Relax Under Pressure

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First stop and take a deep breath.

There are few important things in life and most of those are present in the moment. Therefore stop being so serious about everything. Sure you are important and whatever is it important, however if you are honest to yourself, is it really that important?

When we are under pressure, it means we have to deal with that pressure. If we choose to tackle it, our bodies and minds gets to a stressed state in order to deal with it. In other words stress helps our bodies and minds to prepare and deal with it. Stress in these cases is beneficial.

We are oscillating between stress and relaxation. Too much of either for prolonged time is no good. We should consciously also be mindful in which state we are and do we need to increase or decrease the stress for example.

We do not need to be stressed when we are about to rest.

We need psyche a bit up before giving a talk or meeting a client.

If we all would be zen masters, we could do this consciously at a right time. Since we are not, we have to learn ourselves to control our minds through our breathing or meditation for example.

Everything begin with breathing, so breathing is one of the most effective ways to tell our lizard brains should we increase or decrease the stress levels.

Learn to relax under pressure, and you won’t have another bleak day, because you know what is important and what’s not. Above all you are just in the state of mind where you want to be.

Meaning of Work in Relation to Life

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 What is the meaning of work in regards to life? Work is literally the meaning: by work I mean the verb of working. By work I mean the elaborate use of the word meaning literally all activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.

As I was reading Bhagavad Gita today on the commute, I understood that too often we attach our minds too much to the end results: the rewards, fruits of labor.

Meaning of work is not the reward on contrary despite all we do and say, but the liberation to give and do without asking. By this statement I do not encourage slave labor, but to find ways to work without the expectation and attachment to the rewards.

Working is part of our nature. In Gita this is described as yoga in practice, however I found the awfully similar idea in Meditations by Marcus Aurelius where he says that it is man’s true nature to work.

Finding ways to work and serve others without any expectation of rewards brings surprising benefits that no fruit or coin can purchase.

Aligning the Mind

 

meditation-2214532_640.jpgThrough the busy days, a lot of thoughts, insights, fears, worries etc. tend to be buried in our minds. Thoughts that keep returning to our consciousness unless we acknowledge their existence.

During this year I haven’t been meditating regularly and I noticed that since I’ve fallen out of that habit I’ve become more prone to the stresses of life.

So I’ve now taken the time to get back into the habit of meditation in the morning and in the evening. Even starting with as little as five to ten minutes does wonders. Once the habit takes over, on times the sessions often take longer if necessary.

Past time eight years, I’ve found out that still the habit of regularly and consciously having the time and habit for the meditation is indeed the best. It’s easiest to stay aware, mindful about the thoughts and root out the unskillful thoughts when they are still their weakest. For this, to increase the mindfulness I guess it is skillful to align the mind through meditation in the morning and then in the evening to do a sort of quality check for the day.

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thought.” – Buddha

State of Flow is Happiness

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This morning as I woke up I had an insight: flow is happiness. Letting go of a moment and moving on to the next; that is flow.

Flow at best is a state of focus to the task, where we feel the challenge and our skills are matched. Flow is seamless, it does not require action only the being of presence and right mindfulness.

Staying in the state of flow is as easy as staying in the present with right mindfulness. With practice we may succeed.

Meditation is a such practice to get better at it.

Time always flows no matter what.

In the present focus what matters, and in the present focus.

Advantage of Pessimistic Thinking Style with Emotional Awareness

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Life is uncertain, that is a given. Rational thoughts might not always help to convince the emotional thoughts to stop worrying, so what to do?

What has worked for me years really well is to have some time for quiet contemplation, where I can become aware of my emotions. Recognizing that what is that emotion or feeling really about, is the first step of taking action.

After a busy work week, I’ve had thoughts and emotions more than enough for the weekend. Now was Sunday morning and my head was still full of feelings not all of which were pleasant. So I decided to dedicate time for contemplation right in the morning, which was a great decision. With about fifteen minutes I discover these feelings of fear, worry and anxiety, which were mostly without rational explanation. As I start to label the feelings, my mood does start to improve. As I recognized fear for example, I understood okay I am afraid and then I ask myself what is it I am afraid? By learning the answers and then answering them, I began to feel a lot better.

When living a busy life, where our conscious minds do not have time and attention for various thougths, our emotional mind takes over the task and as result quickly and effortlessly stores these as simple emotions which might not be the best descriptions the reality. That’s why the emotions later come to haunt us; it’s like a mailbox that has to be dealt with consciously and manually.

Have time for quiet contemplation and emotional awareness, so these emotions do not build up. Only way to have time is to dedicate even a five minutes day to practice.

Seeing the world as it is

My mind is by default quite pessimistic, itself is not negative feature at all. It gets negative when fear, worry or anxiety cross threshold, and start to influence other people in undesirable ways. I would not want to that to happen, that’s why I’ve been practicing meditation daily for almost eight years now.

Advantage of pessimistic mind is that it can be trained for realistic thinking, where we see have better sense of the reality. When I started my journey of personal growth on 2009, I recognized that earlier I had not necessarily made right perceptions: I often overestimated the probability what will happen and how often I will fail. I feared a lot of ordinary things, even things that affected my health and wellbeing. With the realization that my perception of the reality might be wrong, I began to experiment and take more risks. I took action despite of my fear and decided to see what will happen, I didn’t have much to lose anyway.

Thanks to putting myself in to those situations, I begun a little by little to develop more accurate sense of reality. I also understood that the failures are overestimation from my part (pessimistic mind does not like failures, because its’ very loss averse), however I started to change the meaning of failure from actual failure to learning. In other words I learned to bet the kind of loss that I was completely comfortable of losing.  I think that we all need to live bigger and in order to do that we need to take chances in learning, i.e. take a risk that we can handle.

Where optimistic mind sees the chance for success despite the actual low odds, pessimistic minds highlights the high failure percentage. We can live and be successful with either setting, or then to use combination of these, whatever suits you best.

Personally I know that the pessimistic mind comes with the chance of depression and it is something I’ve gone through as well. To prevent that, we need to occasionally have more time to reflect, recheck what is happening on our emotional map and then revise the course accordingly.

Start Building Your Legacy Today

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Writing has been me the way to develop and clarify my thinking. Writing is a good way to do that, however the potential of writing is much more: I can describe and communicate what I’ve learned.

Yesterday as evening as I had done with my evening meditation, I was thinking about the shortness of life: how to live without regrets? I understood that indeed each day and moment are gifts, we should use them in a way that contribute that higher purpose.

In my case I understood that after me would still remain my writing and each day I’ve chance not only improve my own writing, but to give out my very best, because this is indeed what remains.

I like reflection, journaling and learning. In fact I had a vision to write journals and then to use them as material to memoirs at older age. Now I understand and realize that I do not have to wait.

Whatever your thing is, find ways to start today.

Negativity Can Help You

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Two days ago, I had the deepest meditation I’ve had as far as I can remember.

The prequel to this meditation was kind of realization from the Mark Manson’s book: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It all had to do with accepting and acknowledging the negative feelings. It is indeed beneficial and healthy to feel these emotions. As I did this, I was able to accept reality more as it is as well and then start to work from there.

I had been in the “must be positive” –trap for a while. Thanks to reading this book I was able to receive a different kind of perspective and thus finally give up on just trying to be positive and acknowledge things as they are.

Accepting negativity allowed me to pinpoint the current state of things. I had to accept the reality, which I was twisting with hopeful thinking and whatever things are gonna be alright. Although sometimes we should lead ourselves to think positively, it does not mean it solves every problem we have.

When there are negative signals, it’s good to listen and take them into account. Just by acknowledging the reality, we can begin to heal and improve it a lot.

If we do not acknowledge the negativity, it’s going to grow stronger and deeper, better to acknowledge it when it’s still manageable size.

Life comes with all sorts of twists and turns, we shouldn’t act as if we are untouched and unscathed by these events – we are not. Therefore take a moment to listen yourself, accept the negative things as well as the good things and you will have a much more grounded sense of reality and you will have a happier life.

Accept the truth, be happy about it and fear cannot exist

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I believe in growing rich mentally. When I read the Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, something clicked big time in my head: finally the personal growth and the financial freedom ideas were connected. Especially the finance side of life I had shunned over personal growth, that book connected the both for me about a month ago.

Today one more set of thoughts was connected. As today is Saturday, I woke up after a busy week and start to meditate and listen to myself. I do notice some disturbances, so I’ll start to write down those thoughts as well… I list a few thoughts that are running in my head, and then start to replace them with words that I would rather hear.

When there is a thought about, not affording something… I try to look at it in a more truthful way, of course I can, there just must be more clever ways to finance for it and the big goals I’ve for my future. This thinking “how I can afford it” and challenging my thinking is one of the big things I’ve started applying rigorously after reading the Rich Dad Poor Dad.

However, as I begin to listen, write down it’s clear that the roots of these thoughts were in the disappointment few days ago with the truth. Where expectations of the pay day did not meet reality, so I must’ve observed something wrong then.

What I decide to do is to embrace the truth anyway. It felt so good that I decided to go about it even further and go through all this years expenses at once. Again this made me feel better. Accepting the reality is freeing so much energy and worry. This is where I am now, and this is the truth and I can drop the burdens of unrealistic expectations and even worry.

Instead of telling myself some stories, and creating unnecessary expectations, I decided ground my expectations now with the truth. And I recommend that to anyone. This works especially well with the age of debit/credit cards and online bank statements which hold easy to access records.

Since there is the truth and that’s acceptable, it leaves the fear and worry behind and creates space for joy. Ajahn Brahn says it so well: Fear and joy cannot exist at the same time, so just be happy!

Help by doing the difficult

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It seems that the human tendency for the easy is like sugar for the flies. Yet most beneficial for us all is the hard work. Hard, that takes effort to complete.

There is limit to the hard work we can do each day, because it is so strenuous to our minds. We simple have limited amount of cognitive ability for each day; limited number of decision that can considered good.

Today I stumbled upon amazing article by Buster Benson about our mind and how it distorts reality. Message there is simple, biases exist to protect us from the reality that would overload us.

Conscious mind however, has the ability to bit by bit start seeing the world as it is. This is called Vipassana.

What does this mean? Do not settle for the easy, struggle for the difficult. That way we grow and we all have more.

Suffering and mindfulness

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In recent months and years of my life, I’ve not felt the suffering as I did today in the morning. I felt quite sure about that I was going to fail and that did not feel so good.

Now in my evening reflection, I don’t think failure is anything to be ashamed of. Failure will happen to anyone, as long as you keep adding challenge until you reach a breaking point. “Last straw to break camel’s back” – indeed.

Avoiding failure, is not an option. Facing failure is inevitable on the path of growth.

We can control our inner world thought, even times of failure we can choose our response.

Even when everything else collapses, you are still fine, you can still breathe and move.

This morning was quite a different one for me, a sort of routine breaker, because I had forgotten go to shop previous day and now I did not have my usual breakfast sandwich or any bread which I am quite accustomed to eat in the morning. My morning schedule is tight, but I decide to turn it around with some porridge and blueberries, making the negative result into a very positive and I do succeed in this. Making it on time to my usual metro is considered success.

During my commute, this time I chose not to read, but to meditate. In my list of priorities, meditation is probably number one. Number one means that when I am troubled, that’s the first thing I do and this morning I certainly felt the trouble. Taking a few deep breaths already changes the mood, however biggest insight happens to me when I go through the noble eightfold path in my head. I understand that how little I understand of these precepts and especially about the three last ones: right effort, mindfulness and meditation.

I decide to read more online about these and I am right, there is so much to be learned. Perhaps the greatest lesson for me this time was that the noble eightfold path is not an order, but a wheel (like it’s represented often). As it’s a wheel, it means there is no order, but each pay equally important role in picture of whole.

Everything is connected.