10% Happier – Book of the Month

Continuing with the topic of meditation after my last post: Meditation Explained! I would like to introduce a wonderful book for further reading. A good friend of mine gifted me this book a few weeks ago and I really loved it: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

dan-harrisI have read many books about meditation, but one thing I really liked about Dan Harris’ book is that the author is the epitome of skepticism, and he became a meditator in spite of all the resistance he initially had about it. He realized that by meditating his entire life transformed for the better.

As a known TV anchor, Harris had access to many of the leading teachers of meditation and gurus of self help in the country, so he shares his personal encounters with Deepak Chopra, Eckart Tolle, Tara Brach, amongst others.

Harris has a way with words, his writing style is enjoyable, insightful and funny. It is an easy read and a very light book, as opposed to many meditation books that can be hard to grasp or heavy to read.

He represents a large part of the population that have many misconceptions about meditation, or that get turned off by the spiritual lingo that often accompanies this practice.

I believe this book is of great value to anybody, regardless of their knowledge or interest in meditation; it is the story of one man, who was confronted with his human struggles and found meditation, which, in spite of his initial skepticism and cynical view came around and understood and experienced first hand the benefits of the practice.

Here below is an excerpt that sums it up:

“until we look directly at our minds we don’t really know what our lives are about… everything we experience in this world goes through one filter – our minds – and we spend very little time bothering to see how it works”

He shares tips and ideas that he received from experts in the field, and he uses a language that is really accessible to a wide audience. For people who are more familiar with meditation, this book is still a great read, and he offers new and interesting insights like for instance the RAIN methodology for applying mindfulness, given to him by Tara Brach.

Once you start practicing meditation and mindfulness, you can use this practical methodology called RAIN.

R: recognize, A: allow, I: investigate, N: non-identification

First you just recognize and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, the next step is to allow them to be, this means not fighting neither your thoughts nor your feelings, letting them be without resisting them, the third step is to investigate them, to see how they are affecting you (how are your thoughts connected to your emotions or bodily feelings, what is happening in your body, etc. and last but not least not identifying with your thoughts and emotions, not letting them rule over you, understanding that your thoughts and emotions are not you, they do not define you, they are just waves that come and go and that you can simply observe without engaging nor identifying with them.

I highly encourage you to take a look at this book, it is a great read and an eye opener on meditation!

Have a Great Week!

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Meditation Explained!

Last week, I attended a talk about TM (Transcendental Meditation) and it reminded me that my last post about meditation was almost 3 years ago! So, I decided to write about this incredible resource today again, and go a little deeper in the explanation of how it works, and how it can help YOU.

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I started my journey into meditation about 10 or 11 years ago, it was a slow process for me, and it took many shapes and stages, but along this journey I learned so much about what meditation really is, and it has without any doubt positively shaped the person I am now, and it continues to do so everyday!

I feel, without any doubt, that it is the most powerful tool we can use to live a happier, healthier and easier life. In my experience, meditation is the one practice that will change the world, one person at a time, and I can guarantee you that if you talk to anybody that practices meditation regularly, they will agree with this.

Describing meditation is not a very easy endeavor, as it is one of those things that, in order to be fully understood, it needs to be experienced first hand… but I will try my best to explain it.

Basically, our brain vibrates at different frequencies, a frequency is the rate at which a vibration occurs that constitutes a wave, either in a material (as in sound waves), or in an electromagnetic field (as in radio waves and light), usually measured per second. The states of our mind and brain are very different depending on which frequency they are vibrating at.

If you look at the picture above, there are currently 4 brain frequencies detected by an EEG (although now they are talking about a 5th one called Gamma, but for now we will just focus on the 4 pictured above.)

  • Beta: you are awake, consciously alert, active, fully awake, going about your day.
  • Alpha: you are awake and aware but in a state of physical and mental relaxation.
  • Theta: you are in a state of somnolence with reduced consciousness.
  • Delta: you are unconscious, in deep sleep.

So, basically, meditation is the capacity to go deeper and deeper into these frequencies, by maintaining awareness, it is the capacity to lower the activity in our brains to the point that our mind is thought-free (or almost), and therefore we can create a space of total stillness and clarity within, a space in which we are still awake and aware (as opposed to falling asleep or deeply asleep.)

There are of course different levels of meditation, the more you practice, the deeper your meditation can be. There are also many techniques used for meditation, but the goal is always the same: to quiet your mind and become the “observer” of your mind. You can learn more about all the different techniques by looking at the related articles and books listed below.

Amongst many spiritual traditions it is believed that this space of stillness is where we meet the divine, where we understand who we are, and where the source of all beings becomes one. It is the space also where we can connect to our intuition, our inner knowing, etc.

However, for those who are turned off by all the spiritual lingo, it is important to remember that you can practice meditation and get all the benefits from it, without attaching any spiritual meaning to it.

How can meditation help YOU?

Well, nowadays people all over the world are suffering from a constant state of stress no matter how subtle it is, we are slaves of what Eckart Tolle calls: Psychological Time, our minds are very busy all the time dwelling on past events or speculating about future outcomes, but very seldom focused completely, a 100% in the moment, therefore, our mind chatter is constantly interfering with our reality and this creates inevitable stress.

When we are stressed out (by our own thoughts) our bodies are in a constant state of fight or flight* and therefore our brain is not working at its optimum capacity, and we are more likely to make the wrong choices and react to events in less than desirable ways, let alone the consequences that linger in our bodies (tension, high blood pressure, etc).

Meditation, by the virtue of slowly but surely training our minds to quiet down, will help us regain control over our brain and our body, and be in a state of constant calmness and clarity, as opposed to a state of stress and hurry.

Committing yourself to the practice of meditation will likely be the most important decision you make in your life!

Don’t think that you need to spend thousands of dollars or travel to Asia in order to learn how to meditate, there are wonderful resources that can help you learn without spending your life’s savings. But ultimately it all comes down to how committed you are to improving your life for real.

The 21-Day Meditation Challenge is one of those great online free resources to get you started, and it is going on RIGHT NOW, so you are still on time to join, I highly encourage you to do it, even if it is just out of curiosity, it won’t take more than 20 minutes of your day and it will give you a taste of what meditation is. Register Now

If you live in the DC area, drop me a note and I will be happy to send you a list of the local resources in this area, but wherever you live, I am sure you can find organizations, groups or institutions that offer free classes and workshops on meditation.

Have a Great Week!

*fight or flight and modern stress response explained here

Related Articles Great Books
Meditation, an Incredible Tool (How I discovered meditation) 10% Happier by Dan Harris
A true story and a great approach for the skeptic
8 Basic Kinds of Meditation Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg A great introductory book with a program and a bonus CD
The Chopra Center Meditation Resources How to Meditate by Pema Chödrön
A wonderful beginners guide by a seasoned Buddhist Nun
What are Brainwaves Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield A great beginners book

Announcements

    • 21-Day Meditation Challenge with Deepak and Oprah started 11/03/14 Register NOW you are still on time to join!
    • The Divine Ordinariness of St. Teresa of Avila, Free online Teleseminar starts 11/08/14 Register NOW

Respecting our Healing Process

Being in touch with our feelings is extremely important, more so if we are going through a traumatic life event.

sun

Everybody at some point in life is faced with a more or less traumatic event of any sort, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a divorce, an accident, a health challenge, a job loss, etc. Any event that creates a certain level of trauma and stress will produce feelings of grief, failure, guilt, despair, hopelessness, anger, etc. and it is very important to acknowledge those feelings in order to process them in a healthy way.

Sometimes I feel that in this fast-speed, efficiency-driven, brain-dominant, type-A culture, people tend to dismiss or ignore those processes. I often hear people’s reactions to their own grief or that of others and I am appalled at how little connection they have to their emotional needs, let alone that of others. No matter how hard life hits them, some people are just not in touch with their feelings, and that can only create further damage in their psyche and their physical health.

Although it is true that some people are more or less sensitive, we are all human, and we all need to go through these emotional processes, no matter what. In order to start healing we need to acknowledge our feelings, respect them, allow them to be, and give ourselves the time we need to heal. Instead, the tendency is often to dismiss, escape and ignore the process by using diversion and denial.

I often see people treat emotional processes with the coldness of a corporate executive decision, with a matter-of-fact attitude; thinking that they can just move on, make an effort, try harder, forget about it, and rebound almost unscathed.

The truth is, we can only move on in a healthy way, if we allow ourselves to go through the process of healing our heart first. If we do not allow this natural process to take place, we are only setting ourselves up for further suffering. Our brain and our heart work at a different speed, and in a brain-dominant culture, we do not give the heart a chance and the time to really heal.

Our brain constantly tells us to DO, DO, and DO, whereas our heart tells us to just BE. So, if you are going through a difficult time, remember to just BE and try to stop the compulsive doing and the compulsive thinking, this will help you connect to your heart and to your feelings. Our brain often forces us to jump into the next thing without allowing proper healing, and although we may find some distraction from our process in doing that, we are not being true to our needs.

Also, in a brain-driven culture people find it hard to just BE with the pain of others, they feel the constant need to fix it, to give advice, to divert them from their pain; instead we should learn to hold someone in pain, with respect and presence, nothing else.

By being aware of your emotional healing process I do not suggest you sink into despair and shut yourself off completely, such an extreme reaction could happen in the presence of depression though, and depression can definitely appear following a traumatic life event, so it is important to be aware of it and seek professional help if needed. But what I mean is rather to be mindful of everything around you and acknowledge your feelings, take one day at a time and respect your own rhythm and timing, do not “force” anything.

No matter what people around you, or your own busy brain says, try to disconnect from your thoughts and the external pressures of others, in order to connect to your feelings and needs. Whatever you do, do not ignore your feelings, it will only hurt you more in the end.

Sometimes people don’t “feel” anything, or they think they are not affected by a given event, but this is a problem because the emotions are usually there no matter what, and if they are not “felt” chances are they are stuck somewhere in our bodies and will cause physical discomfort or even health problems, so it is important to watch out for those body clues, as they may be signs that there are emotions that need to be acknowledged.

There are many ways that can help your healing, but first and foremost you need to be aware, be patient and be loving with yourself. You can use meditation to quiet your mind and connect to your heart, you can practice body-mind disciplines like yoga, Thai-Chi, Qigong, etc., you can reach out to friends and family for support and help, or you could reach out for professional help if needed.

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid of grief, it is important to acknowledge it, respect it, and process it. If you honor your healing process and its timing, you will be able to learn from it, find true peace and move on effectively.

Have a good week!


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Simplicity as a way of life

To my US readers, I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

After a short break on my writing, I am back with thoughts on simplicity as a way of life.

daisy

According to the dictionary, Simplicity is the quality or condition of being simple, and simple in this context means: uncomplicated, easy.

There was a lady that always carried a large handbag which was filled with things she thought she needed, but in reality she rarely, if ever, used any of them, and yet she carried the heavy bag every day. The weight of the bag was dragging her down and causing tension in her back and neck. Just as that lady, we often burden our lives with unnecessary loads (which can be mental or material.)

Most modern societies have become more and more complex and along with progress has come material comfort and the constant need to gather more and more stuff, as a result, people often find themselves overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, and pressure.

Ten years ago, I spent a few months traveling with my husband and living off a backpack…we could not really gather much stuff because we had to carry everything in our shoulders, so we had to make it all fit in one backpack. This experience gave me a whole new sense of freedom and made me realize how little I needed to live happily.

People often end up owning so much stuff that their spaces become cluttered and their minds become too distracted by the stuff around them.

I like the description of clutter by Peter Walsh (Motivational Speaker and Organizing Expert):

Clutter is all-encompassing: It means anything that stands between you and the vision you have for your best life. It could be a pile of inherited furniture or a jumble of kids’ toys all over the living room. But it could also be the constant self-doubt that creeps into your decision-making, anger about how you’re treated at work, shame about your weight or looks, or a tendency to respond defensively and critically when your spouse challenges you. Whatever the case, you have to ask yourself, “Does this item or thought or response move me closer to my vision for my best life?” If it does, great. If it doesn’t, what is it doing in your life?

In order to bring new experiences and even new things into our lives, we need to open up space for them, but if we are buried in stuff (whether material or mental) there is hardly any room for new ideas, people, or things that can enrich our experience. So it is important to clean up the clutter around and inside ourselves on a regular bases.

Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed that I would like to sell or give away everything I owe, move to the countryside and grow my own food! At this point in time however, that is not an option for me and I realize it may never be, so I try to find ways to make my life simpler, easier, fluid, uncomplicated, and uncluttered… one day at a time, and I would like to share them with you.

When it comes to material clutter, I try to own as little as possible and I am not attached to what I own, I like to clean up my home often and I donate things or give them away to other people that may need them. However, I know people for whom it is really hard to get rid of stuff, luckily there are many resources out there to help people un-clutter their space, and it is important to do so often and seek for help if it becomes to difficult to do. Here is a cool article you may want to read: 12 Ways to Unclutter Your Life.

When it comes to mental clutter… it is a little trickier, but just as important to clean up, if not more!!!

I personally practice meditation and it really helps keep my mind clear and my thoughts under control, but I also use basic ways to help my mind be still and are easier to do than establishing a meditation practice. I basically try to be aware of what is in front of me, and to take the time to enjoy it. Here are a few examples I use everyday:

  • If I am walking in a busy street and see a beautiful rose bush, I will stop and smell the roses and take in their beauty… (I know it sounds “cliche” but I do it!, I don’t care) most people have no time for this or would be embarrassed to do it, some don’t even notice the roses, but I feel that the extra minute it takes me do this, suddenly brings me to the present and connects me with nature, it makes me aware of the beauty around me.
  • If I am about to eat, I try to do it mindfully, not on the run, not on the go, not in a rush…. I sit down, look at my food, the colors, the shapes, etc. I sometimes even decorate my plate (If I cooked at home) and I eat bite by bite, enjoying it fully. Nowadays eating is such an automated action that most people don’t even know what they eat and, as a result they don’t enjoy it much and they eat in very unhealthy ways.
  • When I am talking to another person, I look at them in the eye, I listen to them patiently and pay attention to their body language, I am not checking my smart phone every 5 seconds, nor am I thinking about the things I need to do later in the day… I am there with them and my mind is there too.

By doing these simple things, I suddenly disconnect from everything else and I find that every moment in my life is quite simple indeed.

We can simplify our life by many means, and by doing so, we will feel lighter, freer, unburdened.
So I encourage you today to look at what is cluttering your life and find ways to clean it up! Make simplicity a way of life!

Have a good week!


Announcements:

Hearth Math Free Seminar – free online seminar, starts June 15th. Register here

The Art of Manifesting

This week I would like to talk about the Art of Manifesting your desires, goals and dreams. This issue is a little longer than usual because it is hard to cover this subject in just a few paragraphs, also, I have added links to other posts with more information about some tools or concepts mentioned here.

The Law of Attraction states that we attract what we focus on, therefore, it is possible to attract the outcomes we want, if we direct our attention to them, this is the whole idea of “Manifesting.” The concept seems very simple but it can be very easily misleading and misunderstood.

childbiceps

For many people, the idea of Manifesting and the Law of Attraction was first introduced by the widely popular movie and book “The Secret.” However, the Law of Attraction and its many teachers have been around for a very long time.

The excitement for The Secret was short-lived for many, because most people who tried to do the things suggested by the movie/book realized they did not work for them. The truth is, the law absolutely works, whether we are aware of it or not, so in this post I would like to go through 6 of the main ingredients that need to be present in order for the Law to work in our favor.

Note that below I will use the abbreviation: d/g/d for: desires, goals and dreams, basically representing anything we would like to achieve in our lives, no matter how big or small.

1.-Clarity

There needs to be absolute clarity about your d/g/d, and that isn’t always the case. If you are ambiguous, unsure, or undecided about what you want, things get blurry and the law will reflect on this. I really love an analogy that I heard from Vishen Lakhiani, the founder of Finer Minds:

The Universe is like a restaurant Chef and you are the customer. Let’s say you order baked salmon and greens. As soon as your order enters the kitchen, the Chef busily starts rinsing the greens, taking the salmon from the fridge, chopping the vegetables, etc. Then, a few minutes later you call the waiter because you have changed your mind and decided you wanted Ahi Tuna with mashed potatoes instead, so, the Chef has to stop what he was doing and starts over, gets the tuna out of the fridge, peels the potatoes, boils the water, etc. And then… you call the waiter because you’ve changed your mind again and decided you wanted braised chicken with beans, so guess what, the Chef has to stop what he was doing and now has to start all over again. The story goes on and on and on. Do you get the idea?

So don’t be the undecided customer. If you need more clarity, try to look within, try to find deep inside yourself what is it that you really, truly want, find your passion, find what moves you. The only way to find it is to look within yourself and be totally honest, remember that what others want or expect from you is not necessarily what YOU want for yourself, so look inward.

2.-Belief

You have to truly believe that your d/g/d can come true, if you don’t, there is no point on even trying. Very often we boycott our dreams, because, although we really want them, deep inside we don’t believe we can achieve them or we believe we are not worthy of them, and that is a major obstacle to the law of attraction. You have to really believe it can happen, and believe it not only with words but with your heart.

In order to do this, you may need to clear some blocking beliefs that may be programmed in your unconscious mind, there are some good techniques to do this, I have detailed them below under the section on Emotions.

3.-Outcome Focus & Detachment

You need to focus almost entirely on the outcome of your d/g/d and not on the “how” they will be fulfilled. The moment you start thinking about how it can happen or how “you” can make it happen, you will start loosing momentum and focus, because more often than not you’ll be buried in doubt, fear, hopelessness, etc.

Remember this: you do not need to have the whole plan laid out, you do not need to be in charge of every single detail of how it will happen, you just need to focus on the fulfillment of the dream and act as if it has already been fulfilled, imagine it, visualize it, feel it!

Also, it is very important not to confuse “means goals” with “end goals”, we should always focus on end goals. What I mean by this is that many people get trapped on the how to get where they want, so they think more about the means to get there than about the outcome they want, this gets so confusing that sometimes the means become the goal, and the true goal becomes somewhat forgotten.

To illustrate this a little more clearly, here is an example: lets say your true goal is to live in China, but you believe that in order to do it, you must save lots of money, so then your goal becomes saving money, and “living in China” takes a backstage, then you have confused the means with the end goal.

If you keep your focus on the main goal, acting as if you have already achieved it (e.g. find out about visas, learn Chinese, do research on the city you would like to move to, etc.), you are more likely to attract the opportunities that will bring you closer to the goal, these can be anything: a key friendship, an unexpected job offer, etc.

As contradictory as this may sound, you also need to detach from the outcome! This means you need to be flexible. You can have a dream, you should focus on it, but you should never attach to the outcome so much that you obsess about it or do not give the Universe a chance to show you what is best. Sometimes, there is a much greater dream awaiting for us, much greater than the one we envisioned, so it is important to always be flexible, yet stay focused. I hope this is not too confusing.

4.-Taking Action

Some people think that they can have happy thoughts, look at their vision boards and that alone, will make their dreams come true, but they forget a very important part of the law of attraction, which is: taking action! The idea is that the law of attraction will attract towards you everything you need to achieve your d/g/d, the people, the means, the jobs, etc. But you do need to take action when the opportunity arises. I love a little story that makes a good analogy for this:

In a terrible flood, one man’s house had been totally covered by the water, he stood at the roof of his house and the water was still raising, desperately he prayed to God and asked for help, then a lifeguard came to help, but he sent him off, because he knew God will help him, then a boat came to pick him up and he let the boat go, because he knew God will save him, then a helicopter came to pick him up, but he let it go, because he knew God will come to help. Finally he drowned, and when he met with God in Heavens, he asked him why he did not save him, to which God replied: I sent you a lifeguard, a boat and a helicopter, but you sent them all off!!

5.-Practice & Consistency

This is another important aspect that gets forgotten. In order for us to manifest our d/g/d we need to stay constantly focused on them. If we think about them once and then forget it, we are not being consistent. We need to remind ourselves of the outcomes we want, all the time, every day! And when “life happens” we need to bring our focus BACK to our d/g/d so as not to loose track of them.

There are many tools that can help us do this, because when life takes over and we get busy, tired, discouraged, etc. we can easily drift away, and it is normal, but we can prevent it with practice and consistency.

The best is to seriously commit to a ritual (taking some time every single day, preferably around the same time), to work on your energy and to re-focus on your d/g/d, because when you let go of that focus, you loose momentum and miss opportunities.

6.-Emotion

Emotion is a very important ingredient of the law. We need to bring emotion into our projection, if we are not “feeling it”, it will not work as well. If we can feel the excitement and joy that our d/g/d will bring us, we are creating the right energy to attract them.

Negative emotions:

Emotion is in fact a gauge of the energy you are sending out to the world, so if your emotions are negative (fear, anger, sadness, etc.), you can be sure you are sending energy that will align to an outcome that is not what you want, so try to break the cycle of negative emotion as soon as it comes.

I recommend journaling, using EFT, Meditation, listening to uplifting music, going for a brisk walk in the woods, exercise, breathe deeply 5 times in a row, whatever it takes, break the grip of the negative emotion.

Also, remember that thoughts precede emotion, so if you catch your negative thoughts and break their grip, you will prevent the negative emotion from rising all together.

Here are some ideas of practices you can do each day to keep bringing your d/g/d into focus and ideally ignite the positive emotions their fulfillment will bring:

  • Vision Boards, this is a great tool for everyone, especially for visual people, because it shows you images of the things you want.
  • Mini Movies, this is a cool tool that brings boards to the next level: movies, they have the audio element and the motion element added to the images, so it offers a more complete sensorial feel. If you are good with technology you can create a little movie yourself, if not, look for software that can help you do so, like Mind Movies.
  • Writing and Journaling: This is a very powerful way to bring your goals into focus and feel good in the present moment. You can keep Gratitude logs, Wish lists, and a Dream Journal. (I will go more in depth on these next week)
  • Notes from the Universe, this is a very cool tool I just came across, it is a free service where you can sign up and get daily notes “from the Universe.” What this means is that every day, you get a short message in your inbox, that brings you back to your dream focus.

Remember: life does not just happen to us, we are the architects of our own lives!!!

Have a great week!


Announcements:

*The 21-day Meditation Challenge from the Chopra Center starts November 5th. Sign up, it is free and it is a wonderful opportunity to get you started on meditation or to refresh your existing practice!

*The Silva Life System Workshop (for DC, VA and MD residents), November 17-18. This is a wonderful Workshop that I highly recommend, I did it a few years back and it really opened my eyes! For more info contact Diana or Richard at:703-866-4030 or
Email: silvamethod@cox.net

Taming our Monkey Minds

For my US readers, I hope you’ve had a lovely Memorial Day Holiday!

Many of you have probably heard the expression: “Monkey Mind,” especially if you meditate or practice yoga. A monkey mind refers to the endless stream of fragmented thoughts that we have in a day. In average, human beings produce about 60.000 to 80.000 thoughts a day! Which means the talk in our heads is pretty much constant and incessant.

monkey mind

The problem with having a monkey mind is that only a tiny part of all the thoughts in our head is relevant to the present moment (which is the only thing that is true and real). On top of it, the vast majority of our thoughts are nonsense, we often dwell in the past or the future, we obsess about mistakes we might have made, we battle our guilt, we plan ahead, we worry, etc.

Also, a great percentage of these thoughts are negative, often based in fear of the future, resentment of the past and so on.

We are often drifting into fantasy, negativity and fiction, which means, we are constantly missing the point of life: being fully present each and every moment.

In short, most of these thoughts do little to help us live and function well but rather the opposite, they slow us down, make us less alert and less present, and in many cases can bring negative outcomes into our life.

Most people don’t even consider taming their monkey minds, because they think that this constant mind chatter is “normal,” and even if they think otherwise, they do not know or believe that they have the power to change it, the power to quiet their minds down!

The great news is that all of us CAN quiet down our minds and we must do so! because by doing it, we will be more alert, more present, less stressed, calmer, happier, etc… the benefits are endless!

Both, the quality and the quantity of our thoughts are very important!

My very first newsletter back in February 2011: Paying Attention to your Thoughts, will give you a little glimpse on the importance of the quality of our thoughts.

As for this particular posting, I would like to focus on the quantity of our thoughts.

The overwhelming amount of thoughts we have leave little room for true clarity and presence, so, by lowering the “amount” of our thoughts and quieting our minds we can start to see positive changes in our life. Why should we do this?
Well, because, if we don’t control our mind, it controls US! and the results are never glorious.

I once heard a very nice analogy that compared the untamed mind to a wild horse. Imagine riding a wild horse, a horse you don’t control at all… you will be at its mercy and most likely shaken until it throws you to the ground. In contrast, if you ride a tamed horse, you hold the reins, you are in control and you can choose the pace.

How do we quiet our minds?
It is a process, but the very first step is to become AWARE of our monkey mind, if we are aware that our mind is out of control (which in most cases it is) we are one step ahead, then we have to believe that we can change it. The process may take more or less time depending on every individual and their own level of awareness.

I would like to share some things that have helped me, quiet my mind:

First and foremost, the practice of meditation
Meditation is one of the best tools you can use to quiet your mind.
If you wish to read a little more on this, I wrote about this in my posting: Meditation, an incredible tool

For some people meditation may seem daunting at first and hard to understand. It is possible, however, to start by using other approaches until you feel ready to give meditation a serious try.

The practice of Yoga or another eastern discipline like Tai Chi
The idea of these disciplines is that focusing the mind solely on the movements of the body helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity that you can then apply to your everyday life.

Developing awareness of your senses
By tuning into our senses we can be more present. The more our senses become heightened, the more we can really feel, smell, taste, see and listen to what life is telling us in every little moment. I had a posting on this recently too: Your Senses, a Gateway to the Present Moment

Mindful activities
Another good exercise to quiet your mind is really concentrating in small tasks that we usually do automatically. For instance, next time you are cooking, walking to work, etc. try to breath deeply as you do what you are doing and solely focus on the task at hand and your surroundings.

Let’s take the example of cooking: feel the vegetables in your hands, smell the garlic you are using, look at all the colors of the ingredients, immerse yourself fully in what you are doing.

Watch your thoughts
If anything, you can start by “watching” your thoughts, do not judge them or elaborate on them, just witness them as if you are an observer that acknowledges the thoughts but does not get involved with them.

Have a great week!

Announcements:

* Fundamentals of Deep Tissue Detoxification Starts May 28th (but you can still sign up!)- Learn How A Safe, Effective Cleanse Will
Eliminate Deep Toxic Build-Up & Restore
Your Energy, Vibrant Health and Digestion!

* Silva Intuition Training (for DC Metro Area residents). June 30 – July 1. For more information, call Diana at 703-866-4030 or email her at:
silvamethod@cox.net. The Silva Method is a wonderful system to improve your life in a long lasting way, I highly recommend their programs and I personally know Diana to be a wonderful teacher, mentor, friend.

* Lighten Up for Spring This is a wonderful program offered by a friend of mine, it is a do-at-your-own pace program and will help you balance your brain chemistry, clear out the junk, and begin to shift your relationship to eating and your body… so you can have more energy, more peace and more freedom to do what you love!