All posts by Pragito Dove

About Pragito Dove

www.discovermeditation.com Pragito Dove is the leading authority on Expressive Meditation in North America and a thought leader on visionary thinking. She is a master trainer, international speaker, and meditation expert who teaches people how to transform anxiety and struggle into joy and inner peace in order to achieve personal and business success. Pragito founded The Laughing Buddhas Network (Join us - it's FREE!) to share her secrets to all peoples worldwide. A best-selling author in seven languages, Pragito is dedicated to re-igniting passion and vision in the world. Her website is: www.discovermeditation.com

5 Steps to Handling Life When Things Get Rough

SadnessDo you secretly ache for something more? Do you celebrate the miracle that is your life or are you constantly running, frustrated by the never-ending to-do list at home and at work?

When life is not going our way, it can be hard to look on the bright side. And what about the people who tell you “It’s all good” when your life is in a state of overwhelm, collapse, or just plain sucks. What’s good about it?

The key is to realize that you are creating everything in your life, that it is all perfect, even though you might not recognize it at the time. Hold the faith – understanding will come. Rather than seeing yourself as a victim, ask yourself, for example: “Why am I creating this difficult, angry neighbor who refuses to discuss the parking situation with me?”

In this very question your freedom starts. By refusing to get angry back, which creates a power struggle, you step past the ego, which would love to be ‘right’ and ‘win’, and create a calm spaciousness, in which amazing outcomes can happen.

By sending love, and compassion, to your antagonist, miraculous changes can occur.

In addition, you discover a rich well of creativity, strength, and wisdom inside you that you didn’t know you had.

What if we allowed ourselves to fully experience our challenges and grow and expand because of them?

Concerns and fears will still arise but we can learn to meet them from a place of spaciousness and calm. With these proven strategies below you will gain the understanding, and courage, to overcome challenges, and no longer run from your fears, but stand self-assured knowing you can navigate whatever comes your way.

1. Acknowledge Your Present Moment Reality

Accept what is. This doesn’t mean you have to like it, but you do have to accept it. Fighting reality only make things worse. In the very acceptance of what is happening, you relax, and a spaciousness opens up, that allows for a shift to happen. You are now entering the miracle zone, where all kinds of unexpected goodness can appear. Stay open to possibility.

2. Experience Your Moments Of Joy

This might sound obvious, but a lot of us have a pattern of expecting the other shoe to drop when life is going well. Become aware of this habit, and put your attention, energy and focus on really experiencing your moments of joy without assuming that disaster awaits around the corner. What if, around the corner, there is even more joy?

Love, joy and happiness are our natural state.

It is only our programming of fear, lack, and scarcity that tells us otherwise. The more you become aware of this negative programming, and ignore it, the more joy you will experience.

3. Allow Yourself To Experience Your Fears and Challenges

Instead of shutting down, and running from fear with all kinds of distractions, like obsessively checking your social media, too much TV/Internet, and so on, sit with yourself, and allow the feelings, however uncomfortable, they might be. In the very feeling lies the healing. In the very allowing, fears dissolve.

Don’t be afraid of fear: befriend, and embrace it. Open the door, look inside and realize that there is no skeleton in the closet. This will free you up to experience more joy, and less fear.

4. Let Go Of Desire

At the root of fear is desire: your agenda that things have to look a particular way. Let go of your attachment to the way you want things to look, relax, and see what happens. And I don’t mean that you fall into an apathetic, aimless state of passivity. Have your desires, but let go of your attachment that they have to manifest in a particular way.

When we insist that things have to be a certain way, we can miss what life is offering us.

5. Understand & Be Grateful For Your Fears

The key to dissolving fear is to understand it. This means that you have to drop all judgment, condemnation, and evaluation that fear is wrong. Fear is a reality in our lives, it is a part of being human. Once it is faced, and understood, it can be transformed. You experience more love and joy, and fear lessens. Your challenges become easier to navigate.

9 Keys For A Joyful (Stress Free) Holiday Season

holidaycookiesThe holiday season can be any way you want it: full of stress, or full of joy. It can be a time to dread, or anticipate with excitement. It’s your choice, yes, it really is. I’ve experienced both of these scenarios, and, believe me, full of joy, is the way to go.

Here are 9 Keys to make your holiday season the best one ever!

1. MAKE A DECISION that this year is going to be different, that you are going to ENJOY this Holiday Season. It all starts here, with the DECISION.

2. SET THE INTENTION for how you want this time of year to look. For example, fun, relaxing, and enjoyable; camaraderie with neighbors, work colleagues, and people you meet on a casual basis in stores, restaurants, the subway. Festive celebrations at home with your near and dear ones; hot apple cider, holly and mistletoe, red candles, festive lights, singing songs; whatever turns you on and means joy to YOU.

3. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE. Keep your attention, energy and focus on all the good things that are happening, on times that are going well and you are enjoying yourself. Laugh more. What we focus on expands. Forget about trying to “combat” stress (sounds like a battle, doesn’t it?) Keep your attention on the positives, and stress naturally drops away.

4. BE MORE LOVING. Start with yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have. Drop self-judgment, self-criticism, and giving yourself a hard time for not being perfect. Have compassion for yourself. We are all human, and it’s your imperfections that make you so adorable. You are unique.Trust that you are deeply loved, simply because you exist – you are a valuable part of our world. The more you love yourself, and I mean ALL aspects of yourself, the more love, and compassion, you have for others.

5.  DO YOUR BEST. You can’t do better than your best, right? We are all different and have different skills, knowledge, talents, personalities, tolerances. Are you a person who over-gives and forgets about yourself? If so, you create an undercurrent of resentment, tension and fear, that doesn’t serve YOU, let alone anyone else. Remember that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, just some of the people, some of the time. When you do your best, YOU know you have offered the best of yourself, and that has to be enough.

6.  ENLIVEN YOUR SURROUNDINGS with the color red. The color of the sun is energizing, and symbolic of love, courage, warmth, fire. Wear red sweaters, scarves and hats, light red candles, bring in red flowering plants(if you have access to red poinsettias, they are a joy!). Any creative idea you have for including the color red has a powerful effect in the darkest days of the year to lighten your mood and create a festive, heartening atmosphere.

7. CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELL-BEING OF OUR PLANET. Donate food and clothing to the poor in your area. Volunteer time at a social service agency. Put up bird feeders and keep them filled throughout the winter to supplement the diets of wild birds. Donate funds and items to non-profit groups, such as churches and environmental organizations. Make a pledge to do some form of good works in the new year. Helping others can take your mind off your own problems and inspire feelings of gratitude for what you do have.(As long as you don’t over-give and forget about yourself!see #5)

8. PRAY Take time for self-reflection, contemplation, meditation. The darkness of the winter time supports going within to give thanks, receive spiritual guidance, and set intentions for the upcoming year. This is one of my favorite prayers:

In my busy-ness, I sometimes forget to stop and give thanks for all the blessings in my life. I am truly fortunate to experience abundance, health and aliveness. I am grateful for the simple joys of laughter, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to witness everyday miracles.

9. CELEBRATE. However big or small the occasion, look for excuses to be in a state of celebration. You can celebrate failures too. They open doorways for something new to come in. Your positive attitude will activate the Law of Attraction and bring you even more positivity and goodness.

***

Enjoy this Season. I look forward to your comments.

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How Do We Become Strong And Confident From Within?

jana and the surf

First, be one with yourself. Accept yourself. Love yourself. Society conditions, educates, and “civilizes” each of us in such a way that we begin to condemn ourselves. For example, society states that you should not be sad. You should be happy. If your truth is that you are sad, you repress the truth, and become something you are not; you become phony. This phony side of you is what society accepts. A division is created within yourself.

Psychological pain exists because you are divided, at war within yourself. As a result, life becomes complicated. When you lose touch with your inner truth, and are living from a divided self, pulled this way and that, by your desire to please and be accepted by others, you find yourself  lost, isolated, and deeply unhappy. You create challenges, adversity, and difficulties to keep yourself distracted and to   prove to yourself that you are worthy.
If, however, you are able to live your sadness with total authenticity, the division disappears.

For example: you are sad; that is the truth of this moment. But your conditioned mind says: “You have to be happy. Smile! What will people think of you?”

Here is the problem: you pretend, you act, you repress the truth. The phony becomes the ideal. How can you know, and love yourself, if you don’t accept yourself?

Live your sadness in total authenticity, and you will be surprised. A miraculous door opens in your being, because the division disappears. Sadness is there and there is no question of any ideal to be anything else. There is no effort, no conflict, no war. “I am simply this” and there is relaxation. And in that relaxation is grace, and joy.

Psychological pain exists because you are divided. Pain means division, and joy means no-division. You might be thinking: how can feeling my sadness bring joy? It looks paradoxical, but it is true. Try it. However, please note: accepting your sadness with an agenda to feel joy, is not going to work. Joy arises through your authentic expression of sadness.

Joy is a by-product of being authentic. Joy is a natural consequence of being united with your sadness, because it is your truth, in this moment. In the next moment you may be angry: accept that too. And the next moment you may be something else: accept that too.

Live moment to moment, with acceptance, without any division, and self-love, self-worth, self-confidence arise within you, naturally, and automatically.

Drop all ideals of how you should be, and accept who you are, in each moment. The journey of self-acceptance starts with becoming aware of your feelings, and allowing yourself to feel your feelings. We are human. Feeling is a part of the human experience.

Get used to feeling because feeling is to LIVE, feeling is to be ALIVE. When  uncomfortable feelings arise: allow, experience and accept. On the other side of your sadness, hurt, and despair is your magnificent, brilliant, luminous spirit, which is not damaged. Your spirit is love, and when aligned with your authenticity, guides your life with grace, and ease.

Accepting yourself, warts an’ all,  helps you become strong and confident from within, so that no matter what other people think or say, you are deeply rooted in your own self-worth. Your feelings are the key. Love is always waiting on the other side. The only thing blocking you from receiving more love is your resistance to feeling your feelings.

Are you thinking: I don’t want to feel because I don’t want to be hurt any more?
 I understand. I went through this very same experience.  As I allowed myself to start feeling, something wonderful happened. I began to feel more love,  to laugh, and enjoy my life more. I was  liberated  from a prison of pain and opened up to more self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence, AND  to receiving more love from others.

Inner strength and confidence are an inside job. When you get to the point where you can accept yourself, the need for challenges, adversity, and complications, just falls away, because you don’t need to prove your worth any more to yourself.

Meditation: Accept Yourself– 4 minutes



Benefits: In the very experiencing of your feelings, a spaciousness is created, and miracles can occur. Trust that, even when you feel miserable, on the other side of the misery, is love. Our natural state is love. All we have to do is accept who we are, in any given moment, and love is there.

Start gently, with compassion for yourself.

Sit,or lie down, whichever is most comfortable for your body.

Breathe, relax your body, open your palms upwards, in a receptive posture.

Allow your feelings, whatever they are, without judging, condemning or criticizing yourself.

Accept what is happening, in each moment, without wanting it to be different. When you fight what is, you make it worse. You are the way you are: accept yourself with joy, with gratitude.

I look forward to your comments.

7 Tools to Resolve Any and Every Conflict That Arises

Cat VS. DogMany of us dread conflict. We wish we could just get along.

Life, however, has other ideas for us. Everyone is here to be there true selves, have their own opinions, likes, dislikes etc. How boring things would be if we all agreed on everything all the time. Where would our creativity be needed?

The exciting thing about conflict is that it forces us to expand into a greater creative expression of ourselves. Every time I have found the courage to call someone to task and have a discussion about our conflicting opinions, good things have happened. It doesn’t mean I always get my way, but I do put myself in a position to express my opinion, speak my truth, and listen to their side. Then I have a CHOICE: find an agreement, or walk away from the relationship/situation. And, importantly, I feel good about myself, that I have made every effort to find a resolution.

If we don’t speak up, we are sitting on an energy of resentment, fear, or frustration which can lead, later on, to unconscious expressions of that same energy which will probably not have good outcomes. Conflict is not inevitable. Conflicts are created by people and people can choose to end them. This cannot happen if the parties are set on victory instead of compromise or while they prioritize self-centered interest over the highest good of everyone concerned.

When the willingness to be available for discussion exists, there is no conflict that cannot be resolved.

If conflict is rooted in an ‘us’ and ‘them’, or ‘me’ and ‘you’, approach, then peace-building is precisely the opposite. We have to get past the adversarial mind-set and involve everyone concerned in addressing the common challenges, listening to other points of view, and seeing where we can meet, with an emphasis on what we DO agree on, and not on what we don’t agree on. When the focus is on what we all want, and not on what we don’t want, there is a higher possibility of success.

Our personal histories are all, in one way or another, shaped by the legacies of conflict. But as profound and deep-rooted as our differences may be, it is in our power to redefine those legacies, and, in so doing, redefine ourselves. Wherever we live in the world, we must recognize that ‘peace’ is not something you can win; it is something that has to be built and shared.

Here are 7 suggestions for conflict resolution:

1. Start with the points you all agree on. This sets a positive foundation of agreement to build upon.

2. Can you all agree that the outcome you want is for the highest good of everyone concerned?

3. Are you willing, if necessary, to set aside your personal interests for the highest good of everyone concerned?

4. Can you allow yourself to admit you are wrong? And/or admit that you hadn’t seen the situation from the other person’s point of view?

5. Are you speaking from wisdom or from self-centered ego?

6. Do you want to be right, or be happy?

7. Before starting a conflict resolution do one of the following meditations, either alone or with the other people, to release tensions and emotional charge, and to help bring your wisest self to the table. The more you are at peace within yourself, the more likely you are to manifest a positive outcome.

Laughter Expressive Meditation – Two Minutes
Step One: Laugh for no reason (one minute)
Step Two: Sit in silence (one minute)
After releasing stress and tensions with laughter, you experience joy, oneness, and creativity.
You can do this for longer than two minutes; just be sure and do an equal amount of time for each step.

Gibberish Expressive Meditation – Two Minutes
Step One: Gibberish (one minute)
Step Two: Sit in Silence (one minute)
Express your frustrations, resentments and tensions in the gibberish. You then find it much easier and quicker to drop down into a state of inner peace, clarity, and wisdom.

Setting an Intention Meditation – Two Minutes
Set the intention that you want the outcome of your discussion to be for the highest good of everyone concerned. Sit silently, eyes closed, relaxing into acceptance of what is, with compassion for yourself and everyone involved.

I look forward to your comments below.

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8 Tools to Free Yourself from Bullies and Attract People Who Respect You

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.19.20 PMHave you ever been bullied? Were you able to respond to the bully in a way that valued YOU?

I grew up with a mother who was a bully. My response was to shut down into a kind of frozen numbness. When I was 12 I started smoking cigarettes and at 16 I started drinking – all to continue the numbing process so as not to feel the pain.

Now, many years of therapy and meditation later, I’ve un-numbed myself, let go of cigarettes and alcohol, and found my true self. Life is filled with love, joy, and inner peace. Along the way, I had to learn how to stand up for myself and speak my truth. It took courage and perseverance, but  I arrived at a place where I can respond to people in-the-moment if they are disrespectful.

I continued to attract bullies until I learned to step into my power, be vulnerable, and state my truth.

Here are my 8 Keys to addressing a bully and giving them an opportunity to apologize. They might apologize, or they might not – I’ve experienced both. Either way, the success is yours, because you have spoken your truth. Your self-confidence builds and eventually, if a bully starts up, you can dismiss them quickly, and easily, without getting upset.

1. Be Emotionally Honest With Yourself.
Are you emotionally honest? Ask yourself: How do I feel when a person is abusive to me? Angry? Hurt? Paralyzed with fear? Numb? The important thing here is to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF about how you feel. This is the primary key to freeing yourself from the prison of victimization.

2. Accept – Don’t Judge Yourself
Keep the focus on yourself, not on the bully. Accept your present moment, whatever it contains. Beware the ego coming in and dismissing your feelings, saying things like: ”It’s no big deal”, “I’m fine” etc. The Ego doesn’t like us being put down so it might try and distract you by focusing on the bully or rationalize you out of your feelings. Stay with your present-moment reality, no matter how uncomfortable (uncomfortable is good because it means you are moving away from  an old habit that doesn’t serve you) – simply allowing things to be as they are, without judging yourself. And have compassion for yourself – you’re doing the best you can with the best conscious awareness you have in the moment.

3. Listen To Your Body
If you don’t know how you feel, your body will tell you. Are you contracted in fear or rage? Is your heart heavy with pain? Or do you just feel numb all over? Whatever is happening, allow it to be so. Your body is your friend. It acts like a shock absorber in stressful situations to help you deal with things. Pay attention because the body gives us warning signals when we are not in harmony and at ease with a person/situation. The more in tune you are with your body, the easier it is to address things early on, before they escalate into something worse.

4. Get Support
Find a friend or a family member you are close to, someone who loves you very much. Tell them what happened. This will bring you some instant relief and the powerful loving support you need to speak up to the bully. Allow yourself to RECEIVE the love of your friend to fill yourself up and build your confidence.

5. Be Willing To Let Go of the Person/Situation
Before you address the bully, spend some time in self-reflection and realize that you might have to walk away from this person, or from this situation. Friends can be helpful here to help you see things clearly. You might not have to let go, but you might. A lot depends on the response of the bully. Do they apologize? Do they “get it”? If not, they are highly likely to bully you again.

6. Speak Your Truth
Speaking your truth means respecting yourself enough to let people know that you deserve respect. Bullies will transform, or leave. Either way, you win!

Best case scenario is to speak to the bully in person, in a calm, courteous, respectful manner, simply stating how you feel about what happened. Bring a friend as a witness and for support. If that is not possible, talk on the phone, your friend standing by. Third best option – send an email or letter. Know this truth: bullies, underneath their aggressiveness, are cowards. In many instances, they are embarrassed you’ve called them out and apologize, which allows the possibility of taking the relationship to a whole new level. If they don’t apologize, see #5!

7. Be Courageous and Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable
Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens over time when you go on being more and more courageous. In the beginning, the only difference between a coward and a courageous person is that the coward listens to their fears and follows them; the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person can say, for example: “What you said hurt me”, in spite of  inner trembling and a constricted throat.

Be willing to be vulnerable, befriend your fears, and remember that this situation is happening for you, not to you. It’s helping you step out of victim into mastery of yourself. It’s helping you expand even more into who you are.

8. Practice Expressive Meditation
Expressive Meditation techniques can help you become more aware of your feelings and be honest with yourself. The Gibberish expressive meditation is great for releasing the charge of  anger, rage, frustration and resentment, and helps you come back to a calm, neutral place of clarity.

You can learn to express your emotions without being emotional.

Expressive techniques for healing grief, sadness, and emotional pain, help with the emotional wounding that can keep you in a victim state. You will experience pain transforming into peace and love.

From personal experience these 8 keys work! By speaking your truth you attract people who treat you with courtesy and respect…. because you are treating YOURSELF with courtesy and respect!

I look forward to your comments.

Why Awareness Will Free Your Mind and Transform Your Heart

Sunset & the ThinkerAwareness is a quality of being awake and present to the moment. All great athletic performances are an example of how awareness fuels high level performance.

How does this apply to our more mundane lives? How can we tap into that quality of awareness to enhance our lives?

Once we can identify and understand what this quality of awareness is, we have the key to self-mastery in virtually every area of our lives.

According to great masters like Lao Tzu or Buddha, most of us move through our lives like sleepwalkers. Never really present in what we are doing, never fully alert to our environment, and not even aware of what motivates us to do and say the things we do. A lack of awareness can allow us to be completely taken over by negative emotions.

The Difference Awareness Makes

With awareness, when we become irritated or angry, sad or depressed, there’s an awake quality that this is happening in us. We have the observing presence in the background that’s more who we are rather than the emotion. We are still present as the emotions happen. We then have more mastery of ourselves and the situation.

Awareness is the key to being self-directed, centered, and free in every aspect of our lives. You can learn  how to live life more attentively, mindfully, and meditatively, with love, caring and consciousness. You can examine and break free of the conditioned belief systems and prejudices that limit your capacity to live life in all its richness.

Cultivate A Clear Mind

To fuel our highest level performance we need  a clear mind. If the mind is filled with fear, self-sabotaging beliefs, and self-doubt, we are impeded, a bit like driving a car with the brake on. Emotional turmoil clouds our view and we cannot perform well. A practice of becoming aware of the mind, and learning to witness the thoughts so they pass by, and don’t affect us, is key.

A man came to the Japanese Zen master Ikkyo and asked him for some words of wisdom to guide him in life. Ikkyo nodded agreeably and wrote on a piece of paper the word “attention.” The man said he could not understand and asked for something more. Ikkyo wrote, “attention, attention.”After a further request for an explanation, Ikkyo wrote his final statement for the man. “Attention, attention, attention means attention. ”

The special knack of meditation is to develop the one who pays attention, the watcher. When we do a simple sitting meditation, we sit comfortably with our eyes closed and just begin to watch the energies that move within us all the time: thoughts, sensations, emotions. We develop the knack of simply watching these distractions go by with a feeling of acceptance. How do we acquire this knack? We begin by being a witness to the mind, by becoming dis-identified from the mind.

If you watch a dog, you are clearly not the dog; if you look at a tree, you are separate from the tree. The same applies to the mind. Watching is the key. Watch the mind, without repressing, without preventing, without judging, and slowly you will begin to dis-identify, realizing that you are not your thoughts, sensations, and emotions.

Don’t Fight, Just Watch

When you try to meditate, and especially at first, thoughts will come, they will surround you from everywhere. They will be like clouds; even the little bit of blue sky will be lost. They will buzz like a swarm of bees stopping us from seeing clearly. And when there are too many thoughts, the natural instinct is to fight with them.

Try fighting with your own shadow. Thoughts are shadows. If you try to fight them you will be defeated.

You have to remain a watcher, a witness. Just watch the thoughts, absolutely calm and quiet, watch. Let them come, let them go, let them arise, let them disappear. Simply take note, the thought is arising, the thought is there, the thought is gone — and some day you start to notice the gap of silence in between the thoughts. Over time the thoughts become smaller, the gap of silence becomes bigger.

The liberation you feel once you realize that you are not the mind can be extraordinary. There is no more anxiety, you are at ease, in a deep let-go. You know you can drop down beyond the mind to your inner haven of peace, calm, and clarity. The mind becomes  clean and clear, and you are more productive, focused, and relaxed.

30-SECOND STOP TECHNIQUE

Benefits:

This technique can almost instantly bring you to awareness and help you relax. By practicing this technique regularly, by and by a subtle relaxed alertness will begin to weave itself into your day. Just knowing that you can access this state of relaxation at any time helps you feel more in control of your life, more in touch with yourself.

You can do this technique while walking along the street, folding laundry, or sorting files at the office. While you are engaged in one of these activities, stop. Freeze. For 30 seconds just be present with whatever is happening. Are you breathing? How is your body? Where is the mind? Where are you? In the present? The past? The future? Watch, observe, notice yourself, without judgment. Then start moving again.

You can do this technique by yourself or with a friend. You might ask your friend to surprise you with a 30-second stop when you’re walking down the street. Or you can try it yourself anytime — at work, on the bus, in the grocery store, in an elevator, doing the dishes. But remember it must be done suddenly.

I look forward to your comments.

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photo by: Esparta

How to Move from Anger to Forgiveness

Why forgive? How can we move from anger and hatred to compassion, clarity, and awareness?

I made this video to share with you how I came to understand forgiveness:

Through a practice of powerful expressive meditation techniques I healed my heart and became more aware of my choices. I could put my energy into anger and resentment, OR focus on loving myself, and enjoying my life. How I came to choose the latter is explained in the video.

If  this message resonates with you, please share! The world needs more forgiveness.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

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Related Articles:

What the Sleepy Dog Taught Me About Compassion

The “F”Word: 5 Steps to Practice Forgiveness

Forgive and Forget? Sometimes – but not always

8 Reasons To Be More Present In Your Life

asa_yoga_meditatingHave you ever lost your car keys? Or arrived at the grocery store and realized you’ve left your wallet at home? I have, and I’ll bet many of you have too. You know how much stress and anxiety these situations create, and all because we were not present when we put our keys down (somewhere!) or were preparing to go to the store.

Cultivating a practice of deliberate presence can help us be more relaxed, productive, and confident in our daily activities. This practice is not about erasing our thoughts. It’s about becoming aware of the process of thinking so that we are not in a trance – lost inside our thoughts (which is when we lose our keys!). That’s the big difference. To train in becoming aware of thoughts can help us notice when our mind is actively thinking, either using the label “thinking, thinking”, or identifying the kind of thought as “worrying, worrying” or “planning,planning.” Then, we can change our focus to what is happening right here and now.

Here are 8 Reasons To Be More Present In Your Life:

1.  Save time
Looking for lost items takes up a lot of time, not to mention the stress that goes with it. By taking a few extra seconds to be more deliberate when you put things away, you can save yourself time and stress. And you gain more enjoyment in your day!

2.  Save money
The last time I lost my house key, I had to pay a locksmith to come out and let me in to my own home. Being lost in thoughts can get expensive. It only takes a few extra seconds to stop, breathe, come into the present moment, and check if we have everything we need, or check an email before we send it out, or whatever it is that our present moment requires. The investment of a few extra seconds of time can save us a lot of money…and stress!

3. Be more relaxed, confident, and calm
When you are not scurrying around in a state of high anxiety because you can’t find something, you feel good because you know you are well-prepared for your trip. In that relaxed state, your self-confidence is strong, you are at your productive, creative best, and you know that you can handle any unexpected circumstance that might arise with focus and clarity.

4. Build better relationships
When you listen with deliberate presence, the other person feels heard and has a tendency to trust you more. Trust is the cornerstone of all relationship-building, whether it’s with friends and family, at work, or even random people you meet at the grocery store or when traveling. Being present is a likeability factor, and gains you respect, friendships, and good things happening.

5. Experience less judgment and more love
Being deliberately present gives you choice. At the moment in which you pause and realize that these thoughts are not really serving you, you have the option to come back to presence. This process of choosing becomes more powerful as you realize how thoughts can create suffering and separation. They can create an “us” and a “them”. They create judgment. Deliberate presence allows us to see people (and ourselves!) without judgment, which opens us to being more kind, compassionate, and loving.

6. Gain greater self-awareness and self-love
As our practice deepens, we become more aware of our thoughts. This gives us the opportunity to assess them and notice that much of the time our thoughts are not really serving us. Many thoughts are driven by fear and lock us into insecurity. We realize we don’t have to believe our thoughts! They are not reality. Presence gives us the opportunity to be kinder to ourselves.

7. Activate the positive law of attraction
The Law of Attraction states that we get what we vibrate. The more present we are, the more we can be aware of our thoughts and feelings, and keep them positive. Becoming more in mastery of what we are transmitting energetically will change what we attract, and life will become easier, more positive, and more joyful.

8. Gain in integrity
Integrity means being connected to yourself – body, mind, heart, and soul. You are in an optimal state to respond to daily occurrences. Integrity also means making three agreements with yourself:

*  Saying yes, when you mean yes.
*  Saying no when you mean no.
*  Always doing what you say you are going to do.

A practice of deliberate presence helps you to tune in with yourself. Then you respond to situations from a place of inner integration and feel good about yourself. It’s easier to make decisions and keep your word.

The key here is that we approach this practice with gentleness and kindness. Each time we recognize thinking and come back into the present moment we are planting a seed of awareness. We are creating a new habit – a new way of being in the world. The incessant buzz of thoughts in our minds starts to take a back seat. We live in what is true – the aliveness, vulnerability, and honesty of the present moment – rather than in the story line of our thoughts. We experience the courage to be our true selves.

I look forward to your comments.

If  this resonates with you, join my Laughing Buddhas Network online community – it’s FREE!

photo by: tokyosucks

How To Transform Anger Into Creativity

Monarch Butterfly

Anger is a good thing…when we know how to be the master, and not the servant, of this powerful energy.

How can we be in mastery of our anger so that we use this strong energy in the most creative way possible for positive outcomes?

Awareness is the solution. Awareness gives us choice.

How do we become more aware? Through a meditation practice.

The most powerful and effective technique I know for transforming anger into creativity, and giving us choice, is the *Gibberish Expressive Meditation.

Gibberish was first practiced hundreds of years ago by a Sufi mystic named Jabbar.(the word “gibberish” derives from his name.) Jabbar would teach his disciples to speak in gibberish, (the language children speak before they learn the language of their native country). Many became enlightened.

Speaking gibberish (step one) enables us to reconnect quickly and easily with the body, and with our emotions. We are taken (temporarily!) out of the logical mind, and are then able to give free expression to our bottled up emotions. Sitting in silence (step two) allows us to listen to our inner intelligence…and creative ideas arise.

Often, anger comes upon us suddenly and we’ve yelled at someone before we know it. A practice of the Gibberish technique helps release the backlog of stored emotions so that we become more emptied out, relaxed and calm. An inner spaciousness is created that allows our inner intelligence and creativity to arise, quickly and easily. Then the next time someone is annoying (which they probably will be!), we can respond with less emotional charge, greater clarity, and maybe some humor.

Anger creates emotional turmoil which clouds our ability for creative communication. By dumping out this inner clutter in the context of a meditation technique, we free ourselves from the emotional charge of past conditioning and are then able to respond to a situation with present-moment awareness.

Benefits of the Gibberish expressive meditation are:

* Releasing emotional turmoil from body and mind which is good for our well-being

* Discovering an alternative to dumping our anger on another individual, thus avoiding a destructive chain reaction

*Learning how to use the energy of anger and transform it into creativity and compassion

*Transforming victim into empowerment, freeing ourselves from mental/emotional prisons

*Becoming aware of the pain that might be underneath the anger

* Realizing we have a choice, as to how we direct our energy

* Becoming aware of, and accepting, our feelings

* Deepening access to our inner stillness, wisdom and intuition

Most people do one of two things with their anger. Either they repress it, women, for example, are taught it is not lady-like to get angry (I certainly was!). As a result we become afraid of anger, our own or someone else’s, and become paralyzed with fear rather than being able to respond to a situation. We become victims.

Alternatively we dump our anger on someone else which is more of a masculine characteristic. We become bullies. Victims and bullies are trapped by their own unconscious. Victims internalize their anger and bullies externalize it.

How to free ourselves?
If we are a victim and have become paralyzed with fear, the Gibberish meditation can help us get in touch with our anger and we can learn to defend and stand up for ourselves and create boundaries. Bullies can learn to re-direct their anger into a safe context. Both then learn how anger transforms into creativity and choice. Both become empowered, freed from an unconscious habit.

We can learn to become so rooted in ourselves, that we live in our center where our inner intelligence lies. This is a place where we are so anchored to peace and calm that nothing can disturb us. We can then respond to situations rather than react from unconscious habit. The ocean has millions of waves which become agitated by the wind, but deep down the ocean is  still, no wind, no hurricane can disturb it. We are like the ocean. If we live on the surface, agitated by every disturbance, we live in a constant turmoil. But we can learn how to move down to our own still depths where no one can disturb us.

Our question then becomes: how can we move from the periphery to the center, from the surface to the depths? How can we become more rooted in ourselves? Through an expressive meditation technique. It will take you from anxiety to serenity, from chaos to peace, from anger to compassion.

Don’t fight, don’t condemn, use the hot fire of anger and transform it into the joy of creativity. This is how you gain mastery of yourself, rather than being a victim or a bully. Accept, watch the lightning, and dark thunder clouds of your inner sky and the clear blue sky will again appear.
* Here is the Gibberish Expressive Meditation Technique

Benefits: You gain instant relief from turbulent emotions and from the chattering mind. You become more calm, relaxed, and creative.

Step One: Gibberish (30 seconds)

Close your eyes. Start speaking in gibberish, any nonsense sounds. Don’t worry about what you sound like. Make any sounds that arise;  don’t speak in a language or use words that you know. Allow yourself to express whatever needs to be expressed within you. Just go totally mad. This is therapeutic madness. 

Step Two: Sit in Silence and Watch with Non-judgment and Compassion for Yourself (30 seconds)

You can practice this technique for as long, or as short, a time as you wish. Just make sure to spend an equal amount of time on each step.

There is more information on the Gibberish and other expressive meditations  in my book Laughter, Tears, Silence: Expressive Meditations To Calm Your Mind and Open Your Heart

And here is a link to my Guided Meditation CDs

I look forward to your comments.

Laughter Is Sexy: 6 Surprising Benefits to Laughing

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We all like a good laugh, don’t we? It releases stress, puts us in a good mood, and generally makes us feel better about life.

Were you taught in your childhood,as I was, to put a lid on your laughter and keep it down? I remember giggling in church, at school, on solemn occasions and getting frowned at by adults. This often made me laugh even more, as I tried to stuff down the irrepressible gales of guffaws welling up from deep inside me. Or maybe there wasn’t much to laugh about in your childhood. Whatever the case, laughter has many dimensions of benefits for us, and I want to share them with you now. I have been practicing Laughter Meditation for over twenty-five years. My life has transformed, and the same can happen for you.

Laughter is good for us in every way: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Among its many benefits:

1. LAUGHTER STIMULATES PHYSICAL HEALING

Scientific research has now proven that laughter does indeed, improve our health and well-being.  If you can laugh when you are stressed, anxious, worried, even if you are ill, you feel better sooner. Laughter lowers blood pressure, boosts immune function, decreases stress hormones, relaxes muscles, assists in pain reduction (you can “forget” about the pain for a few moments),and is good cardiac exercise. Laughter brings energy from within you to heal, soothe, and inspire.

2. LAUGHTER ENHANCES OUR CREATIVITY

What I have noticed after numerous episodes of laughter is that as our energetic systems open up we are flooded with more creative energy. As old conditionings are released the unconscious opens and insights come. The relaxation of body and mind provides a gateway for creativity to come forward into expression.


3. LAUGHTER IS REJUVENATING AND REGENERATING AND KEEPS US YOUNG

When we laugh and smile we loosen up and generally feel better. The face collects a lot of our stress  and when we laugh a tremendous amount of tension from the face, neck and
head is released. This gives us a more youthful appearance. It reminds us about having fun. Maybe  today, do something just for the sheer fun of it. And think of the money you save on cosmetic  procedures to make you look “younger”! Laughter radiates your youthful spirit through your eyes and whole being


4. LAUGHTER IS SEXY

Laughter is a positive energy vibration and helps attract people to you that are good for you. It is  beneficial for anyone who is sexually blocked. It releases inhibitions and opens up the energetic channels, bringing us directly in touch with our energy. The Law of Attraction states that you get what you vibrate. Laughter helps keep your energy at a highly positive vibrational level so you attract good things. And who isn’t sexy when they laugh?

5. LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR RELATIONSHIPS

Laughter draws people together, doesn’t it? Many couples who do the Laughter Meditation together tell me they find a tremendous improvement in their relating. They discover another side of each other, the playful, humorous side which gives a relief to the more serious part of life concerned with work, money, housework, the kids, etc. Remember the old adage: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Well, it doesn’t do much for Jill either!

Laughter improves relating with our children. They are our teachers in this regard. They laugh easily, and often. Children remind us of the magical qualities of wonder, imagination, spontaneity, playfulness, being fun and funny, which we all need to balance the stresses of life.

Relating with family members, colleagues at work, neighbors, people in the grocery store, commuters in traffic jams, for example, can be enhanced with laughter and smiles. Camaraderie is created, and a longing we all have for connection is fulfilled. Laughter heals feelings of isolation and separation and reminds us that we are all humans, living together on this earth. We all make mistakes and have flaws and laughter eases the wounds and reminds us that we are all loved and connected.(And I mean,of course, laughing with people, not at them.)

6. LAUGHTER OPENS OUR HEARTS

Laughter creates an opening to the love, compassion, courage, trust and intuitive wisdom that vibrates within us all. It’s difficult to hate a person you are laughing with. It’s difficult to be afraid of a person you are laughing with.

When we laugh we become more vulnerable, and approachable. We fall into trust and drop our defenses, becoming more willing to be flexible, and accepting. This helps towards preventing or stopping conflicts. Tensions are eased and we see one another’s points of view better. As we become more relaxed, the world around us changes and becomes more relaxed.

Laughter brings a healing quality to our relationships and reminds us that, at the root, we all want the same things: to love and be loved, to be happy and at peace.

7. LAUGHTER GIVES US A GLIMPSE OF FREEDOM FROM THE MIND

For those moments when you are totally laughing, you are free of the mind. All your problems disappear for a few moments, don’t they? In those seconds of hilarity you are brought from worry to joy, from tension to relaxation, from fear to trust, from timidity to courage. In other words, from the mind to the heart. You cannot think and laugh at the same time. In those moments when you are out of the mind you are in meditation. In those seconds the mind is not and you are, in the present moment. Laughter serves as a bridge to take us deeper into meditation, into inner peace, wisdom and joy.

Here is the laughter meditation technique I use.

Do this as often, and for as long as, you like. And remember to laugh, a lot, every day!

Step One: (One Minute)
Start laughing. You can shout out “Yahoo” three times and raise your arms up in the air,
or use a funny Youtube video, or any idea you have to start yourself laughing.(It’s easier, especially at the beginning, to do this with at least one other person.) Do not speak in any language you understand. Just laugh.

Step Two: (One Minute)
Sit in silence with your eyes closed. If there is still laughter bubbling up, allow it. Never repress your laughter. Eventually your laughter transforms  into a joy-filled silence.

For more information on Laughter Meditation

For Pragito’s latest book “Laughter, Tears, Silence”, guided meditation CDs, and to join her Laughing Buddhas Network community (it’s FREE!) check in at her website www.discovermeditation.com

*See research by Dr.Lee Berk and Dr.Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California

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