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.

Eliminate your mind chatter

You don’t have to open your head to clear your mind.

Mind chatter. What’s it there for and what can you do about it?

The key to getting rid of your mind chatter is to learn to be okay with it. “Mind Chatter” is simply the thoughts that your mind “thinks” are relevant. Those are the thoughts your brain creates every moment of every day. It is simply what your brain does and there is no way to shut them off. So learn to be okay with them rather than obsessing on them.

Researchers estimate we have about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day, which is about 3,000 thoughts an hour. If you are struggling to stop those thoughts from coming arising – you simply can’t. Your brain was designed to think about options to all the what if scenarios in order to keep you alive.

The issue is that not all those thoughts are relevant to the 21st century world you now live in. Instead of getting caught up in them, learn to smile and to thank your brain for doing what it was created to do so well. Learn to accept each thought as you assess them. Ask your mind if this is a thought that is really relevant for what you are doing right now, in the moment you are in. If so, then you may want to contemplate that thought and follow it to wherever it may lead. If not, then let it go.

I spent many months in a hospital bed recovering from 9 different brain surgeries. There was absolutely nothing to do, so I learned to enjoy what my brain produced as a way to entertain myself. Sometimes I would follow the thoughts and allow myself to go along for the ride. At other times I would let them go so that I could be alone with myself, focus on my rehabilitation, or to relax into my pain and enjoy the experience of being right where I was in that moment.

If you are overwhelmed by your thoughts use your 5 senses to pause your brain by bringing it into the physical world that is all around you. Look around and ask yourself what you see. Start from the furthest point in your field of vision and work back to where you are. Next, ask yourself what you hear in the distance and then move inward as well. Smell, touch, taste – they all work as a wonderful distraction to refocus your brain and mind on the present moment of your reality.

To schedule a personal coaching session or to learn more help online or off visit us here

Always remember that life is a game of distractions. Your brain distracts you mentally with the thoughts it creates. But you can distract it with your reality through your five senses to return yourself to the real world around you.

Let me know of your experiences with this and if it helps you.

Jeff

Bring Your Practice Home

It doesn’t matter if your practice is yoga or going to the gym, hiking in nature or a simple meditation, you need to learn to bring the best of your practice into the rest of your life throughout your day.

We call it a practice for a reason, because that is what you are doing for every moment throughout the rest of your life.

Your practice should be about more than just about finding an escape that works for you, it’s about weaving that one transcendent element of your workout, run, asana, or breath into the rest of your life no matter where you are. If you can do this you can create a new life for yourself on every level without squandering a moment.

Life is far too precious to segment it into work and workouts, living and escaping. It’s about creating a full life that enriches your work and play as if they were one; because they are you know, or at least they should be.

Think of the time you spend in your escape as training for the rest of your life. Find that moment that represents the best of you in your practice then learn to weave that moment throughout the rest of your life. Give yourself permission to enjoy the rush of energy and the release of tension no matter where you are. When you do, you will learn to fully enjoy your life on every level no matter where you are or what you are doing. Don’t leave that feeling behind.
Take it with you!!!

Start on the physical level. The moment you feel that rush, make a note of what you are doing. Is your breathing deep and regular? Is your core tight? Tune into your thoughts and explore the spiritual side of your life for a moment. If your practice is lifting weights, is your focus on anywhere else but on raising the weight from its cradle?

If its yoga, is your mind on that point where your body and spirit come together as you deepen your pose? If running or hiking is your thing are you anywhere but that point where you disappear into the path ahead of you and your breath within you.

The next time you find yourself lost in your special place take note of what’s going on when you lose yourself to yourself. Does your breathing disappear as your focus settles onto a single action? Do the distractions in your thoughts clear like a fog to reveal the space right there in front of you?

Don’t leave that healthy glow at your place of practice. Bring it with you into your world so that you can change your world no matter what is thrown your way.

The next time you get thrown off your game, remember to breathe like you were doing the moment you became lost in your workout.  Focus your mind on a point in front of you like you did in your practice. Allow everything else to fade into the background as you become fully present in the here and now.

This is attainment.

This is life.

This is living your life on your terms and in a way that is true to your authentic self.

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

Emotional Management

You are an emotional being.

We all are.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, emotions are simply how your brain speaks to you in times of stress, for good and for bad.

Your emotions are an incredibly simple system that all animals share. They have kept us alive for thousands of years. There are no long winded sentences or punctuation to slow everything down, there are simply feelings like Fear, Hate, Anger, Pain, Love, Wonder, Curiosity, or Compassion that drive us to take immediate action.

It is why I become overjoyed [an emotion] when something that I have been speaking about for years is finally proved true by hardbound “research” rather than watching the natural world that is all around us and following one’s  “gut”.

Today emotions are not the wonder they were 40,000 years ago. They are still just your brain trying to speak to you, and unfortunately if you do not learn to manage them they can quickly manage your life in the wrong direction. Take a moment to think back at all the ways your emotions have steered your life in the wrong direction again and again and again.

I have been telling my students and clients that your emotions are neither good nor bad; they are simply your brain’s way of telling you that something in your world is about to effect your life. Anxiety is your brain’s way of saying, “we have been down this path before, so beware because the last time it didn’t turn out so well.” Physical pain is your brain’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you need to attend to it quickly. Anguish is your brain’s way of telling you that there is a loss in your life that you need to fill. Love is your brains way of saying something wonderful is about to happen if you just follow that trail, that person, or that animal to wherever it leads.

Back when your ancestors lived a constant fight, flight or fornicate mode, the emotional system was a great solution to staying alive. In today’s world, however, there you have time to step back and consider your actions before you commit yourself by running after your emotions – an act that often gets you into more trouble than whatever it was you were facing.

To do this you need to be awake to what is going on around you so that you can recognize the reality of your situation. Acting on your emotions is a choice and you can prevent yourself from taking the wrong path of following your auto-response with a breath so that you no longer feel trapped by the need to pursue whatever it is you are feeling without thinking.

Psychology Today recently published a new study about how your emotions drive most of your decisions without your even being aware that they are.

It is why I have always said that learning how to not respond to your emotions is the best step you can take to living a more meditative and mindful life to find the calm you want in your life.

Anxiety is not something to lose yourself to, it is simply your brain’s way of warning you to be cautious and to watch out. In many ways the anxiety you feel is your brain telling you hat you have faced a similar situation in the past and that it did not end up so well. Perhaps the person that you are haggling with over the cost of something reminds your brain of a person who cheated you in the past. You may not remember the person or the situation that your brain does, or perhaps it remembers something it saw on television and does not remember that that movie is not the real world. After all, why would you get so emotional about a movie or TV show if it wasn’t real? And since your brain recognizes it as real, the person in front of you with the same tic as the person in the movie is just as bad.

Your brain can’t always tell the difference between reality and make believe, so are you going to blindly follow your brain, even though the person in front of you is being fair and honest, but shares the same tic as a villain in a film?

It is important to remember that emotions are not the problem.  It is how you deal with them that is. If you lose yourself to your emotions, then they become your master – and that is never a good thing.

Don’t give up, we can help on this front. The next time you feel an emotion rising. Love or Hate, Anxiety or Comfort, Lust or Disgust, do not respond to it immediately.  Train yourself to stop, breathe, separate yourself from whatever it is that is triggering your emotion and relax.

Take a moment to really look at your situation so that you can ask yourself “is this emotion really right for what is going on?” Contemplate what you are feeling and try to remember the last time you felt this emotion. Acknowledge it, label it, contemplate it, and then ask yourself if responding in such a way is really what you want to do. Or would you be better off by simply letting it go?

Remember, your emotion is not the issue. It is simply your brain trying to talk to you using an antiquated system. Your brain is simply trying to tell you that something out there is about to effect you in here. It is up to you to decide how you want to respond.

Living in a meditative manner is the difference between joy and pain, love or anguish. After all, it is your life, it’s time to decide how you live it.

Be well and I hope this helps.

 

 

j.

Discover your delusions & unleash your potential

Q:
When most of your life you think you are someone, but later in life you find out you are not that person, (only the environment you have been exposed to made you like that), how do you accept your new true identity?

A:
We all carry delusions that we invariably lie by with us. You first create those delusions to protect yourself as you begin your life. For example someone in your formative years laughs at you and hurts your feelings because of a trait that you were not even aware of. That hurts your feelings and undermines your unhappiness, so your brain creates a wall, a delusion, that become a part of your underlying character. You may not even be aware of the delusions your brain has created, but you begin to live by those limitations without even knowing you have them. Discovering what those delusions are and what the source of them are is what we call finding your Simple Truth.

If you live your life wisely you will uncover more and more delusions that you once accepted as very real limitations to your life. As some point you will realize these re not real limitations, but limitations of the mind. This is why you begin to realize that you are not the person you once thought you were. It is the environment you were raised in that made you think you were someone that you are not.

Life is about change. If you never change your life becomes a flat-line, and that is a living death. Discover your heart beat and turn your flat-line into a pulse by discovering your delusions and breaking through them.

The difficulty is not in realizing that you are not the person you once were, but in accepting that you are not the person once thought you were. Finding your own Simple Truth is a fairly straight forward process. It begins with seeing yourself for who you truly are and accepting the limitations and opportunities your body, mind and spirit have always presented you with. Begin with the person you are on the physical level. Once you become comfortable with yourself physically then you can begin to explore who you are psychologically and spiritually. This means exploring your social upbringing so that you can discover the delusions that society placed upon you as you matured.

Let’s take a look at me. I was not born with a swimmer’s body. I can swim in the ocean and enjoy myself as I play in the waves, enjoying every minute of it richly and deeply; I can be happy. If I set my goals on winning an Olympic medal at some point I will realize that I simply was not born to be 6’1″ with arms that an stretch like wings and pull me through the water. That is the wall of reality and I will not find happiness with the person I am. It does not mean I cannot be happy in the water, it simply means I have to realize my physical limitations and learn to live with them.

The delusion would be living with an expectation of winning an Olympic medal in swimming, but reality is that I can be happy enjoying the waves and swimming in the ocean. The difference between the two is realizing the delusions I created about who I am and what I want to be.

Once you realize your true capabilities and limitations you can set your sights in a realistic way. You can explore how you came to create the delusions and false expectations that are the source of your unhappiness. You can discover your path and find your way to being the person you were meant to be all along. This is what we call being your authentic self and living in the real world.

Learn more at: Your Authentic Self – The Simple Truth Project

Be well and I hope this helps.

Jeff

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: Is A Living Guru Required?

Q:

Is a Living Guru Required?

A:

Required for what? Before you can find the right answer you need to ask the right question. 😉

If you are asking about finding a shorter or more direct path to your destination, be they spiritual or material, the answer is yes in some ways. But the idea of a “guru” to lead you can distract you to follow false paths if you are not careful. You are the only one who can know what path to follow. Never rely on someone else, even me, to know where you want or need to go.

Always remember a guru can never know your mind. They can only share their experiences with you, but they can never know your thoughts.

It is up to you to select which part of their teachings applies to your situation. It is up to you, and only you, to know when you have learned the lessons you need to learn and when to move on so that you can continue your journey.

I have had many teachers and some gurus in my life. I have learned lessons, but rarely those they wanted to teach me. I have learned from watching the waves as they crashed on a beach, from observing the twists and turns of a mountain stream, and even by watching the stillness of a well worn stone. With each the most important lesson I have ever learned is knowing when to move on.

If you open yourself up to the stirrings of nature you will learn that you are your own best teacher. Just remember to allow yourself to acknowledge the wisdom all things in nature have to share and approach each with an empty cup.

Allow whomever or whatever to fill it free from preconceived notions and ideas.

I hope this helps.

Be well,

Jeff

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.