Tag Archives: mindfullness

5 Things Every Yogi Should Know

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One of the joys of being a yoga teacher is that I get to see a side of people that most people don’t get to see.

During an hour-long practice, I see a room full of people drop their outer facades and fall into the present moment. I see faces soften. I see shoulders relax. I see defenses fall away. It is hard to accurately describe what that looks like, but it is one of the most beautiful things in the world.

I am honored and grateful to be a teacher of yoga. I see people blossom right into the best, most confident, versions of themselves. There are five things I want to make sure that every yogi knows.

1. Yoga is more than just doing poses on the mat.

The beauty and inspiration of yoga is that it consists of many different elements. The ancient sage Patanjali talks about eight limbs of yoga in the Yoga Sutras. They consist of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. If you want more info on each limb, you can read the basics on Yoga Journal, or jump right into the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali.

While most people are most familiar with the physical aspects of yoga, asana practice is only the tip of the iceberg. If you are interested in more depth, more spirit, more love… other limbs of yoga can help you as much, if not more, as being on the mat. There is always more to learn, in each and every limb of yoga, and because of that, we are all students figuring it all out — even the most advanced teachers. Open yourself to the possibilities of the entire yoga tree.

2. Honoring your present moment—no matter what that is—is the key to yoga.

Some practices are hard. Some flow with ease. We all, at one time or another, feel like swearing at our teachers as we hold a pose longer than we want to. We all feel like running from the room screaming like our hair is on fire at one time or another. Whatever comes up is real, it is important, and it needs to be acknowledged. Every time we practice yoga, we have the opportunity to be present, to stop the stories raging in our mind, and just be. It sounds so easy, but it is one of the most challenging parts of the practice. Staying with each breath as it unfolds is the most advanced part of yoga.

3. It is important to feel yoga, not perform yoga.

I don’t look like a svelt cover model yogi. I barely squeeze my ladies into size 12 Lululemon tops. I can’t do certain poses that some of my students can do. However, when I am on the mat, I feel my yoga. When in dancer’s pose, I feel my body express the pose like I am a ballerina on a NYC stage. When I arch my back in camel, I feel my heart center creak open and the energy flood in. It doesn’t matter what it looks like to others. It only matters how it feels to you. Yoga makes me feel beautiful.

Sometimes you’ll run across a person who is performing for the crowd. The pre-class headstands and arm balances, the looking around to make sure everyone is watching, the pushing of bones and muscles into places they have no right going are all tell-tale signs of a yoga performance. I used to get annoyed, mainly because I can’t do many performance ready poses, but now I send love to the performer. I want her to feel her own beauty, not need anyone else’s approval. Watch what happens in your mind when you practice. When you turn inward and are present to your current experience, the room can fall away and the practice can be felt deeply in your heart. You can feel beautiful and strong.

4. What we do on the mat is practice for “real life.”

It’s so great to be able to go to a studio and roll down a mat next to other like-minded people. What we do there is practice for what happens in our “out of the studio” world. We learn to stay present at the office, to breathe through the discomfort of a hard conversation, to accept what is happening with our kids, to let go of the big critic on our shoulder (aka our ego).

Yesterday, I was in a meeting with a grumpy colleague and I felt anger and defensiveness start to rumble in me. I was internally mounting my argument against the poor unsuspecting man, which surely would have blown back his chair and launched him into the next decade. In a word, I was pissed. Then I remembered my yoga… breathe, Katie, breathe. Deep breaths. Three of them. The anger passed. I was able to be calm as I expressed my thoughts. I was able to negotiate. My colleague’s life was saved. Everybody won. That situation was sponsored by vinyasa yoga.

5. What we deal with what happens on the mat is how we deal with life.

This is one of the hardest things for me to learn. When I am in practice and something really challenging comes up, I want to run. I am a bit shamed to tell you that I have actually faked nosebleeds to get out of holding a pose. Running from the room with my hand over my face, I sure as hell got out of that pose.

Guess what my defense mechanism is in life? Yup, run little rabbit, run. Yoga has taught me that how I react to things on the mat is a mirror to my reactions in life. That is a big, hard, ugly pill to swallow, but it is true. My self-doubt comes up on the mat, and it comes up in my life. When I experience a breakthrough on the mat, I learn that if I practice hard and believe in myself, I can do anything. Instant breakthrough.

Yoga is a not just something I do. It is the way I live my life. I encourage everyone to start where they are and let the practice evolve, unfold, and transform you. It all starts with your willingness to be present in this very moment. Breathe on, sweet one. Breathe.

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99 Ways To Help You Live More Consciously: How To Raise Your Vibration

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Below are 99 ways to help you live life in a conscious way. Raising your personal vibration rate not only helps you live life with greater ease, but it also affects the collective consciousness of earth in a positive way. So really it is a win-win situation.

As always, take away what makes you feel good and light within. If any of the below points make you feel heavy, move on to the next point. Emotions are your guidance system to life.

1. Connect with nature – Go for a walk in the forest, jungle, field of daisies, or wherever you feel like getting a connection with nature. It is possible to feel at deep sense of peace and oneness when you attempt to connect with nature. As you learn to connect and appreciate nature, you allow your consciousness to rise up.

2. Get your body moving – Exercise and dancing will raise your consciousness by promoting healthy brainwave patterns, healthy neurotransmitter levels, and great circulation throughout your nervous system. Help yourself rise up and break the pattern of not exercising by going for a friendly walk with one of your friends or even going to the club to dance. Both examples are: easy, fun, and empowering.

3. Simple meditation – Whether you are an advanced meditator or a beginner, the benefits are tremendous and will allow you to tap into your highest state of conscious functioning if you stick around long enough. It is an act that will definitely raise your conscious awareness and allow you to attain greater focus, discipline, and develop a deeper joyous connection to life.

4. Spending time with true friends – Find only friends that align with who you are, your beliefs, and your values – they will make you more conscious. These are your true friends, and though they can be tough to find, they should definitely be cherished. Give some of your true friends a call and make it a habit to spend more time with them.

5. Have the intention to “raise your consciousness” – If you have the intention to raise your consciousness and state of awareness, you are on the right track. Having the intention alone will make you more focused on finding ways to raise your consciousness.

6. Tell the truth – Anytime you tell the truth, you raise your level of consciousness. Why do people tell lies? To protect themselves in lower states of consciousness. People in higher states of consciousness don’t lie because they want to be true to themselves, others, and make relationships in humanity more conscious.

7. Find and live your purpose – Searching for a purpose will help you find your true purpose here on Earth. When you find your purpose and are able to share it with the rest of the world, you will continue to raise your level of consciousness.

8. Take conscious control of your decisions – When you take conscious control of all your decisions, you are actually activating certain neural pathways in your brain that help promote self-control, calmness, and inner peace. Every time you allow others to dictate your decisions or you don’t take full conscious responsibility for your decisions, you become slightly conditioned to be less conscious when making choices.

9. Always be open-minded – Being open-minded is a key aspect in the process of becoming a more conscious individual. When you haven’t accepted the diversity that our planet has to offer: ranging from different cultures, religions, wildlife, and beliefs, you will stay in your same state of consciousness or drop to a lower state. Being open-minded doesn’t only need to be for beliefs either. It can be having an open-mind to try something new such as: a new exercise routine, spiritual practice, or trying a new food.

10. Pursue higher intelligence – There are many ways to become more intelligent. Not everyone is intelligent in every area of their life. Some people are more emotionally intelligent, some have a higher I.Q., while some are more spiritually intelligent. All forms of intelligence increases and enhancements will help you on your journey towards expanding your awareness and becoming a more conscious human being.

11. Treat yourself with respect – Having respect for yourself and your actions will ultimately boost the amount of love that you express towards yourself and others. Make wise, respectful decisions that reflect your values and have strong respect for your personal beliefs. Treating others with respect will help you become a more conscious human being too, but before you can respect others properly, you must first learn to show the utmost respect towards yourself.

12. Practice forgiveness – Forgiving yourself can be very difficult sometimes: especially if you are operating in a lower state of consciousness. Realize that in order to rise up, advance, and become a more conscious person, you must be compassionate and forgiving towards yourself. Any hateful thoughts or pent up negative emotions that you may be holding towards yourself need to be released. Negative thoughts and emotions can easily lower our level of consciousness if we do not practice compassion and forgiveness.

13. Cultivate a “high-performance mind” – Cultivating a high-performance mind is a very fun, invigorating process that involves consciously accessing the brainwave state that you consciously choose, whenever you feel it is appropriate for a certain situation. Since their is no single best brainwave state to live life in, it helps to train our mind to consciously be able to “switch” states upon command. For those who want to understand more about developing a high-performance mind, I recommend that you go check out the book The High Performance Mind by Anna Wise.

14. Connect through prayer – The act of simply closing your eyes, folding your hands and saying a prayer will raise your level of consciousness. There are many different ways to practice prayer and there are many different practices, that when combined with prayer, enhance the power of your conscious message. Overall, prayer is a great experience that has potential to aid in your conscious awareness.

15. Challenge your belief system – This one can be difficult for many individuals due to the influence of imprinted beliefs by their parents or guardians during childhood. Some examples of beliefs that you could change include: dietary (changing to a vegetarian), spiritual (from Christianity to Atheism – or vice versa), emotional (from sadness to happiness), etc. By changing your belief system and experimenting with new beliefs, you make yourself more conscious of life’s endless possibilities.

16. Befriend like-minded individuals – On your journey towards becoming a more conscious individual, befriending like-minded people can be extremely helpful. If you are going through many spiritual, emotional, and mental changes without the company of others, the process can be much more difficult and confusing than when you have a guide, guru, or some friends that are traveling at a similar pace to you. Not only is being around like-minded individuals healthy, and optimal for your consciousness, it will ultimately give you more joy in life!

17. Pursue a path of spirituality – Pursuing a path of spirituality and becoming more spiritual will aid you considerably in the process of becoming a more conscious human being. Never be afraid to add a new spiritual practice to your arsenal – you never know what may be most effective or a life changing experience.

18. Express gratitude – Expressing gratitude on a daily basis is a very positive, fulfilling exercise to practice. Ways to express gratitude on a daily basis include: giving thanks for your food, expressing gratitude for yourself and others through prayer (as discussed earlier), complimenting others, and letting another person know that you are thankful for having them in your life. By sharing and expressing gratitude, you feel extremely satisfied and will become more consciously aware of the things that you truly appreciate in life.

19. Make yourself happy – What sort of things make you happy? The answer is usually different for everyone. You can do yourself a favor right now by making a long list of everything that makes you happy in life and acting on your listed items. Feeling and experiencing happiness in your life also will give you the powerful drive that it takes to make yourself more conscious.

20. Act on your desires – Simply having any form of desire will raise your consciousness. Desire encourages us to take action to advance consciously. The state of apathy, or not caring about your consciousness, will naturally lower your consciousness. Desire is a powerful way to raise your consciousness.

21. Boost your brain power and functioning – There are many helpful exercises that you can do to boost your brain power and overall level of functioning. One of my most popular articles, 50 Ways To Boost Your Brain Power, should get you on the right track if you are currently confused about the topic. Raising your level of consciousness will naturally boost your overall brain power, and boosting your brain power will raise your level of consciousness; both affect each other in equal proportion.

22. Take full control of your lifestyle – Are you living the lifestyle that you feel is most beneficial for your mental and physical wellbeing? Maybe there are certain bad habits that you need to get rid of or certain good habits that you’d like to implement in your daily routine. Don’t be afraid to act now and make necessary positive changes in your lifestyle to help you take full conscious control.

23. Choose empowering beliefs – In the process of changing beliefs, choose beliefs that are empowering to your soul. A good way to know what belief will be empowering is to simply ask yourself how you feel about adding the new belief. If you feel a strong connection with a new belief, such as feelings of excitement, it will probably be a very good choice of a belief to implement. Make a conscious effort to purge all beliefs that are less than satisfying. Understand also that as you become a more conscious human being, changing your beliefs will become a much easier, more natural process.

24. Avoid physical fighting and abuse – Physical fighting stems from emotional misunderstandings, hatred, and negative emotional expressions. Fighting can be described as the opposite of peace. Physical fighting and other forms of abuse can really do a great job at distracting us from becoming more conscious human beings. Anything that you can do to stop physical fighting and abuse will ultimately make you and the individuals involved more consciously aware.

25. Be aware and accepting of your emotions – No matter your current emotions, you will profoundly help yourself if you are accepting of them. Going through life resisting your emotions and trapping them inside yourself makes life much more difficult. Trying to escape from our emotions lowers our awareness. When you accept what you feel and consciously understand why you feel a certain emotion, your level of consciousness rises.

26. Speak compassionately – When having conversation with others, do you choose your words wisely? Or are you the type of person who could care less what you say? The truth is, people who choose their words wisely and consciously think during conversation are the ones who show greater respect for themselves and more compassion for others. Make a conscious effort to speak compassionately and positive results will follow.

27. Think positive, act positive, be positive – Being a positive influence sets a good example for others and for yourself. Positivity and states of being positive are direct effects of raising your consciousness. I highly recommend trying to be a more positive person in all areas of life; you will notice and feel the beneficial changes in your awareness.

28. Have sex with your partner – Having sexual intercourse is a great way to spread and share your love with another person. The best way to have sexual intercourse is with another positive, healthy, person in which you fully love and trust. Having sexual intercourse is a loving way of transferring and sharing energy with another person. No matter who you have sexual intercourse with, there can be significant conscious benefits.

29. Identify with your soul – Realize that at your core, you are a spiritual being who is living in a physical body. In lower stages of consciousness, this concept may seem unrealistic and may be very difficult to grasp. As you become better at identifying with your soul, you become better at working your way up the mountain of consciousness.

30. See perceived faults as a “mirror image” – When you look at the faults of others and identify faults in other people, use them as a teaching tool for yourself. The people that are in your life weren’t put there by mistake, they were put there to teach you something about yourself. By being able to take personal responsibility for what is being displayed by others into your conscious focus, you can take the information and make very positive changes.

31. Expand your horizons – Trying something new can pertain to any area of your life. Maybe you want to try to add a new healthy habit to your daily routine, shop at an organic store, or even host a block party for the first time. Having courage raises your consciousness and by constantly trying new things, you boost your cognitive ability to adapt and push through any lower states of fear.

32. Face your deepest fears – Are there any fears that you’re holding inside that are prevent you from making conscious advancement? At certain stages along the ladder of consciousness, it can be extremely difficult to face your fears. With that said, facing your fears will equip your consciousness with more empowerment and energy. Healthy fears include: giving a speech, singing in front of others, or throwing a party; this would be a great list of fears to go out and conquer! The choice to face these will help you considerably in your ability to make conscious advances.

33. Use powerful incantations – Incantations are simply words or phrases repeated over and over with emotional intensity for personal or spiritual benefit. They have commonly been used in religious practices to praise certain Gods or deities, but they have also be used for personal development and in the process of becoming more conscious. No matter what way you choose to use incantations, they can be very helpful and a powerful catalyst for helping you become more conscious.

34. Practice positive affirmations – Affirmations are a bit different than using incantations, though the concepts are very similar. Affirmations are used to change beliefs and thinking patterns. Examples of positive affirmations include: “I am healthy,” “I am positive,” and “I am intelligent.” The primary goal of using affirmations should be to replace unhealthy beliefs and thought patterns with healthier ones; making it easier to scale the mountain of consciousness.

35. Be aware of your state of consciousness – Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of their current state of consciousness or what even defines consciousness. You may not even be consciously aware of the many diverse possible states of consciousness due to the fact that you may have only experienced one primary state of functioning throughout your lifetime. If you are a person who hasn’t experienced other states or most importantly cannot seem to understand your own state, you are definitely missing out some important aspects and understandings of conscious perception.

36. Set a positive example for others – Setting a positive example for others can pertain to any area of life and is highly encouraged. Setting a healthy, positive example for others to follow spreads a direct positive image into the lives and minds of others. Trying to consciously set a good example for others, will further raise your consciousness. Setting a bad example, or unconscious example, will slow, halt, or reverse your current conscious development.

37. Guide others interested in raising their consciousness – There are many ways to aid others in the process of raising their awareness, especially if you are a more consciously advanced individual. Chances are good that you’ll need to do some personal work with raising your own consciousness before you can put yourself in an effective position to help others raise their consciousness. What you may want to do, though, is encourage others to practice some items in this article or others on 4 Mind 4 Life dot com.

38. Share your unique insight and wisdom – Everyone has a different perspective based on their personal experience, purpose, and personality. Therefore, each individual has a unique form of insight that they can share with others. There are endless ways and opportunities for you to express and share your knowledge with others. All that you need to do is take action towards finding a medium most effective for allowing you to share your insight.

39. Gain wisdom from others – No single person holds all the wisdom of the universe in their brain. For this reason, it is important to study the wisdom of others and try to apply their wisdom to your life. As mentioned earlier, everyone has a unique perspective and knowledge-base to bring to the table. Studying the wisdom of others can be done in many ways. Examples include: meeting face-to-face with a more consciously advanced individual and ask them for life advice, reading positivity and personal development websites from several different sources, or maybe attending different personal development seminars.

40. Keep your ego in check – The more aware you are of your ego, the easier it is to become more conscious. With that said, as your awareness increases, so does your state of consciousness. The reverse also applies: as your consciousness increases, so does your awareness. Letting our ego get out of control and take the driver’s seat in our consciousness has potential to quickly lower our state of functioning. Taking full control and responsibility to keep your ego in check when faced with adversity will allow you to consciously advance in a much healthier manner.

41. Practice personal development – Taking action to better your life through the concept of personal development is an extremely effective way to make yourself a more conscious human being. Think of personal development as the act of upgrading every area of your life to function at the highest possible level: health, finances, relationships, etc. Virtually all aspects of personal development lead to greater conscious development in one way or another.

42. Shift your conscious focus – Being preoccupied with thoughts of past events and of the future has potential to lead your consciousness in the wrong direction. Focusing your attention on this exact moment (commonly referred to as “the now”), however, is a great way to raise your level of awareness. By learning techniques that allow you to shift your awareness to this exact moment, you can work wonders in the process of conscious advancement.

43. Be energetic – Being energetic can be very powerful for advancing your state of consciousnessand for inspiring others to become more consciously advanced. Your body can become energized and your brain can become energized. When both are operating in at maximum intensity and energy, you are said to be in a state of peak conscious performance.

44. Make healthy dietary changes – Making healthy dietary changes means searching to find the best possible diet to fit your mental needs, physical needs, spiritual needs; to fit your needs. Are you fully conscious of what you are consuming? In order to boost your own level of consciousness, it is important to be fully aware of the food in which you are consuming in your diet and to be respectful and accepting of the diets of other individuals without making negative judgments.

45. Accept others for who they are – As mentioned above in being conscious of what you eat, it is important to be accepting of the diets that others choose to use. Whether they make a conscious decision to have an unhealthy diet or unconscious decision, accept their actions. Accepting others can apply to every area of life. No matter if you disagree with another person’s actions, disagree with their personality, or disagree with their perception of life, it is important to accept them for who they are and not try to force changes upon them. Settle your disagreements with other individuals by purelyaccepting them for who they are.

46. Accept and love yourself for who you are – Life’s journey becomes much easier and significantly enriched if you can learn to accept yourself for who you are. Depending on your current state of consciousness, it may be difficult to love and accept who you are. Take the time to count your blessings, be accepting of yourself and your level of consciousness. Realize that at this current moment you are doing the best that you know how to do in order to advance consciously.

47. Understand your own thought process – An extremely effective way to become more conscious is to take note of your thought process and understand it to the best of your ability. I’ve seen many people run themselves in mental circles due to an ineffective understanding of their own thought process. Being consciously aware of your thoughts and why you are thinking them is a key step towards creating an accurate understanding of your reality.

48. Bless everything that happens – There are times throughout life when amazing things happen to us and other times when upsetting events take place. Just like accepting who you are is a great habit to get into, you should also learn to bless everything that happens in your life. No matter how bad an event, it has potential to make a positive impact on your life in the long run. Your ability to bless and appreciate, even what may be initially perceived as a worst case scenario, will ultimately provide you great conscious satisfaction.

49. Take time for internal reflection – In my opinion, taking time for internal reflection is the single most effective way to learn more about yourself and your current state of consciousness. Internal reflection will certainly help you better understand your thoughts, emotions, spirituality, and provide clarity in your current life situation. If you don’t currently take time to internally reflect, you could very well start up a 20 minute meditation routine each morning and observe the difference it quickly makes in your state of consciousness.

50. Focus on advancing consciously – In the process of conscious development, it’s important to focus exactly on what you are trying to accomplish: the act of becoming more conscious. During this process, it is important to tune out all unhealthy distractions such as: negative relationships, abuse, fighting, illicit drugs, etc. If you allow yourself to become distracted with unhealthy, unconscious habits, then act of advancing consciously will become a much more difficult or slower process than normal.

51. Be aware of your breathing – Being aware of your breathing means being fully conscious of your breathing pattern. Being aware of how you are breathing is important. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that there is actually a proper way to breathe. A way of breathing that is optimal for your body and brain. Proper breathing involves inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth upon every breath. The process of becoming more aware of my breathing through exercises like meditation and conscious breathing have significantly helped me increase my overall level of focus, emotional stability, and level of consciousness.

52. Spend more time with yourself – In the fast-paced lifestyle of the 21st century, it is very common for people to spend time with others, yet never take personal time to spend with themselves and focus on their own life. If you are an individual who is currently not taking enough time for yourself each day, try starting up a personal routine. Examples of ways that you could spend time with yourself, contributing positively to your own life include: taking time for internal reflection (meditation), letting yourself know how much you love yourself, going on a walk to listen to your own thoughts, giving gratitude for everything that you have in your life, or getting involved in a hobby that inspires you.

53. Listen more often than you speak – In this day in age, it seems as though there is always someone that wants to be the center of attention; conversations easily become viewed as egoistic competitions. While being the center of attention can feel great and can be a rewarding experience, it can become consciously dangerous to your consciousness if it is motivated by your ego. By practicing the act of listening more often than you speak, you can train yourself to be more consciously aware of others, while still holding the conscious ability to politely contribute to a conversation.

54. Muster up some courage – Being highly conscious means doing what you want to do, saying what you want to say, and living how you want to live at every moment. Somewhere along the path towards developing a highly conscious mindset, you will need to be courageous. Developing a sense of courage is an integral step, possibly a phase that may last several years, on your journey to become more conscious.

55. Always act with compassion – Having complete compassion for others is a direct result of becoming more conscious. Unfortunately, there are few people here on Earth that are honestly able to make the claim that they always act with complete compassion for others. Compassion meditation also allows you to learn how to shift your mental focus from any state into a perspective of pure love for others. As you may have already guessed, practicing compassion can be one of the single most powerful exercises for boosting your level of consciousness.

56. Improve your mental focus – Improving our mental focus helps us get a better understanding of reality and provides us with more inner clarity. As we enhance our level of focus and clarity, concepts that had previously seemed very difficult to understand become general knowledge. We get a better sense of understanding within ourselves and of the world around us. As your level of focus increases, so will your level of consciousness.

57. Think rationally and logically – Being able to think rationally and logically allows you to positively interact with your reality much easier than being irrational and illogical. In fact, being irrational and illogical will actually lower your current level of awareness. Rational thinking is a byproduct of a high functioning brain, particularly the high activity within your left-prefrontal cortex. One great way to increase your ability to rationalize is to strengthen your brain’s level of functioning by boosting your brain power.

58. Purify your body – One great way to become more conscious is to purify your body. You can help purify your body by going on a specific diet, by cutting certain substances from your diet, by decreasing stress and learning to deeply relax, by cutting certain substances from your diet, by sitting in a sauna to sweat out toxins, etc. While following a detox routine, be conscious of what you are doing to your body. Be fully aware that you should choose a detox routine that has been researched and proven effective in order to avoid risking bodily damage in the process. With that said, choosing to purify or cleanse your body can really work magic for your current level of consciousness.

59. Start a personal journal – Starting a personal journal or blog is a great time investment that will allow yourself to become more conscious of your: thoughts, feelings, actions, philosophies, beliefs, etc. Writing entries in a daily journal or on a personal blog can be extremely helpful in the process of understanding your current state of awareness. What is nice about keeping tabs on yourself is the fact that you can watch your progress as you undertake a conscious journey. No matter your strategy for keeping a journal, understand that keeping tabs on yourself and events in your life serves as a great way to develop a deeper sense of understanding, knowledge, and conscious awareness.

60. Make others laugh – Being funny and making others laugh is a great way to ease stress and create a more positive outlook in life for yourself and for others. Though you may not be an expert comedian, being able to make others laugh is extremely rewarding and satisfying. Making others laugh and smile shifts all attention away from pain and negative emotions, towards one of pure enjoyment and happiness. Jokes and the ability to laugh can really change your entire perspective from what may seem like a grim, serious situation, to a happier, more positive outlook.

61. Practice a religion – Practicing a religion is a phenomenal way to become a more conscious person. As you raise your current level of awareness, you will discover that there is really no best religion or Utopian religion to practice. What matters most in conscious advancement is getting a feel for what practices actually make you become more consciously aware. You need to personally determine what works best for you. One of the best ways to do this is via experimenting with many different religions.

62. Respect the beliefs of others – At no time is it loving or respectful to criticize the beliefs of others. No matter how consciously advanced another person is or isn’t, it is important to respect their thoughts and actions. When you try to force others to adopt your lifestyle, beliefs, and force them to become a more conscious human-being, you are indirectly expressing negative emotion towards that individual; you are getting your ego heavily involved. Forcing others to consciously change is not truly accepting them for who they are. If you feel like you should force others to raise their awareness, perhaps you need to raise your awareness some more! It is important to realize that everyone will have their time to advance consciously and will eventually reach the “top of the mountain” on their journey to their higher consciousness.

63. Ask questions about your life – Attempting to learn more about life each day is a great way to increase your overall knowledge base and a great way to become a more conscious person. Nobody “knows-it-all” in life, that’s why asking questions about life and about certain situations in life, will really help you out on your journey. The idea here is to learn as much about life as possible. This will allow you to make your lifestyle more conscious, your choices more conscious, your actions more conscious, and yourself a more knowledgeable person. If you don’t feel like asking others questions, a great way to learn more about life is to ask yourself internal questions. Often times we don’t realize that within ourselves, we hold the answer to every question about our life. Meditation is highly recommended as an exercise for learning more about our inner-self.

64. Understand that everything changes – Whether you realize it or not, everything and everyone is in a constant state of change. Change is undeniable and is happening to yourself and others as you are reading this. There is no way to prevent change, but there is a way to consciously control your change. Be the change that you want to see on this Earth and please: make it a positive, conscious one!

65. Realize that you are not alone – On your journey towards becoming a more conscious human being, it is important to realize that you are never alone in the process. Someone, somewhere is going through the same process and many have already gone through the process. There are likely many individuals that are more consciously advanced than you are: which is a good thing. Look to these individuals for guidance along the way. We can always look to more conscious individuals for personal guidance and advice in life.

66. Push your personal limits – Pushing your personal limits to become the best person that you can be is something that everyone should strive for. Pushing your personal limits is something that you can do in every area of your life: relationships, exercise, consciousness, spirituality, finances, etc. Pushing your personal limits in the areas that you feel most soulfully-connected with are the areas that you should probably put the most work into in order to feel the greatest sense of fulfillment.

67. Invest in yourself – When you make money, do you invest it in stocks? Have you ever thought of investing it in yourself – your purpose, vision, values, and goals? Besides money, we can also invest time in ourselves. In my opinion, investing time in yourself is one of the most effective ways to become more conscious. Investing time in yourself will allow you to discover your true purpose and become a more conscious human being.

68. Be open to exploring consciousness – There are many ways to be open to exploring your consciousness. Several methods to explore your consciousness include: brainwave entrainment, meditation, raising your consciousness, trying new activities, exploring spirituality, exploring different social groups, changing your environment (by traveling), trying neurofeedback, etc. If you don’t know of any healthy ways to expand your consciousness, start with the ones that I’ve listed. No need to unnecessarily kill your brain cells and lower your consciousness by using illicit drugs to “expand your mind…”

69. Develop a deep relationship – Developing deep, trustworthy relationships with other people are not only great for helping you to become more conscious, they are a great way to share love and joy with others. If you haven’t already done so, develop a deep, personal relationship with at least one individual. It could be a good friend, spouse, boyfriend / girlfriend, it could be a good therapist, it could be anyone that you feel is on-the-same-page as you in life, or at the same level of consciousness. Having another person to discuss your personal inner-thoughts with and share your turmoil, joy, and all other emotions with, will actually make you a happier, more conscious person.

70. Call upon your spirit guides – Everyone has spirit guides – whether they believe in them and want to communicate with them or not. Before we are born, we are assigned spirit guides to do just what their name implies: guide our spirit. They can often provide us with valuable advice and some forms of intuitive connection that most of us never imagined was possible. The best way to connect with them is to learn proper meditation. The job of spirit guides are to help guide your spirit in the right direction and they really want to connect with you to help you raise your consciousness. So consider learning ways to connect with them on a personal level, or finding an advanced spiritual seeker / psychic that knows about spirit guides and how to connect with them. It seems as though Erin Pavlina has gotten great reviews discussing her ability to help you connect with your guides. Though her readings are somewhat expensive, getting one could prove to be a great investment in order to accelerate your personal growth and conscious development.

71. Clear emotional blocks – Nearly everyone has some form of subconscious emotional blocks that they have suppressed within their subconscious. Emotional blocks can develop in childhood and can be forgotten by the time a person reaches adulthood. They can drain your conscious control over life if you don’t learn to properly release them. It is not advised to attempt to deal with very powerful emotional blocks or repressed traumatic memories by yourself. Consult a trained therapist or psychologist to help you work through your past powerful emotion. Realize that when you are able to work through your past emotional blocks, you naturally allow yourself to reach a higher state of consciousness.

72. Clear out subconscious “cobwebs” – What exactly are subconscious “cobwebs?” I refer to subconscious cobwebs as any unfulfilling: beliefs and emotions that have been carried around in your subconscious mind for too long. Many times, our subconscious mind is carrying around extra negative emotional baggage and limiting beliefs that need to be released or replaced. If you want to clear out your subconscious “cobwebs” and take conscious control of your subconscious mind, consider trying meditation. Meditation takes your consciousness to a deeper level and makes reprogramming your mind a much easier process.

73. Turn off the T.V. – Depending on your current level of consciousness, watching T.V. may actually be a good thing. For those individuals operating at an extremely low level of functioning, watching T.V. gives them hope, satisfaction, and a boost in consciousness. With that said, to permanently elevate your consciousness, it is recommended to refrain from watching T.V. If you think about the act of watching T.V., it doesn’t reflect your life’s purpose nor allow you to be fully productive. The time that you currently spend watching T.V. could be put to better use by allowing you to accomplish a personal goal, providing you with extra time for exercise, or even giving you time to boost your brain power!

74. Read a good book – Whether you enjoy reading fiction or non-fiction books (or both), reading books is a phenomenal way to help you boost your conscious brain power. Reading books provides you with knowledge, creativity, and allows you to fully expand your intellect. Reading books will also help you become a smarter person, with a mind that is full of new thoughts and ideas. The more credible information that you are able to read, the more information and knowledge your consciousness has to consciously create with.

75. Expand your creativity – There are many ways for us to expand our creativity and abilities to creatively think. Developing ways to creatively think not only boosts brain power, it boosts your consciousness. The use of brainstorming, creative visualization, Zen koans, and meditation have all been known to increase creative thinking skills. Creativity is an important trait to develop when dealing with your reality. Having creativity allows your mind to easily solve even the most difficult of problems. If your creative-side is currently lacking, think of ways to step-it-up a notch to reap the conscious benefits!

76. Develop strong people-skills – Developing strong people-skills will allow you to become more conscious in many different ways. Having strong people skills allows you to be comfortable expressing who you really are in any social situation. Without developing strong people skills, you may be stuck in a state of fear around others in social settings or even worse, you may feel completely uncomfortable expressing your true beliefs, values, and discussing your lifestyle in front of others. Cultivating a strong set of people-skills will allow you to become a more conscious individual and will allow you to share your love with others.

77. Allow yourself to be inspired – Allowing yourself to be inspired helps you to take passionate action. In order for us to be inspired, we usually need to have some sort of emotional connection. Maybe you are deeply inspired by a song that you recently heard on the radio, maybe you are inspired by Barack Obama, maybe you are inspired by Hilary Clinton, maybe you find Pablo Picasso’s artwork inspiring. Everyone is different and everyone is uniquely inspired by different things here on Earth. Inspiration can really work magic in your life if you let it. Taking actions based off of positive inspiration will ultimately guide your consciousness to a higher level of functioning.

78. Be courteous towards others – Being courteous to others is a great way to share love, positivity, and a great way to set a good example for others. Each time that you set an example, you have some influence onto others. Each time that you practice a healthy habit or put courteous actions on display for others to see, they will be much more inclined to follow suit. When you are able to be courteous to everyone that you meet, you are raising your consciousness through compassion.

79. Attend a spiritual retreat – There are many spiritual retreats and spiritual opportunities that can quickly boost your state of consciousness. Meditation retreats and gatherings with your religious group are two of many ways to raise your consciousness. The act of going to church is yet another form of attending a spiritual gathering. Going to an event like a Holosync retreat may also be a great way to connect with a fun, positive group of individuals that could prove to be lifelong friends. You will never truly know nor understand the possibilities of conscious transformation that a retreat has to offer until you actually make it a point to attend.

80. Form a mastermind group – Forming a mastermind group is a great way to help you become more conscious and complete your goals. To participate in a mastermind group, you must first gather up some trustworthy friends. Next, schedule times that your entire group will meet to discuss personal challenges, goals, accomplishments, etc. Meet with each other and discuss your goals. Be as positive and encouraging towards one another as possible. Offer suggestions and serve as a motivation for the rest of your group. Mastermind groups are a form of conscious, positive support that allows you to accomplish your goals much easier. And, social support (i.e. a positive group of friends) is always great to have when working to become more conscious. Do whatever you want with your group, have fun, be positive, and realize that you are raising your consciousness in the process!

81. Be a mediator – There are many situations that arise from negativity in this world. One way to break up these situations in a peaceful manner is to be a mediator. A mediator is a person that is able to resolve conflict between two parties and think of a peaceful solution to a problem that both conflicting parties agree upon. In the end, the best part about a mediation process is the satisfaction that you can derive from helping bring peace to the world. Helping others is a great way to create a true sense of happiness in your life. Anytime that you bring peace, the collective consciousness of humanity takes a step in a positive direction.

82. Build an accurate model of reality – Building an accurate model of reality is a great way to explore the endless possibilities that life has to offer. Gaining conscious control of your thoughts will aid you in the process of creating your reality. When you are able to take control of your focus, building an accurate model of reality becomes an easier task.

83. Be a leader – Being a positive leader is an awesome way to raise your level of consciousness and that of others. If you are able to become a leader who is able to influence large groups of people in a positive manner, you will naturally develop a lot of conscious power. Each person that supports your message, adds to your ability to share your purpose. If you haven’t thought about stepping up and becoming a leader in some way, now is the best time to start thinking about it!

84. Travel the world – Traveling the world most definitely has potential to change and expand your state of awareness. As you travel to different places, you are able to learn about unique: ways of life, ways of thinking, religions, customs, values, etc. This is why it is extremely common for huge changes in perception to occur. Traveling to many different parts of the world is one way of exploration that allows you to experience life on a larger scale.

85. Be empathetic – Advanced empathetic abilities can be cultivated by accessing the lower brainwave states: both the theta and delta brainwaves. Making a conscious effort to become a more empathetic person means trying to understand and relate to others and their emotions in as an effective method as possible. Being empathetic is a great way to spread love and compassion in the world. And spreading love and compassion are great ways to help you become a more conscious person!

86. Set goals and accomplish them – Setting positive goals and working to accomplish them is one of the single most effective ways to advance consciously, without even having the intention to advance consciously. For example: you may set the goal to exercise everyday for one month in order to improve your health. By setting and completing a goal like this, your main focus is improving your health, however, you are also indirectly improving your consciousness.

87. Try brainwave entrainment – Though brainwave entrainment seems like a new-agey, experimental technique, it is a great tool for advancing consciously that actually works. Not only does brainwave entrainment work well, it is an extremely effective way to develop a powerful brain and advanced state of consciousness. By practicing brainwave entrainment, your brain becomes more flexible in the process of shifting to various brainwave states. You can always give brainwave entrainment a trial and evaluate how effective it is at helping you advance consciously! Check out the software featured in my recommended products section and give one of those a trial run.

88. Try self-hypnosis – What many people do not realize is that the act of self-hypnosis is very helpful for achieving states of complete, controlled relaxation. During self-hypnosis you develop full, complete control of the beliefs that are implanted in your subconscious mind. Self-hypnosis relaxes your body and takes you into a state of highly-focused, deep relaxation. No matter whether you enjoy self-hypnosis or meditation more, they are both exercises that will allow you to elevate your consciousness. Give self-hypnosis a shot if you haven’t already – it is a perfectly safe, exercise that will benefit your consciousness greatly!

89. Develop your chakras – Learning to clear and cleanse your chakras could prove to be one of the single best investments that you’ve ever made for yourself. Chakras hold the key allowing you to tap into your higher-self and connect with energy from the Universe. Working directly with your chakras will help you become a more conscious person, making you more aware of your body’s energy centers and how they can affect your entire life.

90. Release your Kundalini energy – My definition of Kundalini: a (usually latent) energy force that is coiled at the base of our spine. We’ve all felt Kundalini from time to time during extremely emotional moments, when a certain song plays, or when we have a powerful experience. What does Kundalini feel like? Kundalini the energy that makes our spine tingle. We get goosebumps throughout our body and our entire spine tingles with emotional energy. Kundalini is a completely healthy and powerful method to advance consciously. It is not recommended to go into a Kundalini experience blindly, though. Do some research on “Kundalini energy” and consider working with a guru or a person who has been through the entire process if you hope to release your Kundalini energy.

91. Appreciate your surroundings – To further allow yourself to develop consciously, it is important to be appreciative and thankful for everything in your environment. Each day and every day, the little things that we may be taking for granted are often some of the most amazing forms of beauty. Simple things like the sunset, a field of flowers, or the face of our neighbors are all beautiful expressions that we may not be taking the time to appreciate. When we are able to realize that everything is connected and that we were truly meant to love and appreciate one-another, we naturally become inherently grateful for our surroundings and what the Earth has to offer – and thus, more conscious.

92. Bring new life to Earth – Each time that you are able to make a contribution to life here on Earth, you bring forth another brilliant expression of our universe. Each time that you bring human life, plant life, animal life, etc. here on Earth, it is something to be truly proud of. Ways that you could contribute to bringing life to this planet include: raising children, adopting a child, planting a flower, or raising an animal. The inner feelings that you may feel as a result of bringing forth new life are perfect for finding true happiness and taking yourself to the next conscious level.

93. Lead a flexible life – Flexibility is a key part of gymnastics… it also is a key part of life and the process of becoming more conscious as a human being. Leading an overly-structured life often becomes overwhelming and unpleasurable. You need to take time to appreciate the moments of spontaneity and spur-of-the-moment type events. Being flexible is a great attribute to cultivate in your life. Though learning to be flexible is just a small habit that will make you more conscious (by opening up your life to new opportunities), it is a highly important principle to implement into your life and reality.

94. Learn from “consciously advanced” individuals – More consciously advanced people have a lot to offer those who are less consciously advanced. They often provide us with great discoveries, insights, and guide our lives in a positive direction. If you happen to know someone that is at a higher cognitive level of functioning than yourself, spend some time with that individual. Ask them questions about their life, questions about your life, or any questions about life in general. See how these individuals feel about raising consciousness and how they can help you work to increase your conscious awareness.

95. Live a well-balanced life – Keeping a balanced life can be very difficult at times. However, keeping activities in proper balance is a great way to become more aware and involved in many areas of life. Make a conscious effort to focus your energy towards what inspires you most, but don’t forget to be flexible and take time for important people and activities like: friends, family, expression, and exercise. Being well-balanced with activities in life provides us with greater conscious satisfaction.

96. Consider taking health supplements – Supplements have long been known to help aid in mental processing and boost physical functioning. I personally have taken a multivitamin in combination with 3.6 grams of fish oil on a daily basis for almost 2 years straight. Overall, I feel that the combination has worked phenomenal for helping my physical functioning and mental processing. Always be open minded: consider taking supplements if you aren’t already. Do a personal experiment to see what supplements work best for you and how various supplements affect your consciousness. In the end, you may decide that all supplements are ineffective and that they were nothing more than placebos.

97. Celebrate your accomplishments – Celebrating your accomplishments is a form of self-praise and self-respect. When you value yourself and appreciate yourself, you are likely to celebrate your accomplishments – and actually have accomplishments to celebrate! Celebrating is a fun and rewarding activity to do to make yourself happier. It increases your levels of overall self-love and respect: both of which are key factors in the process of raising your consciousness.

98. Always have positive intentions – Positive intentions often arise from having a positive mindset. Having a positive mindset and forming the habit of holding good intentions is a great way to boost your level of conscious awareness. When you intend for positive events to happen in your life and always have positive expectations – your life will naturally attract positive people and will result in happiness.

99. Remind yourself of ways to become more conscious by re-reading this article.

http://collectivelyconscious.net/articles/99-ways-to-help-you-live-more-consciously-how-to-raise-your-vibration/

BREATH

BREATHING DIAGRAM-ILLUSTRATION

Breathe.

If you feel overwhelmed, breathe. It will calm you and release the tensions.

If you are worried about something coming up, or caught up in something that already happened, breathe. It will bring you back to the present.

If you are moving too fast, breathe. It will remind you to slow down, and enjoy life more.

Breathe, and enjoy each moment of this life. They’re too fleeting and few to waste.

BY LEO BABAUTA

How to Let Go and Forgive

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We’ve all been hurt by another person at some time or another — we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.

And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.

This causes problems. It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.

We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.

This is something I learned the hard way — after years of holding onto anger at a loved one that stemmed from my childhood and teen-age years, I finally let go of this anger (about 8 years ago or so). I forgave, and not only has it improved my relationship with this loved one tremendously, it has also helped me to be happier.

Forgiveness can change your life.

Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened. It doesn’t even mean the other person will change his behavior — you cannot control that. All it means is that you are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.

It’s not easy. But you can learn to do it.

If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, read on for some things I’ve learned.

1. Commit to letting go. You aren’t going to do it in a second or maybe not even in a day. It can take time to get over something. So commit to changing, because you recognize that the pain is hurting you.

2. Think about the pros and cons. What problems does this pain cause you? Does it affect your relationship with this person? With others? Does it affect work or family? Does it stop you from pursuing your dreams, or becoming a better person? Does it cause you unhappiness? Think of all these problems, and realize you need to change. Then think of the benefits of forgiveness — how it will make you happier, free you from the past and the pain, improve things with your relationships and life in general.

3. Realize you have a choice. You cannot control the actions of others, and shouldn’t try. But you can control not only your actions, but your thoughts. You can stop reliving the hurt, and can choose to move on. You have this power. You just need to learn how to exercise it.

4. Empathize. Try this: put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to understand why the person did what he did. Start from the assumption that the person isn’t a bad person, but just did something wrong. What could he have been thinking, what could have happened to him in the past to make him do what he did? What could he have felt as he did it, and what did he feel afterward? How does he feel now? You aren’t saying what he did is right, but are instead trying to understand and empathize.

5. Understand your responsibility. Try to figure out how you could have been partially responsible for what happened. What could you have done to prevent it, and how can you prevent it from happening next time? This isn’t to say you’re taking all the blame, or taking responsibility away from the other person, but to realize that we are not victims but participants in life.

6. Focus on the present. Now that you’ve reflected on the past, realize that the past is over. It isn’t happening anymore, except in your mind. And that causes problems — unhappiness and stress. Instead, bring your focus back to the present moment. What are you doing now? What joy can you find in what is happening right now? Find the joy in life now, as it happens, and stop reliving the past. Btw, you will inevitably start thinking about the past, but just acknowledge that, and gently bring yourself back to the present moment.

7. Allow peace to enter your life. As you focus on the present, try focusing on your breathing. Imagine each breath going out is the pain and the past, being released from your body and mind. And imagine each breath coming in is peace, entering you and filling you up. Release the pain and the past. Let peace enter your life. And go forward, thinking no longer of the past, but of peace and the present.

8. Feel compassion. Finally, forgive the person and realize that in forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to be happy and move on. Feel empathy for the person and wish happiness on them. Let love for them, and life in general, grow in your heart. It may take time, but if you’re stuck on this point, repeat some of the ones above until you can get here.

3 Habits Of People With Perfect Digestion

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According to Ayurveda, the health and integrity of the digestive process is truly the fulcrum of one’s health. Did you know that 74% of Americans are experiencing some form of digestive distress? With optimal digestion being the driver of a healthy immune system, balanced moods, steady energy, stable blood sugar, and strong vitality, this is a very disturbing statistic!

So… before you:

  • Stop eating gluten
  • Stop eating dairy
  • Stop eating big lunches because they make you sleepy
  • Become a Vegan or Raw Foodist
  • Start eating Paleo
  • Start eating six small meals a day

Consider these 3 simple digestive habits that people with perfect digestion are sure to practice. Today, there is compelling evidence to suggest that these 3 things can boost digestive strength and lower blood sugar. (2-6)

Before I start, let me say that neither gluten nor dairy are required as a part of a healthy diet. Whether or not you become a vegan, raw foodist or paleo eater is not the issue. Changing your diet may help settle down your digestive imbalance, but it will likely not solve the underlying digestive problem.

Now, I am also not naive enough to think that relaxing during a meal and resting and walking after a meal will fix your gluten intolerance, but these changes along with herbs to reset digestion (see my Digestive Health article archives) are part of a comprehensive package to keep your digestion strong.

1. Don’t Race Through or Eat a Meal While Angry

Traditional cultures would never consider eating in front of the TV or while driving or stressed. Sayings such as, “Don’t eat standing up or death looks over your shoulder” or “Better not to eat at all than eat while angry” are actually based on some hard simple science.

When you eat stressed or on the run, the sympathetic “fight-or-flight” nervous system engages to address the stress. The fight-or-flight response activates the muscles to “run for your life” and significantly inhibits proper digestion. When you take time to relax during a meal, the parasympathetic nervous system, also called the “rest-and-digest” nervous system, turns on. This increased parasympathetic activity while relaxing and enjoying a meal encourages your digestion, while stress during a meal literally turns it off.

2. Resting on the Left Side After a Meal

When you take a few minutes to rest after eating a meal or lie or lean on your left side, this allows your stomach to cradle the food and then to move along and empty in a more relaxed fashion. If you were to lie on the right side, gravity would force the food to potentially empty prematurely from the stomach, allowing undigested food to enter the small intestine. Studies suggest that when babies are fed and allowed to rest on the left side, they enjoy better digestion. (3)

3. Take a Walk After Each Meal

Taking a 15-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and supper has been shown to lower after-meal blood sugar levels. (4-6) In one study with pre-diabetic adults, an after-meal walk lowered blood sugar levels on average from 129mg/dL to 116mg/dL. If you cannot get the walk in right after a meal, a longer 45-minute walk at either 10:30am or 4:30pm was also found to lower the average blood sugar throughout the day. In a culture with epidemic pre-diabetic blood sugar levels, a simple walk can help the muscles use up the excess sugar in the blood before any damage is done.

Studies have also shown that taking a walk shortly after a meal supports healthy weight loss compared to not walking or waiting an hour after the meal. Having to walk to and from your lunch break may make all the difference! (7,8)

This article was reproduced with permission from Dr. John Douillard, DC © August 18, 2015. Original Document, 3 Habits Of People With Perfect Digestion.

http://ayurvedanextdoor.com/perfect-digestion/

7 Signs You’re In Love With An Old Soul

Old-Soul

Old souls make for incredible partners in relationships. They have profound perspective and conduct their lives in ways no one else does. What does it mean for you when you love an old soul?

1. You love someone who thrives on philosophical conversations.

Old souls are thinkers. They don’t have time to talk about the Kardashians or neighborhood gossip. They want good, mentally stimulating conversations. Be ready for that!

2. You love someone who wants to share life’s lessons.

Old souls don’t come out of the womb with all sorts of insight to impart. They learn lessons like everyone else. But old souls are very careful to learn those lessons and grow as people. They want to share what they’ve learned with the whole world.

3. You love someone who will be supportive of you.

Old souls want to see the best in themselves and others. Even if what they think you’re doing is a little bit silly, they have your back. They will express opinions though.

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4. You love someone who doesn’t play games.

Old souls aren’t necessarily old fashioned flowers-on-the-first-date types, but they absolutely don’t play silly games. They’re a straight forward bunch.

5. You love an honest person.

Old souls are honest people. They don’t lie to your face, especially over petty things. This will sometimes hurt, but they don’t sugarcoat how they feel.

6. You love someone who is eccentric and creative.

Old souls are the types who’ve been around the block. They know how to laugh and let loose. You’ve managed to snag a funny weirdo. Good job!

7. You love an inspiring person.

At the end of the day, old souls are here to seek out people to inspire. They want to leave the world a better place. Join forces with them and you’ll make waves in this life.

Thich Nhat Hanh on Loosening the Knots of Anger

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Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us how to relax the bonds of anger, attachment and delusion through mindfulness and kindness toward ourselves.

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To be happy, to me, is to suffer less. If we were not capable of transforming the pain within ourselves, happiness would not be possible.

Many people look for happiness outside themselves, but true happiness must come from inside of us. Our culture tells us that happiness comes from having a lot of money, a lot of power and a high position in society. But if you observe carefully, you will see that many rich and famous people are not happy. Many of them commit suicide.

The Buddha and the monks and nuns of his time did not own anything except their three robes and one bowl. But they were very happy, because they had something extremely precious: freedom.

According to the Buddha’s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom. Here we do not mean political freedom, but freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy and delusion. These mental formations are described by the Buddha as poisons. As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness can not be possible.

In order to be free from anger, we have to practice, whether we are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish. We cannot ask the Buddha, Jesus, God or Mohammed to take anger out of our hearts for us. There are concrete instructions on how to transform the craving, anger and confusion within us. If we follow these instructions and learn to take good care of our suffering, we can help others do the same.

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The Knots of Anger

In our consciousness there are blocks of pain, anger and frustration called internal formations. They are also called knots because they tie us up and obstruct our freedom.

When someone insults us or does something unkind to us, an internal formation is created in our consciousness. If you don’t know how to undo the internal knot and transform it, the knot will stay there for a long time. And the next time someone says something or does something to you of the same nature, that internal formation will grow stronger. As knots or blocks of pain in us, our internal formations have the power to push us, to dictate our behavior.

After a while, it becomes very difficult for us to transform, to undo the knots, and we cannot ease the constriction of this crystallized formation. The Sanskrit word for internal formation is samyojana. It means “to crystallize.” Every one of us has internal formations that we need to take care of. With the practice of meditation we can undo these knots and experience transformation and healing.

Not all internal formations are unpleasant. There are also pleasant internal formations, but they can still make us suffer. When you taste, hear or see something pleasant, then that pleasure can become a strong internal knot. When the object of your pleasure disappears, you miss it and you begin searching for it. You spend a lot of time and energy trying to experience it again. If you smoke marijuana or drink alcohol and begin to like it, then it becomes an internal formation in your body and in your mind. You cannot get it off your mind. You will always look for more. The strength of the internal knot is pushing you and controlling you. So internal formations deprive us of our freedom.

Falling in love is a big internal formation. Once you are in love, you only think of the other person. You are not free anymore. You cannot do anything; you cannot study, you cannot work, you cannot enjoy the sunshine or the beauty of nature around you. You can only think of the object of your love. That is why we speak about it as a kind of accident: “falling in love.” You fall down. You are not stable anymore because you have gotten into an accident. So love can also be an internal knot.

Pleasant or unpleasant, both kinds of knots take away our liberty. That is why we should guard our body and our mind very carefully, to prevent these knots from taking root in us. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can create internal formations in our body. And anger, craving, jealousy, despair can create internal formations in our mind.

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Training in Aggression

Anger is an internal formation, and since it makes us suffer, we try our best to get rid of it. Psychologists like the expression, “getting it out of your system.” And they speak about venting anger, like ventilating a room filled with smoke. Some psychologists say that when the energy of anger arises in you, you should ventilate it by hitting a pillow, kicking something, or by going into the forest to yell and shout.

As a kid you were not supposed to say certain swear words. Your parents may not have allowed you to say these words because they are harmful, they damage relationships. So you went into the woods or to an isolated place and shouted these words very clearly, very strongly, in order to relieve the feeling of oppression. This is also venting.

People who use venting techniques like hitting a pillow or shouting are actually rehearsing anger. When someone is angry and vents their anger by hitting a pillow, they are learning a dangerous habit. They are training in aggression. Instead, our approach is to generate the energy of mindfulness and embrace anger every time it manifests.

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Treating Anger with Tenderness

Mindfulness does not fight anger or despair. Mindfulness is there in order to recognize. To be mindful of something is to recognize that something is there in the present moment. Mindfulness is the capacity of being aware of what is going on in the present moment. “Breathing in, I know that anger has manifested in me; breathing out, I smile towards my anger.” This is not an act of suppression or of fighting. It is an act of recognizing. Once we recognize our anger, we embrace it with a lot of awareness, a lot of tenderness.

When it is cold in your room, you turn on the heater, and the heater begins to send out waves of hot air. The cold air doesn’t have to leave the room for the room to become warm. The cold air is embraced by the hot air and becomes warm—there’s no fighting at all between them.

We practice taking care of our anger in the same way. Mindfulness recognizes anger, is aware of its presence, accepts and allows it to be there. Mindfulness is like a big brother who does not suppress his younger brother’s suffering. He simply says, “Dear brother, I’m here for you.” You take your younger brother in your arms and you comfort him. This is exactly our practice.

Imagine a mother getting angry with her baby and hitting him when he cries. That mother does not know that she and her baby are one. We are mothers of our anger and we have to help our baby, our anger, not fight and destroy it. Our anger is us and our compassion is also us. To meditate does not mean to fight. In Buddhism, the practice of meditation should be the practice of embracing and transforming, not of fighting.

Using Anger, Using Suffering

To grow the tree of enlightenment, we must make good use of our afflictions, our suffering. It is like growing lotus flowers; we cannot grow a lotus on marble. We cannot grow a lotus without mud.

Practitioners of meditation do not discriminate against or reject their internal formations. We do not transform ourselves into a battle field, good fighting evil. We treat our afflictions, our anger, our jealousy with a lot of tenderness. When anger comes up in us, we should begin to practice mindful breathing right away: “Breathing in, I know that anger is in me. Breathing out, I am taking good care of my anger.” We behave exactly like a mother: “Breathing in, I know that my child is crying. Breathing out, I will take good care of my child.” This is the practice of compassion.

If you don’t know how to treat yourself with compassion, how can you treat another person with compassion? When anger arises, continue to practice mindful breathing and mindful walking to generate the energy of mindfulness. Continue to embrace tenderly the energy of anger within you. Anger may continue to be there for sometime, but you are safe, because the Buddha is in you, helping you to take good care of your anger. The energy of mindfulness is the energy of the Buddha. When you practice mindful breathing and embrace your anger, you are under the protection of the Buddha. There is no doubt about it: the Buddha is embracing you and your anger with a lot of compassion.

Giving and Receiving Mindfulness Energy

When you are angry, when you feel despair, you practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, to generate the energy of mindfulness. This energy allows you to recognize and embrace your painful feelings. And if your mindfulness is not strong enough, you ask a brother or a sister in the practice to sit close to you, to breathe with you, to walk with you in order to support you with his or her mindfulness energy.

Practicing mindfulness does not mean that you have to do everything on your own. You can practice with the support of your friends. They can generate enough mindfulness energy to help you take care of your strong emotions.

We can also support others with our mindfulness when they are in difficulty. When our child is drowning in a strong emotion, we can hold his or her hand and say, “My dear one, breathe. Breathe in and out with mommy, with daddy.” We can also invite our child to do walking meditation with us, gently taking her hand and helping her calm down, with each step. When you give your child some of your mindfulness energy, she will be able to calm down very quickly and embrace her emotions.

Recognizing, Embracing, Relieving the Suffering of Anger

The first function of mindfulness is to recognize, not to fight. “Breathing in, I know that anger has manifested in me. Hello, my little anger.” And breathing out, “I will take good care of you.”

Once we have recognized our anger, we embrace it. This is the second function of mindfulness and it is a very pleasant practice. Instead of fighting, we are taking good care of our emotion. If you know how to embrace your anger, something will change.

It is like cooking potatoes. You cover the pot and then the water will begin to boil. You must keep the stove on for at least twenty minutes for the potatoes to cook. Your anger is a kind of potato and you cannot eat a raw potato.

Mindfulness is like the fire cooking the potatoes of anger. The first few minutes of recognizing and embracing your anger with tenderness can bring results. You get some relief. Anger is still there, but you do not suffer so much anymore, because you know how to take care of your baby. So the third function of mindfulness is soothing, relieving. Anger is there, but it is being taken care of. The situation is no longer in chaos, with the crying baby left all alone. The mother is there to take care of the baby and the situation is under control.

Keeping Mindfulness Alive

And who is this mother? The mother is the living Buddha. The capacity of being mindful, the capacity of being understanding, loving and caring is the Buddha in us. Every time we are capable of generating mindfulness, it makes the Buddha in us a reality. With the Buddha in you, you have nothing to worry about anymore. Everything will be fine if you know how to keep the Buddha within you alive.

It is important to recognize that we always have the Buddha in us. Even if we are angry, unkind or in despair, the Buddha is always within us. This means we always have the potential to be mindful, to be understanding, to be loving.

We need to practice mindful breathing or walking in order to touch the Buddha within us. When you touch the seed of mindfulness that lies in your consciousness, the Buddha will manifest in your mind consciousness and embrace your anger. You don’t have to worry; just continue to practice breathing or walking to keep the Buddha alive. Then everything will be fine. The Buddha recognizes. The Buddha embraces. The Buddha relieves, and the Buddha looks deeply into the nature of anger. The Buddha understands. And this understanding will bring about transformation.

The energy of mindfulness contains the energy of concentration, as well as the energy of insight. Concentration helps you to focus on just one thing. With concentration, the energy of looking becomes more powerful.

Because of that it can make a breakthrough that is insight. Insight always has the power of liberating you. If mindfulness is there, and you know how to keep mindfulness alive, concentration will be there too. And if you know how to keep concentration alive, insight will also come. So mindfulness recognizes, embraces and relieves. Mindfulness helps us look deeply in order to gain insight. Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen. This is the Buddhist practice of taking care of anger.

Every time you give your internal formations a bath of mindfulness, the blocks of pain in you become lighter and less dangerous. So give your anger, your despair, your sorrow a bath of mindfulness every day—that is your practice. If mindfulness is not there, it is very unpleasant to have these seeds come up. But if you know how to generate the energy of mindfulness, it is very healing to invite them up every day and embrace them. And after several days or weeks of bringing them up daily and helping them go back down again, you create good circulation in your psyche, and the symptoms of mental illness will begin to disappear.

Mindfulness does the work of massaging your internal formations, your blocks of suffering. You have to allow them to circulate, and this is possible only if you are not afraid of them. If you learn not to fear your knots of suffering, you can learn how to embrace them with the energy of mindfulness, and transform them.

Reprinted from “Anger,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, with permission of Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001 by Thich Nhat Hanh.

http://www.lionsroar.com/loosening-the-knots-of-anger/

DAEHYUN KIM BEAUTIFUL ZEN ART

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Beam

DAEHYUN KIM

I was born in Seoul in 1980, now live and work in Seoul. I studied oriental painting which is a study on the traditional East Asian painting. I’ve been drawing Moonassi series since university. The series is my life-time project. There is no specific background story or a theory about the drawing. Each drawing is created based on my daily thoughts and feelings. I draw to meditate on myself and others, and to be able to see the whole story of the series in the end.

 CRAZY STOP MOTION!!!!!


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The Value of Suffering

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I want to be like I wasn’t there

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Please take care of this

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Sinking of you

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Face the whole

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Bright darkness

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The moon I see

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Inear

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More or less

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On you

Die Zwei’: A Photographic Love-Duo on a Mission

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“The world must be romanticized. In this way the originary meaning may be found again.”
(Novalis)

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What would you say is your manifesto?

Through photography, film and words we strive to romanticize the individualistic and digitalized world dominated by screens and displays.
We feel that humanity has jumped into virtual reality and we experience the overkill of information and it’s consequences.
It is our mission to bring this hurried world to a standstill, for a moment.

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Your photography is full of beautiful landscapes. Where are these locations?

Our pictures have been taken all over the world.
We’ve traveled by car through Europe, stopping in countries such as Slovenia (where we took the nude picture of us in the forest, and our- Die Zwei -name was born. Italy where we swam in lakes and made friends with ducks. Morocco, where we got stuck in the desert, London, where we in the middle of winter swam in an ice cold pond in Hamstead heath. We are two people with one mind. We like to wear each others clothes (or 1 item together, the large trouser) We’d like to live in a tree-house, preferably one 0n every continent.

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Love and standstill is my inspiration of the day. Go hug a tree and turn your phone off! Connect!

Sending universal love to all of you and your individual magic that you bring in this world.

LOVE LOVE LOVE !

Mélika Emira Baccouche

http://www.thekinsky.com/photography/die-zwei/

ANXIETY AND AYURVEDA

IS.33-2006 Painting Vishnu as Vishvarupa (cosmic or universal man); Vishnu as Cosmic man, watercolour on paper, early 19th century, Jaipur. Jaipur Ca. 1800-1820 Watercolour on paper

Since I began doing consultations as an Ayurvedic practitioner,

I’ve noticed one common element in which 4 of out 5 patients seem to all have in common. They all seem to be suffering from anxiety, anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Common symptoms in Ayurveda are: tremors, uncontrollable thoughts, spasms, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, a feeling of emptiness, every sound seems more intense and people feel very sensitive to energy. It’s as tho they have become a sponge for all the energy in the world.

We already have enough to deal with our own lives and our own health, it becomes even more difficult to feel everything, sound, sight, touch, energy, like a waterfall of bricks falling over you.

It becomes harder to go to work, to go do groceries and to even see friends for some of us. We slowly start allowing our fear to manage our life by avoiding mundane habits and social settings that we usually thrived in and enjoyed. Everything is taken more personally, we feel as tho everyone is looking at us and judging us. It can even become difficult to eat in front of other’s or to simply say hello to our best friends. Depending on the type of anxiety level you have or the type of anxiety you developed.

In Ayurveda this is called a Vata unbalance. It can be triggered by many things. A post traumatic stress that was not dealt with or noticed, a heartbreak, a burn out. To many ignored emotion’s kept inside which created a blockage of your energy from circulating properly, everything becomes stuck.

Sometime’s the thoughts are so uncontrollable and negative that we would love to cut our heads off to calm the noise and to simply stop feeling and living in a constant state of fear. The hardest thing is to have the knowledge and the logic to know that we have no reason to be fearful but the fear is still present.

It feels like some fear mongering monster has taken over your brain and your body, reacting with different manifestation’s of fear and not even knowing why? For me this was the hardest thing.

In ayurveda Vata is considered the dosha air and space. Air and space are beautiful, they connect with creativity, communication, fluidity, being open to change, feeling like a social butterfly, joy, clarity and so many other wonderful gifts. Vata is also responsible for physical movement, movement of thoughts, feelings and nerve impulses, movement of the organs for ingestion to assimilate and absorption of nutrients. Vata governs the mind, sensory perception, motor functions; including speech and muscular coordination.

When there is to much Vata, we are drying out our nervous system which is one of the primary sites of Vata. The colon is a primary site of Vata as well and when there is derangement we tend to become constipated, the mucus membrane diminishes. We have difficulty focusing or have difficulty sleeping and feel a sense of breathlessness when we feel anxious. My personal experience was feeling my heart and my chest cramped up with difficulty breathing from morning until night. This was constant anxiety and don’t get me started on my panic attacks :).

As someone who has suffered from anxiety, it was a relief to know that I was not the only one. That this seems like an epidemic, to my 50 year old male clients, to my 22 year old female clients. There is a consistency going on with the way people are responding to stress and their environment in our society.  Everyone is different and has a different body type. I will give you general information to bring you back into balance. Things that I practice everyday or almost everyday :).

Pranayama was a great help to me, the practice of Aloma Veloma, alternate nostril breathing and Kapalabhati, shinning skull. Do not practice these exercises with breath retention since the goal is to push the air out of the body not hold more in. These exercises are going to re-build your gray matter in the brain and your white coating of myelin sheath; white coating around your brain.

To put it in a simple way, are nervous system in our brain is like a room full of electrical wires all plugged into each other. Vata dry’s out the matter, the protection surrounding the electrical cord. When this is gone, you lose control of your nervous system and it’s natural functions.

Fight or flight a natural instinct for survival becomes very sensitive and the brain gets confused and feels the urge to flight.

Be mindful of not watching to many action or horror movies. Try taking in healthy impressions, being receptive to positive things and going for silent walks in nature to breath and ground yourself. The brain is primarily a Vata organ and there are factors that damage the brain and strips it from it’s cerebrospinal fluid. Excessive sensory stimulation, too much thought, too much worry, stimulants like coffee, sugar and drugs. A derangement in the brain will manifest as; insomnia, poor motor function and sensory function, spasms, tremors.

Yoga: Very soft and slow yoga, grounding poses and heart opening poses. Try to practice with your eyes closed and soft music alone. Be very soft and gently with yourself. When you do heart opening exercises try to exhale deeply. If you feel like letting out an animalistic noise, go for it. This is expelling the extra air and the negative emotions that need to move out of your body and your mind! Developed a harmonious routine, practice letting go and end the day with a beautiful gift to yourself of an Abyanga! Self-Massage!! Almond oil in my teachings and apricot oil is fine for all body types. The smell of jasmine, rose and sandalwood is soft and bring up emotion’s of love, softness and relaxation 1 or 2 drops is enough, essential oils are very concentrated and you do not want to put to much. Sometime’s less is more. Apply the base all over your body and simply send yourself love and be present. You can apply oil in your nose, your ears, under you feet and deeply massage your head with circular motions to help the nervous system replenish itself.

Slowly slowly sleep will become better, cultivating relaxation is an art. We are in a world where everyone is over stimulated. Try to turn your cell phone off before bed and take your time before you open it in the morning. Sing and allow your energy to flow, cultivate presence and mindfulness. Enjoy your LIFE! Not everyone else’s threw a screen. Moderation in anything in life is the key.

Allow yourself to listen to soft music and simply chill 1 hour before bed. Without constant television and stimulation, just be in your body and be in your thoughts. If you are not connected to yourself, no one can do it for you. These are the tools and if you practice for 1 week, you will already feel a difference.

Do not push to hard and listen to yourself. If you need to stay home because of a long stressful day at work. Stay home, there will be many more occasions to go out but your health is priority. When you have your health the rest will come.

Last but not least 2 magical herbs for every body-type,ashwaganda andtriphala.

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

Author: Melika Emira Baccouche