Threads Of Your Life

Mindful Moment – Threads of Your Life

 

Rarely is life a single thread that is easily followed from where you are to your own private destination. But that is why you are here, isn’t it? To learn and enjoy the journey. Your life and the thread in your hand may start out straight and untangled, but rarely does it stay that way for very long. It quickly becomes tangled and knotted, twisting and turning upon itself as you navigate the distractions and delusions of your path.

You may find yourself rushing along a straight path, only to see that where you are standing lies in the middle of confusion. It only takes a short while before someone’s comment leads you in the wrong direction, chasing after money or fame or that corner office you so covet until you get there. That is the point when you step back to see the threads you once followed without question no longer make sense and land you in a place with no apparent ends in sight.

There are no exits. Even when looking from above all you see is a big mess, a tangle of confusion. You pull on one end and it simply tightens the knot. You pull on another to find it leads nowhere.

The easiest way to get out is to stop trying to get out. Rather than fight the knot, simply loosen it. Work to loosen the threads until the knot is gone. You will soon find that the threads you once fought with are not as important as they once were. That is when it will make more sense to snip the line than to continue untangling the string that is left. You will realize that it was only a five dollar ball of yarn and not really worth your time to untangle the entire ball. It makes far more sense to simply snip the line.

There will be other tangles, so before you become frustrated, find a single thread and follow it. Know that it will not lead to the way out, but it will help you reduce the size of the knot in front of you. Do as much as you can and then let it go.

Change your expectation, and see each thread as a path, not the end. With a different course of action that you can jump from at any point in time, life becomes much easier to handle. Yes the knot may be unapproachable, your initial goal may seem unattainable, but if you revise your strategy and realize the original goal may no longer be relevant it all becomes very simple.

Take a single thread and straighten it out as best you can. When you have reached the end of that thread, wind it into a neat loop. Set it aside with the intention of coming back to it later. Do the same for another thread and make a new loop. Set each loop in its own place and return to the main knot. As you begin to have more loops, the size of your tangle is reduced.

At some point you will see that the strings leading to your loops become longer and longer. The tangle may not straighten itself out, but you will realize you no longer need to get rid of the know. The strings of your new loops are long enough to fit your needs without having to undo the whole knot itself.

That is the point you can snip the string and use it for whatever your project requires without having to untie the entire knotted area.

Keep doing this until you have enough strings to neatly wind them around a bobbin. Did you really need all 100 yards of string? Probably not. That was just your ego telling you it’s either you or the string. Forget about that voice. It is not worth your time or energy to the entire mess when the ten new strings will be more than enough.

Now, place those somewhere safe and throw the knot away.

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Truth & Triggers

No matter how “Zen” you may feel when you are in that flow, we all find ourselves thrown out of balance when the wrong person makes the wrong comment at just the wrong time. It almost seems as if they know just what to say at just the right to set you off.

Don’t worry, that is how they deal with the world. They live their life setting everyone around them spinning so they can remain the calm at the center of the storm. It is how they deal with the world around them. It is almost a narcissistic personality disorder, except for the fact that is has less to do with narcissism as it has to do with the only way they can feel secure is if everyone around them is spinning.

I wrote about it in my book The Simple Truth. I call it a loophole in the societal courtesies the rest of us live by. Their comment usually lies just below the response level where you feel justified in making a retort. It is not something so large that you can respond without looking like an egotistical ass. It flies just below the social radar of most people, but still it stings.

It is not like they out and out called you a name, but it was a dig. It is a trigger that they know they flicked, you know they flicked, and you have a pretty good idea everyone around you knows he or she flicked, but it was not so bad that you feel it demands a response without sinking down to their level.

It is okay, we have all been in that position. Just a few thoughts on how to handle these kinds of situations. First, let it go. Remind yourself to never allow yourself to be so caught up in the physical world that you get hurt by the actions of another or feel as if you must respond to them. A simple smirk and a rise of the eyebrow is usually enough of a response to dismiss them. You may even shake your head at the assininity of the situation, and if that is not a real word, it is about as close as I can get to calling it a passive/aggressive disorder without actually doing so [Spell check tells me it is not, but I say it should be].

You should also go one step further. Make a note of the trigger they flicked and store it for later. Once you cool down, take a moment to recognize that trigger. Admit to it and own it. Adopt it as a sensitive part of who you are. Smile at it, because it is a part of you. It is not a weakness, but a strength.

Sit down with yourself, meditate without allowing your mind to settle on the trigger that upset you like it did. Once your temperature has returned to normal, take a moment to contemplate what just happened. Replay the situation and turn it in your hands. Look at it from different angles and different perspectives. Then assess that trigger of yours. Ask yourself these three Socratic questions:

  • The first question is, has anyone said this before? If so, then this may lead to some self introspection. Is there some hint of truth to what they said, or is this the first time anyone has ever said something like this about you? If it has been said or hinted at before, then perhaps the reason it chafed so deeply is because there was a touch of truth to what they said. Do not question yourself or spend too much time pondering, but it may be worth some introspection, without getting too lost in their comments.
  • The second question is, why did they say that? Ask yourself why they said what they said. IF they did it out of anger, jealousy, or an attempt to raise themselves above you, then there is a good chance you can dismiss it. If however there was a twinge of truth to what they said, perhaps there is a lesson you can learn hidden beneath their acerbic attitude. If that is the case then perhaps you have a hint toward an attitude you yourself may take at times. Real or not, you may have been given an opportunity to change it. I call this a chance to learn from even the worst of situations.
  • The final question is, what is the nature behind what they said? Did they say whatever it was because they wanted to impress their friends or make your colleagues question your authority or confidence? Or did they say whatever it was because they saw a weakness in your personality? Either way, it again may hint at an area for improvement. If not, then it may be okay to dismiss their comment without further contemplation or thought.

Allow yourself, without allowing their comment to overwhelm you, to use their comment to explore your trigger. Ask yourself “why did that touch a nerve so deeply that I felt I had to respond?”

Try not to look at this event as an event to be angry about. Use it as an opportunity for self-growth. Look at this as an opportunity that should be met with gratitude. Each is a door to explore areas within you that may make you feel uncomfortable exploring. That is the quickest way to uncover your Simple Truth so that you may move on to living your life, on your terms, free from pain and free from delusions.

If you ever want to ask about a personal issue, please feel free to ask below. Your question will be sent directly to Jeff Cannon and held in the highest confidence.

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Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

 

Live Life Richly, Deeply, 100%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope this helps.

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10 Ways to Pick Yourself Up

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions in your life are running your life. It’s okay, we all get them. It’s just a signal that it is time to wake up to the real world that is all around you, not the one you think you live in, but to the real world that is actually all around you.

It may feel like you need a shot of caffeine or a cocktail, but it’s not. You just need a bit of sleep, some healthy food, to slow down and to reach out to your community of friends and family, or as Bruce Banter says, “to do o everything you know to do, then stand still.”

More than likely you are simply feeling tired of living your life in delusion. Stop thinking in terms of success and failure, winning or losing, think in terms of the delusions you created for yourself.

I know it is not easy, but these tips will help get you back on your path to stop tripping over your own nature and truly awaken to your own Simple Truth.

Here are a few ways to get you back on your path and to keep you moving in the right direction – your direction. After all, it is your life, and now is the time to live it your way, only with a meditative twist this time:

  1. When was the last time you got 8 hours of sleep? When was the last time you sat down to a healthy meal? When was the last time you sat down with a friend and listened, really listened to them? If you do not take care of yourself nobody else will. Remember what the airline stewards say before every flight, put your own mask on, before trying to help the person next to you, and yes, listening mindfully is a way to take care of yourself. So get some sleep, eat a healthy meal, listen to a friend, do a body scan and then see how you feel.
  2. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and smile. Every time you inhale feel the relaxing strength flow from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. Begin with your scalp, feel each breath flow down from your scalp and relax your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheeks, your lips and your jaw. Feel your tongue drop from the roof of your mouth, relaxing you as it passes down your neck, your shoulders, your arms and your fingers. Feel each breath flow down to your hips, your legs and your toes. Relax and feel the ebb and flow of that energy as it flows through you, lifting you, giving you the Focused Calm to move forward.
  3. Reach out and help someone. It does not have to be earth shattering. Just smile at someone, hold the door for someone, be fully present as you listen to them without judgment. Make someone else feel good about themself without seeking anything in return. Then smile at yourself for doing so.
  4. Touch the earth. It can just be the side of a building or the pavement, a sidewalk or an office floor. Remind yourself that you are connected to the earth in some way. Tune yourself in to that connection and smile as you follow that connection no matter how thin it may be. Remember electricity travels though the thinnest wire to illuminate a lamp from the tiniest of batteries. Do the same as you touch the earth to re-energize yourself.
  5. Write down five things that you are proud of. Put that list in your pocket or handbag. Remind yourself that you have done great things in your life and will do many more in the days to come.
  6. Acknowledge the good and the bad in your life. Label the moments where you think things went wrong and acknowledge them. Then recognize what happened after them, and where things went right. Let your brain know that those are just moments in your life, that those were just moments in your life and that everything will be okay.
  7. Stop picking up your mobile phone, stay off of social media [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram]. Pick up a book, sit back, and read instead. Who cares what others think. It’s your life, to be lived by no one but you.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not someone else, they are not you. Know that they are just as insecure as you are. Now, laugh at yourself for being foolish and only seeing the curated life they want you to see.
  9. Stop watching the news. Today’s news is just a rehash of yesterday’s events, played over and over again so they can make their budgets. It does not change from day-to-day. So take a break and enjoy life instead. CNN will not mind, it will not even know, but you will.
  10. Train yourself to quit the negative and focus on the positive. Start today. Know that everyone is programmed to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature instilled in us from the time when we were hunter-gatherers, but it does not have to be your nature today.  So smile, start at “1” and continue down the list until you arrive at “10”. Wash, rinse, repeat…

 

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Parallel Paths of Dharma

When you find yourself at an impossible fork in the road where every option seems to be less than ideal, take a break and let the Dharma decide.

You can exchange that word for fate, the winds of time, or destiny, but sometimes the best decision in life is to do nothing and let the decision take care of itself. Yes, you lose what little control you think you have in the process, but you will find that making no decision is often the best way out. It takes your ego out of the process and opens up new opportunities you may have overlooked. What you may even find is that the world moves no matter how hard you fight it. That no matter how badly you want to swim upstream at some point fighting the current will just leave you exhausted and unable to make a clear decision when the critical time to do so arrives.

If the world is falling into a recession, now may not be the time to start a business. If the love of your life has their eyes elsewhere, then pursuing that person may not be the smartest use of your time and energy no matter how badly you want to do so right now. There is often little you can do about the way the world works. But there is a lot you can do about where and when you spend your energy.

Instead of forcing a decision, and then having to work twice as hard to reverse it, sometimes it is better to wait. If a storm is coming, save your energies for when it hits. Do not be afraid to push whatever venture you want to work on to the back burner until the world is ready for you. Now may be the time to narrow your choices down to a few options, and to follow both of those options until they diverge. In time they will. In the meantime be mindful of each. When they move far enough apart go with the option that clearly stands out. Do not worry, one will.

There is an inevitability in this approach that is as old as time itself. One reason you may be having a problem making a decision is that in the end both paths lead to the same outcome. It may be that your intuition is telling you now is not the time to move forward. It may even be telling you that you do not have enough information or skill to proceed.

Listen to it. In time you will learn more about whatever it is you are doing. The winds of the world may shift. New opportunities may open up. The subtle patterns may not be apparent to you, only becoming clearer as you grow more comfortable with your surroundings and yourself. Often the reason you are having such a tough time making a decision is that you are trying to draw a decision out of a non-existent issue, and that is always a mistake. Forcing a decision will inevitably lead you down the wrong path, or cause you to waste so much time and energy that you will be depleted by the time your decision matures.

Instead, let go of your ego and your need to “control” your destiny. Narrow your choices down to two or three that will keep you heading in the right general direction, then follow both paths until they diverge. Be mindful of how alike and unalike they are. Gather your facts along the way. Experience the differences.

In time you will find yourself at a point when the right path becomes so apparent you will wonder why you never saw it in the first place. You will understand. You will also realize that either path will have led you to that point, only now you will be prepared to make the right decision no matter which way you go. Having walked both paths you will gain wisdom and a clearer vision of what you are really walking into.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but by giving yourself up to the Dharma and by taking your time you will be surprised at how well it will guide you toward the right choice. Slow down and breathe. Let go of your ego. Let the Dharma drive for a bit as you take a meditative approach to the big decisions in your life and enjoy the view along the way.

Oh, and if you feel pushed by someone who says “we need a decision right now,” let them make the decision as you let the Dharma make the one that cleans up their mess. Never feel as if you must rush. In today’s world there is always time to make the right decision and less need to listen to let that fight or flight voice ring in your ears.

Following parallel paths as the Dharma works itself out may mean working double-time for a bit, but for the important decisions in your life, that may not be a bad thing. Especially if your fear of making the wrong decision is an issue.

Be well and I hope this helps.

Jeff

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Awaken from Delusions

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions of your life are over-running your life. It’s okay, we all get them. This is when it is time to wake up to the real world, not the one you think you are living in, but to the real world that is all around you. It may feel like you need a boost or a shot of caffeine.  More than likely you are simply feeling tired of living your life in delusion. Stop thinking in terms of success and failure, winning or losing, think in terms of delusions.

I know it is not easy, but these tips may help get you back on your path and overcome you own nature – to truly Awaken to your own Simple Truth.
Here are a few ways to jumpstart your engine to keep you moving in the right direction. After all, it is your life and now is the time to start living it your way, only this time with a meditative twist:

  1. Ask yourself when was the last time you got 8 hours of sleep? When was the last time you sat down to a healthy meal? When was the last time you sat down with a friend and listened, really listened? What you hear may surprise you.
  2. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and smile. With every inhalation feel the relaxing strength of each breath flow from the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes. Begin with your scalp, feel each relaxing breath flow up to your scalp, then down to your eyebrows, your eyes, your cheeks, your lips and your jaw line. Feel that relaxing strength pass down your neck, your shoulders, your arms and your fingers. Feel each breath flow down to your hips, your legs and your toes. Relax and feel the ebb and flow of that energy as it flows through you, lifting you, giving you the Focused Calm to move forward.
  3. Reach out and help someone. It does not have to be earth shattering. It can start with a smile, holding the door for someone, being fully present as you listen to them without judgment. Make someone else feel good about themselves without seeking anything in return. Then smile to yourself for doing so.
  4. Touch the earth. Even if that is the side of a building or the pavement, a sidewalk or an office floor. Remind yourself that they are connected to the earth in some way. Tune yourself into that connection and smile as you follow that connection no matter how thin it may be. Remember energy travels though the thinnest wire to illuminate a lamp from the tiniest of batteries. Do the same as you re-energize.
  5. Write down five things that you are proud of. Put that list in your pocket or handbag. Remind yourself that you have done great things in your life and will do many more in the future.
  6. Stand in front of a mirror, raise your hands above your head in a power pose and stare at your smile in your reflection. Think of the great things you have achieved in your life. When your mind turns to dark thoughts return your gaze to your smile and say to yourself, “I am smiling through my delusions.”
  7. Acknowledge what is happening in your life. Label the instances where you think things went wrong. Then acknowledge that you still have fingers and toes to feel the world with, you have eyes to see the world with, you have ears to hear with, you have a mouth to taste with, and if all those senses are gone, you still have a heart and your spirit to steer your moral compass by.
  8. Stop picking up your mobile phone, stay off of social media [Facebook, Twitter, Instagram]. Pick up a book, sit back, and read instead.
  9. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not someone else, they are not you. Just know that they are just as insecure as you are. Now, laugh at yourself for being foolish and only seeing the curated life they want you to see.
  10. Do not allow negative thoughts in. Every time you feel one bubbling up, call it out, label it, and return to the very real world that you are in. Scroll through your five senses as you look around, listen, touch and smile until you find one teeny, tiny bit of beauty in your world. Trust me, it is there. Feel that bit of beauty expand until it fills your world, the real world you are in, free from delusions.

[BONUS] Train yourself to quit the negative and focus on the positive.  Start today. Know that we are trained at birth to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature, but it does not have to be your nature.

 

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Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love, as versus conditional love, is so rare. Conditional Love is easy. I give you Love when you do something for me that I want you to do. You do the dishes, I kiss your cheek. I hold the door for you and you smile at me. You do something in the bedroom I enjoy. I return the favor. It is a give and take. At times I give more than I take. At others I receive more than I give.

But it is not give freely. There is a cost, a condition, to this kind of Love. Compliance. You will do what is expected of you if you are to receive the Love and attention you desire.

With unconditional Love there is no compliance. It is the act of simply giving. It is so rare, simply giving again and again and again. Not expecting anything in return, not asking for anything with one’s eyes or hands or heart – simply giving.

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Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone simply gave without expecting anything in return? It would be a world filled with Jesus’, Buddhas, Mohammads and Abrahams.

I have experienced unconditional Love on occasion. At my bedside, when my mother fed me ice chips when I could not sip from a cup. When my wife lifted me up when I toppled over in rehab, neither asking if I wanted it, each simply offering, helping and assisting without expecting anything in return. On the rare occasion that I turned it down, they simply accepted that without a word, and smiled with more Love for me.

It is the Love a mother gives to her child when going through labor or when nursing. It is Loving through the pain. It is the Love a father gives to his child when explaining why the world is the way it is, free from feeling his own pain or regret, or acknowledging if his own needs are being met. Simply being present to the needs of the growing consciousness that is before them.

Unconditional Love is about caring for someone else’s happiness without a thought to the needs of the self. It is about being fully awake and aware, being fully present to the world around you, the person in front of you, to yourself.

It is not an excuse to stay in a bad marriage or relationship. It is saying I love you no matter what happens to us, not I love you no matter what you do to me.

I will love you when the sun is shining or the skies are grey.

I will love you even when I have a horrible day.

I will love you even if you do not return my love.

I will not look for love elsewhere even if you do.

For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health.

No matter what happens to us, I will Love you.

Because when I love you, I also love me.

I Love you no matter what conditions occur around us is unconditional Love.

Do not bother looking for it.

It will find you when you are ready to accept it.

If you want to feel unconditional Love simply open yourself up to it. It is all around you. It is within you.

Give it to yourself first. Hold yourself in your own heart unconditionally. Respect yourself, Love yourself, free yourself from those undermining comments you allow to fester within you. Free yourself from the self-loathing, the self-bashing you waste so much time on. All of that does nothing but distract you from the Love that is within you.

Once you see the Love within, you will begin to see the same unconditional Love within those around you. When you can feel the Love pass through you as you send it out unconditionally.

Try it.

You will be amazed at what will transpire.

Not just with others, but within yourself.

Unconditionally.

Meditation + Intuition

At one point or another you have had a gut feeling about something. We have all walked into a room and just felt that it was going to be a boom or bust. You’ve walked past an alley and just intuitively felt it was dangerous. Perhaps it was as simple as looking outside and saying to yourself, “I know they’re predicting sun, but it just feels like it’s going to rain.”

Intuition is that subtle knowing without knowing. It is the ability to sense something in the air without knowing why.

Cognitive science has begun to demystify the strong and often inexplicable presence of your own unconscious reasoning. Even the military has begun to explore the concept of intuition to help troops make quicker decisions and save lives. What they have all discovered is that your brain has spent its entire life, collecting the subtle shifts in the data your eyes, ears and nose pick up, attaching them to the outcome of events so that you can intuit, even predict, what will happen in the near future.

In many ways being more intuitive means listening to The Voice Within. However, in order to listen to your gut, your heart, your intuition, you must first quiet the chatter in your head and distance yourself from the distractions that create the chaos that seems to go on all around you.

Once you quiet the noise and the chaos that inherently leads you astray, you can drop in on what your heart is picking up to make better, more attuned decisions. Your heart, your gut or your instinct, whatever you want to call it, naturally develop with age and experience, but you can hone them to look beyond the “facts”, in order to make clearer decisions based on your intuition.

What senior business people, war-worn soldiers and common every-day folk will often advise is to learn to read the signs, to read between the lines or to stick your head above the fog. To listen to your intuition. With practice you can use your intuition as a guide. It takes time, and it takes letting go of your logical brain, but in the end it will pay off beyond wealth and riches.

This afternoon, I am speaking to an audience at the The Rubin Museum of Art,  about intuition. It follows an Icelandic film on the subject of intuition called Innsaei. For those in the city, I highly recommend it.

The film features artists like Marina Abramović, the “grandmother of performance art,” who teaches that “in order to create something new human beings need to go into the unknown”. It also features spiritual leaders like Malidoma Patrice Somé, a West African elder and author who reasons that “Intuition binds us together. Without it we lose our sense of purpose and belonging.”

I will lead the audience through two meditations, each designed to provide an opportunity to develop your own ability to be more intuitive. The first will help you remove much of the stress and distractions that your primal brain picks up in its endless efforts to keep you safe [a wonderful train that worked well 40,000 years ago, but now holds you back more than it helps. I created the second meditation to provide you with a solid foundation from which to trust  yourself, enabling you to venture out into the world, trusting your intuition to take bigger and bigger steps into the unknown.

I would like to lead you through each meditations to help you do trust your heart and your gut on a whole new level.

 

Awareness Meditation:

This meditation uses your five senses to help you find balance and comfort in the world, no matter where you are. Regardless of whether you are in the middle of the city, in a chaotic house in the suburbs, or out in the distant country, it will help you settle into everything around you, so that you can find your peace.

  1. Find your breath. Simply drop in on it as it is. Do not try to control it or re-order it. Simply follow it at whatever pace it is moving. Say the words “in” and “out” with each inhale and exhale, “, if you need.
  2. Smile to yourself as you listen to the sounds around you. Do not judge them. Simply listen to them. Label them if you wish and tell your primal brain that it is okay. It is not a threat to run from, it is simply a part of the world you live in. It may be the air coming out of the vents, a car honking in the distance, or even the sounds of your home settling into itself. Either way, it is okay, it is simply a part of your world.
  3. Next, feel you weight of your body against the cushion or chair you are sitting in. If you are standing feel the weight of your feet pressing into the floor or earth beneath you.
  4. Now, be aware of the lights that play on the backs of your eyelids. Breathe in and be aware of the scents and smells that waft past. Be aware of the tastes in your mouth. Are they stale, or fresh? Salty or sweet? Do not judge simply be aware of them.
  5. Allow yourself to rest in your own body as you grow comfortable with the world around you.
  6. Allow your tongue to drop from the roof of your mouth. Relax your lips and your eyebrows. Give yourself permission to relax your forehead, your cheeks, your jaw.
  7. Allow this delicious sense of relaxation to flow down to your shoulders, your arms, and your back.

It is okay to drift off a bit. Simply get in touch with the world around you and open up to the beauty that is your world. Give yourself permission to let go of the chaos that may be there and allow your mind to touch upon your world as it is. Allow your intuition to grow and expand. If your mind comes up with issues or opportunities do not dismiss them as good or bad, just treat them gently and allow your mind to play with them for a while.

Enjoy each thought you have as a part of your world, as an inspiration, and as an intuitive element for you to write down after your meditation is done.

Foundations Meditation

When you find yourself riddled with doubt and insecurities, I often recommend this meditation as a way to get your footing back, as well as to create a solid foundation from which to more easily follow your intuition.

In many ways meditation has always been a communal act. One that we are just now recognizing. This meditation will help you break through whatever walls you created for yourself by reaching out into the network of people that are all around you, even though you may have forgotten they exist. You may be very surprised at how quickly and easily it is to feel whole and complete so that you can open up to your intuitions.

For this meditation settle into your breath and your seat. Feel yourself relaxed using the awareness meditation if you wish.

When you have settled into yourself, begin by thinking of someone you Love, someone who is close to you and with whom you trust and feel comfortable with. Smile into their being and feel your spirit or your energy connect to theirs. Begin to see a physical ray of light and Love connect to them. Allow it to build and establish itself.

Once you have that connection in place, find another person you trust and do the same. With each person feel yourself weaving a tapestry around you. As your tapestry begins to take shape, feel free to extend your energy to business associates, the person behind the deli counter, or cash register at the market. Continue to weave each of these people into your tapestry.

Feel it strengthen and grow stronger. Begin to see, not only the energy and Love you send out, but also the energy and Love they return to you. Realize that the tapestry you have woven for yourself is your foundation and your safety net. Realize there is no end to the people you can include in your tapestry. Understand that in one way or another they are all there to support you when you need it.

With this tapestry to support you, feel more comfortable about following your intuition, your gut, your instinct. Knowing that you have a network of support to rely on if you ever need to.

I you would like to join our weekly newsletter for more topics like this, simple apply for our Waking Buddha Breath Meditation on the upper right of this page.

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

j.

Last Walking Meditation Along The Hudson – 2016

It is almost the Autumnal Equinox. The point where the sun sets at the same time and in the same place that it did when we began our Walking Meditation Along The Hudson.

The sun did not fail to astound us with a farewell explosion of color, just as it did when we both began our aligned journey back on March 20th.

When we began the sun set just after our walk at 7:30. Over the summer we watched as the sun set later and later, and further and further North. We not only enjoyed our walks and our meditations, but we were able to witness the giant cogs that forever spin all around us.

We all noticed the air warm and then cool. We noticed the ebb and flow of people in the park. But most important we learned, as one person noticed, “to the West is you could feel the wind and the river, to the right you could see the lights of the city. And there we were balanced in the middle of it all simply breathing.”

Enjoy the colors of Autumn and the clean white of winter.

 

Until next year, be well.

 

j.

Meditation: Mindful Negotiations

Mindful Negotiations

Is the glass half empty or half full?

It is a simple question. So is the answer. It all depends on your perspective. The answer you provide is a deep insight into who you are and how you view the world around you.

In effect, you are what you think. The glass is just a glass. It is a reflection of you. It is not the glass that is half empty or half full, it is you, it is also the person sitting across from you.

You see, you do not live in a binary world of full or empty, “1s” and “0s”, hot or cold, win or lose. There are any number of ways to find an outcome in which everyone benefits. To find that outcome means being able to step away from the table and not allowing your ego get involved. It means taking a mindful approach to your negotiations so you can see beyond the glass being half empty or full, but seeing that you can always refill the glass.

In the end, no matter where you are in a negotiation, you can always change your mind. That does not make you a “flip/flopper”, it makes you a smart person who is able to change the way you view the situation as it changes before you.

Picture yourself coming to an open field 40,000 years ago. You are hungry and afraid. Imagine seeing a branch rustle across the field. It could be a rabbit, and you could have dinner. It could also be a wolf, and you could be dinner. Do you rush toward the rustling branch [half full] or run away from it [half empty]? The first is riskier but potentially feeds your family. The second is safer, and you stay alive to see one more day.

More than likely you would approach the rustling branch slowly, constantly reviewing the situation with every baby step you take. It is called being cautiously optimistic – ready to leap forward at the opportunity for dinner, but prepared to also run away as fast as possible to avoid being dinner.

This is called being mindful of the world around you. It changes every second, and you should be aware of those changes; not blindly optimistic, not openly pessimistic, but finding balance in those two until a choice can be made. And yes, not choosing is still a choice; you are simply placing the decision, and your future, into the hands of nature or someone else, which is rarely a good decision if you are to live your life on your terms and in your way.

Just remember the closer you are to a situation the more your ego will cloud your perspective. Your primordial brain will think of your survival as the #1 objective. It will think that it is better to live another day than it is to catch that rabbit. Your heart will cloud your decision with optimism of what “could be”.

That win or lose scenario was fine 40,000 years ago. It assumed that somebody won and somebody lost. Then something strange happened. People found that it does not have to be that way.  In fact, when you deal with the same people over and over again, sometimes it is better to lose a little in order to gain a lot. A smart person could create a win/win solution by negotiating.

When you look at it, the question itself – half empty or half full – is itself misleading. It implies there is a winner and a loser. It implies the only answers available are a 1 or a 0. In reality the answer could just as well be a 0.5 and a 0.5, or a 0.4 and a 0.6. You can negotiate it in any number of ways so everybody walks away happy. Perhaps not everybody get everything they wanted, but they can leave with their ego intact and, most important, happy

Instead of half full or half empty, think about refilling the glass. Look for a positive outcome in which everyone wins.

In every situation, social or professional, reprogram your auto-response to step back, take a breath, pause and look beyond the original question. Seek alternative solutions that stem from a positive place and, like walking across that open field, take baby steps forward. Assess the facts of the situation before you. Be aware that your brain will cloud your judgment with its desire to win. Be willing to walk away at any minute, but also look for a creative solution that creates a win/win outcome for everyone.

Task yourself with this in every situation you come across. Many people from the traditional world of business think they not only need to come away from a meeting a “winner”, but there needs to be a loser for their ego to remain intact.

It is an incredible feeling to realize how much you can control your attitude by shifting your perspective from a winner take all approach, to a win/win approach. You will be surprised at the clarity and even-headedness you can create with a cautiously optimistic outlook.

Training yourself to be cautiously optimistic is easier than you may think. Your normal response is to follow every question in a linear fashion. To stay on topic and to not question the person asking. That process was drummed into your head from your parents, your teachers, even your bosses. It makes them happy to be on top.

They get upset with someone who asks questions, or follow a new line of thinking. They would use that term “off topic” as a way to bring the discussion back to their idea.

Here’s a secret, you do not have to share all of your thoughts with those around you. The difference between your inside voice and your outside voice is that one allows you to think through an alternate path before you share it with others.

The beauty of the skull is that what happens in your skull stays in your skull. Sharing their opinions at the wrong time landed Galileo into the hands of the Inquisition and Einstein a job at the post office. Keeping their thoughts to themselves until the right time landed Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg into powerful positions from which they changed the world.

The next time somebody asks a question, rather than jumping forward be the first to answer first, sit back and take a breath. Ask yourself what is behind your question? Is it truly you asking or is it your ego? Next, what is behind the other person’s interests? What is their logic, or is it their ego being swung around? Could the answer lay somewhere between both of your ideas? In reality the answer to the “half empty/half full” is both – as you can always refill the glass.

Before you go into a meeting to try this way of thinking out, take a moment by yourself. Close your eyes and meditate on a pending issue you have. With every breath in, mull over the question before you. Turn it around and view it from every angle. Literally hold it in your hands and turn it back and forth, up and down.

See if anything new comes out of it.

Next, try that same tactic with a friend during a conversation:

  1. Be fully aware to what is being said.
  2. Before responding, think through the question, and carefully gather your thoughts.
  3. Do not worry about the time or the length of your pauses. When you respond, do so with a well-thought out answer that may or may not be in line with the question – if it is not, simply be prepared to provide an explanation for your response free from emotion.
  4. Fully listen to the person across from you, without getting personally caught up in what is being said.
  5. At the end of the interaction ask yourself:
    1. Were you fully present and listening?
    2. Did you aim for a win/win outcome?
    3. Were you personally invested at all times?
    4. How would you have handled it differently?

Please feel free to email me directly by CLICKING HERE, I am curious to know how this worked for you.

 

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