Controlling your Mind with your Body

Controlling your Mind with your Body

Severe stress or panic attacks are moments when you feel you have no control over what’s happening around you, you have no control over your mind and body, and is a direct result of uncontrolled excessive thinking about something – usually something negative. You’re expecting a result, you’re projecting your thought process into that future, and you’re looking at the consequences of that thing happening or not happening. It’s always in the future, it’s always result-oriented, and it always reflects some adverse effects of the desired result. If the result is not favorable, your mind is lost; you’re lost. You don’t know what to do.

Creating an Anchor

Panic attacks and sudden outbursts of anger or stress cannot simply be controlled by the environment or the situation that you’re in. Your mind is projecting itself into the future, and you are lost somewhere in the future. Unless you have a regular habit of learning how to come back to the present moment, you cannot simply spring to the present moment without an anchor. Even the thought process that  “Okay, now you’re getting stressed, you’re getting anxious, just come back to your breath, just relax” can’t happen. You should have created enough opportunities where you have told this to yourself.

If you just try to do this for the first time, it is impossible, because where is the memory of it? It’s like this: When you are surrounded by a certain emotion, that emotion engulfs you completely. Relaxation is a different state of mind to stress. Stress and relaxation cannot be accommodated within the same emotional framework, because they’re fundamentally different emotions. The effects of stress on your body and the effects of relaxation on your body are opposite because they are opposite states of mind. Similarly, when you’re in a stressful state of mind you can only generate stressful thoughts. When you are lost in stressful thoughts, you can only be stressed. You can’t bring in an opposite thought process that will calm the stress level without creating the habit, without practice. This is where you need to understand how your mind and your body function.

Thoughts and Emotions

We tend to think that we can achieve everything just by thinking because it is possible. We can plan for the future, and we can do a lot of things with our thinking, but thoughts have no power over our emotions; thoughts are always subservient to our emotions. Thought is like a train that can only run on the tracks of emotions. If you change the track, put the thought on a different emotional track, it’ll simply run on it. If it is not compatible with that track, it will not run, but will just fall off. When you catch yourself running certain thoughts, you should know that you are in a certain state of mind.

You can conquer stress and panic attacks not with thoughts, but by changing your state of mind. This is where the trick is: You cannot use a thought to change the state of your mind, but you have to use something totally different. What else do you know apart from your thoughts? Is there anything else apart from your thoughts? Of course, there is!

Apart from your thinking and being lost in thoughts, you have a body. You have your legs, your hands, your breathing, your heartbeat, your muscles and bones, and you have your whole physicality. Why don’t you use your physicality to control your emotions? Why don’t you learn to use your body to control your emotions? That is the most practical, logical, and scientific way of approaching your emotions.

Recognizing the Cycles of the Mind

Instead of using your body in times of emotional distress, what youusually do is completely let go of it. You start searching for other kinds of thoughts to take control of your mind, which is just not possible because you are in a certain state of mind. When you are in a fearful state your mind can only generate fearful thoughts. Even if a positive thought tries to enter it, because the track is of fear, either it can run on the fearful track and become fearful itself, or simply drop off. A nice, positive thought begins, but it does not take hold in that state of mind. Even a positive thought becomes negative in a negative state of mind.

You need to understand that these negative states of mind are just habitual things that happen to us: They have no purpose. Just like the body regulates your temperature and keeps you balanced when you’re about to trip, the mind does the same thing. It sometimes puts you in a negative state, sometimes it puts you in a neutral state, and sometimes it jolts you – it scares you! Not for any special purpose, just because this is the way the mind functions. This is the way the mind sustains itself.

If the body gets too hot, it will sweat. That is its mechanism to cool down. When the mind is totally relaxed, when the mind is not agitated, is not disturbed, it craves for disturbance. When there is no disturbance, the mind is lost. This is when the “What am I? What is my purpose?” questioning begins, because for us, even relaxation is to be with certain relaxed thoughts. We really don’t know what it is to relax meditatively, relax existentially. Of course, there is some type of relaxation which will feel perfectly natural to you, but all of the relaxations are simply of the mind.

The mind cannot simply be in one state all the time, just like the body cannot be in one state all the time. You eat food, you do some exercise, and after a while it begins to get hungry. Why? It begins to get hungry because that is the process. The body has a cyclical process: Activity/rest, heat/cold, hunger/states of non-hunger. Our mind is exactly the same: Happiness/sadness, stress/relaxation. Because we have not accepted this nature of the mind, when the mind puts us into certain difficult and stressful situations, we tend to think it is something completely abnormal – it is happening only to us. “I’m not able to control what’s happening around.” In fact, that is the natural functioning mechanism of the mind. How you go beyond it is to fully understand the nature of the mind, is to fully understand how emotions work, and when you get into those negative emotional states you just need to hold on.

This will Pass

A single thought process that can conquer so much negativity is the idea that “This will pass. It’s not going to always be like this.” Even if you want to hold on to that stress, even if you want to make it permanent,  you will not be able to. Eventually, whether you want it or not, you will come out of it. Since you have not chosen to be in that state, it is difficult to choose to come out of it, because it is a combination of a lot of things. It’s a combination of the way you have looked at your mind, the way you have looked at situations, and how long you have been in those stressful situations. It has become a pattern.

The only thing that you can do is to learn how to step away from all these thought processes and simply come back to the body. Just observing the breath, the sensations of the body, or switching your awareness from thoughts to just listening seems extraordinarily simple. In fact, it is simple. For example, when you’re taking a walk and you’re thinking about something – you’re thinking about the consequences of that thing, and suddenly there’s a rush of anxiety, stress.

Coming Back to the Body

Instead of thinking about consequences, just listen to what is happening around you. You might listen to the sounds of the birds, or the sounds of the vehicles, or people talking. Immediately you are shifting your landscape of reality from somewhere lost in your thoughts to what is happening around you. There is nothing really happening immediately around you that is causing you that stress unless someone is pointing a gun at you, or someone is threatening you. Thankfully, that kind of stress is rare; we don’t experience that sort of stress that often. The stress we usually experience is the one that we have created because of our mental process, because of our thinking.

Coming back to the body appears extraordinarily simple, and it is simple, but unless you have practiced it, you will not be reminded to do it. When it is really necessary, when it is required, you do not remember it because you’re in a different state of mind. When you do remember to come back to the present moment, you automatically relax. For whatever reason, the mind goes through that process of stress and comes back to relaxation. That is when you will remember, “I wish I could have just simply observed my breath. I wish I could have just simply sat and taken a break.” You will recognize how easy it is to step out of those states when you’re reflecting on those situations, and actually not in that state. “Why do I get into those states? Now I’m feeling happy. Now my life is good, but when I’m in those states I cannot control myself.” It’s because you are engulfed by that emotion.

iDealing with Emotions

When you’re dealing with emotions, you cannot give instructions. When you are engulfed by a certain emotion you cannot tell yourself, “All right, just sit and relax.” Even when you sit quietly, you will be stressed. Even if you run, you’ll be stressed. Even if you jump in the water to swim, you’ll be stressed because you’re in that emotional state. The only way to jump out of the emotional state is to use your body as the anchor.

This is difficult to understand if you start thinking in terms of concepts. This is not a concept: I mean exactly what I’m saying. I’m not interpreting anything. I’m saying that when you are beginning to feel the stress, just come back to the sensations of the body – whatever that is. Just shift your focus and awareness to the body; the stress of the body, the pain of the body, the way you’re breathing. Get into the existential framework that you are in at that very moment. That will bring you to the present moment. The first few times you will not be able to do this, you will only think about it later. After a little bit of practice, you will be able to do this easily. Then you will realize that everyone is going through the same problem – everyone.

There’s not a single person who is not suffering from stress, anxiety, or panic attacks. It’s just that they have learned how not to express it; they keep it hidden within. However, if you were to actually look at the minds of people, most of the time it’s terrifying because they have figured out that it’s not good to express that state outwardly.  A lot of people don’t even seek help, because they think it is something totally negative. You will realize that everybody’s going through the same problem, and the solution is as simple as: Just step away from that mental process.

Bringing in Your Senses

As long as you have a mind, you will be stressed. As of now, you are dealing with the mind as if it is the only ingredient that is available. You are trying to cook a fabulous dish using only one ingredient: That is thought. You’re wanting to use it for everything. If you are garnishing, you’re adding thoughts. For taste, you’re adding the same thoughts. There’s no variety! Why don’t you bring something different to the dish? What is something different? You have five senses and your mind is simply an enveloping sixth sense – that’s it: The sense of thinking.

Sometimes just use your sense of seeing; just try to see, not think. Sometimes just listen, or just smell. Sometimes just taste. If you’re getting stressed, if you’re not able to do anything else, just take some chocolate and put it in your mouth, or have a cup of coffee. Even the simplest of things will work, but whatever you do, you’ve got to do it in reality, in the present moment, using your body. Anything other than thinking about a solution is the right solution. Anything other than, “How do I get over this problem? I have to find a solution to this. Let me think about it.” That is not the solution.

Don’t “Think” About it

Thinking about a solution for stress will stress you more, so the solution for stress is something totally different – totally different ingredients, a totally different flavor, which is your body. Using your body and your senses, you can absolutely control your emotional states. When you are beginning to notice that you are losing control of your mind and thoughts, just say, “All right, I want to move away from my thinking sense, to listening, to feeling, to being in the moment. With a little bit of practice, you will be able to do it.

Initially, the mind will not allow you, because it is more powerful. Your habit of being with the body has not kicked in, but the habit of being with the mind has become very strong, has become set in concrete. To break that, it will take a while. This is what mindfulness is. After a while, you will see what a beautiful asset the body is, what a marvelous friend the body is and what a bloody nemesis the mind is. The moment you see all these things clearly and begin to practice mindfulness, meditation, and being in the moment, gradually you will be able to go beyond your severe stress and anxiety. It won’t happen immediately. It won’t happen just tomorrow, but for sure you will go beyond it within a matter of a few months or a few years.

This is a proper, long-term, and permanent solution. If you try to get rid of stress just at that moment by drugs or alcohol or doing something that your body and mind don’t like, it’s only going to be a momentary solution. It’ll come back again. A gradual approach is always best.

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Origin of Meditation – Why Meditate?

Origin of Meditation – Why Meditate?

Meditation is an ancient science that holds the key to finding the real you and figuring out this mystery called “Life”. Really, there is way more to life than what we’re experiencing.

In this article, Avi explains, in great detail, the mystery of meditation and how it is imperative that we learn how to build our lives around a meditative and mindful lifestyle. It’s not complicated; we’ve just got to be willing to listen and learn.

The Science of Meditation

Meditation marks the beginning of a new quest in man to know himself. Meditation is the science of knowing oneself. It is a systematic way of using our own consciousness, our own awareness, to understand the phenomenon of life that is happening right here and right now. The science is so pure that it does not use any external instruments; it does not use any external objects, and it is not about going somewhere. It is not about the external reality at all.

As far as meditation is concerned, the universe is the individual. If there is space somewhere in the universe, that space is within the individual. If there is air in the universe, it is within the individual. If there is matter, it’s within the individual. If there is gravity, it’s felt by the individual. There is absolutely nothing that exists in the universe that is not experienced by the individual. Light, darkness, solid, liquid, good, bad; everything is experienced and perceived by the individual.

Meditation is the science of knowing what is this perception, and why are we perceiving the world the way we are perceiving it?  Naturally, just like experiencing the benefits of knowledge, when we know more about something, we can use it better. It’s the same with meditation. Meditation gives us the keys to unlock the doors of our minds and bodies.

We have a body and we have a mind, but the mystery of how they function is hidden behind these closed doors. We have to explore our inner space to know how we function; the connection between the simplest of things. What is the connection between my desire and my thoughts? What is the connection between a thought and my body? Who leads who? Who is the master? Who is the servant? What is control? Where do I get control from?

Is Society Sucking the Life out of You

Now, anything you want to accomplish, even in the worldly sense, if you want to attain to any kind of success, any kind of life that you are desiring, you need to direct this mechanism, the mind and the body, in a particular direction. How would you be able to do it when you’re not sure about how it actually functions? Unlike all other systems of knowledge that are simply external, meditation is knowledge one acquires by experience. We know the difference between information, knowledge, and wisdom.

Information is available everywhere.  A 20-year old can read a few books and he can feel that he knows the entire world. When it comes to understanding life, dealing with failures and negative emotions, unless that individual has gone through experiences where he has fallen down and got up, where life has knocked him down several times and he has learned how to pick himself up, he has not developed his emotional strength at all. He simply has intellectual strength which is useful only in times of absolute peace and calm.

Now, when we talk about education, society, politics, religion; none of this is created for the individual. Everything is created to create a straw to suck the juice out of the individual. Everything is a straw. You go to school, you go to college, you go to work, you get into anything that is created by the social system. More than you getting something out of it, your energies are drained from it. Only a few individuals can push through all these experiences and realize very quickly that this whole system is there for selfish purposes.

The moment an individual figures this out, then he would learn how to draw from other individuals. Ninety-nine percent of the population of the world is living in darkness; absolute darkness. We don’t know why we are here, we don’t know what is the purpose of education, we don’t know what is the purpose of our government, we don’t know who is there to help, or who is there to hurt. We are living in total darkness. Meditation is the light that one can use to illuminate, firstly, his life. To understand how somebody else is taking advantage of his mind and body and how somebody else is taking advantage of his ignorance.

Questioning the Education System

If you are being used, the worst thing is to not know it. Just simply live and die in that system where you are used thoroughly and discarded. The second-worst thing is to know it and not do anything about it. What you need to know is that this is the purpose of the system.

What subjects did I study in my school? What were the benefits of these subjects? How much am I using these subjects for my personal happiness? Now, was there even a consideration about my personal happiness and my personal wellbeing, or was it just about trying to fit me into a system? Does this system even look at me like a human being or does it look at me like a resource?

See, the world is still a jungle. It is still a place where the strong feed upon the weak. It is still the same. We have moved from the rawness of physicality to a more intellectual jungle, but even here it’s the same. It’s a strong mind that preys upon the weaker mind. The weaker mind is always an ignorant mind.

Every individual who comes into this world has to first face the demons of these strong minds. They’ve created the system; they’ve already set the path. To question and understand, if that is the path, if that is the way that can lead to my happiness, if that is the path to my personal salvation and liberation, then meditation is not required. We all know; we have taken those paths. All of us have been a part of the system.

How did we lose Meditation?

Most of us have been educated through the formal system and we have worked our entire lives in it. What have we gained at the end of it? In fact, we have become slaves to the system. Society is our making. The systems are our making. Everything exists because this individual is searching for some happiness; this individual is searching for some peace. If this individual is forgotten, then what system are we talking about? What society are we talking about? There’s no meaning in any of this.

In all this, in the entire intellectual endeavor of man, there is no mention of meditation. In the formal education system there is no mention of meditation. It just baffles me. When you think about it, meditation is the only tool that you can give an individual guidance and say, “Here is the key to know yourself.” It’s not one person’s ideology that can transform you. The key that you’re looking for is the ability to explore and experiment with your life.

To say that one book–whether it’s the Bible, or the Gita, or the Koran, is the answer for all your life’s questions is absolutely ridiculous. If you actually analyze those books, they actually talked about something within us and finding a way to it. In fact, those books actually talk about how you should not attach yourself to those teachings. You should learn from it but use your own light. I mean, which religious teacher has not spoken about finding your own light, finding your own source of wisdom?

Buddha himself says, “Don’t follow me, don’t accept everything that I’m saying, unless it falls into your consciousness and unless you can reason it and understand it fully. Don’t believe anything people say, including me.” This was his message, but the Buddhist message is totally different. “Follow everything Buddha says, don’t use your brain, just follow everything.” I’m not condemning religion but I’m just saying that the true purpose of religion has become way too diluted.

This was the same message of Jesus, “You are the light. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” But the message of Christians is “The Kingdom of Heaven is with Jesus. He’s the Savior.” He lived and died teaching,“You are your Savior.” We are clinging to one idea, that he’s the Savior.

Breaking the Shackles of our Minds

Amidst all of these things, we are completely trapped in our ignorance. We don’t know who we are. To know who we are requires observation, clarity, and clarity of perception. It requires the ability to push away all the unwanted things that are there in our mind, and to see life for what it is. At the end of the day, life is what you make of it. Life is your definition. If you want to spend the rest of your life struggling and suffering, it is your own choosing.

We have given permission for someone to put on the shackles that bind us. Those shackles can have nice beautiful names: Education, society, religion, whatever they might be. When we connect to individuals, it’s a totally different experience. With individuals, we can feel love and compassion. Overall, as a society, everything simply remains an idea.

Look at the way we talk about eradication of poverty. What are you talking about? I mean how do you eradicate poverty? You have to talk about how you are going to transform that one individual’s life. Politicians talk about eradicating poverty, and getting people out of poverty all the time. How would you be able to do it when you don’t give that individual the key? You don’t need to bring anybody out of poverty. You don’t need to bring anybody out of darkness. Just tell them the Truth. That’s all. Meditation is the Truth.

For me personally, it is the Truth. It has been the Truth that has made all the difference. Here is the key: Sitting quiet and watching your breath. Meditation really cannot begin with a very casual purpose. You will never have the intensity or the courage or the willpower to pursue meditation if you don’t really see how much you need it.

If knowledge is power, without meditation we are totally powerless; we have zero power–zero! We are simply living somebody else’s dreams, desires, and ideologies. We are living in the past. If we are to live in the present, then we need to acquire the knowledge: Knowledge of the self, knowledge of the body, and knowledge of the mind. That’s what meditation is. Beyond this, how it works is all a deep process.

Walking the path of Meditation

As you begin to walk the path, as you begin to inquire, start questioning, start learning, start reading, start exploring, and start finding people who can teach you meditation. Don’t worry too much about what meditation is, because when you ask the questions, “What are the benefits of meditation? What is meditation?” your mind is actually waiting for an answer that it doesn’t like so that it can say, “Okay, it will not work for me, I don’t need any benefits.”

People have been talking about meditation since the beginning of time. Somewhere I see a common connection. Every culture has spoken about meditation: “What is this thing, let me give it a try.” Who cares about benefits? May be that word itself comes from some external purpose. For me there is really no benefit. It is about a deeper experience of life. Maybe the purpose of meditation is not to reach somewhere, but to be in meditation; to simply sit quiet, take a break, rest, relax, and experience life. Maybe meditation is just a way of saying, “I am going to stop running and I’m going to experience life at least for that one hour or at least for those couple of hours.”

Again, we should not bring in the mind in terms of, “What is the purpose of meditation? Will it help me to get a job? Will it help me to pay my bills?” You’re asking the wrong questions. Meditation will give you a lot more than just helping you to survive. It will teach you what life is.

As of now, we are crawling on the floor like snails carrying the shells that we call our education, our knowledge. That shell is useful though, it protects us when there is danger. You can just go inside it. Meditation is a process that will help you develop wings. That snail that is crawling on the floor will someday be able to fly. That’s what meditation is. Once you decide to fly, you don’t need that burden. You can let go of all that and move into a totally different way of experiencing.

We are living in a place where we need a lot of protection, so that’s why we have created the mechanism of the mind.  Our mind does not even allow us to rest for five minutes. Our mind is the shell. It says, “You cannot sit naked.” When you sit quiet, the mind makes you feel like you’re naked. You have to constantly be fighting with the mind, and that’s the protection, that’s the shell.

Once you realize that you’re not that snail, you can fly. You have wings. Somehow you have tucked those wings in. To know that you have wings, you need meditation. So, trying to explain to a snail what it is to fly, is stupidity. It’s ridiculous. If I were to tell you that these are the benefits of meditation, the snail would say, “I don’t even need it. I’m already perfectly fine.” If I were to tell that snail, “See, you can jump from that tree to this tree,” the snail will say, “Why? I don’t have to jump. I’ll slowly climb up this tree and then I’ll move to that tree somehow.”

What’s going on in my Mind?

It’s the same way. Unless you meditate you will not know the uses of meditation. Unless you explore your inner life and see the kind of treasures that are hidden within you, will not know the use of them. When you dig deeper and you find a diamond, that is when you will think, “Oh, what can I do with this?” As of now, you’re not missing the diamond. You don’t need it because you’ve created a way of life in which everything is just going about. To know, to even know how deep we are in darkness, we need meditation.

I have tried to explain meditation in as many ways as possible, but really, it’s impossible to explain the benefits of meditation unless you have tasted it. Unless you have gone through it, it is impossible to know. At the most basic level, meditation helps you to understand your thought process. It helps you to gain control over your thoughts.

As of now, your thoughts control you. Meditation reverses that process: That’s the first benefit. Then as you go deeper into it, meditation will help you to understand your emotions, which are the foundation of all your thoughts. By being aware of your emotional states you can have 100% control over how you act: Somebody else cannot make you angry, and somebody else cannot make you frustrated, once you know that it is your own emotions that are responsible for all the chaos and confusion. Once you can get to that level of understanding, then you have much better control over your life, and much better control over your present and future.

Success in Meditation = Success in Life

When you go one layer deeper, you can even reduce the physical pain and stress of the body. You can experience deeper states of bliss. Bliss cannot be explained. Bliss is not happiness. Bliss is a deep state of feeling connected with yourself, with life, and with existence. Only when you experience it will you know. Beyond that, there are a hundred more things that you can experience. They are all things that cannot be put in words. Somewhere, you’ve got to begin.

So, instead of worrying too much about the benefits, just dive in. Believe in yourself that you can understand meditation, that you can figure it out. It might take some time, but don’t give up.

If you succeed in meditation, you succeed in everything. If you fail in meditation, then life is an absolute uncertainty. It will always be uncertain. Meditation is the last struggle. The only struggle. If you are able to struggle and understand what meditation is, from different perspectives, from different angles, to use your mind, your creativity, and your wisdom; if you’re able to get the hang of it and you get one drop of the actual taste of meditation, you will know for sure that this is what you need.

You need that one glimpse, that one absolute understanding, that, “Yes, meditation is relaxing me, it’s relaxing my mind.” You have to be very scientific in understanding it. You cannot be prejudiced. You cannot be partial. When you are very honest you can clearly see how it is benefiting you. Then, nobody has to tell you how to meditate or what are the benefits. You just keep on figuring out different ways of transforming every experience of life into meditation. What you are looking for is a moment of decision, a moment of commitment, a moment of courage, to say, “I want to give this a try.”

Once you experience what meditation offers you, then you will know the benefits. You will know there’s so much more to meditation than just what I’m seeking from it. What meditation offers you is much beyond, and it’s something that you cannot even ask for. You don’t even know that what you’re asking for is coming from your mind. What meditation gives you comes from existence. To even know what to ask existence you’ve got to be in a certain state. That’s why you need meditation.

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In Search of Love

In Search of Love

The invisible thread that connects us to everything, and everything else to us, is love. There is no meaning and purpose to life without love and yet how many of us really understand the real meaning of the word love. Love is unfortunately mistaken for so many other emotions that have absolutely nothing to do with it. Love is not just another emotion; it is a transcendental feeling of connectedness. Love has to be the language of the universe.

We need love because it is the only way we can make any sense of this experiential dreamlike state called life.  Without love, we are just wandering spirits of the wilderness of life, moving without any meaning or purpose, motivated by a few worldly purposes we have picked up along the way. Love is important because it is what we are searching for. Without love, life is simply pointless.

Now, what exactly is love? How can we be sure that what we have found or what we are looking for is love and not just another emotion? The first thing to understand about love is that it does not stand independently; there is no such thing as an objective love that is independent of you. Love is a difficult thing to find because its most important part is hidden within you; what you are searching for on the outside is simply a reflection of what you already know within you. The starting point of your search for love is always you.

When we forget ourselves in our pursuit of love, we miss the most important ingredient that makes love possible – Us. The first step in finding real love is diving deep into the recesses of our mind and heart to know who we are. It is a continuous process; the more we know ourselves the easier it is to find love. This might sound a little strange, but it is a fact. The one who knows himself/herself better has the best possible chance of finding true love.

Remember, there is no such thing as “The Love” there is only “Your Love”; there is only your definition of love. If you cannot define what exactly love is to you, you will never be able to find it. This is probably why most people keep searching for love all their lives, never to find it. For most, life is an endless pursuit of love because they have not made a sincere attempt to know themselves.

This is why there is such a deep connection between love and spirituality. The more spiritual we are, the more capable we are of finding true love. If love is all that we are searching for, then spirituality is simply a way of looking deeper within us to understand the true nature of this love. There is only one place where love finds its perfect match; when it is found within you.

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Slow Down

Slow Down

Life is not all about how far we go, how many things we do, or how much we achieve; life is simply a measure of how deeply we live. This is why there are as many ways of living as there are people on this planet. There is no one right way of living and there certainly is no one definition of life.

Rarely do we talk about the experience of being in the moment. Most of the time we are so busy skimming off the surface of life, darting from one point to another, we simply forget that there is enormous depth to the present moment. The present moment is a single moment only from the point of view of the past and the future. From the point of view of the present, this moment is eternity. It has a depth beyond comprehension.

Our fears, worries and anxieties are simply a result of not knowing how to experience the depth of the present moment where life is brimming with joy and completeness. Happiness is not an experience; it is simply the depth of our being. The deeper we are able to get to the depths of our being, the happier we will be.

One of the easiest ways to reach the depths of the present moment is by learning to slow down. Yes, the simple act of slowing down tremendously increases our ability to experience the present moment. Just a conscious choice to slow down will make an ocean of difference as to how we perceive and experience life. Slowing down doesn’t mean that your life has slowed down; slowing down means you are more aware of and alert to what is happening around you.

Just reflect on this for a moment; aren’t all our daily frustrations a result of our mind racing fast, hop-skipping from one thought to another, not knowing how to slow down, pause or stop? We know this from experience; the faster our thought process is, the more agitated and disturbed we become. There is a direct correlation between speed of thought and stress, isn’t there?

Contrary to the understanding that slowing down will not allow you to complete important tasks in time, slowing down, in fact, increases your ability to complete your tasks in time. In the name of finishing something fast, more often than not, we make a lot of mistakes which make it more difficult to finish the task in time. Slowing down and doing things more consciously will not only add more meaning and depth to your life, it will also help you to avoid unnecessary mistakes, avoid doing things again and again, and you will be able to enjoy life as it comes, moment-by-moment.

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The Secret of Inspiration

The Secret of Inspiration

Why is it difficult to stay inspired and motivated all the time? What is it in the nature of life that makes it so hard to keep our motivation going? Let’s try to understand the science of motivation. More importantly, let’s try to understand why we lose the ability to stay motivated as we grow up.

There is no debate in the argument that we were a lot more motivated during our younger days. Irrespective of our age now, we can all reflect back on the time when we had more energy and enthusiasm. We can all recollect a time from our past when we were a lot more inspired and motivated.

One important reason it’s difficult for us to stay inspired as we grow up is our changing understanding of life. As we grow, our understanding of life changes and so does our attitude toward what inspires and motivates us. Since the very definition of “growing up” is a process of changing, staying motivated is a big challenge

The trick to staying inspired most of the time lies in our mind. If we are able to understand the nature of our minds clearly, we will be able to learn how to keep ourselves motivated.

As far as the mind is concerned, motivation is simply a state. In fact, our mind doesn’t understand motivation at all. The main thing it understands and recognizes is different states of our mind; positive and negative states. Being in a positive state of mind corresponds to being motivated, and a negative state of mind corresponds to demotivation and lack of enthusiasm.

It is amazing how much time, money and effort is spent in trying to motivate people. Most people understand motivation as a surge of energy; hence they fall into the age old trap of instant energizing, only to lose their energy all too quickly.

We cannot approach our personal motivation in this manner. Rather, we need to understand it as a way of keeping our mind in a positive state of mind. The biggest secret to motivation is knowing the difference between a negative and a positive state of mind. When we know what triggers a negative or a positive state of mind, it becomes possible for us to control our motivation levels.

The easiest way to stay motivated is by listening to the continuous conversation of our minds and not encouraging negative conversation. This sounds too simplistic to work, but it works brilliantly. Just by listening to our thoughts we can weed out negative and unnecessary conversations and cultivate an internal atmosphere of positivity and energy.

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What is the Connection Between Stress and Creativity?

What is the Connection Between Stress and Creativity?

What is the connection between stress and creativity? Let’s first understand what exactly stress is. Stress is a fight or flight response of the mind triggered because of fear. This fear can either be real or perceived. When the mind is gripped by fear, it can race faster than normal, making it extremely difficult to stay focused and relaxed. In a way, stress is the absolute destroyer of our sanity.

Throughout the day and even during the night our mind is constantly in stress. Our mind is constantly chasing something (worrying about the future) or trying to run away from something (thinking about the past). This constant running and chasing creates stress. Over many years of this constant running, stress builds to eventually become a chronic problem sapping our vital energy and creativity.

Let’s rewind our minds back to our childhood and answer one question very sincerely. Are we more creative now or were we more creative when we were children? Of course, we were more creative during our growing up years. The sheer amount of learning that happened in our early years of life is proof of this. We solved more problems during the first 5 years of our lives than in the last 25 years combined

We have gotten so used to thinking about the future and dwelling on the past that complacency toward constant stress has made it immune and strong. So strong that it is becoming more and more difficult to identify and deal with stress. We just think it’s normal.

Creativity is a natural state of the mind. When the mind is not in stress, when it is in the present moment, it wants to solve problems; it wants to use its energies to positively express itself in many ways. A stress-free mind is a creative mind.

Creativity is not a domain of life. It is an essential and integral quality of our being. Not only are we a part of the creative expression of existence, existence is also a part of our creative expression. Stress can completely drown this creative force by not allowing us to rest and relax. When the mind is racing between the future and the past it is impossible for us to be creative.

Only when we slow down, take deep breaths, and just be in the present moment, can we be creative. This moment is all we’ve got; nothing was ever created in the future, and the past is just that–it’s the past–it’s gone. Enjoy this moment and embrace the creativity that flows from being in the present.

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Quick Pleasure or Lasting Bliss?

Quick Pleasure or Lasting Bliss?

“The purpose is to transcend pain and suffering.”

What is meditation? What is the message of Jesus? What is the message of Buddha? Their message is that there is a zone within us; a zone where there is peace and tremendous joy. When you touch this joy, you know that it’s internal and you know that it’s real. In this zone, the pain of the body goes away; the pain of the mind goes away, and you experience existence in its most natural state.

While you’re having sex, or when you drink alcohol, use drugs, or take part in whatever it is that you do to escape, you are basically connecting with that zone. That’s when the peace comes. You don’t smoke to be happy, you smoke to forget the pain of the body, or you drink alcohol to forget the pain of the body. Now for me, any “sudden jerk” in trying to connect with that zone–that inner zone–without a systematic process is just like smoking and drinking and having sex.  It’s like walking into someone’s house and seeing them drinking and being blissful, being happy, and then walking into someone else’s house and they are crazily jumping and dancing and speaking in different tongues. It’s the same thing. They’re experiencing some kind of joy, but once they step out of that experience they can’t carry forward that experience, so they feel depressed and sad.

This is where systematic practice is required to help you understand what mindfulness is, what meditation is, and how to gradually get into it. Life is a very long phenomenon; it’s not like you just live for 10 days. It only takes a few years to get to the point of experiencing this bliss. All we need is to develop the narrative. We need to develop the conversations. People should start talking about the scientific way of exploring the inner life and they should get into the practice of naturally touching those internal zones. In all my years of meditation I have never done anything crazy. I’ve never danced, no drama, never have psyched myself up. Once in a while I used to connect and feel all this is good, but then I quickly stepped away from this knowing that those feelings weren’t the “real thing”–They were not permanent. 

For me, I wanted to be in this zone permanently. I didn’t want to just start something accidentally. I wanted to be able to find that zone again. If you approach meditation gradually you might not experience tremendous energy and crazy things happening all of a sudden, but gradually you will experience it and enjoy it. It’s a better idea to experience gradual enlightenment because you need to know the path, you need to know how you got to that zone so that you can go back to it at will. 

Ultimately, what is the purpose? The purpose is to transcend pain and suffering. Do you want to go beyond pain and suffering for one moment and fall back into it? I mean it’s like this: Do you want to go beyond your pain and suffering completely and experience tremendous blessing one moment and then fall back into the body consciousness where the pain is still there, or do you want to gradually reduce the pain of the body, and gradually reduce the pain of the mind by connecting with that zone again and again, by going deeper into meditation? The pain of the mind reduces by understanding it, by watching the thoughts. In that understanding you grow. This is why I say the best meditation   without any doubt comes from the middle path.

When you touch the inner zone through external means such as sex or alcohol, it’s only momentary, and as soon as “the high” is gone, you’re right back to where you were, only feeling worse, because you’re not experiencing that bliss anymore.  The middle path is simply integrating quiet, meditative time into each and every day. Be mindful throughout the day, and watch your thoughts. There won’t be any “sudden light”, but the light will gradually get brighter and brighter until every day of life is full of bliss and you can live from that inner zone without external stimulation.

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Standing for Truth

Standing for Truth

When you are confused, always take the side of truth. Nothing a human being has ever done matters more than this. Truth is, was and always will be the yardstick on which we are measured. While truth is the best path to take, it is also one of the most difficult of paths to stick to. You can be pushed away from the path of truth very easily.

The world has become a complex and confusing place. The sheer pace at which things are changing makes it easy to get confused and lost in this fast-paced, ever-changing, shape-shifting reality. The only reliable source of strength and inspiration for the individual is the truth he or she believes in.

Now, why is it so important to discover our truth and stick with it? Apart from the moral argument that truth is right, there is also a very important practical aspect to truth. Truth provides us a sense of direction; it acts as a guiding light to help us make sense of the confusing darkness around us. The moment we decide to compromise on our truth and integrity, we simply lose the way.

Truth offers us the internal certainty that is necessary to face the daily challenges of external reality. We are living in a world where everybody is fighting for our attention. We have to constantly choose between our influences and focus on what is important to us. How is it possible to focus when we are not sure about what we want, and how we can be certain about what we want if it is not deeply rooted in the truth we believe in?

Without internal truth, honesty and integrity we are like a dry leaf that is drifting in the wind. Without this internal certainty, our future, fate and destiny are simply a matter of chance. We will not have any control over our present or the future. We will not have the necessary strength and motivation to pursue our dreams and desires.

Truth fills us with incredible energy and enthusiasm. Truth lifts us when we fall. It cushions our fall and puts us back on the path. Truth gives us meaning and purpose to our actions. It helps us to weed out unwanted distractions and helps us to stay clear and focused. Truth is the best friend who will walk with you and support you in your most challenging situations.

Just reflect on the lives of some of the most creative and successful people of history; Einstein, Da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and so many others. What drove them towards such incredible excellence and success? The common connecting factor of their lives is truth. They were all possessed by the truth they believed in. They were guided by an internal truth that shaped their lives. Without a clear sense of the truth that we believe in, life will always be uncertain.

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If a tree falls …

If a tree falls …

he fundamental question is: “Is there an independent existence that goes on all by itself whether you exist or not?”

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody was around, did it really fall? That’s a very fundamental, existential question. Why do you ask such a question, when we have absolutely everything in existence happening all by itself, and you are just a small part. When you have absolutely assumed that the forest is already there for you to take a walk in, the sky is already there for you to contemplate on, and everything around you is ready-made and you’re just one person in the middle of the game of life, then that question doesn’t make any sense.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, we still ask the question, Did it fall? When you understand the nature of reality for what it is, can you understand that existence is pure perception? Without the perceiver there is no perception; without the watcher, there is no watching; without the one who is inquiring, there is no inquiry; without the one who is listening, there is no song. So, if a person is not there to hear a tree fall in the forest it did not happen.

Everything that you have perceived in your life, you have perceived through your own personal experience. When somebody says that a tree fell in the forest, you have to imagine a tree falling in the forest. There’s got to be a sound that’s already in you to be able to imagine that tree falling in the forest. If you don’t have that imagery at all, if you have never experienced it, then it is impossible to even talk to you about such things. That itself means that you supply something very important to the process of creation.

There’s a difference between your imaginary world and your real world. In your imaginary world you can create whatever you want. You can imagine a tree falling, you can imagine dinosaurs gathering themselves up from bones, you can imagine a lot of things. But for something to actually happen you need to participate in the process. To experience a tree really falling you have to be there watching and listening. The question is not about the tree, or the tree falling, or you listening to the tree falling. The fundamental question is: “Is there an independent existence that goes on all by itself whether you exist or not?” Every time you think about this, if you think that you’re just this reality or just this physical body, then you’ll miss the whole point.

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Creativity: The Flow of life

Creativity: The Flow of life

“Creation is something that happens from the inside and flows to the outside.”

Creativity is the very process of life, the very process of creation itself. Everything that is happening around us is happening through the process of creativity. Creativity is not just an isolated domain or department of life, creativity is the core of life. Everything begins with this creative energy and then it flows outwards.

A few things are important to understand: Creation is not something that just happens on the outside while you remain a mute spectator. Creation is something that happens from the inside and flows to the outside. This is the most important thing that we need to understand about creation and creativity. The human mind has the ability to imagine, create thoughts, and generate emotions. When this is projected, when this energy flows outward as an expression of the individual, it becomes creativity.

Creativity is really not a choice. It is not as if you can say, “Oh I don’t want to be creative, I’ll just go on living my life the way I’m living it. I don’t have to worry about creativity.” Creativity is what gives meaning and purpose to living, because all of us are here to express ourselves. Only in that expression does life become complete and meaningful. If you are not expressing what you are meant to express, then that means part of you always remains closed, and part of you never reaches its highest potential, its completion.

That is the reason why there is this tremendous joy in being creative, in expressing yourself. There is also a tremendous contentment and fulfillment in expressing yourself because creativity is the very process of life. Since you are right in the middle of life, creativity is inevitable. You have to embrace creativity as a part of your life. Otherwise life is going to be dull and boring, and all the time you will be searching for some meaning.

Einstein said that there is nothing that is more powerful than imagination. All of his work, everything he did, he attributed to his ability to imagine things newly, freshly. He did not just walk on the same path that the mind takes everybody. He said that all of his theories came from a zone of pure imagination. This imaginative ability of the mind, to see things that are not yet there, is the zone of creativity.

There is a vast difference between thinking and imagination. Thinking is more or less a regurgitation of what you have already acquired. You are just reflecting on what you have already done and on information you have already received. Imagination is totally different. Imagination is new. This is why you cannot imagine when you are in pain and you cannot imagine when you are disturbed. Imagination happens from a zone of silence and stillness. Only when your mind is calm and relaxed, when it is not tormented by the disturbances of thinking, does creativity arise.

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