365 Days to a Better You – Day 110

Send loving-kindness into the world around you.

Metta meditation is an ancient Buddhist type of meditation. The word has no direct English translation and is often translated as loving-kindness. In the following video, I demonstrate how to do this meditation. After watching, you’ll be able to practice this for yourself immediately.

I’ve used this meditation for 25 years and have seen the many benefits of it.

Metta Meditation mantra

I am happy. I am peaceful. I am free from suffering.

Metta Meditation stages

  1. Yourself
  2. People close to you
  3. People you’re neutral towards
  4. People you have a slightly negative view of
  5. People you have real anger or even hatred for
  6. Your city
  7. Your country
  8. All of humanity
  9. All living things on Earth
  10. All beings in the Universe.

This is an easy affirmation to execute. Give this a try and let me know in the comments below how it works for you!

Have an amazing day!

Ray

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365 Days to a Better You – Day 109

Read from your own dictionary.

If I got a group of you in a room and asked you to close your eyes and imagine a table, you’d all imagine a different table. It’s not because we don’t all know what a table is. It’s because, even for a commonplace thing like a table, we all see our own version when we hear the word.

The same is true for important words like love, happiness, success, freedom, and compassion. What those words mean to the society as a whole, to me, or to anyone you know matters not. In the context of your life, it only matters what they mean to YOU!

Why would you choose to live by anyone else’s definitions of important words like that? As well meaning as they may be, your mother, your friend, your boss invariably have different visions of these words.

Power hack: You must always and everywhere feel perfectly free to define these words for yourself. I’d encourage you to give some thought to what happiness, success, freedom, and other words on your list really mean to YOU!

We are so fortunate to live in a time when we have the freedom – and why that is so important – to live according to the definitions of ourselves that make sense to us. So, stop memorizing that old “society says” dictionary and write your own dictionary these for life-changing concepts. Then go out and live it!

Have an amazing Friday. Thank you for reading this blog! If you enjoy it, please share it with a friend or with your social media circle. Thanks for your support!

Ray

 

365 Days to a Better You – Day 108

Do you believe in humanity’s potential?

I’m surprised at the dim view so many people have of our human race. Even many people who pursue a spiritual or personal development path look at the world and shake their heads.

It’s always seemed like a contradiction to me to believe that you can better yourself through techniques, practices, and ideas, but not see that the same is possible and necessary for the species as a whole.

Life experience and the news have skewed many of us to believe we are a hopeless, maybe sinful, maybe unenlightened lot without hope of change. I believe that mindset has sunk in so deeply for so many that they have given up on trying to better the world. They pursue their path for themselves and leave the world to itself.

To me, this negative view of humanity is the result of garbage in, garbage out. We have been fed garbage thinking about ourselves for so long that we don’t know how to see humanity any other way. What if we fueled our minds with better visions?

I want you to imagine for a moment a world where 7 billion people had their basic needs met and were allowed to fly after their dreams. What if everyone had the time, the opportunity, and encouragement to do what you’re doing for yourself?

As powerful as your own transformation is, wouldn’t it be amazing to live a world where everyone had that vibe, that energy, and that intention?

Many of our political and religious philosophies claim this not possible. By their reckoning, we are forever doomed to be 7 billion fragments of a whole pursuing only what gratifies us in this moment and creating conflict when what we want crosses what someone else wants.

I wonder. I’ve always believed this is a game of critical mass. It is the critical mass of our collective thinking, actions, and beliefs that have in EVERY SINGLE way created the world we have.

Power hack:

  • What if we simply chose better thinking, actions, and beliefs?
  • What if we stopped believing that peace is impossible and acted as though it is inevitable?
  • What if we started acting as if there’s plenty for everyone (which there is) instead of hoarding ours like a wolf at the pack’s kill?
  • What if we looked across race, gender, religion, and every other difference and saw ourselves rather than THE other?
  • What if we invested our energy as a species in building the future together rather than tearing apart our present?

“Ray, Ray, Ray. That all sounds nice. It’s a beautiful but naive Utopia. What a magnificent and impossible vision. ‘They’ would never go for it.”

Would you? This isn’t really about any proverbial “them” that would never agree to live that way. It begins with us – you and me.

Are we willing to go to the mat for that kind of a world rather than staying stuck in the trap of self-identification and difference? Are we willing to stop scapegoating others and make the changes we need to make to see that through?

If you believe, as I assume you do if you’re reading this blog, that what you think can transform your life; then why can’t what WE think transform our world?

There is no law or decree that says we must live in chaos, conflict, and suffering. We can choose different thoughts, different actions, and different results.

It all starts with you and me! Fear and habit are all that stand in our way.

Have an awesome day! I love all of you!

Ray

Visit the TAS website’s Quotes Library for inspirational quotes from famous and not-so-famous people.

 

 

365 Days to a Better You – Day 107

Listen to your ideas

Today’s Thought
Every great achievement began as a small thought in the mind of someone who partly doubted it, but acted anyway.

We are all amazing idea machines. We crank them out constantly. Most of them are not game-changers. Yet, I’ll guarantee you, if you’re breathing and reading this post, you’ve had ideas that would have changed your life if not the world.

The quote above describes how almost every idea that has changed lives and changed the world began. Occasionally, we’re swept up in an amazing idea, but usually it’s that little voice inside of us that says, “That’s a good idea.”

Most of us, though, move on with our day and forget about the idea until we see it manifested in the world by someone else.

Power hack: So, I’d like you to join me in a little experiment for the next seven days. Each time you have an idea – big or small – about something that could make a difference in the world, I want you to capture it somewhere. Don’t wait. Capture when you have it so you don’t forget. Don’t “try” to think of things. Just let it happen in the course of your day. Notice things that need solutions.

By this time next week, I’d be shocked if you don’t have several incredible, viable ideas. What you choose to do with them is up to you, but you’ll never again wonder if you’re capable. You are!

If you’re inspired to share them below as you have them, I’d love to hear them! Thanks for reading the blog. Your support means everything!

Ray

P.S. It is Day 10 of my 10-day soda detox. So, I’ve gleaned a couple of benefits. I’ve noticed I have better focus without the soda in my system. I also noticed the afternoon crash was not as severe, if it happened at all. I was hoping it might benefit my psoriasis, but I didn’t notice any improvement from that.

Tonight I will post a video of me enjoying a Dr. Pepper for the first time in 10 days. I am committed, though, going forward to significantly cut back my soda intake. What were your results? I’d love to hear below!

 

 

 

365 Days to a Better You – Day 106

Breaking free from Groupthink.

Today’s Quote
If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking.
~Gen. George S. Patton

Groupthink is a big challenge in our world today. You see it in politics, the news, and even at work.

There are two powerful forces at work here. One is that many people, sadly, would rather not think for themselves. They’re fine with allowing others to make the decisions and they fall in line with them.

The second force is that we are dangerously moving toward a more top-down approach in our culture. “Thought leaders” or others come up with the talking points and a large majority of people just repeat them. If you’ve ever witnessed a political debate on social media, you see this at work. It’s not a dialogue between two people. It’s a shouting of talking points heard on Fox News and MSNBC.

General George Patton lived a long time ago. So, this isn’t a new problem, but our age technological encroachment on independent thinking makes it more dire.

Power hack: Here are a few thoughts to help you break free from this malaise and think for yourself.

  1. Be an army of one – if you’re right, who cares if you’re an army of one. Be willing do you, regardless of what they say.
  2. Groupthink is often wrong – if you haven’t noticed all this groupthink – often called consensus – is wrong a lot. Everyone may think something, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct. Do your due diligence, draw your own conclusions, and be willing to take a stand.
  3. Everybody believes it- be ready for the world not to like you sometimes. Being right on the Iraq War in 2003 was a good way to get yourself ostracized or even fired in some places. By 2015, you had politicians and news people who had full-throatedly supported that war admitting it was a mistake. There were a lot of us independent thinkers who understood the folly in real time.
  4. The experts don’t always know – experts know a lot of things, but there’s two things you need remember about the experts. 1) They have an agenda like everyone else. 2) They are tied to the status quo. Their expertise is tied up in knowing what is. They’re not really that good at seeing what can be. Get a visionary for that.
  5. So, you get one wrong – so once in a while you get it wrong by going out on a limb. So what! As pointed out above the groupthinkers get it wrong all the time. Here’s what I guarantee you. Think for yourself and you’ll come out ahead of the herd. You may miss big, but you’ll win big too. Groupthinkers are forever trapped in the mushy middle of mediocrity.
  6. Unique matters – your unique thoughts, that refuse to go with the prevailing flow, may be exactly what is needed to balance things, to right things, or even to solve them. Stay true to you!
  7. Think for yourself but not only of yourself – Thinking for yourself should avoid narcissism. Thinking for yourself does not mean thinking only about yourself. Independent thinkers can do amazing things for the group when they are allowed to do so. The group would be wise to let them.

Never concede your thinking to the group. Be flexible enough to follow the facts, as you know them, but always think for yourself. A world filled with people like that is a better world.

Ray

 

 

365 Days to a Better You – Day 105

Make the radical choice to be happy no matter what.

Happiness is right here right now always, if we choose it. I promise!

You and I place too many terms and conditions on our happiness. We say:

  • I’ll be happy if…
  • I’ll be happy when…

Yet we achieve those conditions and they may bring momentary happiness. Then we’re right back into dissatisfaction.

It’s not surprising. Our mainstream culture is a skilled merchant in unhappiness, fear, and dystopia. They sell it in bulk on the regular. We are easily swept into these eddies of dissatisfaction. If we’re not careful, they become our home.

I’m preaching at me as much as you this morning. I do it too. I place small print terms and conditions on my happiness. I waste days waiting and working for my conditions to materialize.

Buddha said, “The worst things in the world are desiring something and getting it.” I believe he was talking about this very cycle. We’re stuck in desiring rather than enjoying life. Then we get what we want and it loses its charms and appeal.

It IS a radical choice to be happy no matter what in such an environment. So, how do we achieve it?

Powerhack:

  1. Choose happiness over and over moment after moment. There’s no shortcut. Every moment presents us with a choice to be happy or be stuck in wanting and waiting.
  2. Be here now. This was the famous advice of Ram Dass. Most of our unhappiness, if you pay attention, exists in the past and the projected future. This moment is wonderful, if you choose to see it.
  3. Spend more time with roses and jasmine. This was the solution proposed by Rumi to his poetic question, “When you go to a garden do you look at thorns or flowers?” See the positive around you now.
  4. Be still and know. God or the universe, however you term it, has your back. Good things are coming. Be happy about them before they even arrive.
  5. Drop your terms and conditions and just be happy.

You are all awesome! Thanks for reading today’s post.

Ray