Archive for February, 2012
10 Habits to Overcome for Increased Happiness

happiness in the rain

Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to growing and living a life full of true happiness. We sometimes make excuses for ourselves as to why we can’t overcome something or we don’t realize just how destructive our growth-inhibiting patterns of behavior really are. There comes a time when we just have to consciously arise to the reality that such habits are stopping us from experiencing a life of accomplishment, satisfaction, and success. Make today that day when you change your life’s path and live a better life for yourself. This is your life, make it the most rewarding that it can possible be.

10 Habits to Overcome
 

Putting things off – We make excuses as to why we put off doing something that would drastically change our lives for the better. One I hear quite often goes along the lines of “I know meditation can help me with this problem I’m having right now but I haven’t been doing it lately.” If you know a life-enhancing practice like meditation can help you make a problem disappear then why put it off? You are the one who benefits by doing it so why keep putting it off for the sake of doing something else (watching Youtube videos on and on or refreshing your Facebook newsfeed continuously for example)?

Not expressing gratitude – Our minds tend to sometimes direct towards the negative. We look at all the things we don’t have and feel worse as a result. There is always something we will not have…looking at life in this way will leave us forever unsatisfied. As Barry Kaufman once said, “gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.” Indeed there is…even something so simple as seeing a bright blue sky or taking a deep breath of crisp spring air, or even the very experience of existence….something be-ing rather than no-thing.

Being completely risk-averse – Avoidance of any kind of risk is a byproduct of a fear of the unknown and will lead to a very bland and uneventful life. If risks were never taken, you can be assured that humanity would still be in the stone age, if even that. By taking a risk, we embody courage or doing something we have not done before, even if it makes us uncomfortable. Exploration, accomplishment, and determination are all things that come as a result of having courage and taking risks in life. Courage gives us the willingness to try out new things and deal with the changes and challenges of life. We can face our fears and transcend them in order to experience a more self-actualized life for ourselves.

Worrying about the what-ifs – If we constantly worried about what-if scenarios, we would never accomplish anything. Most of us allow fear to get the best of us and block us from setting out to do something. Worrying can only bring anxiety, stress, and sadness. Learning to let go of worries by realizing that sometimes the things we worry about are things we are unable to change right then and there. We just have to accept the situation as it is since it may be bigger than we can handle and approach it with level-headed reasoning to see what positive action we can take to make it easier to deal with. If you are worried about how “everything gives you cancer”, for instance, then pick out a few of the biggest culprits that have known links to cancer and work on eliminating them from your life.

Focusing on things you don’t like – If I had a nickel for every time I heard somebody exert energy to talk about something they didn’t like, I could probably have bought a private island in Fiji by now. We all have the choice to either focus on something positive or negative. All thought is creative and if we are using up our energy on thoughts that are negative, we will in return feel worse and more negative. The world is our mirror and if we focus on the things in people or society at large that we don’t like and feel aligned with, we are sabotaging our very own personal well-being! Instead of focusing on things that divide us, let us focus on the things that unite us and we will realize that many of the things we don’t like are because we have a different position of awareness than others, since we all see Reality through a subjective lens.

Playing the blame game – Putting blame on someone or something else shifts the focus away from there being anything unhelpful in what we may be doing and displaces it on external forces. If someone lost their job, they may put the blame on a boss they feel never liked them, another co-worker who they thought was a suck-up, or even the president/economy/oligarch bankers. Putting blame on someone or something doesn’t change the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in but it does stop us from being happy and having a positive state of mind. This isn’t to say that we should blame ourselves, but we should take responsibility for having some degree of responsibility for what happened (of course there are exceptions but generally we have an effect on the reality that has unfolded) and look to how we can turn the situation around and get out of a low point in our lives.

Feeling we can’t change things – Apathy is a feeling of hopelessness, powerlessness and despair. If you look around you and see that others have attained what you wish you had, then this shows you that you can create the same reality for yourself, or at least one very close to it. We have the incredible ability to change things in our lives and in the lives of others. It takes will, courage, and determination though but once we have these as the driving forces to propel us into a motivated mindset, we can change things and we will change things. Rome wasn’t built in a day and things that we want to change in our lives or in society at large won’t necessarily happen as fast as we would like them to but if we put forth the energy of change and transformation we will make a difference. Chase away the doubts and live the life you imagined. As one of the ancient Hawaiian Huna principles states, “there are no limits…energy flows where attention goes…all power comes from within.”

Being a perfectionist – If we are perfectionists we will be displeased with anything that isn’t perfect or doesn’t meet extremely high standards. Since achieving a state of perfection within any aspect of life is an impossible goal, having such a mindset can seriously impact our mental health in a negative way. Perfectionism turns us into slaves of success, so to speak, by keeping us focused on failure that results in a lifetime of doubt and depression. Some people see it as something positive and it’s often seen as the pursuit of excellence, setting high standards, and working hard to challenge ourselves. We may say that perfectionism allows us to be efficient, organized, or prepared for anything but although having high standards and goals may help us achieve things in life, these standards can get in the way of our happiness and can actually impair our performance.

Not being forgiving – Rather than something we do for someone else, forgiveness can be one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver, not the other way around. It brings us inner peace that does away with the suffering we cause ourselves through the unresolved anger and hurt we feel. Forgiveness benefits us physical, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Sure, it’s difficult to get ourselves to forgive someone for something we feel they did that was hurtful to us, but the alternative (resentment) can bring us hatred, turmoil and suffering. Everything/everyone is currently operating at its own level of awareness and/or evolution. Everyone/everything is what it is right now because that’s what it needs to learn, or un-learn. People are what they are, and make mistakes, because they really don’t know otherwise or they don’t want to know otherwise. If they really knew otherwise, they would already be otherwise.

Looking for happiness outside of us – Happiness is an inside job yet we have a tendency to look to people and things external to us in order to raise our happiness. This search for happiness outside of ourselves is a byproduct of a void within us. It can show us that we do not have the self-love that is necessary to feel whole. We will feel lacking if we have not have a fully-realized relationship with our own selves and will look to fill that void with other people or other things. If it’s other people, we may end up having a parasitic relationship with others in that we will feed off of their positivity and then leave them drained. This causes an unbalanced relationship and will cause it to fall apart as it all-too-often happens. Cultivate happiness within yourself, through things like meditation for starters, and you will find that you had the happiness you seek all along…inside of you.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue, and reasonable nature. -Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Music for Meditation: Aphex Twin – Rhubarb

Aphex Twin - Rhubarb
This is an incredibly deep and moving melody by Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) that can stir up some very powerful emotions within your being that can become intensified during a meditation. The droning layers invoke a serenity that may not silence your mind but rather take you on a journey…on an inner path to outer space. You may find yourself in distant alien environments or even riding timewaves to a very distant past. If you feel tears swelling up, let them go…let the emotional release happen and watch yourself become stronger and more energized than you were, for something significant has just happened inside of you.

 

Life Explained

zen rock

The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of life is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give. The joy of life is to love.

William Arthur Ward

How I Realized that Loving-Kindness Meditation Increases Intuition

woman meditating

Editor’s Note: This is a guest contribution from Carolyn Elliott

I’m sitting in a circle, listening to a stranger speak. He’s talking in broad and casual terms about rough stuff: life on the streets, his problems with his crazy girlfriend, his own prowess at stealing and hustling. As he’s talking something odd happens. It’s as if I’m learning things about him that aren’t in his words; every sentence he speaks carries another layer of meaning.

This second layer hits me directly, not intellectually but emotionally: the wounded fear underlying his bragging; the immense love and admiration for his girlfriend; the terror of standing for hours on a bleak corner in the rain, shadowed by competitors and cops. The emotions come wrapped up in images that aren’t movie-screen obvious but subtle and fleeting, like a dream. He stops speaking.

Another person starts, and the same thing happens. As I listen, I’m learning all kinds of things that the speaker isn’t stating. And what’s more, I feel a fluid warmth and opening in the center of my chest. I feel it right in the spot my New Age enthusiast friends like to call my “heart chakra.”

The fluid warmth is coming to me from the speaker, and it’s leaving me and going out from my heart to his. I’m not just receiving information and energy, I’m also broadcasting it. The person talking brightens. It’s as if he feels what I can feel: the flow of life stuff moving between us. To call it just “energy” doesn’t seem satisfactory. It’s not mere electricity, it’s a force that also carries images and insights. A more accurate and poetic term might be “soul.”

So what gives? Why is this happening? Usually when I listen to folks talk I just hear what they say, if even that. I’m often too wrapped up in my own mental drama and too worried about my own life to receive the subtle emanations given off by those around me. So wrapped up that until this weird stuff started happening, I didn’t even realize that people give off subtle emanations!

But they totally do.

I gradually realized that the reason I could access another layer of perception and insight regarding people in my life (even relative strangers) was that I’d been practicing loving-kindness meditation.

Loving-kindness meditation developed thousands of years ago in the Buddhist tradition as a means of cultivating bodhicitta, or “mind/heart of awakening.”

How does it work? It involves silently bringing to mind first a friend, then a neutral person, then a difficult person, and finally, oneself. For each person that one brings to mind (including oneself), one expresses the wish “May they be happy; may they be well; may they be free from suffering.” The idea is to spend at least five minutes wishing happiness for each person you bring to mind. I supplement my verbal well-wishing by visualizing each person in a situation of extreme outer pleasantness and inner joy.

When I first started practicing loving-kindness meditation, I encountered plenty of inner resistance. I found it very hard to visualize and to wish happiness for the difficult people in my life. I only persisted in doing it because the pain of my resentment and bitterness was too much. I trusted that loving-kindness meditation could cure me of my unforgiveness, so I stuck with it.

After hanging in with loving-kindness meditation for a little while, I noticed that not only did it become a lot easier—it also became incredibly pleasurable and energizing to do. I would get so riled up and excited through it that I had to be sure I only did it first thing in the morning and never in the evening because it would make me totally unable to sleep!

Along with the influx of energy that loving-kindness meditation brought me came this new experience of intuition. I was surprised to later learn that scientific research by the HeartMath Institute verifies my experience (to read the research reports you’ll need to create a free account and go to their “papers” page). Subjects in HeartMath Institute studies report a consistent expansion of intuitive perception when they spend time cultivating affects like appreciation and well-wishing for others.

This. Is. So. Weird.

I continually think that to myself—it’s so strange that powerful extra-sensory perception can be activated just through the cultivation of love. I always thought that in order to become intuitive I’d have to master some fancy moves on the astral plane. How come no one ever told me growing up that all it takes to become much more connected and much more perceptive is to spend time each day wishing whole-heartedly for the happiness of others?

The only thing I can do to remedy the sadness of my own long-term ignorance in this regard is to spread the word as loudly and widely as I can. So I’m telling you now. Loving-kindness meditation works powerfully and quickly to enlarge your extra-sensory intuition. Give it a try—and please write to me letting me know of your adventures. I’d love to hear what you discover.

carolyn elliot small
Carolyn Elliott is the author of Awesome Your Life: The Artist’s Antidote to Suffering Genius and a life coach for creatives dedicated to serving the 99% and living in the spirit of the gift.

Music for Meditation: Eluvium – New Animals From the Air

eluvium banner

Eluvium is an ethereal ambient creation of a man named Matthew Cooper. The sounds of Eluvium are so inviting and soothing you’ll feel as if you were transported to some parallel universe to a planet where there is perpetual serenity in a world where time has ceased to exist. This is one of my favorite artists to listen to during meditations where I focus on cultivating the energy of serenity, tranquility, and peace which I then radiate out into the global consciousness and I am sure that it can become one of your favorites as well. Let your mind wander into the domain of the calm states of consciousness and become mesmerized within the harmonic beauty.

Read the Signs, Take the Next Step

taking the next step

Lessons always arrive when you are ready for them, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.

Paulo Coelho

The Creation of a Consciousness Shift: Let The Emergence of a New Humanity Begin

rainbow bridge

Reality is a consciousness hologram that has as part of it an ability for us to move through time to experience the full range of emotions we feel as humans. This vast, even infinite, quantum reality is a filled with metaphors to help us understand and bridge the gap between physical reality and the nonphysical subtle reality of consciousness. The rainbow bridge is the ultimate metaphor in shifting our awareness towards a place where we are consciously evolving and becoming intentional evolutionaries. By crossing this bridge, we are able to become self-realized and self-realization is then just one step away from full enlightenment and liberation.

By finally realizing that we are not what we think we are–this solid body that our basic senses perceive is the real ‘us’ (even legendary physicists Einstein and Planck have said that matter doesn’t exist), we can experience self-realization on the highest level where we realize that we are multidimensional consciousness simultaneously experiencing a wider horizon of Reality than we had ever previously thought was possible, even if we come from a religious background since this realization transcends all human concepts. As one of the aphorisms in Paul Lenda’s book The Creation of a Consciousness States, “The purpose of life is to gain experience.”

What else is life but a continuous stream of experiences? Of continuous being and becoming? To borrow another aphorism from Paul’s book, “The only constant in existence is change.” These are topics are expanded upon in great detail in The Creation of a Consciousness Shift in the second half of the book after the buildup to these mystical topics and are worth going over more than once in order to get as much as possible out of them. The parts covering these deeper and more esoteric concepts and ideas are definitely not for some light reading on the subway as you go to work or school. These are things that have to be read with your full awareness because they are life-changing in the most incredible way possible. Indescribable paradigm shifts will have your soul titillated and excited beyond belief. I do not make these assessments lightly…I truly mean them.

2012 means many things to many people but overall we can agree upon there being enormous transitional and transformational shifts and changes occurring right now, the end result of which is still to hazy to see clearly. What we can all do to help ensure that the future is a bright one (that fully empowers and liberates humans wherever they may be) that shifts our minds towards unity and away from all the divisiveness that plagues human society. We are all interconnected…it’s time we start living life reflecting this reality.

To order The Creation of a Consciousness Shift by Paul Lenda, head over to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Book Depository if you want free worldwide delivery.

Music for Meditation: Essay – A Cold Day

Right now there are two major types of posts on our blog: articles and aphorisms (inspiring quotes). Always looking to expand our horizons, we’ve decided on starting a new series of posts that are going to showcase some of the most emotionally captivating music we know of that can be used as music to accompany your meditations. This music is more often than not music that will probably be new to you and with that newness comes an excitement that comes about with anything new and novel.

To start off this multi-layered ethereal soundtrack to mindfulness and expanded awareness we’ll be introducing ESSÁY, an artist from Germany who’s song A New Day is a 9 minute masterpiece of warm layered sounds that enthrall you with their beauty.

What Creates a Beautiful Person

creating a beautiful person

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

What Creates a Beautiful Person

creating a beautiful person

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross