Hello! I’m so excited to bring you episode number four! I talk about a couple of really great, inspiring moments from podcasts I love. There’s a bit from James Altucher interviewing Tony Robbins that blew me away, as well as a really touching moment from The Tim Ferriss Show when he interviewed meditation master, Jack Kornfield. I also tackle the question, “Is meditation for me?” Can you guess my answer! lol…
Thank you so much for your time. And don’t forget to breathe…
All right! Podcast episode 003 is here! I recently tried out sensory deprivation via float tank! In this episode I’ll talk about the experience, spoiler alert, it was amazing! I’ll also discuss my vision for the future of Meditation. Check it and let me know if you’d like for me to cover any specific topics or questions.
Thanks very much,
Hey, check out podcast number two! (Click to play below). In this episode I rave about the Headspace app, and talk a bit about the awesome book, Tools Of Titans, by Tim Ferriss. I also hit upon the book How To Practice by the Dalai Lama, as well as talk about navigating levels of consciousness and Integral Theory. Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory Model has had a huge impact on my life, and I wouldn’t be meditating daily if I hadn’t found it. Check it out! I’ve also upgraded my audio equipment since episode one, so it will be a little easier on the ears.
Quick note: I have no affiliation with the people or products that I talk about or link to on this episode. I like them and benefit from them, so I want you to know about them. I am not compensated in any way for these endorsements.
Thank you so much for your time and attention.
Don’t forget to breathe…
Hi everybody! Here’s a quick guided meditation I did as a Facebook Live. It’s only two minutes and this version has been edited down to the essential meditation, and is a higher sound quality that the FB version.
And don’t forget to breathe!
Thanks for taking the time.
Great news! We can actually make ourselves better! It’s true, you can be better than you are now. Better in what way? By evolving your level of consciousness. That seems vague, so I’ll unpack it.
There have been discoveries in developmental psychology that have revealed actual stages of consciousness that all humans evolve through starting the day we are born. Depending on which model you look at, there are roughly eight to ten stages available to all of us. Some people evolve further than others during their lifetime. Each stage is more complete than the previous one, therefore each new stage is better than the last. What I’m presenting here is a very basic overview. There are several excellent sources that delve deeply, I’ll mention one below.
A simple example would be to consider a three-stage model: egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric. Imagine a newborn. They are totally submersed in their environment. They don’t know that everyone else is separate from themselves, they don’t know that we all have independent thoughts, wants, and needs. A baby is completely concerned with its own wellbeing. This can be considered an “egocentric” stage. Me, me, me! I’m hungry, I’m wet, I’m tired! Me, me, me, me, ME! Then when that child is a little older, she will realize that we are all individuals. She will begin to empathize with others and start to care about her family’s feelings and wellbeing. That’s more of an “ethnocentric” identity. At that stage our primary concern branches out to include our family, group, or tribe. It can be an identification with a religious group, an ethnic group, or one’s country. Then further down the road of life, some people, (but not everyone) will evolve to a “worldcentric” point of view where the individual cares about everyone in the world regardless of whether or not they are in the same family, tribe, nation, etc. These three basic stages, egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric illustrate pretty well how this works. The model I’m describing here is known as Spiral Dynamics, and it is part of the foundation of an amazing concept called Integral Theory.
It’s also worth mentioning that our cultural groups, tribes, and nations likewise evolve through the same stages, as a group, more or less together. The level of consciousness of the majority of members of a group generally dictates the level of that society, nation, etc. Detailed examples are beyond the scope of this article, but for instance, we can recognize that a democracy is more advanced than a dictatorship.
This fascinating subject goes further in depth to include the fact that certain aspects of our being can evolve through these levels separately as well. It can be that you are a level three in ethics, but your interpersonal relationships are still at level two. For a righteously in-depth look at Spiral Dynamics, which in-turn leads into Integral Theory, check out the book A Theory Of Everything, by Ken Wilber, (Click Here to See or Buy the Book). Ken Wilber has been called, “our greatest living philosopher.” I’ve ready many of his books, and can say that his work is life-changing.
The reason I’m telling you all of this is that the goal of humanity should be to get as many people as possible to evolve through the highest stages possible so that we can live in a more peaceful and just society. Our human potential is just now being tapped, this is truly an exciting time to be alive! Most importantly I have to point out that a daily meditation practice will get you moving through the stages faster and further. So work on yourself. Improve yourself. Study. Meditate. Exercise. Because when you experience the world through the lens of higher consciousness, you become kinder and happier, and people notice. It rubs off on them. They want to know how they can be happier. They see that it is possible to live a richer life. Then as the individuals go, so do the nations and then the world.
“Yesterday I was clever,
so I wanted to change the world.
Today I am wise,
so I am changing myself.”
Please use the comment section to ask questions or to let me know of any related subjects you’d like to see covered here.
Thank you so much for reading this.
I’m so busy. No really, super busy. I can’t find time to meditate. I can’t even get enough sleep at night, how can I manage ten minutes to meditate? Seriously, I’ve had this conversation with myself time and again. I skip a day here and a day there and next thing you know, I’ve missed a week or two. I finally realized that it is important to meditate every day, even if it is just for two minutes. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Two minutes?! Surely I can squeeze a hundred and twenty seconds out of a busy day and sit quietly. It is a bare minimum of a practice that I believe in so strongly. The repetition is what is crucial to the practice. To observe daily your own conscious, chattering mind from the point of view of pure awareness is to cement in yourself the realization that there is more to yourself than simply your thoughts.
Two minutes. Usually takes place in bed before I fall asleep. Focusing on my breath. Mind racing. Replaying the events of the day. Thinking. Begin again. Breathe in, breathe out. Mind racing. Thinking about what I’ll do tomorrow. Planning. Begin again. Breathe in, breathe out. Mind racing. Begin again. Breathe. Every day. Two minutes.
For a long time now I’ve been practicing what I call micro-meditations throughout the day. I don’t know if that is a term that is in use, but this type of practice is not unheard of. It consists of taking advantage of little moments of downtime as they pop up in your daily life. Waiting for thirty copies of that document to print? Watch your breath: in, out, in, out. That’s it. All day long. Waiting in line at the bank? Breathe. Meditate. In, out, you get it. The opportunities are constant. Likewise, you don’t always have to be aware of your breath. The goal is to practice present awareness. When you are brushing your teeth, be aware of every moment of brushing your teeth. Try to brush them perfectly. Focus, instead of letting your mind roam to the million other things you would usually think about. Some wisdom traditions actually have specific meditations or mantras that keep the practitioner focused on the present moment when they are eating, going to the bathroom, or doing most mundane tasks. Again, present awareness is always the goal.
The height of present awareness comes when you actually maintain the meditative state all the time. Some meditation masters actually suggest that once you have experienced sitting meditation frequently enough and deeply enough, you no longer need to do sitting meditation. You simply meditate all the time. This concept gave me the idea for micro-meditations. You can put yourself into a meditative state while you do anything, literally. But I realize that it will not work for someone who hasn’t first learned how to meditate sufficiently. As with anything, the more you do it, the better you can do it.
Keep in mind that we should strive to meditate every day for ten to twenty minutes. But if it becomes frustrating, or if like me, you find it hard to make time to do it, then backing down the time is recommended instead of skipping it altogether. At the very least, you should make sure that you sit every day and meditate for two or three minutes. Likewise, if this is all you can carve out of any given day, you should make it a priority to sit for thirty minutes once a week. A thirty minute meditation, done weekly, will give you a familiarity with the depth of present awareness needed to be able to practice micro-meditations throughout the day. Just to be clear, if you are not already familiar with sitting meditation, micro-meditations will not benefit your practice.
Thank you so much for reading! I welcome all comments or questions below.
Don’t forget to breathe….
Compassion as a life-practice is an essential part of becoming happier and living a more fulfilling life. While it seems obvious that we should feel compassion toward those less fortunate than ourselves, there is a lot more to compassion than just that. When you can see yourself in others, you start to understand that they want the same basic things in life. We all want more happiness and less suffering. Feeling compassion towards others helps you to move through your day with less frustration.
Here’s an excellent meditation on compassion I read about in a book by the Dalai Lama. Imagine a group of really poor, tired people looking sad and disheveled. They’re faces are dirty, they are wearing tattered clothes. Then picture yourself standing away from them, happy and carefree. Look closely, see the clothes you are wearing, look at your face, maybe you look a little smug. Then place your focus back on the group of less fortunate people. Really take in their situation and look back at yourself. Go between the two a few times and then ask yourself, “Who deserves happiness more? Who could really use a break from their suffering for a moment?” The answer is clear but it carries some implications that are not as obvious. Of course a group of people suffering like this deserve more. We all have an innate right to be happy. Each and every one of us only wants to be happy and to endure less suffering. What might surprise you is that it is more beneficial to you to view everyone in your life this way, as the other, more deserving than you of some happiness. That is true compassion. When you find yourself in an argument with that coworker that always gets under your skin, realize that they deserve happiness. They are suffering just like you. Try this meditation on compassion every day for a few weeks, it only takes a minute or two. You will begin to notice that people annoy you less, and when you are upset by someone, the hurt doesn’t cut as deeply and doesn’t last as long.
It is a new practice of mine that when I interact with someone to try to ask myself, “How can this person benefit from this interaction? How can I make this moment really worthwhile for them? How can I make their life pop?” I’m trying. It is not easy, but every time I speak to someone I want to somehow make their life better. I try to offer some unexpected enthusiasm, a little authentic giddiness. I am, after all, a very silly guy. Through my meditation practice, I have been able to be happier, and when I talk to someone, I feel more alive. This practice becomes really difficult for me when I feel insulted or offended by someone. I always try not to speak to them in that moment because I know that when I feel that way, I am more likely to say something hurtful back to them which I want to avoid at all costs. If I can’t help someone, at the least I can try to do no harm. Like I said, it isn’t easy. I make mistakes all the time, but I find that with a few words spoken from the heart, almost any situation is mendable.
Compassion is very easy when everyone around you is happy and easygoing. If it was easy all the time, we wouldn’t have to practice at it! Lol! I am a big fan of the phrase, “Begin again.” It’s almost a mantra for me. When I slip or outright fail at any discipline whether it’s being distracted during a meditation, or being swept away by emotion and becoming angry with someone, I try not to beat myself up about it and simply, “begin again.” Breathe, and begin again. Always…
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Gratitude is a concept that has been thrown around a lot lately, but I don’t think it has been very well defined or that there has been a clear way in which people are saying you should, “be grateful.” I believe that it is helpful to actively feel gratitude for the very specific things that we might be taking for granted on a daily basis. If you are reading this, for example, you have a lot to be grateful for. The fact that you have managed to access an internet connection means that for sure, you are not lacking some of life’s necessities like, I don’t know, clean drinking water. Let’s face it, we live like royalty compared to most people on this planet.
I love the phrase, “First world problems.” It points out how fortunate I really am. Just the other day I was complaining to a coworker about my new schedule. I chose to work weekends and closing shifts at the restaurant so that I could take care of my four month old daughter during the day. It works out great because my wife works a nine-to-five and we can pass off the baby without having to put her into day care. I was complaining that I don’t get a day off with my wife and that I don’t get as much sleep as I’d like when I realized that, of course, this is exactly what we wanted. I love my life and I’m so grateful that I have a job that is flexible and that my six year old son is starting little league baseball, and we have air conditioning, and can afford to buy organic foods. The list goes on. There is so much to be grateful for!
My gratitude practice includes reflecting on what I am grateful for throughout the day and especially as I lie in bed before falling asleep each night. I run down the list of everything I’m grateful for from my family to my home and my job, and yes, I remember to be grateful for clean drinking water! How is that still a thing?! My gratitude meditation is very similar to a prayer. Some people keep gratitude journals where they write down one thing every day that they are grateful for. You might reflect on gratitude first thing in the morning. Whatever works!
The act of intentionally feeling gratitude is important to our physical and mental well-being. Research on gratitude has revealed some amazing benefits. Feeling grateful reduces stress and can help lessen depression. A daily reflection on gratitude has been shown to increase attributes such as alertness, enthusiasm, and determination. People engaged in the practice tend to get better and more sleep. They are also more likely to help someone else with a personal problem or offer them emotional support. There are also indications that a gratitude practice has benefits related to heart health.
Gratitude can be experienced as an object of meditation, just like the breath. When you feel grateful for something, hold the feeling, observe it like an object. Let’s say you’ve just had a wonderful meal at a nice restaurant and you realize that you are grateful. Hold that thought. Observe it. How does it feel emotionally and physically? Are you feeling happy? Do you feel energized? Explore the depth of the thing you are grateful for. Are you feeling gratitude toward the cooks that prepared the meal? Are you grateful that you have the money to eat at such a nice restaurant? Consider the server who gave you excellent service, the owner of the restaurant who had the vision to bring together the food and ambiance. Go even deeper. Think about the farmer who cared for the ingredients that were prepared and brought to the table. There’s a lot going on that we take for granted every day.
As we improve and strengthen our mindfulness, it is important to direct it at useful mindsets like gratitude and compassion. (I was originally going to write this post on both gratitude and compassion, but quickly discovered that they both merit their own posts.) These attributes further our own well-being in addition to that of our immediate communities, (families, coworkers, and people we encounter every day), and inevitably, they improve the world. As more and more people begin to experience meditation and begin to feel gratitude and compassion, we all become more whole, suffering decreases across the board while happiness increases. The effects are real. I somehow don’t think the skeptics will have read this far, so please, try this for yourself and see if you agree. Don’t take my word for it. And if you see a benefit here, please share what you have found with those people in your life who might need it the most. And be grateful.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am grateful.
So many people miss out on meditation because they think it is some flaky, mystical, woo-woo nonsense. Others think that meditation is strictly religious and might conflict with their own religious beliefs, (or lack thereof). The truth is that meditation is more sciency than all that. This is brain stuff. Meditation is more like lifting weights for your brain. When you lift weights your muscles get stronger; when you meditate you brain gets stronger. Meditation is really just a fancy name for awareness training. That’s all it is. My mission here is to introduce people to a practical, simple meditation, and to convince you that it is good for you, no matter who you are or what you are in to!
I think it is worth mentioning here that meditation is not prayer. Meditation is a tool that can be used to enhance prayer. It can enhance anything that requires attention and being present. Literally any human endeavor can be enhanced when meditation is practiced alongside it.
In sports, for example, it is widely accepted that the game is 90% mental and only 10% physical. Focus and clarity are what allow players to perform at their highest levels. It’s no wonder that top athletes are turning to meditation. Athletes who have been known to meditate range from basketball legends, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, to Olympic gold medal-winning volleyball players, Misty May-Trainor and Kerri Walsh, and even the entire University of Michigan basketball team, led by their coach! These top-performers are serious about their sport, and they realize that meditation is the key to reaching their full potential.
Some of the most successful and influential business leaders have also discovered the value of awareness training. From Ceo’s to top-level entrepreneurs, meditation has proven itself to be an integral key to success. In a world where numerous personal growth practices are debated, meditation is generally accepted as an effective tool. A small sample of this group includes: Marc Benioff of multi-billion dollar giant Salesforce, Arianna Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post who has been meditating since she was a teenager, and Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo exec and current Linkedin CEO, who meditates daily. The clarity of mind and reduction of stress are essential for success in the business world.
And as you can imagine, the world of entertainment is full of practicing meditators at the peak of their craft. Madonna, Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Brand, Katy Perry, Clint Eastwood, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Eva Mendez, Jerry Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Howard Stern, Martin Scorsese, and … All right, you get it. The list does go on and on. I could have made a similar list of meditating CEO’s and sports figures, but the CEO’s aren’t as recognizable, and the sports list would just be too long.
Whether you are learning a new language, raising your kids, or trying to make partner at your law firm. Meditation will get you further, quicker. If you want to be at the top of your game, whatever that may be, you may want to take note of what is working for other top-performers. The fact that you’ve read this far is a good indication that you are ready to give meditation a try. But you can’t just take my word on it, this is something you have to try for yourself to see if it works for you. Thanks for taking the time! And don’t forget to breathe!