The 6 Step Brain Exercise Steve Jobs Used To Boost Creativity!

Even a seemingly calm brain can be an incredibly busy place. It’s only really through meditation that we learn to work with – not change – this level of busyness.
I like the way Steve Jobs – the quintessential creative thinker of the last 25 years – put it:
“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before.”
What Steve describes there, my friends, is Zen Meditation. Steve discovered the practice when he visited India as a young man in the 70s. In the years that followed, Steve continued to practice and hone his meditation and awareness techniques.
This was unheard of in the business world at the time. But today, Zen Meditation is practically ubiquitous among creative business minds working everywhere from Google to Goldman Sachs.

Say, how would you like to give Zen Meditation a try in your life?

What follows are 6 simple steps put together by Geoffrey James, one of Steve Jobs’ close friends.

Step #1

Sit cross-legged in a quiet, peaceful place. According to the Hindu religion, the cross-legged pose awakens ‘kundalini’ – dormant energy in the body.

Step #2

Close your eyes and focus on your existing thoughts. Your goal is not to change them or make them simpler; all you’re trying to do is pay attention to them. Pay attention to how your thoughts jump from one topic to another. Do this for five minutes.

Step #3

That wild, crazy flow you’re observing? Buddhists refer to that as the ‘monkey mind.’ In this step, you’re going to try and shift focus to your ‘ox mind.’ The ‘ox mind’ is aware of the chaos around it but it simply contemplates life.

Step #4

As you notice yourself toying with the idea of your ‘ox mind,’ ask your brain to slow down. Don’t try to force it; just ask.
“Try imagining your inner ox walking unhurriedly down a country road. This mental picture should help you pacify your inner ape. Don’t expect it to fall asleep at once. Apes are naturally restless! Nevertheless, you’ll soon notice your inner ape become more placid, and less prone to hustle and bustle.”
When you feel like your ‘ox mind’ has taken over, move onto the next step.

Step #5

Continue concentrating on your ‘ox mind.’ You should feel your breathing slowing down. You’ll become aware of the sensations in your body such as the flow of air. As you open your eyes, the world should appear much different than when you first shut it out. The objects around you should appear just as your thoughts – not requiring change.

Step #6

Keep practicing this. With time, you’ll become in tune with yourself and your time spent meditating will fly right by. Ideally, this should become an instinct. Whenever you’re faced with a problem you can’t seem to solve, practice Zen Meditation.

Want to learn more about how Zen Meditation influenced Steve Jobs? Have a look at this video! Here’s the book discussed in the short clip.

source and credit:davidwolfe

HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH ANGER ? by Venerable Thubten Chodron

How can we learn to accept criticism without being angry?
If someone criticizes you, don’t pay attention to the tone, vocabulary, or volume of their voice. Just focus on the content of their criticism. If it is true, there’s no reason to get angry. For example, if someone says, “There is a nose on your face,” you are not angry because it is true. There is no use pretending we don’t have a nose—or didn’t make a mistake—because everyone, including us, knows we did. As Buddhists we must always improve ourselves and so we should put our hands together and say, “Thank you.” On the other hand, if someone says, “There is a horn on your face” there is no reason to get angry because that person is mistaken. We can explain this to the person later when they are receptive to listening.
Can we meditate on our anger when it arises? How do we do it?
When we are in the midst of feeling a strong negative emotion, we are very involved in the story that we are telling ourselves about what is happening, “He did this. Then he said that. What nerve he has! Who does he think he is speaking to me that way? How dare he!” At that time, we cannot take in any new information. When my mind is like that, I try to excuse myself from the situation, so that I will not say or do something harmful that I will regret later. I watch my breath and calm down. At this time, it can be helpful to sit down and focus on what anger feels like in our body and in our mind. Just focus on the feeling of anger and pull our mind out of thinking about the story. When we are calmer and are able to practice the antidotes, we can come back to reassess that situation from a different perspective.
Patience is the opposite of anger and is highly praised in Buddhism. But sometimes others take advantage when we cultivate patience. What do we do in such a situation?
Some people fear that if they are kind or patient, others will take advantage of them. I think they misunderstand what patience and compassion mean. Being patient and compassionate does not mean you let people take advantage of you. It does not mean that you allow other people to harm and beat you up. That is stupidity, not compassion! Being patient means being calm when confronted with suffering or harm. It does not mean being like a doormat. You can be kind and at the same time, be firm and have a clear sense of your own human dignity and self-worth. You know what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in that situation. If you are clear in this way, others will know that they cannot take advantage of you. But if you are fearful, they will sense your fear and take advantage of that. If you try very hard to please people and do what they want so that they will like you, other people will take advantage because your own mind is unclear and attached to approval. But when your mind is clear and patient, there is a different energy about you. Others won’t try to take advantage of you and even if they did, you would stop them and say, “No, that’s not appropriate.”
Is there a difference in being angry and being hateful?
Anger is when we have a rush of hostility towards somebody. Hate is when we hold on to that feeling of anger over period of time, generate a lot of ill will, and contemplate how to retaliate, take revenge, or humiliate the other person. Hatefulness is anger that has been held on to for a long time.
Hate is very harmful to ourselves and others. In addition to creating so much negative karma and motivating us to harm others, hate ties us up in misery. No one is happy when his or her mind is full of hate and vengefulness. Furthermore, when parents are hateful, they are teaching their children to hate because children learn emotions and behavior by observing their parents. Therefore, if you love your children, do your best to abandon hate by forgiving others.
In Buddhism, anger is one of the three roots of evil, the other two being greed and ignorance. Which should be our first priority to eradicate as part of our spiritual practice?
That depends very much on the individual. The great masters say that we should look inside of ourselves and see which one is stronger, which disturbs our mind most, and then focus on that and try to diminish it. For example, if you see that your confusion and lack of good judgment is the most troublesome of the three, then emphasize the development of wisdom. If attachment, lust, or desire are the greatest, then first work to diminish those. If anger is the most harmful in your life, do more meditation on patience, love, and compassion. When we emphasize reducing one affliction, we should not neglect to apply the antidotes to the other two when needed.

source: thubtenchodron


19 Differences Between Buddhism And Other Religions

Buddhism is one of the most unique ‘religions’ to ever exist. Known for its pragmatic approach, Buddhism is beloved all over the world, and for good reason: it’s seemingly the opposite of so much negative influence religion has today.

Take a look at this list and check out the differences for yourself!

1. There is no almighty God in Buddhism, no one to hand out rewards and punishments.

2. Buddhism is not strictly a religion in the context of being a faith toward a supernatural being.

3. In Buddhism, the ultimate objective of followers/practitioners is enlightenment and/or liberation from Samsara, rather than heaven.
4.A Buddha is not a savior who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he never promises to remove impurities from those on the path.

5. The relationship between a Buddha and his disciples and followers is that of a teacher and student, not God/servant.

6. Buddhism does not call for an unquestionable blind faith by all Buddhist followers. It places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self-discipline, and individual striving.

7. The teachings of Dharma are universal and are not rooted in Buddhism alone. Sakyamuni Buddha (as the historical Buddha) discovered and shared the teachings/ universal truths with all sentient beings. He is not the creator of such teachings — just the transmitter.

8. The concept of Hell in Buddhism is very different from that of other religions. It is not a place for eternal damnation as viewed by ‘almighty creator’ religions. In Buddhism, it is just one of the six realms in Samsara (the worst of three undesirable realms).

9. There is no concept of sin in Buddhism — just karma.

10. All sentient beings have Buddha Nature/ Essence. One can become an enlightened being (Buddha) in due course if one practices diligently and attains purity of mind (ie absolutely no delusions or afflictions).

11. Karma is a cornerstone in Buddhist doctrines and refers to an important metaphysical concept concerned with action and its consequences. The law of karma explains the problem of suffering, the mystery of the so-called fate, and above all the inequality of mankind.

12. Buddhism places a high value on compassion for all living things, including animals. Vegetarianism is recommended but not compulsory.

13. Buddhism goes beyond doing good and being good. One must not be attached to good deeds or the idea of doing good; otherwise, it is just another form of craving.
14. There is no holy war concept in Buddhism. Killing is breaking a key moral precept in Buddhism. One is strictly forbidden to kill another person in the name of religion or worldly excuse.

15. Buddhist teachings have no mentions of beginning and or end to one’s existence. There is virtually no recognition of a first cause — e.g. how does human existence first come about?

16. The Buddha is omniscient but he is not omnipotent. Buddha does not claim to be a creator of lives or the Universe.

17. The tradition and practice of meditation in Buddhism are important and strong. While all religions teach some forms or variations of stabilizing/single-pointedness meditation, only Buddhism emphasizes Vipassana (Insight) meditation as a powerful tool to assist one in seeking liberation/enlightenment.

18. The doctrine of Sunyata or Emptiness is unique to Buddhism and its many aspects are well expounded in advanced Buddhist teachings. Briefly, this doctrine asserts the transcendental nature of Ultimate Reality. It declares the phenomenal world to be void of all limitations of particularization and that all concepts of dualism are abolished.

19. Samsara is a fundamental concept in Buddhism and it is simply the ‘perpetual cycles of existence’ or endless rounds of rebirth among the six realms of existence. This cyclical rebirth pattern will only end when a sentient being attains Nirvana, i.e. virtual exhaustion of karma, habitual traces, defilements, and delusions. All other religions preach one heaven, one earth, and one hell, but this perspective is very limited compared with Buddhist samsara where heaven is just one of the six realms of existence and it has 28 levels/planes. source and courtesy

10 Habits You Must Quit to Be Happy

When you quit doing the wrong things, you make more room for the things that make you happy.  So starting today…

1.  Quit procrastinating on your goals.

Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.  Action and change are often resisted when they’re needed most.  Get a hold of yourself and have discipline.  Putting something off instantly makes it harder and scarier.  What we don’t start today won’t be finished by tomorrow.  And there’s nothing more stressful than the perpetual lingering of an unfinished task.
The secret to getting ahead is simply getting started.  Starting, all by itself, is usually sufficient to build enough momentum to keep the ball rolling.  So forget about the finish line and just concentrate on taking your first step.  Say to yourself, “I choose to start this task with a small, imperfect step.”  All those small steps will add up and you’ll actually get to see changes fairly quickly. 

2.  Quit blaming others and making excuses.

Stop blaming others for what you have or don’t have, or for what you feel or don’t feel.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility and perpetuate the problem.  Stop giving your power away and start taking responsibility for your life.  Blaming is just another sorry excuse, and making excuses is the first step towards failure; you and only you are responsible for your life choices and decisions.

3.  Quit trying to avoid change.

If nothing ever changed there would be no sunrise the next morning.  Most of us are comfortable where we are even though the whole universe is constantly changing around us.  Learning to accept this is vital to our happiness and general success.  Because only when we change, do we grow, and begin to see a world we never knew was possible.
And don’t forget, however good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So embrace it, and realize that change happens for a reason.  It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

4.  Quit trying to control the uncontrollable.

If you try to control everything, and then worry about the things you can’t control, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of frustration and misery.
Some forces are out of your control, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether you’re happy or not depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.  The best thing you can do is to let go of what you can’t control, and invest your energy in the things you can – like your attitude.

5.  Quit talking down to yourself.

Nothing will bring you down quicker than berating yourself.  The mind is a superb instrument if used right, but when used incorrectly, it becomes very destructive.  Be aware of your mental self-talk.  We all talk silently to ourselves in our heads, but we aren’t always conscious of what we’re saying or how it’s affecting us.
As Henry Ford once stated, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”  One of the major causes of why we fail is due to self-doubt and negative self-talk.  The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.  Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones, over time you will change the trajectory of your life.  

6.  Quit criticizing others.

The negativity you bleed out toward others will gradually cripple your own happiness.  When you truly feel comfortable with your own imperfections, you won’t feel threatened or offended by the imperfections you see in other people.
So stop worrying about the flaws you see in everyone else, and focus on yourself.  Let the constant growth and improvement in your own life keep you so busy that you have no time left to criticize others.

7.  Quit running from your problems and fears.

Trust me, if everyone threw their problems in a pile for you to see, you would grab yours back.  Tackle your problems and fears swiftly, don’t run away from them.  The best solution is to face them head on no matter how powerful they may seem.
Fears, in particularly, stop you from taking chances and making decisions.  They keep you confined to just the small space where you feel completely comfortable.  But your life’s story is simply the culmination of many small, unique experiences, many of which require you to stretch your comfort zone.  Letting your fears and worries control you is not ‘living,’ it’s merely existing.
Bottom line:  Either you own your problems and fears, or they will ultimately own you.

8.  Quit living in another time and place.

Some people spend their entire lives trying to live in another time and place.  They lament about what has been, what they could have done, or what might become.  However, the past is gone, and the future doesn’t exist.  No matter how much time we spend thinking and lamenting about either, it doesn’t change anything.
One of life’s sharpest paradoxes is that our brightest future hinges on our ability to pay attention to what we’re doing right now, today.
We need to live more in the moment.  Living in the moment requires active, open, intentional awareness on the present.  Don’t fantasize about being on vacation while at work, and don’t worry about the work piling up on your desk when you’re on vacation.  Live for now.  Notice the beauty unfolding around you.

9.  Quit trying to be someone you’re not.

One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love you, and you’ll love yourself more too.  The Road Less Traveled.

10.  Quit being ungrateful.

Not all the puzzle pieces of life will seem to fit together at first, but in time you’ll realize they do, perfectly.  So thank the things that didn’t work out, because they just made room for the things that will.  And thank the ones who walked away from you, because they just made room for the ones who won’t.
No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
source and credit: marcandangel

How Many Thoughts Does Your Mind Think in One Hour?

Do you know how many thoughts your mind thinks each hour of the day?
Experts estimate that the mind thinks between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. That’s incredible.
Other experts estimate a smaller number, of 50,000 thoughts per day, which means about 2100 thoughts per hour. This too, is a great number of thoughts.
If you were able sell each thought, you would be rich in no time.
Did you notice what kind of thoughts do you think?
If you pay attention to these thoughts, you would be amazed to discover that most of them are useless, unimportant thoughts that pass through the mind with a huge speed. These are words you repeat in your mind, comments the mind makes, repeating what you heard said, questions, answers and a lot of senseless wandering thoughts that you might not even be aware of.
You might not believe that you think these huge quantities of thoughts, but if you have experience with meditation, you would have proof of the great number of thoughts passing through your mind. It’s just like being a very busy train station or airport terminal, where a great number of people come and go.
You also get proof of the endless stream of thoughts when you try to study, solve and problem or make a plan. Suddenly, you become aware of the many irrelevant thoughts claiming for your attention.
The mind is like a butterfly that flies from one flower to another, never standing still.
In normal, daily life, you might not always be aware of this endless thinking. Most of this thinking is an automatic process, a mental habit. It is only when you need to focus on some particular thing that you become aware of the many thoughts that keep distracting your focus and attracting your attention.
This stream of thoughts goes on when you dress up, eat, walk, work, drive, talk, shower or have a bath. It goes on when you are alone and when you are in company. It goes on until you fall asleep. It is like a constant mental noise that goes on and on. I have written about the mental noise, as well as how to calm this mental noise.
Sometimes, this endless flow of thoughts is tiring and exhausting, especially when you are anxious or worried. Sometimes, in order to draw the attention away from these thoughts, people drink, take drugs, or engage themselves in hobbies or in various activities, but this isn’t the right solution.
  • Just think how much energy and time you could have saved, if you could reduce the number of your thoughts.
  • Just think how much better focus you could possess, if thoughts did not bother you.
  • Just think how much inner peace, calmness and happiness you would have enjoyed, if there was a way to stop all these thoughts, which add nothing to your life.
Let me ask you, do you keep the engine of your car running after arriving at your destination? You certainly switch the engine off. So why not do so with your mind?
You might say that this is an automatic process, which cannot be stopped. Wrong! It is an automatic process, but it can be stopped, or at least slowed down.
I have written about this constant stream of thoughts in my articles, The Mental Noise, and How to Calm Down the Mental Noise.
There are several techniques to reduce the number of thoughts that your mind thinks per day.
In my opinion, and experience, the best methods that provide a real solution, and also many benefits, are concentration and meditation. Yes, this involves some effort on your part, but all the good things of life require a certain degree of effort to gain.
People, who meditate regularly, will agree that meditation slows the stream of thoughts. When this stream slows down, your mind becomes calm and peaceful, and this happens not only during meditation, but also at other times of the day.
When the stream of thoughts slows down, you will be able to focus your mind on what you are doing, without being distracted, and your mind can work better at studying, solving problems, making plans, doing your work, etc. The mind becomes a much more efficient and useful tool.
Going down from 80,000 thoughts to 30,000, 20,000, or less, will save you a lot of strain, worry, time, and wasted energy. You will also begin to enjoy the sweet taste of inner peace.
source and credit: successconsciousness

How To Face Your Fears In Meditation

Face Your Fears

You know, I face fear every day. Every time I post a piece of writing, a piece of my soul, I feel the reverberation of creation. As I create, I feel the urge to destroy. Not good enough. Not fresh enough. Not true enough. You will tell me when my words are stale? Darling? You will tell me when my message has become stale and garbled?
Dear reader, will you do this for me? Slap me with the kiss of truth?
I feel I have been too hasty lately in my writing. I feel my communication can be better. I want to talk to you today about meditation and fragmentation. One foot ahead of the other. In meditation, along with the development of discernment within, I began to embrace fragmentation.
The more I saw my own process, the more I saw fragmentation. I noticed how chaotic and murky my inner landscape truly was. The practice of awareness and non-judgment, however, led to an internal alchemy, a process of transformation.
Starting around the third year of my practice, every time I sat down in meditation I could sense something subtle and grand was going on. I focused on the ordinary and held onto nothing. Stay honest. Stay diligent. Stay curious and playful. The focus is on the process, not the product.
You pay attention, but at the same time you are relaxing into it. You are learning to push and pull at the same time. Harmonizing opposing forces within is part of the practice.
For me, it felt like there was intense processing of energy all the time. Pay attention. Notice the manner in which your thoughts manifest. Pay attention. Play with the idea that there is more to know about yourself. How vast is consciousness? Pay attention. Pay attention. Noticing how the brain fires in reaction mode versus response mode.
Pay attention. Pay attention. You are a very fragmented young mind. The very least you can do is pay attention.  Using my personal vices as an example—if you desire to be reckless and unwise, then own it and make it sacred. Honest. Truthful. Find truth in mistakes. Find truth in unruliness. Find truth in fragmentation. From fragmentation, to compartmentalization, to integration. Meditation is the catalyst for transformation within.
Simple breathing. Simple focus. Simple concentration. Simple experiencing. Make the simple sacred and the miraculous follows naturally. As you progress on the meditative path, you may find that you start to feel more spacious within your own skin. The pathways that your five senses fire upon become more clear and resolute.
Exciting times, my friends! Glory awaits you. A sense of smoothness develops as the meditative cloth sandpapers away untruths. To repeat my past self: With a new level of comfort comes a new level of friction.
With the expansion of awareness comes the increase of both light and darkness. Learning to stay balanced as power and intensity increases is one of the many fun challenges on the inward path. Only you can feel it. Only you can experience it. Only you can be the true master.

Written By Larry Li – Excerpt from his book Meditation Swerve

For A Free Guided Meditation  CLICK HERE

source and credit:The Way of Meditation

5 Important Turning Points In Your Spiritual Awakening!

Turning points are what cause a Spiritual Awakening to begin. Although you can have many different experiences, each individual experience begins to lead your life in a different direction. Spiritual Awakening is mostly a sign that you are maturing as a human and seeking to be more peaceful in your way of dealing with yourself and with others.

It’s important to keep in mind that a Spiritual Awakening in no way indicates that you are more special, superior or anything that places you above others.  It is, in fact, the complete opposite.  A Spiritual Awakening brings about authenticity and humility.If you have experienced, or are currently experiencing, any of the turning points listed below then chances are you are experiencing a Spiritual Awakening in your life.

1. Physical Turning Point

Physical Turning Points (PTP) can come after a traumatic experience that permanently changes the course of one’s life.

An example of a PTP can be having a devastating car accident or illness that leaves a person crippled, broken, or just psychologically scarred. This type of turning point is potentially the most drastic. It highlights the importance of seeking spiritual change peacefully and consciously.

2. Mental Turning Point

Mental Turning Points (MTP) can also be called Psychological Turning Points. These type of turning points come after one has made a sub-conscious breakthrough in their understanding of themselves and the world around them. They can be brought on by letting go of past experiences and difficulties.

The MTP is usually a more gentle way of approaching Spiritual Enlightenment but is often a slower process.3. Financial Turning Point

A Financial Turning Point (FTP) has to do with the direction one’s life is going financially.  It doesn’t matter if someone’s overall wealth is increasing or decreasing, a FTP can happen either way.

There have been people experience a turning point at the peak of their financial success and people experience a turning point at the lowest point in their life.  But the overriding factor is a desire to change. An example of a Financial Turning Point is when a very wealthy man realizes that what he has means nothing to him.  So, he leaves everything and sets off on a spiritual journey.

4. Emotional Turning Point

Emotional Turning Points (ETP) are the generalized “Turning Point” because most Spiritual Awakenings are not a single event but a combination of events that lead people to Spiritual Awakening.  All Spiritual Awakenings are, in effect, Emotional Turning Points because it is the human emotions that connect individuals to all things. It is the ability of emotion that brings awareness of ourselves and of 

5. Reflective Turning Point

The Reflective Turning Point (RTP) can come about in a few different ways: physical distance, emotional distance and the passing of time.  All three reflection criteria have value, but perhaps time is the most significant one, because with a gap of time one can more clearly analyze things because their mind has had the opportunity to deal with it sub-consciously.

Physical distance is also important because it offers the physical distance required to see the bigger picture.  If you never leave home, you will have nothing to compare it to. So you must leave your childhood home for a time and then come back to it, or move on to some place different to continue your journey of Spiritual Awakening.

source and credit: via:enlightenplanet

Recent Stories