Tag Archives: mindful living

Conscious Decision Making

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Life By Design nl

 

In February 2013, I had a lucid dream experience where I was consciously creating in the fabric of space and time. I was present before the canvas of matter creating images with thoughts and gestures. Since 2013, there have been many mornings when I’ve actually awakened with my arms and hands up in the air gesturing as if I am still creating from the “other” side of the fabric, spirit body on that side, physical body on this side. I know that with regular practice through meditation, lucid dreaming and conscious awareness, I can change day-to-day physical reality creating a more desirable, joy-filled life-path. As a mystic, I know that we are, we live, simultaneously as both source-self (spiritual being) and the physical manifested self, experiencing life. One might look at the physical self as an avatar of sorts, a vehicle that allows us to experience living out all sorts of adventures through a physical body! In short, we live between two worlds.

Naturally and unconsciously through choice, we have created daily experiences using thought and action. However, many of us are thinking, acting, and creating experiences running on “autopilot,” allowing life to occur, to just happen… and as a result, often left wondering why things aren’t quite the way we’d prefer. How do we create change?

The simple answer is to turn off the autopilot. To be mindful of thoughts and consequent actions. To take responsibility for, and examine the choices made… and then choose differently where possible. We can create a new reality, with conscious mindful thought, conscious mindful decisions, conscious mindful planning, and conscious mindful action.

Will daily life then be picture perfect? I can say from experience that it will not because some of the choices made up until now have resulted in the experiences each of us are currently living through. However, I can say it will be better and that circumstances can be changed. Life is better because you will have become fully engaged. Daily life events are no longer just happening to you because you will have become a conscious, mindful, active, participant in its creation.

How to start? Over the next couple of months, each week I will introduce a set of self-exploration exercises to assist in becoming mindful of current life situations, where your focus has been, where it’s at today, how to make time for self-nurturing, and how to manage time and plan mindfully. These simple no-nonsense self-discovery activities are meant to be used over and over as you cycle through decisions, discover new facets of self, choose goals and take steps toward change. These activities have been used in workshops for over twenty years, basic, tried and true.  They are focused, personal, and will nudge you toward self-nurturing, as well as personal and spiritual growth. Next week: Module One – “Primary Caretakers.”

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Great Day to Start

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Driving in this morning I found myself thinking about, well about everything. I had the ole’ “monkey mind” thing going on, jumping from one thought to the next not really stopping to ponder any one of them in particular. Good thing is, I caught myself.

So I went back through a few of those thought-topics-things in my life that need attention and picked out a couple of them deciding today would be a great day to start just targeting one to two thoughts, one project at time for a few days until completed, and then move onto what’s next on the list.

Now you know I talk about being mindful all the time, being observant, paying attention to what’s in front of you. And I do, but I move quickly. I think it’s time to slow the pace a little. Over the last six months I’ve slowed it considerably from frantic to fast, now I think  in-the-middle  might be kinda cool. So I’m going to give it a try.

That means monkey-mind thoughts like this morning, “Wow that garage is really a mess, the shredding needs to be done. It really bothers me that those boxes are right smack in front of my face on the shelves when I get in the car every morning. Maybe I should fix the recycling can too, it’s not labeled properly. I wonder if my daughter ever got a winter coat. I better check. What time am I going out for dinner? Better pick something up for the boy. What groceries do I need? When will I shop? Eggs. Soy milk. Pancake stuff. Better get some yogurt butter. I’d like to get to Whole Foods. I wonder if my boss looked at the survey I left on her desk. 7:20 almost there, maybe I can get it edited before the event today. My sister just sent me a text, darn! I forgot to look for those gifts she wanted.”  Oh…shoot. Whoa, I think I have monkey mind. Ahhh…STOP!

Caught myself. Breathe in, breathe out. Slow fast down to…in-the-middle. Pick a couple of things and do those this weekend and blog it. So here it is. There you have it. I know you do it too. Find an in-the-middle pace that works for you until you can experience what it means to go slower and then hey maybe you, and for that matter I, can get to slow. Slow is probably a reasonable pace that we haven’t done for so long it feels awkward. But maybe something we can all get used to. We are more than this…

“And so taking the long way home through the market I slow my pace down. It doesn’t come naturally. My legs are programmed to trot briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself….For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the coffee.” ~ Alexandra Potter, The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather

Mindful Moments

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photo by Michal Malinowski

 

I practice meditation regularly throughout the day, first thing in the morning, during a mid-morning break, at lunch and in the evening. Three years ago when I first started this daily practice, it was once every couple of days. When I saw the difference in my attitude and manifesting life, I decided to step it up. There have been tremendous changes in how I approach making decisions, how I listen to others, how I dream, as well as how I live each day. I share the following article with you from the Science of Mind magazine, which validates my own experience:

“[Dr. Jon] Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness operationally as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Yet staying in the present moment is difficult. “To do that,” he says, “you have to cultivate the awareness that you’re not in the present moment a good deal of the time. We’re usually in the future or the past. We fall readily into afflictive …emotional states, like anger, judgment, and depression, and then tend to blame everything else without seeing our own active participation in it. Sustaining attention in the present moment is just about the hardest thing in the world for us humans to do—and the most necessary.”

He explains that “meditation is training the mind to be less reactive and judgmental.” This means that when we can be mindful and stay focused on the present moment, without judging our body sensations, thoughts, and emotions, the mind calms and our suffering eases. Our physical selves also respond positively. Research suggests that mindfulness improves mood, boosts immune function, decreases stress, and promotes healing in people….“Recent studies have shown that just eight weeks of mindfulness training in the form of MBSR results in changes in the thickness of particular regions of the cortex and limbic system,” he says.

Experiencing anger and fear repeatedly can actually change the neural structure of the brain, damaging the anterior cingulate and overly stimulating the amygdala, which then reinforces those unhealthy emotional states.

Just as it responds to anger and fear with physical changes, the brain also changes when our thoughts center on compassion and mindfulness, with a strengthening of the anterior insula. As [Dr. Richard] Davidson says, the act of meditation is “literally the brain changing the brain. There are direct changes in the structure of the brain that appear to be beneficial. Compassion meditation strengthens the circuits that increase empathy.”

From “Changing the World, One Brain at a Time” by Barbara Stahura, SOM May 2012. You can visit scienceofmind.com to read the rest of this article.