5 Meditation Tips For Beginners

Have you considered meditation, but thought it was either too hard or too “out there”? Not so fast.

Here is an article submitted by one of my contributing writers.

Meditation is renowned for its benefits and there are all sorts of reasons now is the right time to start.

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Those looking to begin would do well reading the information below. It can be a big help and really get you off on the right foot.

Scan Your Body

Our minds are always being distracted by all kinds of messages and thinking.  Therefore, it can be very challenging to relax and clear our minds.  There is one trick for getting rid of the mental side-talk is scanning your body so that it is in unison with your breath.

Begin with focusing on your toes and tell them silently to relax.  Next, repeat the process until you’ve scanned all parts of your body including your head, heart, arms, fingers, abdomen and legs.  By the time you have paid attention to your whole body, you might be surprised at how relaxed it makes you feel.

Mantras

The word “mantra” is derived from two Sankrit root words. “Man” means “mind,” while “tra” means “instrument.”  Therefore, a mantra is when somebody makes some kind of repetitive vibration or sound, using either an instrument or their own voice to calm and soothe their mind.

A majority of individuals are aware of the word “om,” which is frequently used as a mantra.  However, there are a number of others as well.  The key is repeating the word or sound over and over so that you feels its sound and vibration course throughout your entire body.

Peaceful Music and Sounds

The sound and vibration of peaceful music helps you relaxes your mind, which makes it easier to reach a meditative state.  The key here is choosing music that is dreamy and soothing and ideally something that doesn’t have words.  However, if you would prefer to have words as part of your peaceful music, then it is recommended that the words have soothing and soft tones.

The volume should also be low enough so it provides more of a backdrop for things instead of being all-consuming.  In addition, be sure that your music doesn’t change significantly or end abruptly as you are meditating.

There are also a number of peaceful sounds that can help with meditation. Indoor Fountain Pros suggest an indoor fountain system. The trickle can really be a notable benefit for concentration and many find it very relaxing. Alternatively, chimes and other natural noises are also known to help.

Imagery

Whenever you think of or see an alarming image, it results in your body being flooded with cortisol, the stress hormone, and it becomes on edge and alert.  The other side of that phenomenon is that through focusing on peaceful and calming images, it allows your body to have the ability to tap into your stillness within, which sets you up for meditation and relaxation. Those kinds of images are quite powerful for harmonizing the body and mind’s energy.

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In terms of meditation, practice makes perfect.  Therefore the more you practice it, the more it becomes easier to move into a meditative and aware state.  In addition, try mediating regularly so that body becomes accustomed to it.  There is one thing you should do prior to meditating, which is to ensure that you are comfortable at all times.  If you aren’t comfortable, it makes it more difficult to achieve a state of inner peace and make it more difficult to relax.

Focus your awareness on your heart and brain

When a majority of people meditate, they have a tendency to just focus their awareness on their brains.  Whenever people do that, it means they are missing a critical element of the overall meditation process.  In addition to your brain, the other thing that is very important is your heart which can help you achieve that desired state of inner peace.

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Focusing on your brain at first is among the most effective methods to help you achieve the desired state of mindfulness.  Following that, slow down the activities from your brain through relaxing and clearing your mind of distracting thoughts.  After you have achieved this, the next thing you want to do is bring your awareness to your heart and then relax your heart to allow your hear and brain to work in unison.

Focus your awareness onto a specific body part for a couple of minutes or even longer may be difficult at times. If you discover that you are having a difficult time with focusing your awareness, these 5 techniques can be used for helping to make your spiritual awareness stronger.

All uncaptioned images courtesy of 123rf.com

Does Your Story Have a Punchline?

One of the most difficult challenges for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and new managers is being able to tell their own story.What do I mean? When it comes to getting the next promotion, finding a new job, or making the next sale, telling YOUR story can be hard.

Tell your storyI don’t know what it is or why it is, but I see this so many times. Heck, I even struggle with it sometimes. Despite having run 5 start ups, counseled dozens of companies, and coached thousands of professionals, I still occasionally get stuck telling my own story. How about you?

Think of it this way….good comedians don’t build the story line of a good joke and stop near the end to let you, the listener, decide what the punch line should be. It won’t be funny. When you get the chance to talk with a prospect, a potential new boss, or a new customer, you might have a good lead in, but can you close the story with an appropriate punchline?

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It’s My Job….Really?

I love a good song ballad. Jimmy Buffett is one of the best story tellers in his songs. Oh sure, there are many pieces in his work that are just silly, but then there are jewels that slide by if you are not paying attention.
Courtesy 123rf.com
This one caught my ear. Jimmy takes a very important subject and makes you think. “It’s My Job” was released in 1981. It talks about the contrast that can be seen in the way people look at their jobs. Here are the words:

“It’s My Job”

In the middle of late last night I was sittin’ on a curb
I didn’t know what about but I was feeling quite disturbed
A street sweeper came whistlin’ by, he was bouncin’ every step
It seemed strange how good he felt
So I asked him while he swept

He said, “It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me”

Got an uncle who owns a bank, he’s a self-made millionaire
He never had anyone to love, never had no one to care
He always seemed kind of sad to me
So I asked him why that was
And he told me it’s because, in my contract there’s a clause

That says, “It’s my job to be worried half to death
And that’s the thing people respect in me
It’s a job but without it I’d be less
Than what I expect from me”

I’ve been lazy most all of my life
Writing songs and sleeping late
Any manual labor I’ve done is purely by mistake
If street sweepers can smile then
I’ve got no right to feel upset, but sometimes I still forget

Till the lights go on and the stage is set
And the song hits home and you feel that sweat

It’s my job to be different than the rest
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
And that’s a tough break for me

It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
And that makes the day for me

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/jimmy-buffett/it-s-my-job-lyrics/#HD6yYpbLQC3YcLSX.99

I believe the contrast told in this story includes the lowly street sweeper versus the big banker. One would think the banker was happy and fulfilled while the street sweeper was discouraged and downtrodden.

Yet, the street sweeper had a remarkable happiness about his work though some would say it was a nasty, dirty job. The banker had a ‘respectable’ job, but was miserable.

I see a few lessons in this piece.

1. Who you are cannot be defined by what you do. Yes, who you really are should not be defined by what you do. The street sweeper had a very healthy sense of self. He found pride in doing his work because it was needed.

The banker let contracts define who he was going to be, and he wasn’t happy about it.

2. True happiness is not a function of the job title you hold. One of life’s greatest challenges is the ability to find happiness and encouragement despite your physical circumstances.

3. You get to choose. The funny thing about happiness is that you get to choose. In most situations I have ever encountered, my own happiness was mostly a function of what I chose to feel. In the darkest of days, I can still choose to have a happy face.

When I have success, of course it becomes easier to feel happy. However, like the banker, I might find a reason to be sad about my success. I need to choose to NOT do that.

4. It IS your job in this life to be different. I love the idea of being different. So many people struggle with that. The Bible tells us we are “uniquely and wonderfully made”. It has never made any sense to me why I would want to blend in and fit into someone else’s mold for me. NO! Be different. Make a difference!

I hope you have a reason to look at your job differently. There are so many ways we can wake up each day and make a difference in someone’s life. It should never be a function of what job you hold.

Go get ’em and make it a SUPER day!

Search for Significance; Part III

Continuing our look at Robert McGee and “Search for Significance”, he speaks of the Biblical notion of the need to renew our mind. I have found this to be true in so many facets of life and business. As leaders in our business, our community and our families, we need to be ever-mindful of the significance our actions can have. But before we get to action, we usually have a process that starts with each and every situation that comes our way. Knowing the key elements of the action sequence can improve the outcome.

It starts with an understanding of this flow diagram of how we typically process our response to a situation.

Decision Flow ContinuumLet’s talk about this spectrum.

1. Beliefs –  When a situation arises, we first filter it through a set of beliefs. I am not talking exclusively about any particular religious belief. Rather I mean a set of core values, understanding, and evaluation of things important to us or things we have assumed as drivers for who and what we are. Most of these beliefs have their roots in our early childhood development; life experiences including things were taught expressly or things we learned as outcomes to events. These experiences establish a set of core beliefs that have a strong influence in how we react to new situations in later years. Unfortunately, most of keep a portion of negative beliefs mixed in with the good things. e.g. I am not smart enough, strong enough, or pretty enough, etc.

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