Tag Archives: Personal development

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>

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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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Knowing or being

Knowledge or wisdom

Knowledge or wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Drew Mahler and I am a workshopaholic. Or at least, I used to be. For several years I went through a period of near addiction to doing self-development workshops. I went to healing workshops, retreats, courses and coaching; getting all sorts of certificates, knowledge and training. However, the day after one of these workshops I found myself thinking about what I was going to do next. Which new modality could I learn? What other teacher could I listen to to deepen my knowledge of myself and the world around me? And then it struck me, I had just spent the previous four days learning how to be a more grounded and balanced human being yet I was looking to rush off and read the next book or do the next course to try and learn how to be a more balanced human being. I had developed a pattern of frantically looking for external fixes to my internal need to feel calmer, happier and more at peace whilst denying myself the opportunity to do so! This is like a hungry man sellotaping sandwiches to himself. This will never sate his hunger until he learns to internalize and transform this for himself, otherwise he will be eternally hungry. I had been running around collecting a lot of knowledge without taking the time to reflect and transform this in to wisdom. The ability to stop, breath and create space for our minds is essential to this process and meditation can help hugely with this.

Sogyal Rinpoche once told a story of staying at a friend’s house that had a huge library of books (I suppose it wouldn’t be a library of anything else). Many famous titles on healing, spirituality, love and so on. He wondered why someone would need so many books, as it implied that there was a lot of knowledge but not necessarily much wisdom. He then told us it is like a tomato, knowledge teaches us that it is a fruit while wisdom teaches us never to put it in a fruit salad. My take on this is that unless we transform this knowledge it is of little practical use to us. Many of us have books on spirituality or positive thinking or law of attraction or have been to courses on the same. But why so many? If we really embodied what was being taught and took the effort to use this we probably wouldn’t need more than one book, or to do one course. And this is where a problem arises for many of us because, if we are truthful with ourselves, the effort of changing ourselves is more than the effort of looking for another book/course in the hope that it will do the work for us. Sellotaping more sandwiches. It is the difference between knowing it in your head and embracing it in your heart.

Ironically it was on a workshop where this all really crystallized for me. I was doing a coaching workshop with a wonderful man called Marcus McKeown (link here), an inspiring teacher and generally awesome guy. The first thing he told us was “I will teach you nothing you don’t already know”. He taught us how to listen compassionately and pointed out it was something we could all already do. It is just about parking your own stuff rather than barely listening to someone while you wait for your turn to speak, be present and trust intuition. These lessons really sank in, along with some other powerful realizations, and I have really tried to embody these changes.

Workshops and books offer an amazing opportunity for awakening, awareness and personal growth. The paradox is that until you have read the books or done the  workshops and really brought in to your way of being, that you realize you didn’t need the book or workshop in the first place. It was something you knew inside anyway, maybe the path to get there needed a bit of illuminating by someone who has trodden those steps before.

The workshops and books are the means to an end, however, not the end itself. Not that there is an end of course, life is a kick and a kiss, a hit and a hug and a constant shifting maelstrom of thoughts and emotion that will continually challenge us to reach new levels of awareness. We may as well enjoy the ride but bring a good book with you just in case.