1. More harmonious relationships
2. Seemingly longer mindful vacations
3. Mental fortitude and neurogenesis
4. Better physical health & Energy
5. More self compassion and healthy self-love
6. Better Sleep
7. Increased creativity & problem solving ability
8. Sharper mental clarity
9. Less need for therapy
10. Anger reduction
11. Increase in overall life bliss
13. Food tastes better
14. Better Sex
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.
In my twenties, I used to lament the fact that I had been diagnosed with a mental illness and I couldn’t understand why the universe had cursed me with such a traumatic condition. Since childhood, I always knew that my brain was different than my friends’ and families’ brains but being diagnosed was too much.
As I matured, I continued to struggle with acceptance and coming to terms with a life-long challenge that wasn’t going to go into spontaneous remission (though at times I thought I’d spontaneously combust). Now, instead of lamenting on what I can’t be like, I focus on as much of the positive aspects of my life – both past and – present and I look forward to what’s yet to come.
Every day, I try to think about what the universe has given me – a loving family, amazing friends, creative talents, a roof over my head and so on. I finally feel like the many traumas that I’ve endured over my lifetime have made me uniquely qualified to help other people in need. And, when I’m in a manic phase, it’s usually manageable and I’m a whole lot of fun!
No one has it easy but if we can keep our lights shining even if they’ve gone somewhat dim, with our human spirits we can endure so many things.
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.
In case anyone knows of musicians in the Boston area, I’m putting together a band…
Bodhisattva Big Band and we’re looking for musicians and performers in the Boston area.
The idea is to have tribal/healing/entertaining/globally awesome music and performance that will be similar to a drum circle but will incorporate whatever musicians come our way. We’re seeking drums like djembes, bongos, tablas etc., anybody who wants to shake a rattle, bang a gong, rock some castanets, play some didgeridoo, flute, violin, ouds an so on. Also, anyone who wants to free their bodies by dancing, moving, and singing.
Rehearsals will be structured but informal and we will do covers like Beatles, Marley, Peter Gabriel but will also create our own music as well.
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.”
In this world, people who hate are in their own private hells. It’s sad but my hope is that we can help them see a secular heaven in their present lives that is filled with faith, hope and love. I want to inspire the haters and help them to see the beauty of this existence.
Rejoice! Your lives are changing as we speak! Nothing is ever the same. Second by second your lives are shifting. Use your time wisely folks and make the best of every millisecond of this life that you have. Rock on!!!
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.