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Meditation: How to incorporate some into daily life

city meditation time

Meditation offers an option to the many people that are looking for ways to deal with mounting stress that characterises modern living. Because of overwork and the demands of a fast-paced lifestyle, millions of people are now suffering from the deleterious effects of stress. Millions are unaware that they may already be reaching the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Medical management of disorders such as anxiety and depression via purely pill-based routes. Adjusting brain chemistry is vital in the short term, as it brings much needed relief and help to a patient. However, a pill only route doesn’t  address underlying issues and patterns around what could have initially caused the problem.

The answer of “take a pill” for all our health issues. The entries in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) grow year on year, due to sub dividing previously listed disorders.

This is often attributed to the changing world in which we live in.  Some experts would recommend drugs that would lessen the symptoms and leave it at that.

Many people are being diagnosed with stress, and they don’t want that to turn into anxiety and depression. They realise that they need help and are keen on finding alternative methods of dealing with day-to-day stresses that does not involve taking medication. Fortunately, for them meditation offers an effective approach to help them gain a new and better outlook.

Meditation has a history spanning millennia

Numerous meditation techniques have spread to millions of folks worldwide. The practice of meditation has moved away from monasteries of all religious persuasions and entered into the secular world. This has increased the numbers of those practising exponentially,  particularly using the techniques embraced by Western cultures.

Today, millions of people around the world are engaging in daily meditation or undergoing training for a particular discipline and all of them are benefiting from this ancient practice. Some of them have also used meditation as a cure for some of the mental issues mentioned above.

Modern meditation practices are based on the traditions of two major religions; Hinduism and Buddhism. Ancient Eastern cultures were the originators of the tenets that directly influenced the current flow and structure of the many different meditation techniques known to modern societies.

Hindu texts and cave drawings dated around 3000 BC discovered in the Indus Valley in the early part of the last century show that man has been seeking stillness and enlightenment from the chaos of his own mind even when life was much simpler!

Meditation practices and their benefits

Once you make the decision to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, you are making the first step towards peace of mind and happiness. As well as leaving behind frustration, anger, and impatience.

Negative emotions such as these pile up, leading eventually to health issues, not only mentally but also physically. It can also lead to a sense of “wanting something” where spirituality is concerned.

Meditation is a great help to the “busybody” mind archetype – people who are always in a hurry to get things done and feel they have too much to do and never enough time – as it helps develop a mind that is balanced, calm, and quiet and able to function more efficiently and reasonably. It can help them understand that their perception that there is not enough time to finish everything is self inflicted.

Meditating gives us a unique glimpse at the workings of our mind. It shows us how we form our thoughts which in turn informs our behaviours. Meditation allows us to observe our thought in a detached manner, It also develops “focused attention.”  This makes it easy to discover how our negative and disturbing thoughts develop. Once understood, we can then begin to change and adapt our thoughts. Then, our behaviours also change for the better.

Having focused attention in day-to-day life brings many positive. It allows the mind to slow, think more efficiently and ultimately be freed from worry and distractions.

Your next step

To bring this all together and  help you to learn to meditate, I’ve created an 8 day mediation eCourse. I’ve also included a bonus 8 minutes meditation audio. I’ve designed them specifically to assist you to incorporate meditative practice into your daily routine.

This eCourse  is my free gift to you when you join my mailing list.  I’m positive that it will change your life, and changing lives is my mission in this world.  After all, meditation is not difficult at all. Its effects are well worth the 10 to 15 minutes of your day that a simple practice takes.

Are you ready to uplevel your mindset with mediation? Sign up to my mailing list using the form below, and we can start connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Be the change you want to see – it all starts with self

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been wanting to get this post out of my head and through my fingers for a while – there is so much “ugly”/”bad”/”hate fuelled”/”selfish” behaviour in the world right now and the sheer amount of these behaviours around the world feels honestly overwhelming.

And I’m sure that you hate what’s going on in the world with a passion. I know that I do.

Right now, around the world, “bad” things are happening – Jewish Soldiers abusing Palestinians, ISIS Salafist Takfiri* abusing and terrorising their surrounding Muslim population and generally bombing around the world, Russia shelling and bombing Ukraine, the current UK government making economically bankrupt choices leading to massive inequality and deprivation.

That’s to name but a few things going on that make our world right now that make it seem so bleak and negative. So, how can we re-frame this into a more positive outlook?

I’ve come to think that “Hate” as a concept is actually a neutral thing; it can be an extremely potent force for Change. For instance, if one person hates something enough, they will be moved to make a Choice and Change that thing. It is the Choice that provides the positive or negative action, not the fact that Hate is the driving factor.

So, what can one person do against this seeming tide of relentless crap? Remember that we think of change in terms of the people that have driven it, “someone” took that first step.

All of these people were “just one person” when they started out on their path to affect big change (both good and bad): Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Malala Yousafzai, Adolf Hitler, Ian Duncan Smith, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Robert Mugabe, Steve Jobs, Pol Pot, Ghengis Khan, Abraham Lincon, Lhamo Thondup (The 14th (and current) Dalai Lama), Adam Braun, Tony Robbins, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar.

The list goes on and on. History is littered with single people that made a difference. Sometimes the path chosen leads to massively bad things, more often than not however, it leads to great works of good. What’s to stop you from joining them?

Michael Jackson had the right idea… at least in his music. Jackson was well known for creating songs with conscience. “Man in the Mirror” (1987) and the later “Earth Song” (1995) are themes about Change on the grand scale having to start very small – with the Self.

Any and all Change has to start with the Self – Self is the only person that we can 100% effect. By an individual making a small change, and being an example, we can then affect others. The kicker there is that anyone we then interact has to then want to make a change in themselves.

If you are ready to make a change, you have to also realise that Fear of Change is a big factor for others. (Good Ol’ Amygdala!). But, to change the world, all any one person has to do is make a start and have the faith in themselves and in the Universe that the change is possible.

After all, what we want already exists (bear with me), but focus is needed to make it real.

This is all to do with Quantum Theory.

The three main Quantum Theory pillars, put very very simply, are based around the principles that

  • “At an atomic level, everything is energy”, (Quanta)
  • “Everything is connected” (Entanglement), and
  • “Something is only real when we choose to observe it” (“Superposition” and the “Observer Effect” – See the “Schrödinger’s Cat” thought experiment)

The Many-Worlds Interpretation of the consequences of Superposition states that “At any given moment in time, there are an infinite number of possibilities occurring, and that all of them already exist and are happening simultaneously. Each possibility happens in its own space and can’t be seen by others. We only see the possibility we focus on.”

So, if every possible version of every person exists somewhere, we simply choose to focus on the best possible versions of ourselves as what is real.  (For the Terry Prattchet Fans out there, he referred to this concept as “going down the other leg of the trousers of Time”)

But how, I hear you cry? It’s all very related to letting it go and also to resistance but the very first step is by being kind to ourselves.

I’ve spoken before about how we receive overwhelmingly negative messages about out bodies, our worth and our self from society and media and also in some cases from our parents and peers. We are told everyday that “life is hard and then you die”, “being fat is ugly”, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “sex is evil”, “no-one will want you if you are …” etc etc.

Simply put, this messaging is not kind. It’s also not true, and as we internalise it, it keeps us trapped in a negative mindset, far less able to make any sort of change, let alone change for the better.

However, when we start being kind, firstly to ourselves and then to others, we open possibilities. It doesn’t have to be big: For ourselves, eating well and getting good sleep is a good start. Whilst in the wider world, small acts such as Holding open a door for the person following you, saying “thank you” to the bus driver, giving someone some small change in the supermarket check-out line when they are tuppence short.

These sorts of small and random acts of kindness ripple through the world. For instance, eating and sleeping well gives us the energy to make our day easier. Holding the door lowers the stress on the person following you, saying “thank you” makes the bus driver smile & giving pennies smooths out the buying process for everyone in the queue, de-stresses the person that was a touch short and also keeps the checkout person happy.

When change can start so small and be so simple, why would a person not choose to make the world a better place? That’s a huge philosophical question, but the TL;DR message is simple:
Be kind – Kindness to both self and others is the number one self-care act that will make the entire world a better place.

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.
—The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)
Head Monk Of The Gelugpa Lineage Of Tibetan Buddhism

Leave me a comment about how you are going to make one small change for yourself that could grow to change the world. After all, once we know where we stand, we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next time!

* (Takfiri – Arabic. Can be translated into English as “excommunicated.”  In Islamic law, takfir or takfeer (تكفير) refers to apostasy in Islam – The general consensus being among the leading Islamic Scholars is that ISIS are not following the Islamic faith at all.)

Image used, Practice Random Acts of Kindness by MarcieLew
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Let it Go” – Holding on too tight is not the path to change

Running Dog

This one’s actually not that easy to write… The concept is a slippery one, and I keep false starting the writing in my head, I suspect because I’m holding on too tight to the concept! (I also have “Let It Go” from Frozen in my head, which is both helpful and not in equal amounts! 😉 )

It is a counter intuitive concept after all, in some ways. We all carry baggage, both good memories and bad, and generally, these memories shape how we interact with the world. This can keep us trapped in the past, very much preventing us being present in the now.

And whilst knowing how the world works can be a good thing, letting go is very scary. After all, some of the things that we carry that drag us down we don’t even consciously think about any more. The negative experiences become part of “us” –  But letting go of these negatives means removing known structures, removing the “comfort blanket” of what we think we know about how the world works.

And of course, as we know, the Amygdala likes keeping us in known past patterns, because “change is bad right?”

However, we don’t need to make a fuss about letting go, we just make the choice to see how are Amygdala is working and simple brush past that. In essesence, there is nothing to it but to do it.

Take Wednesday just gone for example.  Around 2 weeks ago, my Central Heating Boiler started making very very loud noises and then turning itself off after running for 4 hours or so.

I’m pretty hands on, so I do the obvious stuff; check the water pressure, check the condenser outlet isn’t blocked outside, bleed the radiators to get rid of air then re-pressurise the system. But nope, if anything, the noises be worse and it starts turning itself off even more.

It’s overdue servicing anyway, as I’ve been a bit lax with managing that. So, I ring the servicing company and I’m quoted £95 for the service and an additional £85/hr call out for the repairs labour.

I’m good with that, the company are a good & reliable company with well trained staff, not rip off merchants at all.

So, the chap turns up and does his thing. The boiler was in generally good shape, but what was causing the noise and turning off issue was Limescale gunk build up in the Condenser trap (the other end of the pipe I checked outside!) – which had built up cos of my lax servicing.

So, how is this about letting go? As I was brushing my teeth Wednesday morning, waiting for the repair person to show up, my brain leapt to “what if my boiler is totally broken… where will I find ~3K from?”

Which could have causes a spiral panic, and all the yukky fear that goes with that. Instead,  I then just saw the thought for what it was, shook my head at the silliness of the thought and let it wash out as a negative voice thought… I let it go.

That thought came from a scarcity mentality, from the past when where I worried about money and lived a small life because of that. Now, because I know the universe has my back and I let abundance in, this story also has a good ending – As it was a simple fix, the admin lady back in the office only charged me for 1/2 hour labour, so the bill was actually £42.50 less than expected!

So, how do we go about being able to let go? It’s nothing but simple practice really; the brain is a bit like a puppy, it runs around enthusiastically, going everywhere willy nilly in the territory that it knows. What we have to do is obverse our own thoughts, and when they start to stray into negative patterns or repetitive thoughts, we simply have to “pick up the puppy”, acknowledge that it was getting a bit wild running about over there in the past and bring it back to the present.

The more that you do this, the better you will get, as by seeing your own patterns you can then learn that they are just that, repetitive patterns, and that by holding onto them, you are almost certainly not serving your higher good.

Conversely, we don’t want to stop the puppy running about, because we would lose inspirational thoughts, what we want to do is just observe and train our puppy to walk the lighter, more inspirational paths, and generally leave the dead-end negative ones alone; just take a sniff at it, know it’s not worth the effort and then pass it by.

Whilst doing this day to day is good, you might want to kickstart the “puppy-training” learning process with a touch of meditation. Have a go and see what arises for you. This is a short meditation, will take around 15 minutes.

  1. Find a comfortable posture for you.
    Sit, stand, lie, whatever you want and however you can be relaxed. Close your eyes or not as you feel. Become aware of your breathing and take slow full belly breaths. (Often, we breath in small pants, with only with the top of our lungs, meaning we are really not taking in enough oxygen to keep our brain working at optimal speed)

  2. Then, notice, right now, the position of your body has ended up in and how it feels.
    Are you balanced through your spine, or are you canted to one side? Can you feel any physical tensions in your body? Do any parts feel warm? What about cold? If there is tension, or pain, could you give it a description? A shape, a colour or a texture? Be aware of these tensions. Also, what happens to the tensions and pains as you become aware of them? Do they release or stay with you?

  3. Next, become aware of emotions that are touching you at the moment.
    What happens when you observe your emotions? Can you rate how strong the emotion is? At this point, don’t try to let go, just feel it. Counter-intuitively, putting effort into letting go creates more tension – instead, simply become aware of it, acknowledge it and allow the emotion to take its course. If you want to laugh, laugh! If you want to cry, or yell do so. There is no wrong here, it’s all good to simply feel. Us “logic based westerners” generally don’t do enough of it. Take a good belly breath or two. If any of the feelings lingers on, for the now, be okay with that, and accept it as it is. If things do linger, there are other tactics that we can use to process these, but that’s not a topic for right now. Just know that you are going to have more work to do later.

  4. Finally, are you willing to let go of anything that you found out?
    Is there anything that you’re now holding on to that you can see isn’t serving your higher good? Take a few more belly breaths and just relax. Let whatever it is that you are ready to let go of just drain softly away as you breathe, trusting that you have within you all that needs to be known.

  5. Have a good stretch and come back to the day.
    Reactivate the body with a yawn and a good old glorious stretch, wiggle your fingers and toes, shake out your hands, stand up and gently jump or wriggle.

Are you willing to Let It Go? Once you’ve stopped humming Disney, leave me a comment below about how this experiment works for you, and especially how it feels, even if those feelings are negative. Because, as I said last time, negatives are as valid as positives for self-learning, as all “feels” are generated by the Limbic brain in the now. Once we know where we stand, we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next week!

Image used, Untitled by Stewart Black
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Can you “sit still” or do you need to “fill up your eyes” ?

Sit Still Or Fill Up Your Eyes

I’ve been doing personal development work the last 10 days or so, working on some of my “money stuff”, generally working on discovering and clearing my money blocks, creating an abundance mindset and specifically around making crucial mindset shifts for making passive income (Disclosure: Affiliate links) because hey, I want to create content and courses that improve the world, be a successful female entrepreneur role model for the next generation and gain clarity in my own world so I can help you to connect your dots and improve your life!

I love Denise Duffield-Thomas, she is just so down to earth, practical and totally speaks to the way I think about life. (NB: This is so important. You must resonate on a positive and human level with the people you work with and listen to in life. A good coach will turn you away if she feels that you will not work well together. Stress and combat over “personality-issues” do not make for successful self-improvement!)

Some of the work I’ve been doing has been all about my “sitting still”; being in the moment, breathing, focusing and listening to various messages. This made me think about how we “fill up our eyes” these days – using our Smartphones (Which are actually the ultimate personal computer) and tablets to “just check in”, “play a game” or various other activities that really just waste time and aren’t really engaging with the world or ourselves.

I remember when I was a kid, technology was really just breaking into the home environment, the mobile was a good 15 years away. So, as well as watching telly, I read books, played out, built things, made cakes, talked to my friends for hours on the phone. I could also “sit still”, because I didn’t feel the need for the “need to be doing” i.e. 100% engagement/stimulation, at all time. I look at my behaviours now, and the behaviours of my friends children, and we are all attached to our technology! We are “filling up our eyes” with minutae, most of which we don’t actually need to know, and some of which (especially for children) isn’t actively developing cognitive connections.

I’ve not denying that our level of tech. can be very useful; it is definitely life improving, and provides valuable learning and problem solving tools, but I’ve actively had to remember how to reach stillness again, remind myself that I can “just sit”, that I have no need to get agitated if my phone is not in my hand if there is nothing else going on, that it doesn’t matter if I’m not checking FaceBook or Twitter (the information I really need will find me) and to sit, breathe and also engage to absorb knowledge when I’ve been actively learning new stuff.

I feel that losing this stillness is a big issue. Having stillness in life allows for “reset” time, for me, this is the time where I engage with my orchids, dye my yarn, or just sit for 15 minutes on a sunny day enjoying the like on my face! I also have concern for the kids who have not actually learned about this stillness in the first place.  Yes, we all know that kids run around and pretty much never sit still, but when they do sit down, I see the automatically reaching for a device as potentially not the best idea for them…

So, can you sit still? Summer’s the perfect time to start to regain this vital skill. This week, I want you all to get out from behind your desk at lunch, go sit in the sun (Or, if you are like me, “sun-adjacent” i.e. in the shade!) and just be in the world for 15 minutes. Enjoy the sun, listen to the world around you, breathe and don’t touch your tech. during that time. Note how it makes you feel. Are you calm and enjoying the time, or agitated that you are taking time out and can’t “fill up your eyes”. Afterwards, are you feeling energised and ready to get back to your day with renewed vigour (hint: this is the desired outcome! 😉 ), or did you just feel a bit silly and fidgety, or that it was a waste of time. Leave me a comment below, and we can work on finding the moment and connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Credit for Sitting Still half of image used What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to sit and stare…. by Nagesh Jayaraman
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)