El impacto real de la paz interior. Parte IV: la meditación como fuente de felicidad, paz interior y equidad social

La meditación es una práctica ancestral. Se trata de un simple ejercicio que hacemos con nuestra mente, para hacer que se relaje de forma consciente. No es más que un cuidado personal, como el cepillarse los dientes, comer sano o salir a caminar.

Cuando meditamos y atraemos relajación a nuestra mente, dejamos ir nuestros pensamientos y con ellos, nuestras preocupaciones. Damos espacio a la mente para, simplemente, ser. Y en este estado libre de preocupaciones, de estrés, de pensamientos recurrentes… nuestra mente alcanza un estado de paz interior que podría describirse como “absoluta felicidad”.

Con la práctica de la meditación habitual, nos adentramos de forma natural en la práctica del mindfulness, o dicho de otra forma, adoptamos un estilo de vida más mindful, que no significa otra cosa que vivir la vida de una forma más consciente, usando el mismo grado de consciencia con el que relajamos nuestra mente durante la práctica de la meditación.

La plena consciencia es probablemente una de las bondades más maravillosas del mindfulness, porque gracias a ella, aprendemos a no dar por supuestas muchas cosas tan importantes como la vida y la salud, y con ello, a restar importancia a otras tenencias más superfluas como los objetos y las experiencias.

Y es este probablemente uno de los pasos iniciales para aprender a diferenciar entre necesidades y deseos, a título personal; y, para aprender a desarrollar más el sentimiento de empatía, hacia los demás. 

Así, entender que para ser felices no tenemos más que “ser”, a la vez que desarrollamos la empatía hacia la necesidad de “ser” de los demás, es la clave para tejer un modo de vida sostenible, en la que no permitamos que nuestros deseos excedan nuestras necesidades, en la que no dejemos que la satisfacción de los mismos requiera la explotación de los recursos de terceros, y por tanto, en la que contribuyamos a una sociedad justa y pacífica.

Tú tienes el poder de cambiar las cosas. ¿Quieres probar?

How to practice patience when facing negative emotions?

I like to define patience as peace + science, or in other words, the science of peace.

Patience is the ability to overcome challenges without reacting with anger. You can show patience with a good attitude in front of life difficulties. Being patient is also the comprehension of life facts without forcing anything or anyone, without getting attached to anything or anyone, without any effort.

If the patience is part of our natural state, why do we “lose” it?

Patience is lost as we allow what does not correspond to our real nature. The enemies of patience are negative emotions such as ANGER AND HATE, which bring suffering. These negative emotions are created in the mind because the mind is like a sponge; it absorbs both the positive and the negative, unfortunately, it is proven that the mind absorbs more quickly the negative than the positive.

In the world we live in, we receive daily hate messages such as wars, abandonment, and injustice. In social networks and television, they show us a reality full of falsehood and materialism called “mass consumption“. All of this is absorbed and accumulated by mind daily. It is as if the mind were a glass of water and each negative thought is a drop of ink that falls into the water and becomes cloudy and dark.

When we faced difficult situations, the mind is cloudy and dark and, instead of responding assertively, it reacts with anger and hatred.

If something happens that I do not want, I get angry …

When someone says or does something that I do not like, I get angry …

When situations do not go as I expected, I get angry …

If we analyze this pattern, there is always “something” or “someone” that “steals” our peace or patience. If we let everything that happens around affect us, we end up suffering. And this is because we are so dissatisfied with life that we always want something more and we do not even know what that something is.

As the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo says: “People find it difficult to be happy because they think happiness is to be happy with everyone and everything, be happy and nothing more, laugh at everything. But if we could realize that happiness is to be serene. And that serenity is obtained when one is on the path he chose. Not exactly because he does well, that would be very easy. But we expect so much from the happiness that we have made it impossible.”

In order to end the suffering caused by anger and hatred, we need to change our DESIRES. Desires are another cause of suffering, and uncontrollable desires can lead to death. People hurt themselves, self-flagellate, suffer from depression, anxiety and end up losing patience altogether.

We all face obstacles; if they have a solution, there is no reason to be angry, and if they do not have it, how does it benefit us to get angry?

But here is something important, NOT all suffering is bad, the small daily sufferings that affect us physically and emotionally, such as pain and illness, also prepare us to endure great adversities. If we become familiar with the challenges every day, we become stronger, and it becomes easier and easier to solve them.

How to cultivate patience?

One of the most effective ways to cultivate patience is to have TRUST, trusting that everything we need comes to us at the time and in the right way, without any effort. This we can call waiting, “wait patiently.” If we return to the example of the glass with water, if we let the ink settle in the bottom of the glass, we can see clearly and choose to respond assertively to the challenges, instead of getting angry.

Confidence allows us to understand that everything arrives at the perfect moment and time. For some strange reason, humans have developed the need to control everything, including others. This creates great disappointments of how life is according to what we expect from it. Through the practice of trust, we let everything flow without the need to control; flow with life is much more relaxed and effective than go against the flow!

One of the best ways to cultivate that natural state of patience is by means of meditation. Meditation is an exercise for the mind, which is, as I mentioned earlier, the source of negative emotions and uncontrollable desires. Meditation allows us to:

-Learn how to deal with our thoughts and emotions

-Connect with our natural state of inner peace

-Clean the impurities of the mind

-Control the desires

-Accept the nature of the world that is UNCONTROLLABLE

3 affirmations to cultivate patience

After recognizing the origin of the loss of patience and understanding that we can control our desires to stop suffering, we can pause and transform our life experience into a conscious experience of peace and serenity. Positive affirmations are the opposite of the negative thought patterns that we normally use and are the starting point for personal development.

For this reason, I want to share the following affirmations to cultivate patience in all areas of life:

  • Practice acceptance

Today I accept the people, situations, and circumstances as they occur. I know that this moment is as it should be because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not fight against the whole universe by fighting against this moment. I accept things as they are and not as I want them to be.

  • Take responsibility

Today I take responsibility for my situation and for all the events that I see as challenges. I avoid blaming others or myself. I recognize that every challenge is a disguised opportunity, which allows me to take this moment and transform it for my growth and expansion.

  • Remain defenseless

Today, I renounce my point of view, and I have no need to persuade others to accept my opinions. I remain open to all points of view and I am not rigidly attached to any of them. I choose to be kind before being right.

Would you like to know more about meditation? Please follow here.

El impacto real de la paz interior. Parte III: cómo ser feliz de forma genuina

Acabábamos el post anterior con una pregunta retórica: de qué manera podemos solucionar la desigualdad medioambiental y social y hasta qué punto mi paz interior tiene algo que ver en este proceso.

Para ello hemos de volver al inicio de la reflexión y a los términos “necesidad” y “deseo”. La paz interior es sinónimo de felicidad, que el Diccionario de la Real Academia Española define como “estado de grata satisfacción espiritual y física”.

El problema no es ser feliz, ni nuestra felicidad ha de ser una amenaza para la integridad de terceros. El problema, radica más bien en el hecho de que escojamos fuentes de felicidad externas. “Cuando me compre un coche seré feliz”, “cuando vea a mi hermano seré feliz”, “cuando consiga un trabajo seré feliz”… ¿resulta familiar? Tendemos a buscar la felicidad fuera y lo que es peor –y más cruel hacia nosotros mismos- tendemos a postergar el estado de felicidad hasta que aquello que esta fuera llegue a nosotros. ¿Pero luego qué? Cuando conseguimos aquellas cosas, ¿hemos alcanzado un estado pleno de felicidad? ¿o solo un pequeño estadio de satisfacción pasajera? Generalmente, la respuesta común a todos, es la segunda. Y, como consecuencia, para generar más estadios de satisfacción (que equivocamos con pura felicidad), tendemos a querer más. Otro coche, cuando ve a mi hermano más a menudo, cuando este trabajo termine y logre uno mejor… haciendo girar así esa rueda de deseos cuyo alimento está fuera de nuestra capacidad y se extiende a los recursos de los demás.

¿Y si yo diferenciara bien entre necesitar un coche y desearlo? ¿Y si supiera ser honesto conmigo mismo y llegar a la conclusión de que no lo necesito sino que lo deseo? ¿Y si me comportara de forma respetuosa y optara por no satisfacer ese deseo innecesario? ¿Realmente cambiaría algo? Si… ¡tan solo es un coche y vida solo hay una!

Estas excusas son el denominador común de millones de habitantes en el mundo y es aquí donde llega la situación insostenible.

¿Cómo lograr entonces mi felicidad sin que ésta suponga la penuria de otros? O dicho de otro modo ¿cómo conseguir aplacar mis deseos y no frustrarme en el intento? ¿cómo conseguir ser feliz sin dar rienda suelta a mis caprichos? ¿Cómo conseguir que ser responsable y tener un modo de vida sostenible no me cueste mi alegría de vivir?

¿Has oído hablar de la meditación?

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.

التأمل والبيئة

للتأمل أنواع، ومن أحد أنواع التأمل هو المشي في الطبيعة او ما يعرف بتأمل المشي“. والبعض يفضل المشي على الجلوس في الحديقة أو على الشاطئ. فسكون الطبيعة وجمالها يساعد الفرد في إيجاد الانسجام والتوازن.

ولا أهدف من هذا المقال تعزيزفكرة أن مكان التأمل هو الطبيعة، بل من الممكن أيضًا ممارسة التأمل في المكتب أو في المنزل. لكن ومن منظوري الشخصي، إن أحد أفضل الأماكن للتأمل هو الطبيعة.

البيئة لديها قوة تحويلية، فهي توفر الصفاء وتساعدنا في العثور على أنفسنا مرة أخرى. فالتأمل في مكونات البيئة من نبات وحيوانات يؤدي الى احترام وتقدير هذه المخلوقات، وهذا الاحترام يؤدي الى الحفاظ على البيئة.

مكافحة التلوث وحماية البيئة

في عالمنا الحالي نحتاج للتأمل للحفاظ على البيئة. ففي ظل الثورة الصناعية والتكنولوجيا واستنزاف الموارد الطبيعية، بات من الطبيعي خلق مفهوم جديد بعيدًا عن تسليع الموارد. حيث أنّ جعل الموارد الطبيعية عنصرًا اقتصاديًا قابلًا للبيع والشراء عزز الأنانية وأدّى إلى تفضيل المصلحة الشخصية على حماية البيئة.  كما دفع الكثير للتعدي على الموارد البيئية واستنزافها لأجل تحصيل المال. فنرى اصطياد الأسماك تحول من الشباك الى سفن ضخمة تجرف كل ما تمر فوقه. ولا يسعنا المجال لذكر التعديات البيئية.

وهنا يأتي دور التأمل والذي يزفّه المرء بالإحساس بهذه الموارد وتعظيمها.

تغير المناخ والتأمل

تغير المناخ من المشاكل التي تواجه العالم أجمع وتجر عليه الويلات. ولكي يصبح تغير المناخ أولوية عالمية، يجب خلق وتوضيح نقاط الاتصال بين حياة الناس اليومية وظاهرة الاحتباس الحراري.

ومن أحد العوامل التي أدت الى تفاقم هذه الأزمة والعديد من المشاكل البيئة هو أن الكثيرين منا لا يدركون ارتباطنا كبشر بالبيئة وأننا جزء منها ولسنا أوصياءً عليها. كثيرون لا يدركون فائدة إقامة علاقة أفضل مع الطبيعة. ويأتي هنا دور التأمل، الذي يمكن أن يؤدي الى الوعي المستنير الذي يمكّن فهمًا أفضل للمناطق الطبيعية المحيطة بنا.

يمكن لليقظة أن تؤدي إلى تغيير في طريقة تفكيرنا وطريقة معالجتنا للأزمات الاجتماعية والبيئية التي تواجهنا. لذا فإن تضافر الجهود عليه أن يساعدنا في بناء مجتمع أكثر استدامة.

نستنج من أعلاه أن التأمل يساعد في تنمية التعاطف وتعزيز قيمنا الأخلاقية الجوهرية مما ينعكس بدوره على رفع الظلم وإدراك العدالة الاجتماعية وتغليب المصلحة العامة. وعلى الإنسان أن يعي نعمة وجود الطبيعة الجميلة حوله فيحافظ عليه. فالوعي بالأخطار الناجمة عن التصرفات الغير واعية يؤثر سلبا على حياة جميع أنواع المخلوقات. فالتفكر ومعرفة أهمية الحفاظ على توازن الطبيعة يؤدي إلى تنمية مستدامة على الصعيد البيئي والاقتصادي والاجتماعي.

Cómo atraer energía de paz a tu vida

Me llevó muchos años encontrar las palabras para definir el estado de felicidad. Creía saber lo que era la felicidad, o quizá lo sabía por descarte por todas las ocasiones en las que no sentía esa sensación de plenitud. Pero quizá no entendí el verdadero significado hasta que empecé a meditar y no solo aprendí lo que era la paz interior y cómo generarla para mí misma, si no que empecé a saborear sus mieles y a comprender, por tanto, su importancia.

Fue cuando empecé a meditar, decía, cuando me di cuenta de que la felicidad era sinónimo de paz. De que ser feliz era en realidad estar en paz y de que cuando me sentía en paz, tenía la mayor sensación de felicidad al margen de cuál fuera la situación. Y así fue como empecé a valorar los pequeños momentos de felicidad y paz que tenía en mi vida, en contraposición con las grandes metas y vivencias que uno se supone que ha de tener para sentirse feliz.

A través de la práctica de la meditación, aprendí a vivir de una forma más mindful. Y así fue como esclarecí cuáles eran los pasos que me funcionaba poner en práctica para atraer la paz a mi día a día y con ello sentir una profunda felicidad. ¿Y qué mejor que pequeñas dosis de felicidad a diario?

  • Empezar el día meditando: sí, da pereza; sí, siempre tenemos muchas cosas que hacer… pero merece MUCHO la pena. Aplicar cierta disciplina y voluntad para sobreponernos a la frustración que nos puede generar establecer un nuevo hábito de vida es la forma de conseguirlo… y ¡no es para tanto! Luego, ya no supe dejar la práctica. Empezar todas las mañanas sonriendo ¿quién prefiere lo contrario?
  • Dejar ir la sensación de necesitar estar en control: sentir que necesitamos estar en control de absolutamente todo lo que rodea nuestra vida es una sensación común para encontrar seguridad. Sin embargo, con ella sobrecargamos nuestras capacidades hasta que acabamos prefiriendo no estar al cargo ¿cuántas veces no habremos disfrutado más de la simpleza? Dejar de pensar en el pasado y en el futuro, pues el uno no se puede cambiar y el otro no existe aún; y, disfrutar de la ligereza del no saber estar -ni querer estar- siempre al mando de todo es, sencillamente, maravilloso.
  • Aprender a ver el aspecto positivo de cada situación: muy a menudo tendemos a magnificar nuestros problemas y centrarnos mucho en ellos hasta hacerlos epicentro de nuestras vidas. En cambio, en muy pocas ocasiones prestamos esa atención a las buenas noticias que nos rodean. Hacer el ejercicio consciente de ver la positividad en cada situación es magnífico y gratificante.
  • Tratar a los demás de la misma manera en la que me gustaría que me trataran a mí: hubo una gran parte de mi vida en la que ni me fijaba quien pasaba a mi alrededor. Según aprendí a ser más consciente de mi propia existencia, empecé a serlo de la de los demás y empecé a sentir curiosidad por cuáles serían las circunstancias de vida de cada persona. Así, empecé a desarrollar cierta empatía que me ayudó no solo a tratar mejor a aquellos que no conocí sino también a aquellos con quienes no había logrado tener una buena relación. Aprendí que sembrar lo que uno quiere para sí mismo, es importante y empecé a disfrutar horrores de pequeños detalles como sonreír a los demás aunque aparentemente no hubiera una razón para ello. ¡Ser amable es gratuito y sienta bien a ambas partes!

Así fue como aprendí que la vida se puede vivir en dos estados: en paz o en resistencia. Y que yo prefería vivirla en paz y poner en práctica pequeños pasos que me ayudaran a conquistarla de forma diaria.

¿Cuáles son los pasos que te funcionan a ti? ¿Crees que algunos de esos se asemejan a ti y que podrías ponerlos en práctica? Sea como fuere, ¡no te demores en encontrar la forma de vida que te atraiga paz interna, porque será la forma en la que consigas llegar a ser feliz!

The Universal Values Behind Successful People

I grew up watching a lot of successful people on TV. When I entered university, I started working part-time for the hospitality industry where I got to meet many of these people too. It always interested me how they got to be where they were. So on a faithful day, a friend of mine named Boris and I went to a cyber cafe and spent hours and days researching on successful people and what makes them unique. At first, I didn’t quite understand how important these values played in their lives until years later when I got into the professional world. Below are the five main values I’ve come to realize most of these successful people share in common.

1. Punctuality
If you are from a country like mine (Cameroon), then you will get to understand what we mean by Black Man Time (BMT). For most people, if you put an event to start at 5pm, they will show up at 8pm. As a result, a lot of things have to be dragged to wait for the late comers every time. This I got to realize is the main reason why a country or a person could remain backward in life. Successful people understand that being punctual does not make you idle or less important. It means you have no time to waste. Being punctual also means having respect for others by not keeping them wait. Above all, punctuality gives a person an unworried mind because it prevents one from guilt and confusion. The best of the things usually have a limited time. Go getters know that and that’s why they are successful.

2. Politeness
Have you ever bought something you didn’t quite want to buy? If yes, what was your reason for yielding? I can recollect many such times, especially during my trips to Nigeria. This country is referred to as the giant of Africa not just for nothing but because they know the role that politeness plays in business. Sometimes you will find a seller greeting with you big titles such as Oga (Sir from the Igbo tribal language in Nigeria), Igwe (King or Chief) just to make you feel welcome. Other times they may give you water to drink while you are looking just to make you feel comfortable. The truth is if you deny, they tell you giving you water is not a must to buy but in reality, their polite manners will make you feel it is only right to do so. This is not the same with other sellers who do not even greet you when you walk into their shop. When we are polite, we soften other people’s minds. We calm down the stress they would have likely poured on us. This in turn may make them feel nicer towards us which could lead to other benefits. This is what successful people understand and do often as they know they may need you someday.

3. Cleanliness
Many people usually admire celebrities for their style. The ones that dress well are usually more celebrated than others that just have skills. Successful people in general are keen to keep their self image. They know the role cleanliness has in branding. This is not only bodily cleanliness but also environment. Most often they are very disciplined with themselves or their employees to ensure cleanliness of the office no matter how modest it is because they know the psychological influence it has on their clients. They also understand that once everywhere looks clean, their mind can easily feel clean too giving them the clarity they need to handle their affairs.

4. Orderliness
Most successful people are very organized people. They know what they want and what it takes to get there. They understand that if they do not put things or ideas in an orderly manner, it will be hard for them to find them and achieve their goals. They keep their environment tidy, and this helps their mind to stay organized as well. Being orderly means being realistic. A lot of unsuccessful people just follow the wave wherever it leads them, and this is why they find it hard to succeed. The truly successful ones understand that the miracles that happen are often a combination of many planned activities that have finally materialised into something great.

5. Self-discipline
If you observe the life of people who are successful, most often you will realize they have some key things they are highly self-disciplined about. It could be having routine exercises, yoga, meditation, prayer, reading schedule, diet plan etc. Could you believe Donald Trump has never drank alcohol? He said that recently as reported by CNN. Anyone can say trash about him but the truly objective can attest to the fact that getting elected to be president is not the same as riding a bike. I was also marvelled when I watched the Oprah Winfrey show and realized that Gangster rapper 50 Cent does not drink or smoke! There’s a lot we often assume by the public life of people but if we get really close to them, most often we will realize there are some strict acts of self-discipline they keep which is the reason for their success.

All the above values together with the practice of mindfulness and meditation  will allow a person to further attain peace and happiness as a result. I may have spoken about these values for success, and one may mistake it for financial success. No, no, no! When I talk about success here, it merely means being extremely good at whatever you do. You must not be a celebrity like musicians or athletes. You might be that classroom teacher that is known by the entire school for being the best at what they do. It may be hard to practice all these values but committing to practice just one such as punctuality can turn one’s life around.

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

Turn off autopilot, be a warrior with an open heart

Habits, morning routine, places we go out to eat, the behaviour towards our partner – this all can slip into an autopilot mode. To be mindful and turn off this mode means to be a warrior with an open heart.

Sometimes the battle is against being on autopilot mode, which due to its familiarity, can be quite a comfy state. It keeps one in the comfort zone but prevents access to new experiences, to what our heart truly desires.

Here are some tips that will help you turn off this setting in your brain and start making more conscious choices in your daily life:

  • Create a morning ritual: pay attention to the way the alarm makes you feel, the way your restful state changes if you start the day with checking your phone. Set an intention for each day.
  • Alternate your work out and physical activities you do and the time you do them. Moving the body – walking, dancing, swimming – works wonders for your health and mood.
  • Take your partner on a date and try different locations for your regular hang outs with friends as if you were just discovering each other.
  • Take a different route to work, observe the scenery and the environment. Using different vehicles to get to the same place can prevent your commute from turning into a routine.
  • Connect with others. Try to be a good listener, receive pieces of information and personal stories that are being shared with you with compassion and without judgement.
  • Unplug. Watch less TV, take breaks from social media and you’ll find yourself having more time for the unexpected, even challenge yourself to start learning something new.
  • Volunteer. Find a cause in your community that you are passionate about and feel the urge to make a difference on it. Along the satisfaction that comes from helping you’ll meet interesting individuals you don’t normally interact with.
  • Spend time in nature. Observe the colours, the layers of vegetation, the silence and peace of mind that it generates.

These practices open insight on simple ways to break out the rut, find inspiration right where you are and genuinely connect with others.

Photo credits: Jason Leung @unsplash

Small Things To Be Thankful For

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey

In today’s society, people generally capitalize on the importance of things that are huge. We regularly see in the media people praise celebrities for donating a large amount of money, yet they don’t think to thank the person in front of us in line who is giving a dollar. Because it has become the norm to believe: the more massive something is, the better something is. If someone opens the door for you, you say “thank you” and might think they have to open the door to be polite, but no one has to do anything for you. Saying “thank you” for complimenting a person can literally make someone’s day a whole like better. It makes them feel as valid as a person, and everyone wants to feel valid.

Another thing is being thankful for what you have. Instead of complaining about not having a specific item or person you would like to be in your life, be grateful for what you currently have because, in all honesty, you would be worse off without it. Be thankful for the people you have in your life because socializing is an essential need for human beings. It will help you treasure the smaller things, and you will know what to do when you get bigger things. Because you need to realize that there is a power in more minor items. The one dollar that was donated could be about to change the amount from $99 to $100.

Fresh Start

For starters create a pro and con list for the smaller things you usually complain about. For example, the old car that you bought might not have air conditioner, but at least you don’t have to stand at the bus stop waiting for the bus to arrive. With creating the pro and con list for each small item you might find out that there is the proper usage of the elements more than you thought.

Look Around

Also, be realistic – if you have a problem, find an alternative to fix it. Defeat the whole if it’s not exactly a particular item, then there is no use being thankful for it. My older twin sister believes that she can’t do her artwork as high as she thinks with low price range art items. Not only is that ungrateful, but very problematic because it shifts away from the main focus. Don’t get wrapped up in the norm of the more prominent or, the more expensive because there are beautiful adventures in things that are considered small.