I love people, all people, especially the funny ones who have gotten over themselves. Kids are good at this. No wonder I love kids and dogs so much. I actually love all animals and all people, even the ones that do bad things, because I have no idea of their story and what they must have experienced. I just have compassion, and compassion is love.

I love meditation and being in the present moment. I love sitting on a rock or a bench and breathing in the scenery or mountain air. Everything I see is a story unfolding; people experiencing life and me experiencing them, and they experiencing me. There is beauty in everything and everyone once you open your heart and realize we are all One.

For those who want to hear me, I believe I am but a ladder for people to wake up. Wake up and realize they are really here, deeply, connected and part of the whole fabric of life.

I don’t heal, I don’t fix, I just share. That brings me great joy.

I have never declined giving money to a beggar. Who am I to judge.

I want to live on a beach, part of the year. I want to live in the woods, part of the year. I want to live on a farm, part of the year. Most of all, I want to deeply live every day.

I’m not a fan of the rat-race. It’s a trap. It was put there by greedy people at the expense of others and it intentionally keeps us unconscious. Humanity can do much better, and that is what I’m a part of.

I love business, I enjoy challenges, especially outsmarting myself. But I know I can’t find myself and true happiness in things or stuff. Business that’s centered around the wellness of the planet and its inhabitants is what is needed the most and provides us with the greatest opportunities.

I know there is a better way, a more meaningful, kinder, loving and sustainable way. You know it, I know it. We need an authentic life, authentic people in our lives. We need to put down the distractions, close our screens, and engage with life, and love deeply.

I believe enjoying every bite, feeling every step, listening to every word, and experiencing it through the heart in the present moment. That is the key to life.

This is what I believe. This is me. There I am.

A friend of mine recently asked me about meditation and sports performance. Her boyfriend is a young pro golfer and is trying to mature his game. In other words, he’s trying not to lose focus and fall apart on the course when under pressure. When you are talking about golf, that is by far the biggest challenge of the game.

Golf is a serious mind game where if you don’t have your head in the game, keep your cool and absolute focus, you’ll wish you stayed home. One crappy shot can destroy a golfer’s lead and turn their game into a tailspin with a cascading domino effect of utter shame and humiliation.

But golf is also like many other sports in that way, and many other professions and scenarios of talented and inspiring individuals who make art out of their play and push their personal envelope to the edges. Achieving anything you desire takes action, it also takes determination, focus and sheer commitment. But these things are just the processes, the real carrot is what it gives us. This is where accomplishment, pride, self-worth and acknowledgment come in. If you take it one step further, performance is actually about melting into your essence, joining your energy force and that of the natural universe around you into a flow of your own true potential and divinity. It’s a high, and it’s the most beautiful place in the world.

Some people call that “the zone” or “the flow”. Many top performers know what it is but can’t put it into words or explain where exactly it comes from and especially understand how deep it runs through them. They just know when they drop into that space, time stops, things move slowly and nothing else penetrates that magical arena- they are fully gone into the ether of who they truly and actually are. This is what meditation is.

Finding your zone isn’t just for top performers or golf.  The bigger game is life itself. 

When I was explaining this “zone” and “flow” to my friend, which I have worked hard at myself, I found I was explaining “life” as I know it. If you have ever watched the Disney movie “Finding Nemo” there is a scene where Nemo and Dora meet a creep of tortoises riding the oceanic conveyor belt and Nemo and Doro swim into it and hook a thrilling ride. The belt is much like the “zone”, it’s a current, an energy, a force that envelopes you and carries you in a protective field towards your goals, your life purpose. We all know the saying “Let the force be with you”, and the metaphor is that there is a divine invisible force of energy all around us that we can tap into that gives us ultimate power and carries us in a positive direction and materializes basically anything we really, truly want.

 So, let’s talk about how to get there. Hence, meditation.

Meditation is a process of refining your focus to the point that your mind becomes free from the incessant distraction from thoughts that come into our attention sometimes hundreds of times a minute and perhaps thousands of times per day. Your mind is darting here, darting there, tripping into the future, drawing you back into the past constantly. Its sizing everything and everyone up automatically and many times without your own awareness or consent. Your mind is like a wild horse, a drunk monkey, a crazy spinning out of control lunatic yelling in your head, and it’s exhausting, and its where suffering comes from.

To be able to be in control of your mind is the “zone”. Spiritually it’s called sumahdi, enlightenment and or nirvana. To calm your mind is to give it something else for it to do than its usual random thinking and troublemaking. To overpower this monkey-mind takes practice, not unlike learning how to golf, speak another language, get abs or straight A’s; it takes effort, focus, determination and commitment. It’s like building muscles. Your mind is a muscle and the more you work at “stilling” it (controlling it from running amok), the more you will experience the zone, otherwise called joy, peacefulness, tranquility, happiness, compassion and love. These things will automatically flow into your life when you make room for them. This is the art of living, this is where anything can happen to you and you will be firmly grounded in yourself.

A dear friend of mine who is a monk in Thailand explained the monkey-mind to me this way: Imagine you are trying to put a monkey in a box. At first, the monkey is running around everywhere, and you can’t catch him. After a while of trying, you start to learn his moves and you become quicker at trying to catch him. Finally, you catch him and then put him in the box. But before you can get the lid on, he jumps out of the box and starts running around all over the place again. You catch him again and put him in the box. He escapes again, and this happens over and over again until the monkey finally gives up because he realizes you’re just going to put him in the box again. Eventually, he just gives up and stays in the box quietly and doesn’t try to escape. That is the process of training your monkey-mind and achieving a meditative state and practice.

When you develop this skill, you will ultimately and eventually have an experience that will forever change you. I remember all the early stages of my meditation practice where I sat in frustration not quite understanding the jest of it, other than it would help my lack of happiness in my life.  Yet, I stayed diligent, got training from someone who was a deep meditator, and I sat, and sat, and sat.

…it turned out that I was sitting in meditation for hours.

Then one day as I sat with sincere conviction, I closed my eyes, focussed my attention to my inhaling breath, then my exhaling breath in a rhythmic way, I slowly turned the lights off, turned the motor to my mind off and put the monkey in the box. He didn’t move. He just stayed there silent. I sat there for what seemed like only minutes, but it turned out that I was sitting in meditation for hours.

It’s hard to describe where I went, but the best way I can explain it is that I drifted to the other-side. It was like stepping off the noisy busy streets of Manhattan and through a portal out to the other side where I was now on a deserted white sandy beach oasis, with the sound turned off. I was completely aware that I was aware, yet, I wasn’t thinking, I was just “being”. There was a flowing energy pouring over me that I can just describe as pure “love”. I connected with my whole being, melted into myself and in a flux of beaming white energy coming from me and around me. I felt overjoyed with compassion, understanding, peace and joy. I connected to myself within myself. I turned inside out, and back in to myself. In all my years of living, I have never felt anything like this before. I was now was changed forever. I now felt I understood why I was here, who I was and how things worked. Its difficult to explain, but everything we think we see that is happening is only happening in our mind. We are the witness to ourselves in this play and we have such power over that because deeper down,  that is where all things really exist.  This I will explain in future posts.

Perhaps, before my first breath was breathed into me at birth, I was there in that place, the ether of no-thing-ness, and everything. Perhaps, after the Iast breath I take, I will dissolve into it again until the next life is birthed, my next first breath. All I know is that the more I frequent that place, the softer, well rounded, happier and content I become. I am a changed person as a result, I don’t sweat the small stuff, I live knowing that each moment is all there is and that there is so much beauty in it all. I have become conscious enough to breath in what’s around me. I realize that we are all one, no one is an outsider. No one is ugly, no one is less.  I rarely judge anyone, including myself, I let things be as they just are, in all the beauty that they behold. I give my attention, I am present in the here and now more than ever. I can focus and shut everything else off completely for extended periods, including negative emotions.

The more I float into this flow, I realize that no matter what- I will be just fine regardless of the extreme. You can take everything away from me, but I will still behold the greatest gift in the universe; my sturdy understanding of my connection to the whole. I know that this force is with me, it’s in me, it’s in everything and everyone, we just have to tune into it like a turning the dial to a radio station and it goes from static to clear sound, from nothingness to ‘no-thing-ness’.

In this zone you can create whatever you want, you have the cosmic consciousness all around you manifesting and guiding you. Tune into it and let it carry you and you will see your game shift, and that’s because your life shifted.

“Just Do it!”

Nike’s famous statement applies in meditation practice as well. You can’t start anything unless you actually start! So, why not try something new that will bring amazing changes to your life. Like all new things, it takes effort and practice. Just think of tennis, golf, driving, running distances, learning languages and so on. The more you practice the better the results.

So I laid out a nice technique below and set of instructions to begin your new practice. Try it out and see how you feel. Then do it again and again until you can’t go without it.

 

THE MEDITATION PRACTICE

Commit conscious intention to meditate daily at a specific time for a specific length of time desirably in the same peaceful setting . Start with 15 minutes, then graduate.

PROCESS:

Meditate (concentrate) on an object of attention like the subtle feeling of air passing by your nostrils. Gently come back to it when you lose focus. Repeat. Don’t judge yourself and think you can’t do it. You never gave up on learning how to walk or ride a bike, did you? You are beginning and developing a muscle.

Meditation is about clearing the mind from the chatter and thoughts about the past and future. It is about being in the present moment and letting that unfold into a state of clarity, bliss, kindness, self-love, compassion, joy and happiness. The more you meditate, the deeper those feelings and senses become. I’ll cover a lot of that in my blog:)

How to Meditate

6 POINT PREPARATION

SET MOTIVATION

Have a clear sense of purpose, remind yourself why you are meditating. Is it calmness, peacefulness, relaxation, awakening, enlightenment?

GOALS

 What do you hope to accomplish this session; not giving up? remaining patient?

EXPECTATIONS

Be easy on yourself. Hold goals lightly- just enjoy and savour any achievement and let go of any resistance or judgement.

COMMITT TO DILLIGENCE

Engage whole-heartedly. Resolve to practice diligently no matter how it each sitting goes.

REVIEW POTENTIAL DISTRACTIONS

Do a quick inventory before you practice; ie problems, stresses, what your mind is occupied with, regrets, doubts. Acknowledge them and set them aside for now.

ADJUST YOUR POSTURE

Get comfortable.

Adjust any supports.

Head, neck, back aligned- not leaning in any direction

Shoulders even

Hands level with each other, either clasping in your lap or hand on each knee

Lips closed

Teeth slightly apart

Tongue on the roof of your mouth, tip of your tongue slightly toughing your teeth

Eyes closed, slightly down. Eases tension in face and forehead

Breath through your nose, lips closed

Relax and enjoy

Scan your body for tension, then let it go

Your body should be like a lump of soft clay, soft and stable, completely pliant

 

Now follow the 6 Point Preparation above, then the Process, also above. Enjoy

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” – Rumi

You don’t suck, and here’s why…

Damn, you’re awesome, you really are amazing!

You know why? Because you’re here, you exist, you are alive, and that’s a magical answer.

The odds of you being alive and reading this is 1 in 480 billion! Yes 1 in 480 billion according to a recent study. That’s is pretty damn incredible if you ask me, and that is a lot to be grateful for.

Just think, you made it this far from coming out of the infinite universe as a tiny speck made up of molecules and atoms and star stuff that all aligned to form “you”. Yes you, the one with your own unique DNA, fingerprints and quirky personality existing here on a grain of dirt in this massive universe floating in a colossal cosmic soup. It’s pretty incredible. Rarely do we ever sit and think about just how special and lucky we really are to experience “l-i-f-e”. Don’t believe me? Have a look at this chart below.

Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 9.18.17 AM

As impressive as this is with the jaw dropping odds of existence we are blessed with, which are truly beyond comprehension, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t bitch and rant about life anyway.

Humans have an insatiable appetite for complaining and not being satisfied and always looking for “m o r e”.

Don’t buy into the culture

What if I told you that all that striving to “be better”, “be smarter”, “work harder”, “look better” and the non-stop obsession to “climb the ladder of success”, to “eat or be eaten”, is exactly why modern society is the mess that it is and is the reason for all our personal and collective suffering we are facing today. Further, this ravenous obsession with consumerism to want more at any cost is wrecking havoc on the planet with our disregard for nature. We’re just so wound up on “M-O-R-E” that we’re losing ourselves.

I believe our egoic human tendency of competition, “look at me” “look what I can do” has a direct correlation to why we’re sicker than ever and taking more drugs than anytime in history. The population around the world in developed countries are getting fatter, and suffering from depression and mental disorders, especially in North America. Society as a whole is simply more miserable and unhappier at any other time in our history.

In this superficial society of a fake virtual reality through the advent of technology, we judge ourselves against photo-shopped images of others. We see glossy pictures of happy people who seem like they have it all and we feel bad and less that we don’t.

I used to search for “more” outside of myself. The belief if I had just this or just that, I would feel complete, that I would be a somebody. That new shiny phone, that new car, the bigger house, the cool job, and that photo-shopped Instagram picture of myself I just posted is all an illusion, and it doesn’t equal happiness, it’s just “stuff” and appearances.

But, in this technological world of happy-washing with doctored pictures, what is real anymore? Shopping to find ourselves” is ingrained into our culture and consciousness. Our attention is very valuable to companies that want sell us stuff. It is a vicious game to be caught up in the world of consumerism and feeling less hoping for the next thing that will give us a temporary dopamine hit. Once you’re hooked into that rush, happiness starts to dwindle, even evaporate.

You can’t buy happiness!

But you start being mindful and can buy meditation lessons, and that’s kinda the same thing.

So here is the deal in my opinion: invest in finding yourself. Start looking inside for balance, comfort, and feeling good, especially about yourself and who you are in this very moment. The more you turn inwards and be present and gather a deeper appreciation for who you are, the more you realize you need less of everything else.

Remember the odds of you being on this planet, hold that in your heart as you become richer in experiencing your life everyday and every moment.

Metta