Cultivating Equanimity – Day 264 of 365 Days to a Better You

The standard dictionary definition for equanimity is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

In Buddhism, equanimity is one of the four sublime states of being. The Buddhist teacher, Gil Fronsdal, describes it this way.

Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality’s transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.

Sounds like a quality I’d like to develop more fully, but how?

Broadly speaking, meditation, prayer, or communing with nature can gain you temporary equanimity. The goal, though, is to bottle it so you can take with you into life’s adversity and, “Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,” as Rudyard Kipling put it.

Buddha described seven qualities that create equanimity. These are qualities you and I can develop with or without Buddhist practice.

  1. Virtue or integrity
  2. Faith
  3. Well-developed mind
  4. Well-being
  5. Wisdom
  6. Insight
  7. Freedom

If this topic interests you and you’re wanting a little deeper dive, I’ve outlined the seven qualities and how to achieve them here.

Have a fantastic evening, my friends! Thank you all for your support of this blog and my work.

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us

Advertisements

Profound Moments – Day 225 of 365 Days to a Better You

In our hurry up world, it’s easy to miss the profound moments happening around us all the time. Our hurry disconnects us, I believe, from what’s authentic and real. Poetry is an amazing doorway into experiencing these moments. What the poems or what those moments mean is an experience utterly unique to you.

Today I’ll share two poems. The first was written by yours truly in 1993. It may not be world-class poetry, but describes a scene I experienced in my mind’s eye while listening to Music from The Hearts of Space.

Engaged!

In profound contemplation

on a gray wind-swept beach at dusk.

Reaching for a stone, I hurl it into the sea.

Wondering, as I do, whose universe I’ve shuddered.

And, how my universe has been fundamentally altered by the act.

Then I watch a seagull feed her young and listen as the sun sinks beneath the waves.

The second is a profound poem by the 8th century Chinese poet Li Po (also know as Li Bai).

“The Birds Have Vanished”

(English translation by Sam Hamill)

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

What are we touching in those moments of profound connection? Why does it touch something so deep within us? These are questions that must not be brushed aside by our hustle and bustle.

Wishing you all an amazing evening! That should be easy, as amazing as you are!

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | PayPal

Becoming Mindful – Day 128 of 365 Days to a Better You

It’s amazing how much you can get done sitting perfectly still with eyes closed and legs crossed.

You’ve been taught your entire life that you can and you must rely on your five senses to interpret and understand the reality around you. We consider this process conscious awareness, but how aware and how conscious is it?

Neuroscientists estimate that your unconscious brain can process about 11 million pieces of information per second. However, your conscious brain can only process about 40 (or 3.6/1,000,000ths). Yeah. There’s a lot coming into your consciousness and experience that you’re not aware of.

That’s under pristine conditions. Consider how fragmented you are by stresses, deadlines, and multi-tasking. You have to question the quality of the conscious data you’re receiving and basing your life decisions upon.

Two things become immediately apparent. There’s a huge amount of information available to you that you’re not benefiting from consciously. Your conscious information, when used in a hurried, frazzled environment, is unreliable. I hope you’d agree that’s not a practical state of affairs.

Mindfulness is a generalized term for age-old awareness and meditation practices specifically designed to slow you down, allow you to take more in consciously, and raise your awareness.

mindfulness_definition

2012 research submitted to and published by the American Psychological Association demonstrated amazing empirical benefits such as improved focus, better memory, less depression, stress reduction, and more cognitive flexibility.

Research subjects found over time they experienced more empathy, compassion, less stress, and a better quality of life.

Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and UMASS-Amherst, has made a career of studying the benefits of mindfulness. His focus has been on general health and on people with chronic or even terminal conditions. However, the implications of his work are applicable to all our lives.

I first became aware of his work in my 20s health and psychological crisis period through his wonderful books – Full Catastrophe Living (Amazon link) and Wherever You Go There You Are Audio Version (Amazon link). They were game-changers for me personally.

If you want to go deeper on Kabat-Zinn’s research, I’ll share some links below.

Power hack: Mindfulness is a tool accessible by any human being – you included – in any moment. You don’t need a degree or special knowledge or the wisdom of a saint. You just need a quiet space to relax, breathe, let go, and become aware. The benefits to both your health and your level of awareness are amazing.

If you’re new, Gaiam.com provides these four simple steps to get you started with mindfulness meditation. We will take this deeper in a future post.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.

Begin with maybe five minutes at a time and work your way up to 20 minutes or longer.

Mindfulness meditation is the best tool I know of to become more aware of your environment and more awake to your potential, and more in-touch with the healing energies within.

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

 

 

Be Still and Know – Day 117 of 365 Days to a Better You

What can you know? How can you truly know anything?

You’re born into this world like a blank slate and at first all you know is what the people around you tell you. That’s based on a combination of experience and what other people have told them.

You don’t know if they’re sages or idiots. Yet, what they know begins to form what you know. As you get older, you encounter friends who have their own vision of what there is to know that they got it the same way.

Eventually, you begin to consume spiritual traditions, education and media and they impart what the wider culture believes it knows. Even the best-read religious teacher or pHD, without further reflection, is only teaching you to know what others have taught him or her to know.

Even the best science, while many consider it the standard for rational unbiased inquiry, often results in the scientists finding what he set out to find.

What can you really know and how can you really know it?

I’m not saying that you don’t listen to our parents, friends, science, the media, or religious teachings. I’m saying that you must understand that each of them is filled with the biases of your culture, the biases of your five senses, and the biases of a hundred generations before you and what they thought they know.

Power hack: All the ways of knowing listed above have one thing in common. They all encourage you to look outside. There is a way to know, but it come by looking within. Why? Whatever the ultimate reality of all you see around you is, you are of it. That means you’re connected to the rest of it and can know whatever it knows.

There is a knowingness that pervades all that is. That nine months you were in your mother’s womb neither you nor your mother controlled that process. The Universe knew how to birth you. How does the bee know to pollinate the flower? How does the cloud know to rain?

There is a knowingness that pervades all that is. To hear it, you simply need to be still, listen, and know. Turn off the outside noise and the century’s old opinions. Look for guidance within the part of you that is connected to the knowingness that guides the bee and the cloud. It can guide you too.

For some of you this might sound a little woo-woo. That’s OK. You’ve been biased toward a world that tells you the answers are out there when they are really in you. Be still, listen, and I promise you will know.

Here are five ways to access that knowing within.

  1. Meditation
  2. Contemplative prayer
  3. Connect with nature
  4. Turning off all the noise, sitting, and just listening.
  5. Asking questions out loud.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media or with your friends. Thank you all for reading and for your support!

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us

 

The Power of L.O.S.S. – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday November 10, 2009

Check Out Our Cool New Affirmation Apps:

Check out our new affirmation apps for Apple devices or search i-mobilize on the iTunes store. The Affirmation Spot is developing these motivation apps in partnership with i-mobilize. Click an app to view it – Love Magnet, Sales Booster, Confidence Affirmation, or Full Body Scan.

 


 

head_in_handsMany people see losing or a loss as a very negative thing. Like anything else, losing is all in how you look at it. A well-studied loss can be every bit as valuable in our journey as a victory. I’m not saying that losing is more fun than winning or that winning isn’t valuable. Clearly, we all want to win.

The truth is that most winners had to experience losing before they ever succeeded. So what if you chose to look at your losses in a slightly different light. A loss might be seen as Lessons and Obstacles on your way to Stunning Successes.

 

 

 

  • L – Lessons: Losing nearly always provides some lessons and some clues on how to improve. If you pay attention to the things that contributed to the loss, you can apply those lessons to future situations. Given time, you find the winning combination.
  • O – Obstacles – Losses are clearly obstacles. After all, your goal was to win or succeed. However, an obstacle might challenge you to improve or increase your determination to succeed. Used as mental and emotional leverage, a good obstacle can propel you to future victories.
  • S – Stunning – Losing can get you down and make you feel unworthy. In that dark moment of loss, remember to see what a stunning miracle you are. You are a diamond in the rough slowly being polished into something very special.
  • S – Successes – Success is that moment of break through when the journey of loss has been transformed into victory. The lessons, obstacles, and seeing how stunning you are kept you on track to enjoy the sweet taste of success.

So you see a loss is never loss. It’s an opportunity, an invitation to a journey of self-discovery, stretching yourself, and new achievement.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Forest Dreams Guided Visualization – The Affirmation Spot for Friday October 9, 2009

2009 Affirmation

I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!


Years ago when I found myself in some very difficult personal circumstances, I used to record guided visualizations and meditations to help move my life in a positive direction. Today I am sharing an abridged version of one that always had a powerful impact. I recorded this one about 1993 and played it each night when I went to bed.My recommendation is to record it and play either at bed time or at a time when you can relax and focus for about 15 minutes. I am also going to be recording this and offering it on The Affirmation Spot.com in the near future.

woman_relaxing_zoom.jpgForest Dreams: A Guided Meditation for Relaxation and Confidence

Finding yourself in a comfortable position, you close your eyes and begin the process of relaxing and letting go. You are gently releasing the worries and stresses that have accumulated today. They are peacefully fading away, fading away, they are now so far away.You are entering a pleasant state of absolute serenity and bliss; coming to rest in that immovable center within. All within you and all outside of you lives in total harmony.

Take a deep breath…exhale…feeling yourself going deeper, deeper, deeper. Again take a deep breath…and exhale. Feel yourself releasing and relaxing…and letting go. Letting go is so easy for you at this moment. It is not about thinking or doing, but simply being. Allowing this moment to unfold as it will and be what it is.This is your time. Let it be a nourishing time; a time to receive positive energy. No effort and no strain. You are coming to a gentle stillness within and without.

You are becoming fully aware of this very moment. You watch it come, you watch it be, and you watch it pass. You accept it without judgments for exactly what it is; letting go of your tendency to want things to be different than they are. And as you allow the moment to be exactly what it is, you are allowing yourself to be exactly as you are.

You know for certain that you have the inner resources to face whatever comes your way.

Now visualize yourself sitting or lying in a grassy clearing in the middle of a great forest. You feel a gentle breeze blowing across your body. Above you the sky is blue and the sun is warm and comfortable on your skin. Off in the distance, you hear the sound of a stream slowly meandering its way through the forest.

The warmth of the sun is penetrating your skin and into your muscles and tendons and bones. As it does, a deeper level of peace and relaxation sweeps over you.

It is a beautiful day, a day of hope for the future; a day of limitless beginnings. For your life is like a garden, you must plant it and tend it before the harvest comes. You must nurture the garden of your life as you go. Weeding it of old destructive patterns of thought and action.

Making sure it receives the love and care necessary for its growth and ultimately its blossoming. As with any garden there must come times of sunshine and times of rain both of which must be if the garden is to succeed and flourish. And though it is easier to find joy in the sunshine than in the rain; if you stand in the rain willingly and understand its nature and necessity you will come find it even sweeter than the sunshine. For both are essential to growth.

The sunshine is the provider of life, doing its work over long hours, days, and weeks. The rain is occasional, yet it is truly the source of rapid growth and advancement. It does its part in short increments and brings newness to all it touches. Thus is balance maintained in a garden and in our lives.

Remembering this allows you to find peace in the heated moments of life and joy in darker days. Now stand and look at your surroundings. Feel, sense the wisdom to be found here in this beautiful forest. Be aware of the gentle breeze that blows past you, around you, through you. Witness the how light and dark play off each other in these woods just as they do in your life.

forest1.jpgHear the gentle whisper of the rustling leaves speaking to you the secrets of your life. Now looking to the left you see a giant Redwood tree. Walk over, greet it, and embrace it as an old friend. Knowing that you are brothers on this earth, each a part of the other. Ponder the truth of your dependence on this tree and its dependence on you and, in fact, the interdependence of all of nature.

Fragile as a spider’s web and yet indestructible. Feel your deep, sub-atomic connection with the entire environment and understand the trust that must be kept between you and it.

Experiencing this oneness of nature and yourself, commit yourself not to damage it, to take only what you need from it, and to put back what you can. Feel this commitment gelling in your mind and now solidifying for all time. Bear in mind that in every moment nature freely shares the bounty of its air, water, and food with you: how it literally sustains your life. Be thankful and reverent toward it.
Accept the fact that change must occur in order for your life and all life to evolve. “We must often change,” said Confucius, ‘if we wish to be constant in happiness and wisdom.”

Life is an ever-evolving struggle between change and balance. Balance requires the flexibility to deal the incessant flux of life in our universe. One moment is joy and the next is pain. Your evolution requires that you accept both without over-indulging either. Our world is full of peril and opportunity and a little of each in the other.

Leaning against the giant redwood is a wooden staff. It will be your guide on this great journey upon which you now embark. It is a beautiful day in the forest. The sun is shining above and the stream gently rolls its way through this place.

Beyond the blue of the day sky lie the vast starfields of our universe and each seems to beckoning you on a path they well know, but you just now begin. As you start down this path, you resolve to make the most of this opportunity to grow.

A shining path appears before you winding its way through these woods as far as you can see. Now as you start down the path, your staff in hand, you resolve in your heart to make the most of this opportunity to change and create a fresh start.

As you begin your trek through this ancient forest, a new confidence and optimism is entering your life. Your whole being turns to view things in new and positive ways. A deep sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and self confidence permeates your entire being.

Your self doubt has evaporated. These feelings are unstoppable. You love and respect yourself. You know you are capable of achieving anything!

arms_stretched.jpg You are facing your difficulties and challenges head-on and successfully overcoming them. You take concrete, measurable steps to handle the circumstances in your life. You are organized, efficient, and successful. You know that your purpose and universal purpose are one and that no obstacle can prevent you from achieving your goals.

Life is good! You focus on the good things that are happening because you benefit in every way by doing so. You are passionate about life. You embrace it and engage it at every opportunity. You know your potential is limitless and you are living up to it every day.

Your life is shifting in a positive direction. You are vigorously healthy. Your creative energies flow freely and they are opening new possibilities for you constantly. You are strong, steady, and capable. You find balance and joy everywhere you go. Abundance and happiness are your constant companions.

You are attracting the people and circumstances that work towards your highest good. Whatever you need is coming your way.

Your wisdom and discernment pierce outer appearances to reveal the true nature of things. This gives you a compassion for yourself and for the world.

You are growing. You are building. You are succeeding. You can do it!

As you listen to this recording day by day, the suggestions are becoming your mode of living and thinking. Every fiber of your being lives in accord with what I am telling you. And, I am telling you a wondrous healing is taking place in your life. Possibilities you never considered are flowing your way. You are prepared to take advantage of them.

You are prosperous. You are positive. You are free. You are transformed.

If this is your normal bed time, you will drift into a deep and restful sleep. Your dreams are coming true. If this is not your normal bed time, return to your day full of the peace, the wisdom, and the confidence gained from this experience.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race.  He’s the author of the breakthrough novel Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

2-Minute Vacation – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday October 7, 2009

Check Out Our Cool New Affirmation Apps:

Click here to check out our new affirmation apps for Apple devices or search i-mobilize on the iTunes store. The Affirmation Spot is developing these apps in partnership with i-mobilize.


Wednesday greetings,

It’s Wednesday. The stresses of the work week have been accumulating for three days now. You’ve got fires to put out and deadlines to meet. Take a quick break.

Join me in a little exercise. It takes just two minutes and I guarantee it will bring peace to your day and smile to your face. You can do it right in your cube or office.

man_beach_hphones_rs.jpgI want you to think about the most beautiful place you have ever been. It might be Hawaii, the Caribbean, The Grand Canyon. Anywhere is fine as long as you make sure it is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen.

OK. Got it? Close your eyes and take a deep breath. For the next 30 seconds, I want to you to completely experience that place. Visualize the sites, hear the sounds, smell the smells…be there.

Great! You probably feel a little better than you did 30 seconds ago. Let’s continue.

Now I want you think about some upcoming event or activity that has you a little nervous. It can be work-related or personal. OK. This time I want you to see yourself performing that task in the most successful way you can imagine. Put aside all your concerns and focus on the absolute best outcome.

sales_yes_rs.jpg Close your eyes again and take another deep breath. For the next 30 seconds, I want you to see yourself “knocking this one out of the park”. Feel the successful outcome. Hear the kudos from colleagues, friends, or family. Be aware of the benefits that will come from this success. Enjoy your moment in the limelight.

How are we doing? Are we smiling yet? Feeling more confident and relaxed?

Last one. I want you to think about the one person in this world that you love the most. I want you to experience the feelings you feel when you get to spend an entire day uninterrupted with that person.

young_woman_reddress1.jpgClose your eyes, deep breath…you know the routine. Feel the feelings you feel when you are around this person. Let those wonderful feelings fill your heart, stir in your gut, or well in your eyes. Let the warmth you feel inside spread to the rest of your body. Remember the good times you’ve spent together. That time at the beach…the time you got caught in the rain…the time you painted the house…whatever good memories come up.

Open your eyes. I’ll bet you feel happier, more relaxed, and that a smile has come to your face. Now, get on with your day and keep these feelings with you no matter what you face.

Have a peaceful and productive Wednesday!

Ray