Make A Real Impact On The World

Do you want to make a bigger impact on today’s world?

How about on those you love and care for?

There are no shortcuts or easy paths to doing this. But there is a simple strategy if you are serious about being of service to yourself and to those around you. All it requires is that you open your heart and share yourself with those around you.

When I speak of opening your heart I don’t mean just using words like “soulful” or “Zen”, enjoying a “calming breath” or “being authentic”, I mean really bringing those ideas into your life and making them a part of your daily habits. And yes, practices like meditation and yoga are wonderful but if your practice stops when your chime sounds then really, what good is it?

Why leave your all the goodness of your practice on your cushion when you can weave it into every aspect of your life? You can live a life that is true to the person you want to be by finding the virtues and values that are a part of your own simple truth and passing those forward to the people in your life.

It all starts with practicing simplicity. When you get rid of the extraneous garbage that fills your life you will begin to understand what your life is all about. Simplifying does not mean getting rid of everything in y our life or running off to live a monastic life.

Living simply means living in the real world fully aware of what is going on all around you and embracing those things that are real for you. It means staying present to every moment of every day so that you can explore your boundaries and come to know the person you were always meant to be.  The person you are deep down inside.

Until you meet that person you will never be happy with yourself because your actions will never be true to the person you truly are deep down inside of you.

But you already know that.

Being the person you want to be is not impossible. It’s really quite easy. You don’t have to change who you are or what you want in life. You simply need to follow your gut and your heart. You need to be true to yourself, free from all the pressures of modern society and the Jones’, free from that gnawing need to conform and fit in.

Becoming the person you want to be may lead you down an uncomfortable path, but there are no obstacles along that path that you cannot overcome because that person is already within you and always has been. The obstacles you think are out there don’t really exist. They were created by you as you journeyed through life to protect you from those around you.

To find yourself again you simply need to realign your values and virtues with the person who is still there within you.

It’s time to question those habits that you think make you who you are and have always driven you to do what you are doing.

Who knows, you just may discover your true self along the way.

I hope this helps, and click here to learn more through our programs.

Be well, and in the end, it is your life. It’s time to live it your way.

Q+A: What was the most challenging relationship you have experienced?

Q:

What was the most challenging relationship you have experienced?

A:

My most challenging relationship is the one I have with myself.

Only by having a healthy and honest relationship with myself can I hope to have a healthy and honest relationship with someone else. In the end, your defects and truths will arise no matter what your intentions are. Within a long-term relationship, they will bubble up no matter how hard you try to stuff them down. In fact the more you try to deceive someone the quicker your faults and lies will arise. That is the beauty of companionship and community, your truths will surface no matter what you try to do.

In casual conversation you will slip when you least expect yourself to. You will grow comfortable with those around you and there it is – the truth. You may not blurt out some falsehood as if vomiting up your lunch but it will be there for you and those around you to be aware of. And once it is out there the more you try to cover your tracks, the more entwined and confused will your story become.

That is how your deceit will be noticed, not with the initial lie you told, but through your efforts to cover your tracks. The only way to avoid this is to be honest with yourself, to know yourself, and to make a vow that you will only be honest with yourself an with those around you.

This is not an easy thing to do, but it is essential if you want an honest relationship free from the confusion of half-truths so many try to live with. At first this is a challenge for many. But as time passes you will learn that those challenges fade away as your relationship with yourself comes from a place of honesty, honor, values and virtues.

When  you are completely honest with who you are, you free yourself of the weight that you have carried with you for so long. You can be with anyone in a fully intimate and honest way and feel good about yourself while doing so.

Perfect Imperfections

We all have things we could improve upon. If you didn’t there would be no point. You are forever learning, improving, growing and becoming a better person. Isn’t that the whole point of being a part of the human experience and experiment? To be better? Just don’t get caught up in your imperfections, because they are what make you perfect. They are the test others must go through if they are to find the beauty of you.

Never forget that you are perfectly human. Forgive yourself for being so. For being a little overweight some of the time, for being underweight at others, for not being quick enough on this or for rushing on that, for not having just the right words at the ready for all passions, for not being fully present every minute of every hour. For being forgetful, and for not believing in yourself all of the time. For believing in the wrong dreams because they seemed like the right ones, for falling in Love with the wrong person because your heart said to, for sympathizing with the wrong causes for all the right reasons.

These are all classrooms for learning who you are and for discovering what is important. Never be ashamed to learn something new, no matter how fixed your ideas seem to be.

Never stop learning – that is what it is to be divinely human, to be fully humanly human. The moment you stop improving who you are is the moment you die inside. You may still be walking around, smiling and socializing, but when your heart dies so too does your spirit and you become and empty shell of who you truly are.

Stay alive, keep making mistakes, keep tripping over your own two feet, and every time you fall, smile to yourself knowing that you just learned how not to walk again.

What Would The Buddha Say?

What would the Buddha say?

All this talk about lineage and dharma, precepts and which form of Buddhism is best, whether Soto or Proto Zen should be followed, or the forms of Rinzai? Mahayana or Theravada?

To me, that is all semantics and superfluous. At the heart is would he even approve of the statues and processions, the flowing robes and flickering candles, the golden statues of his own image to which everyone bows? Would he be more content with practitioners simply seeking to meditate in their own way? Perhaps even out in nature as he did?

Having turned away from the path of formal ordination, I think he would have said, what he actually did say:

 

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it,

no matter if I have said it,

unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

 

My guess is that the Buddha would have spoken against the golden chalices and flowing robes that have filled so many zendos and which some monks believe are a necessary part of their ceremonies if they are to stay true to their lineage.

At some point the messages of the Buddha has gotten lost to the fund raising that some consider to be the foundation of their efforts to save the souls of sentient beings. Whether it is the precepts or the dharmas they dole out, they forget that their teachings have strayed far from the simple truth that is behind their words. And, that makes me very sad, because the original messages were so simple – to Love and have compassion for all things, to simply do no harm.

And this is the thread that links, not just Buddhism, but all faiths to the mass killings that plague our country. Those simple words that have been pushed aside remain the foundation of any faith – Love and Compassion.

What would the Buddha say?

Would the Buddha look at the way his simple message of Love and approve of how it is being practiced? Or would he want whatever money is being spent on robes and golden statues, the latest head sets and digital sound mixers so that the faithful can hear the voices of the holiest of holies tweaked so that they resonate deeply throughout the high ceilings and reach into the deepest recesses of the halls?

You already know the answers to this. It is within you.

I only hope the monks and clergy understand this as well. Faith and belief are not about how loud and far your voice carries, but how deeply you believe in the Love and compassion we all share.

If you read anything of history, you will know the faithful carried statuettes and shared scripture as they traveled the trade routes several thousand years ago. They shared their beliefs with other acolytes and found the common thread shared among the faithful of all religions – a thread of Love, compassion and caring.

Humans were not born to be killers. They were born to be compassionate, to look out for each other and to care. We were born into community and were raised in kinship. That is how we humans survived this long. That is why our streets are not ravaged with violence and why the antennas on our cars are not twisted into tangles when parked overnight, unwatched and free of alarms. It is why windows are not smashed in and doors are still left, in many communities, unlocked.

Let’s not deceive ourselves, it is still a dangerous world out there. But not because all humanity is evil, that is the work of just a few confused and angry individuals – oh yes and the wrongly open gun laws that a few organizations pay government officials to keep open.

The rest of us remain caring, Loving people hoping to help others and confused by the violence so few inflict. Many communities are still rocked by school and police violence, but that is also why people of every race, religion, gender and sexual persuasion see hope rather than despair as a way out. I truly believe that the next generation will do what my generation could not, and that is to say “enough!”

If you think these two topics, that of monks seeking money over saving, think again. One is based in doing no harm. The other is based in a warped sense of greed with which they convince themselves they are just protecting their flocks at any cost.

This week I ask you to ask the simplest of questions, what would the Buddha think about how his solitary practice has been transmitted to those around you? What would Jesus do in the halls that bear his name? What would Mohammad say? What would Abraham? What would our founding fathers? Is this really what they had in mind when they wrote Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

None of them saw the ugliness in people. Each of them saw the beauty that is still in our souls.

Shouldn’t each of us do the same for each other?

Meditation – Find Your Community

Every decision you make creates an entirely new universe for you to live in. Sometimes the choices you made yesterday streamlined your path for today, delivering you to your destination more quickly and with less stress.

Sometimes the choices you made caused you to stumble and even fall until you found your path again. Even if you never found you way back wherever you are is where you were meant to be, for better or for worse.

No decision is ever right or wrong. They simply put you on a different path that you either continue down or correct as you learn the very powerful lessons you carry with you throughout your life.

I am the first to say that some life lessons I would rather not have to repeat, but that is exactly the point; no matter which path you took you still arrived where you are today, in this moment, right here and now.

If you look back at your life, the decisions you made probably left you right back where you started from, perhaps a little scuffed and bruised, but with the life lessons you acquired from your experiences. I am not saying life is a bowl of cherries or always look on the bright side of life. Life is filled with suffering and misery. But if you can separate yourself from the physical and find the lesson you were meant to learn, it makes whatever you are going through a little easier to accept.

And this may just be the ultimate lesson to remember – that there are no bad decisions. There are only shorter and longer paths upon which to travel. Life is about learning the lessons you were meant to learn if you are to travel onward.

Do not bemoan what you think is a bad decision with a series of if only’s or what if’s. Embrace your decision and accept the outcome so that you can carry on with a deep breath and a knowing smile. Do not group your decisions together and blame yourself for your “mistakes.” Take each decision as a lesson learned that you can choose to repeat again or to avoid before you get to the point of having to make it again.

Right or left, “should I” or “shouldn’t I?” In the end your brain compiles as much data as it can so that you can make as well of an informed decision as possible, and then you leap in. Some new bit of information may arise or some new event may occur that may change your decision, but all you can do is keep your wits about you and respond to it as best you can. But you still end up going with your heart and your gut.

The more aware you are of your situation the better you can anticipate and respond. The more panicked you become the less able you are to respond.

This is why I say let go of all that mental chatter, breathe and smile to anyone who approaches you. Slow down and relax as you feel your emotions and opinions rise up from within. Be aware of them, but do not feel as if you have to respond to them.

Remind yourself that this very moment is what your meditation training has been for.

Then dive in and accept the best decision for what it is – a well informed choice that is ultimately made with your gut and your heart, not your brain.

If you would like help in these times know that you don’t have to do it alone, there is a community around you that is ready to support you. Please feel free to reach out, we can help you find your community.

 

 

Be well, and I hope this helps.

Shared Purpose – a Relationship Meditation

“What is your purpose?” I asked.

“As a couple?” They replied. I shrugged, “Or as individuals?”

They aren’t alone in their response. After fifteen years of marriage they still weren’t quite sure how to respond. It was as if they stopped being individuals once they were married and this is one of the greatest tragedies we attach to being married. Many people think that once the ceremony is over you are no longer able to function as an individual. That thinking or having desires as an individual is somehow not acceptable, and that is a shame.

The beauty of marriage is that you have someone you can grow with in love and respect, in trust and in understanding. That you now have someone to continue on your journey with as a part of something greater. It does not mean confining yourself to a life of stagnation.

Instead of sinking into the comfort of your situation, make a pact with yourself and your partner that you will always explore new things, that you will travel, try new sexual positions and refuse to limit your growth by falling into the malaise of doing time on Maple Drive.

What are you afraid of? Do you think your partner may balk at your idea of spending your vacation somewhere new? Are you afraid that your partner for life may say no just like that boy or girl did in high school? Or do you think that living in the rat race, doing the same thing every day, is the most scintillating, exciting and fulfilling thing you can imagine doing until you retire at which point you can sit on your porch sharing remembrances of a life half-lived with your partner?

After a few moments of meditation to clear our minds my students and I delved a little deeper into the subjects of openness and honesty. It was no surprise that the husband felt trapped in his job and his wife felt trapped in the house, taking care of their home and children. Both felt chained to maintaining their lifestyle, which they admitted was a little beyond their means, “But everyone lives a little beyond their means, that’s part of the game.”

We took a short meditation break to release a layer of anxiety that was visibly building. When we returned I gently probed a little more; the husband confessed to being caught on his treadmill, his wife did as well. They were in the same room, but on two different treadmills. They faced the same direction, each set to a speed just a little faster than either was comfortable with, looking at the same wall they would never reach, yet both were unwilling to step off their treadmills and onto solid ground. Neither wanted to try new things for fear of losing that now sacred treadmill that was going nowhere.

If you truly love the person you have committed to, then set them free. Trust them to go off on their own and return to tell you about it. That ring on your finger is not your love for them. It is just a symbol that represents the vows you made to each other. Those vows are based on trust, and if you don’t trust your partner to hold your bond sacred, then no ring in the world will make a difference. If they hold it sacred, then removing that ring will not make them any less caring, trusting or respectfu, than they already are. Who knows they may even bring back some wonderful stories about the travels they went on and the adventures they had that may just revitalize the love and the vows you both took so long ago.

Trust in each other. Try something new. Gently ask your partner if whatever it is you want is okay. You may be surprised by their answer. Best case, you put your marriage on a better track that will truly last a lifetime. Worst case, you are right back where you are right now, running on your treadmill to nowhere.

Don’t let discomfort get in the way of getting what you want to get out of life. Let your partner be the strength you saw them to be when you first made your vows. Do not allow yourself to place them in some trophy case as some kind of an “I made it to fifty years” award. Smile at them, love them, and trust them as you ask them, and yourself, “what is your purpose?”

Understand that whatever you want is possible, but you have to express what you want to them if you want to experience it with them. Do not let your relationship become an excuse to stop taking the smart risks you so badly want to take.

The world has changed greatly in the past decade. Shouldn’t your relationship do the same?

Be well, and I hope this helps.

 

 

Jeff

Mind Your Brain Through Meditation

Your brain is an organ, it is grey, it weighs just under three pounds, and the last time it’s programming was updated was about 40,000 years ago – that was when modern humans, or Sapiens, took a major evolutionary leap forward.

Since that time, we have changed little in appearance but have evolved drastically in terms of our brain’s functionality and our sense of spirituality. While your brain may be the result of some pretty wonderous evolutionary leaps, it is important to remember that your brain is not the boss of you. But just try telling this to your brain.

The number one priority for your brain is to keep you alive. That is it. All those circuits and all that neural elasticity you have read about evolved for your survival. Those emotions you follow without thinking, like fear and hate, love and pain are there to keep you out of danger and to help you survive. It is why they play such a big part in your life and why you jump to follow them without pause and without thinking.

Each of those emotions leads you to a single operating process that results in the fight, flight or fornicate impulse you blindly follow. And that is where the problem starts in the contemporary world you live in. Yes, that process kept you alive 40,000 years ago, but in today’s 21st century world those same impulses will get you into more often than they will save you.

Let me give you a quick and easy, 60 second tutorial for how brain and mind evolved.

Make a fist and hold it at eye-level. That fist represents your brainstem. It is the source of your primal impulses. It is no different than the brain of a frog, lizard or alligator. It is what creates the Fight, Flight or Fornicate auto-response they and many of you live your life by. It is there to keep you safe, just like a frog’s or an alligator’s brain does today. Do you see your forearm? That represents your spinal column and will take you back on your evolutionary timeline. It is similar to the same structure within flatworms and earthworms.

As you move forward your brain becomes more evolved and specialized. Your frontal lobe is actually where the wiring for all of your executive functions live. I know that I am greatly simplifying a very complex organ I know there are areas of the brain that manage your hands and feet, I also realize there are two hemispheres, right and left, that perform tasks related to logic and creativity, but I want to keep things simple for the purposes of this post. All of your modern programming looks to your primal brain because it was programmed for survival, which is decided by your primal brain.

The problem is not with your brain, but with its programming. The programming of your brain was last updated some 40,000 years ago. It still responds to the world as if it were 40,000 years ago. It simply does not realize how the contemporary works. It does not realize the fight, flight or fornicate responses that kept you alive for so long are not appropriate in the contemporary world you now live in. When you begin to get nervous when meeting a new client or when you go in for a job interview, it is not a life or death situation, it is simply you getting nervous. It is not the time to pump more adrenaline and cortisol, it is the time for you to calm down so that you can think about the questions you will have to respond to.

That is the brain. Your mind on the other hand, is a modern wonder that exists just beyond the reach of your brain. It is the output of all those circuits that exists just beyond your reach. It represents all the hopes and dreams, needs and desires that make you who you are. It is the passion you feel and the sorrow you experience. It is the beauty of your life. It is also what makes your life YOUR life.

If you want to be happy and to feel accomplished in today’s world, then you must first learn to quiet your 40,000-year-old brain so that you can access the 21st century mind that is you. Then, and only then, will your 21st Century self flourish so that you can experience the joy, the happiness, and the feeling of accomplishment and success you were meant to enjoy.

Click here to discover the five simple steps to do this, or jump right to Jeff’s Teachings if you want to engage with Jeff without commitment at https://simple-truth.com/teachings.

  • Meditate – Stop stressing about meditation. Stop worrying feeling the urge to shave your head or give up everything you have worked so hard for. Neither of those things will happen unless you want them to. You will simply learn to understand how your brain and mind interact. You will become more closely attuned to their relationship with the world around you, and learn to manage them. You will learn that YOU are the one in control of YOUR life, not that voice in the back of your head. So free yourself to be YOU and take a stab at meditation. If you have never meditated before, download some free guides here https://simple-truth.com/teachings. Just know that there is a big, bright world out there free from the guilt and self-loathing that comes from within your head.
  • Meet your bad roommate – have you ever sat down and listened to that voice inside your head? You know what it sounds like. That’s right, a nagging roommate. The kind you would have tossed out years ago no matter how much rent they paid. Well, it’s time to realize that the bad roommate IS NOT YOU! That’s your 40,000-year-old brain doing what it does. It looks out for trouble, and when it doesn’t see any around you, it turns inward and starts nitpicking you apart. When you look at yourself in the mirror and it starts commenting on your hair or how you feel, do what you would do to a bad roommate – say thank you and tell it to leave, then turn to your mind and smile at the possibilities and enjoy the day ahead of you.
  • Let It Go – You live in a vastly different world than your ancestors did 40,000 or even 40 years ago. Today you live in an ever-expanding realization of world consciousness. Yes, your brain may be stuck in a village mentality, but you are not. When it snipes at someone who doesn’t dress right, acknowledge it and let it go. When it tells you, you are not good enough, nod and let it go. When it compares you to someone else, yes, smile and let it go. That is NOT YOU TALKING. That is the leftover programming from 40,0000 years ago and it has no place in the modern world YOU live in, or in YOUR life. If you just can’t seem to let it go then take a breather, refer to step 1 and meditate.
  • Smile – No matter what goes on around you, smile. It works on the physical level. It works on the psychological level. It works on the spiritual level. Smile and focus on the feeling that smile gives you. Smile as it spreads across your face and down, deep into your belly with every breath you take. Give it permission to lift you up. Allow it to spread to those around you as you stand up straight and let it go.
  • Honor Your Divine Self – That’s right. Honor the divinity and the infinity that is you. Forget about your perceived limitations and connect with the words the Buddha, Jesus Mohammad and even Einstein said. You are nothing but energy. All those atoms and molecules are held together with pure and unadulterated energy. It’s what keeps everything in the Universe moving together, in the right direction. You breathe it, you bathe in it, you live in it. It is why the energy that you put out there comes right back to you. No, that doesn’t mean if you wish hard enough for a bicycle you’ll get a bicycle. But it does mean, good thoughts, good words and good intentions will create a good life that you can enjoy every day if you want to.

All of this means is that when it feels like the world is beating you up, it’s really not. It is just your 40,000+ year old brain trying to do what it was designed to do – protect you. It’s just trying to do that with a 40,000-year-old program, and that’s like trying to send a letter with a 19th century typewriter. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it will take you quite a while.

Let your 21st Century mind pick a new program, one that is based on the modern world you live in.  Then, and only then, can you make good choices that will send your life moving in the direction you want it to move.

To learn more about how Jeff can help you design your life for the Modern World – take a look at his work on https://simple-truth.com/teachings

Life Outside Your Comfort Zone

Only when you step out of your comfort zone can you experience life fully, richly and deeply. It is important to do this from time to time, not only for yourself, but for those around you. If not, you will be forever trapped by your own fears.

In the past I have advocated asking yourself “Why Am I Here?” or to use a door as a way to remind yourself that what is behind you is truly behind you – it can never be undone, and that what is in front of you is not worth worrying about. All you can do is let it go and get on with your life and prepare yourself for the eventualities of what may be. Let go of your fears and anxieties through meditation so that you can focus on those events that you can change, not on those things you cannot.

Either way, past or future, learn to recognize and embrace the fact that you forever in transition, that the past and the future are the places that you jump from and to. Life is not about anticipating, but embracing that untethered moment you are in right now, the space of transition in between.

The untethered moments are where you live most of your life. They are not a time to search for a safe place to land but to enjoy the discomfort and the moment where life is truly lived.

One of my most profound teachers asked me in a formal Dokusan, “Jeff Cannon, what do you want to do right now?” I replied honestly “What I really want to do is open that door and run as far away from here and from you that I can get, never to return.” He smiled and said, “Why don’t you? There is nothing stopping you.”

I knew there was nothing stopping me. I knew that running away was the safe way out. do. I also knew that running away would be just that, running away from the deeper issues we had been discussing. What resulted from not opening that door and running opened a path to some of the most valuable lessons of my life. It also opened a line of self-evaluations that continues to lead me to some of my greatest break-throughs. Had I done what made me comfortable I ever would have stepped over the edge and into the unknown, where I continue to thrive.

This is not just a matter of making good choices but of challenging yourself to make good choices that challenge you. That is the only way in which you will grow. Growth is not just about going against the status quo, but going against your own comfort zone. Breaking out of your comfort zone will help you break free of the group thinking that keeps everyone in line, no matter how independent you think you are.

Here are some examples of when to push your own comfort zone:

 

Do What Makes You Uncomfortable

Admit it we all have those days when we come home exhausted. All we want to do is sink into a chair and get lost in a TV show or lose ourselves online. When we do this we begin to feel guilty when we come back at midnight with the realization of losing ourselves and our evening, knowing we will have to wake up in a few hours to begin the cycle of work and exhaustion all over again. This is one of those moments to do what you do not want to do, but that you know is right. This is a moment to pool our strength and forget about what feels comfortable.

This is also the moment to sit and meditate, to go for a walk, read a book, to do anything but what you first wanted to do. It may sound like the most horrible idea in the first few minutes until you actually change your habits. When you do this, you begin to feel in control of your actions and yourself. This is when your actions are the most wonderful acts ever, and guess what, they are.

Do what so many people have done for centuries. When you want to free yourself from your earthly bonds do not do what makes you uncomfortable, do what makes you uncomfortable. Don’t throw yourself in the same old, same old. Throw off your natural balance until you find yourself in the middle of a spiritual awakening or a moment of enlightenment. It’s out there waiting for you. All you have to do is reach out for it.

Think it is absurd? Try it and see what happens. Perhaps just a moment of discomfort. Perhaps nothing less than a moment of enlightenment.

Learn how to take the first few steps, from simply walking instead of riding, to just not eating lunch at your desk. It’s simpler than you think.

 

Walk instead of ride

The next time you think of grabbing your car keys or hailing a taxi, go for a walk instead. Give yourself an extra ten minutes and enjoy the time between your errands rather than just checking off boxes. Let your errands be a way to take a mindful break from life and the holidays.

When you go through tasks you need to check off your list, don’t think of the tasks, think of the time between those tasks as a break from yourself. If the market is ten blocks away think of the distance in between as your time. Yes, you may save time driving, but is that really time saved? What about the time that you lose for yourself?

The actual time you might save becomes negligible when you think of how much time it takes to hail a cab or to get your car out of the garage. More important think about the stress you can release by taking a ten or fifteen-minute walk. Think of how it will help you come to terms with yourself and the world when you simply walk.

Lunch at your desk? 

Are you really stuffing yourself because you are that hungry? Or are you eating all that food at your desk so you can jump onto the next project? Is that food being eaten for nutrition, or are you upset that the only person you have to eat with is yourself?

Give yourself the gift of time, and learn to enjoy your meal in a mindful way. Why would you deprive yourself of this opportunity to find your balance and return yourself to calm?

Tired of the gym?  You may be surprised at how much mental-babble you can rid yourself of with a trip to your workout. I know how irritating it is to get into the mood to work out, but that is how your body works. It is driven off the activity of your muscles, pumping fluids and removing wastes. It is how your body functions.

You are a physical being. The pumps that keep your body clean and healthy run off of your activity. You may find yourself following your excuses by staying on the couch, but you will pay for it with an increased feeling of lethargy and an inability to think clearly.

When you actually motivate yourself to exercise, not only are you getting your engine to run, you are setting a pattern to avoid excuses in all parts of your life. You may even find yourself creating a new patter for getting to the gym more often.

In other words, changing your patterns in one area creates a snowball effect that carries over into other areas of your life. By getting off the couch, walking instead of riding, not eating at your desk, you create powerful habits that will change your life. And yes, this willpower will continue to build on itself through good discipline and regimen – expanding the good that is within you outward to others.

This is what makes people studious, productive and feel accomplished. This is what makes you question the status quo and build the life you want to live. If it seems like an infinite loop, it is. Free yourself from your thoughts and you will learn that these loops are nothing more than your auto-programming, which is something you can quickly reduce to their fundamental nature.

It may seem like a Zen Koan for which there is no start and no finish. In a way it is. And that is the beauty of it. You don’t have to start or finish. You can simply begin to adopt a new way to live your life through the little choices you make every day. Your body and mind will take your lead and follow along without question soon enough.

Goldilocks Effect – Why You Are Never Happy With What Is

This one is too hot, this one is too cold. Why do you never see things as they are rather than as you want them to be? If you stop seeing things as not quite right you may just begin to see the world as perfect just as it truly is warts and all.

Perhaps as you walk outside you instinctive think, “why is it always raining?” or “why is it always so sunny?” Perhaps you walk out of a meeting dissatisfied with how it went, beating yourself and your team up for not getting it just right or for not getting a better deal. Perhaps you beat yourself up for not making a better meal for your family, or for not thinking healthier thoughts for yourself.

How many people do you know live their lives trapped in the Goldilocks Effect? This one is too small, this one is too large, the grass is always greener, the lighting is not as it should be. Their entire lives are lived in this twilight world of not being quite perfect, and if it’s not perfect then it might as well not be done at all?

It is the people who are trapped in a world of their own delusions who fall into the trap of the Goldilocks Effect. Their world never meets their expectations because their expectations change all of the time. Their world is based on their own distorted need to control what they have no control over.

Their’s is a world of self-imposed suffering. Their’s is also a world you do not need to be a part of. When it rained yesterday their perception of the world was of a grey, wet, humid mess. When it cleared today they forgot all about the rain yesterday and complain about the the sun as if they lived in a scorching dessert.

It never occurs to them that there is nothing wrong with the world, it is their perception of it that is off.

We all have a little Goldilocks within us. It may surface when we think that the forces are conspiring against us. The question is not does this misperception exist, but how do you recognize it and how do you move beyond it to enjoy the world as it is and end your suffering?

It’s never easy for you to recognize the Goldilocks Effect unless you wake yourself up so that you can be aware of the road to happiness and realize that it is not about you. It is about how your thoughts effect the real world you live in.

When you look at the world through the lenses of anger and disappointment that is what you will see and live in. When you look at the world through the lenses of hope and opportunity, that is how you will see the world around you. You see, the world is truly a reflection of you. How you feel about yourself is reflected on the world that exists all around you.

The next time you feel as if the world is conspiring against you, step back for a moment. Stop whatever you are doing and ask yourself, “what is going on in my life that could effect how I am seeing the world?” Are you going through a stressful job change? Are you going through a nasty breakup? When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep or had a healthy meal?

All of these life-events will effect the way you perceive what is going on around you. When you do this you may just realize where the boundaries of your self-imposed delusions lay and discover the world that you have trapped yourself in.

Instead of asking yourself what wrong with the world, begin to ask yourself what is right with the world?

I can almost guarantee you what is wrong with the world is not that the porridge is too hot or too cold, it lies with the way your mind has decided to perceive the world that is. And that only comes from one place – from within.

How to fix it? Take a big, deep breath in and release it with a deep belly laugh. Seriously, let the air out in a series of short huffs that mimic your exhale when you laugh. Smile and watch as your out-breath turns into a very real laugh and your spirits lighten.

Keep that laugh going as you realize how easy it is for your body to deceive your brain and for your brain to deceive you into thinking that something is truly funny. The secret is that it truly is funny.

Don’t stop now. Laugh at how ridiculous all of this is. Laugh at how easy it is to get yourself off track and how easy it is to get yourself back on track. Keep laughing until the spell of the Goldilocks Effect is broken and you can get on with your life. I promise you, it will not take that long.

Be well and I hope this helps.

The Truth is Always Beautiful

Truth is often difficult to find. It does not happen quickly or slowly, only inclusively. Only when you peer into every dark corner will Truth appear. Only when you are exhaustive in your search does Truth show itself.

No matter what it is, we all come to Truth from a different perspective. from a different path. Finding Truth requires meditation and contemplation. It requires letting go of our preconceived notions and our own ideas. It requires an empty mind to truly see Truth for what it is.

You may not like what you find. But you will never be disappointed by the journey that brought you to your final destination. But once found you will realize that Truth is always beautiful.

Finding Truth requires perseverance and an unflagging attachment to avoiding lies in all their forms. When you arm yourself with that idea let the winds of lies blow against you and shake the leaves, knowing that soon enough those same winds will shift to your back as they speed you on your way to resolution.

To some the falling leaves of Autumn mark the beginning of a long and dreary winter. To others they are a sign to the end of warm summer days and lingering sunsets. To others still they are a beautiful display. In truth they are all of these and none of these. They are neither good nor bad. They are simply the trees dropping their leaves in anticipation of the weather ahead. Anything beyond that is simply a person’s way of connecting the falling leaves to their own personal history – past, future or present.

Empty your mind and seek the truth in all things, even something as simple as the change of seasons. Know that whatever arises is a window into yourself. It is an invitation to look within and explore where those emotions come from.

That is the Truth you seek. It is not found in the leaves, but within.

 

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

Jeff