April 4, 2013
It’s true. You are a miracle. And yet, so many people consider themselves to be ordinary or even unworthy of love.
How do we know that you are a miracle?
We only need to notice what is.
Why are you a miracle?
- You are a miracle because for billions of years, you were not here, and now you are.
- You are a miracle because out of billions of people, there is only one YOU.
- You are a miracle because everything in your entire body used to be part of the Earth.
- You are a miracle because everything in your body is still part of the Earth!
- You are a miracle because your mind is the most advanced technology in existence.
- You are a miracle because you have the potential to create something that has never existed before.
- You are a miracle because you have the ability to manifest your dreams.
Out of all the possible ways that the stuff of the universe could have taken form (been manifested), it comes together to form YOU – at least for a while. This is an incredible gift and an opportunity for you to experience the miracle of life – the miracle of creation.
You may feel down, sad, or even depressed at time. You may be hurt, physically, emotionally, or even spiritually. You may be facing challenges that make it difficult to fully appreciate the miracle that is you, but you still can. You can find a way to remember what you are. And that simple act will transform your life experience, no matter what it is.
Your Thoughtfulness Practice
Pause and take time to consider your life as an amazing gift that has been given to you to keep – for a little while. Meditate on the fact that you are alive, animated, and earthly. Yes – You are an earthly being having a spiritual experience. How amazing!
You are a miracle.
and you are loved.
September 16, 2012
Today–Not tomorrow–Not next week–Not next year.
Here–Not Nearby–Not over there–Not in some ‘special’ place.
Within–Not in a speech–Not in text–Not from someone else.
The world will EVOLVE when individuals choose to evolve. When more people devote time and attention to improving their life experience through seeking to understand themselves and use their minds in ways that are reasonable, responsible, and in ways that do not harm themselves or cause them to harm others–The world will evolve.
The world will EVOLVE when individuals stop blaming each other for the quality of their lives and take responsibility for their own choices. When more people stop focusing so much on what other people are saying, writing, and doing, and start to focus on what they can do, as individuals, to help–The world will evolve.
The world with EVOLVE when individuals stop searching for peace and enlightenment in places they cannot be, for things they cannot know, in a way they cannot access. When more people come to know God through knowing themselves, knowing their world, and knowing each other–The world will evolve.
The world will EVOLVE when individuals come to understand their minds as a tool for solving problems, rather than subjecting themselves to the problems created by their minds. When more people allow their minds to be free, while choosing the few useful thoughts among the thousands–The world will evolve.
Evolution relies on the emergence of efficiency over mere activity, objectivism over mysticism, and visionaries where there were once only voyeurs.
This is it. There is no no other time, no other place, and no one else who will do it.
For the world to evolve, we must each evolve.
September 16, 2012
You made it!
Out of all the possible manifestations and expressions that exist in the universe, here you are.
We know that the universe consists of mostly the same materials, and that those similar materials are combined to make various ‘expressions’ and ‘forms.’ Some of these are what we call ‘inanimate,’ while others are ‘animate’ or ‘life forms.’ The vast majority of the universal forms are relatively still. They are not considered ‘alive.’ They are part of the ‘stuff.’
Plants and animals are considered life forms and represent a relatively small portion of the universal expressions. Out of all that is alive, a very small portion is called ‘animal,’ as compared to plants. Out of all that is animal, a very small portion are what we call ‘intelligent life,’ those forms that appear to have free will, drive, sentience, and so on. Out of all the ‘intelligent’ forms of life that we know of, a very small portion are human, those animals with the greatest capacity for thinking (i.e., reasoning, categorizing, problem solving, etc.).
You are a member of that extremely small group of expressive forms. You made it. You are here!
Out of all the manifestations that you could have been, you become a human life–for a while.
When we are born, we somehow understand just how unlikely it is to have a human life–or really any life at all. We are in a seemingly constant state of bewilderment and awe. Suddenly, we are born. We are sensing, feeling, touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting. We are interacting with the known world and everything is changing around and inside us. It is an amazing journey that is like nothing else. It’s wonderful!
From nowhere, we enter the now here.
It is the most unlikely condition that will ever exist, for once you return, you will not remember this journey. This is your time.
How will you spend it? Will you remain is a state of wonderment and awe? Will you wake each day and be amazed at the fact that you can breath, touch, see, hear, and experience the world is so many different ways? Or–will you focus on striving, earning money, solving problems, getting ahead, planning for the future, fixing the past, and suffering along the way?
Is it possible to earn money and remain is a state of wonderment? Why not!
Your Thoughtfulness Practice:
Stop. Do not DO anything. Be.
Feel the feeling of being alive, of being breathed by the universe, of being held in the arm of nature, of having the energy of universal love flow through you. Do not TRY. Just be. Feel this happening in every moment. There is nothing you can do to change the presence of love. You can; however, miss this moment and all the miracles that come with it.
You are Here.
Experience your beingness.
This is love.
December 15, 2011
It’s often the case that we reflect on ways to help each other during the Holidays, whether it’s donating some time to help serve meals to those in need, running errands for someone who is homebound, or simply donating our time to be with people who could use some company, such as those in retirement homes or hospitals.
Giving the gift of support, through physical or personal donations is a wonderful way to create a sense of connectedness with others and foster community on all levels. Gifts of this kind can take the form of specific events, such as making a special trip to a senior center to sing holiday songs with the residents, or helping to collect and distribute gifts through your community organization.
Gifts of Peace can also take a much smaller, more subtle form. They can be given in very small packets of attention, listening, and validating others. When someone approaches you with a worried look on their face, tension in their voice, and anxiety in their mind, listening with attention and compassion might be all that is needed to open up their hearts. This simple act can be one form of mindfulness-based meditation. When those around us are nurtured, we feel nurtured as well.
Embodying tenderness in all that you do, can have ripple effects that extend into the world, well beyond the physical limits of your immediate world. Walking through the world with a smile on your lips and openness in your eyes can affect everyone you touch in ways that are profound. Giving this kind of peace is not something that is usually noticed, but it is felt.
As you drive to your appointments this holiday season, think of every driver as your dear friend. Perhaps they need to get somewhere quickly, which is why they need to speed around you or get into that parking spot. Let them. Create space for peace by allowing others to flow around you. See them as members of your family who might need more understanding and support at this time. Give them the peace you carry in your heart. You will never run out!
One of the best ways to give peace, is to not take things personally when something unexpected or undesirable happens. Keep in mind that you have expectations. (We all do). But it is only when you compare your expectations with what actually happens that you might become frustrated and upset. When we accept the world as it is, we will never be upset – because we are always starting from the situation that is. This does not mean that we do not strive to improve, only that we are not caught up in comparing what we wanted to have happen with what is happening, which is pointless and often stressful.
Give peace by listening to someone talk without judging their circumstances or trying to ‘fix’ their problems. Listen with an open heart and mind, making eye contact and finding the bright spots in what the share. Often, people focus on their problems, but it is impossible for someone to know what his problems are unless he also has some idea of that the solutions! (otherwise he would simply accept the situation as normal).
Give peace by not engaging in positions of tension. Someone might say something with which you disagree. That’s OK. Is it important to defend the opposite position at that time? What is more important, to be ‘right’ or to be at peace? If you can, allow others to have their opinions and focus on what you both enjoy. Celebrate the good that you both see in the world. Often, when we remove our ‘problems’ we find love – for love is at the core of creation. Love is the heartbeat of the universe – the ‘one song’ that we all sing each day.
Give peace to yourself by having compassion for the child inside you that is doing the best he/she can. Allow yourself to make mistakes and laugh at yourself -because you know that life is about trying things, making discoveries, and exploring the boundaries of the imagination. Life is not a performance. It is an adventure – and adventures are marked by surprises. Enjoy them and be grateful.
Give peace to the planet by being a stuart of all your relations. Take care of every being you encounter, every form of life, and every phase of life. See the stages of the manifested world as one dance, moving in harmony, you with your place and everything else with its place, interconnected and interdependent. Know that, by offering peace, you are creating peace for yourself. Be peaceful and the world will reciprocate.
Blessings to you this holiday season.
May you be peace!
October 19, 2011
Watch the news and you would think that the world is in a constant state of unrest, but is this really true? Does conflict take the place of peace or can there be peace within struggle, within conflict and tension? Finding peace might seem like an almost unsurmountable task in ‘times of conflict,’ but there’s another way to approach finding it that doesn’t rely on others or even yourself to manifest this state of continuity and clarity that we all seek.
Finding peace can be the result of connecting to something that is peaceful. Anyone who knows nature has experienced the sense of peace that comes from taking a leisurely walk through a natural landscape, sitting alongside a gently flowing stream, or watching the clouds roll by from a grassy hillside. While we generally find these experiences peaceful, we’re only scratching the surface. There’s more we can do, purposefully and with full attention, to connect to peace and find that feeling within ourselves.
They say that ‘It takes one to know one.’ While this phrase has traditionally been used as a snappy come-back, aimed at the teaser and most often used in children’s culture, we can use it as a starting point to help point us towards peace. Translated another way, we could say that “It takes knowing peace to be at peace.” In other words, we can identify peace where it exists, connect to that active experience, and manifest that experience through our experiences.
How do we connect to peace? First, we locate something peaceful, something beautiful, something that is manifesting peace. This actually applies to just about everything in nature, but let’s begin with those manifestations that are most recognizable as beautiful and peaceful: plants and more specifically, trees and flowers. For the purpose of this practice, the object of our attention will be a healthy, living, expression (life form), that we find pleasing to observe.
Find a living plant (tree or flower) in a place where you will have 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted time. Make yourself comfortable and prepare your body and mind with some gentle stretches, deep, slow breathing, and making yourself comfortable. Once settled, focus on the object of peace. (Make sure that you are close enough to the object to observe detail) Begin by observing the item as a whole. Take in the beauty. Proceed to notice small details, lines, curves, points of interest, etc. Notice how it grows up and out, spreading into the word to show its beauty. Notice how peaceful it is – how calm – yet steady and in many ways, strong and grounded it is.
Begin to imagine what it would feel like to be that plant. How does it experience the world? Imagine the feeling of having your roots spread out into the cool earth. Think about what they would feel like, not as a human, but as the plant. Notice the steam or trunk and imagine how it feels to be reaching upward, strong and connected. Notice the branches and stems and the feeling of spreading out. Notice the flowers and leaves and the urge and feeling to allow your beauty to show without reserve, without hesitation, naked for the world to see. Imagine the feeling of peace that this life experiences each and every moment: grounded, growing, reaching, opening. Imagine yourself ‘as’ the plant (not as a person observing). Use your ability to empathize with this life you see in front of you to find the feelings of peace that it so completely embodies.
Begin to imagine your own body in the same way as you see the plant, connected, growing, branching out, blossoming, showing your beauty without reserve. Find the same feeling of peace within yourself. You are a manifestation of the same force that is manifesting the plant. Know that you also represent peace, naturally. Connect with your own embodiment of peace that is an innate part of your existence. Feel the feeling. Experience the sensation of being alive, of growing without trying, of opening up to the universal love that creates the manifested. You are not a ‘part of’ or ‘apart from’ the Universe. You are an expression of the universe.
After spending a few minutes experiencing deep sensations of peace, begin to bring your awareness back to the general environment. Slowly transition out of your peace practice and use the experience to inform and shape how you experience yourself and others in the future. Represent peace to others. Be a model, even if they are unable or unwilling to follow your example. Represent peace through your ability to remain grounded, growing, and blossoming. Show your beauty to others in the hopes that they will find the beauty in themselves.
This is the Thoughfulness Practice of “Finding Peace.”
- How do you create this practice in your life?
- What are some benefits of this Practice?
Share your thoughts and ideas below.
September 14, 2011
How much mind do you need to use?
When you’re involved in an activity, whether it’s intense, such as working to meet a work deadline, or low-pressure, such as walking through a park, do you ever thinking about how much you need to think at that time? In other words: Have you considered to what degree to use your mind to help you?
Most of us simply let our minds do what they do, which is to continuously work at solving problems, figuring out puzzles, providing alternatives, and basically showing us all sorts of possibilities. This is normal, but is it in our best interest? If you’ve never considered using ‘less mind,” consider it now.
When do we really NEED to use the power of our mind? Of course it should be easy to think of some examples. Doing a math or geometry problem, writing a story or technical paper, reading a map, debating a topic, etc. Most people would say that we need our minds most of the time and perhaps that is true. But could it be that there are many times when we not only do not need to use the power of our minds as much?
Consider times when you don’t need to use your mind. This could be when you’re sitting by a river, taking in the beautify with all your senses; walking in a forested area, swinging on a swing, floating in the ocean, resting, etc. These are times where there is little need for the mind. Why? Because there is no puzzle to figure out–no mystery to solve–no problem to resolve.
The problem in these situations often comes about as a result of the activity of the mind! When we are not able to allow our ‘beingness’ to be the focus, feeling the sensations of life, allowing our senses to guide us into the perfect and present moment, we begin to suffer. We suffer as our minds continue to work away at fictional problems, provide us with more and more scenarios to situations that have long past, and fill our attention with a seemingly endless stream of what-ifs.
Thoughtfulness teaches us that our mind is a tool that we can use to help us solve complex problems. It teaches us that it is an organ inside our body, whose job it is to provide us with possibilities, solutions, and alternatives. Knowing this, we can manage the mind’s outflow of imagery and, rather than having an aversion to it’s offerings, have gratitude for this amazing resource.
So rather than saying to ourselves: “Oh my, I have ‘monkey-mind’ and I feel overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do.”, we can say (to our mind) thank you for these offerings, but I am not in need of any help right now. I have everything I need already. In this way, you can let your mind know that you’re OK.
When we form a loving relationship with our mind, like we would with a child who is trying his best to help, we can ease the frenetic energy of the mind, and as a result, the body. We can bring our mind-body into harmony by not resisting the mind, but at the same time, not allowing the mind to run the show, so to speak.
So when we’re sitting by a river or walking in the forest, we can send a message of understanding to our mind that there’s no need to solve problems. We can say “Thank you, but not now. Perhaps later.” We can use less mind and more body. When we focus on our senses, we become more mindful of ourselves and our surroundings. We deepen our relationship with the present perfect moment and the world as it is in its true beauty. When we do that, we focus on what truly matters and find beauty reflected in ourselves and everything around us.
This is mindfulness.
This is the Thoughtfulness practice of Matter over Mind.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts below.
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July 2, 2011
You wake up, roll out of bed, and go thorough your morning routine–often without thinking much about what you are doing. In a way, you’re on auto-pilot. It’s not that you’re not paying attention or present, it’s just that everything is so familiar, it doesn’t require much attention to get it done.
The same quality of attention might apply to getting to work or getting into your day. You drive, take the bus or train, you get to your destination just fine and begin your day. Much of your work, you find easy, so you do it without thinking much. Most of your attention might actually be on daily news pr whatever is happening that doesn’t happen on a daily basis.
When you’re finished with work, you may your way home without any trouble. You’ve done it many times before so you spend your time thinking, day dreaming, or resting. At home you have an evening routine that might be similar to your morning routine, with the possible exception of social engagements. You might go out with your partner or meet friends after work. For the most part, you are doing things that require little effort and attention.
When we are children, the world seems to hold an almost magical spell on us. What most adults would find all too ordinary, children find fascinating. A small inset crawling on the ground, a dripping faucet, the way the light comes through the trees, and creates shadow puppets on the wall.
Why do our lives often seem to lack this magical feeling as we get older? Is this simply part of growing up or is there a way to retain the feeling of excitement while we also make our way through the work week? The later is possible if we learn a skill that will ensure that we never loose that magical feeling we had as a child. It’s called “Seeing as New.”
What happens as part of the learning and living process, is that we learn to identify things based on associations and categorization. We learn to see something as belonging to a certain group of things, such as trees, cars, and even types of people. Our minds to this automatically, probably to free up space for other tasks, such as attending to a current activity or simply to lower overall mind power used.
The upside of this process (categorization through association) is that our loves become somewhat streamlined. We don’t need to spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what is going on, identifying things, learning about things, and making sure that a thing really is what we think it is. We are able to quickly “check off” things as we encounter them. “Oh yes, that’s grass. That’s a dog. That’s a bus. Those are school children. Those are staff people. etc.”
Do you see the problem with this way of processing? We don’t actually see and experience what is there. We experience what we think is there. We don’t experience life as it is. We experience it as we have come to know it. The reality is: You have never experienced this moment before–and you have never seen the world as it is right now. When you see a tree, you have never seen that tree before, although your mind might try to tell you that you have. Your mind will say “Yes. yes. yes. I’ve seen that a million times. It’s the tree that is in front of my house.” Your mind is trying to save you the time and energy it would take to really see it – in this moment, which would be an amazing experience.
Imagine seeing that same tree that you walk by everyday though the eyes of a child. How might you feel if you really looked at the leaves, the bark, the patterns in the branches, the solid trunk, the way the roots blend into the earth–what an incredible masterpiece! Not only is it a masterpiece, but it’s dynamic. It’s never been the way it is right now–and neither have you. You are seeing the tree for the first time–literally. And, if it could see, would be seeing you as you have never been before. The two of you are new in every passing moment. Is this not true?
With this newness in mind. Is it reasonable to consider the tree as something unique and mysterious? Isn’t this the reality? It’s not the tree that your mind might tell you it is. It’s not even the tree that you saw the day before. It’s a unique life form that you are seeing for the very first time–every time.
Now, imagine how many things in your life that you are not really seeing, but rather “checking off” as “seen it.” How much of your day are you not really experiencing because your mind is sure that it’s seen it before? Probably a lot. Imagine how rich and magical your life could be is you saw everything as new, as the amazing dynamic creation that it is.
What happens often, is that we apply the “know it already” thinking to not only the things in our lives, but the people as well. We think that we know someone because we have some past experiences with them. We even expect them to behave a certain way, based on past experiences, or even experiences with people who are similar (able to be grouped together with that person, based on some criteria). We often treat people as if we know “what they’re all about” based on our perception of them as part of any number of different groups within which our associating mind has placed them. We miss out on seeing them as they are.
The secret to experiencing a dynamic, exciting, and “magical” life, is to ignore the “seen it” messages that our minds send us and to see for ourselves. When we really look and experience something as it is, rather than as we think it is, we reclaim the potential to have moment-to-moment magic in our lives, to find that same wonderment that kept our attention as a child, and to have authentic and rich connections with all other beings.
Take time to see something as new. Remind yourself that you have never seen the world as it is right now. Look, listen, feel, smell, taste, and sense what is happening from moment to moment. When your mind tells you that you’ve “see this or that before,” say “perhaps, but I want to experience this for myself, right now.” Remember that your mind is only trying to help, but that sometimes, you’re better of saying “no thank you. I’ll take this one on my own.” Deepen your life experiences by pausing to really see something or someone for what or who they are in this moment. See them as new and resist the temptation to clump them into groups of the familiar. They are not– and neither are you.
This Thoughtfulness Practice of “Seeing as New” can be applied to any situation to increase appreciation and wonderment for all that life has to offer. Practice it from your first waking moments until you set you head down to rest. See the world through a child’s eyes and experience yourself as new.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and ideas below.
June 27, 2011
Mindfulness, the practice of conscious attention to the present moment while maintaining a non-judgmental mindset. This mind state has been to focus of Eastern practitioners for centuries and in recent years, has been of increasing interest in the West, as more and more people search for effective tools to help them cope with and manage what seems like an ever-increasing pace of life.
Neuroscience is examining the effects of conscious thought on people from all walks of life, including those who participate in various psychological therapies and those with specific needs. Studies are beginning to show that there can be measurable benefits from engaging in specific types of meditation practices, many of which include elements of mindfulness. It turns out that our minds are more plastic and receptive to conditioning than previously imagined. By actively participating in various thought processes, we can change our mental and emotional orientation, thereby increasing the quality of our thoughts and our lives. There are many different applications and approaches that incorporate and support mindfulness. Thoughtfulness is one of these approaches.
The Thoughtfulness Approach includes a collection of related practices. Thoughtfulness is based on several assertions that form the foundation of the approach. Some of these include:
- The mind is a mechanism that decodes, associates, categorizes, stores, and retrieves data.
- The mind produces myriad thoughts that are available for consideration, interpretation, and application.
- Thoughts may be categorized according to their type, relevance, and usefulness.
- Thoughts may be applied, discarded, stored, or transformed.
- Thoughts often produce emotions, which are processed in a way similar to that of data.
- Emotions are often felt in the body and may be processed in a number of different ways.
- The mind/body is an empathetic system, and responsive to external conditions.
- Thoughts and emotions are often over-associatioed and may result in misperceptions and dysfunctional thinking.
- Dysfunctional thoughts and emotions may be cleared from the mind/body through the use of phycho-somatic processes, without the use of drugs or invasive procedures.
- The tools one needs to effectively manage one’s thoughts are universally available, regardless of race, gender, age, socio-economic status and spiritual or religious belief systems.
- The Thoughtfulness Practice may be used in conjunction with spiritual and religious systems.
When practiced on a regular basis and with conscious attention, Thoughtfulness has the potential to reduce time spent in states of worry, anxiety, isolation, loneliness, anger, bitterness, depression and fear. Thoughtfulness has the potential to increase enjoyment, raise self-esteem, increase productivity, elevate mood, improve sleep, boost energy levels, and increase a general sense of wellbeing.
Contact us to discover ways to incorporate the Thoughtfulness Practice.