Regrets? Why not make a life so you don’t have any?

I saw an article the other day - it’s from a few years back, but it’s still really fresh.

The author interviewed elderly people on their death beds as to their regrets. Although its about people who are dying, it is really advice for people who are living.

Read it here:


It’s a quick read, but something you might want to come back to again.

What did you think?

What I see is that the basis of all those regrets is not having balance, of not seeing what is important or making time for it until it is too late.

Not surprisingly, at least to me, the list contains many of the things that the people who come to the Ishayas’ Ascension meditation classes say they want from life.

You see, the people that I meet already know what is important to them, its just that they don’t prioritise it, or they don’t know how to prioritise it.

Actually I think everyone already knows these things, we just don’t do them.

Don’t wait until its too late.

You have to live a life so that when you look back on your deathbed you are filled with joy. That you don’t have a single “I really wish…”

You deserve the fullest of lives, in every sense.

Part of that comes from an attitude of finding the good in everything, of being present and not looking back.

The other part comes from making choices that are fulfilling, of finding a way to prioritise what is really important to you.

Meditation - to me the Bright Path Ishayas' Ascension is the simplest and most powerful of all meditations (I could be biased) - is the thing that enables both. It really does. It changes your approach to life, it helps you be the very best version of yourself.

Take the time every day to stop and go within. Close your eyes, rest. Discover what is there and how when you nourish it, it nourishes you.

It is the secret to living life versus Life.

Just practice - five, ten, fifteen minutes every day. Set a time, sit and don’t come up until the time is done.

You won’t regret it.

Any questions, send them to me, I would love to help.

A guide to living the best life possible, part 2

How do you live your life? Here's part two of Arjuna's guide to a rich and fulfilled life:

Find ways to be of service

Give more, in all ways. This life isn’t about getting. Your peace and happiness stems from the ability to openly give.

Stop complaining

Don’t complain, whine, whinge, bitch or moan. Don’t blame anyone either. It is the fastest path to misery ever.

Appreciate and be grateful

Go out of your way to speak about your appreciation and gratitude for everything. Through this your experience of life will be that the glass is not only half-full, but continuously over-flowing.

Seek for contentment, always

Your path in this life will be different from every body else’s. Rest assured, all will turn out fine. Don’t compare, live your life as it comes to you. Set lofty goals, but live now content in what you have.

Your purpose is intertwined with your passions

Do as much of what you love as possible. It is closely related to your purpose for being here.

Be full-on

Don’t be half arsed. Don’t wait for life to be given to you. Take 100% responsibility and make this how you want it. Someone once said: “When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced. Live a life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” Sounds like good advice to me.

Your natural state is freedom

You are a limitless being. Your awareness is unbounded by time or space. You are more than just your body or your beliefs. You are perfect, exactly as you are. Rest in the heart of your infinite being, be well, live, be free.

Eat your greens

Sleep well, exercise and drink lots of water too…

Excellent. Don't take these seriously now. Enjoy!

A guide to living the best life possible

Life doesn’t come with an instruction book. You have to work out for yourself what works. For what its worth, and for your entertainment and edification, here’s how I think life’s guide book should go:

The past is completely gone and the future is beyond your control

Base your life in the here and now. Become alive to this. You cannot live in any other moment. Stop regretting the past and trying to predict the future. Its futile. Be right here. The only moment that matters is now. It matters not a jot what just happened or where your attention was. Where are you now?

It’s not so much what you do, it’s how you do it

Your impact on the world is less about what you say and do and more about where you are when you say or do. Your presence speaks louder than words. Being in the same place as your body, absorbed in this moment, means you can meet the need of this moment. Everything will be so much more than if you are in your head.

Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

Prioritise your peace and happiness. Humanity is crazy. There are so many people who would rather be right than happy. The end of all conflict lies in valuing happiness over everything else. You like happiness? Stop caring if you’re right or not. As my meditation teacher instructs, also take things a little less seriously every day.

You reap what you sow

You want a different fruit? You need to plant a different tree. Doing the same thing and expecting different results will never work. What you give, you get. What you focus on, grows.

Love people just as they are

Don’t insist that people change. You may be clear and honest in what you want, but after that step back and whole heartedly accept and allow every single person you meet.

Change what you can change, accept what you must accept

See the difference. Give yourself the wisdom to see what you can change or leave and what you must accept. Don’t push or force anything. Its a complete waste of time.

Call your mother

It's important.

Part two coming soon...

Where are you?

The greatest way to live the best of lives is to spend as much time in the same place as your body as you can. That may sound funny, but humans are the best time travellers. We are anywhere but here in this moment, we are always in the past or future. We live everywhere but in our bodies, we spend an awesome amount of time in our heads.

That is the reason why you enjoy what you enjoy so much, whether it is golf or knitting, climbing rocks or making music, exercising or just sitting, watching.

When you do these things you become very present. You get out of your head, your senses broaden, you become aware.

You become absorbed in the task, and in this moment. It captivates you, invigorates you, you become alive.

But this experience isn’t task or situation specific. I always thought that kayaking brought me so much joy because it was being in nature, it was exciting and it was physically challenging.

It is all these things, but critically I enjoyed it was because it was an escape, and being an escape I let go of my life. My life was somewhere else, but now was now. This was ‘me’ time!

It wasn’t because I was up a river, it was because I let go and focussed on the here and now.

It is the same with everything - It isn’t about what you do, it is always about how you do it.

I realise now that I am better at being present I can have the same buzz from washing the dishes. Being in the outdoors may give me an extra sparkle, but the sense of being alive and absorbed, completely and utterly present to this moment is available no matter what I do.

Letting go of what has been and what will be is the key.

Just now - be awake. Be here. Notice. Be involved in now.

You may live the busiest of lives but you can only do one thing at a time - do that one thing. Be totally absorbed in it. Don’t half-arse do it whilst thinking about what you have to do next.

You will find you become much more efficient, and perhaps more importantly, enjoy yourself much more.

Be alive!

Gratitude - simple, powerful, but rarely done.

My computer died the other day. Completely kaput. Funny how I can use something everyday and not really notice how much a part of my life it had become until it was no longer there.

You ever notice that?

How something can be essential in your life and yet you only truly appreciate it when its gone?

One of the most inspiring stories I have ever heard was regarding a woman who lost her legs in a bomb attack on the London Underground. Years later she was interviewed and what struck me was her attitude. I can’t find the interview so I can’t directly quote what she had to say, but essentially she said the day she lost her legs was the day her life started.

You see before that day she was in survival mode, just getting by - alive but not really Living. A cycle of wake, work, sleep, repeat. Her overwhelming response when she came to in the hospital was one of gratitude for being given a chance to live. Her focus was not on the legs that she had lost but the fact that she was still alive.

The bomb was her wake up call - it shifted her attention from merely surviving to truly living. It shifted her focus from what she didn’t have to what she did have. It showed her she didn't have any time to take anything for granted, that life itself is an incredible gift.

I see so many people who don’t realise how truly rich they are. They have so much, and yet they don't realise it simply because they take big chunks of their life for granted.

I had an ear infection the other day meaning I had no balance. Even the act of sitting up in bed and getting to the bathroom was a major achievement. As the infection left, how sweet was it to walk freely? Very.

I can’t tell you how powerful the simple act of being grateful is. Going out of your way to be thankful transforms your attitude to life. The simple fact that you are alive becomes a source of richness and wonder.

If you decide to be actively grateful, even for the small things, the following will happen:

You will become very present

Your life will come truly alive. It will become a continuing source of satisfaction.

Your relationships will grow and become deeper - simply because you are nurturing them.

You will complain less and less.

You will be less able to stay self absorbed, in worry or guilt or doubt.

You will realise how the world transforms according to your attitude.

You will realise that your happiness is your choice.

You will become someone who others want to be around. Your happiness will inspire others to be happy.

There’s probably a hundred more, but try it, live it for yourself.

You want more from life? Start by being grateful.

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” - John Lennon It’s a funny old thing, life. It’s happening here and now and more often than not, most people aren’t aware of it. They miss out on life itself, thinking and planning about some other moment, some moment in which they believe life will happen.

Do you do that? Is your life going on right under your nose while you are elsewhere?

Unless you are present and alive to life, to this moment, you will miss out. And no one has an infinite amount of time to get to the task of really, truly living. It’s something you need to get onto very very soon.

If I may be so bold, I would ask:

What do you think it’s going to take for you to wake up to this?

What is it going to take for you to realise that your life is ending one moment at a time, and you are somewhere else, lost in your head?

When are you going to stop wasting a single moment adrift in the past or future or some other location, wishing, dreaming that you were anywhere but here?

When are you going to make the most of each and every moment?

Please do. Please wake up to your own life, take it and go. Live it fully. It requires so little, just your attention applied now. Such a small, simple sacrifice, and you get so much.

If you don’t, who will? If not now, when?


ps. if you don't know how - just ask. It really is a simple thing.

Do you know that person?

Why would you want to spend precious time in your day with your eyes closed? What does it do for the real world?

Well... you know that person, that one inside you?

I do. I learnt to meditate because I wanted him to be around more.

You know... that guy or girl within you who is patient, open and friendly, happy, helpful, able to deal with life easily.

The one that doesn’t worry about their bills or get uptight about doing the things that they have to do.

The one who is able to stand up for themselves and be direct but who is able help everyone win. Who no matter what just lets it go, thinks of something funny to say and gets on.

That one that doesn't throw their dummy when everyone else around them is throwing theirs.

The one that doesn't take anything seriously, yet who is really clear and creative and gets stuff done with the minimum of fuss.

The one that really appreciates the people in their life and takes the time to let them know, who sees the beauty in their world, who is grateful for what they have.

The one that rests content at night in the knowledge that they have played a small part in making the world a better place.

You know that person, right? Inside you?

I know you live a busy life, but stop for a moment. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of your life? Not as in what do you want to do in your life, but how do you want to do it? Are the things in your life as important as the quality of it? What is it that is important to you?

I ask this because, in the pursuit of making the money to make life happen, that person inside all of us gets lost. We get tired, stressed, we make other priorities. We forget what is really important to us in the busy-ness of our day to day, we don't take time to get unstressed.

This is just one of the reasons why I continue to meditate. The more regularly I practice, the more that guy comes out – and the more I become him. I see this for everyone who practices regularly. It is just a matter of stopping and going within, and the knots of busy-ness are allowed to untie around that person inside you.

What would your life be like if he or she came out more regularly? What if you were her or him all the time? Isn't it worth finding out?

Life is so precious. You have no idea how much time you have. Please, whatever you do with your life, you don't want to waste it. Make the most of it, now.

Purpose and Peace

Many people ask: "How do you be full of peace and yet live a full, rich life?", as if they are two distinct things.

They aren't two different things. Being peaceful and full of purpose actually nurture each other. You can't live a complete life without either. So many people sell themselves short, either chasing their goals at the expense of their peace, or chasing their peace at the loss of their goals.

It needn't be this way. All the great people of this world have both - they embody a seeming paradox of having an intense will and at the same time possessing a huge humility. They have direction and certainty and yet are open to more, open to learn.

Coming to know that still quiet place inside gives you a platform so that you can experience the same. Its two branches coming from the same tree: The ability to be completely calm and content and yet dedicate your attention to whatever you wish.

In other words, you can access a complete dedication to your goals, a one pointed focus on what you are called to do and not let anything stand in your way, and have an absolute ability to "let go" and "go with the flow", to be completely loving and present to this moment.

Its important that you know that this isn't an either/or option.

So many people have made it so over the years. Because of this common movement it seems that this idea has become "true". Luckily the Truth is not democratic.

The more you experience the quiet presence inside, the more you'll come to be authentic, to live life in your own way. And then the more you live your life, the more peace and the more certainty you will find in activity, in busy-ness. It will become so that you cannot live any other way.

You can have your cake and eat it too. Everything is right here, within you.

Clear, calm, content and fully alive

Where can you be completely at peace? Clear, calm, content and fully alive? Only right here, right now. Where ever you find yourself.

I always tried to control everything: my body, my desires, my emotions, my thoughts, seeking this experience, avoiding that one. Constantly judging. This is right, this is wrong, I am right, I am wrong.

I think everyone does. No wonder lasting peace and contentment eludes the world.

What I’ve found is that peace doesn’t come from control or from having anything sorted. Peace is not found in the future when I have everything the way I think it should be. Peace is here when I let go, when I allow what is, right now, in the unconditional acceptance of who I am and how the world is.

See what happens if you do it. Just for a moment let go. Allow your awareness to fill not with the details of what moves through it, but with what is beyond that. Resting, not seeking, not trying or chasing, leaving control and judgement and becoming acceptance itself.

If you truly embrace this space of absolute acceptance there is no such thing as a mistake, there is no such thing as a wrong experience. Everything that comes up becomes not a step off the path but a chance to be clearer in what is really important to you. You see since you can always let go again now; the past has no influence on your ability to fill yourself up in this moment.

It doesn’t matter what has been. Judge not. It brings you nothing you need. Concern yourself not with what has happened, or what will happen, but what is beyond happening. Peace is there.

What makes you come alive?

I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive - Joseph Campbell

Many people spend their life looking for their purpose. They want to find out why they are here. They want to wake up in the morning with a sense of contributing to something, of knowing that they are of use.

Do you know what I mean?

The answer to your life’s purpose lies in the question: What makes you come alive? What is it that you love to do?

The things that make you come alive are the very things that shape your purpose. Get clear on your passions and your gifts and you’ll find your purpose.

Quite often people don’t think that what they love to do is enough, as in “useful” enough. They think it’s too simple, not important or grand enough to make a difference. Or they want to do it more, but they doubt their abilities, or they doubt they can make a living doing it, or whatever.

But when you do what you love to do, what state do you enter?

Aware, absorbed, excited, peaceful, complete, content, joyful, satisfied... alive.

You need to do the things you love to do because it makes your life worth living. Do what you love to do more, simply for you and you may find in the doing so you change the world.

“Don't ask yourself what the world needs - ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Harold Thurman

That point of alive presence and stillness that comes when you're immersed in what you love will show you the real key to purpose.

All doubt about what we want to do is dissolved when we fully give ourselves to it. When you’re absorbed in your own presence and awareness, when you stop worrying and start being, there is no doubt.

That is your real purpose: To come alive to such a degree that doubt no longer exists, no matter what you are involved in.

Your being alive speaks volumes, far more than words or noble deeds. People notice your alive presence, and want to really live too.

Your purpose is to be alive, truly alive.

Life is but a game

In this game of life one of the critical realizations is that you, as an individual, get to define what winning is. You set the goal posts.

There is a dominant definition of success in our culture, for sure. A successful life, the theory goes, meets certain criteria and includes certain experiences. If you have this job or status or amount of money in the bank or live in that neighbourhood then you are a success.

But what about how much you enjoy the game? What about how fulfilled you feel?

The beauty of the game of life is that you can agree or disagree with any idea of success. What winning is for you personally is totally and only up to you. How can you play if you don’t like what the goal of the game is? Exactly. So, you decide.

Anthony de Mello once wrote something I think is just superb. He said:

Nothing surpasses the holiness of those who have learned perfect acceptance of everything that is.  In the game of life one plays the hand one is dealt to the best of one’s ability.  Those who insist on playing not the hand they were given, but the one they insist they should have been dealt – these are life’s failures.  We are not asked if we will play.  That is not an option.  Play we must.  The option is how.

How you play needs to be everything to success.

Sometimes you just don’t have control over the external ‘bits’ of life: where you find yourself or what is happening. Just like a rollercoaster there will be ups and downs. If the basis of your personal definition of winning is in the internal aspect - how at peace or content or happy you are - the possibility of success in the game of life will be available to you in each and every moment.

You are in charge of how at peace you are with what is. How you respond to the ups and downs of life is up to you. You can enjoy it, or not, but this enjoyment isn’t based on anything but your response. Treat life just as if it was a game where winning isn’t so much about what you have but what you are.

So play, and play well, but keep your eye on your big picture. What’s the most important thing to you? Is it having something or being happy? Respond accordingly.

Don’t be afraid, you can’t get it wrong. You define the game, and can change that definition at any time. The only thing you could do ‘wrong’ is hold yourself back from fully playing your game. There aren't any real winners or losers, only those who had an amazing ride, finding complete enjoyment, or those that didn’t.

It’s totally up to you. Play, be full on, have fun.