Image by KayVee.INC via Flickr
One-hour meditation too much to handle? 20 minutes? 5 minutes got you beat? Here's a new approach to meditation with one very westernized quality about it. It's very fast.
This method is less focused on meditation, but more about trying to sit peacefully and achieve a brief moment of clarity, or clarity of presence. This way of thinking comes from Zen philosophy. The idea here is to create an instantaneous state of mind, or state of being wherein your awareness or understanding of your immediate surroundings or situation is increased. Try not to exert effort when attempting this. It will inevitably lead to failure and regret. Failure to do something that you didn’t “try” to do, is not really a failure. If you want it to be a sunny day and it turns out rainy, you did not fail. If it rains, it rains; if it’s sunny, it’s sunny.
Hints to help you achieve a moment of clarity:
- Focus on your heartbeat until you can feel it pushing the blood throughout all of your arteries.
- Create a phrase or sentence that describes what it feels like to be alive.
- Look at your hand and try to understand that no matter what happens in this life, all that's sure is that you will have this body.
- Picture yourself from a bird's eye view. Visualize whatever you're doing at the moment and zoom out little by little to picture the room, building, trees, street, town, state, country, continent, planet, galaxy, and all of the cosmos.
- Imagine you have just been born and are seeing all of the things around you for the first time.
- Do not concentrate, just pay attention.
- Do something you absolutely love doing. Something that engages your mind and body 100%.
- Rise to a challenge that is slightly more than you think you are capable of.
- Breathe silently and listen to the other sounds your body may be making.
- Focus on your skin until it begins to tingle.
Have a nice day!
Everyone has something that they want to accomplish or get better at or do more often, and no matter how much we think about it, it just keeps slipping by. Another opportunity to eat healthier or practice a certain piano piece, etc. is trumped by other priorities, other obligations.
Accept that this will happen.
You have priorities. Everyone does, and always will, that’s just part of human nature. Priorities that are higher on the list get done before those that are lower. Sometimes you have control over the priorities list and sometimes you don’t. Priorities come bundled with an inherent level of importance depending on your lifestyle and the elements you cherish.
Increasing the importance of a priority.
If you have something in mind that you have wanted to undertake, but have not been able to find the time for it, there is a way to increase the importance. Generally speaking the items that are a "bigger" part of your life get more attention - the house, kids, job, etc. So with this philosophy, if you make something a larger part of your life, it will inherently become more of a priority.
Make your priorities a hobby!
If you make something a hobby it will become more important to you because of the fact that it has become a larger part of your life. My wife recently became fascinated with eating healthy. She fed that fascination by learning about food from the bottom up. She studied hundreds of healthy foods, read books, blogs, labels and talked to other people with similar minds. She became immersed in this knowledge and has gained an invaluable understanding of what is healthy and why . She made this lower-level priority into a hobby that expanded and consumed spare moments that would otherwise have been used doing other things. Her other priorities didn’t necessarily have to wane to make room for it, but they were simply rearranged to accomodate for it.
I woke up this morning and the words "Inspiration Age" were ringing in my head. Not sure why, but when I got to thinking about it, akin to the industrial revolution of the 18th & 19th centuries or the Space Age which began in the 50's, it does stand to reason that the first part of the 2000's will forever be remembered as the "Inspiration Age".
Our world is on an extremely fast and volatile evolutionary path, and wherever we end up 50 years from now, what we do TODAY will have been the inspiration that crafted it.
In this article I've listed what I believe to be the major contributors to today's inspiration.
Of course today's buzzword is "Green". This is getting engineers optimizing existing products and creating new technologies across the board as well as take a closer look at the entire Earth, its processes and their interrelations as a system. But this inspiration is not just limited to engineers, everyone conscientious enough is taking a fresh look at their daily life and coming up with new ways to optimize it that would have less of an environmental impact.
Budding New Technologies
So many technologies are in their infancy right now and there is much more research and learning being done than actual development or commercialization in the fields of cloning, consumer space flight, nano-technology, thought controlled devices and many more.
Revolutions in personal communication devices present an interesting topic for inspiration as well. New developments in everyday devices are revolutionizing how we go about our lives. What this means to me is the combination of all of our cool new gadgets into one tiny little device: Phone, Camera, PDA, Music player, and any other form of communication available “out there”. This has been on the horizon and greatly anticipated ever since cell phones started taking pictures and on the forefront of this effort is the iPhone which has been the first to really nail this. (it sounds to me like everything else pales in comparison – sorry Blackberry users). All of you people (myself included) who have been expecting this product for some time now, have provided a great deal of inspiration and motivation for product development engineers. Thanks everyone! From all of us.
These devices allow creative minds to focus on creativity, drawing inspiration and creating inspiration rather than organization of thoughts or communication.
There seems to be a large presence of people out there who have become very interested in optimizing every facet of life. Relationships, chores, work, parenting, making money… or just day-to-day tasks - hence the creation of this blog. ☺ I think this is a fascinating concept and, like the convenient devices discussed above, the idea is that if you can optimize certain tasks so that you don’t need to spend as much doing them, you have more time to spend focusing on the more enjoyable things in life. Enjoyable things inherently offer more inspiration to people because you can generally allow yourself to contribute 100% of your focus to these things. If you are attempting to enjoy something against your natural instinct you most likely won’t allow yourself to be completely immersed in it.
Another benefit to "life hacking" is that it offers an entirely new subject to scrutinize – The optimization of life itself. This is completely new and very creative in itself. It provides inspiration for the scrutinization of a vast number of other subjects that we currently take for granted or accept for what they are.
Otherwise known as the Net Generation, Generation Y, Echo Boomers, and iGeneration, Millenials are basically the generation following the baby boomers. Many business owners are afraid of Millennials because they are known to expect too much of the work place and they have the desire to shape their lives according to their own personal schedule and goals as opposed to committing to a life and goals dictated by a company's progress. I can understand why this would be frightening to an employer, unless of course the employer is, themselves, a part of the millennial generation or at least understands them.
This leads to an exciting evolution of all businesses adapting this millennial mindset and being able to happily accommodate a world that moves faster than ever. Daily market changes, trends and expectations will be accommodated much easier and with greater success.
Life is extremely tenacious, we’ve been reminded of this throughout 300 million years of evolution. When life struggles it pulls out the heavy artillery. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, if you will… In our current economic state there are a lot of business tactics that are being used to ensure a company’s success through this hazardous economic environment. There is creativity being used everywhere in business right now to build stronger practices and keep companies alive. This will undoubtedly contribute revelations on heartier methods to the western industrial world that can be used in the future that will better accommodate a more diverse economic environment.
A New Awakening
This is along the same lines as the life hackers and millennials. Overall, it seems like today's society is becoming more aware of the intricacies of daily life and is making "living happily" more of a priority. I recently read by Eckhart Tolle. It is an amazing book about the new spiritual revolution of today’s world. It coincides directly with the rise of eastern religion in the west and life hackers, and living happily. As stated above, when we are enjoying what we’re doing and living contently overall, it is easy to become completely immersed in all that we do. This then makes it easier to draw inspiration and create inspiration for all others. – Awakening to your Life’s Purpose
Sharing of Ideas
Digital mediums such as blogs, e-books, networks, social groups, etc, make sharing ideas and knowledge a snap. This is pretty simple, the more ideas, the more inspiration available.
Cheers, to the inspiration age! It's a lot of hard work that we've got to do now to create a better future for everyone.
What do you think? Is this possible? 50 years from now, what will you be calling today's years?
Read this article at MiniLifeHacks.com
Too many times I take out the 10am snack only to find that it has disappeared by 10:05 and I can't even place exactly what it tasted like.. This has happened to you, no doubt? Here's a list of tips to help you slow down, enjoy, appreciate, and actually make your snacks last. Eating one snack more slowly will help you avoid or at least postpone your cravings. (See questions to ask yourself when cravings hit )
1. Reward yourself - Use food only as a reward for being productive or accomplishing something. Don't go crazy though, you don't deserve a reward for everything , you know..
2. Keep busy - If you're simply busier, hypothetically, you won't have as much time to be snacking. Read my post on how to stay motivated and on task at work .
3. Clean out your mouth - Between each bite make sure your mouth is clean. Get all the extra goodies out from between your teeth and from all of the little places where food gets stuck. Take a sip of water if you want.
4. Portion control - Bring only as much food as you think you need to eat. Only buy the small bag of chips this time; only pack one handful of pretzels instead of three. Note that this is probably less that you would want to eat, but not more than you need to eat to stay content.
5. Bring a variety - Something like trail mix (it's good for you!) And eat only one thing at a time. One peanut, one raisin.. Take your time deciding which piece it will be next. Consult your taste buds and consider all of your options before making the BIG DECISION! Too much of the same thing can make you complacent and your appreciation for each bite will be reduced.
6. Exploit your own discomfort - Put your snack just out of your reach so that you are required to lean over or get out of your chair or otherwise inconvenience yourself in order to grab a bite.
7. Appreciation - Notice how much different a peanut tastes when you eat one (or one half) at a time as opposed to a handful. How many different flavors do you notice? What do you notice from the shape? How is one peanut different from another? How does the flavor change as you slowly eat your way through the peanut?
8. Include all senses - Smell your snack or look at it closely before putting a piece in your mouth. This goes along with appreciation. Chinese and Tibetan monks have even been known to listen to their food before consuming it. The idea here is that it makes each bite feel larger and more important.
9. No one can eat just one? - Take the challenge.
10. Set a timer - Say you want your one little bag of peanuts to last for 3 hours. Estimate how many peanuts are in the bag, divide that number by two. Divide 3 hours by the previous number you got, and that means at that interval you are allowing yourself to eat 2 peanuts. IE, if I had 24 peanuts (a handful) I could eat 2 of them every 5 minutes and they would last for an hour. Use a timer on your watch, phone, computer, etc.
As I wrote this list I made a couple handfuls of trailmix last for an excess of 3 hours. And I can still taste every bite! It was great. I challenge you to give it a try. And let me know how it went!
You've had the "oh-man, I-don't-feel-like-I'm-doing-anything-meaningful-at-work-and-can't-bring-myself-to-stay-on-task-for-the-life-of-me" blues. I know, so have I.
No matter what your job is, it is most likely important that you have it, if not for the community or the planet, at least for the survival of you and your family. So whether or not you actually find the immediate task at hand entertaining or otherwise captivating, you must convince yourself that it is worth the battle if not for the sole purpose of your own survival.
Oh yeah, and if you really don't like your job and think you could do better, have more fun, contribute more to society at another job, by all means, QUIT and get another job! But that's a topic for another post...
If you do, in fact, enjoy your job (as I do) and feel that it is the right place for you to be right now, but sometimes have trouble staying on task or motivating yourself, I've come up with a list of little tricks I've tried to keep up a good work flow and avoid the bosses raised eyebrow that says: "Really, what is your purpose here?"
1. Make a to-do list. Write all of your tasks down on a piece of PAPER; not on the computer or in your PDA. Something that will remain right in front of your face no matter what you are doing.
2. Listen to music. But not just any music, and certainly not your favorite music (that can be distracting) find the right music to motivate you. I find that I work best to fast music with no lyrics. I also find Japanese drums to be invigorating, and there's always the old stand-by: Iron Maiden. Great for productivity.
3. Play games with yourself. Get in touch with your inner child and make believe that it is your duty to save the world and the only way to do it is to press a button at the bottom of your stack of papers (or something else relevant to your tasks).
4. Compete with peers. Maybe not outwardly, not if it would be awkward, but play a game where at the weekly meeting you have 2 more things to report than everyone else in the room. Or maybe you have assembled more product, or stocked more boxes than anyone else.
5. Stretch. Take a few minutes a few times a day and do some stretching. Feeling relaxed and avoiding fatigue is critical to getting good work done. Read this article on Eye Exercises that can be done at your desk. And here is a link to some stretching you can do without leaving your desk. (and here )
6. Try standing up. Stand up at your desk for a new perspective and a better posture. Read Try Standing up at your Desk for more info on how this can be beneficial.
7. Include yourself in more tasks - Force yourself to partake. Take on a challenge and give people something to expect from you. If there are short term results that people are expecting, it will be much more difficult to slack off.
8. Offer your services in other areas - Carry water jugs, refill the soap in the bathroom, fix someone else's computer, etc. IE: Take on some task that is not technically yours. This will give you a little variety and should make it easier to come back to your position with a new perspective.
9. Take a "Dry Bath". This is a technique that originated in ancient Chinese Kung-Fu. Rub your hands together vigorously until the palms heat up. Immediately rub your arms, shoulders, head, torso and legs. This is said to be good for blood flow, metabolism and internal organs. I find that it is also useful in waking yourself up or bringing you into the present moment.
10. Take a "Brain Bath". Also a concept from ancient China, a "brain bath" is removing yourself from an arduous environment and giving your senses something more soothing to experience. This can be listening to birds or a stream, looking at artwork or flowers, petting an animal or otherwise giving pleasure to your senses. This is good for invigorating the functions of the brain. Upon returning to work you may find that a portion of the dullness of your tasks has been eradicated.
There may be another list a little later since this was kind of fun. But for now, let me know if you use any of these or if I missed any big ones for you.
Image by hale_popoki via Flickr
Try asking yourself some of these questions next time you get those cravings for sweets or fatty foods. Asking questions of yourself in general, is a good way to ensure you're actually conscious of what you're doing, and not acting on impulse.
1. Will it be more wasteful for me to drop this into the trash, or to store it in the fat cells in my body and then have to use my own energy to burn them up?
2. How does my stomach feel right now? Is it full?
3. If I could extract only the fat/calories in this food and put it in a cup, would I want to slurp it down?
4. Am I craving this because I actually want it, or because it is a physiological attraction of my senses to it? (A physiological desire would be a natural occurrence of which only the senses are in control, whereas an actual wanting is consciously controlled by rational thoughts in the brain. The rational thinking of the brain, despite popular belief, does have the power to trump the senses.)
5. How important is it that I eat this food? How important is it that I do not?
6. How different would my life be if I ate this junk food everyday, compared to if I did not eat this junk food at all?
7. Do my senses really have more control over my actions than my brain does?
8. How will I benefit from eating this, or will I?
Leave a comment and add to the list.
What do you ask yourself when cravings hit? What helps you? What hurts you?