Categories
meditation mindfulness

Let’s Talk Meditation

Meditation and the Truth

Most of us have heard about meditation and mindfulness over the last few years, but how many of us truly understand how to practice this ancient art form passed down for thousands of years. This article is where I want to correct the balance and put straight some of the facts about this noble way to practice.

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Most of the information I see on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram is given freely but at the cost of heavily advertised websites, Click baited headlines to draw your curiosity in to only find a half hearted explanation and little to no advice. Most of these websites are written by wanna-be social media stars and there is a growing concern that meditation and mindfulness has become, or is becoming, a watered down version of a truly remarkable aid in the development of our human consciousness. An aid, that if understood correctly, can and will change your life dramatically for the better.

What can Meditation do for me?

Meditation has the ability to reshape your life towards a more peaceful, respectful and compassionate way to live. A life with less worry and less anxiety, a life where gossip doesn’t amuse or intrigue and fear struggles to reside. Meditation can calm and clear your mind like that of a still lake and reflect back a better version of yourself. And by searching within for that elusive happiness we truly can change the world around us.

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My experience with Meditation

My experience with meditation has completely changed my life for the better. I have been practicing meditation for well over 15 years, a large number for some but a small number for others. In this time I have gone from a lost soul not understanding the way of the world, feeling like I didn’t fit in, or that something was wrong with me. I now have a life living completely satisfied and fulfilled, a life full of love and compassion. I now have a relationship with my father something that in my early life I did not and this is something I cherish dearly.

In these 15 years I have been trained by meditation masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh and from the direct descendants of the forest monk Ajahn Chah. I have been an ordained Buddhist monk for many years practicing in the seclusion of the northern forests of Thailand. I now wander the European countryside as a monk still searching the depths of my mind and all its wily tricks and parlour games it plays. I am totally addicted to meditation and mindfulness like a smoker is to cigarettes. Everyday I practice watching or observing the play of consciousness and it’s relationship to our experiences. Everyday I grow and learn more.

I am not enlightened and don’t pretend to be, I am enjoying the search tremendously and as so I have for a long time dedicated my life to understanding the truth of our human condition.

How to truly meditate

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We have all heard that the art of meditation is to follow the breath. Breathing in, you really observe and feel the breath coming in. We need to be invested in this process of observance, completely absorbed and focused. See how the air passes through you nostrils, tickling the hairs in your nose, watch and witness the abdomen enlarge and the lungs expanding gently as a response. Breathing out observe the process as you would a movie get yourself involved and watch the lungs deflate as a response to you abdomens movement. Observe the air as it comes out through your nose, tickling those nostril hairs. And then the slight pause before we breath in once again.

This is just one step in meditation and is the foundation of all training it is called Samantha or Samadhi meditation. However this is just a foundation and only when our foundations are solid and secure can we start to build upon this to investigate and discover the real interplay between our thoughts and there corresponding actions. This is known as Vipassanā meditation. Translated as ‘truly seeing‘, or insight meditation.

Vipassanā Meditation

Vipassanā Meditation is an observance of the our thoughts within the consciousness. We watch, without interference, how each thought arises from something and then passes away. How one thought leads to another and to another and then to another. Vipassanā Meditation is the observance of the minds three facts of existence, impermanence, suffering and non self as they reveal themselves through consciousness. Truths that once experienced as reality changes your whole way of life. Knowing this is not enough, experiencing this for yourself is the true purpose of meditation and one that can take minutes or sometimes a life time.

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Vipassanā is an art form that takes a long time to develop and should only be attempted after many hours of Samantha meditation as described above. The reason is to develop the skill as an observer without interference so as to experience these truths for yourself. There is no point in just mere understanding, one must truly experience this birth and death for ourselves, experience the ever changing impermanence that exists in everything.

For another explanation of Vipassanā Meditation from a more scientific view point Click Here

What to do now

The most important factor to remember with meditation is to always be kind towards yourself. When we loose focus on our breathing, gently laugh or chuckle to yourself and bring back your attention. Try not to be harsh with yourself it is the journey that is far more important than the destination. Kindness goes an incredible long way in this world and something that if practiced towards ourselves helps elevate a lot of our problems.

Practice breathing meditation or Samantha meditation until you have got a solid foundation, a foundation where you feel present in the moment, grounded in the breath. Once this has become established then allow your mind to investigate, to clearly see with Vipassanā Meditation.

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For any help or advice please feel free to contact me using the contact form provided in the menu. There is no pressure on your behalf and I am here to help. I have been lucky enough to be guided by Masters over my time and it would be a delight to help in anyway I can.

kind regards

Dhamma Tāpasā

Categories
Everyone’s Mind Matters

30 Ways To De-Stress

30 Ways To De-Stress and Unwind.

It seems that today more than ever, we have become an overworked underpaid stressed out human race. It is NOW vital we learn some of the basic fundamental ways to de-stress and unwind.

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What actually is Stress

Stress is a build up of an overwhelmed mental process. The triggers of stress can be either positive, such as a new born baby or promotion at work, or negative such as car breakdown or loss of money . In almost all instances it is usually the result of unexpected or sudden changes in ones life, but is not limited too. Stress can also be a slow gradual process or can be experienced as an instantaneous reaction.

We usually divide stress into three categories, these are Acute stress, Chronic stress and Traumatic stress.

Acute Stress: Stress that causes an immediate noticeable change in ones mental state, such as avoiding a car crash, or sudden confrontation

Chronic Stress: Stress that causes continuous harm, anxiety or frustration, such as prolonged pressures of work or school.

Traumatic Stress: Stress caused after a dangerous and scary event. Example would be experiencing war, a deadly storm or almost drowning. Traumatic Stress can lead to PTSD post traumatic stress disorder

How do we experience Stress

We first experience stress wether acute or chronic as mental phenomenon, this can then be experienced either two ways, physically or emotionally.

Our physical response can be felt throughout our entire body, with each organism and muscle feeling tense and taught, usually however we experience stress in isolated locations such as sweaty palms, a raised heart beat or stiffness in the neck and shoulders as examples.

Our emotional response to stress causes changes to happen in our consciousness and our thoughts, we feel worried, we may have difficulties in focusing on tasks, can make us cry or outbursts of anger, and we can become consumed by just one thought going around and around.

The 30 basic fundamental ways to De-Stress and unwind

If you are experiencing stress either emotionally or physically then use these 30 beautiful techniques to slow down and unwind from a stressful day.

  1. Go for a walk

  1. Stretch and Revitalise

  1. Read a good Book

  1. Meditate for 5 minutes

  1. Go for a bike ride

  1. Listen to your favourite music

  1. Count to ten

  1. Use the free 7 Wonders course

  1. Disconnect from technology

  1. Just be outside in fresh air

  1. Punch a pillow

  1. Soak up some sunshine

  1. Take a 10 Minute shower

  1. Read some motivational quotes

  1. Keep a Journal

  1. Try Walking Meditation

  1. Kick a ball about

  1. Smile because it’s what makes life so beautiful

  1. Read an inspirational Moral Story

  1. Give yourself a head and neck massage

  1. Try some basic yoga

  1. Do some star jumps

  1. Write 10 things you love about yourself

  1. Squeeze a squash ball

  1. Take some long deep breaths

  1. Make or buy yourself a Jar Of loving Kindness

  1. Do some Gardening

  1. Try Loving Kindness Meditation

  1. De-clutter your space

If you would like to add to this list or think maybe something should be left out then please help others by leaving a comment below.

kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
quotes

Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes

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Eleanor Roosevelt 1884 – 1962

An American diplomat, civil rights activist, writer and political figure serving as First Lady of the United States during her husband Franklin D Roosevelt’s four terms as United States president. A passionate human rights activist that has her the nickname ‘the First Lady of the world’ first coined by president Harry S Truman.

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She was born into the prestigious family of Livingston but lost both her parents at a young age. She was educated in both America and London England where it is said the headmistress had an enormous impact on her life. She married Franklin D Roosevelt in 1905 and after her husband had an affaire she became more independent wanting a public life of her own.

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Sometimes outspoken always headstrong she redefined the role as First Lady campaigning strongly for civil rights of African and Asian Americans and the World War II refugees. Following he husbands death she would spend the next 17 years in public service becoming the United States very first delegate of the United Nations. Regarded by many as one of the most esteemed women of the world

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Categories
meditation

15 Meditation Tips & Tricks to the Most Common Issues

Why Meditation is so Important

Meditation has been by far the best thing I have ever started in life, hands down. It has made me less fearful or worrisome, I have become more content, calmer and happier with life’s ups and downs, but the most important thing Meditation has taught me is about my mind.

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Before I started meditating, I had hardly noticed that inner dialogue I was having with myself, I had never really thought about what was going on in my head, I thought it all just happened, out of my control, I would just follow the commands almost powerless.

With meditation practice I have been able to notice more and more the interplay between thoughts and their actions (Karma) and how I can choose either to follow the commands or not. I now understand myself better than ever before and Meditation has allowed me to conquer my past childhood traumas, allowing for a freedom that feels so light and fluffy, with little to worry about. This is the beautiful experience that comes from meditation practice.

The Benefits of Meditation having been well publicised across news and social media in recent times, and everywhere you look there is seemingly more and more articles written on this very subject but very little in way in helping us deal with some of the most common meditation problems that arise, this is where this article is different.

Below you will find 15 solutions to the most common meditation problems that will make you meditate like an expert.

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15 Tips and Tricks

  • Slowly Start

To Begin Meditating start out slowly, we don’t need to spend hours and hours sitting cross legged on a hard floor, find a comfortable position for yourself, a chair, your bed or even the sofa and start with a simple 5 Minute Meditation and slowly build from there. You are far more likely to succeed if you start slowly. Later as we build our concentration levels, we can then think more of our position and posture.

  • Make a Meditation Schedule

Making a Meditation Schedule will help you a great deal, and using the latest Apps and technology that’s at our finger tips nowadays will help us stay motivated and inspired. Something that is overlooked is simply setting an alarm on our phone with a reminder that it’s meditation time. We all live busy lives an we can make a promises to ourselves one moment but then get lost in the distractions of the day. A simple alarm jogs our memory.

  • Keep Breathing Natural

While focused on your breathing, try to keep the breath as natural as possible, neither too deep or too shallow, just allow your breath to be as natural as possible without your interference. This can be a common problem as we first start to meditate, usually this is the first time we have spent time watching our breathing. Don’t worry you know how to breath you don’t need to interfere, just relax and concentrate on the rise and fall of your abdomen, and slowly the problem will pass.

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  • Worry about doing it wrong

Try not to worry about doing it wrong, we all have these doubts when we first start to meditate, it’s completely natural. Don’t worry you won’t be doing it wrong, there is no perfect way to be doing it, just be happy that you are meditating.

If you feel this happening, relax with a few deep long breaths and return to the breathing.

  • A Wandering Mind

When our minds wander from the breath, as it will from time to time, don’t scold or punish yourself with your inner dialogue, instead always be kind, and gently bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again.

Most people believe meditation practice is about clearing your mind, or stopping their thoughts. It is not, however thoughts can sometimes completely stop for a while, this is not the goal of Meditation. If you do have thoughts, that’s completely normal. We all do. Our brains are thought processors, and we can’t just shut them down. Instead, cultivate a friendly, loving kindness attitude towards them.

  • Distractions

Distractions can happen very easily in life, and in meditation this is no exception, wether its a noise disturbance, an itchy leg, feelings of discomfort, or that urgent thought that maybe you have left the oven on. We all have them.

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  • Noise

A Noise distraction or Disturbance can be noted as ‘noise, noise, noise’ sharply as with Vipasana Meditation and then we return to the breath, or we could choose to watch the process within our minds and ‘is it our mind thats disturbed by the noise, or is it our minds disturbing the noise?’

  • Itches

Itches as they arise can be noted and then left alone, returning to the breath. If the itch is still there after a few minutes then, gently and mindfully move and scratch. This can be a useful exercise in watching our thought process and the actions that follow (Karma)

  • Pains and Aches

Pains and aches in our legs, knees, hips, back and shoulders can be a problem and a serious one. When you first take up your position for Meditation, allow a few moments to check everything feels comfortable. Taking a few deep breaths and allowing ourselves to settle into our position will help elevate some of this issue. However if you especially feel pain in your knees, or hips then it will only make things worse to push yourself through that pain. Always Be kind and gently with yourself and move your position, as an alternative, try Walking Meditation for a little while until you feel able to return to sitting.

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  • Practice with a group

Meditation is a very personal journey but there are also times when practicing within a group will help overcome lethargy or laziness. Almost every city in almost every corner of the world now has some sort of meditation classes. Joining a group of like minded individuals who practice regularly will help us stay focused and dedicated and is highly recommended.

However some caution must be exercised, while the regularity of the meditation group is of great benefit, the people can become a great distraction. Try not to spend time in idal gossip on your meditation practice, this leads to feelings of grandeur or inferiority and both won’t be good for you or your practice.

  • Don’t worry if your mind is not peaceful

A lot of us start to meditate with the idea of silencing our inner dialogue, this is not the idea of meditation practice, although sometimes it can be a side affect while meditating, this is not the goal of meditation. Our minds quite naturally produce thought, it’s there job, Meditation is noticing the inter reaction and interplay our thoughts have and the Karma they produce.

Our minds somedays during meditation are peaceful and content, on other days it will not, remember this too will pass and you will tend to learn far more from these days that seem to be a struggle than the peaceful and easy days.

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  • Tiredness

Tiredness can be a real problem with meditating and if you notice yourself starting to doze off in the middle of a meditation session, first and foremost, don’t scold yourself, be kind and loving towards yourself and try these few things to try an elevate the feeling of tiredness and falling asleep.

Firstly check that your back is nice and straight and your shoulders haven’t slumped forward closing your chest up, If this is the case straighten up and sit comfortably again. Gently close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing again. Now gently give your ear lobes a slight squeeze or a little tug. It will have the effect of giving you an instant surge of energy to your mind. A very neat little trick.

If this is a persistent problem get up mindfully and try Walking Meditation for a short while before returning to Sitting Meditation. If you practice outside the fresh air seems to eliminate this problem entirely.

  • Feeling off balance

This problem can arise from time to time especially if your sitting crossed legged on the floor, but equally this happens when on a chair or simple practicing Standing Meditation. It can feel like your swaying with each breath you take, or maybe you think you are tilted slightly to one side, or your head feels at a funny angle. Each time your feeling off balance, simple note the sensation and if necessary correct yourself, generally however, just like itches, it seems to be a mirage of a distraction and will pass on it own accord.

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  • Mosquitos and other biting insects

Being a monk for a long time in the forests of Thailand, I have had my fair share of mosquitos and little bitting insects, and I even had a bald head, the perfect training target for all newbies or expert mosquitos alike.

The only way I found I didn’t get bitten was when my mind would let go, of that anxious feeling of knowing I’d get bitten. The moment I excepted my situation, it seemed I wouldn’t get bitten. Every meditation where I just couldn’t except this way of thinking, staying attached to a negative emotion, I would get bitten. I kid you not. Try it.

Failing this line of approach, it is always possible to meditate, as we did as Buddhist monks, under a mosquito net. Simple but effective, especially if you live in an area where you know they are around for long periods.

  • Kindness to Yourself

The underlying most important tip i can give is Kindness towards yourself and inner dialogue, you will never improve you Meditation if you keep scolding yourself. Be kind, smile, maybe even a little chuckle at your mind that just wandered off again. and always gently bring it back to the breath.

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Find out more

We hope you have found this to be of real benefit and now you have that energy and determination to start meditating for the first time or even on a regular basis. I can highly recommend it and the benefits that come from a sustained practice.

If there is anything we hear at 4enlightenment can help you with regarding meditation questions The please Contact Us and will respond with a personal email. If you would like to know our linage Of Meditation, length of time spent meditating, or any thing else then have a look at the About Us page.

Wishing you every success in your meditation practice.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
meditation

Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude or Gratification meditation

Gratification Meditation is one of the best ways to overcome past traumas, Depression, stress and Anxiety being grateful for what we have in the moment allows no space for negativity, pessimism, doom or gloom. We sit naturally non judgemental and non discriminate.

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Finding things to be Grateful for

Finding things in your life to be grateful for may be a little bit harder to do for some, so if you have a little trouble finding things to be grateful for this wonderful article entitled The Seven Wonders of Life, will really help.

Some of my personal Seven Wonders that I love to use while meditating with gratitude are, my adopted stray dog Marley, sometimes affectionately known as Marley Moo. He really is adorable and the unconditional love he has for me. It will put a smile on my face every time. Maybe you have a pet that you get great pleasure sharing love.

I also love the great outdoors and enjoy a good long walk, taking in the fresh air is magical. Maybe you also love to walk and spend time in he sunshine.mindful exercise, meditation practice, personal growth, inner contentment, mindset reset, personal development through mindfulness, commit to sit, most important thing to learn, developing minds, relaxation techniques, spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism, gratitude for yourself, We need to find a few things that will put a smile on your face something that we can be grateful about, then keeping those in your mind we begin to relax.

Let’s begin to meditate

This meditation can be practiced at home or at work, so long as you can find a quiet place you won’t be disturbed.

Sitting in a comfortable position, either cross legged on a meditation mat, using a meditation stool or a solid chair, keep a straight spine, not over pulling it one way or the other, gently relax your shoulders and bring your chest forward to allow your lungs to be fully open. Feel your muscles relax and your worries drift away. Softly close your eyes and take a few long deep breaths when your ready bring your attention to your breath. 

At this point, when my mind and body feel relaxed and peaceful I slowly go through my Seven Wonders list spending a nice amount of time on each one, feeling all the sensations of Love, passion and happiness in my body and across my face.mindful exercise, meditation practice, personal growth, inner contentment, mindset reset, personal development through mindfulness, commit to sit, most important thing to learn, developing minds, relaxation techniques, spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism, gratitude for yourself, Start with your favourite Seven Wonder, and visualise and hold onto the feelings it generates inside. You can stay just focused on your favourite wonder, you don’t have to move through them all.

There are no hard and fast rules for this Meditation except for generating feelings of bliss, contentment and happiness.

If You find your mind wanders, gently and kindly bring it back to your Seven Wonders of life. The amazing thing about this meditation is the concentration levels you can achieve very quickly, having something joyful for ourselves to focus on makes a remarkable difference.

Tips and tricks

Some points to remember,

Try to keep the breath as natural as possible, not to deep or shallow just allow it to be, without your interference. This can happen when we first stay to meditate because usually this is the first time we have spent time watching ourselves breath. Don’t worry you know how to breath you don’t need to interfere just relax.

Our minds will wander from the object of meditation from time to time, and when it does, don’t scold or punish yourself but always be kind, and gently bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again.mindful exercise, meditation practice, personal growth, inner contentment, mindset reset, personal development through mindfulness, commit to sit, most important thing to learn, developing minds, relaxation techniques, spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism, gratitude for yourself,

Distractions happen easily, wether a noise, an itch, feeling uncomfortable or an urgent thought that maybe you have left the oven on. Always be kind and gently to your inner dialogue and gently bring your awareness back to your breath.

The underlying most important tip i can give is Kindness, you will never improve you Meditation if you keep scolding yourself with your inner dialogue. Be kind, smile, maybe even a little chuckle that your mind wandered again and gently bring it back to the breath

For more tips and tricks to the 15 most common meditation problems CLICK HERE!

Why are we doing this

The Benefits of Meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results meditation brings it’s all time we started this wonderful new science. Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention are only just being realised.

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I wish you all the success with your meditation and mindfulness journey.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
Everyone’s Mind Matters

Developing Optimism

Everyone’s Mind Matters

Developing Optimism

Having an optimistic outlook on life is not just scientifically proven but it is also highly beneficial to our minds and bodies. Being optimistic is seeing things in a less stressful manner, seeing the lighter side of life, enjoying the adventure rather than worrying what’s to come. Having optimism makes us feel happier and more content with life no matter who or where you are. Wouldn’t you rather be optimistic

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Optimism is a thought pattern that can be taught and learnt successfully, it may be true that they’re are some people born with a more optimistic outlook on life, these guys just have a head start.

Optimism can be taught and learnt successfully, just like any other thought pattern, repetition, patience and kindness to yourself go a long way. The good news is that optimism can be implemented into your life almost instantly.

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When I was a Buddhist monk in rural Thailand we sometimes used to ride into town in the back of an Land Rover with those bars holding up a canvas roof. Every big bump in the road, and one of the monks would bang his head on one of those metal bars, not once did I hear a scream of pain or abusive language, every time it happened the monk would burst out laughing.

Of course I thought it was strange, until I started to change my mindset and slowly I also found I too could laugh at adversity, it even feels good

How To Change Your Mindset

Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention, are only just being realised

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The Benefits of Meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results that meditation brings.

The reduction in Stress, Anxiety and Depression are reported in 95 percent of all participants from as little as two weeks of mindfulness meditation training. The increase in Optimism, Happiness and Contentment are equally as impressive with over 90 percent of participants reporting a dramatic change.

Imagine the benefits of keeping this wonderful and simple exercise up everyday

How To Start Meditating

Sitting in a comfortable position, either cross legged on a meditation mat, using a meditation stool or a solid chair, keep a straight spine, not over pulling it one way or the other, gently relax your shoulders and bring your chest forward to allow your lungs to be fully open.

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Softly close your eyes and take a few long deep breaths, start to feel your muscles relax and your worries drift away, when your ready bring your attention to your breath.

Breathing in be aware you’re breathing in, 

breathing out, be aware you are breathing out. 

Count one.

Repeat this for five or ten counts then start again. This is the basics of Breathing or Samadhi Meditation

For more on Meditation and Mindfulness training techniques, from the different positions and correct posture to use, too Basic and more advanced meditations to try. Visit our Meditation Page

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
quotes

Deepak Chopra Quotes

Quotes by Deepak Chopra

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Deepak Chopra 1946 – present 

Indian born American spiritual author, public speaker and advocate of alternative medicine. A celebrated author in the self help category, Deepak studied medicine in India before moving to the United States in 1970. After completing further academic studies into internal medicine and endocrinology he became chief of staff at the New England memorial hospital.

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It was hear that Deepak met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a meeting that would change his life. As he started with Transcendental meditation and resigned his position as chief of staff and established the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centre. Deepak Chopra believes that we can change the very ageing process, sometimes even reversing that process.

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His claims that his practices can treat chronic disease has had him regularly criticised by medical and scientific professionals alike. After Oprah Winfrey interviewed him about his books a loyal following grew making him one of the highest grossing self help authors of all time. In 1996 he co-founded the Chopra Centre for Wellbeing

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