Sat, 30 May 2015
He might have lived a long time ago but it’s fair to say Pythagoras knew a thing or two about the power of the mind. He knew he did his best thinking in the silence of a quiet mind – and he certainly did a lot of brilliant thinking. Coming up with new ways of thinking about mathematical equations.
Now we don’t have to be mathematical geniuses to appreciate the benefits of a quiet mind but most of the time life doesn’t seem like this. We rush around busy in body and mind – so how can we can learn to manage our minds?
How can we learn to be silent so our quiet minds can listen and absorb and do much else besides? One of the best ways is to manage your mind with mindfulness meditation.
Why do we need to manage our minds? Because all too often our minds are full of thoughts about what’s happened in the past or planning what’s going to happen in the future.
Of course we need to think about these things sometimes but not at the expense of what’s going on around us in the here and now. So the idea of mindfulness is that we’re mindful of the present moment, but that as far as possible we do this in a non-critical way. (See last week’s post for more about this)
Mindfulness is about purposefully being aware of the here and now and in a way that doesn’t judge it or put meaning on it – but just experiences it. And one of the best ways to do this is through a simple form of meditation.
Meditation itself comes with a long history which crosses cultural and geographical boundaries. It’s a feature of many of the world’s great spiritual traditions, but we’re not talking here of meditation in spiritual or religious terms.
Today meditation has become part of the mainstream with millions using it as a tool to improve their lives and wellbeing.
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular amongst the business community with prominent companies such as AOL, Apple and Google, offering meditation and mindfulness classes for their employees.
Meditation is increasingly seen as a success tool with the potential to unlock productivity and creativity.
At Brilliant Living HQ we see meditation as a key mind management technique –maybe the most important of all the mind management techniques and tools we advocate. Not only is it of huge benefit to us in many ways (more on this very soon) but it enhances all the other mind management techniques we talk about – like visualization and affirmations.
It’s all about attention
So what’s the common factor across the traditions and disciplines and different ways meditation is used?
It’s attention. Meditation is about focusing attention in a relaxed way on a something – it might be a chant or mantra or something physical like beads or an image. Or it could be something as simple and fundamental as your breath.
This is a simple form of meditation anyone can learn to do. There’s no great mystery or intricate elaborate ritual to follow – you just need to be able to breath and focus your attention on your breath.
If you can breath you can meditate
When you start this simple meditation technique of focusing attention on your breath, the first thing you’ll probably notice (apart from maybe wondering what you’re doing!) is that your mind wanders off all over the place.
Straightaway you might start thinking you’re not doing it right, but don’t worry because this is all part of the meditation experience. Remember that mindfulness is about not being judgemental about what happens in the moment. So the trick is to not judge it or get irritated but to bring the focus back to your breath.
Doing this will help you become more aware of your body, your feelings, your thoughts and perceptions and the incessant activity of your mind.
At the same time you’ll keep returning your awareness to the present moment, rather than dwelling on a past you can’t change or worrying about an undetermined future.
Of course it’s easier said than done! But the brilliant thing about when you manage your mind with mindfulness meditation is that it’s all part of the process. The whole point isn’t to get it right or wrong but the experience of the practice. Yes, we find it hard to sustain our attention. Our minds flit away from this simple task. But by returning the mind back to the breath when it wanders, it can gradually help us observe our thoughts.
You are not your thoughts
You are not your thoughts and mindful meditation gives you a way to sit back and watch your thoughts as they enter your mind, and to recognize the sort of thoughts they are and their impact. The aim is to view these thoughts without self-judgement.
It’s almost as if you step outside of yourself for a few minutes as an observer.
This helps you realize that your thoughts are just your thoughts in that moment. You don’t need to be defined by them and can change your reaction to them or let them go.
So if you can breathe and be quiet for a few minutes you can meditate.
Episode 44 The Changeability Podcast
If you want to manage your mind with mindfulness meditation now’s your chance.
In Episode 44 of The Changeability Podcast we chat about mindfulness meditation and talk you through a quick guided mindfulness meditation, so you can try it for yourself.
Many people like to follow a guided meditation to keep them focused on their meditation, specially to begin with. Our guided meditation Meditation Moments: With Breath In Mind is a great place to start.
Just download the MP3 tracks, sit back and think along to Julian’s calming voice.
Links and resources mentioned in Episode 44 – Manage your Mind with Mindfulness Meditation
Sat, 23 May 2015
Everywhere you go it seems people are talking about mindfulness.
It seems to be the new ‘in-thing’.
Of course it’s been around a while, thousands of years in fact in its oldest forms, and more like 30 or more years in its present western form, but it’s come right into the mainstream now.
Companies like Google have staff queuing up to participate in mindfulness courses they’ve instigated.
Entrepreneurs are falling over themselves to let us know how many minutes they’ve been meditating on their newly discovered meditation apps.
Celebrities are tweeting their love of mindfulness meditation.
So there’s certainly a lot of it about.
But what lies behind this media interest?
That’s what we explore in Episode 43 of The Changeability Podcast. Mindfulness – what is it and why you need it?
Do you ever feel a bit like Alice in this quote?
Life sometimes feels like you’re always looking back or looking forward while life today seems somehow out of your grasp.
It’s like you’re a time traveller worrying about the future, or reliving past wrongs (or maybe good times).
Do you ever drive somewhere and can hardly remember the journey because your mind was so full of thoughts and concerns that you barely noticed the countryside you were driving through, or the architecture of the buildings in the city around you. In fact more worrying, you didn’t even notice the other cars on the road.
This is what happens when we’re not aware or ‘mindful’ of what’s happening in our day-to-day lives - and don’t worry – we all do it!
But mindfulness can help us deal with this.
Mindfulness seeks to resolve this by helping us focus on the present moment – the here and now.
To be mindful – or aware.
And to do so, as far as possible, in a non-judgemental way, because that is where the real power of this mind management technique kicks in.
One of the godfathers of modern mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn whose Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) has spread throughout the world and he describes mindfulness as:
And one of the best ways of doing this is through Mindfulness Meditation.
Starting with simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes at a time – you can become aware of the thoughts rushing through your mind and what you’re focusing on.
The trick is to gently refocus your thoughts on your breath.
We’ll talk more about mindfulness meditation over the next couple of weeks, but for now it’s enough to start noticing your thoughts and being present in your day.
Links and resources mentioned in episode 43 of The Changeability Podcast
A Beginner’s guide to Mindful Meditation
Start Mindfulness Meditation today with a special half price offer on our “A Beginner’s Guide to Mindful Meditation” - in 1 and a half hours you will be meditating. This link will take you to the special page on Udemy (the online learning platform where the course is hosted) for listeners of The Changeability Podcast.
Sat, 16 May 2015
We’re just back from a long trip. We’ve had great times, met wonderful people and had a lot of fun. But it wasn’t all sweetness and light.
We had our share of things not going to plan, which can be especially frustrating when you think you’ve planned something carefully.
If you heard episode 41 last week you’ll know about our trip because we talked about the benefits of travel – and some of the good things we learnt or have been reminded of while away. That was part 1 – so this must be part 2!
“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right… and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” Marilyn Munroe
In episode 42 you’ll find out about:
Send us your stories
Let us know about something you’ve learnt while travelling, doing something different to your normal routine or when things don’t go to plan.
Send it to hello@BrilliantLivingHQ.com and we’ll include it in a future podcast.
Mon, 11 May 2015
We’ve been having an adventure. From the surrealistic glitz of Las Vegas to the silent arid beauty of Death Valley, the splendours of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks to the bustle of LA and finally the tropical paradise of the Philippines .
We’ve spent the last 5 weeks travelling for business and pleasure and on today’s episode of The Changeability Podcast we talk about the benefits of travel we’ve experienced along the way.
Episode 41 is part 1 of our personal perspective on things we’ve noticed as we’ve been travelling around, starting with the benefits we’ve seen.
In episode 41 we talk about:
Your experience of travel and it’s benefits
Sat, 2 May 2015
“There are two types of people in the world. Dreamers and haters and the only difference is one thing, haters gave up on their dreams.” – Answer to the author of this quote is found in the podcast.
Joe Pardo is a New Jersey-based dreamer, who has always believed that society starts with you, and that to make changes in society you must first change how you yourself think.
His innate curiosity about people inspired him to start the motivational Dreamers Podcast and he now aptly considers himself a “recorder of dreams.”
Joe’s just released his first book (April 2015) called 31 Life-Changing Concepts, a book for people like him who hate to read books. He’s packed it full of pictures and very direct messages and challenges for the reader.
Changeability Podcast – Episode 40
In Episode 40 you’ll discover
Resources and links mentioned in Episode 40