People do either one of two things when I tell them that part of my teaching program as a Wellness Mentor involves meditation: A) They’re on board with the concept and will sing the praises of practice to the high heavens or B) They look at me sheepishly and say that they know that they should do it but just can’t focus or find the time.
I don’t try to proselytize anyone and I only try to lead by example. I tell them how mindfulness has benefitted me for over thirteen years and I can guarantee that it has made me mentally healthier and stronger neurochemically. I don’t practice every day in a sitting pose but I’m always making an effort to sit with my food and enjoy it without distractions, focusing my energy on creating a painting or drawing, staying present and listening to friends when we converse and so on. There are lots of ways to practice and sitting meditation is only one part of the program but it’s awesome when you get into it.
You only need 10 minutes in a quiet spot without distractions and you don’t have to clear your mind or stop thinking. Meditation isn’t about grabbing a hold of that wild stallion in your mind and trying to reign it in and control it. It’s about being present, letting your thoughts come as go as the will and trying to come back to a center point which is your breath. That’s it!
Why is it so hard for many people if it seems like such a simple endeavor? Because folks, we are incredibly complex beings who have billions of neurons and millions of life experiences that have created so many energetic pathways and thinking processes. But trust me on this, finding that ten minutes just to relax and let your mind be as it may will make you feel good. Sometimes it can get frustrating but the more you do it, the easier it becomes and also becomes addictive in the best sense.
“It is impossible to overcome passion, aggression, and ignorance with a long face. We have to cheer up. When you begin to see yourself fully and thoroughly, then you discover your sense of humor. It is not the same as telling bad jokes. Humor here is natural joy, the joy of reality. ” – Pema Chodron
You don’t need to rely on anybody else’s goodness. You have a resource already, which is your own goodness. You are already good, and you can actually transmit that goodness to others. In Buddhism, we call this buddha-nature. Examine yourself and your state of being. You will find that you have the heart of goodness in you.
Sharing the heart is a simple practice that can be used at any time and in every situation. It enlarges our view and helps us remember our interconnection.
The essence of this practice is that when we encounter pain in our life we breathe into our heart with the recognition that others also feel this. It’s a way of acknowledging when we are closing down and of training to open up. When we encounter any pleasure or tenderness in our life, we cherish that and rejoice. Then we make the wish that others could also experience this delight or this relief.
In a nutshell, when life is pleasant, think of others. When life is a burden, think of others. If this is the only training we ever remember to do, it will benefit us tremendously and everyone else as well. It’s a way of bringing whatever we encounter onto the path of awakening bodhichitta.
I’m a very big proponent on the positive aspects of work and business culture. We NEED to change our corporate system and instilling Buddhist and non-religious spiritual values can be a way to go. Here’s a link on a place to start and a quote from Chogyam Trungpa:
“Work is something real, just as much as spiritual practice. Work doesn’t have to have any extra meaning behind it, but it is spirituality in itself. Work doesn’t need another philosophical reinforcement. Maybe you think that you can’t relate to work unless you have a good philosophical reason, and without that, your work remains mechanical. In that case, you may be missing the point of spirituality altogether. Spirituality is not other than work, just to make the point clear. Work is spirituality, work is real—as much as anything else.”
We are energy beings and we’re filled with electrical vibrations which in turn means that we have plenty of positive and negative ions coursing through our body systems. In a more philosophical sense, we have positive and negative emotional and spiritual energy. We can either invite the good energy into our lives or attract the dark stuff. While it’s not always our decision whether darkness enters our lives, we can choose how we cope with it and how to shield ourselves. Yup, it’s all around but you don’t have to give into it.
Cultivating the positive energy takes work and determination. Ironically, it’s easier to give in and be cynical and pessimistic about how difficult life is and be overwhelmed by the negatives of life. Once you do this, you set up a pattern of inviting in adverse energy into your life which includes negative people.
Personally, I like to work hard and everyday, I ponder how fortunate I am to be healthy and surrounded by love. I put up a shield when I feel like any dark souls are trying to draw my energy. If my depression comes a knockin’, I put in extra effort to stay in the light and have my friends and/or family around. when my dark nights visit me. Of course, I also try to meditate more too.
We have choices about our energetics and the more we get the positive ions flowing, the more we’ll attract the same.
I like to surround myself with the positive energy of nature. The banyan trees in Florida always rejuvenate me..
I really love playing guitar. It’s like an extension of my soul. But to be honest, I wasn’t always a fan of changing my strings. It requires effort, risk and most of all tension. Of course, to sound my best I have to change the strings every so often, usually about every three months if it’s one of my well utilized axes.
After following the mindful path for the past few years, I now look at the process or replacing my strings as not only necessary but also fulfilling. The change results in more harmony and brightness in tone and sound. Now, replacing my strings has become an active meditation that brings more energy and calmness into my life.
Even if you’re not Buddhist, Pema is important reading in order to find a happier life. This book in all it’s 100 page brevity is incredible. It succinctly summarizes why we need peace and how we can achieve it.
The painful thing is that when we buy into disapproval, we are practicing disapproval. When we buy into harshness, we are practicing harshness. The more we do it, the stronger these qualities become. How sad it is that we become so expert at causing harm to ourselves and others. The trick then is to practice gentleness and letting go. We can learn to meet whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal.
- Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times
Here’s Chrystal Kubis and I with our “pilot episode” of our show “The Fork & The Flame”. Our purpose is to help people find as much happiness, inner-peace, humor and strength as possible in their lives. In addition, we also want to help people find the freedom to find their joy and remove their internal and external barriers.