Everyone of you has a Life Force that flows through you, connecting you to everyone and everything around you. It also connects you to the greater pool of Energy that we all exist in. That life force flows around you and through you, it makes your heart beat and your Love swim. Read more
Prana, Mana, Chi, Qi – these are names for the same things in very different cultures; the life force that animates us, brings us to life, and empowers us to give and receive Love, to live as we know it. In the west we call this energy.
- The Japanese call the energy that flows within us, Ki.
- The Taoists call this Chi or Qi and follow its flow through charted meridians in acupuncture.
- Indian yogis call it Prana and chart its course through the chakras.
- In the west we follow it through the electrical pulses our heart and brain emit.
- This energy is known as Mana in Polynesia, and Ruach Adonai or Ruach Hakkodesh in Hebrew. In Islamic cultures it is called Baraka, while Christians refer to it as the Holy Trinity.
No matter what you call it, it is a very real part of every culture. We are all a part of it. We swim in it and it swims through us. I like to think of it as Love; an energy that links us together in community and kinship creating a universal community in the duality of many and of one.
Practices like reiki, shiatsu and healing attempt to move this energy in order to heal the body. Life Coaches attempt to direct this energy as a way to raise consciousness and help people achieve their dreams.
Prana, Mana, Chi, Qi, Love, The Holy Trinity or Ruach Hakkodesh is the thread that weaves every culture together recognizing it as real and refers to it by whatever name they are comfortable. It as real as any mountain or rose by whatever name it is called.
Regardless of how comfortable you are with the idea of energy, just recognize that it exists in all things – living and non-living. It is what turns a simple glade into a magical place and why cairns are placed where they are.
You recognize this life force when you enter a room and just feel how alive or dead that space is. You can just feel this energy without ever having to see it. You feel it when you pass a spot where it pools. Even if you don’t know why a place feels special, you just know it is. There is something there to connect to for no reason at all. It is why druids created monoliths where they did. It is why churches, temples and mosques were built on top of those places; they too recognized the pool of energy that lay beneath.
Animals and plants of all kinds wear their auras. Inanimate objects, like rocks, crystals minerals, metals and water do the same. You have it within you. The only thing you need to contemplate is whether you want to tap into the flow of energy that is within you.
The life force within you ebbs and flows from day to day and hour to hour. Scientists and researchers have witnessed the natural rhythm of your energy. They know that you are more creative in the morning and more social at night. This alone is proof that you can feel the flow of energy within yourself. It is why you feel comfortable within a community rather than when you are alone. You connect to their energy and they to yours.
It is not just people and places that you pick up energy from. You absorb energy from what you eat and drink, which is why a healthy diet and eating food that is as close to its source as possible is so important.
Remember that all animal and plant life is filled with energy that we have all obtained from the sun and the world around us. Something as simple as water and sunlight are elements you can absorb energy from as you breathe oxygen or sit down for a healthy and hearty meal. It is also why you feel sluggish or nauseous after eating a meal filled with the garbage we now feed to the fish, birds and animals that are raised in factory farms.
The energy of life is everywhere, all you have to do is open your heart to realize it. Mana, Prana, Chi, Ki are the same this and is what connects you to everyone around you and to the universe itself. There is a limitless supply out there; all you have to do is remember to tap into it when you are in need.
When you run, walk, think or work you surely but slowly deplete your energy. Simply living burns through your life force. The same is true when you suffer through intense feelings of guilt, anger, love or empathy. It is all energy, and re-energizing your depleted stores is a part of being alive.
Have you ever noticed that when you feel sick your ability to work, think, or exercise disappears? It should be of no surprise why you sometimes say “I’m burned out, or “I have no energy,” after a long day at the office.
The levels of the life force within you – Prana, Mana, Ki, or Chi impacts your ability to heal, to work, to act, and to find your own happiness, and this is where it gets tricky. The amount of energy you absorb from your environment is not constant. It greatly depends on the stress or Love you allow into your body, mind and heart.
So open your heart, open your mind and remind yourself that it is okay to take some downtime to pray in whatever faith you find best works for you. It doesn’t matter to whom you direct your prayers, what matters is that you connect to the universal pool of energy, giving and receiving the Love that is out there, for that is where you truly live.
When you walk somewhere you have a destination in mind. Your entire walk is spent anticipating your arrival or looking back at the place you just left. So little time is spent just being present and enjoying the experience of walking or driving.
How many times have you driven somewhere and spent minutes driving with absolutely no idea of what you just drove past? How many times have you walked somewhere and had the same experience?
With walking meditation, every step is your destination. Every time your heel touches the ground is an experience all on its own.
Why not use this exercise the next time you need to clear your mind or to take a break? It’s simple and easy and a great way to start your week, or even better, to start your vacation so that you can actually enjoy your time away from the stress and anxiety of your work?
If you’re in New York City join me as I step into each week with a series of walking meditations every Monday morning. I created this program with the Rubin Museum to celebrate Meditation Month and the launch of Walk With Me – a film that explores celebrated monk Thicht Nhat Hahn’s spirituality. Click here to find out more.
Learn more here: https://simple-truth.com/thicht-nhat-hahn-walking-meditation/
The walk is free and attendees will receive discounted admission to the Rubin Museum’s screening of Walk With Me.
If you’re not available for the walks you can learn more about creating your own Walking Meditation by clicking here.
Your question is not as simple as you may think. Realize that meditation is a wonderful 2,500 year old practice, but it is 2,500 years old. It was created for a world far simpler than the one you now live in. No matter what style you begin with, you will undoubtedly find you will outgrow it as you advance and begin to search for better, faster, deeper practices; which is as it should be.
Some people practice a lifetime before realizing that every door they open also opens a window as they realize there are ever more doors to explore. When you start with the idea of reducing stress and anxiety you inevitably discover those are surface ripples for the delusions you now take as realities. This is part of the self-realization that anyone who has meditated for any length of time begins to undertand.
If you are serious, begin your journey with a reputable school to learn the basics of breathing, dropping in on your thoughts and letting them go. Those are the three core elements to any style of meditation whether it is Vipassana, Samata, Zazen or some manifestation of them. Just as every school teaches you to not cling to your thoughts, forget about clinging to a single school, as each is woefully out of date for what you are looking for. Recognize the non-attachment they all talk about applies to their own school as well.
I teach people how to recognize the commonalities that is the foundation which connects all forms of mediation together. Learn those three core commonalities and then learn to pick and choose which technique work for you in your life. One technique may be better for stress, another may be better to manifest loving kindness, another still may help you focus on an issue through contemplation.
None are right or wrong, that is for you to decide. Learn to weave them together so that you can create a practice that works for your unique style and life, rather than trying to fit your life into a 2,500 year old practice which, in reality, are the same. You will find it much easier to maintain your practice with less frustration when you do.
Be well and I hope this helps.
Do you want to make a bigger impact on today’s world?
How about on those you love and care for?
There are no shortcuts or easy paths to doing this. But there is a simple strategy if you are serious about being of service to yourself and to those around you. All it requires is that you open your heart and share yourself with those around you.
When I speak of opening your heart I don’t mean just using words like “soulful” or “Zen”, enjoying a “calming breath” or “being authentic”, I mean really bringing those ideas into your life and making them a part of your daily habits. And yes, practices like meditation and yoga are wonderful but if your practice stops when your chime sounds then really, what good is it?
Why leave your all the goodness of your practice on your cushion when you can weave it into every aspect of your life? You can live a life that is true to the person you want to be by finding the virtues and values that are a part of your own simple truth and passing those forward to the people in your life.
It all starts with practicing simplicity. When you get rid of the extraneous garbage that fills your life you will begin to understand what your life is all about. Simplifying does not mean getting rid of everything in y our life or running off to live a monastic life.
Living simply means living in the real world fully aware of what is going on all around you and embracing those things that are real for you. It means staying present to every moment of every day so that you can explore your boundaries and come to know the person you were always meant to be. The person you are deep down inside.
Until you meet that person you will never be happy with yourself because your actions will never be true to the person you truly are deep down inside of you.
But you already know that.
Being the person you want to be is not impossible. It’s really quite easy. You don’t have to change who you are or what you want in life. You simply need to follow your gut and your heart. You need to be true to yourself, free from all the pressures of modern society and the Jones’, free from that gnawing need to conform and fit in.
Becoming the person you want to be may lead you down an uncomfortable path, but there are no obstacles along that path that you cannot overcome because that person is already within you and always has been. The obstacles you think are out there don’t really exist. They were created by you as you journeyed through life to protect you from those around you.
To find yourself again you simply need to realign your values and virtues with the person who is still there within you.
It’s time to question those habits that you think make you who you are and have always driven you to do what you are doing.
Who knows, you just may discover your true self along the way.
I hope this helps, and click here to learn more through our programs.
Be well, and in the end, it is your life. It’s time to live it your way.
It is amazing what happens when you slow down and spend your moments taking in the world around you. At first your mind may say, “but why am I not moving as fast as those other people?” or “we’re falling behind, we’re not going to get there first.”
But where is it that you are going to so fast? If the destination of this life is eventually death then I hope you are in it for the journey rather than for that destination. If that is the case then doesn’t slowing down actually get us to enjoy the journey faster?
When I walk at a monk’s pace, I observe the placement of my feet, I feel the lightness of my body as I roll from my heel to my big toe. I feel the other toes fall in line to stabilize my body as I shift my weight from one foot to the next. I can see the sadness in the sound of a beggar’s cup. I can hear the hopping of a sparrow as it gathers twigs for its nest.
Am I not taking in more of life by going slow than if I race to nowhere like those around me?
Let them win the race I say. Let them get to the finish line faster.
I will smile as I watch them fall as I enjoy each step as its own reward.
You don’t have to open your head to clear your mind.
Mind chatter. What’s it there for and what can you do about it?
The key to getting rid of your mind chatter is to learn to be okay with it. “Mind Chatter” is simply the thoughts that your mind “thinks” are relevant. Those are the thoughts your brain creates every moment of every day. It is simply what your brain does and there is no way to shut them off. So learn to be okay with them rather than obsessing on them.
Researchers estimate we have about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day, which is about 3,000 thoughts an hour. If you are struggling to stop those thoughts from coming arising – you simply can’t. Your brain was designed to think about options to all the what if scenarios in order to keep you alive.
The issue is that not all those thoughts are relevant to the 21st century world you now live in. Instead of getting caught up in them, learn to smile and to thank your brain for doing what it was created to do so well. Learn to accept each thought as you assess them. Ask your mind if this is a thought that is really relevant for what you are doing right now, in the moment you are in. If so, then you may want to contemplate that thought and follow it to wherever it may lead. If not, then let it go.
I spent many months in a hospital bed recovering from 9 different brain surgeries. There was absolutely nothing to do, so I learned to enjoy what my brain produced as a way to entertain myself. Sometimes I would follow the thoughts and allow myself to go along for the ride. At other times I would let them go so that I could be alone with myself, focus on my rehabilitation, or to relax into my pain and enjoy the experience of being right where I was in that moment.
If you are overwhelmed by your thoughts use your 5 senses to pause your brain by bringing it into the physical world that is all around you. Look around and ask yourself what you see. Start from the furthest point in your field of vision and work back to where you are. Next, ask yourself what you hear in the distance and then move inward as well. Smell, touch, taste – they all work as a wonderful distraction to refocus your brain and mind on the present moment of your reality.
Always remember that life is a game of distractions. Your brain distracts you mentally with the thoughts it creates. But you can distract it with your reality through your five senses to return yourself to the real world around you.
Let me know of your experiences with this and if it helps you.
It doesn’t matter if your practice is yoga or going to the gym, hiking in nature or a simple meditation, you need to learn to bring the best of your practice into the rest of your life throughout your day.
We call it a practice for a reason, because that is what you are doing for every moment throughout the rest of your life.
Your practice should be about more than just about finding an escape that works for you, it’s about weaving that one transcendent element of your workout, run, asana, or breath into the rest of your life no matter where you are. If you can do this you can create a new life for yourself on every level without squandering a moment.
Life is far too precious to segment it into work and workouts, living and escaping. It’s about creating a full life that enriches your work and play as if they were one; because they are you know, or at least they should be.
Think of the time you spend in your escape as training for the rest of your life. Find that moment that represents the best of you in your practice then learn to weave that moment throughout the rest of your life. Give yourself permission to enjoy the rush of energy and the release of tension no matter where you are. When you do, you will learn to fully enjoy your life on every level no matter where you are or what you are doing. Don’t leave that feeling behind.
Take it with you!!!
Start on the physical level. The moment you feel that rush, make a note of what you are doing. Is your breathing deep and regular? Is your core tight? Tune into your thoughts and explore the spiritual side of your life for a moment. If your practice is lifting weights, is your focus on anywhere else but on raising the weight from its cradle?
If its yoga, is your mind on that point where your body and spirit come together as you deepen your pose? If running or hiking is your thing are you anywhere but that point where you disappear into the path ahead of you and your breath within you.
The next time you find yourself lost in your special place take note of what’s going on when you lose yourself to yourself. Does your breathing disappear as your focus settles onto a single action? Do the distractions in your thoughts clear like a fog to reveal the space right there in front of you?
Don’t leave that healthy glow at your place of practice. Bring it with you into your world so that you can change your world no matter what is thrown your way.
The next time you get thrown off your game, remember to breathe like you were doing the moment you became lost in your workout. Focus your mind on a point in front of you like you did in your practice. Allow everything else to fade into the background as you become fully present in the here and now.
This is attainment.
This is life.
This is living your life on your terms and in a way that is true to your authentic self.
Be well, I hope this helps, and in the end it is your life. It’s time to live it your way.
You are an emotional being.
We all are.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, emotions are simply how your brain speaks to you in times of stress, for good and for bad.
Your emotions are an incredibly simple system that all animals share. They have kept us alive for thousands of years. There are no long winded sentences or punctuation to slow everything down, there are simply feelings like Fear, Hate, Anger, Pain, Love, Wonder, Curiosity, or Compassion that drive us to take immediate action.
It is why I become overjoyed [an emotion] when something that I have been speaking about for years is finally proved true by hardbound “research” rather than watching the natural world that is all around us and following one’s “gut”.
Today emotions are not the wonder they were 40,000 years ago. They are still just your brain trying to speak to you, and unfortunately if you do not learn to manage them they can quickly manage your life in the wrong direction. Take a moment to think back at all the ways your emotions have steered your life in the wrong direction again and again and again.
I have been telling my students and clients that your emotions are neither good nor bad; they are simply your brain’s way of telling you that something in your world is about to effect your life. Anxiety is your brain’s way of saying, “we have been down this path before, so beware because the last time it didn’t turn out so well.” Physical pain is your brain’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you need to attend to it quickly. Anguish is your brain’s way of telling you that there is a loss in your life that you need to fill. Love is your brains way of saying something wonderful is about to happen if you just follow that trail, that person, or that animal to wherever it leads.
Back when your ancestors lived a constant fight, flight or fornicate mode, the emotional system was a great solution to staying alive. In today’s world, however, there you have time to step back and consider your actions before you commit yourself by running after your emotions – an act that often gets you into more trouble than whatever it was you were facing.
To do this you need to be awake to what is going on around you so that you can recognize the reality of your situation. Acting on your emotions is a choice and you can prevent yourself from taking the wrong path of following your auto-response with a breath so that you no longer feel trapped by the need to pursue whatever it is you are feeling without thinking.
Psychology Today recently published a new study about how your emotions drive most of your decisions without your even being aware that they are.
It is why I have always said that learning how to not respond to your emotions is the best step you can take to living a more meditative and mindful life to find the calm you want in your life.
Anxiety is not something to lose yourself to, it is simply your brain’s way of warning you to be cautious and to watch out. In many ways the anxiety you feel is your brain telling you hat you have faced a similar situation in the past and that it did not end up so well. Perhaps the person that you are haggling with over the cost of something reminds your brain of a person who cheated you in the past. You may not remember the person or the situation that your brain does, or perhaps it remembers something it saw on television and does not remember that that movie is not the real world. After all, why would you get so emotional about a movie or TV show if it wasn’t real? And since your brain recognizes it as real, the person in front of you with the same tic as the person in the movie is just as bad.
Your brain can’t always tell the difference between reality and make believe, so are you going to blindly follow your brain, even though the person in front of you is being fair and honest, but shares the same tic as a villain in a film?
It is important to remember that emotions are not the problem. It is how you deal with them that is. If you lose yourself to your emotions, then they become your master – and that is never a good thing.
Don’t give up, we can help on this front. The next time you feel an emotion rising. Love or Hate, Anxiety or Comfort, Lust or Disgust, do not respond to it immediately. Train yourself to stop, breathe, separate yourself from whatever it is that is triggering your emotion and relax.
Take a moment to really look at your situation so that you can ask yourself “is this emotion really right for what is going on?” Contemplate what you are feeling and try to remember the last time you felt this emotion. Acknowledge it, label it, contemplate it, and then ask yourself if responding in such a way is really what you want to do. Or would you be better off by simply letting it go?
Remember, your emotion is not the issue. It is simply your brain trying to talk to you using an antiquated system. Your brain is simply trying to tell you that something out there is about to effect you in here. It is up to you to decide how you want to respond.
Living in a meditative manner is the difference between joy and pain, love or anguish. After all, it is your life, it’s time to decide how you live it.
Be well and I hope this helps.
Freedom is not attained by sitting back and waiting for things to happen. It comes from participating in life, by living your life beyond the distractions and delusions that are everywhere in today’s world and facing reality.
It comes from knowing who you are and what you want so that you can keep yourself on the right path. With every step you will find your time opening up so that you have the time to enjoy your life in whatever way that means for you, free from the self- doubt and guilt you will find that you will have the freedom to truly enjoy the things that are most important to you, even if that just means watching the trees pass by with every step you take.
When you have the discipline to avoid the distractions and side-step the delusions that hold so many back then you will have the time and the freedom to travel as you wish, to think your thoughts, to paint or snap photos or do absolutely nothing if that is what you truly want to do.
Just as deep meditation comes from many hours of disciplined practice, freedom calls for you to overcome the delusions and distractions of every day life so that you actually have the time and energy to do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it. It takes work to accomplish and discipline, but I think you will agree with me when I say it is worth it.
For some, freedom can be found in your work because that is where your heart is. For others it may be to write or take photographs, to enjoy a long hike, to surf or to simply swing in a hammock. There is no right or wrong to what freedom means to you, that simple word is simply an expression of what you find is in line with your authentic life based on your own simple truth.
I’m sure if you asked a dog and a cat what freedom means to them you would get two very different answers. It is no different if you asked two people, each will have a very different answer based on their own life experiences.
Having the freedom to pursue what you want in life means understanding yourself. It means exploring what living an authentic life means to you, and that requires work and focus. It calls for you to know what you want from the freedom you have pursued all these years. It happens slowly. It requires maturity. It takes practice and discipline so that when you face the winds of uncertainty you can walk into them free from the delusions and distractions that are sure to knock you back in line with what society views as “normal”.
Freedom means having an understanding of what your authentic life feels like. Whether that means cultivating the friends and family or enjoying the lifestyle that you want no matter where it may lead, freedom means making some mistakes so that you know which paths to avoid and which to wander onto.
With practice you will be able to observe the world with a sense of calm detachment, free to watch life pass by without feeling the need to comment on it, prove your worth, or follow your ego to feel better about yourself. Instead you can enjoy the freedom to live your life on your terms, without the distractions and delusions that undermine so many.
You can step away from the fight, flight or fornicate impulse so many people continue to live by even though those impulses have not been relevant here for several hundred years. Those may have been important to your ancestors 40,000 years ago, but today, in the modern world, they only get you into trouble.
When you take your first step toward freedom, in whatever form that means for you, you will find that getting rid of that continual voice of doubt that rings in your head, you will be free to pursue whatever direction you want to go. And that is a real freedom that few have the pleasure of living.
You see, freedom does not come from outside yourself. It comes from within. You can start right now if you really want to enjoy the rich and rewarding life you deserve. All you have to do is learn to let go of those emotions society has taught you are so important and start to live your life on your terms, free from guilt and self-criticism. It starts deep within you and blossoms outward until you can pass through the world in calm abiding, right here and right now.
Right here and right now is the time to find your freedom in today’s world. It starts with your desire to create an authentic life, one that is based on your own Simple Truth. It starts with a smile toward someone else, a smile you can carry to wherever your freedom leads. You just need a little discipline to relax your lips and open your heart just like the meditation practice you have built.
Be well and I hope this helps.