What Gear Are You In?

If I asked you “What Gear You’re In,” you would probably say “overdrive,” if you even had time to talk.

But are you really?

We are all programmed to be competitive, it is in our nature. And therein lies the problem. In truth few people are as pressed as they think they are. Even fewer actually know what gear they are really in. Fewer still understand what gear they are comfortable in.

Let me guess, you probably spend your week trying to go as fast as possible. On the weekend you struggle to slow down so that you can relax without losing the momentum you built up during the week, and without losing your place in the never ending chain of emails; and no, it never ends.

So why struggle with yourself trying to make it work, when it simply wouln’t. Why not choose a different speed that works with you, your body, and your own Simple Truth? Yes, some people will never stop running – and, guess what. That is the speed they are comfortable in. Or perhaps they have never taken the time to even think about it. But if you are like me, you will probably wake up one day and ask yourself, what happened?

Early on, you probably jumped into a highly competitive field where work is a full contact sport. Only later did you realize that was not for you. Then you struggled to keep up or found another field that was a better fit with your natural demeanor. Maybe you migrated to the arts or an NGO thinking they were the key to that work/life balance you were looking for. Once in you realized the full contact nature of those jobs were simply hidden by the creative beauty or goodness they produced.

Don’t get me wrong, every field out there has a beautiful side to it and a competitive side to it. Yes, even yoga and meditation have those two sides. So take a step back. Do not just look at the field you want to work in, decide which side of that field is the best fit for your own Simple Truth.

If you would rather spend your time seeing the beauty that is behind every sport, every trade and every industry, simply look for it, it will be there. If instead you want to spend your time seeing the business behind the music, the films, the arts, it will be there too. It simply depends on where you focus your sights.

There was a German friend of mine, who, like me, loved sailing. After a particularly long day’s sail I remember asking him what he loved most about sailing. He looked me in the eye and said, in that very stern, German voice of his, “I don’t sail. I race. And I race to win.”

One act, sailing, but two very different mindsets. Two different lenses that each of us viewed the simple act of sailing through. We each saw the wind and the tides very differently. Neither of them right or wrong, just different vantage points.

He obsessed with each ripple on the water to maximize his advantage. I took a more leisurely approach, not worrying about speed of the moment as much as the overall course for the weekend. I cared more about enjoying the moment, the waves, and the conversation. He cared more about his speed in the here and now.

Which would be more right for you? Are you a racer, or a cruiser?

It’s important to know this. Because no matter what treadmill you are on, if it is set to the wrong speed you will wake up one day wondering what happened. You will either find yourself with a great house and a great car, but with the wrong friends and in the wrong relationship wondering where your life went, looking at those around you, envying what they have while asking yourself “why not me?” Instead of settling back, happy in all that you have.

Either way, be careful you do not spend your life chasing the wrong dream.

It’s not wrong to want a bigger house for your growing family. It’s not wrong to want more money so that you can give your kid a better education. It’s not even wrong to want a gorgeous apartment so that you have an oasis to retreat to, or a beach house to escape in. What is wrong is spending your life in pursuit of someone else’s dream; which, yes, can even include spending your money buying latest yoga mats and meditation pillows to remind your friends just how Zen you are.

So remember, it does not matter what direction you follow, just make sure whatever direction you pursue is in line with your own Simple Truth. Once you figure out what direction is right, then pursue your dreams with everything you have without harming those around you. That way you can stay your course, while still having what the Buddhists refer to as Right Mind and Right Action – a sure fire combination for success both for you and those around you.

I hope this helps,

Be well,

Jeff

Positivity Comes From Within

The negativity and suspicions that are your first response in most situations is a survival skill. It is a skill deeply rooted in your old brain – that part of the  brain that we share with cats and dogs, toads and even alligators. It is the fight or flight mechanism that has kept us alive and brought us to the top of the food-chain over the past few millennia.

It has worked wonderfully up until now. But in the 21st Century world we have created for ourselves, what once kept your ancestors alive is now holding you back from living the life you want to live, happily, positively, and productively.

The key to winning your life back is not to get bogged down in how to rewire your brain, but in how to hit the pause button; to help you overcome your old habits and begin the process of living your life, your way. Something we like to call Humanity 2.0.

Doing this is a lot easier than you may think. All you have to do is to work backward.

  • First, simply be aware of the way you respond to the world around you. Keep a journal for this if you need to, but do it. It can be as easy as emailing yourself from your mobile device, or as deeply rooted as stepping away and writing down your emotions to the triggers in your life.
    • Take note of the moments when you first start to feel defensive, or when you first feel as if you are being attacked. It may be during your commute, or by someone in your office. It can even be with someone you love and trust within your own family.
    • Make a note of what this feels like. Do you feel anger or frustration, even jealousy? It will probably include a brief adrenaline rush, as your amigdala pumps more adrenaline into your system, preparing you for what it thinks is a fight or flight situation.
  • Second, rather than responding immediately to the provocation, physically step away from the event and make a note of what just occurred.
  • Breathe deeply. As you settle into that breath feel yourself calm down and smile.
  • Third, when you have time return to your journal or re-read your emails in search of those things that sent you spiraling into your old habits of responding before having the chance to think. They may not be found in the events that happened, but in the way those events made you feel.
    • You will quickly find a connection between the incidences that set you off, your triggers, and the emotions they stirred up.
    • Your triggers may include a car that cut you off on your commute, or a person who cut in front of you as you walked down or the look on an associate while in a meeting at work.
    • Make note of your triggers, also make a note of how they made you feel. Your emotions are what connects the triggers within your brain, and are the key to creating a more positive response to the world around you.

Take note of the kind of events that your old brain recognizes as a threat. You cannot stop these events form happening, what you can do is train your brain how to respond to them in a way that you are comfortable with.

As you grow aware of your triggers, you can begin to avoid those situations where your triggers are more likely to be activated. You can also go further. You can train your brain to respond in a way that is more befitting of the world you now live in. You can even set your base reaction to be no reaction at all.

This frees up your mind so that instead of generating the negative thoughts of your ancestors, you can put a smile on your face as you seek out a more positive response to your situation.

You know, a more positive internal conversation like “I wonder what is wrong in that person’s life, that they feel it necessary to race in front of me,” or “what a shame they cannot enjoy this beautiful morning,” or “Look at the rain, how beautiful it is even when it comes in sideways.”
Get the idea?

Remember, you cannot change the world around you, but you can change how you respond to it, and that will make all the difference in your life. What you will notice is that at first it may seem impossible, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Even better, your positive responses will expand into other parts of your life.

Instead of reaching for food or alcohol as a temporary solution, you will begin to search for other, healthier solutions. You may start yoga or running to bring calm into your life. You may approach the person who carries your trigger and suggest a better way to handle situations. Or, you may simply smile as you ride the waves of your life with happiness, rather than suspicion, as the core to your new response mechanism.

Try this, and feel free to respond to let me know how it has worked for you.

Be well, and I hope this helps…

Jeff

Stop Grasping

The Simple Truth is that many of you do not need meditation. you simply need to stop grasping.

Centuries ago, letting go was probably enough to bring calm into someone’s life. It was really all you needed to do to remove the stress that may have built up in your life. Life back then was pretty immediate, but there was simply not that much information moving back and forth to cause the kind of stress you have in the first few minutes of your day.

In today’s world, however, you are connected 24/7. You are overwhelmed with Megadata and microbytes. The level information spinning you comes in through all of your devices. The Simple Truth to it all is that most of it has little direct relevance to your life. The result is that you spend a lot of time on irrelevant topics and fail to actually live your life, in your way.

This year, make your life less about “Letting Go” and more about not rasping in the modern the first place. The simple truth is that most of the information coming across your screens is irrelevant. Most of it deals with subjects that will never effect your life.

Some of the rest may be important, but there is little, if anything, that you can do about it; no matter how hard you try. What remains is so distorted by the media that uncovering the truth is rarely worth the time and effort you will have to put in, in order to dig it out.

What this means for you is that if you truly want to find your own peace and calm, then stop grasping at the straws that inevitably fly by. Why hold onto opinions from pundits so that you can “Let it Go” later on. Stop carrying all of this information around with you. It will only add weight to your already complex life.

In the short-term it will prevent you from being nimble and able to move quickly. In the long -term it will wear you out and exhaust you. Either way, stop grasping at straws. Simply before those straws become issues you now need to Let Go of.

Teach yourself to live with an appreciation of the present moment you are in. Train yourself to see the information that is out there, but to ignore the distractions that are all around you. Do not put on the blinders all together, but recognize what is relevant  so that you are free to focus on the things that effect your life directly.

Once you are able to do that you can begin to expand your sphere of information and to begin taking on additional topics when you are ready.

It is okay to admit you cannot do it all. Nobody can. There is simply too much going on in today’s world for your brain to handle it all, and that is okay.

When you stop grasping, you will no longer need to let go. Better still, you will be free from the weight of all that irrelevant information you now have in that baggage we call life.

 

I hope this helps –

 

 

 

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.

Zen For Busy People

Join us at the New York Public Library on February 22nd at 5:30 pm for this FREE event – Zen For Busy People.

As part of our Meditation4All program, there is no cost to you. It is simply our way of sharing meditation to everyone interested in learning, resetting, and improving their ability to overcome the roadblocks we all face in the contemporary world we live in.

Stay for forty-five minutes and leave with a series of simple techniques that are both meditative and mindful, that you can use at anytime to help you:

  • Calm your nerves for the Event Image NYPL-Mulberry 010816day ahead
  • Reset and Re-balance no matter what happens
  • Learn to Take Life in Stride
  • Be resilient & overcome
  • Let it Go

This will be a fun and enlightened evening that combines guided meditations, open conversations, tips and, insights more. You will leave feeling calm and relaxed, as well as rejuvenated and prepared to live your life, Your way.

It may just be the best 75 minutes you will spend in 2016, and beyond.

New York Public Library – Mulberry Branch –

FREE

10 Jersey Street, Nolita

February 22nd, 5:30pm – 6:45

www.simple-truth.com/event-calendar

 

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.

 

Is Your Style of Meditation a Cup or a Sword?

Which style of meditation or yoga is right for you?

Some people tends toward the cup, while others tend toward the sword. One reflects the masculine side of human nature, the other the feminine. Neither is right. Neither is wrong. Each simply connotes the basic nature of the human experience. They have little to do with being a man or a woman, and everything to do with the nature of existence. One speaks toward nurturing, the other toward a well defined path. They are simply facets of our humanity.

Many teach a softer form of yoga and meditation; that is more reflective of the cup. Yes, there are elements of the sword in those styles, but for the most part, they are soft and gentle. The other style, found in practices like Zazen, are more reflective of the sword, providing a strong foundation and a solid path upon which to grow.

Many men find this style more reflective of their natural state of mind. The important element to keep in mind, is not hard or soft, but which is right for you and when. The Simple Truth Method is created to help men and women from all paths to decide for themselves which techniques to use for different purposes. Yes, our students learn to weave a tapestry that aligns with your natural state. At some times, that state tends toward the sword, at others it tends toward the cup – depending on what you are going through in the modern world we now live in.

If you are seeking a style of meditation that reflects who you are, and have not found that in such styles as Samatha or Vipassana or Transcendental, then you may consider the Simple Truth Method, a style that helps you become who you are.

It is why so many men and women have found themselves more comfortable weaving traditional techniques together, into their own practice. On that fits their needs, in a way that works for them, free from judgment, free from the need to fit into something that they simply are not.

Sword or Cup – which are you? Which do you naturally tend toward?

Rest, Renew, Meditate on 2016

If you are like me, you have a natural need for activity.

The moment I feel as if nothing is getting accomplished, I begin to look for things to do. It is shy I could never take on the corporate life, where downtime was celebrated and people looked forward to vacation days more than anything.

Me? I dreaded them.  It is why I got out of the corporate world as quickly as I could and drove myself through producing documentaries and building furniture I would eventually sell on Abbott Kinney in Venice, CA. It is also what drove me to have the health issues I currently have – namely stress-driven tumors.

Even today, I have to constantly remind myself that it is okay, I can relax, nothing is going on for most people in the United States. And I would encourage you to do the same. This is a time when it is okay for nothing to get done.  It is time to realize nobody will be there to answer your phone call or email. It is probably the worst time to send direct mail, as if there was ever a good time these days. But if your restlessness gets the best of you, and yoga or meditation still will not take the edge off, then it is time to turn to 2016.

There are only a few weeks out of the year when nobody, and I mean nobody, with signing authority is around. This is one of them. So put whatever “can’t wait” on hold, and begin thinking about what you are going to do when you get back in town.

Those holiday cards you never sent? Delete the Christmas Tree or the Minorah [I know it’s tight, but you only have until January 1 to get them out, versus January 8 for a New Years Eve card], and write in “Welcome to 2016.”

You see, there is always a way. Besides, it will buy you an additional week to what?

That’s right, rest, relax and contemplate 2016, you know, the new year.

As for 2015? Do what you do in meditation – Acknowledge it, breath into it, and on your next exhale – just LET IT GO….