Where Are You – Modern Meditation

Where are you right now? Not just the physical location, but emotionally, in your own head? There is more to feeling peace than your location. There is more to your location than the address where you are, what you can see, hear or smell, because there is more to your world than just the space you fill.

Take a moment to look around. Take a moment to look within. Ask yourself what you are feeling right now, right where you are. Are you feeling anger, anxiety, comfort, ease? Are you relaxed or tense? Those are just as much an indicator of where you are than the longitude and latitude of your location – even more so in many cases.

Every sight, every smell, every breath of wind you feel is processed by your brain in micro-seconds. Your brain takes 13 milliseconds to attach memories to the scents and sounds you experience. Those are what tell you to beware or to relax. It even goes deeper than that. It dictates how to respond.

We have all walked into a room or a party and gotten a sense that it will either be a dud or a great time. We have all walked into a meeting and instantly knew we were either going to kill it or it was just going to be 60 minutes of living hell. Those sensations quickly begin to shape your world, creating a better or worse situation for yourself to live in.

I bring this up for a very simple reason, all of those memories and expectations, as well as the memories yet to be experienced are attachments your brain layers onto a location. They are what shape your life. They are just as important to your well-being as the location you have traveled to. They are what make you comfortable or uncomfortable no matter where you are. They are what make you happy or sad, excited or bored, laying out the scene you will have to live through.

What does this look like in the real world? If you find yourself staring out the window while breathing in the sun and the sky outside, perhaps being cooped up in a floor of cubicles is not the job for you. I know you’re working hard for the windows of that corner office, but maybe the pleasure of having a corner office will wear off quickly as you once again start to feel trapped no matter how hard you worked for it, because it will never give you the escape you associate with living. Don’t worry. It’s not for everyone.

Some people are not comfortable in the great outdoors. They feel anxiety because to them, behind every tree and rock their your brain sees danger, creating stress with every step they take. Some people take to the ocean immediately. Others prefer the hardness of land beneath their feet.

There is a simple reason for this. Everyone is different. Everyone’s genetic makeup is unique, as is their upbringing. It is why it is so important to be aware of the places you are most at peace.

When you find yourself in a new location, take a step back and assess your feelings without judgment or comment. Breathe in slowly to bring yourself to a place of calm.

Begin to find the threads that connect those places to the happiness or the stress in your mind. Find out for yourself what makes you feel at ease or stressed, then use those threads as a way to weave your life into one you will love day in and day out.

That is how to use modern meditation as a tool to create a life of well being for yourself, no matter where others may find it.

Be well, and I hope this helps.

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Pick Yourself Up

There will always be days, weeks, even months when you feel as if the delusions of your life are overrunning 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, 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 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. 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 will help get you back on your path to stop tripping over your own nature, to truly Awaken to your own Simple Truth.

Here are a few ways to get you back on your path and keep you moving in the right direction. After all, it is your life and now is the time to live it your way 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 to them? What you hear may surprise you. If you do not take care of yourself nobody else will. Remember what the airline steward , and you need to take care of yourself or you will fall apart. So get some sleep, eat a healthy meal, talk to a friend 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 of each breath 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 to 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. It can just be 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 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.
  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. Acknowledge what is happening in your life. Label the moments where you think things went wrong and acknowledge them. Let your brain know that those are just moment 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Stop watching the news. Today’s news is pretty much a rehash of yesterday’s events. 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 we are programmed to see the rain more than the sun. It is human nature from the time when we were hunter-gatherers, but it does not have to be your nature today.

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Be well,

 

 

Jeff

 

Stop Shopping Delusions

Consumer Psychologists spend a lot of time following people around stores, both online and off. It is not what they buy that interests them. It is the why behind the what people buy that they are interested in.

Not only do consumer psychologists find an incredible assortment of products in people’s closets, they find products that have never been worn before, and never will be worn. It is an amazing phenomenon that is shared by people from all walks of life who purchase things they never wear and, most surprisingly, never return.

The old explanation for this is that it was a well intentioned mistake the consumer made. However, after probing a little deeper consumer psychologists have uncovered a consistent pattern going on. At first consumers make excuses for themselves like, “I saw a really amazing item and I just couldn’t let it go.” Or, “after I purchased it, I found a little flaw, but I got it at such a great sale that it not worth returning.” They tell themselves this until it is no longer possible to return the item and have to keep it – thus being out of their control.

It is such a common phenomena that psychologists have put a name to it. They call it cognitive bias. It is the way in which we ignore information that doesn’t support our perceived needs, enabling us to remain in a world of delusion, that is simply not real.

It is now a completely unfit person can win an election by delivering unreal promises with absolutely no intention of keeping them, but knows that is not what the voter, or consumer, wants to hear.

 

Buy Reality, Not Delusions

Everyone lives in a world of delusion to some degree. Perhaps you see clothing and rather than step back to consider if they will work with what is already in your closet, you begin to dream of all the places you could see yourself wearing whatever it is that you want to buy. Perhaps it’s a car that you picture yourself in, driving up to the valet at some chic restaurant or through the rough terrain of the desert or jungle. If it’s an apartment you think of the fascinating people you might entertain at all the fabulous dinners you never have. If it’s a gift for someone it may be to see the smile on their face once they open it.

At some point you forget that these scenarios are just fantasies you created for yourself. This is the moment sales people wait for. That point when they swoop in to confirm your dreams and help you complete your purchase. The problem is, these scenarios are delusions. They are not real, and when they don’t happen, you see that you have left the door to depression and suffering wide open. That is the moment when you leave the world of delusion and see reality in all its cold truth before you. Rarely is this a pleasant sight to see, so off you go again, daydreaming about your next purchase.

No, this does not mean you should not dream, or that you should not “fake it till you make it.” Just the opposite. It means you should dream. That your dreams are a wonderful and very real part of your necessary psyche. You can wish for more or better. You can and should push yourself to grow. Just do not lose yourself to the dream world you want so badly to be a part of your very real life. Fake it till you make it? Yes, just keep one foot firmly planted in reality so that you never lose sight of where you are.

 

Shopping is Not An Escape

One of the top reasons so many people love to shop is that they can escape their lives for a while. You can allow your imagination to run wild as you wander through a store or sales room. Just do not forget that at the end of the day, you will have to return to the world you are in, with or without the credit card bill you have acquired, and is that bill worth the dreaming you just enjoyed?

If only you stop for a moment before you put your credit card down. Or voted, or did anything. You could have enjoyed your dream without having to wake up to the real world that is all around you.

Allow yourself your fantasies and your dreams, they are a very healthy escape in the world we all live in. Just never lose sight of the real world that is all around you. Your landing will be so much easier when you do – free from the delusions that are so easy to get lost in.

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Much Love

 

 

j.

 

Meditation on Tea & Intentions

This morning has been one of meditation, tea and intentions in my New York apartment studio. I woke to the warmth of this late spring day.  A comfortable reminder that we still have June, July and August to get through before feeling the cooling breeze of summer’s end.

My wife was up early for her flight.  I helped her with her bags and returned to bed, only to wake and have some tea at nine.  There was a time when I would have started to work, losing my focus and my steam as the day passed by me by.  But today I sat in a calm meditation. I closed my eyes, to spend a mindful moment in calm. Thirty minutes later I sipped my tea as the intentions I set came to realization within the tasks of the day ahead.

I knew my day would fill quickly enough, as most days do, with writing and clients, calls and naps of various lengths. I have found balancing my day between work and rest laid out a productive path for me.

There would be moments of meditation and moments of re-calibration as long as I chose to take them.  This moment I was in was one such moment.  Rather than share this morning with clients or friends I chose to be greedy and use it all myself.

I breathed into my tea and enjoyed the rich smoky scent of my Lapsang. The aroma my cup returned to me was deep.  I enjoyed the flavors with every sip. I admired the brownish color and smiled at the quiet calm that settled in. Sight, sound and smell were all focused on just one point.  A point of calm.

“This is what I will do with my day,” I announced to no one in particular.  “I will live it mindfully, and get all of my tasks done with a calm smile and calm pace.  Not hurriedly  or frenetically, but with the balanced calm of accomplishment.”

I checked off my first task and smiled at the progress I had already made.

Why not join me and do the same?

Meditation: Be Like The Sun

I sat and watched the sun rise this morning. I saw the sun shine evenly over the entire earth. I realized it does not differentiate between plants and animals, friends and enemies. The sun does not discriminate. I only noticed that those who rise up to greet it, who are closest to, it receive more light and warmth from its radiance.

Be like the sun with your Love. Love everyone and everything equally. Let those who believe in you and reflect your own Love rise up to meet you and return your Love to you. Let them revel in the Love and community you offer, but do not hold back from anyone. Like the sun, let your inner warmth shine.

 

 

 

 

 

Well Being & Meditation Are Skills

Having been through my share of surgeries and health issues, trust me when I say that well being is not something you just happen upon. It is a skill that you can learn and apply to your life at any point in time.

It does not have to involve a laborious effort or a large-scale change in your lifestyle. It does not have to include weeks spent in an ashram or retreat. It does not have to involve giving up everything you have worked so hard to attain.

It only requires taking baby steps toward a better you. It means making minor tweaks to various elements of your life that I assure you will go unnoticed until one morning you will wake up feeling clearer, more focused and simply better about who you are and what you are doing.

What follows are some simple and easy steps to creating a healthier, happier and calmer you for a life that is easy to maintain no matter where you are, and that will produce real results you will witness every day.

Try these, and let me know what worked for you. Also, if you have other tips, please feel free to share them. We are always interested in what works best for you and what does not. After all, having a greater sense of well being is about smart positivity, without feeling the need to go overboard with the whole thing.

So take it slow, even being positive can create a backdraft if taken too quickly for some people:

  • Surround yourself with a good support system (start with family and friends, but do not be afraid to seek out a group, that give you time to release and even heal if need be)
  • Discipline yourself to frequent the right places at the right times so that you can be with the right people doing the right things.
  • Do not allow your pride or ego to get in the way of your health. Staying true to your old self is a great way to stay unhealthy
  • Know your triggers and avoid situations that put you in a high stress/high tension situation
  • Avoid angry ad toxic people, or people who raise themselves up by putting those around them down
  • Be prepared and Role Play. Think of an unpleasant situation in the past and come up with an alternate way to handle it. Rehearse different outcomes and create a plan to pursue that outcome. Being prepared is half the battle.
  • Create space in your schedule to recharge
  • Smile and touch people below the elbow or on the shoulder in a non-offensive and non-threatening way. You will be surprised how much energy is created by simple human contact.
  • Identify your negative behaviors and replace them with positive behaviors you are more comfortable with.
  • Keep a list of what you are grateful for, and remind yourself of this before you start getting down on yourself.
  • Reward yourself for your good habits. It is okay to buy yourself something special, to have a nice meal, and to enjoy life. Your health depends on it.
  • Oh yes, and cut out the white foods [white flour, white sugar, high starch potatoes], after all is is about body, mind and spirit.

Most important, live, laugh and enjoy your life to the fullest. Living life is why you are here, so enjoy it in every way possible.

Learn more at Simple-Truth.com.

Be well, and I hope this helps as we head into summer.

j.

Just 1 Thing

One Thing.

That truly is the answer – to simply focus on just one task at a time.

Your brain is a wonderful organ, but it is not meant to multi-task. It is only meant to address one task at a time. What you think is multi-tasking is actually your brain ping ponging between individual tasks very, very rapidly. The result? Exhausting you and reducing your ability to perform tasks that require higher cognitive functions.

The moment you try to multi-task is the moment you lose it all. You brain gets overwhelmed. You become more easily confused, more easily frustrated, and unable to identify and manage the details.

How many times have you arrived at your desk to find all that work you did the night before to be a mess?

Removing stress and distractions from your life simply means returning to a point of singularity again and again. That means approaching a single point of focus by bringing your mind and your body to rest on doing one thing at a time. And yes, a key to this lies in your breath and your ability to focus on it.

And that is called meditation. It is why meditation works so well in the modern world we have created for ourselves. There is no mystery to it, it is simply bringing our brain from  a confused state while attempting to do everything, to doing just one thing at a time.

So mono-task instead. When you are washing dishes, simply was dishes. When you are eating, simply eat. When you are working on a project, Simply work on that project. Do not try to squeeze one more task into what you are doing.

Instead, slow down and focus on the task before you.

Learn more at our event on this Monday evening [February 22, 2016] at 5:30. It takes place at the Mulberry branch of the New York Public Library. Learn more by clicking here or send us an email.

We are here to help.

Zen For Busy People – A Free Workshop

With 2016 off and running. why not start on the right path with our Meditation4All program?

We are arranging a number of free workshops for 2016, and the first one is coming up quickly.

On February 22nd, we are hosting a workshop at the Mulberry Branch of the New York Public Library. It is called Zen For Busy People.

As a part of our Meditation4All program it is free to everyone.

So take a look on our calendar at the Simple-Truth website for the 22nd, or copy the information below:

New York Public Library – Mulberry Branch
Monday, February 22, 2016
5:30 pm – 6:45
10 Jersey Street
New York, NY

We look forward to an enjoyable and enlightening evening and year ahead, and it all starts on the 22nd. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out at info@simple-truth.com. It will be a bit of short guided meditations, a bit of conversation, and a lot of AHA moments all around.

We look forward to connecting in 2016 and to seeing where it will lead.

Enjoy the start of your year and be well,

j.

Smile on This Humpday

9 Tumors, 7 weeks of radiation, and a half dozen seizures later, and I still don’t have a clue of what will happen next in my life. But you know what? It’s okay. Because I don’t look at any of those events as an end-all. In fact, every time I have walked into physical therapy to overcome the deficits I acquired from a recent procedure, I look around and seen people who are much worse off than myself.

At the end of the day, I walk out telling myself, “you know what? I am walking out, and not everyone in here is able to say that.”

So think of that this hump day, as you face the issues that will lay themselves out before you. Because, while you can dictate where you want your life to go, you can never dictate what issues you will have to overcome.

That said, here are some things to keep in mind to help you get through your day with a smile, and end your day on a positive note:

  • Eat Your Breakfast: I know you have been hearing this since day 1, but you know what, every so often your parents were right. Giving yourself enough energy in the morning helps to ensure your brain and your body have the power they need to help you stay healthy, happy and productive even when the world is knocking down your door. It doesn’t have to be eggs, bacon, and all the fixings, but eat something. You will feel the difference.
  • Take a Ten Minute Break: every hour or so. It took me way too many years to learn that our brains just cannot maintain a high output level if you force yourself to plow through your day. So here’s an idea, use that coffee break as a way to hit the pause button. Every hour, get up, get a cup of coffee or tea, take a deep breath, and simply watch your cup mindfully as you breathe. You will be amazed at how quickly your brain will start producing again, and at a higher level than before.
  • Talk to People: Yes, you are a social creature. You gain energy when you interact with others. So get up, wander around, and say hello to a few people. It can be your office-mate, it can be someone else’s assistant, it can be the person at the register at your favorite deli or coffee place. They don’t need to hear all the boring details of your work. They don’t need to be a part of your team. They simply need to be human. That’s right, go out and chat someone up, and then see how that conversation has changed your outlook on work and life, in general.
  • Do Something Different: We all get set in our ways, and yes those ways are not always the best way to keep our body and minds active. So do something different. Change the patterns of your day. Take a different route to work. Laugh inappropriately. Have something different at lunch. Try a new location for lunch. Mix it up. It will create new networks in your brain and keep your mind active trying to figure out what you’re up to, and that will keep you young at heart no matter how old you may be.

It’s not difficult to stay alive, be more productive and come out more human than when you went in. In fact, it’s pretty easy. Try to remind yourself to do just one of these things and you will be surprised at how your life will change for the better.

If you want more tips, feel free to sign up for our emails on the  right, or at https://simple-truth.com/blog.

Be well and enjoy the rest of the week.

 

 

j.

Look Forward – Meditation & Baby Steps For 2016

Welcome to Monday and to the year ahead.

Do not look back. Look Forward to School, to Work, and to  Life.

The holidays are over, so it 2015. It’s time to face 2016 with elation, excitement, and energy.

If those feelings are not there, meditate for a moment but no too long. If there is some trepidation, do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Turn that knot into a fiery ball of energy from within and without.

Know that some loose ends will never get tied up. Simply assess the hand you have been dealt and move on – past the loose threads that are left behind.

Better still, use them to plot your course for the year ahead. Take one step in the direction you want to go. Do not over think the year past or the year ahead.

Life does not come with a cleanly pressed hem. Life presents a rough edge that it is tattered and frayed. It is up to you to accept that as the beauty that is found in the imperfections that is.

Take one small step in the direction you want to go. Reflect on where it is leading you. Find the inevitability on where your path leads. If an opportunity comes, take it. If it moves you in the right direction, stay with it. If it doesn’t spread out your hands and find another path to follow.

Forget about those big resolutions you used to make. They will only end in disappointment. Forget about setting goals for the physical world you may never meet – there is too much going on outside to take it all on your shoulders.

Instead, focus on how you want to maintain yourself. Focus on your intentions, on how you want to live your life, how you want to be known, or how you want to look back at the end of 2016 and realize how you want to see yourself.

Then become that person.