Friday, April 29, 2011

The Magic Room

[Jeff is on vacation today. This post originally appeared on December 21, 2010.]

What if there were a magic room that has the following properties--

--Everything you do or say or even think about is exactly what's right for you in each moment.

--It's impossible to make a mistake, but there is constant learning.

--There's no need to worry about the future (or the past), because everything is taken care of at the appropriate time.

--Everyone and everything is there for your highest good. Even (especially!) those things and people you find difficult.

--You see everyone and everything as just another part of yourself.

Would you behave differently in that magic room? Would you find yourself spending more time in that room than outside of it?

What if I told you that you're already in that room? And that you've never been out of it?


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Curse of First Impressions

As soon as I meet someone, my brain goes to work trying to put that person in a box. 

Is this someone I “like” or “don’t like”? Are they “friendly”? Are they “funny”? Maybe instead they’re “mean” or “aloof.”

When I do this, I do myself a great disservice. It’s not that this is bad—it’s simply how the brain works, trying to make sense of the world.

But as soon as my brain puts someone in a category, it’s very difficult to pull them out of it. If I have a good impression, it takes a lot of evidence to move them to the other side of the ledger. And if I have a bad first impression, look out.

You might not think you do this. I didn’t. I could come up with examples where my impression changed. But almost always when it changed, it changed back later on. Back to my first impression. This is called “confirmation bias” and studies have proven it over and over. We do this for people, animals, furniture, weather, really everything in our world.

When we form an opinion (which we do, rather quickly), we seek evidence to confirm that opinion.

And we no longer have an open mind.

I try so hard not to do this. To instead be open to other people no matter what is happening. Because everyone has a bit of everything, right? The selfless and the selfish? Mean and kind? Serious and silly? 

And to see both is to see people in their full complexity and beauty. Not as boxes or categories or items on a checklist.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Questions Needed--My Upcoming Interview with Sharon Salzberg

I need your questions!

On May 3, I'm interviewing Sharon Salzberg, long time insight meditation teacher and author of Real Happiness, a 28-day meditation program.

Sharon has been teaching for 36 years and was a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She teaches on the road regularly as well, including, for example, monthly classes in Washington, DC. She is truly one of the pillars of Buddhist teaching in the West.

Her instructions are simple, clear, and plainspoken. To her, there is nothing more transformative than the simple act of noticing our thoughts. Her life's work has been helping people to start and maintain a meditation practice. She's been incredibly gracious and I'd love to share your questions with her.

Please respond with anything you want to know about meditation, what to expect, how to get in the habit (or overcome resistance), or anything else you can think of.

Thanks in advance--

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Over and Over

I remember as a child waiting for Christmas or my birthday, and the presents that would come. I would wait for months for that Mattel football game with the beeps, or a race track, or some other thing that I was sure in my bones would bring happiness.

Over and over again I would feel the ache of waiting, of not knowing if I could make it, and then (at last!) the rush of opening what I had been waiting for. Happiness is here! Finally, I have it!

And then a few days (or even a few minutes) later I would be thinking of the next new thing. The thing that I had been so sure would mean happiness was quickly cast aside. Over and over I would fall for the new shiny toy, seemingly never learning.

I still do this. Sure, I admit it to myself less. I tell myself I don't really think that it will bring me happiness, but in a way I am just as excited about the new driver I bought yesterday as I am about those presents so long ago. And I don't seem to be the only one who feels this way.

Why is that? Why are we so addicted to this feeling? How does it serve us?

When I was young I had to wait, sometimes months. It seemed part our Puritan work ethic, this idea that we have to work hard and wait for happiness. Remember layaway? Remember our parents saving for things? Making a plan?

But today, I see my kids go through this and they suffer if they even have to wait a day. And as parents, sometimes we're not the best examples. Why wait when you can use a credit card? When you can download that new book or music or game right now, in less than a minute, without even have to go to a store? And yet we still feel that let down over and over and over as some new want, some new carrot is dangled in front of us.

Happiness is staring me in the face. It's right here. It's never apart from me. It is just as much a part of me as my very breath. Yet I keep striving, I keep feeling like something is missing.

And I desperately want to teach my children the very thing that I've failed to learn.


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Monday, April 25, 2011

The Power of Thinking Small

We live in a society in which bigger is almost always better. Corporations assume they have to grow or die. Industries do the same. We are told over and over again that we have to do more, make more, have more.

How many people do you know who measure their success by the numbers? Their income, their Facebook friends, the value of their houses or 401(k) plans?

Why is that?

When is enough enough?

Sometimes there can be value in buying a smaller house, or taking a job for less income. Sometimes less stuff means more freedom.

Sometimes the best thing is to do what you love, rather than thinking all the stuff is going to save you.


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Nothing Added

Today, try an experiment.

See if you can expect less. See if you can move into a place of being exactly as you are. Placing no demands on yourself. With no aspirations of change. With no resisting what's happening, and no regretting what's already in the past.

Sure, there are things to do and you can of course do them. But try not to add anything as you do each task. Judgments or criticisms or even self-help talk.

To do that for an entire day might seem a bit overwhelming. Try it for the next minute or two. Or the next breath.

And during the day, and over the weekend, try it a few more times.

I'd love to hear what happens for you.


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Open Mike on Worries and Work

I hear a lot about what people are dealing with at work--anxiety and uncertainty, pressure from clients and colleagues, work life balance, and so on. I've written about some of my thoughts. But today, the blog is yours.

What's your biggest work issue? What's your strategy for dealing with it? How well is it working, or not?

Any and all thoughts, anecdotes, book references, weblinks, or anything else you want are welcome. Our wisdom only grows through sharing.


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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Effort Behind Your Effort

I've been blessed to be married to a very wise teacher. And my wife came home from a yoga class the other day with a very powerful insight.

She had been doing a yoga pose and was not satisfied with the quality of her effort. The pose was not where she thought it should be. It was a twist and she had not twisted as far as she thought she should be able to. Her spine was not as straight as she thought it should be. In short, she thought she should be better in the pose than she was at that particular time.

She noticed a critical voice in her head telling her how badly she was doing the pose. Her insight was to realize it doesn't have to be this way. We can encourage ourselves instead of berating. Or we can simply be with our experience rather than running an internal commentary of any sort. She was excited to be able to share that with her yoga students. To show them that the voice of effort doesn't have to be a harsh critic.

We all try things. New things, old things, things we are skilled at and things where we struggle. Maybe we're giving a presentation, or writing a report, or learning something new. It could be anything.

What do we say to ourselves as we try? Are we an encouraging coach? An ill-tempered nag? What do we add to, or take away from, the experience with our self criticism?

To reach a state of flow, we always need to flirt with that line where things are doable but still challenging. And to be kind to ourselves when we're on that edge, instead of beating ourselves up, is a precious gift.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Acting From Courage

The root of the word courage is cor, from the Latin, which means "heart."

And I think any true act of courage is an act from the heart.

So often, we do things because we're expected to, or because we think people want us to, or that it will meet some need in us if we do.

Most of our lives, whether we're at work, at home, in relationship, we try to figure out what other people want and do things we think will meet those wants. We might spend some time thinking about what "I" want, but that comes further down the list for most of us.

But what do I need to express? What do I need to say? What's in my heart? That seldom makes the list at all. We tell ourselves it would be selfish, greedy, unseemly to speak from that place.

I think that's bullshit.

To act and speak from the heart is the most important, authentic thing we can do. If you want to express something, do it. If you need something, tell someone important what it is. The only way to change things is to change what we're doing and how we're doing it. It may be easy to complain about the other guy, but it sure doesn't seem to change him.

So take up that cause. Write, paint, sing, consult, teach, sell, express yourself however you are called to. Do it with passion and conviction.

Stand in your power. Do what you are called to do. We need you. More than ever.


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Five Ways to Tell if You're in the Right Job

There are a lot of people out there who are miserable because they're in the wrong job.

With the economy starting to turn, ever slowly, for the better, more people are thinking about how well their jobs are aligned with their inspirations. And Tax Day seems like as good a time as any to explore this.

I have no idea if you should stay in your job, look for another, or go out on your own. But in working with others as a coach and mentor, it seems like there are issues that come up again and again. Here's a few things to think about--

1. What's Sunday night like? Are you able to be present with your family, or are you dreading putting on your work self Monday morning? Is your work self similar to your home self, or does it take a lot of energy to change (and maintain) personas?

2. How much of your work is satisfying? How much is dreadful? Every job has good and bad parts, but is there a core of your job, or the people that you work with, that you really enjoy? That you love, even? Or do the bad parts overwhelm the good?

3. Does your employer walk the talk? It can be easy to talk big with corporate-speak mission statements about changing the world. But do you feel the leaders exemplify those values? Or are they playing scared? Or small? Or even cold or mean? Some places present a big opportunity to lead change--others squash it like a bug or just bleed you dry. Knowing when to give up on a place is an important skill.

4. Are you proud to work there, and to do what you do? When you're at a party, do you hope that people will ask you about your work, or do you try to avoid the topic?

5. What does you gut tell you? When you think about leaving, does it open you up or shut you down? I'm not talking about fear. Fear is natural. I'm talking about the physical sensations around your heart and solar plexus. These can be a very good guide to what your deepest views are on a topic. Try it!

Each of these questions asks you to trust your intuition, which makes itself known in different ways to different people. There are other ways you might find out, too. Some people feel led through their biggest decisions. Some people have dreams or odd coincidences. They meet the right person at the right time, they get an unusual phone call or happen to open a book to the "right" page. I even heard a song on the radio that helped me once. You never know.

But the more we can be honest about what we want, and the more we're willing to suspend our beliefs about one right course of action, the more we might find life conspiring to help and guide us.

Is there anything you would put on your list? How have you known when to make the leap?


(One other thought--if you've been without a job, you can ask these questions to try to get a sense of what you want, what you envision for yourself. A different version might be to ask these questions to people who work someplace you think you might like. Play with this--there are all kinds of possibilities!)

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Friday, April 15, 2011

The Myth of Work Life Balance

I see a lot written about work life balance--what it is, how to find it, and the awful things that will happen if we aren't able to achieve it.

I don't get it.

Now certainly we all want to have equanimity in our lives. A sense of poise, perhaps, that enables us to handle challenges more effectively.

But the part that I don't understand is the idea that we can draw some kind of line between work and home, and that there is a way to find an appropriate amount of work and an appropriate amount of home in that mix.

Every time I think about that it drives me just a bit kooky. Because when I'm at work there are things I do related to home, and when I am at home there are things that I do related to work. A lot of the things that I do--personal reading for example, or writing in this blog--benefit me in both places. And what about when I'm working at home? Or when I'm in the car? What then?

Work and life are one undivided whole and while it's nice to think that we can draw a line between the two, that just hasn't been my experience. Instead, the simple idea of balance--not between two distinct things, but rather as a sense of harmony within the self--resonates much more strongly for me.

Even the idea of balance, though, can quickly become a goal that has success or failure, and feelings of self worth or inadequacy, attached to it. How am I doing? Am I in balance or out? If I'm out, what's wrong with me? If I'm in, how do I hang onto this? It's difficult to feel balance when we're also trying to control it.

Balance, like all things, comes and goes. When we see life is just happening, and accept how much of it is simply outside of our control, we might also see that balance, however defined, emerges on its own, without any effort on our part. And in seeing that, we're more able to enjoy the times that it's here and accept the times that it isn't.

I'd love for you to share your thoughts about balance in life.


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Short Conversation With Dan Pink (That Might Affect Your Future)

Dan Pink wrote two of my favorite books of the last several years--A Whole New Mind and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Both are business books but they start to move into that overlap between business, personal effectiveness, and happiness.

Drive, the more recent of the two, discusses how the ways we're motivated are different than the ways our employers would like to think. Companies want to provide incentives for more work or, even more importantly, for more successful work. But for the mostly right-brained work that more of us are actually doing now, studies show that incentive pay actually hurts rather than helps our performance. Pink says what really motivates us is autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

The book that got me even more, though, was Dan's previous one, A Whole New Mind. If you've read this blog you know that one thing that I talk about a lot is the different roles of the left and right hemispheres of the brain in our own happiness. We think that getting all the stuff that the left brain wants will make us happy, but happiness as an experience is mostly a right brain phenomenon.

Dan takes it beyond just happiness. His theory is that our society is quickly evolving to a point where left-brained skills will no longer be valued. Skills that can be reduced to a process, like accounting, tax preparation, purchasing, and so on, will be either automated or outsourced to cheaper locations, just like manufacturing was in the eighties and nineties. When his book came out in 2005 this was still a pretty radical concept, but we've certainly seen it play out. TurboTax, anyone? And when's the last time you talked to a US-based human being when you called customer service?

Pink's theory is that what's being valued now are the nonlinear skills that reside in the right brain--mainly those related to interpersonal connection, creativity, and big picture thinking. His point is that to compete in the future, we all have to refine those skills, and the way to do that is to activate the right brain a lot more than we currently do.

Much of the book includes exercises to engage the right brain, but one topic that it mentions only briefly is meditation and contemplative practice. I contacted Dan to ask about that (we had met at a conference in DC last year).

This is what I heard back--

Yoga, meditation, and the like are hugely important in engaging the right hemisphere. in fact, I think that's one reason they've become so much more popular in the west than they were, say, 15 or 25 years ago.  There's something big going on with this broad movement, and most people -- especially those in business -- haven't quite grokked that. 

So if you need another reason to meditate, it's not just about happiness anymore. It might just determine whether you can succeed in the new economy.

What are your feelings about meditation, yoga, tai chi and other disciplines? What role do they play in your life right now?


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Is Happiness Hard or Easy?

Here's a question--is happiness hard or easy?

From one perspective, happiness can be about doing things. Even if you don't buy into the idea of happiness as a list, it still seems like most approaches to happiness involve doing things--managing your time or energy better or learning to say no, for example. There's at least one website (and book) devoted to the project of happiness.

From another perspective, happiness is a state of being, and we never leave it. It's our natural state. We're all happy right now, full of the joy of a child. Of course, for all but the most enlightened sage, the seeing of this comes and goes. But it's always available to us.

Seeing this happiness seems to challenge some of the assumptions that we make about life. That our jobs or spouses or possessions can create and sustain happiness. That the doer, the left hemisphere of our brains, will be satisfied at some point, when in fact all it does is create lists and push happiness into a future that never comes.

Seeing through these assumptions can take place in an instant. Right now, we can see that everything we need is already here. At the same time, our habits, our stories, and our conditioning are incredibly strong, and it's easy to get thrown back into thinking something is missing.

For most people, some amount of contemplative work is necessary for this insight to stabilize. For slow learners (people like me, for example), it can take years of struggle to finally see what was here all along. Seemingly, we're right back where we started--that happiness takes work, even if it might be a different kind of work than we originally thought.

So which is it? Is happiness easy or hard? And if it's hard, what's getting in the way?


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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All We Have Is Everything

A reader asked me how I feel about abundance, and mentality of abundance, particularly when it comes to things like work.

I think a lot of people use things like "abundance" and "gratitude" when they're upset to remind themselves to be thankful for everything they have, and to see the possibilities in that. And if that works for you, great.

It never has for me. If I'm feeling crummy about something, like my job or a difficult person or one of my many inadequacies, I've never had much luck replacing one thought (that things are difficult) with another (that I already have so much). There's a whole emotional component to what's going on that doesn't change. I can say "I'm surrounded by abundance," but if I'm not feeling it, it just doesn't happen.

What has worked for me is to look very closely at the thoughts that I'm having. To examine them. To see if they're true. Is it really true that I don't get paid enough? Compared to what? Did my colleague get a promotion and I didn't? Is that what this is about? That's very different that not being able to make rent. That may not be about abundance at all. Maybe it's about jealousy or something else.

The other thing that starts to happen when I really look at my thoughts and feelings is that I see they're constantly changing. If I can find my way through a frustrating feeling (by simply sitting with it), I'm in a completely different experience five minutes later. And I begin to see that any story I tell myself is just that--a made up story. There are no words for the actual experience. Ever.

The more I observe my thoughts and emotions (and meditation is probably the best way to do this), the less seriously I take them. They become things that happen, rather something that's part of me.

When I can see that everyone has ups and downs, that "this too shall pass," the world gets a lot less solid, and a lot less serious. I begin to see that the problems that come up are generally about the past or the future, not what's happening right now. In this moment, it's very rare we find anything missing.

When I get a glimpse of that, I begin to see the utter completeness of life as it is happening. That's what I call the abundance mentality--not a thought replacing another thought, but the experience of life, in its overwhelming perfection, simply being as it is without anything needing to change. We already have everything, because we're already part of an indivisible whole.

It took awhile for me to see that, and even now I only get it in bits and pieces. But those bits and pieces go a long way toward making the rest of life, even the more difficult parts, a lot more joyous.

I'd love to hear about what works for you.


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Just for Today

Just for today, can you see you're already perfect? Even with your doubts and regrets?

Just for today, can you see all your love, all your strength, all your inspiration?

Just for today, can you see how far you've come? And embrace the journey that never ends?


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Friday, April 8, 2011

The F Word and the S Word

I've been writing a lot about the F word lately.


Fear play such a huge role in our lives. Whether we see it as an obstacle or a road map, we spend a lot of time in fear, working with fear, trying to get past fear or through fear. Working with fear seems to be a significant part of being human.

But I'd like to talk about another word today. Just as important, maybe more so. And it's another of those words that sometimes makes us uncomfortable.


Sure, spirit is related to spiritual, which can be related to religious, which can bring up all kinds of issues and baggage depending on your upbringing and your current view of the world. Some people dismiss spiritual as new-agey, some people dismiss religious as fundamentalist.

But I'm talking about spirit as that mysterious essence, whatever your belief, that animates us. Spirit as the root of the word "inspiration."

When we're inspired, we work through our fear with ease. When we are inspired, we know we have a mission in life. We know why we're here, and it's easy to talk about that and share that with others.

Not everyone feels inspired, and those who do certainly don't feel it all the time. But inspiration can be like a wave that carries us to do more than we thought possible. Inspiration is personal, precious, and sometimes fragile. What inspires you is yours alone. No one can make you do or be anything  inconsistent with your inspiration unless you let them.

The end of the week is a great time to stop, take a breath (another meaning of the word "spirit"), and think about what inspires us. And if you're inspired to write about it in a comment, please do.

Have a great weekend!


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Thursday, April 7, 2011

New in Each Moment

Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg likes to talk about the opportunity we have to begin again.

She talks about it in the context of a meditation practice. We might sit and get distracted, or frustrated, or we might just space out. But each time that we catch ourselves, each time we bring ourselves back to following our breath, we can begin again. With no worries of what happened before. Each moment is a new opportunity.

Of course, this isn't true just for meditation. This is true for the rest of our lives, too.

To begin again is always available to us. It's the simplest thing in the world, if we let it be.

Sure, we can (and do) spend a lot of time and energy thinking about how things should have been different. We can be very judgmental of ourselves, thinking we should have been less harsh or more clever or that we should have worked harder or chosen differently.

But none of those thoughts will affect what already happened, or what happens next.

Instead, no matter what has happened before, we can take this moment and begin again.

Have you had any fresh starts that made a big impact on your life? How were you able to let go of the past? I look forward to hearing anything you have to share.


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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Next Step

I want to make a confession. When I first shared this blog on Facebook, even though I had already been writing it for a year, I was scared to death. I remember my heart pounding as I made that first post three weeks ago. I had no idea if my writing would resonate with other people, if people would find it helpful, if it would even make sense. What if people didn't like it? What if they said so publicly?

Since then, two wonderful things have happened. First, a small but very supportive community of readers has developed. Some of them surprised me. I heard from people I've not talked to in 25 years.

Second, the people who don't read it, who don't find value in it, have simply gone elsewhere. And that, too, seems to be exactly as it should be. In some ways, what this blog proposes is the easy way--that we can be happy now, regardless of whether we have everything on our lists. But at its core, that happiness requires an honesty with ourselves that can be a bit daunting. It requires us to challenge our own thinking, sometimes assumptions that we've been making for our entire lives.

I wrote a blog entry a week or so back called "Follow Your Fear." And I've been trying to live that in my own life. Right now, this is what life seems to present to me. There are some things that simply scare me to death, but I feel compelled to do them anyway.

I think that might be true for a lot of us. We have ideas of ways we can contribute in the world but we are deathly afraid to do anything about them. We delay, we make excuses, we avoid stepping into the light. But at some point, if we're lucky, our inspiration overwhelms our fear. And usually, we find that the thing we thought so scary turned out not to be so bad. It often turns out to be exactly what we needed.

Today I want to hear from you. What are the things that have scared you? When is a time that your fear led you to the next step? How did it turn out?

Thanks for sharing--both the time you spend reading these thoughts, and the comments and support you provide to me and to this community.


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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Escape

Years ago, I worked with a man who had come to the spiritual path as a way of escaping his sins.

What those sins were, he would not say. But it was clear to me that his situation was serious, that he had deep regrets, and that he felt his life would be completely changed if he came clean. I don't know if that meant that relationships would be damaged, that money would change hands, that there would be prison time, or all three. Whatever it was, it was clear that no one knew, even his wife, and that, to him, what he had done was so terrible he didn't think he could tell anyone without it having irreparable consequences.

We were attending the same program and over the course of a year got to know each other pretty well. He kept asking me theoretical questions that gave me a pretty good idea of what he was dealing with, but he never told me the full story. What became clear over a period of several months is that he had felt that Jesus could save him, but that Christianity had not eased his pain. Now he had determined that if he could become enlightened, he could somehow escape having to deal with this big issue in his life.

I've lost track of him; I don't know if he was ever able to come clean. But the point is that this path, this way of looking at and working with the world, is not an escape route. It's not a way around our issues. Instead, it requires the courage to fully confess, at least to ourselves, the demons that burden us, to see our flaws in full relief.

This isn't easy, and it isn't fun. I don't know many people who have been able to be completely honest with themselves about their stuff. I know I haven't. There are still things that I try to avoid, stories that I'm just not ready to hear.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. As we do, we find that life begins to open up to us. We find that our suffering lessens. We find that as we discover and disclose our flaws, it becomes easier to connect with other people. We find that no matter how grave we may think our sins to be, we can almost always find at least one person who is dealing with the same thing.

And our lives begin to fill with joy, as we realize the gifts our difficulties bring.


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Monday, April 4, 2011

Our Deepest Wounds

We all have wounds, from our childhood or our most significant relationships, and we'll do almost anything to protect them.

Sometimes, someone looks at me in a particular way or uses a particular tone and I get very angry, very suddenly. I don't understand what's happening, but I feel my anger, even rage.

This is a classic trigger, and it happens when you're trying to protect yourself. You've been wounded before, and you want like anything to avoid experiencing that pain again.

These wounds can be buried deep. We may not even know what they are, much less acknowledge them. But we can see our triggers as clues. We can notice what kinds of things cause us to react. Sometimes, working with a therapist or a teacher is called for.

As we get less reactive, we can begin to explore the causes. What is it that we're afraid of? What is it that we're trying to avoid? When we begin to see our wounds in the full light of our own compassion, we can begin to let them go. To see that they're just thoughts, and that in all likelihood the circumstances that produced these patterns are long gone.

It may take many reactions, and many sincere explorations, before we get to this point. Even then, we might still get triggered from time to time. In fact, we most certainly will. But what's changed is that we now see what is happening. We see the pattern as something that occasionally happens to us, like a bad mood or a cold, instead of something that defines us.


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Friday, April 1, 2011

Sleep as a Spiritual Practice

Here's a fun project for the weekend. Try to get some extra sleep.

Getting enough sleep is a critical part of our well being. And the sad truth is that most of us don't get enough.

Too little sleep has been linked to problems with the immune system, with mood, with learning and memory.

I know when I'm tired, I'm just not a very nice person. I'm cranky and defensive. I'm worried so much about getting through the day that connecting, being present, simply being here seems to drop to the bottom of the list. I get so focused on the body, I forget all about the spirit.

When I don't sleep enough it starts a destructive cycle. I turn to to caffeine and sugar to pick me up, and then alcohol later to come down. Then I sleep badly the next night, too, and the cycle repeats.

I and those around me suffer because of it.

I've begun to prioritize sleep over lots of other things that used to grab my attention in the evening, like TV and the Internet. Those "downtime" activities really just keep our brains buzzing later in the evening than they should. I'm getting better at saying "no," and would like to make even more progress.

I'm beginning to feel more like the present, alive person that I aspire to be. I hope you will, too.


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