success

The zone of awesomeness.

There are times in life, no matter what you are doing, where you are captivated, absorbed, transfixed by what you are doing.

It is a very enjoyable experience, and it is a universal experience, one that many have had a taste of and long for more of.

Everything you do has this potential zone of awesomeness within it. It’s probably called something else by those who study such things, but as amateur researchers in the good life I’m sure you can grasp what I’m referring to.

Classic names given to it are the “runner’s high”, being in “the zone”, or a state of “flow”. It doesn’t matter what it is called, the fact is that it exists, and within it performance and enjoyment are maximised.

The people at the top of their fields - whether it be sports, art, music, business, parenting, whatever - they all know how to access this zone with relative ease.

Here’s what you need to know about it:

It need not be something you touch upon. It is possible to live life continuously in the zone. That is the whole point of meditation. Meditation is training to be Alive.

Second, the zone exists within you. It is not about the activity. You have favourite activities that you love, and you love them at least partially because they bring you closer to absorption in the zone. But it’s not about the thing, it's always about where your attention is.

The ability to control your attention is everything. It is the ability to be focussed and relaxed at the same time. Too much arousal and you become stressed. Not enough and you are bored. There is a sweet spot in any activity, and that sweet spot is the zone.

The easiest way to be in the sweet spot is to be completely absorbed in this moment.

How do you do that?

Notice what is going on in your mind. Bring it back to to now, bring it back to what you are doing. Ignore everything else. Constantly and gently do this and your mind will learn to stay here, in the same place as your body.

Absorption and flow, the zone - it's all right here, right now. Where are you?

I can’t encourage you enough to learn to meditate. A simple tool like the Bright Path Ishayas’ Ascension is worth its weight in gold because it makes the return to presence of mind and relaxation of the body so effortless. It makes living a life in the zone inevitable. It makes everything awesome.

Good luck! Enjoy, always enjoy. After all, that is the purpose of life, is it not?

- Arjuna

___________________________ How to be mentally fit, fluid and free www.arjunaishaya.com

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:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

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...

Give yourself an "A"

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? How would you be if you knew the future was going to turn out perfectly? 

Keep the door of possibility wide open. Go beyond the voice that says you might fail, that something might go wrong, that you are not good enough.

The inner critic can only see limitation, it cannot see potential and possibility. Infinity is far too much for the mind to grasp, and that is why is focusses on the small: on Lack, what you don't have and what might go wrong.

Believe in this and the world gets squashed and grey, and you along with it.

What if you flipped this Lack thought? Do you ever focus on what might go right? That you are more than good enough?

Why not?

Why not embrace an attitude of vision and of possibility? Instead of listening to the "you should" or the "you need to", why not go with the "what if?" and the "how about?"…?

Drop the limitations. They are only imagined, they only have power because you believe them. Instead, give yourself an “A”, in advance - focus on the possibility of the greatness of what could happen.

Assume an attitude that lights up your life, and in doing so lights up the life of all those around you.

Assume an attitude that everything will turn out just fine. Be supremely present in this knowing. How do you live in this knowing?

And why not? Wouldn't this one shift make your life amazing?

Attitude informs everything.

 

check out Benjamin Zander here in this video for more.

Taking ten minutes to bring out the best of you

How would you feel if you could bring out the best version of yourself every day? You would have wonderfully enjoyable, relaxed, productive days without a doubt. You know this best version of you very well, but how to you make sure she or he comes out to play?

I have a challenge for you… give yourself 10 minutes every day for the next 10 days. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and without judgement, without pushing away or grabbing for anything, just notice.

Notice your breath. Or your heart. Or scan your body, releasing any tension you may find.

Notice the air, the space within the room you are in. Notice this moment happening, as it happens. Or gently think a favourite phrase, a reminder, or simply the word “peace” or “relax” or “good”. Think it, and watch it go. When it’s gone, no longer there at all, and you’re thinking other thoughts, gently bring yourself back to the words.

Just sit, and be at the centre of everything, just for a moment.

Do this for at least 10 minutes everyday for 10 days straight and reap the rewards. You may find you want to sit longer.

Or you may want to learn a simple technique like the Bright Path Ishayas' Ascension that makes meditating an absolute no-brainer: www.thebrightpath.com or www.findpeace.co.uk.

How your mind will try and talk you out of just about anything - and what to do about it

Not feeling so motivated? A little tired? Didn’t sleep so well last night? Whatever you got, just start it. Only do it for 5 minutes, and see what happens.

It gives me a great indicator of either no, it really isn’t going to happen today, or actually yes, and those 5 minutes become much more than that.

Sometimes in life the hardest thing is getting down to business (whatever that may be). The business at hand isn’t an issue, it’s the thought about it causes the most drag.

I remember a yoga teacher I used to go to who always used to say that the hardest part of yoga was rolling out the mat and stepping on it.

He was right, I used to be able to do anything but actually get on the mat. I could spend hours procrastinating before actually sitting down at my computer.

But when I did - and didn’t allow myself to be distracted by facebook or selecting the right playlist for my exercise session or vacuuming the floor because it’s way too dirty - then things moved along nicely.

Now I know that tendency of the mind - to delay, to distract, to declare that the conditions aren’t quite right - it’s simple. I just get on my mat or sit down and get started before I can think about it.

If I still feel not quite right then I give it at least 5 minutes before quitting.

When you know what obstacles your mind will throw up it’s a simple step to ignore them.

Knowing your own mind, its ways and reactions is crucial to living the life you want to live - and all it requires is for you to be aware.

Awareness is simple, and the only time you can be aware is now.

Being bolder than your comfort zone

If you never did anything different, where would you be?If you never took a step into the unknown, what experience would you have? The same as ever, the same as everyone else.

Everything that you have done that is worth doing has required you to go beyond your comfort zone. Moving forward is rarely comfortable.

The mind hates progress for this reason.  And it’s why you can use that feeling as a gauge to indicate what is truly important to you.

If the idea of doing something makes you nervous or brings up doubt about whether you are up to the task then that is an excellent indicator of importance. Follow that idea, do that thing.

You see, the opposite of love is not hate but indifference.

If it doesn’t require you to overcome some resistance to get it, it has little value to you. The more resistance, the more value it has to you.

I don’t think you will ever get to a place where courage isn’t required. You just get better at ignoring the “I can’t’s”, the even more subtle “I’m not ready yet’s”, and of course the “it might all go wrong’s and then what’s?”

Being bolder is a skill that you can practice. It starts with awareness of your mind’s limitations and setting your attention beyond these complaints.

What do you want to do? Expect resistance and jump anyway.

The first step before flying is to leap.

Enjoying the process and doing it "better"

Don’t base how committed you are to doing something on momentary success or failure. An attitude of “well, I’ll keep doing it as long as I am good at it” will never result in anything. Everything that you do will have good and bad days - days when everything seems to be swimming along magically and other days when nothing seems to go right.

If you quit because you don’t appear to be “any good” at something in this moment, you will never get better. All learning has phases of seeming “good” and “bad”.

Don’t quit when you hear that voice.

As a baby you weren’t any “good” at walking. Did you quit?

Consider any top athlete - say the tennis player. How many times do you think they practice a particular shot? Millions of times? Probably, right? No matter what, they are out there practicing - in all conditions and in all circumstances.

They’re in it for the long game, they want to master a skill and they know it involves committing to a process.

They’re in it for constant improvement. They’re not in it to be “good”, they’re in it to be “better”.

So - Remove any idea of “doing it good” and “doing it bad” from the equation.

Instead, become interested in “how can I do it better next time?”

Enjoy the process.

A wise man once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Enjoy each and every one of those steps for what they are.

That way, no matter what, you’ll make the next step and the next, and you’ll reach the top before you know it.

When you frame each and every action in this way, as part of a continually evolving process (= an attitude of constant improvement based in complete contentment of this moment) long term commitment is easy, the path is enjoyable, and greatness is guaranteed.

Makes life, and getting what you want while enjoying it, so much easier.

Have a great day!

How happiness is like exercise

Did you know...? Thinking too much, anxiety, worry, anger, fear, stress, actually negativity in general… all of these things are just habits.

They are something we’ve learned to do in response to things that we don’t like. The more you react in a certain way, the stronger that “way” gets and so the easier it is to respond like that.

It becomes a habit, a reaction.

It’s a bit of a bottomless cycle, a slippery slope.

But the good news is that it is just a habit. You can create another habit.

The even better news is that you don’t need to work out or overly analyse why you get stressed, or anxious, or not respond to life in the way that you want.

A habit is simply a strong pathway in the brain.

Want a new habit? Make another pathway. Do something else that takes you in another direction.

A little known key to life is what you put your attention on, grows.

The more you do it, the more the new habit becomes stronger and more “slippery” for your attention, the old one less so. You become incapable of behaving like you used to, simply because all your attention is on the new way of being.

Happiness is way more attractive to the mind. If you give it a chance it will become your default.

 

Good news indeed. I believe it was Aristotle who said:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”

 

In this way, happiness is a lot like going to the gym  - that’s why I say the source of happiness and all good things in life as occurring when you are mentally fit, and flexible, and fluid.

You don’t need to believe a push up or Zumba class will make you stronger and healthier, you just need to do it - with good form and regularly - and the results are obvious.

Regular practice is everything then.

A fitness regime is essential. If you want a better life, some sort of regular “choice” practice - as in choosing your attitude and choosing to be present - is necessary.

You need to give it enough time to create a new habit, for it to become stronger, and the predominant way of living and being in the world.

But the more you do it, the more your life changes and so the more you keep wanting to do it.

It becomes self-propelling and motivating.

But you need to start. And you need the commitment to follow through.

Grab a buddy and make a pact, set aside a time each day. Just close your eyes. Remind yourself to see everything as being half-full. Be as present in this moment as much as you can.

If you need any assistance in this, let me know. I know some good ways.

Take care, and have a wonderful weekend! In fact, make it a habit.

- Arjuna

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.

Why do you delay what is most important to you?

Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all else shall be added onto you- Jesus Since death is inevitable, why not do as the sages say and see if what they say works - Nisargadatta Maharaj

In every moment there is a choice: We are either turning towards or turning away from peace.

Why do you constantly delay your peace? Do you realise that you do?

So many people postpone. First of all, there is a basic equation that we believe works: “When I have x I shall be y.” When I have my new job I can be peaceful. When I find my soul mate I shall be content. When I lose a few more pounds I will be happy.

Humanity believes there is a middle man to peace. We believe happiness lies in things. Find the right person, possession, pet etc. etc. and all will be well.

The second thing is that we say peace is the most important thing in our life, but it is the first thing out the window. It’s a priority, but how much time do you spend in your day making sure you have peace? Not relative, “I’m okay, I got through that day” kind of peace, but nothing but absolute seamless perfect peace?

Even when you have a simple, effortless meditation technique such as the Ishayas' Ascension that makes peace a direct, continuous and unconditional lived experience, you still delay.

Many don’t use it. Many don't practice like the teachers tell them to. They treat it like an aspirin, taking it off the shelf when times are tough. Or when times are tough it’s the first thing to get dropped.

I don’t want this to be an excuse to beat yourself up, but a chance to see what your priorities are. You don't have to give anything up, just realise what is the most important thing to you. When you do, keep it constantly as the first thing and the last thing in your life.

My teacher once said that for anyone to experience all the wonders of the world that the sages have talked about for millennia is “never a case of can you, but will you”.

What if everything the sages say is true? And if not now, when?

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.