Thinking Aloud with Ed & Deb Shapiro

Become a Guru in Just Two Weekends?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by

Every day we get sent emails proclaiming the latest discovery, teacher or workshop that we MUST do if we are to have lasting happiness and self-mastery. Each proclaims that if we follow their instructions then we will be free, transformed, changed for ever, joyful as never before, fulfilled, fully enlightened. We even received notice of a Guru Training program where we can become a guru in two weekends after which, the brochure assured us, we are guaranteed to receive endless adoration, wealth and fame, or our money back.

We were recently sent an invitation to a conference on Altered States of Consciousness: Enlightenment, Entheogens, Shamanism and Peak Experiences. There were forty-six headlined speakers, all of whom had endless credentials, books, teaching centers and followers. Subjects ranged from The Humpty Dumpty Trajectory: Cracking Open Consciousness, to How to Tell Your Friends From the Apes, Gender-Specific Altered States of Consciousness and, thankfully, The Miracle of Ordinary Awareness.

When we taught at the MindBodySpirit Festival in London England, speakers were offering topics as diverse as Attract Your Past-Life Soulmate NOW!, The Secret Tibetan Red Egg Cure, Discover Your Secret Chakras, and Learn What Planet You Are From. And that was just on the first day. Later on you could Teach Your DNA to Listen to Your Higher Mind or, if that didn’t work, at least you could Learn How to Bend Spoons.

It’s clear that we will try anything when we’re in need of emotional or spiritual support and guidance, making us susceptible and easily vulnerable to outside influences; that we’ll easily believe strongly persuasive people who say they can help save us.

There seem to be four main reasons for this:

1. Life does not easily satisfy our needs. We get something but always want more. From constantly wanting more materially and emotionally, we then apply the same need to spirituality: more teachers and techniques must be better than just one, surely this one will finally solve all those nagging difficulties in my life? Or maybe it's this one?

2. To a large extent religion has failed many of us. We crave more esoteric excitement that sitting in church allows us, more out-of-this-world explanations for why we’re dissatisfied or unhappy, more instant and lasting ways to find happiness than atoning for our sins. There must be more meaning to life than we have found, surely?

3. Like the musk deer in India that has a beautiful smell in its belly but searches throughout the forest for that smell, so we look for happiness outside ourselves. But we’ll always come up short as whatever we find always changes. This is the truth of impermanence: nothing lasts forever. Yet we continually search for that elusive promise of foreverness wherever we can.

4. We externalize our needs, projecting ‘the savior’ on whoever is the current teacher-of-the-month, believing others sooner than we believe ourselves due to not trusting our own judgement and wisdom. Even though, logically, we are the only ones who can save ourselves, we’d much rather someone else do it for us.

How do we find our way through such a maze? Many teachers may have something wonderful to offer us, but what can we really learn in an hour or two or even a weekend? When we dig for oil we have to dig deep to reach it; if we dig too many different holes we will never get to the source of the oil. In the same way, if we guru hop and workshop too much we will never get to the essence of the teachings.

This blog is a chance for you to do a reality check. Are you listening to your own wisdom or is someone else telling you the way it is? Can you stop and simply be still? Do you go guru-shopping or can you look within your own mind and heart for what you know to be true?

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Award-Winning Authors Ed and Deb of Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World, are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Deb’s new novel: Merging: Women in Love  -- what happens when you fall in love with the least likely person of the least likely gender? – and she is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com

5 Ways Meditation Makes You Kinder

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. The Dalai Lama

When we were on our honeymoon we had the joy to sit with the Dalai Lama at his residence in McLeod Ganj, India. He held our hands and spoke about how his religion is kindness. It made us wonder how the world would be a better place if we all were just a little bit kinder. Luckily, he shows us the way to such an ideal through his daily practice of meditation.     

Meditation connects us to our innate kindness, like that of a mother watching her new born and making sure all is well. This kindness is within us all, though we may be out of touch with it. Meditation is paying attention to what is happening within and around us, and it changes us because through it we widen our perspective from being me-centered to other-centered; we go from being only able to see ourselves and our own viewpoints to seeing a much bigger picture that contains everything through compassionate and kind eyes.

We open our heart to ourselves with tenderness, seeing ourselves just as we are, maybe for the first time, opening with a heart as big as the Universe. In the same way we open to all others, seeing them just as they are, without likes or dislikes prejudicing our view. Which immediately shows us that, fundamentally, there is no difference between us. Out of this arises a natural, impartial kindness.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. The Dalai Lama

1 Become a friend to yourself

It’s inevitable when we sit quietly with meditation as a companion that we will discover a new level of self-acknowledgment and self-friendship. We are kinder and more accepting of who we are, less concerned with superficial appearances or image.

2 Think of others equally

As we open to ourselves we become more aware that we are not alone here, that there is an intricate inter-dependence between all beings: we all want to be happy, and we are all doing our best to fulfill that. We see that no one is more important than another.

3 Be forgiving

As we see that all beings are striving to find happiness so we can be more tolerant, accepting, caring and forgiving of each other. We all make mistakes – if we didn’t then we would be like robots rather than humans. As we can forgive ourselves for mistakes, we can forgive others. Perfection is our ability to see our (or their) imperfections!

4 Do random acts

Kindness doesn’t need to be applauded. In fact, often the greatest act of kindness is that which goes unseen. A simple smile can sometimes be the greatest gift of all. Practice kindness wherever and however you can.

5 Pick yourself up every time you fall

Giving kindness includes giving it to ourselves. We are often hard on ourselves, finding fault, criticizing, or feeling embarrassed of perceived mistakes. Meditation creates an inner strength and confidence that enables us to get up over and over again. And if we get up just one time more than we fall then we can’t fail!

We have a photograph at home of Bishop Tutu with his hands held in prayer position. Underneath it are his words, Please make it fashionable to be compassionate. That photograph is many years old yet his words are even more relevant today. Is it not time to make compassion fashionable, to make kindness cool, to make consideration and care hot topics?

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them. The Dalai Lama

 

Anytime Kindness

Whenever we get stressed we tend to close our hearts toward others. We get a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude—nothing matters but our own issues. By developing a more loving and caring attitude, we find more joy and certainly less stress.

            Every time you feel rushed, irritated, annoyed or upset, sit quietly and silently repeat: May I be happy or May I be filled with loving kindness.

            If you can do this for one day then follow it the next day with: May you be well or May you be happy to each person you see or meet. It’s important not to tell them—just feel it in your heart. You can do this to people in an elevator, at work, in the street or at home.

            Silently repeat May you be filled with loving kindness when your partner or boss is upset or angry with you, or when someone is criticizing you. The more you do this, the more you’ll release the hook inside yourself so that anger cannot land.

            If a day feels easy, try a whole week. Let friendliness and kindness grow within you. Make it your goal to become a more loving and kinder person.                              

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Award-Winning Authors Ed and Deb of Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World, are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Deb’s new novel: Merging: Women in Love  -- what happens when you fall in love with the least likely person of the least likely gender? – and she is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com

The Way Of Mindfulness: Paul McCartney, Richard Gere, Deepak Chopra

Friday, February 28, 2014 by

Mindfulness is a hot buzzword at the moment, furthered by TIME Magazine having The Mindful Revolution on its front cover. But what does mindfulness look like in practice? What difference does it make on a day-to-day basis? How does it change our lives?

These questions, and others focused on what is needed for people to transit into more positive and aware times, inspired us to ask a number of leading luminaries, which resulted in our book, The Way Ahead: A Visionary Perspective For The New Millennium.

Initially our purpose was to ask how could we have a better world, but it soon became a treatise of how to live with awareness and spirituality, how to make our lives an expression of wholeness. It became an illustration of mindfulness in action.

Enjoy the voices of some of those luminaries:

Mindfulness is primarily being aware of ourselves, such as our thoughts and feelings. In the process we also become aware of our limitations. Deepak Chopra reminds us to go beyond ourselves in order to find ourselves when he says: “Remember, nothing you already know is going to free you. Getting beyond the mind’s boundaries is a more profound goal than the mind can grasp. If you begin this investigation into your deeper nature, you will find that real, lasting healing comes from just being yourself and watching what happens. If you have a sincere willingness, what will happen will be an inner unfolding; the tightly furled bud will open into a flower.”

Martin Luther King Jr. nominated the Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, but the real prize came in a very simple and direct way to make mindfulness a part of even the smallest of our interactions. Thich Nhat Hanh says: “Every time the telephone rings we all stop and breathe in and out, saying, ‘Listen, listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true self.’ We call it telephone meditation! It is very easy to practice telephone meditation. When you hear the telephone, just stay where you are and breathe in and out consciously and smile. When you hear the second sound, you can breathe in and out again and enjoy the sound of the telephone. If the other person has something very important to tell you, he or she will wait for at least three rings. When you hear the third ring you continue breathing and are serene, so when you answer the phone you are calm and smiling. This is good for you and for the person who is calling!”

Mindfulness affects everything we do, not just answering the telephone, and this includes what we eat. Awareness of our world transforms our world and our behavior in it, as Paul McCartney makes us aware of: “One day we were eating roast lamb. It was the lambing season so there were all these beautiful young lambs gamboling around the fields surrounding our house, running and playing together. We looked at the lambs playing and we looked at the lamb on our plates and we realized we were eating leg of lamb. We looked at them running around outside again and saw a leg of lamb running and playing. And that was it, the great turning point: if it has a face, don’t eat it!”

Mindfulness also extends us beyond ourselves into a recognition that we are not separate, not alone, but a part of everything, as Zen teacher Roshi Joan Halifax explains: “When we plant a tree, we are planting ourselves. Releasing dolphins back to the wild, we are ourselves returning home. Composting leftovers, we are being reborn as irises and apples. We can ‘think like a mountain’ and discover ourselves to be everywhere and in everything and know the activity of the world as not separate from who we are but rather of what we are.”

That awareness enables us to make deep and profound changes. Actor Richard Gere emphasizes how the disquieting state of the world is actually the very grist we can use to transform ourselves and our world: “The breakdown of the established social and political order over the last few years presents, ironically, an extraordinary opportunity to actualize the radical changes we all know must take place. If the cycles of conditioned violence and counter-violence can be avoided—or transformed—we may enter an age of responsibility and love for all beings.”

An age of responsibility and love is the greatest gift mindfulness gives us. And, as Jean Houston says, we are already there: “I see a change. It is vested in the greatest rise in expectations the world has ever seen. It is so far-reaching in its implications that one might call it evolution consciously entering into time, the evolutionary potential asserting itself. It needed a certain critical mass, a certain merging of complexity, crisis, and consciousness to awaken. Now it is happening.”

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com, with Brian Jones. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. Deb is the author of Merging: Women in Love. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

10 Great Ways Mindfulness Turns Fear Into An Ally

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by

At first glance you might not put mindfulness and fear together, or think that one can counterbalance the other. But while mindfulness invites us to be present with fear rather than run from it, it also frees us from being stuck in fearful thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness allows fear to be, just as it, without diving in. It turns fear into an ally we can use to become courageous and fearless.

We all know what fear feels like, how it can appear as the enemy attacking when you are least aware or entering without being invited. It can arise as a natural response to physical danger but more often is self-created, like the fear of failure, not being good enough, being lonely, or of the future. We fear loving for fear of being rejected, being generous for fear of going without, or sharing our feelings for fear of appearing weak, and we’re easily dominated by insecurity and self-doubt.

The immediate effect of fear is to turn off our heartfelt feelings. Just for a moment, let your body take the stance of feeling fearful. What is your posture? Most people hunch their shoulders forward, fold their arms across their chests, or assume a similarly defensive position. In this self-protected place the heart goes out of reach and we can’t feel love or even friendliness. Try saying "I love you" with real meaning while your arms are folded firmly across your heart. Hard to do!

But where fear contracts and closes the heart, love expands and opens. In other words, love is letting go of fear. So now take the posture of love. Watch how your body responds, your arms reaching outward, accepting and inviting. Fear may still be there but love can embrace it; where fear blocks out love, love holds fear tenderly. With your arms stretched wide try saying, "I'm frightened" and really mean it. Hard to do!

Here are ten ways mindfulness both influences and transforms fear:

1.     Through mindfulness you make friends with yourself and your world – just as it is

2.     Friendship naturally extends greater kindness, compassion and love, which are the antidotes to fear

3.     Friendship is also the gateway to greater clarity, ease and tolerance

4.     Mindfulness turns off the stress response of your nervous system by activating the relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system; this enables you to stay focused and relaxed, no matter what is going on

5.     In a focused and present state you are better able to deal with whatever is happening than if you are preoccupied or distracted

6.     Fear takes you out of your body, limits your reactions, and brings your feelings to a standstill, while mindfulness keeps you centered and in touch with yourself

7.     Fear can make your breathing short and shallow, while mindfulness of breathing keeps the diaphragm open and breathing deep

8.     Mindfulness enables you to see that fear, or any other negative feeling, is a passing experience that comes and goes

9.      Fearless doesn’t mean denying fear; it’s not a state of being without fear but one of being with awareness

10.     Fearlessness is getting to know fear, name it, and take it by the hand so that it becomes your friend

Can you remember times you met fear and moved through it, times when fear arose but you kept going? Those are moments of fearlessness. Fear may close the heart, but courage comes out of heartfulness, out of releasing resistance. Fear may stop you from participating fully in life, but fearlessness gives you the courage to dive into the unknown.

Fear comes—breathe and let go; fear arises—replace it with love; fear knocks at the door—invite it in to share a cup of tea. In this way you become a fearless warrior of the heart, unshakable, confident, and joyful, with fear as your ally.

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. Deb is also the author of Merging: Women in Love. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

4 Ways Mindfulness Transforms Your Life (As It Did For the Seahawks!)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by

There’s an amazing epidemic sweeping America and it’s a healthy, vital and enriching one. In every walk of life people are hearing about the value and importance of mindfulness and meditation. For instance, the Seahawks include yoga and meditation in their training and they just won the Super Bowl!

Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation, calls mindfulness a “meditative practice that focuses on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or future.” He has helped land a $1 million grant in 2009 for Youngstown and Warren schools to teach mindfulness to elementary students. We interviewed Congressman Ryan in our E-conference and on our radio show, and his commitment to mindfulness and meditation is awe-inspiring.

Mindfulness – which is being present and aware – enables stress to be released, difficulties become workable, and true happiness become possible. Meditation is the training ground for mindfulness, as it teaches us how to focus our attention. But how does mindfulness shift our priorities and enable us to make friends with ourselves?

Here are some of the ways mindfulness and meditation can make your life more meaningful and enjoyable!

1. Stress Out, Relaxation In

It only takes a few minutes to chill out. As soon as we start paying attention, being aware and mindful of what is going on, then our whole physiology responds by calming the stress response and increasing the relaxation response, says our partner at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com, Brian Jones.

Meditation and medication are derived from the Latin word medicus: to care or to cure. Which means both meditation and mindfulness are, therefore, the most effective remedy for a busy and overworked mind.

Anytime you feel stress rising, heart closing, mind going into overwhelm, just bring your focus to your breathing and quietly repeat with each in- and out-breath: Breathing in, I calm the body and mind; breathing out, I smile. Becoming aware of the breath makes it easy to then be awareness to your body, thoughts, feelings, and your world.

2. Appreciating the Details

Mindfulness brings us into an awareness of all the small things – those that get missed when we are stressed, and which give life real meaning. Take a moment right now to appreciate the chair you are sitting on. Consider how the chair was made: the wood, cotton, wool, or other fibers, the trees and plants that were used, the earth that grew the trees, the sun and rain, the animals that maybe gave their lives, the people who prepared the materials, the place where the chair was made, the designer and carpenter and seamstress, the shop that sold it—all this just so you could be sitting here, now. Then extend that appreciation to everything and everyone, so you take nothing for granted.

3. From Self-centeredness to Other-centeredness

Mindfulness increases awareness of ourselves, which means we become aware of any self-centeredness, selfishness, and neurosis. We don’t often accept negative feelings too easily, we’re more likely to repress or disown them. But when denied they cause shame, depression, anger, and anxiety. Mindfulness invites us to openly meet these places, to see how selfishness, aversion and ignorance create endless dramas and fears.

Mindfulness also connects us to the stillness that is always there between our thoughts, behind the story, beneath the noise. And it enables us to be less focused on ourselves, more aware of others, and more aware of the interconnection between us.

4. Kindness Rocks

In a stressed state, we lose touch with inner peace, compassion and kindness; in a relaxed state, our mind is clear and we can connect with a deeper sense of purpose and altruism. Mindfulness awakens us to caring and kindness: how can we cause harm when we are aware that in the process we are also causing ourselves harm? Simply through the intent to cause less pain you can bring greater dignity to your world so that harm is replaced with kindness.

Every time you see or feel suffering, every time you make a mistake or say something stupid and are just about to put yourself down, every time you think of someone you are having a hard time with, every time you encounter the confusion and difficulty of being human, every time you see someone else struggling, upset or irritated, you can bring kindness and compassion. Breathing gently, silently repeat: May I be well, may I be happy, may I be filled with loving kindness; May they be well, may they be happy, may they be filled with loving kindness.

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

Super Bowl and TIME Magazine Both Focus on Mindfulness

Monday, January 27, 2014 by

Guess what, we all meditate! We may be unaware of this because we believe meditation means sitting still and closing our eyes. However, the moment we focus attention on one thing and bring the mind into a quiet place then we are meditating, which means it can be as much active as it is being still.

The most well-known forms of meditation are watching the flow of the breath or repeating a mantra, as these focus the mind. But it could just as easily be mindfully throwing a football or the stroke of a brush as you paint; most meditation traditions do walking meditation as well as sitting practice. This is meditation in action, which is mindfulness: awareness of the present moment.

“The Seahawks believe their kinder, gentler philosophy is the future of football,” says Alyssa Roenigk in ESPN The Magazine. So could mindfulness and meditation be a way to win the Super Bowl? The Seahawks obviously believe that it can. They are taught yoga and sitting meditation as a part of their training, as it’s difficult to be focused if they are distracted by a monkey mind jumping from thought to thought.

“Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice,” says Russell Okung of the Seahawks. “It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can’t do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them.”

Meditation focuses the mind in one place and this equally applies to the Denver Broncos, even if they may not knowingly meditate. In football, mindfulness is needed for the accuracy of a touch-down pass down the field, or the presence to know when to throw or when to run with the football: Payton Manning’s great passes are made mindfully, Knowshaun Moreno runs with awareness, Eric Decker receives in the moment!

We taught meditation to the Torquay United Football team in England, sitting in the men’s locker room. They were at the bottom of their league but won their next game, which meant they advanced to the next division. Filmed by the BBC on the 6:00pm evening news, the coach was convinced that the mindfulness training had enabled the players to stay positive, despite being in such a losing position.

As our partner, Brian Jones says: “Meditation is as much something that happens to us as, as something we do, like the “ah-ha” moment when we first learn to ride a bike. All of a sudden it just makes sense, becomes familiar, and comfortable. Meditation and mindfulness, like riding a bike, are about embodiment, self-mastery, and self-fulfillment.”

TIME Magazine agrees. The Feb 3rd issue focuses on mindfulness, the far-reaching effect it is having in all walks of life, and on Jon Kabat-Zinn, who brought mindfulness to hospitals and clinics, through his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

“People come with a huge amount of pain and suffering, both physical and emotional,” says Kabat-Zinn in our Award Winning book, Be The Change. “Through the cultivation of mindfulness, they develop a more functional relationship with that suffering, they turn towards it, open to it, and actually befriend it to a degree rather than insisting that it stop, and in the process, the pain often transforms or even falls away… For the most part, they will tell you that they are more in touch with their own beauty than they may have been since they were children.”

Whether we sit in formal meditation with our eyes closed, go for a walk or throw a football, if we do it with awareness we are meditating. We can sit with our eyes closed but if our mind is scattered then there’s no stillness, while we can be running everywhere playing competitive sport but if our mind is focused and aware then we are being mindful. A clear and comprehensive training in mindfulness is vital, so it can become integral to every part of our life. Play to win: practice mindfulness! 

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

Meditation Awakens Your Inner Joy

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 by

Within you is a fountain of joy, within you is an ocean of bliss!  Swami Sivananda

While in Greece we were invited to a local village dance. It was to be held in a nearby field, and we were fascinated to discover it started very late, about 11pm, lasting until the early hours of the morning. It was a beautiful moonlit night. The entire village was present: small children, lanky teenagers, grannies and old men clinging to walking sticks. What a wonderful sight! The violins played and the villagers danced. Joining together in circles or winding lines they danced, their voices merging together as they sang in response to the music. We were mesmerized, most especially when one of the teenagers, dressed in tight jeans with slicked back hair who had appeared completely disinterested, suddenly stepped into the middle and led one of the snake like dances around the field, his eyes alight with great joy and laughter.

Joy is a beautiful word! It describes it exactly: delight, smiles, radiance, happiness! We feel joy when a baby smiles, when the sun shines after a rain, when we fulfill a passion such as playing music or, as Deb’s mother remembers, hear a wild bird sing.

But there’s another, more profound and deeper joy, that arises when we meditate. This joy isn’t something that comes through ideal circumstances, but occurs at a time of quiet and stillness. It arises from within us, which means it’s always there, albeit untapped. Beneath layers of uncertainty, insecurity, doubt, guilt, shame or fear, there is a natural reservoir of unconditional happiness; we discover that who we truly are inside is pure joy.

I do this thing with the children where I say, ‘Breathing in, I calm my body; breathing out, I smile. Breathing in, I know this supreme moment; breathing out, I know it is a wonderful moment.’ When I do that with the children, they all jump for joy. It is very cool. Wavy Gravy from our Award Winning book: Be The Change

It is awesome, even mind blowing, to realize that our authentic self is joyful, compassionate, loving, forgiving; that this is who we really are, and that these qualities arise naturally when we are in deep stillness. Meditation has been researched extensively to show that it stimulates the part of our brain that responds compassionately to others, increasing kindness, generosity, and forgiveness, and that states are the outward expressions of our inner joy.

Yet how often are we aware that we meditate in order to be happier and more joyful? Who would have believed this connection and yet there it is! Do you ever soften, surrender, get gentle and tender with yourself? Or do you grit your teeth with impatience and only sit as long as you can without moving, despite shoulders aching or feet going to sleep? Do you take time to be gentle and kind to yourself so that joy can show its smiling face?

Joy is here, in every moment when we relax and breathe, available from the early morning to the middle of the night, no restrictions, no closing time, no sell-by date. Joy comes the moment you let go of resistance and open wide.

 

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

Mindfulness Meditation Is The Direct Way To Happiness

Thursday, January 16, 2014 by

We often wonder what our lives would be like without meditation or mindfulness. We were talking with our partner, neuroscientist and yogi Brian Jones, about this recently who said, “With all the mass overstimulation and continuously heightened levels of stress it's easy to see why we’re all going crazy. The modern world demands so much of our attention that we forget who we truly are in our deepest sense.”

We’re sure you know what we mean: the demands and busyness of life can have a toll on anyone. So what to do? How to live in this world with sanity and ease? The wise yogis said that happiness is our birthright but where is this happiness found?

What, out of all the things we can get in this whole world, will give us the most happiness, joy, peace of mind, self-friendship, clarity, insight, presence, is totally free but invariably ignored? Yes, you got it, it’s meditation -- the most invaluable gift you could ever give yourself! We look everywhere for peace and spend a fortune thinking something will give us happiness while it is, and always will be, inside us. Not only that, but whatever we get we can lose, but what’s inside of us we have always! How outrageous!

Actor Ed Begley, Jr., from our award-winning book Be The Change, points out that: If stuff made you happy, there would be nothing but happy people living in Bel Air and unhappy people living in Fiji where they have nothing, but I have been to Fiji and there are plenty of happy people there. I have never seen a hearse with a luggage rack on top. We have got to get away from stuff and appreciate what is here.

Meditation is in the news. Any self-respecting business uses meditation and mindfulness to combat stress, major newspapers and magazines carry stories on the benefits of meditation with tips from famous film stars, and cross-legged yogis and Buddhist monks can be seen in adverts for everything from computers and credit cards to insurance.  

Respected Buddhist meditation teacher Mingyur Rinpoche asks: Who makes problems? We humans. And who is the controller of the human? The mind. And how to control the human mind? Through meditation. If you can control the pilot, then the pilot can control the plane.

Mindfulness is being aware of whatever arises in your mind and body, sensations, feelings and thoughts. It’s not about trying to change anything but non-judgmentally and gently accepting it as it is. However, anyone first coming to meditation can be met with a plethora of advice and techniques that may baffle or confuse: Where to go? What to do? Which is best? How to start? How to chose between TM, mantra recitation, kundalini, vipassana, insight, witness, breath awareness, shamata, visualization, MBSR, metta, and more?

The best way is to try them and see what works for you – we’re all different! It’s important to remember that a technique is only a way to something, it’s not the something itself. True meditation is spontaneous, natural, arising from within, while the technique is simply the learnt method that helps us have that experience. All techniques are designed to help calm the mind, bring our attention inward, and focus in just this present moment so that the experience of meditation occurs naturally.

Author and meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein emphasizes that: The point of meditation is to keep the mind free of confusion. Meditation, past calming our nerves, past being good for our blood pressure, past allowing us to work out our own internal psychological dramas, which it does, past helping us to get along with our kin and our community, is a way of really deeply seeing the truth that the only way to ameliorate our own suffering and the suffering of the world is to keep our minds clear.

The equation, therefore, is simple: The more meditation becomes a part of your life, the more you change and evolve; the more you change and evolve, the more society is transformed and the world moves into a wiser and more loving place to be. And all you have to do for this chain of events to occur is to sit still!

 

Practice:

Start right now, where you are sitting as you read this. Do this for just 3-5 minutes.

Become aware of your body. Scan your body from head to toes, acknowledging how it feels, and where there is tension or ease.

Become aware of your feelings, thoughts, and any sensations.

Become aware of your breathing, and just watch your breath as it enters and leaves for a few moments.

Now take a deep breath and let it go.

 

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

Revolutionary Mindfulness for a Stress-less Mind

Saturday, December 28, 2013 by

We were listening to a radio interview we did recently, talking about the profound benefits of meditation. Deb had said, “Mindfulness is revolutionary because it changes us simply by being fully present, completely aware of just this moment.”

Which is absolutely true, but being in the present moment can be slippery, elusive, we want to be in Hawaii, start planning a Christmas shopping list, relive a disagreement with our partner, get distracted by the sound of the mail man outside or an aching knee. The possibilities are endless – all the many ways the mind can do something, anything, other than being present.

On average we spend our time either living in what-could-have-been, what-might-have-been, or if-only, or in the expectation of what-could-be or what-might-be. But the truth is no matter how much we try, plan, plot, arrange, have things to do, leave the house at the same time each day, arrive at the office at the same time, pick up the kids on time, we can still never know what will happen in the next moment.

We used to live next to a glorious river in Devon, England and walked beside it each day. It was beautiful, but as much as it looked like the same river, even the same water, it was constantly changing—the water was never the same as even a second ago. Likewise, we may look the same but the cells in our body are forever forming, growing and dying; we are continually changing and renewing in every minute, we just aren’t aware of it.

Realizing the past is already gone and can never be relived, while the future is always ahead of us and consistently unknown, the only logical way to deal with this awareness is to be present with what is, whatever it is, as it is.

Contrary to common belief, it can be immensely liberating to actually have nothing going on, to discover that the entire universe is contained in this very moment, to realize that nothing more is required than to just be aware and present. Imagine, what a relief! Finally, we can live without expectation, prejudice or longing, or the desire for things to be different than they are.

Being present invites a deep sense of completion, that there really is nowhere else we need to be or go. It’s impossible to think of somewhere else as being better, for the grass is vividly green exactly where we are. At a seminar someone once asked Ed if he had ever experienced another dimension. Ed replied, "Have you experienced this one?"

Right now, pause for a moment and take a deep breath. As you breath out, notice how your body feels, the chair you are sitting on, and the room you are in. That's all. It only takes an instant to be present. Or, as a way of reminding yourself, put post-its in strategic places around your home (on your bathroom mirror, the fridge, the inside of the front door, etc) that say things like: NOW is the greatest moment, Be Here Now; Stop, smile and Breathe; Only this Moment Exists; There Is Just This, NOW!

It’s also essential that, as our partner neuroscientist Brian Jones teaches, you tune down your sympathetic nervous system (the flight and fight response) and tune into your parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and relaxation response). You can do this through breathing and mindfulness techniques; learn more at revolutionarymindfulness.com

 

Mindfully Meditating In the Moment

Mindfully meditating on the flow of the breath naturally brings us into the present while bringing our awareness inward, rather than being focused outward. The breath is just breathing, and yet it is never the same, each breath is completely different to the last one. You can simultaneously silently repeat, "I am here, I am now, I am present! I am here, I am now, I am present!"

 

Practice: Being and Breathing Meditation

Sit comfortably with your back straight, hands are in your lap, eyes are closed. Spend a few minutes settling your body, being aware of the room around you and the chair you are sitting on.

            Now bring your focus to your breathing, just watch the natural movement of air as you breathe in and out. Silently repeat, "Breathing in, breathing out."

            Stay with watching your breath. If your mind starts to drift just see your thoughts as birds in the sky and watch them fly away. Then come back to the breath.

            Anytime you get distracted, bored, or lost in thinking, just come back to the breath, to this moment now. Silently repeat, "I am here, I am now, I am present! I am here, I am now, I am present!"

You can do this for a few minutes or as long as you like. When you are ready, take a deep breath and let it go, open your eyes, and move gently.

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

The True Santa Is Within Every One Of Us

Monday, December 23, 2013 by

With all the fuss over what color Santa is, we thought it was good to remind ourselves that Santa is neither black nor white, or pink or yellow for that matter, as he is way more than skin tone. Nor is the true Santa just a jolly guy in a red outfit; he is giving, sharing, caring and kindness, and these qualities are not limited to color. Rather, he’s a remarkable example of great wisdom and compassion that we can all learn from:

1.     He makes us do good and feel good. Now that's a big one, as many of us often act selfishly and greedily.

2.     He gives, endlessly, to everyone, all over the world, all at pretty much the same time. This indicates a truly generous heart, one that takes great joy in giving, without needing to receive.

3.     Yet he does not give blindly. Rather he judges what is the most appropriate gift for each. This shows great discernment, as giving needs wisdom in order to be of most benefit.

4.     He encourages rituals and invokes magic in every child's life: letter writing, stocking filling, decorations, parades, milk and cookies. Ritual is an essential part of honoring that which is greater than us, and magic is the beauty of the unknown.

5.     He listens to our pleas and requests and reads our letters. Meaning that he takes the time to hear us and pays attention, which we could all do a lot more of.

6.     He has great psychic powers: he flies in the sky with reindeer, descends chimneys without getting covered in soot, goes by many names and forms, and is extraordinarily elusive. Has anyone actually ever seen him? The lesson here is that we can all do more than we think we can: we can practice random acts of kindness quietly, simply, without bringing attention to ourselves.

7.     He knows where we live. In other words, he is inside every one of us.

8.     Most importantly, he lifts our spirits at the darkest time, bringing us laughter and joy, which is undoubtedly the greatest gift of all. No need to spread doom and gloom, no need to focus on what is wrong with ourselves or the world. By focusing on what is good we not only bring a lightness of spirit to others, but we also get to feel a lot better too.

Through giving to others, a la Santa, we get away from selfishness and neediness, and in the process see our own self-centeredness in greater perspective. It connects us to the basic goodness within, a quality of kindness that is easy to lose touch with. Giving—whether a smile, our time, a listening ear, food or material gifts—is profoundly joyful, both to the one who is receiving and the one who is giving. The essence of this is an open heart, a free mind, and a blissful spirit.

If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. Bob Hope

True generosity is giving without any thought of getting or receiving; it is unconditional, unattached, free to land wherever it will. Through giving and sharing in this way, we soon find that we do not lose anything; we do not have any less. Rather, we gain so much.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

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Ed and Deb are the co-founders, with Brian Jones, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com

Why Spontaneous Kindness Feels So Sexy

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 by

The Dalai Lama says kindness is his religion. Wikipedia says that a random act of kindness is: "…a selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual... There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile or be happier."

Being sexy means something is delicious, fun, delightful, it makes us feel good with a smile in our heart. Put that together with kindness, and we have the ultimate feel good action!

We first heard the saying practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, many years ago when we were at Findhorn, the renowned spiritual community in Scotland. But there can be some confusion about this: perhaps the receiver of the kindness might not appreciate it, it might make them apprehensive or distrustful in some way. Sadly, this seems to speak more about the suspicious world we live in than about the nature of kindness. If there is such wariness then what is needed are more acts of kindness done by more of us, not less.

Perhaps it is the use of the world random that is misleading, and that it would be easier if we used the word spontaneous instead. Spontaneity means we are acting on an impulse, in the moment, freely; we are moved to do something for someone without any thought of receiving something in return. Such behavior is surely the ground of a healthy and joyful society, where we happily give of ourselves to help another and such an act is happily received.

Be generous. Give to those you love; give to those who love you, give to the fortunate, give to the unfortunate -- yes, give especially to those you don't want to give to. You will receive abundance for your giving. The more you give, the more you will have! -- W. Clement Stone

What stops us from acting this way? Invariably it is our own insecurities, lack of self-esteem and self-love, doubts and inadequacies. And the same qualities also stop us from being able to freely receive. If we feel unworthy then we believe we have nothing to give; if we don't love ourselves then we don't trust why someone would be kind to us. We fear that if someone gives without reason that they actually want something from us, or that they have an ulterior motive.

If we feel uncomfortable with generosity we can get stuck in uncertainty, fear or unworthiness. When we doubt ourselves we fall into an endless pit of self -denigration. When we appreciate the beauty of kindness it takes us out of such self-centeredness; it enables us to let go of self-centeredness and to freely reach out to each other. We can both give and receive. Such egoless moments are exquisite!

Giving spontaneously can have a remarkable affect on all those who come in contact with it. For instance, HuffPost blogger Arthur Rosenfield was in the drive-thru line at Starbucks. The man in line behind him was getting impatient and angry, leaning on his horn and shouting insults at both Arthur and the Starbucks workers. Beginning to get angry himself, Arthur chose to keep his cool and change the negativity into something positive. He paid for the man’s coffee and drove away. By the time he got home at the end of the day, he discovered he had started a chain of giving that had not only continued all that day but had been highlighted on NBC News and within twenty-four hours had spread around the world on the Internet.

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. Scott Adams

Can you imagine a world where no one gave to each other? Where we all just looked after our own needs but ignored everyone else's? This would surely be a miserable place to live, for ultimately, whether spontaneous or planned, we cannot be happy without being kind, by giving and caring for each other.

Spontaneous kindness is essential to our wellbeing, it liberates us from self-obsession, selfishness, and isolation. True generosity is giving without expectation, with no need to be repaid in any form. This is the most powerful, unconditional, and unattached act of generosity, free to land wherever it will.

Being kind can be as simple as smiling. As Mahatma Gandhi said, Almost anything we do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that we do it.

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COMING SOON: Join 32 inspiring meditation experts and luminaries on a magical mystery journey that will transform you from the inside out. Join Congressman Tim Ryan, Marianne Williamson, neuroscientist Richie Davidson, Tara Stiles, Gabby Bernstein and others, on a meditation e-Conference, March 4-8.

Enjoy our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, foreword by the Dalai Lama.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: http://www.edanddebshapiro.com
 

What The Buddha Might Say To Oprah

Thursday, January 10, 2013 by

Saints get headaches. The Buddha had an upset stomach. Oprah has bad hair days. Each one of us, whether a spiritual teacher, film star or homemaker, is simply a human being. As the Dalai Lama said as he stopped us bowing when we greeted him: “We are all equal here.” The search for meaning and real happiness is the same for all of us, although in Oprah’s case she gets to walk the path in public while most of us do it in our living rooms.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. The Buddha

When Oprah originally aired on television author of A New Earth Eckhart Tolle’s course on spirituality and awareness it was revolutionary. By mixing the spiritual journey and modern media she exposed millions of people to the teachings. Since she began her latest TV series, Soul Sunday, where she gets to explore the journey with different luminaries such as Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston and Wayne Dyer, that search has become louder and more personal. No one of her magnitude has offered such guidelines to awakening wisdom and compassion on the television.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. The Buddha

The teachers that Oprah interviews can only point the way, no one can do it for us, but in doing so they highlight how many of us crave spiritual guidance of a non-secular nature, often without knowing where to find it. The search for a deeper meaning in life is universal and religion has done it’s best to provide a roadmap. But, as evidenced by Oprah’s success, religious doctrine isn’t enough for many of those who watch her show. They seek universal spiritual answers, without wanting to follow a specific set of ideas.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. The Buddha

However, as the Buddha’s quote says so clearly, we have to be careful of blindly believing everything we are told unless we find it be of real import in our own lives. Being skeptical is of value. We wouldn’t marry someone as soon as we meet them, we would take time to know them better. There are egotistical teachers who say they can enlighten us but actually are self-serving. So it’s good to first ensure a teacher is loving, compassionate and wise. The teacher on the outside is there to turn us on to our own inner teacher. Each of us is on a journey and what works for one may not work for another. We need the courage to trust our own insights and awakenings. Oprah is on the cutting edge of this media revolution and she shares every step of her search, but her answers may not always be applicable for all of us.

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. The Buddha

One of Oprah’s personal advantages is she has what our Tibetan teacher calls Ding. This means a deep inner unshakeable confidence where we are comfortable in our own skin, just as we are. We can see this clearly in her willingness to be herself. She publicly shares and reveals her dark edges, her confusion and search, as much as her generosity and desire to help others, and invites us all to do the same. She shows that within us all is a reservoir of basic goodness: as in her, so it is also in us. This is seen in our desire to be better than we are, to be kinder, more loving, and more compassionate; it is the impetus to begin seeking answers, to aspire beyond our limitations, to climb our own particular mountain.

A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure. The Buddha

Maitri is a Sanskrit word meaning unconditional friendship. When we were alone with the Dalai Lama, who wrote the foreword to our book, Be The Change, at his residence in India, he held our hands as we sat and talked with him. He emanated maitri by making us feel he was our very best friend, as he was so present and caring with us, paying attention to whatever we said. Through Oprah’s informality and willingness to share, she becomes such a friend. She reassures us we are not alone on the journey, not the only one struggling to find answers, and not woo woo to be searching in the first place. It is as good as being in the room with her.

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that renew humanity. The Buddha

We walk, slide, skip, and dance along the path, picking ourselves up each time we fall. We are in this great mystery together, discovering that giving is getting, kindness is awesome, and life is a precious gift. However, as much as we applaud the journey, it is just as important to acknowledge ourselves as finders. Our lives do change for the better, we do become nicer, warmer, kinder, and less fearful. These are important shifts and we deserve every blessed congratulation there is!

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See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: http://www.edanddebshapiro.com

4 Ways To Surf The Waves of Change

Thursday, December 6, 2012 by

waves of changeWe are a country divided, as the past election showed us, driven by conflicting viewpoints and approaches to problems. Essentials of life, such as finances and healthcare, have very different meanings to different people. And with a split government, such differences tend to end in gridlock. All of which implies that, as a whole, we are looking at drawn out economic problems, endless healthcare arguments, and an abiding sense of uncertainty in our lives. We hesitate to contemplate what the future may bring.

Such uncertainty, added to with opposing views on climate change and constant global tension, can create fear, turmoil and even panic. So how do we live with this? How do we live with the unknowing and insecurity? In fact, when everything seems hopeless is the very time we have the chance to grow into something better. Remember, what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, we call a butterfly! But, like a butterfly, the journey to such growth can be difficult, including having to possibly transform ourselves as completely as a caterpillar does.

Perhaps the best way to adjust is by recognizing that if constant change is inevitable, as it is fundamentally the essence of all life, then that doesn’t mean it has to be negative, for there is equally the potential for positive change in every moment. Here are 4 ways of surfing the waves of change that work for us:

1. Recognize that nothing is permanent

Nothing lasts, whether money, jobs, thoughts, feelings, or loved ones; everything is constantly changing, life never stands still. As Yoga Master Swami Satchidananda said, “Life is all about coming and going.” Everything that is happening now will change into something else, every structure will one day collapse, and new forms will be created, just as the cells within our bodies are constantly dying and recreating. Without change in ourselves we become stifled and stagnant; without change in the world we will not survive. Such impermanence means that every difficulty, challenge, joy, or success will, at some point, be different: this too shall pass.

2. Be With What Is

Even when times are tough, resistance is the quickest route to further discomfort and unhappiness. When we resist we put up walls or try to push the anxiety away, but this inevitably leads to unfulfilled desires and further discontent. Acceptance enables us to be with what is, to create spaciousness and room to breathe. Then we can make friends with our circumstances, instead of longing for things to be other than what they are. Being with what is means we release any need to know what the outcome of a situation might be.

3. Know that each day is a new beginning

Just as palm trees transform muddy water into sweet coconut milk, so we always have the opportunity to transform fear into courage, selfishness into kindness, and loss into a new beginning. We are capable to creating a new life for ourselves with every breath, word and action. We just need to put one foot in front of the other.

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. -- Maria Robinson

4. Stay grounded and calm

As every wave has both a crest and a dip, the clue to surfing is being able to paddle in the dip so we are ready to ride the next crest. Two of the best ways that we have found to help ourselves cope with the dips are yoga and meditation. Yoga releases physical and mental stress and relaxes the body, while meditation develops a peaceful and joyful mind. They enable us be present with what is, as well as to accept and live with change.

Here’s a meditation to help you stay calm and present. It is based on the flow of breath, which is like an anchor that gives us stability and steadiness. And just as the breath comes in and goes out, so it is like the coming and going of all aspects of life. Practice for a few minutes or as long as you like.

Sit upright and relax. Breathe in and out gently, simply watching the natural rhythm of your breathing. Follow the flow of your breath and let your mind relax into the rhythm. With each in breath silently repeat, “May I be well, may I be peaceful, may I flow with the changes.” With each out breath let your heart smile gently.

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See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: www.edanddebshapiro.com

Advice From the Buddha For President Obama

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by

 

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. Buddha

Yes, he did it! Despite oceans of money and hours upon hours of backbiting, slander, and lying, the power of the people won out. Now President Obama has the time and support to make good on his vision for a caring and humane nation. But it appears it will not be a smooth ride. The opposition, at least in the Congress, is virulent.

To keep him focused on what is right for the people, we looked at what the Buddha said that might advise him at this time.

When people speak badly about you, you should respond in this way: Keep a steady heart and do not reply with harsh words. Practice letting go of resentment, and accept that another’s hostility is the spur to your understanding. Be kind, adopt a generous standpoint, treat your enemy as a friend, and suffuse your world with affectionate thoughts, far-reaching and widespread, limitless and free from hate. Buddha

The Buddha spoke these words, or some just like them, 2,500 years ago, yet they are just as relevant today. His teaching is based on our intrinsic interdependence and interconnectedness. In a very broad sense, the role of the president is similar -- to recognize how we all affect each other: our basic interconnectedness. As President Obama said four years ago: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue. Buddha

But the differences between us can be huge. Although Obama pledged bipartisanship, in the last four years we actually saw the worst partisanship ever, with the Republicans determined to say no to whatever was proposed and to make Barack Obama a one-term president. To find unity, we have to go beyond those differences; we have to surrender our own needs for the benefit of all. In the process, our enemies can teach us great patience and even compassion!

Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule. Buddha

It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. Buddha

There have been some great achievements in the last four years as well as promises that haven’t been kept. But perfection is knowing ones own imperfections, which gives us the ability to get up each time we fall.

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that renew humanity. Buddha

The President’s support of gay marriage is an example of this, as it reflects the desire that all beings be treated the same. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat, sleep, and want to be happy. Love is not determined by gender. Why should anyone be denied the right to live the life they want, as long as they are not creating suffering for another?

When we first met with the Dalai Lama at his residence in northern India we bowed to him, as is the custom. He quickly lifted us saying, "We are all equal here."    

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. Dalai Lama

One of the reasons that President Obama probably won this election was because Mitt Romney was unable to relate to or inspire the middle classes, as well as his infamous closed door 47% speech. And so the one thing President Obama can be inspired by in the next four years is the equality of all.

A good motivation is what is needed: compassion without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their human rights and dignities. That we humans can help each other is one of our unique human capacities. Dalai Lama

We recommend, as the Buddha does, to meditate, in order to pacify the negative aspect of our egoic monkey-like mind. Meditation is fast becoming part of many peoples lives as it alleviates stress, clears the mind, and inspires us to be kinder and more compassionate, even to people we have difficult times with. It could be a great friend to President Obama.

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See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: http://www.EdandDebShapiro.com

Why Stress Is Actually Your Best Friend

Friday, October 26, 2012 by

Ed was born in the in the U.S., Deb across the pond in England. We spent years living there as we had our own T.V. series in London, and taught workshops throughout Europe. But, little by little, the constant grey and rainy weather was bringing us down. We both were getting very irritated by it until we realized how some people get stressed by the rain, while others just get wet!

Stress is usually thought of as an archenemy, something that gets us into difficult situations, makes us irritable, frustrated, panicked, and even physically sick.

For instance, imagine you are trying to squeeze some toothpaste out of a tube but you've forgotten to take the top off. What happens? Deb actually did this in one of her more unaware moments and the toothpaste soon found another way out -- through the bottom of the tube and all over her.

Now imagine that the tube of toothpaste is you, under pressure and beginning to experience psychological or emotional stress. But you don't take your lid off, as it were, by recognizing what is happening and making time to relax or deal with your inner conflicts. So what happens to the mental or emotional pressure building up inside you?

The fight-or-flight stress response enables you to respond to danger if, for instance, you are on the front line of a battle or facing a large bear. And even though not many of us are often in those situations, bears do come in many shapes and sizes. Seemingly unimportant events can cause a stress reaction, as the brain is unable to tell the difference between real and imagined threats. When you focus on your concern about what might happen it can play as much havoc with your hormones and chemical balance as it does in a real situation. Try remembering a gruesome scene from a horror movie and you'll feel your back or stomach muscles contract. The images are just in your mind yet they trigger an instant response in your body.

We all respond differently to circumstances: a divorce may be high on the list of stressors for one person but it may be a welcome relief to another. Life-issues that we are all subject to are stressors for some but not for others. The difference lies in our response, for although we may have little or no control over the circumstances we are dealing with, we do have control over our reaction to them.

In other words, the cause of stress may not be the external circumstances, such as having too many demands and not enough time to fill them. It is more likely to be our perception of the circumstances as overwhelming; and our perception of our ability to cope (albeit unconscious), as when we feel stretched beyond what we perceive ourselves to be capable of.

What we believe will color our every thought, word and action. As cell biologist Bruce Lipton says in The Biology of Belief, "Our responses to environmental stimuli are indeed controlled by perceptions, but not all of our learned perceptions are accurate. Not all snakes are dangerous! Yes, perception 'controls' biology, but… these perceptions can be true or false. Therefore, we would be more accurate to refer to these controlling perceptions as beliefs. Beliefs control biology!"

Thinking that it is our work, family or lifestyle that is causing us stress and that if we could only change these in some way then we would be fine, is seeing the situation from the wrong perspective. Rather, it is the belief that something out there is causing us stress that is causing the stress. And although changing the circumstances certainly may help, invariably, no matter what we do, it is only a change within our belief system and perception of ourselves that will make the biggest difference.

This is how stress can really be a good friend, as it shows us exactly where we are not paying attention to the perception we have of our capabilities, to our own needs, to honoring our priorities, and to fundamental relaxation and meditation techniques.

So, if you feel yourself getting stressed turn it into gratitude that it is reminding you to stop and take ten minutes to breathe and chill. Change the voice in your head from “I can’t” to “I can.” Find an affirmation that works for you in order to shift perceptions and belief patterns and to reinforce your strengths. Favorites are: “My mind is at ease and I am capable of doing everything,” or “With every breath I am more relaxed and flowing through my day with ease.”

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Your Body Speaks Your Mind

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, to learn how repressed, denied, or ignored thoughts and feelings are linked to specific body parts and illness.

Starts October 25 but you can join in and download classes anytime.

 

Meditation – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, on discovering the greatest friend you could have: meditation. Starts November 5, but you can join in and download classes anytime.

The Power of No

Sunday, October 14, 2012 by

We have all had times when we say yes to someone but really want to say no. It's often difficult to say no because of the desire to be loved: we want to be helpful, we want to show we care, but we may have little to give, are tired, over worked, or need alone time. Do you feel that if you aren’t there for someone they may reject you? Or, that you're somehow obliged to help as it makes you a 'good' person, parent or friend? Do you ever feel validated by being needed?

It's easy to believe that any time you take to relax or meditate is time that could be used elsewhere. But taking time out doesn't mean it is selfish or even wasted time. Think about what happens when your day is spent constantly caring for others. Do you get resentful, irritated, or even angry? Do you find stress building up? Does the quality of care that you offer become affected by that inner tension? Or are you so used to being this way that it seems impossible to imagine being any other way? You may even think you're not the relaxing type, or that if you do relax you won't be able to cope with all the things you have to do.

However, by taking time for yourself, by lowering your blood pressure and releasing stress, you are immediately creating a more harmonious environment that can only benefit all those around you. When you take time out to be quiet it means you don't get so angry, resentful, or frustrated; instead you connect with who you really are. Then what you share with others is coming from that peaceful space. When you are energized and feeling good you will be able to do far more than if you are dragging yourself through your day with little energy or in a bad mood.

So, rather than being selfish, such activity is actually the least selfish thing you could do! This is when saying no to others means you are affirming yourself. The power of saying no is that you are empowered!

Our yoga master, Sri Swami Satchidananda, said, "Never compromise your peace, whether it be to your children, parents, husband, wife or friends." Unless you are at peace, what you give to others is your stress or anxiety. Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has a telephone meditation where he teaches that, when the telephone rings, just wait, breathe in and out and slowly walk to the phone, so you are at ease when you answer. Then the person at the other end will feel your peace.

No one can make time. No one can change our habits or routine. For meditation to have any effect in our lives, we need to make an agreement to honor ourselves by doing it. This is actually a commitment to our own sanity and freedom. It is not to anyone else—not to a teacher or even to our family—but to living. That choice has to be made by each one of us. We can change the way we look, where we live, even who we live with, but unless we connect with who we are inside then none of those external changes will make much difference. Remember, happiness is an inside job!                    

Entering into the Quiet

Taking time to meditate is not the same as going for a walk or quietly listening to music. These are wonderfully relaxing activities, but they do not have the same effect as simply being still. Even just ten minutes a day will help you and all those around you. Others will find it easier to communicate with you, will enjoy being with you, and will even be motivated to help themselves more. As peace is contagious, let's start an epidemic!

There is a great beauty and joy that is our birthright, and we find this when we let go of resistance and stress and reconnect with that quiet space within; when we discover our essence rather than focusing on the content. A stressed mind sees life as a burden or constraint, while a relaxed mind meets life with dignity and fearlessness.

Sitting Quietly

Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Eyes are closed; breathe normally. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale... exhale... count one; inhale... exhale... two; inhale... exhale... three. Count to five, then start at one again. Just five breaths, and back to one. Simply following each breath in and silently counting. So simple.

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Your Body Speaks Your Mind

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, to learn how repressed, denied, or ignored thoughts and feelings are linked to specific body parts and illness. Starts October 25 but you can join in and download classes anytime

Meditation – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, on discovering the greatest friend you could have: meditation. Starts November 5, but you can join in and download classes anytime.

See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: http://www.EdandDebShapiro.com

Where To Find Supreme Happiness

Saturday, October 6, 2012 by

 

happinessHappiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. Helen Kelle

It would seem that regardless of emotional and physical hardships there is a place inside each of us that is essentially happy and free—but we have a tendency to ignore this place, or to think that being happy is dependent on circumstances or fortune.

Some years ago we were in Pondicherry, India, walking through the city as night fell, stepping carefully to avoid rats and dog pooh, when we saw two boys preparing for bed, which was on the hard concrete of the sidewalk. What really struck us was, in spite of their clear hardships, they were laughing loudly and happily.

Then, the other morning we were going to the gym, when we passed a little girl holding hands with her father. The girl was happily skipping along. Obviously, this was because skipping and jumping are expressions of happiness. But it made us think about how we express our happiness once we get to be adults.

For Deb, the little girl skipping "made me remember that when I was little I used to sing to myself. No particular tune or song, but I would often find myself humming or singing without even realizing I was doing it. Ed says I still do that. The interesting thing is that, even though I didn’t have the happiest of childhoods—mother divorced father for cruelty, I was in boarding school from age eight, and so on—there was a happiness inside me that was all mine, untouched by drama, trauma, or circumstance."

 While for Ed, "I used to dance on stage with my sister and brother; we had a whole dance routine the three of us would do together. I come from a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx with a stepmother who made life difficult, but I was always able to find a place to dance. When I danced I was at my happiest, it took me out of my daily reality and was the way I could really express myself. I was even a dancing teenager on television and won the NYC dance championships!"

In the West we correlate happiness with economic prosperity: the more we have the happier we are meant to be. As Danny DeVito jokingly said in a movie: "You wanna know what life's about? I'll tell you. You accumulate as much as you can and whoever has the most at the end wins."

But in Bhutan, a small but beautiful country in the Himalayas squeezed between northern India and China, they determine their country’s wealth by the quantity of Gross National Happiness (or GNH): people's level of happiness serves as a monitor for the economic and development plans of the country.

Bhutan is not a materially rich country and life for most people is hard—there were no roads before 1960, they farm the high mountain fields with oxen, and certainly most don't have central heating or air conditioning. But their happiness is that deep sense of appreciation and inner contentment. This is seen in their sense of community and caring for one another, and their radiant smiles.

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy—because we will always want to have something else or something more. Brother David Steindl-Rast

Given the current economic difficulties many people are facing, perhaps this is the perfect time to reassess what gives you happiness and how you express it—to reconnect with the inner joy that made you either skip or run when you were younger—for it is easy to forget to be happy. Do remember, unconditional happiness is an inside job. Supreme happiness is within you.

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Meditation – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, on discovering the greatest friend you could have: meditation. Starts October 25 but you can join in and download classes anytime.

Your Body Speaks Your Mind

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, to learn how repressed, denied, or ignored thoughts and feelings are linked to specific body parts and illness. Starts October 24 but you can join in and download classes anytime

See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: http://www.EdandDebShapiro.com

The Enemy Is Within, Not Without

Monday, September 17, 2012 by

 

We will always blame and condemn those we feel are responsible for wars and social injustice, without recognizing the degree of violence in ourselves. We must work on ourselves as well as with those we condemn if we wish to move towards peace. — Thich Nhat Hanh, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr.

enemy withinThere is lots of fear mongering going on at the moment. Fingers are being pointed. Rage is being tossed around. This makes us quake in our boots, be fearful of the "enemy" or the "opposition," or anything else outside our known world.

Fear mongering is easy. Fox News political analyst Juan Williams said in 2010 how he gets nervous if he is on a plane with Muslims. Immediately, all his listeners felt a sense of empathy with him, it kindled their own fear, and showed how, when a seed of fear is planted in our mind, it generates instability to the point of paranoia, which can spread like wildfire.

A single match can burn down an entire forest. In the same way, anger can spread and affect all it meets, like a 15-minute video, itself the result of anger and irrational fear, that has ignited anti-US clashes from Morocco to Malaysia to Sydney, Australia. At the time of writing seven people have been killed, thousands injured and innumerable buildings destroyed.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – President Franklin D Roosevelt in his first inaugural address

Fear has many faces, many disguises. There is fear that is a natural response to physical danger; and there is fear that is self-created, such as a fear of failure, of the dark, of being out of control, being different, lonely, or of unfamiliar "other people." Just as people fear communism, now they also fear Muslims. And such fear easily becomes racism. As Juan Williams also said in 1986: "Common sense becomes racism when skin color becomes a formula for figuring out who is a danger to me."

Ultimately, fear is about survival of the ego, the me-centered self, especially when the structures we have created to keep us feeling safe are, in our limited view, being threatened. The ego-mind casts a shadow of fear of potential loss and destruction. Many of us live our whole lives this way, with shadows haunting us like ghosts wherever we go.

When fear is in control we become irrational, resistant to change and spontaneity; we get angry, defensive, hidden behind self-constructed walls of protection, which reinforces separateness, isolation and enmity. Fear makes us cling to the known and reject anything that is unknown. Violence invariably arises out of such fear. Unacknowledged, it can wreck havoc in our own lives and in the world around us, as seen in terrorist attacks, gang fighting, rape, or forceful and abusive behavior.

This is the real enemy within: the part in us (whether it is bitter, angry, fearful, ignorant) that refuses to recognise we are all interconnected to each other.

We become fearless only when we can turn fear around and face it, get to know it, release resistance to it, and open our hearts. When we acknowledge and take responsibility for our own fearful and aggressive tendencies, when we see that the enemy within is actually more harmful than the enemy without, then we have the ability to change not only our own lives but the world as well.

We can make tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and love our priorities. Which doesn’t mean we are always in spaced out bliss while ignoring the conflicts around us, but it does mean we have shifted our focus. Those people we have a difficult time with are really our teachers, as without an adversary—or those who trigger a strong reaction such as anger—we would not be motivated to develop loving kindness. So we should be grateful to them for enabling us to be more compassionate, and, as the Dalai Lama says, for teaching us greater patience. We can actually thank our exasperating partners, reckless teenagers, competitive colleagues, or misguided fanatics for the chance to be kind. What a gift!

All this is possible through meditation that not only invites us to witness anger, but also to get to know and make friends with ourselves, to dissolve the “me versus you”, the power struggles and one-upmanship. It gives us a midpoint between expressing anger and repressing it, a place where we can hear our feelings with awareness and acceptance.

Meditation may not be a cure-all; it is not going to make all our difficulties go away or suddenly transform our weaknesses into strengths, but it does enable us to rest in an inclusive acceptance of who we are. This does not make us perfect, simply more fully human.

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Meditation – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, on discovering the greatest friend you could have: meditation. You can join in and download classes anytime. A free introduction on September 20, and a 4-week webinar starting September 27.

 

Your Body Speaks Your Mind

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro, to learn how repressed, denied, or ignored thoughts and feelings are linked to specific body parts and illness. Starts September 19 but you can join in and download classes anytime

 

See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: http://www.EdandDebShapiro.com

The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: Meditation

Monday, July 23, 2012 by

 

Honestly speaking we cannot imagine how our lives would be without meditation. As soon as we become still and quiet we enter a calm spaciousness within which questions are answered, while difference and dramas dissolve. Such stillness always comes as a great relief from the madness each day can contain. 

Some years ago we were attending a silent meditation retreat. Each day we were asked if we were feeling happier than we were the day before. The inquiring monk had a contagious smile, knowing that we were each confronting numerous obstacles to our happiness, primarily the ones in our own heads.

Yet despite his humor, the monk’s question was sincere. If we were not beginning to feel happier from practicing meditation, then what was the point of doing it?

We were asked the same question each day. To begin with this emphasized how preoccupied we were with inner confusion, doubts, conflicts, and discomfort, even how difficulties could actually feel more familiar than joy. Yet, why be there if we were struggling so much that we weren't enjoying it?

Our smiley monk was teaching us that it is vital to make friends with meditation, that it is not your adversary. Rather, meditation is a companion to have throughout life, like a best friend we turn to when things get hard to deal with and we are in need of inspiration, clarity, and even inner happiness.

Admittedly, meditation can sometimes appear insurmountable, but it is our own mind that contains the obstacles, not the practice of sitting quietly, as the chattering mind can create endless dramas. Practicing meditation means slowly and gently training the mind to do something it may not have done before: be quiet and still.

One way to overcome resistance and make meditation your friend is to start by just sitting for a few minutes at a time, instead of feeling you have to meditate, and then feeling guilty if you miss the allotted time or only do ten minutes when you had said you would do thirty. It's far more important to practice for just a few minutes and to enjoy what you are doing, than to sit there, teeth gritted, because you have been told that only thirty minutes will have any affect.

If your purpose is to try to achieve a quiet mind then the trying itself will create tension and failure. Instead, you are just with whatever is happening in the moment, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. No judgment, no right or wrong. Watching whatever arises and letting it go is all that is required. It is more of an undoing than a doing.

During meditation we gently let go of distractions so we can genuinely be present. Like a child watching an ant walking down the sidewalk carrying a crumb, that is all that exists in their world at that moment. They are not thinking about what they had for breakfast, or what they will do with their best friend at their next play date. They are only watching the ant.

Meditation enables us to stop trying, to let go of the story, the dramas, our stressed mind, and to discover an inner easefulness. Some people describe this as a sense of coming home, as if they had been away or out of touch with themselves without even realizing it; others experience it as a huge relief as there is a release of anxiety and self-centeredness and they enter into a more peaceful state of being. And many feel as if they are simply hanging out with a good old friend, always there when needed.

 

Meditation Is Not What You Think

A 4-week webinar (on-line course) with Ed and Deb Shapiro on discovering the greatest gift you can give yourself: meditation. Clear your mind, open your heart, and dive into the wonder of your own true self. Starts July 09, but you can listen at any time.

See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: www.EdandDebShapiro.com 

What The Buddha Might Say To President Obama

Friday, May 18, 2012 by

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. Buddha

With six months to go before the election, President Obama has officially launched his campaign. This is an important time for him not to take anything for granted, but also to stay true to his beliefs and ethics.

It is extremely hard to stay balanced during difficult and challenging times, as there are always those who want to bring you down, who disagree, criticize, or act like they know better. It is obvious that it will be a nasty presidential campaign. Both Obama's religion and his birthplace are constantly questioned yet he holds his head high, speaks calmly and intelligently, and seems to have no malice. His reaction to such dissenters has simply shown his determination to keep going forward. As he said: "What we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That's what I strive to do, that's what I pray to do every day."

When people speak badly about you, you should respond in this way: Keep a steady heart and do not reply with harsh words. Practice letting go of resentment, and accept that another’s hostility is the spur to your understanding. Be kind, adopt a generous standpoint, treat your enemy as a friend, and suffuse your world with affectionate thoughts, far-reaching and widespread, limitless and free from hate. Buddha

The Buddha's teaching is based on our interdependence and interconnectedness. In a very broad sense, the role of the president is similar -- to recognize how we all affect each other, which is our basic interconnectedness. Obama's recent announcement of his support of gay marriage is an example of this, as it reflects the desire that all beings be treated equally. As Obama said four years ago: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

We are delighted that Obama has recognized gay marriage as a fundamental right, for the soul is neither male nor female, gay or straight. The cover of Newsweek features an image of Obama with a rainbow-colored halo above his head. The main story is: "The First Gay President." We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat, sleep, and want to be happy. Love is not determined by gender. Why should anyone be denied the right to live the life they want, as long as they are not creating suffering for another? When we first met with the Dalai Lama at his residence in northern India we prostrated before him, as is the custom. He quickly lifted us up saying, "We are all equal here."    

But the differences between us can be huge. Although Obama pledged bipartisanship, in the last four years we have seen the worst partisanship ever, with the Republicans determined to say "no" to whatever Obama proposes. To find unity, we have to go beyond those differences; we have to surrender our own needs for the benefit of all. In the process, our enemies can teach us great patience and even compassion!

It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. Buddha

Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule. Buddha

There have been some great achievements in the last four years as well as promises that haven’t been kept. But perfection is knowing ones own imperfections, which gives us the ability to get up each time we fall.

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. Buddha

 

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See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Byron Katie and many others.

Deb is the author of the award-winning YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND, Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness.

Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: www.EdandDebShapiro.com