Stillness in the Modern World

Stillness:

It is that wonderful quality of being fully present no matter where you are. It is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna
A Buddhist might call it upekkha. A Muslim speaks of stillness when they use the word aslama, in terms of submitting to Allah’s will. In Hebrew, the word is hishtavut. In the Bhagavad Gita, the epic poem of the warrior Arjuna, the word is samatvam. The ability to be Still – is the ability to be truly present without feeling the need to do anything. It is the focused calm that comes from a balanced mind— and to at peace with yourself and the world around you. The ancient Greeks spoke of euthymia when they contemplated that state of stillness.

The concept of stillness, to be centered as the chaos of the world spins around you, and, as one master once taught me, to observe the circus as it spins around you and to act only when it is necessary. “A true warriors never acts out of anger,” he would say, “be still and let them come to you. Simply hear only that which needs to be heard. Speak only what needs to be said and possess the quiet that comes from being still.

Stillness is that quiet moment of inspiration from which to draw your best words and ideas as you need them. It is when your inspiration comes from within. To be able to reflect while being an active part of a conversation or to be able to search through your memory in order to have the right answer when it is called for.

Stillness is that ability to step back and reflect while others scramble for an answer.

Stillness is also the art that allows you to make room for gratitude and empathy. Most important stillness is the seed from which your spiritual center of energy grows. It is one of the most powerful forces in creation from which to draw when you need it most. Those of you who charge ahead with big plans and even bigger dreams will find both dashed to pieces before your true battles really begin.

To those unfamiliar with it, the idea of being still can be a little ephemeral, but it doesn’t need to be. Stillness does not just happen it is a virtue that can be developed over time. It comes from hard work. It comes from sitting in meditation, practicing in order to access the focused calm that is within you. When you train your mind to be still, it is like muscle memory. Your mind remembers how to find the pathway to the stillness that is within you. What follows are some exercises you can perform to bring stillness into your life and to make it easier to access when you need it most.

Write. I am not a fan of the word or idea of journaling, or keeping a diary. The idea of it just reeks of the need to do it every day and if you miss a day you are filled with regret and a sense of failure, just because you missed a day of writing down your thoughts when you had none or when nothing of note happened.

So don’t journal. Simply write when you feel the need to write. Write when something big happens or when you feel the need to express something that upset you when dealing with an issue, or that made you excited or unbelievably happy.

I think it was Anne Frank who wrote “Paper is more patient than people.” It is, because it allows you to watch as your own thoughts unfurl and whatever issues and opportunities roll out in front of you as your pen moves across the paper. Both are a door to your inner spirit and your subconscious mind. They have a way of helping you explore your inner self without it seeming like an intrusion. With each word you become more willing to take the baby steps of self-exploration in writing than through speaking.

See The World As A Monk Does.

Beauty is everywhere, you simply have to slow down to see it. The beauty of the world you pass through is in the details. It is also in the grand design and in the interconnections that become apparent when you slow down to notice them. No two people see the world in the same way. Everyone has a different perspective that is born from their situations and their personal histories. Each has learned to interpret what they see in their own way. Learn to see the world as it appears to you. The important part is not how you see it, but that your slow down to enable you to see it, smell it, hear it and feel it however you want to.
Simply remind yourself to stay in the here and now, in your present moment without the need to follow your ego into the next moment by anticipating what will happen next.

Remind yourself to stay in the moment and observe everything as it arrives to you. Be aware of the raw data that you are receiving before your brain has the time to layer its own issues on top of it.

Every monk translates the raw data, free from interpretation and in their own way. Stop and observe the world around you, as it truly is. Let go of the preconceived notions of how the world should be and accept it as it is. The same things that prevent you from seeing the world as it is prevents you from finding your inner stillness.

Clear your mind and allow your heart to be filled by whatever comes to you. See the details and the vista. Be aware of the colors. Be aware of the aromas from a meal as you savor your way through it. Let your taste buds come alive as to the flavors wash over them. Let your ears follow the individual notes of the music playing, and give your fingers the freedom to explore the textures of a garment or a tapestry.

Reduce Your Inputs.

After ten brain surgeries and six weeks of radiation, I have to be careful with the level of input I allow in. Even if the raw data from those inputs are good, they can still overwhelm me. When that happens my brain gets flooded with information and I go into a seizure. So its very important for me to monitor my brain and mind so that I know when to leave a loud restaurant or a theater performance as both can overload my brain and send me spiraling. It’s just as important that you do the same. You simply have a higher level of tolerance than I do.

We all live in a world that is overloaded with noise and activity. Your brain uses energy to evaluate each of the sights, sounds, smells, and touches you take in. With every step you take, your brain is monitoring the firmness of the ground beneath you, your balance, the risk of danger, and many other factors that go into your ability to maintain your balance and your gait.

While your brain represents just 2% of your body weight, it accounts for 20you’re your body’s energy use. That means during a typical day, your brain uses about 320 calories just to think. Different mental states will affect the way your brain consumes energy.

Napoleon taught his secretary to wait a week before any letters. Churchill refused to look at any idea that had not been reduced down to a single sheet of paper. It was their way of making sure they were not overwhelmed with information.

In both cases they wanted to limit their input so that they would not be overwhelmed. In the contemporary world you live in, it’s important to allow your brain to find its stillness, so that you do not let your energy be drained by meaningless facts and figures that are not relevant to your life.

Enjoy A Long, Slow Walk

I don’t mean take a power-walk or go for a run. I mean take the time to enjoy a slow, leisurely walk. Allow the inner-working of your subconscious come alive as your brain is distracted with the details of balancing your body as you walk and of the world around you as it tries to keep you safe in the world.

Hemmingway was famous for getting through hi write’s block by taking long walks along the rivers of Paris. Nietzsche said that his best ideas came to him on his a long walks. Nikola Tesla developed his idea for his rotating magnetic field, not in his laboratory, but on a walk through a park in Budapest. It is arguably one of the most important inventions of all time, and this was in 1882.

Remove Yourself From Outcomes.
My best martial arts master was Grand Master Bong Soo Han taught me that when trying to break a board, do not stop at the board, but punch through the board, at a spot several inches beyond it. “Do not think about the outcome, simply punch beyond it. The broken board is simply proof of where your fist had been.”

You must not focus only on the what is in front of you. You must learn to let go and focus on what will be.

Weekly News Is Enough.

The news-cycle just doesn’t move that quickly. I know some people think it’s a 24 hour cycle, but when is the last time you saw something completely new and unexpected happen in a 24 hour time period?

Nightly news just isn’t news. Take a break. Give your mind and body a break from it. Read a book, enjoy a dinner out. Dive into a conversation with abandon. Don’t worry the news will still be there for you when you’re ready for it.

You can still be informed by the news without being saturated with it. Besides if you spend all your time and energy watching the news, you will never have enough to process it and to create real change in your world because of it.

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.

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.

Mind Your Brain Through Meditation

Your brain is an organ, it is grey, it weighs just under three pounds, and the last time it’s programming was updated was about 40,000 years ago – that was when modern humans, or Sapiens, took a major evolutionary leap forward.

Since that time, we have changed little in appearance but have evolved drastically in terms of our brain’s functionality and our sense of spirituality. While your brain may be the result of some pretty wonderous evolutionary leaps, it is important to remember that your brain is not the boss of you. But just try telling this to your brain.

The number one priority for your brain is to keep you alive. That is it. All those circuits and all that neural elasticity you have read about evolved for your survival. Those emotions you follow without thinking, like fear and hate, love and pain are there to keep you out of danger and to help you survive. It is why they play such a big part in your life and why you jump to follow them without pause and without thinking.

Each of those emotions leads you to a single operating process that results in the fight, flight or fornicate impulse you blindly follow. And that is where the problem starts in the contemporary world you live in. Yes, that process kept you alive 40,000 years ago, but in today’s 21st century world those same impulses will get you into more often than they will save you.

Let me give you a quick and easy, 60 second tutorial for how brain and mind evolved.

Make a fist and hold it at eye-level. That fist represents your brainstem. It is the source of your primal impulses. It is no different than the brain of a frog, lizard or alligator. It is what creates the Fight, Flight or Fornicate auto-response they and many of you live your life by. It is there to keep you safe, just like a frog’s or an alligator’s brain does today. Do you see your forearm? That represents your spinal column and will take you back on your evolutionary timeline. It is similar to the same structure within flatworms and earthworms.

As you move forward your brain becomes more evolved and specialized. Your frontal lobe is actually where the wiring for all of your executive functions live. I know that I am greatly simplifying a very complex organ I know there are areas of the brain that manage your hands and feet, I also realize there are two hemispheres, right and left, that perform tasks related to logic and creativity, but I want to keep things simple for the purposes of this post. All of your modern programming looks to your primal brain because it was programmed for survival, which is decided by your primal brain.

The problem is not with your brain, but with its programming. The programming of your brain was last updated some 40,000 years ago. It still responds to the world as if it were 40,000 years ago. It simply does not realize how the contemporary works. It does not realize the fight, flight or fornicate responses that kept you alive for so long are not appropriate in the contemporary world you now live in. When you begin to get nervous when meeting a new client or when you go in for a job interview, it is not a life or death situation, it is simply you getting nervous. It is not the time to pump more adrenaline and cortisol, it is the time for you to calm down so that you can think about the questions you will have to respond to.

That is the brain. Your mind on the other hand, is a modern wonder that exists just beyond the reach of your brain. It is the output of all those circuits that exists just beyond your reach. It represents all the hopes and dreams, needs and desires that make you who you are. It is the passion you feel and the sorrow you experience. It is the beauty of your life. It is also what makes your life YOUR life.

If you want to be happy and to feel accomplished in today’s world, then you must first learn to quiet your 40,000-year-old brain so that you can access the 21st century mind that is you. Then, and only then, will your 21st Century self flourish so that you can experience the joy, the happiness, and the feeling of accomplishment and success you were meant to enjoy.

Click here to discover the five simple steps to do this, or jump right to Jeff’s Teachings if you want to engage with Jeff without commitment at https://simple-truth.com/teachings.

  • Meditate – Stop stressing about meditation. Stop worrying feeling the urge to shave your head or give up everything you have worked so hard for. Neither of those things will happen unless you want them to. You will simply learn to understand how your brain and mind interact. You will become more closely attuned to their relationship with the world around you, and learn to manage them. You will learn that YOU are the one in control of YOUR life, not that voice in the back of your head. So free yourself to be YOU and take a stab at meditation. If you have never meditated before, download some free guides here https://simple-truth.com/teachings. Just know that there is a big, bright world out there free from the guilt and self-loathing that comes from within your head.
  • Meet your bad roommate – have you ever sat down and listened to that voice inside your head? You know what it sounds like. That’s right, a nagging roommate. The kind you would have tossed out years ago no matter how much rent they paid. Well, it’s time to realize that the bad roommate IS NOT YOU! That’s your 40,000-year-old brain doing what it does. It looks out for trouble, and when it doesn’t see any around you, it turns inward and starts nitpicking you apart. When you look at yourself in the mirror and it starts commenting on your hair or how you feel, do what you would do to a bad roommate – say thank you and tell it to leave, then turn to your mind and smile at the possibilities and enjoy the day ahead of you.
  • Let It Go – You live in a vastly different world than your ancestors did 40,000 or even 40 years ago. Today you live in an ever-expanding realization of world consciousness. Yes, your brain may be stuck in a village mentality, but you are not. When it snipes at someone who doesn’t dress right, acknowledge it and let it go. When it tells you, you are not good enough, nod and let it go. When it compares you to someone else, yes, smile and let it go. That is NOT YOU TALKING. That is the leftover programming from 40,0000 years ago and it has no place in the modern world YOU live in, or in YOUR life. If you just can’t seem to let it go then take a breather, refer to step 1 and meditate.
  • Smile – No matter what goes on around you, smile. It works on the physical level. It works on the psychological level. It works on the spiritual level. Smile and focus on the feeling that smile gives you. Smile as it spreads across your face and down, deep into your belly with every breath you take. Give it permission to lift you up. Allow it to spread to those around you as you stand up straight and let it go.
  • Honor Your Divine Self – That’s right. Honor the divinity and the infinity that is you. Forget about your perceived limitations and connect with the words the Buddha, Jesus Mohammad and even Einstein said. You are nothing but energy. All those atoms and molecules are held together with pure and unadulterated energy. It’s what keeps everything in the Universe moving together, in the right direction. You breathe it, you bathe in it, you live in it. It is why the energy that you put out there comes right back to you. No, that doesn’t mean if you wish hard enough for a bicycle you’ll get a bicycle. But it does mean, good thoughts, good words and good intentions will create a good life that you can enjoy every day if you want to.

All of this means is that when it feels like the world is beating you up, it’s really not. It is just your 40,000+ year old brain trying to do what it was designed to do – protect you. It’s just trying to do that with a 40,000-year-old program, and that’s like trying to send a letter with a 19th century typewriter. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it will take you quite a while.

Let your 21st Century mind pick a new program, one that is based on the modern world you live in.  Then, and only then, can you make good choices that will send your life moving in the direction you want it to move.

To learn more about how Jeff can help you design your life for the Modern World – take a look at his work on https://simple-truth.com/teachings

You Are A Diamond

Diamond do not shine on their own. They shine because they have many facets that catch and reflect the light, just like you.

Each of you has many facts to who you are as well. The difference is that you rarely show them all at once. You tend to hide them, only revealing them when you think the time and place is right.

You have one face for the office, another for dates, and still another for the gym. You have your sexy face, your playful face, your vacation face and your serious face, but rarely do you bring them together and allow your true self to shine through.

It is why so many of you feel the stress you feel. You grow burdened with the guilt of your past or anxiousness for the future. You focus on the wrong face appearing at the wrong time until you learn to show them all at once, learning to shine as the person you truly are, regardless of the outcome. Until you learn to do this you will never shine like you could.

Just imagine what you could do if all the energy you spent keeping yourself in check were spent on being productive, pursing your dreams as nothing less than 100% truly and fully YOU.

Imagine what it would feel like to be your authentic self all of the time.

Imagine how freeing it would be to be you, Y, O, U, you.

For many of you it may just be a dream. The fear of losing your job or your friends keeps you neatly in the cell you created for yourself from the delusions that others may have put in place for you, but that you carry all by yourself.
Why lie to those around you? Why lie to yourself?

What would happen if you practiced honesty throughout your life by being the person you truly are?

Imagine what you could accomplish by simply being you?

After all, it is your life. Why not label this fall the time to start living it your way?

You Always Have A Choice

Every day that you wake up you have a choice.

You can choose to stay in bed or greet the day.

You can choose to live your day in anger or in joy.

You can choose to greet people in fear or with compassion.

Do not blame your path based on what some one else did or did not do.

Do not blame your path based on what you did or did not do.

The moment you open your eyes is the moment you have a choice to make. It is based on a single, very simple question, “how do you want to live your day?”

Do you want to live in stress, or in calm? In peace or in fear?

Only after you answer that question can you begin to truly plan your day.

Begin your journey everyday with the acknowledgement that you have a choice. You can choose to stay in bed, or to rise and greet your day. Either way is fine, bold or with baby steps, or even staying beneath the covers, there is no judgment. Just know that you are in control of your life, your day, and how you want to respond to the world around you.

You can greet people with your arms open wide and allow them in, or you can hold your arms tightly against your body, defensively guarding yourself against an attack that rarely ever comes in the contemporary world you are a part of.

Just know that you can always close your arms at any time and retreat back into a isolationist mode, but why? Why not at least give those around you the chance to welcome you and to Love you?

Ask anyone who has hiked, sailed or traveled alone, and I am sure they will agree, it is fun for a few days, but you quickly begin to miss the company of others. You miss that feeling of community and kinship that is the path to Love, intimacy and understanding.

The choice is yours. It will always be yours. The only real question is, which way will you approach your day? Because they way you choose to travel will define how your day will go, every step of the way.

I hope this helps.

 

Be well

 

Money Meditation

Before reading any further just Google Money and Meditation. You may be surprised to what pops up.

What started out as an extension of meditation has now become a buzzword in itself. Among corporate types it has become woven into the very culture of the whole concept of work/life balance. In the military mindfulness creates a focused sniper. In both it also creates a very focused psychopath. How do you tell the two apart? Or how do you tell who practices me, me, me mindfulness without regard for those around them?

In many ways mindfulness enables people to do away with the ethics and values we all consider to be the backbone of society. Mindfulness can provide people with a neo-meditation that is good for you, but that will not make you a better person without the proper rules to live by.

Letting go and being present may make you happy, they may empty your cup, but once your cup is empty, how do you make sure that the water you refill it with is clean and pure? Many mindfulness teachers are too busy branding themselves for their next speaking engagement, the next one-on-one client visit, or the next corporate presentation to bother teaching their clients how to provide a larger perspective on values and on life in general.

Yoga grew to be an $80 billion business in 2015, because many of its teachers dropped the ethics that made it so attractive to its early practitioners. It is also how meditation grew from nothing into the multi-million dollar meditation centers that include MDNFL or the recent bourgeois Inscape, complete with gift shop selling the trendy Los Angeles/Chinese herb “dusts.”

How do we take the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and apply them to help the world become a better place? Simply, we don’t. It is simply not in the nature of many people to simply let things be. In a world of rampant individualism the Ten Commandments or the Buddhist Precepts are quickly being rewritten. What were intended as laws and guidelines to live by, have centuries been slowly, modified. The intent of Thou Shalt Not Kill has been effectively changed to Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless I Say It’s Okay.

The same is true for how the concept of Spirituality evolved into Spiritual Materialism. What was once a search for purity, truth and peace has quickly become one where it is more important to have the right outfit than a right mind.

At a yoga studio I recently overheard one student say, “She is so Zen, just look at her hair. I have to have it.”

When did it somehow became more important to have the Zen look than to actually be balanced in a serene way, or the best designed little house than it is to live in simplicity? The television now has program about having the right design for your “tiny house,” rarely mentioning why a tiny home makes more sense than a McMansion.

Something as simple as yoga pants have followed the same path. There are now cut-outs that strategically show just the right amount of skin in just the right places to be sexy and slimming. We managed to turn a practice of thousands of years into a physical workout designed to make practitioners as “body-perfect” as can be.

I am not surprised by this, nor do I waste a lot of time marveling about it. To each their own. Everyone is free to practice in their own ways and for their own reasons. Just don’t be surprised when the mindful sniper turns his or her well trained mind on one of us. Because if we do not teach people how to question themselves and their practices, if we fail to teach people the ethics and values behind meditation, mindfulness and yoga, it will all be for naught – quickly subverted to yet another materialistic path to follow.

These are the lessons that used to be taught in Buddhist and Yogic temples. These are the directives that could be found within the communities of priests and monks who provided direction on how to keep practices pure when refilling the cups that were so freely emptied.

The only way to prevent Karmen Ghia to be mistaken for Carpe Diem [which actually happened] is to teach people the essence of the various practices rather than just the veneer that lies on top, a veneer that is easily marred.

If you think I am over-reacting, just wait to see what happens to the purity of mindfulness in five or ten years.

Once we humans get a hold of something we tend to subvert it into the very thing it was created to work against. If you doubt this, just go back and Google “Money” and “Meditation”. You may be surprised to what pops up…