Meditation

“The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.

Our task must be to free ourselves; by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

 Albert Einstein, 1954

 

Meditation can move us closer to promoting compassion within ourselves and those that we touch.

Through meditation we become more responsible.  This responsibility lies in the balance we discover by unlocking the synergy of our mind….. our heart….. and our inner spirit. We propose that through a continued and ongoing dedication to a personal meditation practice, great strides are possible for ourselves, our relationships, our family, and our society.  It allows us to subdue the self.  It allows us to “just let go”.  In doing so, a remarkable thing happens.  We do not cease to be.  We do not lose control.  We do not lose self; instead we liberate it.  We find a beautiful place of peace, harmony, and balance.  We now frame the self within a much purer form of loving and nurturing energy.  We begin to see a clearer picture of the world and our place in it.  We learn the art of alchemy in converting passion into compassion.  Our decision making process then incorporates a powerful and far reaching wisdom.  We are in tune within a rhythm of life, our surroundings, and those we touch.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

 Dalai Lama

A great soul once responded when asked the question, “What is the most important time?” 

The response went somewhat as follows, “The most important time is this present moment.  It is the only time that we will ever have control of.  It is what we do in this present moment that determines the direction of our lives.”

We can use this time wisely and responsibly or we can diminish its value.  Remember this; the value of this present moment is colored by our deepest feelings and subsequent thoughts and desires.  Any decision in life will have their imprint.

 

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

John Lennon

 

Ask yourself these questions:

Who am I?

Where am I going?

How will I get there?

Who am I?  Where am I going?  How will I get there?

These very important questions take on a very different response when we open our heart to discover its secrets.  Through the act of quieting the mind, we allow the content resting deep within the heart to awaken.  When we contemplate our awareness and again ask these same questions after cultivating the heart, our responses are altered and given a much deeper meaning and significance.

 


 

 

 “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

Lao Tzu

 A “loving kindness” meditation

After a long day, including some difficult personal encounters we tend to build stress within our bodies and our mind.  Our mind keeps going over the situations reviewing the negative pictures and the emotions attached.

Take the time to brew yourself a cup of tea, preferably green or herbal, sit down in a comfortable and quiet setting, alone by yourself.   

Sip your tea and inhale, filling the lungs while lowering the diaphragm with breath, enjoying the beverage.  Review the day, the good and the bad.  Continue enjoying the tea and the review.  After a few minutes…..close the eyelids…..

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “listen” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “observe” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “value” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the exhale…..say the word “embrace” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

Inhale, filling the lungs lowering the diaphragm…..on the inhale…..say the word “I”….. then say the word “love” quietly on the exhale letting it last as long as the exhale itself.

“I…….Listen”

“I…….Observe”

“I…….Value”

“I…….Embrace”

“I…….Love

Repeat the above, quietly feeling the impression of each word, surrendering to the emotional impact of each word and each breath.

After a few rounds, just say the word, “I” on the inhale and “love” on the exhale, surrendering to the ebb and flow of the breath.  Start to let the breath find its own rhythm without any personal effort.  Allow the breath to breathe you.  Surrender to its mastery of the moment itself.  Now is when the meditation begins.  Now is when we listen to the breath…..we listen to the awakened heart.  Do not be concerned when you find the mind begin to wander.  This is normal.  It’s what the mind does.  Gently bring the attention of the mind back to the breath, back to the mantra.  The mind is like a young excited child.  Be loving, kind, and gentle with it.  The words on the inhale and the exhale help to still and calm our mind.  The relationship between our awareness and our breath is our goal.  This relationship unlocks the secrets of our heart.  It is only when we subdue the mind can we discover what the heart has to say.  It is as if the mind is a like a pond that has stones cast into it relentlessly.  It is only when the stones are stopped that the surface of the pond finds its calm.  It is then that we can see the beauty hidden beneath its surface.  The breath will guide us.  The heart beckons us upon our journey.  We just need to listen, then observe, then value, and finally surrender and embrace what we find.  In this moment we are open to the very magic of the heart.  Rediscover, in the solitude of your being, the very private and special tenderness that goes before no other soul.  Let this place and this moment embrace you with its wonder.  Let the Love and Grace found within your being expand to every cell, every breath, and every moment.  Breathe Love – Be Love.   Let it last as long as you will.

Upon completion of this meditation, revisit the problems of the day with this affirmation:  “I let go….. I listen….. I love….. I forgive…..  My heart – My love, extends to all that I meet in loving kindness.” 

 What do we hear when opening our heart?

…..Listen to the silence.

What do we see when opening our heart?

…..Observe the stillness. 

What do we find when opening our heart?

…..Value the fullness of this moment.

What do we do when opening our heart?

…..Embrace this moment with the compassion of loving kindness.

Listen to the silence of a loving heart, observe the stillness of a loving heart, value the fullness of a loving heart, and then, embrace this special moment in time with compassionate courage, generosity, and humility born from loving kindness.

 I listen, I observe, I value, I embrace…….I am…….I love…….In thee, I am…….In thee, I love.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

The act of meditation has not the goal of gaining anything.  The purpose of meditation is to surrender, to release, to “let go”; to just listen and observe.  We then value and embrace what remains.

What do we find when we still our mind?

…..Love

 

“Our knowledge of God is perfected by gratitude: we are thankful and rejoice in the experience of the truth that He is love.”

Thomas Merton

When do you recall ever having taken the time to explore the depths of your own heart?

Will the discovery of the secrets lying dormant within your heart alter the direction of your life’s journey?  Have you ever wondered which fork in the road to take?  Have you done all the necessary preparation to make the choice valid?

May we extend this invitation to self examination.  

We are all given gifts at birth.  Discover them for yourself and their ultimate power for personal transformation.  Explore how their cultivation can add meaning to your life and the lives of those you touch.

“I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks.  God is the friend of silence–we need to listen to God because it is not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters.”

Mother Teresa


 

52 Morning Meditations by Marc Chernoff & marcandangel.com

 

52 Good Morning Meditations that Will Calm the Chaos in Your Life

52 Good Morning Meditations that Will Calm the Chaos in Your Life

It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.  The mind is indeed your battleground.  It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides.  It’s where half of the chaos you thought was real, never did happen.  But if you allow these thoughts to dwell in your mind, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, joy, and ultimately your sanity.  You will think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into bouts of depression, and into defeat.

There’s no escaping the fact that you are what you think – that you can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking.

But are you ready for some really good news?

You CAN change your thinking.

And mornings are one of the simplest times for making this change gradually transpire in your life.

Each morning is enormously important.  It’s the foundation from which the day is built.  How you choose to spend your morning can be used to predict the kind of day you’re going to have.

So when you first wake up, be mindful and take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy.  Breathe onto the bathroom mirror, just to see how amazing your breath looks.  The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one.  And when you start the day in a mindful state like this, it’s easier to focus effectively and step into the day on the right foot.

But, on many mornings, of course, this is far easier said than done.

So, to help you adjust your mindset first thing every morning, I offer you the 52 morning meditations below – one for each week of the year (note: you can start your year of morning meditations anytime you want).  I choose one new meditation every Monday morning and sit quietly for three minutes, repeating it silently in my mind as if I were meditating.  I also write it on a post-it note and stick it next to my work desk (where I can see it) for the duration of the week.  This little ritual has helped reduce stress and chaos in my life by reminding me to keep things simple, peaceful and in perspective.

  1. Happiness doesn’t start with a relationship, a vacation, a job, or money.  It starts with your thinking and what you tell yourself today.
  2. Give yourself the space to listen to your own voice – your own soul.  Too many people listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd.
  3. You’re not a failure because you can’t be all things to all people – you’re a human being.
  4. Oftentimes, you have to say no to good things to be able to say yes to the most important things.  You can’t do it all.  Breathe deep.  And choose wisely.
  5. If you are passionate about something, pursue it a little bit each day, no matter what anyone else thinks.  That’s how dreams are achieved.
  6. Again and again, remind yourself why.  With a strong enough reason why, you will be able to do what’s required at any time and in any circumstance.
  7. You do NOT know exactly what the future will bring.  So your best bet for living is to make the best and most positive use of the present.
  8. Sometimes you spend time waiting for the ideal path to appear.  But it never does.  Because paths are made by walking, not waiting.
  9. Don’t let not knowing how it will end keep you from beginning today.  Uncertainty chases us out into the open where life’s true magic is waiting.
  10. Allow yourself to be a beginner.  No one starts off being wise.  Do the best you can until you know better.  Once you know better, do better.
  11. As you struggle today, remember, it’s far better to be exhausted from lots of effort and learning, than to be tired of doing absolutely nothing.
  12. What might seem like a setback is often an opportunity for you to learn something new, and develop a more effective, more realistic strategy.
  13. The truth is, you need to spend some time crawling through the dark to fully appreciate what it is to stand in the sunlight.
  14. Your track record for getting through tough days is 100% so far.
  15. When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts.
  16. The problem is not the problem – the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem.
  17. Many people make themselves unhappy simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now.
  18. One of the most rewarding and important kinds of moments in life are the moments when you finally find the strength to let go of what can’t be changed.
  19. When you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself.  And that changes everything.
  20. Never force anything.  Do your best, then let it be.  If it’s meant to be, it will be.  Don’t hold yourself down with things that are out of your control.
  21. You cannot control exactly what happens in life, but you can control how you respond to it all.  In your response is your greatest power.
  22. Instead of getting angry, find the lesson.  In place of envy, feel admiration.  In place of worry, take action.  In place of doubt, have faith.
  23. Don’t compare your progress with that of others.  We all need our own time to travel our own distance.  Focus on the step you are presently taking.
  24. Patience is a genuine expression of confidence, acceptance, serenity, and faith in your own ability.  It’s a sign of strength.  Practice it.
  25. In a culture that seeks instant results, we must learn the beauty of effort, patience, and perseverance.  Be strong, present, and steadfast.  Stick to your positive daily rituals.  (Angel and I build positive daily rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
  26. Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it.  Sometimes what you never wanted or expected turns out to be what you need.
  27. Life doesn’t always give you the circumstances and people you want, it gives you the circumstances and people you need… to learn, to grow, and to fall in love.
  28. It’s not the strongest or the most intelligent people that survive and succeed in the long run, but those who can best manage change.
  29. The truth is that we all fail.  The greater truth is that no single failure ever defines us.  Confess.  Apologize.  Learn.  Grow wiser.  Press on.
  30. Nothing is permanent.  When you understand this, you can do almost anything you wish because you’re not trying to desperately hold onto anything anymore.
  31. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really another beginning.
  32. It’s your choice.  To be positive and free, or to be imprisoned by your own negativity.  To live in the past, or to be hopeful about the present.
  33. Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time – it’s about accepting what happens every time, and making the best of it.
  34. Just because a person smiles all the time, doesn’t mean their life is perfect.  Their smile is a symbol of hope and strength.  Smile back.
  35. People are much nicer when they’re happier, which says a lot about people who aren’t very nice to you.  Wish them well, and be on your way.
  36. Maturity is learning to gracefully walk away from situations that threaten your peace of mind, self-respect, values, morals, or self worth.
  37. When people are rude to you, smile and choose not to react.  Travel the high road.  Keep your peace.  Do so, and you take all their power away.
  38. The longer you remain peaceful, the stronger you become.  Peace on the inside leads to real, meaningful progress on the outside.
  39. Be low-key sometimes.  You don’t need to put everything on social media.  You don’t need to tell everyone about every step you’re taking.  Silently progress, and let your actions speak for themselves.
  40. Rise above the pettiness trying to draw you in.  Focus on what matters.  Where attention goes, energy flows.  Where energy flows, things grow.
  41. Fight every battle, not because you hate what’s in front of you, but because you love what’s behind you—the people and things you stand for.
  42. Be careful not to dehumanize people you disagree with.  In our self-righteousness, we can easily become the very things we dislike in others.
  43. Never regret being a good person, to the wrong people.  Your behavior says everything about you, and their behavior says enough about them.
  44. Remind people that they matter.  Remind them that someone loves them.  And most importantly, don’t forget to remind yourself of this too.
  45. Whatever else may be going on, always remember that you have been blessed with today and the ability to live it as you choose.
  46. Being less reactive can transform your life.  Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out over time.  Just be, and breathe.
  47. Stop rushing.  Breathe.  Be where you are.  You’re where you’re supposed to be at this very moment.  Every step and experience is necessary.
  48. Don’t jam your life with plans.  Leave space.  Sometimes great things happen unplanned and big regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Happiness” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  49. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to accomplish something big, that we fail to notice all the little things that give life its magic.
  50. Keep your eyes open for blessings in disguise.  They are everywhere.  And they are worth noticing, and appreciating.
  51. At times, you just have to appreciate exactly where you are.  You’ve come a long way, and you’re still learning and growing.  Be grateful for the lessons.
  52. RELAX.  You are enough.  You have enough.  You do enough.  Inhale.  Exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.

Afterthoughts… On Making the Best of Your Day

There’s little doubt that the biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome on any given day is your mind.  If you can overcome that, you can overcome almost anything.  And while the meditations above are a perfect start, there’s something else I want you to remember too – something we coach our course students through almost every single day…

No matter what’s happening, you can efficiently fight the battles of just one day.  It’s only when you add the battles of those two abysmal eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly complicated.

Realize that it’s not the experience of today that creates most of the chaos in your life, but the regret and resentment about something that happened yesterday or the fear and dread of what tomorrow might bring.

It’s necessary, therefore, to let yourself live just one day at a time – just today – just right here, right now.

Trust the timing of your life.

Focus on the present.

And just do the best you can.

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