Guidance & Meditation

Connections to Guidance: The Role of Meditation

If you want to connect with “Guidance” and Your “Intuition,” the place to start is with Meditation. Meditation allows you to quiet your mind and reduce distractions while it moves you into the Present moment. As you quiet your mind, for many people known as “Monkey Mind,” you can focus on messages which will bubble up from your Divine Spirit in whatever form it will manifest for you.

Let’s break this down a bit.
Quieting your mind and reducing distractions allows you to connect with the “quiet” feelings and thoughts which can move forward into your consciousness. I have a hearing problem due to a damage done to my ears. If I want to hear a conversation or the television, I may have to ask that background conversations or noise from the environment be reduced or eliminated so my hearing aids do not amplify all the extra sounds and prevent me from hearing my partner or the TV. Well Guidance and Intuition are easier to hear if the environmental distractions, internal or external, are reduced or eliminated.

This leads to better Focus. Until you are very familiar with your connection and pathway of communication with Guidance, you are better able to hear it or feel it or see it when internal and external distractions are reduced. This is simple as a concept but often difficult to achieve. If you are studying difficult materials for a test in school, most people (if they are honest) find that a quieter environment helps interpret the material and store in the memory when external noise is less. In the beginning of your process searching for and then listening to Guidance, it is easier to pick this information out if your mind is not racing around.

Being “Present” is the ability to release the memories and the motions tied to these memories from the past while minimizing the fear or anxiety about the “unknowns” of the future. It is a gift to be “Present.” One of he reasons we like to meditate in front of a fireplace as we watch the flames or we lose ourselves while watching waves break upon the shore is because we become more fully “Present” watching, “thoughtlessly,” as these random but predictable actions occur. The subtle messages coming up from Spirit are in the “present” and the most accurate filter will be found in a mind which is in the “present” moment.

There is a strong phenomenon that happens when you meditate, stay present, and reduce distractions in your mind. You become more sensitive to the subtle messages. As if you get “tuned in” to the vibration that was always there but hidden behind all the backgrounds noise. You are more open and more sensitive when you practice mediation. I have shared (or will share) some major messages from Guidance that happened for me during meditation. I refer to the NDE experience when I was 19 years old and the feeling of Oneness in the “River of Life” which occurred during and afternoon meditation when I was 23 years old.

Now when I sit down to write a blog which is coming from Guidance, I get better results if I have recently come in from a walk in nature or just completed a meditation practice. A thought will come and then the supporting words and information flow from the “tap” of Guidance. It appears to be easier for me to do when I am not disturbed by phone calls, social media, roommates, or noises from media or traffic.

There are many ways to meditate and you need to find the ones that work best for you.
Betty Bethards (A Psychic Mentor) – Taught me a version of Kundalini Meditation
Autogenic Training
Zen with open eyes to: nature, candles or mandala
An Altar with Your Meditation objects
Formal chanting or mantra repetition (certain types of Praying)
Breath work and Yogic Breathing
Guided Visualization or Hypnosis
Meditation Music or Tones
Self-awareness (Progressive Relaxations)
Movement: Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong
Biofeedback
Even, Pendulum or Dowsing Work
Focusing on Chakras (especially Heart Chakra 4th, Third Eye 6th and Crown Chakra 7th – and then beyond/above into higher chakras above the physical body…)

Regular practice for 15-20 minutes is what I recommend but for many people 5 minutes will work for some people or for other people 30 minutes or more may be the best amount of time. Ongoing repetition and developing this skill will improve your results in connecting with Guidance and your Intuition. Though meditating in a cave for 20 years is NOT usually required. It takes practice to learn to quiet “the Monkey Mind” and to learn how to release the physical distractions that occur so often. Some people can learn to have a brief one minute meditation practice that can work well for them. From my experience, 20 minutes of deep relaxation from meditation can take the place of as much as 2 hours of sleep. So meditation, though requiring time, can save you time in the long run.

Meditations led me to “awakenings” which included visiting: Death (a NDE on the other side of the Veil,) the “River of Life” (to experience connection and “oneness” as Buddha may have experience,) Guides with Healing advice and insights, and connecting with Divine Wisdom. No small things, though not an every day experience. Beginners Mind and innocence in my early years seemed to assist these epiphanies. (More about innocence and Beginner’s Mind in future, and past, Blogs.)

There comes a time when you learn to feel the Guidance and then you learn to trust the Guidance more effectively. This can take some trial and error. If your “Gut” begins to get your attention, it is trying to tell you something. For me, this has been true. Even when seemingly irrational, the message is worth paying attention to. YOU have a choice to follow this suggested path or not. YOU are the one who responds and be responsible for your choices and actions. When my “Gut” told me to drop out of UCLA in 1970 and to get out of Los Angeles, I did not know where it would lead me. Looking back, it was one of the best decision I have ever made! Think back and YOU will find “gut feelings” offering choices which assisted you into the profound changes you needed and which you have learned from.

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master!

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

The Art of Being Present

What is the advantage in being Present? How do you achieve the state of Presence? In moving along your path in life, when should you strive for “being fully in the Moment?”

Have you ever had the telephone conversation or the face to face meeting with another person who was clearly “somewhere else” and not tracking your communication? In our busy world, this happens all the time. You have to repeat yourself or you feel insecure that you were not fully heard or understood. You have to question your communication partner to “check in” and to know that they were not so distracted that they did not receive your important communication. People clearly have a great deal on their mind and they are being torn away by the invasion of of text messages or other manifestations of interrupting technology. We are so “plugged in” that it is difficult to invest fully in the conversation with the person in front of you or on the other end of the telephone. A client may not feel fully connected with you if you are lost in another thought and this may cause a transaction to go poorly. Your friend or family member may get frustrated with your lack of focus and may lash out at you in frustration. These situations happen all to frequently. Many people do not have the awareness, and then the control, to be able to quiet the distractions and really focus on the present moment and this is sad.

Missing the moment that will never come again is a loss that you can not ever recover!  There are times when you can multi-task but human interaction is very important and should not be short changed by your distracted and disrespectful pursuit of multiple thoughts or activities. Remember when this happened to you and how you felt this lack of respect and consideration! If for no other reason, you will miss out on the most joyful and satisfying moments in life if you are not present!

Achieving the state of “Presence” requires that you reduce internal and, if possible, external distractions. Begin by NOT thinking of your answer or response before your communication partner finishes their statement. Listen! Listen with ALL of your senses. If you require clarification, ask supportive “open ended questions.” Make eye contact. It is rude to not focus your vision upon the person who is speaking. If possible, feel the emotion of what is being said. Use your intuition to read “between the lines.” There are many times when you may need to clear your mind and relax your body to reduce internal distractions and this may benefit from learning how to meditate and to find yourself in the present moment. If you can be present, you will be happier and healthier. Your relationships can improve. You can find interpersonal success more easily.

Being fully present can become more a positive habit if you practice and learn more about what is distracting to you, AND, learn to let this go. Remember, that the respect you show in listening and interacting can be beneficial for personal learning and will improve your relationships. It will even SAVE YOU TIME in the long run. Try it and see for yourself.

If you manage other people or want positive outcomes with your family, learning to be fully present is a mandatory skill and life enhancing experience.

Blessings to you on your path and watch most carefully each foot step on your journey toward consciousness.

More information and support can be found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Future Focus Achieving Your Dreams

It is important to stay in the “present” so physical and emotional responses do not cause symptoms of distress to arise, however, planning for successful attainment of your goals and dreams is necessary for long term success. This all can sound like “double-talk” but it really makes good sense.

First, physical and emotional symptoms can develop for people who are “not in their bodies in the present.” Many people have anxiety/fear regarding occurrences from events which have happened in the past. These can be difficult to “let go.” Likewise, even more people get fearful and anxious about the unknowns of the future. These are things that we can not often control and so can become consciously or unconsciously scary. Most people need to learn how to release fears of the past or of the unknowns of the future and practice living, in their bodies, in the present moment. This is easier said than done, but very important to learn how to do and to use preventively.

If you are not completely happy with your “condition” in life, then you may need to move in positive directions to attain a long term goal and dream that will bring you greater satisfaction and happiness. For example, maybe you want to get your college education and a college degree. Or, maybe you want to take a trip to Paris or Rome. Or, maybe you want your work or investments to give you financial security. All of these are important and significant long range goals. If you want to achieve these, and not just desire them, you must take action. The first action is to really plan the steps necessary to accomplish this major goal. Break it down into the small steps that will take you down the path toward completing your goal. Work out a reasonable time line. Gather the information and the resources that you will require to begin. AND, GET STARTED! Get help or coaching if you can not do this for yourself, in a useful way.

You must be very clear about what your goal looks like. It helps to see, or visualize, your dream. Feel it! Know what the final result will feel like to you. Listen and hear what your success will sound like. Some people can even taste success… In other words, use ALL of your senses to imagine the successful completion of your goal. This will help to make it more “real” for your subconscious mind. NOW, focus on your goal and the path to achieving it.

Do not be lazy! Regularly, immerse yourself in seeing yourself moving toward, and then accomplishing, your goal. Some people do this upon awaking in the morning and again at bedtime. Many people need to start their day with these images of success. I know many people who plan goal focusing breaks throughout their day to help them maintain focus on their positive long range goals.

I believe in this process and I tested it! After completing my Ph.D. program my private practice had shrunk down to 3 appointments per week. I figured that I needed at least 15 per week reach my financial goals. This was in January and I set the last week of March as my target for accomplishing my goal. Several times a day I pictured myself answering the telephone and writing appointments in my appointment book, until all the appointment slots were full. Of course, I also made calls to referral sources and sent out letters to advertise my services. The last week of March, I had 18 appointments on my books and 14 people came in for their appointments. Pretty close to the exact goal I had established. I was thrilled. When I looked at where the new business had come from, less than half of the appointments came from my direct promotional efforts. More than half of these clients came from other sources, “out of the blue” you might say. It did not matter at the time but in the years since, I have come to respect the power of offering clear, specific requests to the universe. By being clear and specific, the universe can help provide the answers you require for the success that you desire. The principles are simple, the actual practice requires dedication, support, and sometimes specific coaching.

My coaching practice often takes clients with big goals and dreams. We move together to build the individualized program for success and take the steps necessary to accomplish these goals.

You can do it! You can make your life move in the most ideal directions, but it requires more than just “wanting” or “dreaming.” It requires the targeted work and the laser focus on your long term goal. What is the accomplishment of your dream really worth to you? Remember that anything of value requires your time, focused attention, and your energy to achieve.

Grab your dreams! Make them happen!

Focus – A Key to Success

Written January,2015

As I write this article, it is the first month of the new year. For many people, the change of the calendar reminds them to check their long range goals, re-assess their strategies, and begin to move forward, taking the steps necessary to accomplish their bigger goals. The most successful people do this exercise constantly and have habitualized this into a “normal and natural” occurrence. Most of the rest of us, struggle to focus on this planning process that is so necessary for success. The only way around the planning process is the very rare state of “Good Luck” that can fall upon us but most “dreamers” never accomplish their goals through this path. Big goals take time and effort to accomplish and do “just happen.”

So, as I am sure you have been told before, it is time to “buckle down” and set an achievable course toward your most important goals. What often gets in the way is our own internal distractions which are really the “fear of failure” fairies or the “I am not sure that I really deserve success” gremlins. These are issues that need to be dealt with, but not in this article… (Get coaching or rigorous mentoring if you require.)

Also standing in your way toward ultimate success using this approach can also be due to “overwhelm” which is more easily controlled. Overwhelm suggests that it is difficult to focus when you are being distracted by basic daily survival. Get organized and let go of the unimportant expectations that clutter your mind. Easier said than done but I offer a technique that will assist you with this.

De-cluttered your mind exercise:
1. Make a list of all the things that you “have to do” (Put everyone, even the ones that are not work related on this list. WRITE THEM DOWN!)
2. Now, organize this list and eliminate any of the tasks that can wait
3. With the remaining tasks, ask yourself (honestly) which of these, if any, are so important that they will be a big concern of yours in one year… Will you still remember this item if left undone this time next year?
4. Move any of these less important items to another list of things that you can work on if you are bored or have nothing better to do.
5. Take the items that are left on your “have to do” list and create a strategy, with timeline, for accomplishing these goals.
6. Get going on this list, AND reward yourself for completion of these items.

Focusing and problem solving solutions, creatively, may also require that that you rid yourself of physical and emotional distractions. For this, I suggest that you must practice stress management and self-care regularly. The time and energy that this requires will come back to you and pay dividends. As an example, 20 minutes of deep relaxation or meditation can take the place of as much as 2 hours of sleep. (Do not believe this with out testing this for yourself. When I first heard this I did not believe this claim. For me, 20 minute a daily Autogenic training was found to reduce my requirement for sleep by 1.5 hours, so I came out 1 hour and 10 minutes ahead by doing my regular relaxation. Gentle warning, it required 3 months of using Autogenic training daily for me to get this result.)

Set your positive goals and then making a step by step guide to achieving them is critical. Reviewing your list daily or at least weekly is also essential. In fact, I recommend picturing your desired results at the end of each daily relaxation period. Setting a workable time line is also essential, but have a little flexibility and be sensible with timelines.

To be successful, you will need to learn to say “NO” to outside distractions and other people’s expectations. This not easy to do, but you must think long term on the value the successful completion of your goals will bring to you.

If you are going to be happy, healthy and “well rounded,” then you also need to consider your most important goals in the areas that are not just career and financial. You must also set and achieve goals regarding: your health, your spiritual/aesthetic growth, your intellectual growth, your relations with family and friends, and your closest relationship.

If you can not get a focused plan by yourself, get support. You may even consider working with a professional coach and find the benefit of having an accountability partner.

In any case, get going. Do the work! Take responsibility! And, reap the benefits of your own success!

If you have questions or would like an accountability partner to assist you in moving forward, consider coaching. Contact me at 360-593-3833 or through the website www.dstress.com

Keys to Connecting with Spirit

Spiritual Development and Higher Consciousness

People discuss health and wellness in terms of a balance in “Mind-Body-Spirit.” But when we try to pursue “connecting” with our spirit, we can be frustrated because there are so distractions and obstacles in our way to higher consciousness. After 30 years of private practice, I have stumbled upon an important truth about “connecting with spirit.” In very simple terms, if you “quiet your mind,” relax the “distractions” of your body, and find your way into shedding memories from the past or anxieties about the future, you will have set the stage for a better connection with your spirit. One additional ingredient is an “openness” to feel and to explore your spirit.
I am not speaking about religion or any religious training. I am speaking in terms of your own personnel spiritual evolution and experiencing the source of “Universal Consciousness.” (Universal Consciousness, or possibly “Cosmic Consciousness,” will be defined and discussed in a future article.

If you have a passionate desire to connect with your spirit then read on.

Many clients have been referred to my private practice by health professionals who wish these clients to reduce, or eliminate, certain stress related challenges. Symptoms that are created, or made worse, by stress such as: insomnia, high blood pressure, headaches, backaches, poor circulation, GI disorders, irregular or rapid heart rates, panic/anxiety, and some respiratory challenges have all been referred. Of these referrals, 70-80% of the time within 4-6 weeks of our stress management process, I begin to hear about “unexpected positive results.” As the clients begin to practice our stress management techniques, on a daily basis, they begin to grow more skillful at quieting their minds and relaxing their bodies. Often before their symptoms begin to lessen, I hear things that consistently sound like this: “I am sleeping better and remembering my dreams,” or “My dreaming patterns have changed,” or “Things that used to bother me, do not seem to bother any more (or as much.)” My clients report having better attitudes or the ability to connect in positive ways with the people around them. They are less irritated. They have better energy. They make fewer stress related mistakes and this saves them time. They report have a better “balance” and a more positive mental attitude. This opens the door for their connection with “spirit” and the development of their higher consciousness.

Most of the stress management strategies that I teach get people to the same, or a very similar, place. With practice, when these clients find the “right,” stress management strategy and begin to practice it on a regular basis, they report saving time, energy, and feeling better. I believe that this process leads directly to connecting with spirit and changes the way these people experience their lives.

The Stress Education Center’s website has archived blogs & articles that teach these techniques and they are all written out in the best selling, “Guide to Stress Reduction” which you can find in your library or at Amazon.com…. www.dstress.com

If you want coaching or assistance with this process, contact us for coaching or for our 5 session online stress management course (available through the website.)

Please take good care of yourself. Expand your mind and connect with your spirit, it feels great!

Do Not Run With Chainsaws – Zen

When we were young, we were told not to run with sharp objects like scissors or knives or broken glass. Why, because these items are dangerous. They are sharp and you could trip and fall and hurt yourself. So, D.R.W.C.

Chainsaws can be dangerous. They are sharp and many bad things can happen if you are careless (or make a mistake) when handling them. Running chainsaws are more dangerous than non-running chainsaws but you should still pay attention when carrying a non-running chainsaw. Take proper pre-cautions. Dress appropriately. Look carefully at your chainsawing environment and avoid tripping if you are carrying a running chainsaw.

I like chainsawing. It can be Zen like. Though chainsawing is not quiet or peaceful, it requires full attention, in the present moment. This need for being present makes it Zen like. People do risky, sometimes dangerous (or even foolish) things, to force themselves into paying attention to the “being in the present moment.” Some people go skiing on dangerous icy slopes, at the top of mountains, in the middle of Winter. Some people drive their cars faster than the speed limit signs suggest. Some people jump out of airplanes, for fun. Some people try to sell you insurance or investments (consider this statement to be a joke.) All of these activities require facing danger and can make you focus on the present moment. For me, running my chainsaw gets my adrenaline flowing and tells me that danger is close enough that I should really let go of thoughts/memories from the past or to not concern myself with fears of the future’s unknowns and to focus on being present. Not all people would feel the same way. Heck, I know people who do not like hard physical work. These people sometimes find that working up a sweat is just too much effort. Oh well, they will have to find their own way to achieve a Zen experience.

Once you clear the area of dangerous debris (so you won’t trip and fall) and you have got your chainsaw running, remember, D.R.W.C., Don’t Run With Chainsaws… But along the way, enjoy the experience and find your way into the present…

Zen on…

Caffeine Cause Anxiety Attacks

Caffeine Cause Anxiety Attacks

Since the dawning of the “Information Age” in the early 1980’s the pace of change has accelerated in our society. To keep pace with the explosion of new information and this rapid rate of change, many people have adopted a new coping strategy of increasing their consumption of caffeine. Caffeine is a drug. It is a stimulant which increases many of same physiological responses as the survival response known as the “Flight-Fight” response. It is this reaction by the body to the stimulation from caffeine that can trigger an anxiety-type physical reaction. Many people are unsuspecting and naïve regarding the full extent of this response to which often includes a common, and even, celebrated “rush” of energy. Knowing about this response can keep you from being a victim to caffeine related anxiety attacks.

 

As a stimulant, the effect of caffeine can be different from one person to the next. The amount of caffeine consumed, and then the amount actually absorbed by the body, can contribute to the range of reactions. It is not uncommon for caffeine to cause an increase in brain wave activity that can arouse a tired mind. This is the most desired response for many sleep deprived people. This can backfire on many people who may have a day long response to their morning coffee (or other caffeine source) because many people can not sleep well at bedtime as a response to this early caffeine consumption. This “vicious cycle” will then cause poor quality sleep/rest which requires more caffeine to get “up” for the next day’s activities.

 

The stimulation caused by caffeine can also increase heart rate and for some people increase their blood pressure as it simulates the release of excitatory hormones like adrenaline (epinephrine.) This rapid heart rate, when severe, can scare people, triggering the hormonal release which can cause a greater anxiety reaction. The frightening response to the physical associations of an anxiety attack can cause fear and can even drive people to the emergency rooms with the concern that the patient believes that they going to die from a heart attack. We have enough anxiety in our society without pushing ourselves over the edge with the stimulation of caffeine.

 

Caffeine can cause an increase in skeletal muscle tension as it triggers the classic flight response. This muscle tension can be distracting (loss of focus), cause fatigue, and in many cases increase the likelihood of increased muscle spasms and so, muscle contraction pain. In this way, caffeine can contribute to muscle tension headaches from the tightness of muscles in the jaw, neck, and shoulders. For people suffering from chronic muscular tension pain, this can contribute to their tension and pain. It will often cause an increased anxiety driven response to their pain which can intensify their chronic pain complaints. This is especially true for lower back pain and neck/shoulder pain, as well as the peripheral pains in the arms and legs that can be associated with back pain.

 

For those of you who use caffeine regularly, you should also know that there are plenty of cases of physical and psychological addiction to this drug. Many people feel withdrawal symptoms that are not comfortable when they try to discontinue their caffeine habit. If you want to discontinue, the best way to do this would be gradually over time. Substituting ½ de-caf into your morning coffee and minimizing other caffeine laden products will be helpful. Be patient and drink extra water!

 

In its defense, caffeine can be helpful for some types of headaches such as migraine headaches which can be reduced by caffeine or associated cafergot. (Cafergot is a brand name of the combination of ergotamine and caffeine.) With its stimulating effects on the digestive system, caffeine may also work as a laxative to minimize problems with constipation. Historically, European coffee “salons” were places where intellectuals could meet and have lively discussions while drinking brewed coffee which was more healthful than the untreated available water which was often contaminated with deadly diseases of the Middle Ages. The other alternative beverage for most Middle Age Europeans was to drink beer or alcoholic drinks which did not encourage good discussion, thinking, or productivity.

 

Since the 1980’s, our society has seen an explosion of coffee houses and Espresso stands. You can not get through any American city without being confronted by easily accessible purveyors of liquid coffee refreshments. Both young and old are caught in this “glamorous” habit with expanding zeal. A gift of choice is the insidious gift certificate for the expensive coffee houses. This has gotten to be big business.

 

Besides coffee or espresso drinks, caffeine is found in many products. Black teas, green tea, soft drinks, chocolate candy, and as an additive in many other products are but a few of these additional sources for caffeine. There are even a few products with commercial names like: Jolt, Red Bull, and RockStar that cater to the young caffeine crazed generation that seem to require higher concentrations of caffeine. I do not want to deprive people from indulging in these products, but people must be aware of what the effects of these products can do to their body’s and to people who interact with caffeine saturated folks. Many cases of “road rage” may be traced to the negative effects of over-caffeinated, stressed drivers.

 

Let’s have some common sense. Moderation is a great rule to follow, especially if you are one the people who are most sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Coffee businesses are not bad or the enemy, we just need to learn how use their products in the most appropriate ways.

 

  L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the country’s leading stress management expert and the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Success & Executive Coaching and Training.Please visit the Stress Education Center’s website at Stress, Stress Management, Coaching, and Training (at http://www.dstress.com) for articles, free ezine signup, and learn about the new telecourses that are available. If you would like information or a targeted proposal for training or coaching, please contact us at (360) 593-3833.