6 Simple Tips For Better Meditation

If you don’t think you can meditate, it is really not difficult to sit and weave your meditation into your life. In fact it is really quite easy.  Just follow these simple tips and don’t forget to smile as you do.

You may even surprise yourself when you realize how easy it is and what a lifesaver it can be in the worst and best of times.

 

1. Create Your Space:

Try your best to meditate in the same space every time. You don’t need Zen-like images of serenity nor do you need your place to look like a formal Buddhist setting. All you need is for your space to hold your energy. When you site you should sit within yourself. The last thing you need is to carry the baggage that comes with a 1,500 year old lineage.

That lineage is there to teach you the meditation techniques they have refined, that is all. It I up to you to find the ones that work for you so that you can weave them into a tapestry that works for you on your terms. That is what your practice is all about, creating a meditation that works for you in the realities of the contemporary world you live in.

 

2. Set A Time:

Set a time to meditate. Don’t buy into the whole “I have no time to meditate” excuse. Try earlier if you must or take a shorter shower. Perhaps you can shorten your morning tea ritual, and if that old brain of yours says you can’t possibly meditate without tea, then just tell it yes you can and begin. Remember your rain is not the boss of you, it is simply an organ that processes all the input that comes in through your five senses.

Think of your morning meditation as a game of distractions. Your mind will try to distract you from your daily practice. It will tell you, you can’t possibly meditate without a cup of tea. You can’t possibly sit for thirty minutes with that hair hanging out of place, tickling your forehead.

Well, guess what, you can. Simply scroll through your five senses and settle into the space you are in, right here and right now

 

3. Dedicate Yourself:

Dedicate yourself to your practice. Dedicate a time and place for your meditation he night before. When you rise in the morning your mind should already know where and when, making it for you to simply follow along. When you first open your eyes put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Feel yourself breathe and remind yourself of your promise to meditate. Even speak the words out loud, “I promised myself I would meditate at 8:00 this morning and I will keep that promise.”

 

4. No Content, No Contest

Don’t check your social media feeds. Let Facebook, Twitter and Instagram be. Your texts and your emails will be there for you when you are done. Also, don’t look at the TV or check the newspaper. Each will set your brain moving in the opposite direction of your meditation.

 

5. Meditation Before Contemplation

If you just want to meditate then simply sit and breathe and let go of your thoughts. If your intention is to contemplate a specific issue or aspect of yourself then decide to do so after you meditate. Meditation will clear your mind and provide you with a clean slate upon which to contemplate whatever issues are rumbling through your head.

If you are going to contemplate, make it personal, keep it from being abstract, create a mission statement up front if that will help you keep your focus like I want to improve my relationship, or I want to improve myself, or I want to improve my apartment. It’s all fair game but by making it personal you will stay on that topic whenever you veer from your path. Repeat your statement when you feel yourself losing your direction.

 

6. Live Your Meditation

When you finish your meditation don’t just leave your stillness behind. Take it with you. Begin to weave what you need from your practice into your day. When you read your emails and recognize your stress rising from that panicked email your boss just sent, simply breathe as you contemplate each step required to complete their assignment. Break it down into manageable steps and then think through each one.

Remember the old adage about how to eat an elephant?

The answer is simple, bite by bite.

 

 

 

Click here to learn  more about how I can help you create a deeper, richer, more relevant meditation that you can bring into your life today and everyday.

 

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

A Monk’s Pace

It is amazing what happens when you slow down and spend your moments taking in the world around you. At first your mind may say, “but why am I not moving as fast as those other people?” or “we’re falling behind, we’re not going to get there first.”

But where is it that you are going to so fast? If the destination of this life is eventually death then I hope you are in it for the journey rather than for that destination. If that is the case then doesn’t slowing down actually get us to enjoy the journey faster?

When I walk at a monk’s pace, I observe the placement of my feet, I feel the lightness of my body as I roll from my heel to my big toe. I feel the other toes fall in line to stabilize my body as I shift my weight from one foot to the next. I can see the sadness in the sound of a beggar’s cup. I can hear the hopping of a sparrow as it gathers twigs for its nest.

Am I not taking in more of life by going slow than if I race to nowhere like those around me?

Let them win the race I say. Let them get to the finish line faster.

I will smile as I watch them fall as I enjoy each step as its own reward.

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.

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.

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.

 

Meditating Cairn

Cairns have been around since humans first walked the earth.  They range from simple piles of stones to elaborate monoliths. They were first created as a way to tell those that followed that the path you are on is safe, that others have walked this way before, to carry on and continue your journey.

The Simple Truth Project chose the meditative cairn as our logo for the same reason. We are not a traditional Buddhist school. We are a collective of people who are on a similar journey. We are bound in kinship as a Sangha that is bound by our paths, to support, to share and to discover which thread that binds us is the right one to follow.

The meditative cairn we created is our way to give you comfort,  just as they do across the world, from mountains and highlands, to deserted beaches and inland waterways.

Join us at the Simple Truth Project so that we may walk beside you and guide you.

The more you become aware of the cairns that are all around you, the more you will see them throughout your day.  You will see that some were made by your ancestors and predate your birth, others were made during your lifetime to mark the path before you.

Some edifices are in the shape of buildings or people.  Ours is in the shape of a Buddha sitting in meditation.  Ours shows both the way, and the method.  We hope this will remind you that you are not alone on your journey,  that someone else has asked the same questions and has sought the same answers.

Our cairn is why we give students symbolic stones when they complete a step in their personal journey.  So that in time you can build your own cairn and show others that the journey they are on is a good one and to stay on their path wherever it may lead.

Where is your practice headed?

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.

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

 

Your Perception is A Reflection

Your perception of me is a reflection of you.

 

It takes 13 milliseconds for your brain to process the input it receives. That means everything you see, hear, taste, touch, smell has a brief pause from the time your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and fingers sense it to the time it becomes recognized for what it is.

In that time your brain connects the input with all of the memories you have ever had or could even imagine having in order to classify it as good or bad, safe or unsafe, friend or foe. In that brief amount of time your brain uses whatever is going on in your life as a filter for what is in front of you and all around you.

Your emotions, your experiences, the breakup you just went through or the wedding you are about to go through guide you to classify what you perceive as important or It takes 13 milliseconds for your brain to process the input it receives. That means everything you see, hear, taste, touch, smell has a brief pause from the time your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and fingers sense it to the time it becomes recognized for what it is.

In that time your brain connects the input with all of the memories you have ever had or could even imagine having in order to classify it as good or bad, safe or unsafe, friend or foe. In that brief amount of time your brain uses whatever is going on in your life as a filter for what is in front of you and all around you.

Your emotions, your experiences, the breakup you just went through or the wedding you are about to go through guide you to classify what you perceive as important or unimportant in your life at this moment in time. All those memories, emotions, hopes and dreams are what direct you choose one path over another. They are why you decide what you want to eat, drink, work on or escape to. Your need to eat something richly satisfying may help you get over a slump of depression or to eat something high in fiber to take on the day are chosen, not by you, but by your 40,000 year old brain as it struggles to guide you through the contemporary world you live in.

The world as you see is not made up of the input you are taking in. It is a reflection of everything you are going through in this moment. If it is why if you are in Love the world is a brilliant place where hope can be found in every object you touch, every scent you smell, every taste you bite into.

If you are upset, everything grows just a little darker, a little less inviting. That same cerulean sky is suddenly a darker shade of blue. It is still blue, just not quite what it may seem to someone in the throes of Love. It is no different for the people you interact with. You suspicions or anger with someone is not just based on their actions, but your own as well.

This same distortion is why you mirror yourself onto the lives of those around you. You assume what you are feeling and experiencing must be felt by those around you as well. Whatever fear is pulsing through your veins must also pulse through their veins as well. If you feel confused by someone’s actions, suspicious of their reasons, it may not be just them, it may be your own feelings of self doubt that you are struggling with.

Your own emotions can distort the circus mirror to make you see a skinny person or a fat person in front of you, rather than the world as it is in reality. Your distorted view of the world and those around you is more often off base than it is on – because of how you perceive reality rather than how it really is.

It is not until you awaken to the fact that your brain creates your world that you can truly be free of your own distortions and begin to live life in the real world and in a whole new light.

The next time someone seems to be undermining your efforts, take a moment to breathe and bring yourself back down to earth. Think about what is going on in your life and how that could distort your view of your friends and your community. Did you recently lose someone who is dear to you? Did your boss choose someone else for “the big project?” Then think about how that might affect the way you view the one you Love and have always trusted. Do you really want to throw that away because of what someone else did?

Take a moment to cool down before you rush into something you might regret. Even though you are convinced you are in the right, just know that the world around you is not always what it seems.

Be well and I hope this helps.

j.

Always Something You Can Do

No matter how badly you have fallen, no matter how many scrapes and scratches you have accumulated, no matter how badly bruised you are, there is always something small you can do to improve your circumstances.

There is absolutely nothing in your present situation that prevents you from moving in a direction. It may not bee the right direction, but that is okay. If you find you have moved in the wrong direction you can always course correct later. You can always turn 180 degrees around and step forward to be right back where you are right now with the knowledge of what not to do next time. 
 
After all, life is about learning and growing. Not moving is an unconscious decision to stay, to learn nothing except that your fear prevented you from moving. If you take nothing else from this post, remember that vision without action is just a daydream, while following the wrong vision can be a lesson for your next venture.
 
Besides what’s the hurry? You are going to be here for your entire life, aren’t you? What’s the rush? Have something better to do or some place better to be than right here, right now?
 
Sometimes even the smallest step in the wrong direction can be the greatest step to send your life moving in the right direction toward something better. 
 
Just be logical about it. You don’t have to leap, baby step if you must, but step, step, step and yes, soon you will be walking out the door from your present situation.

Need to find a direction? Need to find your own Simple Truth? All you have to do is click here and start your journey off right – Simple-Truth.com 

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

I hope this helps