice something that others never see.

Why not take the time to notice the details on your first pass? Those details are what hold the scents hidden behind a photographer’s image, the tastes beneath a painter’s brush, or the essence of a band. Those same details will bring joy into your life and make your days, work or play, worth living.

Learn to slow down and notice the details. It will save you a lot of time in the end. It will also bring your life to life in a more vibrant way. Slow down, be aware of the world around you and find a balance between noticing the details without losing yourself to them. That is what will make the difference in everything you do.

You can lose yourself in the details, which is how they become the Devil, or you can use them to bring out the beauty of a project, no matter what it is. The choice is yours.

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You will also have access to our Guided Meditation – The Waking Buddhe Breath.

 

Enjoy

 

 

 

j.

 

 

Choose To Be Mindful

Being mindful is not an endeavor confined to a specific time or space. It is a practice that should be woven into every action you take and every reaction you make. Mindfulness is a choice. It is an orientation in the world that you choose to make or to avoid in your everyday acts. When practiced on a consistent basis being mindful will form the foundation upon which you build the habits that will lead you or from unconscious auto-responses to conscious acts, and over time toward enlightenment.

Simply drawing a breath, down deep into your lungs, slowly and fully, is a choice you make. It is no different than slowing down at a meal and chewing each bite mindfully. Each can be supportive for yourself and for the betterment of the world if done with Love. The difference? That you choose to take your breath or chew your food in a mindful manner. The alternative? To simply fill your lungs or gulp your meals down automatically and live life as you always have.

The same can be said for all of your habits. Eating, if done mindfully, will enhance your life one mindful bite at a time – they will nourish your mind, body and spirit with the Love of the Universe.

Even eliminating waste from your body can be a mindful act. No longer an act of revulsion, but a thing to be embraced as a natural part of the digestive cycle. The same can be said of intimacy and even of dying. Each, if approached as a mindful act, can be an act of Love. The passing of the spirit to wherever your belief system leads it, will become an act of Love and light, rather than of mourning.

To make any moment a mindful moment, simply apply your breath to your actions and smile as you choose where you want your life to go.

It really is that simple.

The first step to making an action a mindful action is to consciously choose to do so.

Studies show that roughly 40 percent of your activities are performed out of habit. These habits emerge through what is known as associative learning. That is, “X” happens, and in response, you do “Y”, “X” happens, you do “Y”, “X” happens, and you do “Y”.

You are programmed to repeat what works until behavioral patters emerge. It is a survival instinct that almost every animal follows. After all, if it worked yesterday and I survived, I simply have to do the same thing and I will, once again, survive.

That kind of mechanism worked wonderfully for hundreds of thousands of years, but in today’s world those same life-saving habits will wear you down. The subtle nuances of something as simple as a random social situation creates the stress and anxiety that you find yourself feeling – and this is not a good thing. It may support the growth of a stable society, but it does so at the cost of you, the individual.

That is because you will eventually feel as if you are failing because you will find yourself falling far short of your potential. A classic example of this involves the Take 5 program that was started years ago.

The “Take 5” program simply stated that we should all have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. When the “Take 5” media campaign was rolled out 35 percent of people polled came away believing they should eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day. It was deemed a success.

However, when looking at what people actually ate, only 11 percent of people actually met this goal. It made people feel inadequate and stressed that they were not eating as healthily as they should. The Take 5 program changed people’s intentions, but failed to change their habits.

So what is one thing you can do to change your habits? Take ownership of your actions.

When you open a door, say “I CHOOSE to open this door.”

When you go shopping for dinner or order from a menu, say to yourself “I CHOOSE to buy something healthy.”

Be mindful of your options, be mindful of your decision, and then OWN IT.

Oh yes, and then reinforce your decision to be mindful. Lock it in place. Congratulate yourself, embrace yourself, smile to yourself for making the right decision.

Now, Go and Do Good. And, Smile With Love in Your Heart As You Do.

If you want to receive more like this through our weekly emails, simply click on the Waking Buddha Breath form at the upper-right corner of this page.

Most important – Love yourself and be well,

Labor Day Meditation

Happy Labor Day.

Just remember this is more than a day to celebrate the end of summer. It is more than a day to celebrate the workers of the world, or to buy a new car. It is a day to reflect and renew your commitment to the self-labor you require, because when September rolls around it will all get a lot more complicated.

With the elections in the U.S. and everything else going on in the world, it is, as they say, ABOUT TO GET REAL.

So this Labor Day, let go. And when I say let go, I mean truly LET GO.

No that does not mean losing yourself in whatever drugs or alcohol they’re using at whatever party you crashed. I mean leave all the angst and anxiety of the summer behind.

Do you still hate you’re the way you look after seeing yourself in a bathing suit all summer? Let It Go. Everybody wonders about the way they look, but you can change it.

Do you still think you’re on the edge of losing your relationship? Let It Go – Everybody thinks they’re on the verge of a breakup, all the time, but you can change it.

Do you think the direction you are heading is not where you want to go? Let It Go – everybody wonders if they are going in the right direction, but you can change it

Labor Day was created “to pay tribute to the American workers for all of their contributions and achievements.” It was created by the labor movement at the end of the 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. The world was a very different place back then. So were you.

At some point, Labor Day became the day that marked the end of summer, the last day you could wear summer whites, and the day you could pick up a great deal on mattresses, appliances, and that car you’ve had your eye on. And that is where the similarity to some kind of “labor appreciation” ends.

So why not use it as a day to let go of the insecurities you built up for yourself and to start your life anew? There will always be goals you want to reach and ambitions you want to accomplish. There are the things that will make you happy and things that do not, so why deny them? Just make sure they are your things, not the result of some guilt trip social media has put you on.

If you feel your anxiety building because summer is drawing to a close, simply stop, breathe, and smile to yourself as you contemplate where that anxiousness comes from. Was it driven from within? Or was it driven from without?

If you want to make more money in a career you love so you can move your family to whatever your idea of a sanctuary is, then that is a good thing. It you want to make more money in a career that is laden with stress and anxiety simply so that you can brag to your friends about the size of your office or your title – then it may be time to rethink your priorities. If you want to trim down to create a healthier you, then that is a good thing. If you want to diet so you can look good in that sexy outfit you saw in a window – then it may be time to rethink your priorities.

If you are in doubt about whether what you want is actually what you want, simply step back from it all. Take a break. Take a few slow and deep breaths. You can even meditate to re-center yourself in the here and now. Once the swirl in your head has stopped and you have settled, ask yourself where is this coming from?

If that is too difficult to tell, then step forward and ask yourself where this need taking you?

If your desire to lose or gain weight is nestled in your need to show off your body or to fit into someone else’s idea of what is attractive, then it probably comes from the wrong place. If it is driven by the desire to show someone up, or to fit into some social norm, then it is probably sending you in the wrong direction.

However, if your desire is the byproduct of wanting be healthier, then it is probably coming from a good place. If you want to swim faster or hike further than you did before, then it is probably sending you in the right direction.

Labor Day should be reserved for this sort of self-examination. Not in a bitter or cruel way, but in a healthy manner. An ebb and flow that gently swings from meditation and mindful breathing to a gentle self examination.

When you feel your thoughts begin to drift from a place of Loving Kindness to a place of bitterness and anger, it is time to take a break, to breathe and meditate until you have brought yourself back to your center.

In any type of contemplation there is a rhythm, a healthy back and forth, that pendulums you to and from your center. Let go and allow yourself to follow this pattern. Embrace it with a knowing smile as you watch your mind distract itself in fits and starts, before finding your balance and your center. See yourself in a warm place of calm before beginning again.

Let this be your Labor Day be a new beginning as you say goodbye to summer and hello to Fall.

If you want to receive gentle reminders like this every week, simply click on the Waking Buddha Breath form at the upper-right corner of this page. We can add you to our list and send you a gift to settle your day before it even starts.

More important – remember to Love yourself as you smile, and be well,

 

 

Jeff

Meditation – Nobody is Better Than You

YOU are on your own journey. Even if you find the love of your life, the path you are on is only wide enough for one person. From time to time you may walk beside someone else, at other times you will struggle with yourself.

That voice of self-doubt and that feeling of insecurity? They are not real. They are the result of comparing the behind-the-scenes reality of your life with the highly edited film that everyone else has produced of the life they want you to see.

The simple truth is they have just as many fears, worries and concerns as you do. They look at themselves and see a train wreck unfolding, just like you, instead of the brilliant bit of editing that you see of them.

Just remember, you are on your own path. Forget about what everyone else is doing and seemingly achieving. They look at you and think the same thing that you think of them. Perhaps they wish they had different elements of your life like than you wish you had of theirs, but it is all the same in the end.

Take a moment to think about it. Do you wish you had their mortgage? Their failing relationship? Their screaming kids? Do you really want their medications?

I didn’t think so.

I know you wish you had the glamour they are trying so hard to project. You wish you had their big house and fancy car. You wish you had their closet of designer clothes and their bank account. Well, they wish they had your freedom. They wish they had the life that you take for granted as well.

So start living your life, but live it YOUR way.

Forget about what everyone is doing. YOUR life is about finding your limits and then breaking through them.

Find out what it is you want to do and then go after it. Take it step by step and do not stop for anything.

  • If it’s taking longer than you think it should. Do not stop. It always does.
  • If it is harder than you thought it would be. Do not stop. It always is.
  • If you are overcome with doubt. Do not stop. Overcoming doubt is what this is all about.

If you do not understand it yet. All of this is just an illusion. Your real life is lived in the here and now. The real challenges you face are not in the world around you, but in your mind.

Don’t believe it? All you have to do is think back to when you were most satisfied with who you are. It always occurred when you overcame a personal hurdle, didn’t it?

Not somebody else’s, but your own. Yes I thought so.

So find another hurdle for yourself, one that only matters only to you and then jump over it.

That is what real gold medalists do.

The Network of You

The Network of You.

You are not an individual. You are a collective, and the collective that is you extends in every direction – inward and out. It can be found in the mitochondria that power every cell of your body. It can be found in the bacteria of your gut; which doctors are just now discovering how important they are for your health, and without which you would not be alive today.

As much as you all like to think of ourselves as an individual, you are simply not. You are part of a collective linked together physically, psychologically, even spiritually with those around you. It is only now that we are all beginning to realize just how strong the threads that bind us together truly are.

Long before we had two arms and two legs, the ancestors of the bacteria in your gut banded together to create cells. They adapted in this way to survive. They still do to this day – ever changing to respond to the environment around them. Just as you and I do.

The thread of our collective past is still alive today. It lives in our need to connect with each other. The same need that our ancestors followed forty or one hundred thousand years ago. Back then it was to protect each other, to hunt and to farm. Hundreds of years ago it drove our forefathers and mothers to venture into the unknown in pursuit of freedom.

It is why the internet was created and continues to grow so quickly. It is why apps like Facebook and Instagram are so popular. No matter how much you think of yourself as an individual, you are part of a collective – always have been, always will be. It is in your DNA.

In so may ways I know you are trying to escape the psychological trap of the internet. On one hand you are inundated with useless information that you may think of the internet as the trash bin of humanity. On the other you are still searching to expand your circle of friends. You may call them your “online friends.” But there is a psychological connection with them. It is not right or wrong, it simply means your world has expanded beyond your physical self, on a global scale.

It is also why, in times of trouble, you should not retreat into a solitary corner of yourself. I know it is hard, but this is exactly the time to reach out to the very collective of friends and family, associates and even strangers, that is the network of you.

So where will you go from here? Might I suggest taking a step back in time; to the network that existed long before the internet was created? It is a network of energy that is all around you. It always has been. It always will be. There are no subscriber fees to plug into it. All you have to do is reach out and tap into the energy that is already there.

In many ways, reaching this network of energy is no different than reaching into the practice of meditation. You first need to settle your body in order to quiet your mind. Only when your mind is quiet can you open your heart, and only when your heart is open can you connect to the Love and energy that flows around and through each of us. It follows that wonderfully familiar pattern of Body, Mind and Spirit, or as some say – Physical, Mental and Spiritual.

The Evolution of Solitary to Collective

Even the practice of meditation changes and evolves. It used to be a solitary act, practiced alone, enabling the person meditating to become one with him or herself; to become enlightened. While it is still practiced alone, the path to enlightenment has become a communal practice. People talk and exchange. There is a back and forth as people share their experiences online and off.

Perhaps it has always been a communal act, and we are just now recognizing it as such.

Just as the evolution of the human race is the story of individuals banding together out of survival, from individual bacteria to collective cells, from collective cell to the creation of invertebrates, vertebrates, animals, mammals, and eventually modern humans, the human experience has always been one of evolving past the individual to form a collective on every level, physically, mentally and even spiritually.

Transcending the physical to the spiritual has never been something you could readily do simply by closing your eyes. It has always required a slow journey. One that first requires you to cleanse physical self so that you can open your mind. Once free from your ego, you discover you can you open your heart and touch upon the love and the energy that is all around you. Only when your heart is open can you release your spirit and touch upon the spiritual side we all carry within us.

This is not something that is easy to do alone. It is an act that is far easier to do in a community, a collective, of like minded souls. However, only you know yourself well enough can you prepare yourself for the next step in your journey – that of transcending the physical for the divine.

Transcendence does not mean you will disappear from this plane as you rise up to the heavens. It simply means you will see the world around you with a growing realization that this is not all there is. That what exists goes beyond the physical on so many levels, you will understand why you felt trapped with every choice your path gave you.

Now is the time to break through whatever walls you created for yourself. Just reach out into the network that is all around you, even though you may have never realized it. You may be very surprised at how easy it is to feel whole and complete. But you will never know until you reach out in times of trouble.

Be well, and I hope this helps –

 

 

Jeff

Meditation & Mindful Consumption

In our media-rich world, be careful of what you ingest. It may not always agree with the life you live or aspire to life. I am not only writing in terms of food and drink, but in terms of what you watch and listen to, what you read and even write.

Everything you bring into your life effects your outlook and world view. The violence you see on television or in the theater, will resonate in how your treat those you love. The podcasts you listen to and the blogs your read online all their opinions which sooner or later end up in the way you speak and think. When you hear candidates berate and undercut each other, their words affect relationship to the world around you – whether you agree with them or not.

So just stop. The residue each of these leave behind will weigh on you and drag you down into that dark world of anger and depression. It’s okay to take a break from the news, to let go of slasher films, to put down the gossip magazines and simply be who you aspire to be.

It is called Mindful Consumption – the art of placing your breath and your awareness on the things that you are bringing into your space physically, mentally and even spiritually. If, as you eat, drink, watch or listen, feel yourself sinking into self doubt or anything that resembles the darker side of yourself then simply stop and change the channel.

If you find this difficult, stand up and take a deep breath. Put your hands on your hips and curl your lips into a smile. Feel that smile spread across your cheeks and down into your lungs as you attach your smile onto your breath.

If you need to gather your inner strength, assume a power pose by standing up straight and putting your hands on your hips, or reaching your arms above your head in a big V. Give yourself the gift of a clean spirit as you shed the residue that the world wants to weigh you down with.

Mindful Consumption is easier than you may think, especially if you build it on top of a foundation of meditation.

Either way, just be careful with what you ingest. You know who you are. Don’t let them bring you down to their level. Rise above and smile into the sun that always shines above.

Be well, and I hope this helps.

Learn more about Mindful Eating and Consumption by clicking here.

 

 

 

Jeff

Well Being & Meditation Are Skills

Having been through my share of surgeries and health issues, trust me when I say that well being is not something you just happen upon. It is a skill that you can learn and apply to your life at any point in time.

It does not have to involve a laborious effort or a large-scale change in your lifestyle. It does not have to include weeks spent in an ashram or retreat. It does not have to involve giving up everything you have worked so hard to attain.

It only requires taking baby steps toward a better you. It means making minor tweaks to various elements of your life that I assure you will go unnoticed until one morning you will wake up feeling clearer, more focused and simply better about who you are and what you are doing.

What follows are some simple and easy steps to creating a healthier, happier and calmer you for a life that is easy to maintain no matter where you are, and that will produce real results you will witness every day.

Try these, and let me know what worked for you. Also, if you have other tips, please feel free to share them. We are always interested in what works best for you and what does not. After all, having a greater sense of well being is about smart positivity, without feeling the need to go overboard with the whole thing.

So take it slow, even being positive can create a backdraft if taken too quickly for some people:

  • Surround yourself with a good support system (start with family and friends, but do not be afraid to seek out a group, that give you time to release and even heal if need be)
  • Discipline yourself to frequent the right places at the right times so that you can be with the right people doing the right things.
  • Do not allow your pride or ego to get in the way of your health. Staying true to your old self is a great way to stay unhealthy
  • Know your triggers and avoid situations that put you in a high stress/high tension situation
  • Avoid angry ad toxic people, or people who raise themselves up by putting those around them down
  • Be prepared and Role Play. Think of an unpleasant situation in the past and come up with an alternate way to handle it. Rehearse different outcomes and create a plan to pursue that outcome. Being prepared is half the battle.
  • Create space in your schedule to recharge
  • Smile and touch people below the elbow or on the shoulder in a non-offensive and non-threatening way. You will be surprised how much energy is created by simple human contact.
  • Identify your negative behaviors and replace them with positive behaviors you are more comfortable with.
  • Keep a list of what you are grateful for, and remind yourself of this before you start getting down on yourself.
  • Reward yourself for your good habits. It is okay to buy yourself something special, to have a nice meal, and to enjoy life. Your health depends on it.
  • Oh yes, and cut out the white foods [white flour, white sugar, high starch potatoes], after all is is about body, mind and spirit.

Most important, live, laugh and enjoy your life to the fullest. Living life is why you are here, so enjoy it in every way possible.

Learn more at Simple-Truth.com.

Be well, and I hope this helps as we head into summer.

j.

Stop Grasping

The Simple Truth is that many of you do not need meditation. you simply need to stop grasping.

Centuries ago, letting go was probably enough to bring calm into someone’s life. It was really all you needed to do to remove the stress that may have built up in your life. Life back then was pretty immediate, but there was simply not that much information moving back and forth to cause the kind of stress you have in the first few minutes of your day.

In today’s world, however, you are connected 24/7. You are overwhelmed with Megadata and microbytes. The level information spinning you comes in through all of your devices. The Simple Truth to it all is that most of it has little direct relevance to your life. The result is that you spend a lot of time on irrelevant topics and fail to actually live your life, in your way.

This year, make your life less about “Letting Go” and more about not rasping in the modern the first place. The simple truth is that most of the information coming across your screens is irrelevant. Most of it deals with subjects that will never effect your life.

Some of the rest may be important, but there is little, if anything, that you can do about it; no matter how hard you try. What remains is so distorted by the media that uncovering the truth is rarely worth the time and effort you will have to put in, in order to dig it out.

What this means for you is that if you truly want to find your own peace and calm, then stop grasping at the straws that inevitably fly by. Why hold onto opinions from pundits so that you can “Let it Go” later on. Stop carrying all of this information around with you. It will only add weight to your already complex life.

In the short-term it will prevent you from being nimble and able to move quickly. In the long -term it will wear you out and exhaust you. Either way, stop grasping at straws. Simply before those straws become issues you now need to Let Go of.

Teach yourself to live with an appreciation of the present moment you are in. Train yourself to see the information that is out there, but to ignore the distractions that are all around you. Do not put on the blinders all together, but recognize what is relevant  so that you are free to focus on the things that effect your life directly.

Once you are able to do that you can begin to expand your sphere of information and to begin taking on additional topics when you are ready.

It is okay to admit you cannot do it all. Nobody can. There is simply too much going on in today’s world for your brain to handle it all, and that is okay.

When you stop grasping, you will no longer need to let go. Better still, you will be free from the weight of all that irrelevant information you now have in that baggage we call life.

 

I hope this helps –

 

 

 

j.

 

Just 1 Thing

One Thing.

That truly is the answer – to simply focus on just one task at a time.

Your brain is a wonderful organ, but it is not meant to multi-task. It is only meant to address one task at a time. What you think is multi-tasking is actually your brain ping ponging between individual tasks very, very rapidly. The result? Exhausting you and reducing your ability to perform tasks that require higher cognitive functions.

The moment you try to multi-task is the moment you lose it all. You brain gets overwhelmed. You become more easily confused, more easily frustrated, and unable to identify and manage the details.

How many times have you arrived at your desk to find all that work you did the night before to be a mess?

Removing stress and distractions from your life simply means returning to a point of singularity again and again. That means approaching a single point of focus by bringing your mind and your body to rest on doing one thing at a time. And yes, a key to this lies in your breath and your ability to focus on it.

And that is called meditation. It is why meditation works so well in the modern world we have created for ourselves. There is no mystery to it, it is simply bringing our brain from  a confused state while attempting to do everything, to doing just one thing at a time.

So mono-task instead. When you are washing dishes, simply was dishes. When you are eating, simply eat. When you are working on a project, Simply work on that project. Do not try to squeeze one more task into what you are doing.

Instead, slow down and focus on the task before you.

Learn more at our event on this Monday evening [February 22, 2016] at 5:30. It takes place at the Mulberry branch of the New York Public Library. Learn more by clicking here or send us an email.

We are here to help.

Zen For Busy People

Join us at the New York Public Library on February 22nd at 5:30 pm for this FREE event – Zen For Busy People.

As part of our Meditation4All program, there is no cost to you. It is simply our way of sharing meditation to everyone interested in learning, resetting, and improving their ability to overcome the roadblocks we all face in the contemporary world we live in.

Stay for forty-five minutes and leave with a series of simple techniques that are both meditative and mindful, that you can use at anytime to help you:

  • Calm your nerves for the Event Image NYPL-Mulberry 010816day ahead
  • Reset and Re-balance no matter what happens
  • Learn to Take Life in Stride
  • Be resilient & overcome
  • Let it Go

This will be a fun and enlightened evening that combines guided meditations, open conversations, tips and, insights more. You will leave feeling calm and relaxed, as well as rejuvenated and prepared to live your life, Your way.

It may just be the best 75 minutes you will spend in 2016, and beyond.

New York Public Library – Mulberry Branch –

FREE

10 Jersey Street, Nolita

February 22nd, 5:30pm – 6:45

www.simple-truth.com/event-calendar