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Happy New Year

January 1, 2009

As we start the New Year, making resolutions is a common choice. Christine Kane had a good series on choosing a “word for the year” instead and ended it today with a great post on resolutions and making a different choice:

Why Resolutions Don’t Work

The reason most resolutions don’t work is that they address only one level of your life.

The DO level.

It’s the DO-HAVE-BE model. It goes like this:

“I will DO this thing.” (i.e., Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)

Starting right now, however, we’re gonna turn that around. We’re going to start at a deeper level:

The “BE” level.

The best order for creating positive change in your life is the BE-DO-HAVE model. This means you start from the BE level. When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow effortlessly.

When you start only on the DO level, then the blocks on the BE level will often become the obstacles you can’t overcome.

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Loving Kindness Meditations

November 28, 2008

When I did the Wednesday mediation some weeks ago, I read a version of the Buddhist Loving Kindness meditation that I had found on the web. I really like this version because it has re-worded every part to be said in a very positive manner. Several people asked me for a copy of it and so I decided to post it here. I found this version at the Druid Journal Blog where also there is also a link to a recorded version of this as a meditation.

I love myself.
May I be full of love.
May I be full of joy.
May I be full of good will.
May I be free from all suffering.
May my body be healthy and strong.
May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be happy.
May I be at peace.

I spread this loving kindness out.

I send love to those who are dear to me.
May their difficulties fall away.
May they be full of love and strength.
May they feel only joy and good will. May they be healthy and happy.
May they be at peace.

I send loving kindness to my friends and associates.
May they be full of love, peace, and joy.
May they feel compassion and goodwill. May they be healthy and happy.
May they be at peace.

I send love and kindness to all the people of the world, known and unknown, everywhere on earth.
May all on this planet be free from suffering.
May they be full of joy, goodwill, and hope.
May they be happy and at peace.

May all beings in the universe be free from suffering.
May all beings in all universes, everywhere, be free from suffering.
May they be well, and happy, and at peace.

May all beings of all kinds, in all directions, be happy and at peace.
Above and below, near and far, high and low.
All types of beings.
Humans and non-humans. Seen and unseen. May they be happy; may they be at peace.

I open my heart and receive loving kindness of all beings in return.
I let that love into my heart.

May all be well and happy.
May there be peace.

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Stress Relievers

November 24, 2008

I’ve been reading The Seeker’s Guide by Elizabeth Lesser and she has a list of 10 ways to deal with unavoidable stress.  As we move into the holiday season with its activities and unrelenting “to do” lists I decided to share her ideas.  Take what works for you and leave the rest!

1.  Meditate for twenty minutes.  (Don’t stop here.  This may be a difficult one to accomplish but some of the other suggestions don’t take nearly as much time.)

2.  When you feel stress creeping up on you, take short, meditative “time-out,” even ones that last for a few seconds.  Take a deep breath  in, and exhale slowly.  If there’s no one around, sigh.

3.  Keep mindfulness reminders around you: little quotes tacked on the wall; objects that  express spaciousness, or peace, or clarity; pictures of people who inspire you to open your heart and quiet your mind.

4.  Walk a little more slowly, a little more mindfully, as you move about during your day.

5. When you are driving, be aware of your breath and your thoughts.  Use your time in the car to concentrate fully on driving.  If you’re stuck in traffic or late for an appointment, use the time to let go of control and accept where you are.

6.  Don’t rush to answer the phone when it first rings.  Pretend it’s a church bell, ringing to remind you to relax.  Then answer the phone in a more mindful way.

7.  When you don’t know what to say or what to do, don’t panic.  Take a deep breath, and slow down.  You don’t have to know everything.  You don’t have to be perfect.

8.  When you feel a sense of dread, or panic, or anxiety, slow down, breathe quietly, and locate the tension in your body.  Where do you feel it?  Place your hand there and gently pat yourself, as if you were calming a child.

9.  Energize your body — move around, take a walk, exercise.

10. Check out if your unavoidable stress is really unavoidable.  Take a curious, fearless glance within.  Listen deeply, give your feelings room to express themselves, and wait patiently for the truth to be revealed.

I’d say these are great things to remember all year.  Seems like stress is the American health challenge.  Let me know if any of these ideas work for you.

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Artful Work by Dick Richards

November 16, 2008

Artful Work: Awakening Joy, Meaning, and Commitment in the Workplace by Dick Richards is one of those books you read when you’re feeling blah in your job.  Richards was a graphic artist and his fascination with the process of creating art led him “to a careful study of artistry and to the belief that all work can become artful – artfulness is the key to passion and commitment.”

Richards says,  “Joy arrives on the wings of discovery and surprise.  It inhabits us when we excel.  Joy is not a goal of artful work but the result of doing something challenging and doing it well — so well that the doing leads us into realms we did not expect.  We surprise ourselves.  Joy occurs when we transcend who we think we are and what we think we are capable of creating.

Richards explores the changing face of work and how artful work is turned into “job.”  He believes that since all work can be artful, four questions about artfulness and your particular work need to be addressed:  Do I care about the work itself?  Can I express myself through the work?  Am I committed to the meaning of the work?  And am I tenacious enough to do the work well?

Some interesting questions to ask ourselves about our work.

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Wake Up Now by Michale Bodian.

November 15, 2008

Wake Up Now by Michale Bodian. Bodian is a longtime meditator, former editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal, and has studied with many of the great spiritual masters of the time.  He says, “I’ve written this book for seekers…who are looking for guidance in plain language on the often prolonged and complex journey of spiritual awakening.”  Spiritual awakening means waking up to the experience, to the witness, to pure being itself, to the one who is eternally aware.

The point of spiritual awakening, says Bodian, is not to maximize your assets and minimize your losses, but to be free of attachment to gain or loss and to be peaceful and joyful in the midst of whatever life brings.

One of Bodian’s meditations instructs:

Close your eyes and imagine yourself living the awakened life.  How does it feel to go about your day seeing everyone and everything you meet as your very own Self?  How do you act when you’re merged with the flow of life instead of resisting it? Spend a few minutes allowing this visualization to unfold. How does it affect your experience of life when you open your eyes again?

What do you experience when you try this?

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Creating a Prayer

November 10, 2008

Here’s a link on the United Centers for Spiritual Living webpage that details how to put together a prayer:  INTERACTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS BUILDER. It leads you step by step through the parts of an Affirmative Prayer giving examples for each step.

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More Notes From the Universe: Life, Dreams, and Happiness

November 10, 2008

I’ve just finished reading More Notes From the Universe: Life, Dreams, and Happiness by Mike Dooley.  Dooley, who appeared on the movie The Secret, writes one of those little books that should sit near a chair, that you pick up to read a few sentences or paragraphs, and then you contemplate the ideas and images it brings up.  Here are a few of the thought provoking comments he makes:

  • Believe it or not, if it weren’t for your so-called issues, problems, and challenges, there’d be no other way you could become even happier, cooler, and more enlightened than you have ever been before.
  • Go ahead, want it all.  Just learn to be happy before it arrives, or you may not notice when it does.
  • Thinking big but acting small, is the same as thinking small.  Shiver me timbers.  Reading this and nodding in wholehearted agreement, but not doing a little acting “as if your dreams have come true: in the days that follow, is the same as not reading this.
  • Actually, while it’s fun to think about how fantastically different life will be once your ship comes in, the truth is, the only thing that will really change, is you. Hey, why wait?