Do you believe in unconditional love?

Unconditional love is the kind of love we can give unlimitedly without conditions; it is the presence of loving kindness in life for life.

In the first years of life, we learn that love is conditioned; used as a reward for good behaviour. Over time, we face relationships in which we doubt whether we are truly worthy of love and being loved. Every human being from birth must receive care, affection, kindness, respect, acceptance, and recognition. As soon as someone is deprived of these basic needs of learning and survival, he or she begins to form gaps and misconceptions of life, in some cases, they are irreparable.

We often demand a lot, we look for permanence and security in relationships, we pretend that others complete us and fill our needs and when we do not obtain it, they result in another failure. But the truth is that only unconditional love is permanent and free of ties. As the definition says, this type of love is not conditioned to something or someone. It simply is.

Some of the practices we can do to cultivate unconditional love for ourselves and others:

Self-love

It is the ability to love ourselves enough, to recognize ourselves as valuable, that we have things to give, and the pride of being who we are. It also includes self-esteem and the ability to be self-reliant. It is the freedom to develop individuality until we become people capable of creating and nurturing healthy and lasting relationships, starting with the relationship with ourselves.

We must understand that there is no limitation in the capacity to love, there are no limits to love, and therefore, we have the capacity to love ourselves and others. It is impossible to love someone if we don’t love ourselves.

Mistakenly, we tend to seek love and approval outside, rarely realizing that this feeling is born from within, in our heart. We must learn to cultivate self-love and prepare ourselves to expand unconditional love and kindness to others.

Self-compassion

People who are compassionate with themselves recognize that failures are experiences, so they take a balanced approach to negative emotions when they fail. Contrary to what we may think, when we treat ourselves with compassion, we encourage personal and professional growth.

By becoming aware that we are struggling with negative feelings, we allow ourselves to respond with kindness and understanding instead of judging and criticizing what is wrong with us. That self-compassionate attitude is a practice of goodwill towards ourselves.

Self-knowledge

At an early age, we discover ourselves as individual beings, that although we depend on each other, we have our own identity. Self-knowledge allows us to discover who we are, and how to differentiate ourselves from others. It is a personal work to discover what my strengths and weaknesses are; what I like and what I do not; what I want and what I do not want.

Taking the look inward can be difficult at times due to the traumas that we have faced. That is why it is important to develop methods and techniques that help us know who we really are and what we have to share. Once we understand and discover ourselves, we are able to understand and discover others, accepting the reality of life and the individuality of each one.

Metta

The word Pali Metta is a term with multiple meanings such as benevolent love, goodwill, and non-violence. Metta is also defined as a strong desire for the welfare and happiness of others. It is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as opposed to mere kindness based on self-interest, that is, it lacks personal interest.

Metta is, in effect, “the universal love that leads to the liberation of the mind”. (Philosophy and practice of universal love by Acharya Buddharakkhita)

By human nature, we are interested in the personal search for improvement, but what would happen if we learn to think about universal welfare and growth?

In a world threatened by so much destruction, greed, hatred, lust, and envy, Metta can be practised as a method of healing and liberation of the mind. So, it becomes a necessity for all activities to be designed in a way that promotes the welfare of all beings.

How to practice Metta?

(Philosophy and practice of universal love by Acharya Buddharakkhita)

Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place. Keep your eyes closed, repeat the word Metta for some time and mentally evoke its meaning – love as opposed to hatred, resentment, arrogance, impatience, pride and as a deep feeling of goodwill, sympathy, and kindness that promotes happiness and well-being of others.

Now visualize your own face with a happy and radiant mood. All the time observe your face like a mirror, contemplate yourself in a cheerful mood and put yourself in that same state during meditation. A cheerful person cannot get angry or harbour negative thoughts and feelings.

Having visualised yourself in a state of happiness, repeat the thought:

“May I be free from hostility,

free from affliction,

free from anguish;

May I live happily and at peace”

As you float with this thought, you become like a full container, whose contents are ready to overflow in all directions.

Then visualize your meditation teacher or spiritual guide, contemplate him or her in a happy mood and project the thought:

“That my teacher be free from hostility,

free from affliction,

free from anguish;

May he live happily”

And think of other people who are venerable and who are alive – monks, teachers, parents, elders – and with intensity, extend to each of them the Metta‘s thought in the same way.

The visualisation must be clear and the thought must be well “desired”. If the visualisation is done in haste or the desire is superficial or mechanical, the practice will be of little benefit.

Now take the time to visualise one by one of your loved ones, starting with the members of your own family, flooding each one with abundant rays of benevolent love. Spiritual love should be the same to everyone, even to your wife or husband, without involving the element of worldly love.

Then you should visualize neutral people, people who do not like or dislike you, as neighbours, colleagues at work, acquaintances. It radiates the same thought:

“That this person be free from hostility,

free from affliction,

free from anguish;

that he/she lives happily”

Having radiated thoughts of love to each one of this circle, you must now visualise people whom you may have misunderstood or whom you disliked. For each one, repeat mentally:

“I do not have hostility towards him/her,

that he/she does not have any hostility towards me.

That he/she is happy “

In this way, while visualizing all these people, the barrier is broken caused by likes and dislikes, attachment and hatred. When one is able to consider an enemy without malevolence and with the same will that he has for a dear friend, Metta, he acquires supreme impartiality, elevating the mind until it becomes unlimited.

* Visualisation means “calling the mind” or making certain objects visible in the mind, such as a person, an address, a category of beings. Imagine the people towards whom the thoughts of love have to be projected or extended. By irradiation is meant the projection of certain thoughts that promote the well-being of those people towards whom we direct the mind.

You can expand Metta in all directions and to all living beings, as much as you wish, covering everything with abundant thoughts of universal love.

What is unconditional love?

Unconditional love is the love that is born from the heart, the one that motivates us to give in an infinite way and that begins with our own love. The ability to value ourselves, compassionately accepting ourselves as we are. From the personal work of knowing ourselves, we managed to experience the satisfaction of focusing not only on the individual but also on the collective.

For this, 42 days Self Development Program can be very helpful.

“May all beings be happy, may all beings be at peace.”

5 tips for a happy life

Do you ever feel completely helpless and lousy? I have good news – this happens to everyone, and this is why you can choose either to dive into this feeling or remind yourself that all feelings are ok. In this article, I will talk about happy habits. I will show you how to remind yourself: things will be fine, even in those moments when everything seems hopeless.

1. Exercise every day 

Your body and mind are interconnected, at this point of your being alive they cannot be separated. Everything you do to your body will affect your mind. Do something good for your body: 1) exercise, it will change chemical balance and make you happier; 2) get a massage and give yourself enough relaxation; 3) always sleep enough. People who don’t sleep end up being useless walking around like zombies.

2. Make it a rule of thumb to smile at strangers

When you learn to be nice to those people you don’t know, you will also be nicer to yourself. Go in front of the mirror and frown – how does it feel? Now smile – how does it feel? No comment. Smile as much as you can!

3. Happy surprises for your loved ones with attention and gifts

Humans are empathetic beings. Our mirroring neurons can literally make us feel what another person is feeling at the moment. When people around you are happy, satisfied, grateful, so will be you. Become the creator of good human environment for yourself – surprise your loved one with a cup of tea, a pleasant gift, a massage, or a chore that you do for them.

4. Take yourself on a date

When you go on a date alone, you can do exactly what you want, no need to compromise anything. This practice is important for two reasons: 1) you allow yourself to want something; 2) you practice asking yourself what you want and giving it to yourself. Once you do it, you become happier, and people around you react to your happiness, mirroring you. Learn more about artist dates and creativity recovering in Julia Cameron’s book the Artist Way.

5. Humans have feelings. It is ok to feel what you feel.

– I want to feel everything this life brings me, – my friend said.

– I want to only feel happy all the time,  I don’t care about anything else, – I responded.

Looking back to this conversation which happened 3 years ago, I realize how blind it was of me to expect myself always to be happy. It is like having sunny days without nighttime or rain, like summers without winters. It is ok, but a bit flavourless. Whenever you encounter a state you aren’t enjoying, or feeling something weird and uncomfortable, I congratulate you – you are out of your comfort zone, and you are growing! It is one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences in life to grow! Go for it and be brave! Growth will reward you with happiness, and once you drop your expectations of always being happy, you will see how you let go a lot of tension too.

Which one of these tips will you practice today? Let me know in comments!

When you need to relax and reset yourself from this busy world, do a ten minute guided meditation. If you enjoy it, consider joining our free 42 days online self-development program.

Remember – only you decide how bright you shine.

Love is real, good things happen and we will be ok.

If you enjoyed this article, read more of me in Morning rituals to start your day,  How to sit during meditation and  4 ways traveling makes you grow.

 

 

¿Qué es el amor incondicional?

El amor incondicional es “el tipo de amor que podemos dar de forma ilimitada sin condiciones; es la presencia de bondad amorosa en la vida por la vida.”

En los primeros años de la vida, aprendemos que el amor es condicionado; utilizado como una recompensa a un buen comportamiento, con lo que al pasar del tiempo, nos enfrentamos a relaciones en las cuales dudamos si somos verdaderamente dignos de amar y ser amados. Cualquier ser humano desde que nace, debe proveerse de atención, cariño, afecto, bondad, respeto, aceptación y reconocimiento. En el momento que es privado de estas necesidades básicas de aprendizaje y supervivencia, se comienza a formar vacíos y percepciones erróneas de la vida, en algunos casos, irreparables.

A menudo demandamos mucho, buscamos permanencia y seguridad en las relaciones, pretendemos que otros nos completen y llenen nuestras necesidades y al no obtenerlo resultan en un fracaso más. Pero la verdad es que solo el amor incondicional está libre de ataduras y es permanente, como bien lo dice la definición, este tipo de amor no es condicionado a algo o a alguien. Simplemente es.

Algunas de las prácticas que podemos realizar para cultivar el amor incondicional para con nosotros y con los demás son las siguientes:

Amor propio

Es la capacidad de querernos lo suficiente, reconocernos valiosos y que tenemos cosas para dar, la auto valoración y el orgullo de ser quienes somos. Incluye también la auto estima, y la capacidad de ser auto dependiente. Es la libertad de desarrollar la individualidad hasta convertirnos en personas capaces de crear y nutrir relaciones sanas y duraderas, empezando por la relación con nosotros mismos.

Debemos entender que no hay una limitación en la capacidad de amar, no hay límites para el amor, y por lo tanto, tenemos la capacidad de querernos mucho a nosotros mismos y a los demás. Es imposible querer a alguien si no me quiero a mi mismo.

Equivocadamente, tendemos a buscar el amor y la aprobación afuera, pocas veces nos damos cuenta que este sentimiento nace de adentro, en nuestro corazón. Debemos aprender a cultivar el amor propio y prepararnos para expandir amor y bondad incondicional a los demás.

Auto compasión

Las personas compasivas consigo mismas reconocen que los fracasos son experiencias y asumen un enfoque balanceado frente a las emociones negativas al fracasar. Contrario a lo que se pensaba, cuando nos tratamos con compasión fomentamos el crecimiento personal y profesional.

Al volvernos conscientes de que estamos luchando con sentimientos negativos, nos permitimos responder con amabilidad y comprensión en lugar de juzgar y criticar por lo mal que la estamos pasando. Esa actitud auto compasiva, es una práctica de buena voluntad para con nosotros mismos. Deseando alcanzar así sentimientos de felicidad y paz interior.

Auto conocimiento

A muy temprana edad nos descubrimos seres individuales, que si bien dependemos los unos de los otros, tenemos nuestra propia identidad. El auto conocimiento nos permite descubrir quiénes somos, y cómo diferenciarnos de los demás. Es un trabajo personal para descubrir cuáles son mis fortalezas y mis debilidades; qué es lo que me gusta y lo que no; qué es lo que quiero y lo que no quiero.

Llevar la mirada hacia adentro puede ser muchas veces difícil debido a los traumas, por eso la importancia de desarrollar métodos y técnicas que nos ayuden a conocer quién realmente somos y qué tenemos para compartir.  En el momento que nos entendemos y descubrimos, somos capaces de entender y descubrir a los demás, aceptando la realidad de la vida y la individualidad de cada quien.

Metta

La palabra Pali metta, es un término de múltiples significados como amor benevolente, buena voluntad y no-violencia. Metta se define también como un fuerte deseo por el bienestar y la felicidad de los otros. Es una actitud altruista de amor y amigabilidad a diferencia de la mera amabilidad basada en el propio interés, o sea, carece de interés personal.

Metta es, en efecto, “el amor universal que conduce a la liberación de la mente”

Por naturaleza humana, nos interesamos por la búsqueda personal de superación, pero qué pasaría si aprendemos a pensar en el bienestar y crecimiento universal?

En un mundo amenazado por tanta destrucción, codicia, odio, lujuria, envidia, metta puede practicarse como un método de sanación y liberación de la mente. De modo que se convierte en una necesidad para toda actividad destinada a promover el bienestar de todos los seres.

¿Cómo practicar Metta?

(obtenido de: “Filosofía y práctica del amor universal” por Acharya Buddharakkhita)

Siéntate en una postura cómoda en un lugar tranquilo. Mantén los ojos cerrados, repite la palabra metta durante algún tiempo y evoca mentalmente su significado-amor como opuesto al odio, resentimiento, arrogancia, impaciencia, orgullo y como un profundo sentimiento de buena voluntad, simpatía y bondad que promueve la felicidad y el bienestar de los otros.

Ahora visualiza tu propio rostro con un feliz y radiante humor. Todo el tiempo observa tu rostro como un espejo, contémplate a ti mismo en un estado de ánimo alegre y ponte en ese mismo estado durante la meditación. Una persona alegre no puede enojarse o abrigar pensamientos y sentimientos negativos.

Habiéndote visualizado en un estado de felicidad, repite el pensamiento:

“Que yo este libre de hostilidad, libre de aflicción, libre de angustia; que yo viva feliz y en paz”

Mientras te inundas con este pensamiento, te vuelves como un recipiente lleno, cuyo contenido está listo para desbordarse en todas direcciones.

Luego visualiza a tu maestro de meditación o guía espiritual, contémplalo en un estado de ánimo feliz y proyecta el pensamiento:

Que mi maestro este libre de hostilidad, libre de aflicción, libre de angustia; que él viva feliz”

Y piensa en otras personas que sean venerables y que estén vivas-monjes, profesores, padres, ancianos- y con intensidad, extiende hacia cada uno de ellos el pensamiento de metta de la misma manera.

La visualización debe ser clara y el pensamiento tiene que ser bien “deseado”. Si la visualización es hecha de prisa o el deseo es de forma superficial o mecánica, la practica será poco provechosa.

Ahora tómate el tiempo para visualizar uno a uno tus seres queridos, comenzando por  los miembros de tu propia familia, inundando a cada uno con abundantes rayos de amor benevolente. El amor espiritual debe ser el mismo hacia todos, incluso hacia tu esposa o esposo, sin involucrar el elemento del amor mundano.

Luego debes visualizar a personas neutrales, personas que ni te agraden ni desagraden, como vecinos, colegas del trabajo, conocidos. Irradia el mismo pensamiento:

Que esta persona este libre de hostilidad, libre de aflicción, libre de angustia; que el/ella viva feliz”

Habiendo irradiado pensamientos de amor a cada uno de este círculo, debes ahora visualizar personas con las cuales puedas haber tenido un malentendido o te desagradan. Para cada una repite mentalmente:

“Yo no tengo hostilidad hacia el/ella, que el/ella no tenga ninguna hostilidad hacia mi. Que el/ella sea feliz”

De esta manera mientras visualizas a todas estas personas, se rompe la barrera causada por los gustos y las aversiones, el apego y el odio. Cuando uno es capaz de considerar a un enemigo sin malevolencia y con la misma voluntad que tiene para con un amigo muy querido, metta, adquiere una imparcialidad suprema, elevando la mente hasta volverse ilimitada.

*Por visualización se entiende “llamar a la mente” o hacer visible en la mente ciertos objetos, como una persona, una dirección, una categoría de seres. Significa, imaginar a las personas hacia las cuales los pensamientos de amor tienen que ser proyectados o extendidos. Por irradiación se entiende la proyección de ciertos pensamientos que promueven el bienestar de aquellas personas hacia las cuales dirigimos la mente.

Puedes expandir metta en todas las direcciones y hacia todos los seres vivos, tanto como desees, cubriendo todo con abundantes pensamientos de amor universal.

¿Qué es el amor incondicional?

El amor incondicional es el amor que nace del corazón, el que nos motiva a dar de manera infinita y que comienza con el propio amor. La capacidad de auto valorarnos, compasivamente aceptándonos tal y como somos. Desde el trabajo personal de conocernos, logramos experimentar la satisfacción de enfocarnos no solo en lo individual, si no en lo colectivo.

Para ésto, el programa de 42 días de Peace Revolution es de gran ayuda.

“Que todos lo seres sean felices, que todos los seres gocen de bienestar”.

 

Resoluciones de Año Nuevo

¿Te has encontrado alguna vez postergando las metas y resoluciones de año nuevo para el próximo?

Esto se debe, a que muchas veces no nos tomamos el tiempo necesario para realizar todo el proceso que implica establecer nuevas misiones y crear nuevos hábitos para lograr los objetivos del año que comienza.

En este artículo te invito a realizar cada uno de los pasos y ejercicios que  me han servido para mantener constancia durante los doce meses, que si nos descuidamos se van volando.

Todos nacemos con ciertas características que nos diferencian de los demás, inclusive de nuestros hermanos criados por nuestros mismos padres y en el mismo entorno. Por lo tanto, es responsabilidad de cada quien reconocer sus virtudes y sus retos sin avergonzarse de quien realmente es y además, ser consciente de los compromisos personales y sociales que se requieren para transitar esta vida. 

Primero, debes preguntarte: ¿Cuáles son los anhelos de tu corazón? 

Para transformar deseos en acciones primero debes conocerte a ti mismo y esto involucra todas las áreas, toma algún tiempo, pero te sugiero que comiences con una idea general y luego continúes el proceso de auto-observación para ir profundizando en cada una.

En este artículo clasifico las áreas de la vida en siete grupos:

1) Finanzas

Todos tenemos necesidades básicas por las cuales debemos tener una estabilidad financiera. Como por ejemplo la alimentación, educación, vivienda, etc. Ahorrar, mantener las finanzas en orden, asociarse con gente que realice las mismas actividades, son buenas prácticas que te ayudarán a administrar los recursos para vivir en balance y sin estrés. Tú relación con el dinero es como una relación de amistad, necesita atención y agradecimiento. El dinero te puede generar muchas oportunidades pero debes mantener esta relación limpia y positiva. 

Ejercicio: 

Dedícate a observar tu relación con el dinero, como hablas de el, si le echas la culpa por tus problemas o si más bien agradeces por lo que tienes y hasta dónde has podido llegar.

2) Crecimiento espiritual y personal

Todos tenemos la capacidad para ser instrumentos de increíble compasión y perdón, no debemos limitarnos a la creencia popular de que ser espiritual implica vivir en un monasterio o internarse en una montaña sin contacto con el mundo hasta que encontramos aquello llamado “iluminación”, pero el crecimiento personal implica actividades para cultivar paz interior, unirse a una organización sin fines de lucro o simplemente el hecho de mostrar gratitud y compasión hacia otros. 

Ejercicio: 

Te sugiero buscar un retiro donde puedas re-conectar contigo mismo, sin interrupciones, sin distracciones, donde puedas alejarte de los horarios, de las compras, del teléfono… Un espacio donde te dediques solo y únicamente a ti mismo. La práctica de la meditación te puede ayudar a controlar los pensamientos, incrementar la creatividad, crear estabilidad emocional y por consiguiente, mejorar la relación contigo mismo y con los demás.

3) Salud

Sabías que estar saludable es sinónimo de felicidad? La salud no solamente implica el buen estado físico, si no también a nivel mental; del mismo modo que le dedicamos tiempo al cuidado y limpieza del cuerpo debemos purificar y disciplinar la mente. De esto depende todos nuestros pensamientos, palabras y acciones. Si la mente y el cuerpo están en balance, podría decirse que nos encontramos en buena salud.

Ejercicio: 

Asegúrate de dormir suficiente cada día, presta atención a las situaciones que te generan estrés y al manejo del mismo, come natural y sin exceso, elimina las fuentes de toxinas como el alcohol y la comida procesada, mantente activo realizando algún ejercicio físico como el yoga u otro deporte, y práctica la meditación 

4) Familia y amigos

Desde que nacemos formamos parte de una familia, somos seres interdependientes. Compartimos el mismo espacio, los mismos valores y la misma genética. Cuando nos quedamos en nuestra zona de confort, empeñados en nuestro propio bienestar, es como ir en contra de la corriente; debemos aprender a compartir y respetar el espacio y la ideología de vida de nuestra familia y valorar todo el aprendizaje generado en base a esta relación. 

Ejercicio: 

Tómate unos minutos para hacer una lista de las personas que verdaderamente te importan (no incluyas a tus hijos, si tienes). Probablemente te darás cuenta de lo que ya sabías, pero es importante tenerlo actualizado. Ahora dale vuelta a la página y anota una lista de las 10 personas para las cuales crees ser importante. No tiene que coincidir una lista con la otra. Compara las dos listas y te darás cuenta que las relaciones no son necesariamente recíprocas. Con este ejercicio podrás decidir el tiempo, la energía y la fuerza que usas en cada una de tus relaciones. 

¡Rodéate de personas positivas que te ayuden a crecer!

5) Profesión

La profesión requiere pasión y compromiso. Comienza cuando nos apasionamos por una actividad para la cual tenemos la habilidad y el conocimiento hasta que poco a poco se va convirtiendo en un trabajo. Busca la luz en lo que ya haces y conviértelo en tu profesión. Comenzar a tener éxito en lo que haces es la clave para mantener viva tu profesión. 

Ejercicio:

Qué te apasiona? Cómo lo puedes aprender?  Realiza pequeños pasos a la vez, busca tus talentos. 

6) Diversión y Recreación 

Un determinante en nuestro bienestar físico, mental y espiritual es la forma de ver y resolver la vida, la manera de aceptar los retos con una mente clara y desarrollar la creatividad para resolver esos mismos retos. Estar contento viene desde adentro, sin embargo, existe un sinnúmero de actividades externas que nos permiten reír y disfrutar de la vida de una forma sana y divertida. Estar contento es una parte innata y representa como nos expresamos de nosotros mismos. Observa un bebé y como disfruta de cosas pequeñas, sus emociones son verdaderas y auténticas. 

Ejercicio:

Busca un actividad por semana que te genere placer para tus sentidos (que no sea trabajo), de pronto asistir a una clase de baile, montar a caballo, ir al cine, encuentra algo con lo cual te relaciones y que de pronto hayas dejado en el olvido. 

¡Diviértete!

7) Romance

En una relación de pareja, la comunicación es clave, el respeto mutuo y el entendimiento por reconocer las necesidades de cada uno es clave para que perdure el amor. Establecer pilares fuertes de afecto, entendimiento, valores y creencias son fundamentales para el crecimiento en pareja, así como el respeto a los objetivos y sueños individuales.

“Una relación de pareja es la unión en un momento determinado entre dos seres que han descubierto su amor propio y están comprometidos a cultivar y mantener ese amor para poder dar y recibir sin expectativas”.

Si cada parte comparte el mismo nivel de disciplina y perspectiva es muy probable que la relación funcione. Pero nos esforzamos por querer mantener relaciones románticas con personas completamente opuestas a nosotros. 

Ejercicio:

Has un listado con tus necesidades y otra lista con las características que te gustaría encontrar en una pareja romántica. Luego compara las listas y trata de observar si lo que pides es algo que estarías dispuesto a dar. Te sorprenderá saber que a veces no estamos lo suficientemente claros de lo que somos ni de lo que estamos buscando en otros. 

8) Entorno Físico

Existe un concepto hindú llamado Vastu Sastra, y se refiere a la organización de espacios y arquitectura y en los textos habla de cómo el espacio físico nos afecta tanto a nivel físico, mental, emocional y espiritual. La congestión y desorganización de objetos en el hogar y áreas de trabajo podría bloquear la creatividad y la claridad mental. Limpiar los espacios genera paz y un entorno ordenado. Estudios han demostrado que mantener los espacios ordenados pueden reducir la irritabilidad, el estrés, mejorar la productividad y evitar las distracciones. 

Ejercicio:

Es tiempo de eliminar el desorden; comienza por uno o dos cajones y selecciona lo que puedes regalar, botar y guardar. Asegúrate de dejar solo lo que necesitas y acomódalo de acuerdo a la frecuencia de uso. Luego toma un momento para conectar con tus sentimientos, te sientes más ligero? Con más energía? Inspirado a continuar el proceso de limpieza? Y así continúa en todos los espacios del hogar y del trabajo hasta que logres completarlo todo. 

Te animo a que revises cada área y califiques tu nivel de satisfacción en una escala del uno al diez, donde uno es igual a insatisfecho y diez es igual a completamente satisfecho. 

En este cierre de año te invito a realizar un pequeño ritual donde agradeces por todo lo que tienes, tus relaciones y las metas cumplidas en el presente año. Luego, escribe una lista con tus resoluciones de nuevo año tomando en cuenta todas las áreas y luego busca un lugar tranquilo donde puedas cerrar los ojos, inhala y exhala algunas veces hasta sentirte en calma y trata de visualizarte cumpliendo todas las nuevas metas. Cómo sería tu vida si todos los obstáculos fueran removidos? Créete capaz de lograr cuánto te propones, si no sientes ahora mismo esa confianza, comienza por crear una lista de tus logros anteriores donde te has sentido victorioso. 

Finalmente, conecta con esas cualidades que te hacen sentir orgulloso de ti mismo y crea afirmaciones que te motiven a diario a cumplir tus deseos. 

“Desde el ser que habita en mi, honro y agradezco al ser que habita en ti.”

Namaste 

Dances of Universal Peace

A crowd of people in a circle, meditative music, simple dance movements, and mantras from a wide variety of world faiths all meld together… Attending a Dance of Universal Peace is an unforgettable experience. In hundreds of dances across the globe, people around the world gather in spiritual centers, churches, schools, therapy groups, and even prisons to participate in this event. There is usually no audience; everyone, regardless of skill, is encouraged to join.

By blending sacred phrases, scripture, poetry, and the beauty of nature, participants are able to strengthen their connections to each other, the earth, and their own spirits. In other words, the dances bring them closer to universal peace, step by step.

Samuel L. Lewis, known by many as Murshid S.A.M. (the title being Arabic for “guide”), was an American Sufi who introduced the Dances of Universal Peace on June 24, 1968 in an attempt to unify people — to lower the arbitrary veils that separate us. This year, nearly 150 events were held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dances.

Each year, the scope of the movement grows to include new areas and people. How have the dances evolved in recent years? How has the current political climate affected this movement? Let’s dive into the issue:

Finding Peace Amidst Geopolitical War Games

Lewis’s home country has changed a lot since his death in ‘71. Trump’s administration, increased racial tensions, the Me Too movement — the face of the politics in the U.S. has changed drastically in the past several years. Due to a wide variety of factors, from food and water scarcity to America’s national security policy, the country has been politically fractured.

In spite of these divisions, people have sought ways to call for unity and harmony. Dances permit communities to demonstrate their tolerance and acceptance of diversity in the face of an intolerant administration. In a manner, these events are a form of passive protest. Rather than responding to discrimination with violent action, participating in these dances signals that peace is always an option.

Of course, political unrest isn’t unique to the U.S. In recent years, the Dances of Universal Peace movement has gained traction around the globe. In areas like Russia, Turkey, and many Latin American countries, political unrest has spurred people to find an outlet. Dances of Universal Peace work as a valuable collective healing practice in these troubled times. The Dances allow people to find common ground and connect with each other on a deep level, regardless of race, religion, or nationality.

When Murshid began guiding students in dance, he started with only a few students. As the movement he started has expanded, it has grown to encompass thousands. The global expansion of this movement is a product of the fact that many people have become discontent with the arbitrary lines between nations. Globalization in the business world and technology have also facilitated this mindset, as they have opened new lines of communication and exposed us to new cultures.

How These Dances Create Peace and Love

Recent years have shed light on why these events have worked so effectively. In our individual journeys, we must commit to self-love, and attending a Dance of Universal Peace is a great step in that direction. There are many reasons why they improve our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Dancing and music are powerful tools for improving our holistic health. As Murshid S.A.M. once said, “(Dance) takes us beyond ourselves, bringing an initial taste of the state of non-being, which is really a balm for the soul.”   However, as recent research has proven, it can also heal the mind and body.

The physiological changes that occur within us when we engage in these activities can improve our mood and overall well-being. Listening to music and dancing can increase the amount of dopamine in our brains, a neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel happy and rewarded.

Dance and music also affect our bodies in many therapeutic ways. In fact, it may even be helpful for treating disease. According to an article on Medical News Today, “Dance and music therapy is being investigated for its potential use in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s and autism.

Finally, these events allow us to create and strengthen social bonds. In recent years, specialists have found that socializing improves our holistic health, even reducing our likelihood of developing dementia. There’s no question that the life-long bonds that these dances create have led to healthier, more social lifestyles.

Given these insights, it’s no wonder that Samuel Lewis’s movement has grown into the worldwide phenomenon it is today. As this movement continues to expand, it will doubtlessly open dialogues, forge new social connections, and improve our well-being. In addition to helping us find inner-peace, it will continue to inch society closer to worldwide peace.

Are you interested in attending a Dance? Let us know in the comments below.


This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.

العطاء

يقول الله عز وجل: “لَن تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ”.
المعطي؛ اسم من أسماء الله الحسنى، ويروى أنّ رسول الله (ص) ما سأله أحد شيئًا إلّا وأعطاه.

للعطاء أنواع عدّة، ففي بعض الأحيان يكون المُعطَى علمًا أو مالًا أو جاهًا أو دمًا أو جهدًا أو وقتًا.  فالسلوك الإنساني والتعاطف مع الآخر وإعطائه الوقت لسماع شكواه ومساعدته هو عطاء سامٍ، ولو لم يتضمن منفعة مادية. فالابتسامة عطاء للآخرين وقد تتفوق في بعض الأحيان على العطاء المادي.

شاركْتُ في تحدي سكون وسلامالمتمثل بالتخلي كل يوم عن ثلاثة أشياء من خزانة ملابسنا لمدة اسبوع. في البداية كان سهلًا عليّ انتقاء الأشياء لأننا كنّا ننتقل من فصل إلى فصل. وبعد مرور حوالي الثلاثة أيام، أصبحت الخيارات ضئيلة وأصبح الموضوع أصعب. أخذ مني الانتقاء وقتًا أكثر ولكني أكملت التحدي. أحببت ذلك كثيرا وأتمنى أن ينتشر العطاء والسلام في مجتمعاتنا. 

تعلمت من هذا التحدي أهمية العطاء وهو ليس التبرع بمبلغ من المال أو إعطاء ما لا نحتاجه فقط، بل هو اقتناء ما نحتاجه والتبرع بما يزيد عن حاجتنا. كما أنّ له منفعة على الصعيد النفسي، فالعطاء يبعث المشاعر الإيجابية ويقلل من النزعات السلبية. أثبتت بعض الدراسات أنّ العطاء يعزز فرزهرمون “الإندورفينمما يؤدي إلى ارتفاع المزاج. فليس أفضل من أن تعطيَ شيئًا للآخر ومن دون انتظار أيّ مقابل.

إنّ العطاء يساعد على التمييز بين الأنانية ومحبة النفس. فالأنانية تتمثل بالإجحاف في العطاء بينما محبة النفس تتجلى بالرغبة في تطويرها والسعي إلى الكمال والعيش بوعي. والتطور وبلوغ الكمال يتعزز بالعطاء. فالذي يحب نفسه يعطي الآخرين وينشر المحبة في محيطه. لذا علينا تعزيز المبادرات التي تدعو إلى العطاء وتشجيعه وذكره خلال عملنا وخلال جلسات التأمل لنصل إلى عالم يملؤه التسامح والحب والخير والتعاون

يقول أبراهام لنكون: كلما تقدّم عمرك ستكتشف أنّ لديك يدان، واحدة لمساعدة نفسك، والأخرى لمساعدة الآخرينفلنمدد أيدينا للخير. وأختم بالقول أنّ تجربتي في هذه الحياة علمتني أن العطاء هو أجمل شيءٍ في الوجود.

Don’t believe all your thoughts!

What you hope for in life, does it tend to happen?

Take a moment to think of your dreams. How much time do you allow for concrete and specific actions and act to make them happen?

Living life governed by habits creates comfort, ease and also an autopilot mode decisions. It is when we no longer stop to look at or question our day-to-day life, see weather we have ownership over our time and energy, if our actions and decisions serve us, if actions and decisions go towards what we dream of and envision for ourselves.

People are driven by various motives: career, wealth, stability, family, a partner we are committed to; all serving the greater purpose and search for happiness. Weather it comes from outside – the happiness we wish and feel – or from inside, it  is entirely our making.

The brain is a record of the past.

The moment you start your day, the brain is a record, a collection of memories that can remain in the past or shape the present.

Each memory has an emotion associated with it. What do you feel if the memories are sad? Do you have the strength to deal with it and keep a joyful and hopeful mind? 

The result of emotions leaves a print on the mind. Then how and what you think creates your state of being, your mood; it determines your lifestyle.

If you believe your thoughts, the past will determine your destiny.

If you can’t think greater than how you feel, you are thinking and living in the past. You are creating your past – all the past habits connected to what is known in life.

Each person has a set of routine behaviours: same things that are repeated through the day, same people, same emotional buttons. To a certain extent, the day is governed by the routine, it grows into a program. You lose your free will to a program.

Some studies show that by the time a person is 35 years old, there is a memorised set of behaviours, beliefs, attitudes that lead to functioning like a computer program.

There will be moments in life when you  feel you need a change. But your life, your body, your emotions most of the time are on a different program. It is never easy to change and seems to get even more challenging as we grow older.

Meditation can play a crucial, transformative function. Its role is to teach people how to change the brain.

It gives us time to slow down, see the system, how it operates, as if seeing yourself from outside. From here you can take actions and make changes.

Often we wait for a time of crisis to make changes. But you can act in a time of pain, lack of direction or can do it in balance and when you feel joyful.

Don’t settle to live in stress or survival mode and always think of the worst possible outcome! Change is even harder to make from there. When everything is conditioned by past experiences and thoughts, the servant becomes the master.

The result is that you are in the known, you are living in the known and making the same mistakes – till you learn the lesson. Being in the known is familiar and leaves little room for growth.

In meditation mental barriers and beliefs in yourself and the world are left behind. It’s a process conditioned by the meditation experience itself. Time and inner space expand.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

There is a simple way to reprogram and renew the mind: close your eyes, rehearse an action, visualise it and manifest it.

When we feel better inside, we act and manifest on the outside differently. You become a creator of your world.

Same thoughts lead to same decisions, emotions and actions.

The more you become conscious, the less you drift away and get lost into your day.

In meditation you know yourself and renew yourself.

Dare to see your life in analogy with a garden: if you plant a garden, you tend the soil, you pluck the weeds from past and current year. You plant the seeds with hope and water them with care. If you are not moved and driven by an image of the future, you are left with the memories and habits from the old life.

For the TIPS that will help you turn off the autopilot setting in your brain and start making more conscious choices in your daily life, go here.

Photo Credits: Echo Yan@unsplash

Why Everyone Needs to Practice Meditation

Based on my own experience as a meditation trainer, people wonder a lot about when and why one needs to maintain meditation practice. Should that also be a misunderstanding of what meditation is all about? Possibly. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, meditation means, “engage in contemplation or reflection, or to plan or project in the mind”. But this is not what we are talking about. In fact, the real word which stands for meditation is actually called Samadhi, which means “standstill, peaceful and focused at one point. In this article, we are basing our argument on some facts about the function of our brain which is, in a way, conditioned by the state of our mind.

The three main parts of our brain

In her article “How meditation boosts creativity and innovation”[1], Bianca Rothschild (2014), explains the three main parts of the brain and their functions:

1) Neocortex: the newest part of the brain which is essentially concerned with what can be considered the important stuff: creative thinking, problem solving, visioning, hypothesising, strategizing.

2)The limbic system: located below the neocortex, and is simply said to be the area of processing our emotions,  motivations and memories. If we are feeling emotionally out of balance or distressed, this part of the brain gets activated, and our brain becomes ‘busy’ dealing with the stress and emotions at hand; it won’t allocate any resources to our creative thinking.

3) The reptilian brain: the oldest part of our brain, concerned with our survival and primarily activated by the adrenaline hormone; it is where our fight or flight responses originate. This is the laziest part of our brain; it only wants to process things which it deems critical to our survival.  The reptilian brain also includes sex impulses, and if the idea is ‘mate-able’, dangerous or threatening our survival in any way, it will get passed upwards, and hence has a hard time getting to the neocortex.

Enhanced creativity and emotional intelligence

Mindfulness meditation has been scientifically proved to be a great technique to improve creativity. “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.”[2].  Elsewhere, the study published in May 2016 in the medical journal PloS One[3]  showed that one session of relaxation­response practice was enough to enhance the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and insulin secretion and reduce expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress. There was an effect even  among novices who had never practiced meditation before.

Certainly, meditation has positive side effects: it reduces the reactivity of the reptilian brain, increases resilience, stimulates the neocortex, as well as improves emotional intelligence[4]. All these factors assist in getting ideas flowing directly to our best creative thinking brain – the neocortex. According to the research conducted on American company’s employees regarding their ability of problem solving, the result shows that non-meditators had more cognitive rigidity than regular meditators; they also had tendency to apply difficult or outdated solutions to easy problems, based on their past experiences, which was not the case of regular meditators who are more creative.

Conclusion

Everyone deserves happiness and peace of mind on one side and creative thinking on the other side. Unfortunately, our everyday life has so many happenings which are often unpleasant and at the end deprive us from being joyful and creative as our brain becomes busy dealing with stress and emotions. The good news is that everyone has a solution in their hands, and it is meditation practice.  So, the choice is YOURS.

 

References

[1] Bianca Rothschild, How meditation boosts creativity and innovation, july 2014

[2] The Benson-Henry Institute for mind-body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital

[3] In http://www.bl oomber g.com/news/ar ti cl es/2013­ 11­ 22/har var d­ yoga­ sci enti sts­ fi nd­ pr oof­ of­ medi tation­ benefit

[4] Bianca Rothschild (2014)  in Op.cit

Beyond Happiness, Above Rainbow

I remember way back while in high school, I would get sick just from worrying. I had a harsh inner critic that challenged most of the things I did and planned to do. It was very easy for me to appreciate and admire others but seldom did I find anything I did good enough. Even when people praised me for something I did, it didn’t make me feel any better or less depressed. This negativity that plagued me affected every aspect of my life and eventually I would go to sleep hoping to wake up in the skin of someone I admired. Often I would imagine myself chasing happiness like it is a rainbow, hoping to catch it―wear it round my neck like a shawl against self-loathing―then live happily ever after.

Most people can attest to have experienced depression, stress or anxiety at some point in life. It is the silent ail of humanity no one bothers to talk about because unlike cancer, it is not visual―maybe not as deadly―but this is a misconception. Daily we search for happiness. It is our human nature to do so, but too often, we get lost on our journey to finding it, habitually due to expectations from family, friends, work and relationships.  In an effort to please everyone we lose our focus and in the process; lose ourselves. To which I would say “There is no greater tragedy!”

In the words of Steve Jobs: “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream!”

In our quest for social validation, we shift our attention to material possessions. We fill our wardrobes with designer clothes and shoes; get a fleet of cars, amass academic diplomas, get married, have kids, tick off every item in society’s happiness checklist. Still, we lack inner peace, that little ingredient that makes life valuable.

Because we are here to live our best lives, we owe it to ourselves to live consciously and deliberately and most importantly, wean ourselves from the delusion that happiness is a destination because it is not. Happiness is an infinite journey with beautiful surprises, it is you when you free yourself from worry and fear; it is you when you realize that your happiness depends solely on you. That is when you do not need to chase the rainbow anymore; – it is always there!

Photo by Leo Wieling on Unsplash

Look Inwards, Act Outwards

Personal growth happens from the point where we can be at peace with difficult questions, with thoughts that are troubling us, from the moment we can celebrate good qualities without the rise of ego. It happens when we allow the space to apply certain methods to find out what our passion and mission is.

In the words of Antoine de St. Exupery “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” One needs to be willing to put in the time and effort to identify those aspects connected to one’s passion, mission, vocation and profession and proceed with consistent planning.

Genuine answers don’t often come when we are busy, running, stressing out and feeling exhausted, but from the place of inner balance and calm.

Apart from this, a crucial aspect is to be able to look outside yourself, to be outwards oriented.

To know your life purpose, ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I do?
  3. Who do I do it for?
  4. What do these people want or need?
  5. What they get out of it, what changed as a result?

Here’s what you can do to make the process easier: don’t overthink, be honest, don’t judge, it’s OK if you are still working on some aspects and you are on work in progress. We are never done with learning.

Having a sense of purpose is an essential requirement to be driven and fulfilled. The important people in life, those whom we rely on and who rely on us, whom we love, cherish, respect constantly help refine our sense of purpose and connection.

Photo credits: Joey Kyber@unsplash