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5 Steps To Bring Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life Starting Now

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In 2007 I travelled to Phoenicia, NY to attend a mindfulness workshop with professor and author Jon Kabat-Zinn. For almost ten years now, I have continued to “struggle” with the practice of it.  Mindfulness is a difficult word to wrap your head around, and I catch myself bouncing back and forth between being mindful and mindless many times throughout the day

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As Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it, “mindfulness is not about sitting in lotus position, but more of living your life like it actually mattered.” One of the popular ways to become more mindful is to develop a meditation practice (lotus position not required), which can help wake us up from the unconscious, robotic, task completing automation many of us feel we are stuck in.

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In Tibet, the word for meditation is “familiarization.” It means to cultivate intimacy with yourself.

“Your true nature — your inner nature — is what’s in there — god, love, peace, truth, kindness — there are questions of who we really are!  But we think we is me. Each of us just wanting to sit in our own bubble.”  

– Krishna Das

My own mindfulness often loses out to mindlessness when I’m driving. I find myself driving in my own little bubble, while traffic, other drivers, and my impatience lead me to feel as if I may just “pop.” It is difficult for me to “cultivate” any sort of intimacy with myself while driving.

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In order to get my mind off the actual task of just driving, I have been listening to a series of lectures by musician and writer Krishna Das (though I realize this isn’t really being mindful). I immersed myself in his numerous lectures on Spotify about meditation, mindfulness, and chanting in hopes of better understanding the concepts of mindfulness for my busy mind as, almost 10 years after starting the practice, mindlessness still often had the upper hand over mindfulness.

“If something upsets me during the day, or if the day isn’t going the way I imagined it would go, I just need to close my eyes and breathe. I realize that there are so many more beautiful experiences in life than negative experiences in life if you really just allow yourself to experience them.  When you do that enough times, you actually just start learning how to BE love, and that begins to permeate within yourself.”

– Paul Chek

5 Steps to Cultivating Mindfulness

(Inspired by the lectures of Krishna Das)

  1. 1_will_powerWillpower

You may not associate willpower with mindfulness and meditation. It sounds aggressive, doesn’t it?  What happened to flowing with life?

Krishna Das believes that willpower “in its simplest form is doing what you really want to do. To do that… you have to DO. Willpower lets you to get involved in things to go after those things you really want in your life.”

As renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says, “the most important part of the meditation practice is sitting down to do it.” That is why you need to have some level of willpower. You need to actually do it.  You need to actually practice it. If you don’t have the willpower inside of you to practice it, then you are just someone talking about it, and talking about something isn’t cultivating it.

2 - Planting the Seeds

  1. Plant the Seeds   

You could read all the books about mindfulness and meditation you want (or listen to all the lectures on Spotify or Audible about it), but all of that just keeps the mind busy. You need to train it, and you do so by planting the seeds.

Planting seeds can take only five minutes a day. Turn your phone off, put it in another room, and sit (or lie) for 5 minutes every day. There is nothing else to do. Just that. Just witness your breath. When you find yourself thinking about other stuff, just take it back to your breath. This may happen 5, or 500, or 5,000 times in the 5 minutes, and that is fine.

Krishna Das believes that “by developing a personal practice, sincerely, you begin to plant seeds.” Over time, those seeds begin to grow. In the Bhagavad Gita it says, “Even the slightest bit of effort in the opposite direction than everything else is going — which is usually out through our senses, especially the eyes, and the mind— the slightest bit of effort to turn the attention to within is a really huge thing.”

  1. Practice_The_Process_of_RipeningPractice: The Process of Ripening

Many people stop practicing because they don’t feel anything different. They assume they will see immediate benefits, like they might when making drastic changes to their diet or when beginning an exercise regime. We want satisfaction quickly these days. We like “Likes.” We want it delivered now. We want drone delivery service. For most people, early on, mindfulness doesn’t offer that same instant gratification.

Krishna Das related it to the idea that if you put some fruit in the sun to ripen, you don’t just leave it there and assume it will ripen after 5 minutes. Through practice, our lives ripen. Our aspirations, our desires, the things we long for in the deepest part of our hearts come toward us.

They come to fruition, you could say.

He concludes, “More importantly, things that tripped us up or prevented us from that success go away. You’re shifting the way you live every day. Practice allows for a daily course correction. What becomes important to you begins to shift in you. You begin to make decisions based on that.”

  1. 4_Peace_of_mindPeace of Mind

Krishna Das also writes: “Peace of mind is very important. It’s underrated. We are so busy all the time.  We are so anxious to connect — to take us away and out of our bullsh** and into something more exciting or pleasing. To connect with something. We just don’t know how to be at ease with ourselves. Just be. At ease. With ourselves. Peacefully. I mean, I don’t know about you, but it wasn’t something they taught me growing up.

The way the spiritual path is presented in the West is very much like our society is – very goal oriented. I’m going to be the best meditator or have the best downward dog in the world! If you try to do that you may develop the ego of a meditator.”

  1. 5_well_beingWell-being

So what is the 5th step?  Well… being!

Siddhartha Gautama (before he became known as the Buddha) stopped his much-disciplined meditation and breathing practices because he felt that he wasn’t where he wanted to be. He then supposedly sat under a tree and while he was sitting there a memory came to him when he was a boy.  He was sitting under a tree on a beautiful sunny day and he was watching his father work in a distant field.  His body went into a high state of “being” and, as he was recalling that memory in the present, he was overcome by the same feeling from the past. It was a state of natural well-being. A simple, easy, and relaxed state of contentment.

During one of his lectures, Krishna Das describes this “state” like he was reading it directly from a book. Siddhartha says “this feeling did not arrive from the joining of the senses and this pleasurable object, nor was it the pushing away the object with our senses, and it didn’t come up because of a cause. It arose naturally.”

Try your best not to get caught up in having expectations about “how you are cultivating mindfulness” or “what you may see” or “how you may feel.” All of that is just creating a “busy mind.” Keep planting seeds and see what grows naturally from it.

We often are our worst enemy. We trip ourselves up all the time. For some of us, that happens every day.  We need to take time to look at those issues and consider why they arise. Cultivating mindfulness can help us become more aware of what triggers these thoughts and gain some distance from them.

After the Buddha had that experience under the tree, he grabbed some food and decided to break his fast.  It was at that time that some of his “followers” started to leave him, believing he had lost his mind.

“Love and happiness are not outside of us. It’s who you are and who I am.”

– Krishna Das

Strengthen the willpower.

Plants the seeds.

Practice.

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Researchers Outline Reality of Psychic Ability & Explore Whether It May ‘Run In The Family’

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is commonly believed that psychic ability, like many mental and physical traits, runs in families. This suggests the presence of a genetic component. Researchers recently decided to search for one among people with psychic abilities.

  • Reflect On:

    Can special abilities, or psychic abilities be passed down? Are these abilities innate and lying dormant within all of us?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

‘Psychic ability’ comes in many different forms, from telepathy to clairvoyance or remote viewing, there are a number of phenomena that have been demonstrated under strict scientific controls that have yielded statistically significant and repeatable results. There are also multiple declassified documents that have been archived by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) via their electronic reading room, for example, pertaining to individuals with “special abilities” who are able to perform feats like telekinesis, or healing at a distance. You can access a few examples of that here, and here where I go more into depth.

The literature in this area, from peer-reviewed research all the way to examples from the within the defense departments of  multiple countries, is quite robust. It’s another subject seen as fringe and in-credible yet has more than enough evidence to for a reasonable person to deem these abilities as possible.

The researchers of a recent study published in EXPLORE titled “Genetics of psychic ability – A pilot case-control exome sequencing study” decided to search for some sort of genetic link among people with psychic abilities. They explain:

Many cognitive and perceptual abilities are associated with genetic factors. An open question is whether or not extraordinary “psychic” abilities such as mind-to-mind communication (in the vernacular, telepathy), knowledge of future events before they occur (precognition), and perception of hidden or remote events (clairvoyance), might also be associated with genetic factors. Evidence of the reality of such extraordinary abilities has been offered by multiple meta-analysis of experiments conducted over the past century, which demonstrate independent repeatability and robust statistical significance.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that extraordinary manifestations of these abilities run in families.. Few formal studies have evaluated the genetics of psychic abilities. Telepathy studies with identical and non-identical twins have found mixed evidence for greater concordance among identical versus nonidentical twins on telepathy task performanceOther case studies of families with data on up to four generations have been conducted. The pattern of familial transmission in second sighthas also been examined. This capacity is defined as “a special psychic ability believed to be a natural faculty of mind, regarded as an inborn gift by some andan affliction by others…Second sight implies that there are two forms of sight. One is normal sight and the other is the ability to have prophetic visions which occur spontaneously and arrarely directed at will.” Second sight is considered hereditary within the Scottish tradition. A formal pedigree analysis of second sight found an autosomal dominant pattern f inheritance. Other studies have evaluated the relationships between psychic abilities and the temporal lobe. However, to our knowledge, no similar investigations have been conducted using modern genetics techniques.

Interesting stuff, isn’t it? For the study, more than 3,000 candidates from around the world were selected and screened through two online surveys. This was done to locate people who claimed that they, as well as other family members, had some form of psychic ability. Eligible candidates were then selected as the final “psychic cases,” and then age, sex, and ethnicity-matched individuals, with no claims of psychic ability, were selected as the controls.

DNA from the saliva of the 23 participants were subjected to “whole-exome sequencing.” This is a test that looks at most of the genes within an individual. After this, two independent bioinformatics analyses were blindly applied to the sequenced data. This means the ones doing the analyses had no idea about the results the other lab was getting. They were completely separate.The analyses focused on protein-coding sequences and another one included some adjacent noncoding sequences.

According to the researchers:

Sequencing data were obtained for all samples, except for one in the control group that did not pass the quality controls and was not included in further analyses. After unblinding the datasets, none of the protein-coding sequences (i.e., exons) showed any variation that discriminated between cases and controls. However, a difference was observed in the intron (i.e., non-protein-coding region) adjacent to an exon in the TNRC18 gene (Trinucleotide Repeat-Containing Gene 18 Protein) on chromosome 7. This variation, an alteration of GG to GA, was found in 7 of 9 controls and was absent from all psychic cases.

You can access the full study here.

This means the study did not find any significant markers suggesting that these abilities may be genetic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. We already know through epigenetic studies that various traits are passed down to offspring, be it physical or even emotional. It is interesting that the study did however identify a noncoding variant that was largely restricted to non-psychic controls.

The most conservative interpretation of these results is that they result from random population sampling. However, when the results are considered in relation to other lines of evidence, the results are more provocative. Further research is justified to replicate and extend these findings.

Keep in mind, the researchers did test those who claimed to have psychic ability and overall they scored better on the tests than those who did not. There were many limitations to this study, and a big one was the size of the number of people used for the study.

Given the fact that, in the researchers experience and based on my research and examples that I’ve written about, these abilities are undoubtedly real, so looking for some sort of genetic component is quite reasonable and would have tremendous implications.

The researchers explain:

The identification of genes involved in psychic abilities has the potential to yield clues about their distribution within the general population and also their evolutionary origins. Such a finding may also have clinical value because it may help inform the development of pharmacological or environmental interventions to enhance or suppress such abilities, and clinical performance applications could be used. Enhancing these abilities could augment decision-making in many contexts, stimulate creativity in art and science, and improve diagnosis of disease, insofar as these faculties and activities may be partly dependent on, or enhanced by, psychic ability.

For example, perhaps telepathic communications could be developed for individuals living with communication disabilities, such as aphasia or cerebral palsy. On the other hand, suppressing these abilities might alleviate psychotic symptoms in some individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, insofar as “disordered” psychic manifestations may be at risk factor in these individuals.

The Takeaway: Studies within the realm of parapsychology, which encompasses the study of various psychic abilities mentioned in this article, are abundant. Many show eye-opening repeatable results. Remote viewing is one of many great examples, showing “successful replication” by yielding “significant scientific evidence.” (source)

The methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked. Dr. Dr. Jessica Utts, former Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine (source)

Again, there are also documented real world examples that defy belief linked earlier within this article, which brings me to my next point. Much of the science produced today, in my opinion, isn’t really following the scientific method. By that I mean discoveries that challenge what we once thought we knew, and ones that have paradigm shifting implications for humanity, are often ignored and unacknowledged. We see this all the time in the field of parapsychology.

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

Why do we fail to properly confront new concepts and ideas that don’t fit within the frame? Studies and results from these realms truly call into question what we think we know about the nature of reality and human potential. They will force humanity to open up to a broader view of reality that currently may not fit within the accepted framework of knowledge in the minds of many. But if there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change.

Discoveries in this field, I believe, will lead to the realization that love, compassion, thoughts, emotions and service to others are key for humanity to move forward. It’s more than likely that this is the true nature of human beings, not competition and separation.

These must be our priority, we have to change the way we think here on planet Earth. If we continue to operate from a place of greed, ego, and have a lust for power, control and material wealth, which are cultural learnings, not necessarily our nature, we will not move forward to a thriving world. Non-material science has the potential to change the way we perceive the world, and ask the deeper questions like, why do we live the way we do when we can create a human experience where everybody can thrive? How can a race that is so intelligent and technologically advanced be so politically and morally corrupt?

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aries: Taking Bold Action

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We are having a New Moon in Aries during the later hours of April 11th in the Americas and on the 12th everywhere else in the world. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned throughout this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26th/27th.

Aries season began at the Equinox (on March 20th globally this year) as it always does, as per the framework of the Tropical Zodiac. Being the first of twelve signs, and initiator of a transitional season, it begins the Astrological New Year. However with this New Moon actually occurring in Aries as well, it will crank up the energies of this sign even more so in comparison to the previous weeks that were part of a lunar cycle initiated by a New Moon in Pisces.

Aries is the domain of self, independence, and individual needs. As a Cardinal Fire sign ruled by Mars, it is assertive, courageous, direct, pioneering, and leading. It is initiating, quick, bold, energetic, and warrior-like. Negatively, this energy can be inconsiderate, selfish,  hot tempered, combative, restless, impatient, aggressive, and overly competitive. Aries lacks thoroughness due to its quick forward energy.

New Moon Conjunct Mercury & Venus In Aries

This New Moon is close to both Mercury and Venus. This can reflect a period in which our social interactions and engagement with others can be more lively. Both Mercury and Aries have a busy moving type of energy and we may feel more active, physically and/or mentally, as a result.

The conjunction of both of these planets with this New Moon also means it is tied into cycles that each of those planets have with the Sun. Venus recently joined the Sun in the last week of March and it is now travelling ahead of it in zodiacal position.

In recent weeks this has been a time in which we experienced shifts, developments, endings, beginnings, or more clarity around Venus areas of friends, love, social dynamics, values, worth, or financial matters in some cases. This New Moon and the weeks following can continue this process, especially when it comes to beginnings or newer ways of expressing ourselves in these areas.

Mercury is now approaching the Sun as they will make their conjunction on April 18th/19th. At that time we may experience developments, which may be significant, connected to what has transpired during its previous retrograde in February and how things have unfolded since then. From there, these things may develop further with a better perception, or circumstances may indicate lack of sufficiency, not what was anticipated, or that something needs to change.

Planets In Aries Square Pluto & Sextile Mars Trine Jupiter

This New Moon, along with Venus and Mercury, are in a square with Pluto and sextile with Mars and Jupiter. Pluto combined with Aries and Mars energy can reflect a period of intensity. However, it can also play out as issues around power, control, manipulation, jealousy, insubordination, or subversion.  It can also be revealing, psychological, compulsive, transforming, and purging.

The sextile with Mars in Gemini adds to the lively, assertive, instinctual, and energetic expressions of Aries. The Aries’ planets sextile to Jupiter, which is also trine Mars, can be good for applying ourselves in a way that is expansive, optimistic, educational, philosophical, explorative, freedom seeking, or centered around beliefs. New doors may open up and it can even be lucky for some people.

Uranus square Saturn (mentioned here in a previous article) is still in the backdrop as it will be throughout the year. Although it’s not in one of its strong periods, themes of ‘freedom/rebellion/revolution being at odds restrictions/limitations/traditions are still playing out. This may get activated in different ways by this new lunar cycle and the Aries energy that has already been present over the previous weeks following the Astrological New Year.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

How would you like to grow and expand and what do you need to change to get there? In what areas do you need to be more bold or courageous? What have your relationships shown you in recent weeks? What is important for your individuality? What are your personal needs? What do you stand for and should you be fighting for it? Do you need to be a leader in any aspects of your life? Are there any new things that you want to explore?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 2:31am Universal Time on April 12th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Consciousness

A Symbiosis of Humans & Technology – Changing The Conversation

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Have you ever noticed that discussions about transhumanism tend to focus on technology more than humanism? The journey to reaching our highest potential as a species is usually focused externally on the technology rather than internally on our conscious evolution. This is probably because people assume that conscious evolution is more about spirituality whereas technology is more having to do with the things humans create. The two paths are interdependent so we need more conversations between experts in each of these fields. It will only be through a recognition of the symbiotic nature between humans, their technology, and the environment that we will avert self-destruction.

trans·hu·man·ism (n.) 1. A belief that humans should strive to transcend the physical limitations of the mind and body by technological means. 2. A movement of people who espouse such a belief.

Standing at a Crossroads: The influence that technology has on society and culture is called, technodeterminism. Most of us carry mini supercomputers in our pockets called smartphones. These devices act as external brains which seamlessly integrate into most aspects of our life. Most of us are completely dependent on them for travel, work, communication, entertainment, and beyond. Take a moment to consider the future implications of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine-learning, mass surveillance, automation, genome editing, nanotechnology, and their potential influences on society, culture, and our environment.

When I think about these things, I can’t help but ask:

Why aren’t people like the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Andrew Weil conversing more with people like Ray Kurzweil, Elon Musk, and Steve Mann?

Ancient Futures: It will become increasingly imperative for our most advanced technologies to be informed by the natural ethos of indigenous people blended with the emotional-intelligence of our enlightened spiritual masters. We must remember that the first humans who captured fire to light their cave, stay warm on a cold night, or cook their food were using technology. Anthropologists proudly call us humans “tool-makers” as one of the attributes that make us distinct from most species.

Paradigm Shift: Conscious evolution will require a concerted effort to communicate across silos and disciplines. Cooperation and collaboration towards collective goals will need to take the place of competition for personal gain. What are we hoping to accomplish, and at what cost? We are a risk-taking species and that drives us to exceed all our limitations. Let’s make these be calculated risks because with our technology also comes a great responsibility.

Start Within: Even our most sophisticated technology does not possess the complexities of organic systems. Computers and machines can do many things for us but they will never be able to feel for us. The realm of emotion is central and unique to our human experience yet it is only now starting to be recognized as a valuable form of intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” -Andrew Coleman A Dictionary of Psychology

Research in multiple fields of study shows that curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking, and empathy are skills that will redefine traditional beliefs about intelligence. The ability to accommodate new information requires a certain level of mental flexibility, humility, and ultimately character. It is through our ability to feel and process our emotions that our higher intelligence flourishes.

SuperHumans: Any sports fan knows that there are individuals who possess superhuman gifts. Think of popular sports stars like Michael Jordan, or any of the various extreme sports heroes who somehow manage the seemingly impossible. We also have the various musical or art prodigies who express the skills of a master before the age of 10. We have seen humans walk on red-hot coals with bare feet, walk a tightrope between skyscrapers, and exhibit mind-boggling feats of mental-focus, and will-power. Did you know that Wim Hof ran a half marathon barefoot on ice and snow, with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 34 seconds? Humans are capable of amazing things when they channel discipline, practice, creative brilliance, fearlessness and focus. We have barely scratched the surface of what is possible!

Global Meditation: This simple practice of quieting the mind, and bringing presence to one’s breathing has a long list of documented benefits that include enhanced neural connections, deep feelings of connection and well-being, as well as a strengthened immune system. When we compound this focused intention to include tens of thousands of people all over the world, we begin to literally shift planetary magnetic resonance. The science does not lie, we are potent electrical beings with the ability to focus consciousness and create beyond our wildest imaginations.

Everything technology offers is a reflection of the technology that we, as humans are. Learning to laugh at ourselves a little while delving into our emotions and to make room for possibilities beyond our currently held beliefs is essential for this journey. In order for us to create technology that is aligned with all of life and our planet, we must first become aligned with ourselves and each other. Global meditation is where we practice together!

We can no longer claim that a technology is advanced if it is destroying our skies and rivers or perpetuating harmful practices like war and domination. These are examples of misguided technologies. Our DNA has been informed by countless generations of evolution. It is time that we focus our consciousness towards the natural wisdom kept by indigenous people, while embracing the presence of enlightened spiritual masters. This will allow us to infuse our science and highest technological advancements with ecological and emotional intelligence for the benefit of all life.

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