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Posts tagged ‘Dalai Lama’

Would You Like To Be Able To Find Harmony In Your Life?

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How about 5 minutes a day of rest ? 10 minutes of peace? 15 minutes of renewal? 20 minutes of rejuvenation? You can have it all. Meditation can change the way you work……and change your life in the process. It has for me and I have been meditating for over 28 years……which is one reason that I am a calm and happy soul. If you would like  to be able to
find harmony in your life and tap into your inner source of strength and wisdom…..then read on…….what do you have to lose?

Meditation needn’t involve sitting like a Buddha in your living room burning incense and chanting OHM for an hour every morning—it can if you’d like, but let’s be realistic here. Start off small. Commit to five minutes out of your day. Sit quietly, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and just be present in your body, in the moment. It doesn’t need to be complicated.

I don’t care how busy you are…we can all spare 5 minutes for something that enhances our well being. I find the best time to practice meditation is first thing in the morning upon waking. Otherwise, life tends to get in the way. If you absolutely cannot fathom sitting still for 5 minutes, make it a moving meditation. Take your dog out for a walk and instead of running through your to do list in your mind, reliving an argument with your spouse, or composing your lesson plans, clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Thoughts will pop in…that’s normal. Just acknowledge them, release them, and re-focus on your breath and being present.

Once you have mastered the 5 minutes in the morning, add in another 5 minutes right before going to bed. It will help you to get a restful night’s sleep…something all of us multi-tasking, goal oriented, stretched-too-thin people are in direct need of.

Imagine a bucket filled with water. Now add some sand into it and stir it around. The water looks all cloudy and agitated. Allow the bucket to sit and be still for awhile and the sand settles to the bottom leaving you with clear water……Clarity.

This is a wonderful analogy for what meditation does for the mind. Its simplicity struck me.

The constant chatter going on in our minds causes us to miss out on what is going on in our present lives. We tend to either live in the past or in the future in our minds, constantly planning for events that have yet to occur or reliving events long gone by. When we make a habit of investing the time to quiet these thoughts and practice being present, we can think more clearly, be more productive throughout the day, and approach our tasks from a place of inner wisdom and mindfulness.

Living mindfully means living in harmony with yourself and the rest of the world—waking up and paying attention to the present moment. If we are not fully present, we risk watching our life slip on by unnoticed, failing to live up to our full potential. Mindfulness is basically the direct opposite of taking your life for granted. Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, explains “to cultivate mindfulness, you may have to remember over and over again to be awake and aware”.

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How Do I Get Started?

Anyway you get started is good. Meditation is a deeply personal experience that needs to work for you. Experimentation is often the initial way people begin this process. Finding something right for you is important.

Don’t get caught up in having to follow a method or technique. As I have written before, it took me some time to find comfortable, doable ways to practice.  Remember, one of the important things (besides meditating) that you are doing in the doing of meditation is creating new neural habits as you establish a routine.

To help you to explore some ways to begin, here are some tips and resources to consider.

  • Establishing a time and place – This is very important. You want to maximize your success by finding a time frame and location conducive to your practice. While Jon Kabat-Zinn recommends starting with 15 minutes (long enough he says “to get really bored and antsy and learn to make room for unpleasant moments”) I suggest that even if you only begin with 5  minutes, it’s a good thing. You can always build to 15 as you progress and build those new neural habits. You don’t need an ashram or to be  surrounded by candles. You just need quiet. Once you grow in your  practice, you’ll be able to drop into five minutes of stillness in many different settings.
  • What do I  do with my body? Relax it – this is the key. It will take some time  to learn to let go and the place to do much of this work is in your body.  You begin with several deep slow breaths, ideally those that come from your belly. Closing your eyes is preferable. Uncross your legs with the soles of your feet touching ground (unless you are in a cross-legged posture). Rest your hands on your lap or at your sides. You don’t need to  have your hands in any kind of “mudra” like  position.
  • What do I do with my thoughts? Nothing – that’s the point. With mindfulness  meditation, you are simply noticing what you experience and not trying to feel anything differently. Too many people bail out because they don’t think they felt anything different or special. Mindfulness meditation is not about getting anywhere else except where you are. Thoughts will arise. “This is boring,” “Why am I doing this?” “This is a waste,” etc.  Feelings will come and go – frustration, impatience, even annoyance. Your  “task” in the moment of sitting is simply to allow, non-judgmentally, all the ways you distract yourself from being in the present moment.

meditation jah rasta

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What Is Stopping You From Being Happy?

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Have you ever wondered why lasting happiness seems to elude so many of us? At times it can seem like we’re trying to find a brass ring in a field of hay. We try so very hard at being the best we can and still it seems to be so elusive. What’s missing here? I think that it’s safe to say that it won’t be found in materialism, at least not the enduring type of happiness we’re in search of. And according to divorce rates it isn’t to be found in someone else. Where does that leave us folks?

Yup, you got it. Happiness begins with us. Each and every one of us is the source for our emotions. Happiness is truly a responsibility and only we can ultimately be held accountable for our own. So how can we begin to create lasting happiness? Well let’s start by talking about what takes it away. Are you ready for this?

Here’s the culprit: attachment, and what is attachment? It’s a belief or idea that we hold in our minds about how things should be and we base these ideas on past experiences. The great news though is that we can change any belief by making a conscious decision. It’s the most empowering thing you can do for yourself! Let’s look at an example in the next paragraph.

How many times have we gone to a department store or mall only to encounter a surly employee? Now most of us go into these places expecting a certain level of service. But guess what? Not every person you encounter is going to be able to uphold your standard of expectation. So when our expectations aren’t met we do this-react.

Reaction is the thief that attempts to steal away our happiness! You can decide to release expectation in any circumstance. Now that’s empowerment! Because the moment you do that, you now have relinquished the authority from anyone else to take it (happiness) away from you.

The other thing about happiness is this………….it’s a choice. We don’t have to wait until some future event to happen or to get the dream car to be happy. It can be chosen moment by moment. It begins with a thought. You can choose happiness. When you begin to choose it for yourself, you’ll discover that life will start sending you more and more reasons to be happy. It has a domino effect. Like attracts like. Just some food for thought. Be happy!

How Will You Show Kindness on World Kindness Day?

In our crazy, scheduled worlds, we rarely take the time to slow down and reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a community such as ours – which already has a long-cherished reputation for community building and generosity. Random Act of Kindness Day is just that opportunity!

The aspiration for World Kindness Day is to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of country, culture, race, religion; and honor that we are citizens of the world. We can be active participants for a better world. We can have a positive effect on world peace, when we bring order into our lives. Be what you want the world to be. Carry out small acts of kindness. Make the world a better place. Do something for someone else. Spread some love and joy.

 As world citizens we have a commonality, and must realize that if progress is to be made in human relations and endeavors, if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence, we must focus on what we have in common. When we find likenesses we begin to experience empathy, and in such a state we can fully relate to that person or those people. While we may think of people from other cultures as being ‘different’ when we compare them with our own customs and beliefs, it doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are. When we become friends with someone from a different culture we discover that despite some obvious differences, there are many similarities.

With the day in mind, but not limiting to just one day, I’ve been trying to practice little acts of kindness all week…

  • Plan to do something special for my family, colleagues and friends
  • Send a small gift to a friend who needed some cheer, a lift
  • I plan to do meta, loving-kindness meditation daily
  • Pay the toll for the car behind me
  • Leave a dollar on the vending machine for the next  person
  • And my list is endless of the kindness that I practice on a daily basis like smiling at everyone, opening doors for random people, allowing cars to go ahead of me and more~

These and more. Little things, lots of little things… But I do believe that it is the little things that mean a lot. And that with each seemingly small act, we create a larger circle of giving, a larger opening of our heart. We all have something we can do, or give… And as the Dalai Lama also says, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

“Sometimes just a smile on your face
Can help to make this world a better place.
Stand up for the things that are right.
Try to talk things out instead of fight.
Lend a hand when you can, get involved this is good.
You can help to make a difference in your neighborhood.”
Robert Alan Silverstein

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