People Are Your Answer to Stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life doesn’t always schedule itself at your convenience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope this helps

Walk With Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Stop competing against yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask yourself some very straightforward questions.

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

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

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

 

Are you on the boat or staying at the dock?

The duality of being human is that we are caught between our divine spirit a and our very physical self. Our physical self is driven by fear and the desire to stay alive at all costs. Our divine spirit reflects our desire to reach for the stars as we seek more from the human experience we exist in. We are caught between the two with our physical brain and metaphysical mind paying the price. It is so often why we feel such stress and anxiety in our lives.

Today we are at a cross roads. Some of us are ready to reach upward, to seek more from our existence while others are too scared to reach beyond their own self interests. They are more comfortable retreating back into the swamp that we have spent the past hundreds of thousands of years clawing our way out of because for them it is safe, to them it is familiar and our brain loves “familiar”.

We all know it is not safe. It never was. We have slowly evolved beyond the days where brawn beat intellect. We have evolved beyond flatworms and alligators, beyond our collective awakening that occurred 40,000 years ago.

The moment we picked up a stick to defend ourselves against the wild, the moment we discovered fire and eventually the wheel, or when we begin to paint on cave walls was the moment we locked ourselves onto a path of evolution beyond our physical selves.

Today, you rely more on your cognitive skills than on your muscles. Tomorrow you will rely more on mind and less on your brain. If you stay with your feet planted firmly on the ground you will be forever tied to the earth and to your physical self. If you reach beyond your physical self and into the metaphysical realm you have a chance toward divinity.

Humans created the computer to lift the data processing from our shoulders so that we could ponder the larger thoughts and ideas swirling around our heads. We created the internet to connect us in a larger community so that we could network our thinking and speed up our own evolution. What we did not know we were doing was mirroring the way our consciousness is linked, connecting our points of consciousness with threads of energy so that we could become one and mirror the way existence works.

The collective of computers we created has a purpose. It does more than empower our minds to grow, it empowers our collective humanity to expand further than anyone of us could grow alone.

It has doomed those who would rather stay in the swamp to a life of irrelevance, and that is where we are today. The people who retreat into the physical have also backed themselves into a corner irrelevance. For the first time, they see where the world is heading, and that is a world that no longer needs their muscle, except to protect our collective selves from others who have nothing but muscle. It is why they are fighting so hard to remain relevant, to be a part of the modern world they  know is coming.

It is sad, but that ship has already sailed. They are standing on the dock, watching as the future forms without them. They are left to watch as it becomes a dot on the horizon. I can only imagine how it must have been like when the last Cro Magnon realized that homo Sapiens, modern humans, surpassed them. Yes, we still carry a few of their genes with us, but that is all.

Where are you?

Are you on the ship? Watching the past fade into the horizon, or are you on the dock, watching the future slip away, feeling safe and secure, but also sad knowing that you refused it?

Are you forever locking yourself into the present, rather than the future?

It is something to think about, contemplate and act upon.

New Meditation for 9/11

I know this will not be a very popular post, but acting properly is rarely the same as being popular – especially on something as delicate as 9/11.

This year let’s begin a new tradition of forgiveness to memorialize the tragedy of 9/11. I am not condoning what was done, nor am I saying we reduce our security one bit. But when you think about it, the path of anger and revenge has not gotten us or the world anywhere.

It has enabled a totalitarian President to gain power, it has sown an aura of protectionism, and has created an environment were we are talking about building walls rather than tearing them down. Do you remember how we all felt when Ronald Reagan asked Gorbachev to tear down his wall? Do you remember how great it was to see the people of Germany reunite through the peaceful power of sledgehammers? That is what we need now more than ever.

Is a mentality of revenge really what you want to teach your children? Is the idea of an eye for an eye really what we want the world to be blinded by?

I am not saying that we just let it go. What I am saying is that we maintain a high level of alert so that our safety remains paramount so that our republic remains intact, but let’s also extend empathy to those who would harm us. Somewhere inside their hearts is a very empty space that is crying out to be heard.

We have tried to shock and awe them into nothing; that didn’t work. We have tried to annihilate them with drone strikes to little or no effect. Isn’t it time we stepped onto a different path? As Einstein once said, and I paraphrase, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.”

Yes, I remember what happened. I saw the first plane flying low over the city. I watched the empty busses driving back because there were no survivors, I stood in line to give blood only to be turned away because none was needed and I watched as the anger and screams for revenge echoed through the city and spread to those beyond our bridges and tunnels.

I lost a friend that day, I have also seen what following the path we took as a nation has done to us as a people and as a country. Hate has not worked. It is time to forgive. Forgive those who attacked us and forgiving ourselves for our response.

Now is the time to open our arms to those who would do us harm with a gesture of warmth and empathy. It is time for us to change the course of the world and try a new path with a new response – that of Love and compassion for a change.

Q+A: What is the simplest and fastest meditation I can do?

Your question is not as simple as you may think. Realize that meditation is a wonderful 2,500 year old practice, but it is 2,500 years old. It was created for a world far simpler than the one you now live in. No matter what style you begin with, you will undoubtedly find you will outgrow it as you advance and begin to search for better, faster, deeper practices; which is as it should be.

Some people practice a lifetime before realizing that every door they open also opens a window as they realize there are ever more doors to explore. When you start with the idea of reducing stress and anxiety you inevitably discover those are surface ripples for the delusions you now take as realities. This is part of the self-realization that anyone who has meditated for any length of time begins to undertand.

If you are serious, begin your journey with a reputable school to learn the basics of breathing, dropping in on your thoughts and letting them go. Those are the three core elements to any style of meditation whether it is Vipassana, Samata, Zazen or some manifestation of them. Just as every school teaches you to not cling to your thoughts, forget about clinging to a single school, as each is woefully out of date for what you are looking for. Recognize the non-attachment they all talk about applies to their own school as well.

I teach people how to recognize the commonalities that is the foundation which connects all forms of mediation together. Learn those three core commonalities and then learn to pick and choose which technique work for you in your life. One technique may be better for stress, another may be better to manifest loving kindness, another still may help you focus on an issue through contemplation.

None are right or wrong, that is for you to decide. Learn to weave them together so that you can create a practice that works for your unique style and life, rather than trying to fit your life into a 2,500 year old practice which, in reality, are the same. You will find it much easier to maintain your practice with less frustration when you do.

Be well and I hope this helps.

Jeff

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.

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.