A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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How to be the master of your own destiny

Life can be so very blissful, once we realize that we are the masters of our own destiny. It is only when we allow stress to overwhelm us that bliss starts waning from our lives and fear takes over. How to banish this fear so that we can claim our true identity is what I'm going to talk about today. 

BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN DESTINY

By eliminating fear you start sending positive signals to your mind and body. Once this begins to happen, our "Being" naturally settles into a happiness mode and then bliss returns.

We basically need to control our thoughts and not allow them to get negative. This level of self mastery is essential, and this is what leads to a powerful individual being.

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3 Powerful Ways to End Your Suffering

“I want. I want… I want…. It’s one of the most dangerous phrases you will ever speak.”~Jan

How can five letters hold such power?

I WANT has the immense and immediate ability to rip you away from the grace and power of the present moment while disconnecting you from the joy, passion, and peace that is your birthright.

In short, these two tiny words equal suffering. Let me show you how.

end your sufferingTwo Tiny Words, An Immense Amount of Suffering

I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be successful. I wanted financial independence. I wanted to have kids. Lots of them. And I wanted to be loved (for a while I thought by George Clooney!?!) Oh, and I also wanted to have long, thin, beautiful legs. Seriously, Gisele Bundchen legs!

I wanted it all, with all of passion and conviction I could muster.

But my wants remained loftily stubborn. Out of reach. In fact, for the majority of my life, the absence of checkmarks on my ‘want list’ (and my bitchier days, my ‘deserve list’) made me firmly believe that life was against me.

I was a classic victim, sure that I had an oversized bullseye on my back. My life, I felt, was downright unfair, so I took every opportunity to remind the universe of this fact.

All because my wants weren’t showing up.

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How to Be Here Now

Ram Dass was one of the first teachers I resonated with when I stepped onto the spiritual path. He is a revered master of bhakti, or devotional yoga. I came across his classic Be Here Now at Russell Library in Middletown, Connecticut, while browsing the religion/spirituality section. My account was in good standing (an unusual state for me at Russell Library, since I was always overdue on something or other), so I took Be Here Now home. Since that day, I’ve considered Ram Dass an inadvertent punk-rock spiritual guide.

For those unfamiliar with Be Here Now, it’s a divine cookbook, divided into three parts. The first covers ex-Harvard professor Richard Alpert’s 1967 voyage to India, where, through a series of incredible events, he met Bhagavan Das, a fellow seeker who introduced him to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba leading Alpert to become Ram Dass. The third section is a series of practices from meditation to yoga (and much more) to help readers as they begin their spiritual adventures.

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Applying Tara Brach’s RAIN Practice of Everyday Life

When I was just beginning to get interested in spirituality and meditation, I stumbled upon Buddhist teacher Tara Brach at my local library. I checked out her book Radical Acceptance during a time when the only thing I was willing to radically accept was deep self-loathing and an overall feeling of discontent with the world. Thanks to Tara’s insights, I began to awaken from what she calls the “trance of unworthiness.” She explained it to me like this:

“We might know we judge ourselves, but we don’t often get how much that squeeze of ‘something’s wrong with me’ is a part of everything, so that in every interaction on some level, we’re not free to be as spontaneous or playful or alive, because we’re afraid we’re not going to be the person who’s accepted by another. Even when it’s not the deep ‘I’m damaged goods,’ there’s still a sense of not enough.”




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You Have The Power To Forgive

When you think of a martial artist in a ready posture, do you see someone who is fully present? Who is undistracted? Who is in their perfect point of power? Ready for anything, balanced, capable of utilizing all of their resources and resourcefulness? 

That is what Peace is like...

PEACE is the P in PLATINUM

When you are fully connected to your True Self, the Peace code is activated as your natural high frequency state.

This is the state of harmony, balance and tranquility where you are fully present and automatically seek the highest good for all.

Wouldn’t you love to live in that state all the time?

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"Need Some Healing Light?"

Every evening for many years, I continue with this little ritual that I’d like to share. Although it’s quite simple, I find it’s really powerful to have an intended thought powered by light. The simple act of lighting a candle every night for me reminds me that all thought has power, and keeping a candle lit safely for a while helps me to send and keep positive thoughts on a desired intention.

Candles have been used since the dawn of time for meditations, blessings, spiritual and religious ceremonies, healings, prayers, celebrations, abundance, psychic development, to feel comforted and protected, to hold the memory of a loved one, and yes … even romance! The uses are endless.

Many people choose candles by scent, some choose by color, while others are simply fine with a plain candle, or even a tea light in a votive purchased from a dollar store. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. No matter what you choose, it’s the positive use of the candle that makes it special.

Every day people use candles in a positive way without even knowing it. Ask yourself: “How many times have you blown out a candle on a birthday cake?” What you’re actually doing is that when you close your eyes to make a wish (holding that special thought) and then blowing out the candle, is that you’re actually sending off the wish while bringing your desires to light.


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Memento Mori – An Excerpt from “Walking Each Other Home”

Ram Dass has talked about how our culture supports the fear and denial of death in many ways, from our glorification of youth in the media to embalming practices that make the dead person appear to be still alive. We are discouraged from looking at the bare bones, as it were, of mortality. My mother told us not to talk about “unpleasant things.”

Dying most often takes place in hospitals or nursing homes, removed from the natural life of the family. Hardly anyone is simply honest about it, including many doctors, who often consider death a failure in their job of ensuring health and survival even though they know we will all someday be broken and unfixable. At a retreat for medical professionals in 1989, Ram Dass spoke about this:




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You Are Not Your Shame

Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of leading two transformational weekend workshops. I am always in awe of what an honor it is to be invited into people’s lives and have them share so openly about their past as well as the honest and raw feelings they have about themselves and their lives. Of course, we are also seeing so much of this in today’s culture – people, especially women, coming forward and sharing about the assaults, attacks, abuse, and secrets that they have not wanted, been able, or felt ready to share.

 

Although I am always very mindful of never assuming I know or can even comprehend what someone else feels, since I never want to diminish someone else’s pain by comparing or making sweeping assumptions or generalizations, I think it is fair to say that most of us have endured situations that felt off, wrong, or were just downright soul-crushing. And, in order to deal with or manage the pain or to just do what we have needed to do to get by and function, we learned to manage it, push it down, remain silent, numb ourselves, or stay busy and try to forget about it.

 

Although all of our stories are personal and unique, whether it comes from what we are seeing in the news, the #MeToo movement, or the people I have the privilege of working with, I am always so present to the insidiousness of the shame we all carry.


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5 phases on the journey from fear to freedom and how they helped me navigate divorce

Lissa Rankin is pioneering practitioner of medicine, my longtime friend and mentor, and a doctor I’ve found to be inspirational through her real and raw approach to transformational work. When I spoke to her for my book Dead Set on Living we discussed how stress becomes normalized. Lissa had some great things to say about this. She maintains that we’ve normalized stress to the point where it has become almost a badge of honor in our culture, as well as a defense. To say we’re stressed is to put on a suit of armor that makes us feel more socially acceptable, because now we’re important, contributing, productive.

If we examine what stresses us out, we’ll see that much of it is rooted in fear—anything from fear of being late for work to fear of death. Lissa said that if there a fear “cure” it would be “coming into right relationship with uncertainty.” I loved that: coming intro right relationship with uncertainty.

She sent me an excerpt from her book The Fear Cure that can work as the foundation for a practice. Try it and see what you think.


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The Blame Game – How to Take your Power Back Today!

BLAME

Man is this a tough one for some of us. It sure was for me.

Blame was my go to. It was my only recourse many times. “It’s not my fault or don’t blame me” were common responses when I was in “trouble” both as a child and even as an adult. I found a senses of freedom in blaming someone else… for my bad day or bad mood, my ruined event or experience… It was “easier” to blame someone for the seemingly bad things in my life…

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Part 1: Awakening through Anger – The U-Turn to Freedom

Anger is naturally triggered when we feel an obstacle to meeting our needs. How do we honor the intelligence within anger, but not get hijacked into emotional reactivity that creates suffering in our individual and collective lives? This talk explores the U-turn that enables us to offer a healing attention to the feelings and unmet needs under anger. Once present with our inner life, we are able to respond to those around us with wisdom, empathy and true strength. (a favorite from the archives)

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain

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Learning to Find Your Voice

“The moment a woman comes home to herself, the moment she knows that she has become a person of influence, an artist of her life, a sculptor of her universe, a person with rights and responsibilities who is respected and recognized, the resurrection of the world begins.” 

– Joan Chittister

“You have found your voice.”

That’s what the subject line of the e-mail said.

I stared at it for the longest time. I didn’t really even think that I wanted to open the note. The subject line was a gift in and of itself.

As I stared at it longer, my eyes welled up with tears. I had waited a long time to hear a message like that, much less read it in print.

Think about that phrase in the context of your own life. Think about someone saying that to you. How would it make you feel?

Do you feel as though you have found your voice, and if so, are you using it the way you want? If you haven’t, do you know what’s keeping you from finding it?

For many (and I’d put myself in this category) it can take a long time to find your own authentic voice. Over the course of my life, I’ve used my voice in a myriad of ways. I’ve used it to tell other people’s stories. I’ve used it to advocate for people running for office or causes I believe in. I’ve used it on behalf of those I love. I’ve used it lovingly, sternly, timidly, and assertively. And, somewhere along the way after using it enough, I’ve finally found my own true voice.

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Don't Be Pressured

Bring mindful awareness to how your brain reacts to feeling threatened

What makes you feel threatened?

The Practice:
Don't be pressured.

Why?

Humans evolved to be fearful, as anxiety helped keep our ancestors alive. Consequently, we are vulnerable to being alarmed, manipulated, and even intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper tigers.”

This vulnerability to feeling threatened has effects at many levels, ranging from individuals, couples, and families to schoolyards, organizations, and nations. Whether it's an individual who worries about the consequences of speaking up at work or in a close relationship, a family cowed by a scary parent, a business fixated on threats instead of opportunities, or a country that's routinely told it's under "Threat Level Orange"—it's the same human brain that reacts in all cases.

Therefore, understanding how your brain became so vigilant and wary, and so easily hijacked by alarm, is the first step toward gaining more control over that ancient circuitry. Then, by bringing mindful awareness to how your brain reacts to feeling threatened, you can stimulate and therefore build up the neural substrates of a mind that has more calm, wisdom, and sense of inner strength—a mind that sees real threats more clearly, acts more effectively in dealing with them, and is less rattled or distracted by exaggerated, manageable, or false alarms.

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Forgiveness

Are you holding onto feeling wronged? Try the practice of forgiveness.

First, forgiveness has two distinct meanings:

  • To give up resentment or anger
  • To pardon an offense; to stop seeking punishment or recompense


Here, I am going to focus on the first meaning, which is broad enough to include situations where you have not let someone off the hook morally or legally, but you still want to come to peace about whatever happened. Finding forgiveness can walk hand in hand with pursuing justice.

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Is Your Self-Help Helping?

Market studies show that the personal development/self-improvement industry is growing at a rapid pace. More and more people are spending more and more money to help them lose weight, improve relationships, manage stress, attain success, increase productivity, achieve balance, and find fulfillment.

Yet despite the increase of people investing in self-help tools, techniques, technologies, teachers, and coaches, daily I hear from people who are stuck. They feel helpless, resigned, and frustrated after months or years of: 

  • being on diet and exercise routines yet not seeing a shift in their weight or inches
  • trying to adhere to a budget yet never getting out of debt
  • practicing yoga and meditation daily yet still being consumed/paralyzed by stress and anxiety
  • looking for “the one” yet finding no one special
  • wanting to start, ramp up, or change careers yet continuing to sit at the same desk or lie on the same couch

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How Do You Forgive Yourself and Those In Your Life

We have all done things that we regretted, that we felt bad about and judged ourselves for.

Whether it was:

The choices you made in a past relationship.

The way you handled a break up.

The life you thought you should have had.

What are you still judging yourself for?

Judging what you did in the past keeps you stuck in the past. You can’t change the past no matter how much you judge.

Holding yourself hostage to your past only serves to limit your ability to create your future.

Embrace that you are human. You will make “mistakes”. Your soul incarnated onto this planet to learn, grow and evolve. The way you grow is through experiences and lessons.

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Healing Depression with Meditation – Part 1

Most people get depressed at times, and many suffer greatly from bouts of major depression. At the heart of the suffering is the experience of severed belonging—of being imprisoned in the pain of separation, unworthiness, unlovability and hopelessness. These two talks explore several meditation practices that reconnect us with our natural aliveness, open heartedness and awareness. They empower us to develop our inner resources, energize us to awaken, free us from rumination and remind us that we are not our depressive thoughts and feelings. The growing realization of the loving awareness that is our home heals the very roots of depression.

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Expanded Awareness: Turning the Tables on Your Brain

Sometimes the enormous success of science leads to some wrong assumptions. In the case of brain science, the advent of sophisticated brain scans opened a window to the brain as never before. It used to be said that figuring out the human brain was like putting a stethoscope to the roof of the Astrodome to figure out the rules of baseball. That's no longer true.

In neuroscience, as brain function becomes more and more illuminated, the assumption grows stronger that our brains control our behavior. This idea isn't true except in a limited sense that needs to be carefully defined. There are things that your brain controls, such as the fight-or-flight response. But for the vast majority of brain functions, you have a choice how to respond. "My brain made me do it" doesn't hold water even when it comes to things we want to blame it for. Take mental disorders, for example. If you are depressed, there may be a family history involved, which suggests a genetic component, and the drugs to treat depression act on the brain, without a doubt. But consider the following:
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Give None Cause to Fear You

When others feel safe around you, you have less cause to fear them.

What puts people at ease?

The Practice:Give none cause to fear you.

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Let Toxic Relationships Go For Good

Have you ever severed a relationship, but even though the person was no longer in your life, you still continued the relationship in your head? Consider that the very act of keeping it alive even if only in your mind means you are still in it. Perhaps that happens when you feel a relationship is unrequited, and you’re not letting go, or you’re nursing a resentment because you won’t, or lack the self-awareness to see your part in the dynamic.

This is not about self-blame at all. It’s about self-accountability and freedom.

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

Join Soulspring for conscious insights...

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind