Connection

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Just as a thousand candles can be lit from one flame, all being separate yet connected, so my meditations are all from one source and are separate but connected. I am at all times connected to the moments of gentle peace and powerful insight in all meditations even though the present one is the only moment in existence. Just as these emotions are connected to moments in my life so too are they connected to others. To every person around the planet who is meditating at that moment I am connected. These fine filigrees of spun-gold spirit reach across time to connect with everyone who has ever sat and meditated, to a monk in the mountains of Tibet, to a priest in ancient Egypt, to a graphic designer in New York and everyone, everywhere in between. Even to a man sat under a tree.

At all times emotions are connected, I feel the pull and sway of them like the tides being moved by the moon. Anger, fear excitement but above and below all, love. It both anchors and frees me, I dissolve in to its ocean becoming more and less than myself. Simultaneously crystallizing in to singular existence and dissolving in to all encompassing nothingness. Freedom and freedom. Being and not-being.

Oh Meditation, You Are So Awesome

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Oh meditation, you are so awesome. Simply by sitting, breathing and letting go we can promote massive health benefits. Here are seven of them according to the Harvard Medical School (and they’re famous so it must be true).

  1. Increased immunity
  2. Emotional balance
  3. Increased fertility
  4. Relieves irritable bowel syndrome
  5. Lowers blood pressure
  6. Anti-inflammatory
  7. Calmness

There are whole industries built around selling pills and potions to achieve these (not all of the legal, see number seven) when all that is needed is to take twenty minutes a day to achieve this in a much more balance way. You can even go geeky on it with many apps to help you take the time and provide little inspirational quotes. Here is an excellent poster to describe some of the science behind meditation.

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Below is a lovely, simple ten minute guided meditation and if you are starting out this may be very useful to use as your daily practice. Just twenty minutes of meditation can radically alter how you think, feel and react to life. If you don’t already do this now is the perfect time to start!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/16751267″>Kim Eng – Guided Breathing Meditation</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/eckharttolletv”>EckhartTolle TV</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

One Thousand

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Today this website reached one thousand hits. As a thank you to you all for being a sign of abundance in the universe I would like to share a game with you. I learned this game from a very wise teacher who has incredible powers of manifestation and is a living embodiment of the notion that we can create reality out of intention.

You are going to be given some money. The rules are you have to spend it all in a day. You cannot save it but the next day you will receive double. Let’s start with €1,000 (or £ or $, or whatever works for you). Thought of what you would spend it on? Easy? For many of us this amount is very manageable and we will go further now. This is fun to do with a pen and paper beside you and doesn’t take long so write down what you would spend your €1000 on.

Next day you have €2,000, what are you going to spend it on? (remember, you cannot save it)

The next day you receive €4,000.

The next day you receive €8,000.

The next day you receive €16,000.

The next day you receive €32,000.

The next day you receive €64,000.

The next day you receive €125,000.

The next day you receive €250,000.

The next day you receive €500,000.

The next day you receive €1,000,000.

The next day you receive €2,000,000.

The next day you receive €4,000,000.

Feel free to continue if you wish. I have played this game with many people and what comes up is fascinating. There is a flow to the universe. To have abundance flowing in you must have it flowing out with an attitude of trust and love. Imagine you have a box. The universe wants to fill this box with all the abundance it has to offer. If you only allow the box to half empty, the universe can only fill it with half or you may just give out the signal you don’t need it filled at all. This game is interesting though because it can help shift your mindset to trust you will receive abundance the following day as well, and that it will increase!

Have a look at your list. What did you notice as the amount gets higher? What feelings came up for you? Is there anything on that list that is within your current means? Have any of these things suddenly become a goal for you? Something to really aim for? Does it help you identify what things are important to you in life? Many who do his exercise suddenly realise that they would not work so they could spend more time with their family, well could that be done without needing all that money? Is abundance more precious to you in the form of time?

It is common to get caught on the treadmill of working because we believe that we have to “do a hard day’s work” to get money. Is that really your belief or an inherited one? Whose voice did you just read the quoted words in? But what is that money worth to you? If you have identified things in your list that don’t really need money (maybe just a little courage) then maybe a lot of these things are more than achievable. You can live in a mansion without owning one, just be creative. If you do have a spare €2,000,000 kicking around though feel free to donate to any friendly and appreciative bio-energy therapists you may happen to know.

One of the common themes to arise from the game is a feeling of “I don’t deserve this”. That is nonsense. Why wouldn’t you deserve everything you want? So you don’t make others feel bad? So you can continue playing the victim so you can confuse sympathy for love? Because someone told you when you were young? All of these are false beliefs. A belief is just a thought you keep thinking, do it for long enough it becomes a belief. So you can change your beliefs on this or just jeep mooching along and blame it all on someone else and avoid taking responsibility. Your choice.

Paul McKenna (celebrity hypnotist, now there is an example of manifesting something unlikely) wrote in one of his books that he shifted his mindset on money by deciding to be really happy and thankful every time he paid a bill, even when he really knew it was a struggle. He said money started to flow to him and the gratitude kept building. Another trick is to imagine yourself standing with arms outstretched with money flying to you and sticking to you (really believe though, this doesn’t work if it is just a half-arsed daydream). You’ll be amazed how quickly this works but the important trick is to give thanks, even if it is for finding 50c on the ground.

In the end though none of this really matters. It will all balance out by the time we die. Chances are if you can read this it means you are educated and can afford to be somewhere with an internet connection so the likelihood is you aren’t going to starve or be homeless. Why spend your life worrying about what you don’t have when you can live it in appreciation of what you do? The abundance will come. And go. And come again. Like the tides on a beach. The beach doesn’t worry about whether the tide will come back in. As always, breath. Let it in. Then let go.

What Do You Do For Life?

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A few years ago I lived near a café owned by an Italian guy who made the most amazing tiramisu I have ever eaten. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for my waistline) he had to return to Italy so he had a “come and make me an offer sale” on all the fittings from his café. On this day I got chatting to him about what he was going to do with himself and although he had had to sell his business he was very positive. The circumstances around his leaving could have caused him anger and frustration (something to do with greedy landlords and under priced tiramisu I think) but he was very upbeat as, for him, this was just a new chapter with new learnings. He was (and probably still is) a very charismatic guy, one of those that fill you with inspiration just by talking to them. As I was leaving he asked me “and what do you do for life?”.

What do I do for life? I had been asked “what do I do” hundreds of times. This is a commonly used question, often as an ice-breaker and with about as much subtlety you could expect from a giant mega-tonne arctic going ship. We generally reply with our job; this is a common ground for most of us. Most of us have jobs that most of us have heard of and can understand and gives us something to say and speak about. It is an accepted and expected turn of conversation, it passes time and rarely offends anyone. Like sudoku or painting a living room beige.

However, I had been asked what I do for life. I struggled as this was not the expected thing to be asked. Surely he meant what do I do? So I answered with the job I was in at the time. A vague look of disappointment and disinterest came over his face, the conversation petered out and I left. Perhaps the disappointment and disinterest in his face was merely mirroring my own as afterwards I realized I hadn’t wanted to talk about my job. I was not my job. That was not my life! So then I asked the myself the question again, what do I do for life? To answer this I felt it right to think about the things that made me feel alive; singing, dancing, writing, being outside in a storm, the list went on and on. His question became a catalyst for me, I looked at many areas of my life and changed many aspects of it over the next few years often with this question in mind. I also came to see that my job, on balance, was not my calling which was why I had felt uncomfortable identifying it as my life.

Now, whenever I feel stuck or stagnation I ask myself what did I do for life today? And if I didn’t do much to make me feel alive then I vow to change there and then. It has also become a wonderful exercise in appreciating the great things that have happened in a day. Today, for example, I danced with my daughter and she fell asleep in my arms after and I was aware of the moment to fully appreciate it, that this is what I was doing for life. I also dropped yoghurt on my new shoes. I am still trying to come around to being thankful for the reminder from the universe not to be attached to physical objects and I’m not sure yet if it made me feel alive but I was pretty annoyed.

So now to you. What do you do for life? What makes you feel alive and are you doing these things? If not, why not? If you are not doing these things it is generally because you are choosing not to do them. In an interview with Dizzie Gillespie, a famous trumpeter, the interviewer said “Oh, I’d love to play the trumpet”. Dizzie turned and looked at him “No, you wouldn’t. If you did you would be playing the trumpet.” So when you are getting a feel for what you do for life, let go of any notions of what you should be doing. It’s fine if there are things that you just don’t want to do.

If you are a list person, write a list of the things you want to do. If you are a visual person, draw or paint a picture of the things you like to do. Create a vision board. Or just go and do them and appreciate what you already do to feel alive.

If you dropped dead right now (this is a long post so some of you may have) the life you led would have been the one you were leading when you died. So is your life fulfilling? Are you true to yourself? What do you do for life? Feel free to post below, you may inspire someone.

 

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Breathe and let go

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You can live for about three weeks without food, three days without water and three minutes without breathing. Appreciate each breath as it fills you with life.

Like many things in life, you can borrow this breath but it is not to keep but to give back. You have to let it go. Don’t worry though, this letting go allows for new life to flow in.

Practice now. Be still for three minutes and listen to your breath as it flows in and out. Each in breath is a new beginning and each out breath is a complete letting go. Now, where else in your life could this be applied?

The Power To Move Mountains

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When I was little my absolute favourite movie was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. I could quote great tracts of it (much to my sister’s annoyance) and I was fairly certain that if my X-Wing ever got stuck in a swamp I would be able to lift it out using the power of my intention. Now that I am a little older I have found that although I don’t have a lightsaber (much to MY annoyance) that in some ways the power of intention to affect the physical world around us is very real. Thought becomes belief, belief becomes action and action is manifested in what we do. As Esther Hicks often says, a belief is just a thought we keep having. So changing our thoughts changes our reality. But where do these thoughts come from? What depths do they bubble up from to continuously disturb what we’d like to be the placid pool of our waking mind? For some people it is a constant struggle to “keep a lid” on their thoughts, some people are more like some Joycean stream of consciousness. I went to see a comedian once, Jason Byrne, who seems to be of the latter persuasion. He told us how every time he and his exasperated and pre-embarrassed wife go out she gives him a bag of words and tells him “Here, this is what your allowed to talk about tonight, if it isn’t in the bag of words, you can’t talk about it!” But where does this need for constant talking come from? I think it comes from fear.

Fear is a multi-faceted diamond. It may have some beautiful faces but may also have come at a heavy cost. For some of us fear is an inspiration to try harder, to push ourselves beyond what we perceive to be our limits, or love more passionately. Some people are afraid to admit that they have any fears, a contradiction really when as a human being it is our nature to have fear. We are born with two fears, loud noises and falling. All the rest are learned, some sensibly. I have learned not to grab hold of an iron to see if it is hot just after you switch it off. It is, by the way. Some fears are not so sensible or rational. The fear of silence, for example. Many people speak to fill this silence, asking how the weather is even when standing in it, or having the radio on so as to not feel lonely. Why would you feel lonely when you have your own incredible imagination to keep you company? The philosopher Pascal once said “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” So many of us are filled with anxiety when we have nothing to do. We may feel shame at being “lazy” or “stupid” or any number of labels we attach to ourselves. But where have these labels, these fears, come from?

Next time you call yourself a negative name, or admonish yourself for something ask yourself this. Do I really believe that about myself? Is it really me that is calling me that name? Close your eyes and listen, whose voice is it? Someone else’s thought that I have inherited. By continuing to have that thought, it may have become a belief. Are you stupid? No, of course not. But someone who was threatened by your intelligence when you were young could have called you that and it may have been during a formative period in your development. Just because it is someone’s opinion doesn’t mean it is true. I happen to believe that Orange and Lime Tic Tacs are the vilest “food” I have ever has the misfortune to taste. tic_tac_line_orange-1It doesn’t mean that I’m correct. Although I am. But it also doesn’t mean that my belief you are a lunatic for liking them is true. Although you are.

The point of all this is that although our fears are a natural part of us. We don’t have to believe them although we do need to understand them. As Yoda (Star Wars again) says “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” While this is not always a pleasant path to tread it is the other foot of the path of light that we also walk down. We all have a shadow side, a dark side. Fear, anger, jealousy, hate, Tic Tacs. To deny it is to deny a part of ourselves. As James Ray says “to damn a part of ourselves is to dam a part of our existence”.

Understanding where our motivation comes from is a powerful tool and it is through practicing awareness that this can be achieved. Constantly looking at whether our motivation is fear or love, pleasure or pain. The light and shadow are two sides of the same mountain, when one is is sunshine the other is in darkness. As ever, balance between the two is where peace will be found. mountain-landscape-wallpapers-640x400Anyone who has tried the “just think happy thoughts and you’ll be happy!!” approach will probably have found it to be flawed. Our shadow side rears up to smack us in the face, belittling us for not having the will power to be happy. Also dwelling in the shadow side for too long is unbalancing and challenging too. But it’s all fine. All of it is an opportunity to learn about yourself. Try to remain aware of which side of the mountain you are on, and which side you maybe need to sit on for a while.

A very wise man once told me in order for roses to flourish you sometimes have to work through the shite at their roots. Life healing is a process so it takes all of your life. Let go of the conditioning that tells you to avoid your shadow side, to deny its existence. We will always move between shadow and light, that is what being human is about.

Meditate or procrastinate

ImageWe know there are many benefits to meditation; improved sleep, lower blood pressure, increased immunity and fertility, emotional balance and calmness to name but a few. But there is a misconception that meditation needs to be done in a place of perfect tranquility; in full lotus up a majestic mountain or by a river surrounded by flowers and sunlight. Or at least in a quiet room with no noise or disturbances. It is the excuse of not being able to find the time or the perfect place that stops many people meditating. The reality is there is no perfect place, or rather every place is the perfect place. Meditation is, as Sogyal Rinpoche puts it, the process of “bringing the mind home”, of taming the mind and finding the peace that exists within us all. We look to create this peace externally but it is found internally.

The true nature of the mind (and by mind I don’t mean my brain but more my whole awareness of being) is like the eternal blue sky. Thoughts and emotions are like the clouds that are ever changing and flit across this sky, I peacefully acknowledge them and let them pass. There are certainly situations that make it easier to meditate; a quiet room, setting an intention, surrounding oneself with inspiring objects or pictures but there will always be a distraction. I remember at a meditation retreat (which you can read about here) a Buddhist nun was speaking about how she had set up her room perfectly, taken the phone off the hook, locked the door, closed the windows etc but after a while she could hear a clicking. As she was meditating with her eyes open she had a quick look but couldn’t see anything that might be causing the sound. After a short while the clicking returned and she suddenly realised it she could hear herself blinking. The point of this is there are distractions everywhere and it is the skilled meditator that can use these distractions as a means of returning to a meditative state by allowing them to bring us back to present. A technique I use is to always wear odd socks. Whenever I notice the different colours, or when someone points it out to me, I use it to become aware of whether I am off in thoughts of the future or the past and if so to try and be present instead.

Every moment is an opportunity to meditate. I’m not suggesting it is easy but it is simple. You can try it now as you sit and read this. Straighten your back (especially if you are curled like a prawn), relax your jaw so it is slightly open and breathe naturally. Now just feel your breath as it enters and leaves the body (easier if you stick with the sensation in just one place, maybe the nostrils or the belly) and that’s it. If thoughts come, let them come then bring your awareness back to your breath and begin again each time. Each breath in is a new beginning, each breath out is a complete letting go. This can be done when you are sitting at traffic lights, as you are doing the dishes, during the adverts of your TV show, anywhere! We cannot force a baby to fall asleep, we can only create the conditions in which sleep can happen. Similarly, you cannot force yourself in to a meditative state, but you can create the conditions in which meditation can happen.