“Take chances, take a lot of them. Because honestly, no matter where you end up and with whom, it always ends up just the way it should be. Your mistakes make you who you are. Learn and grow with each choice you make. Everything is worth it. Say how you feel, always. Be you and be ok with it.”
Learn Spring Forest Qigong for Free – Learning Strategies will soon be streaming Chunyi Lin’s Spring Forest Qigong course for free via the Internet. The broadcast will be spread over 6 days and begins on March 12, 2012.
Qi, also known as chi, is life energy. Qigong is an Eastern energy healing practice which seeks to correct imbalances in this energy. Whether you believe in this idea or not, peer-reviewed studies have concluded that qigong practice has a positive effect on immune function, bone density, cardiovascular health, and many other health indicators. Some people interpret qi (or chi) as the sum of various biological processes, so the divide between the Eastern and Western viewpoints may be largely a matter of semantics. There’s agreement on the results, which can be measured, but different doctors disagree on how to explain these results.
I listened to the complete Spring Forest Qigong program in 2006. I liked it, but I decided not to recommend it on my website at the time. Since I didn’t have anything physical to heal, I couldn’t personally validate the physical healing aspects of the program.
Since then I’ve practiced qigong a few times with Chunyi in person at retreats we’ve attended. I love his peaceful energy and his sense of humor, and I have friends who swear by qigong’s benefits. Dr. Deepak Chopra has also endorsed Spring Forest Qigong.
Due to my limited experiences with qigong, I don’t feel good about giving it my personal recommendation. However, since Learning Strategies is now broadcasting Spring Forest Qigong for free, I thought it would be worthwhile to share this, so that those who are interested can see if they find it beneficial.
from Steve Palina newsletter
This is a real story. A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
We humans tend to get very comfortable with our circumstances. Change is always hard so staying the same often sounds like a great choice. However not changing some things can lead to stagnation, which leads to unhappiness and boredom. Here are ten things that you could/should re-examine to keep yourself up to date and away from stagnation (in no particular order).
1. Sleep Schedule
Are you happy with how early you are going to bed or late your are waking up? Sleep cycles are one of the most difficult things to break because that snooze button just wants to get smacked. Taking control of your sleep cycle can make you better rested and more productive. You sleep for 1/3 of your life so you might as well do it efficiently!
Set a time that you want to wake up each morning. Tell yourself that you will wake up at that time (setting your biological alarm). Set a real alarm and practice getting up right when it goes off. Don’t give yourself time to rationalize another hour or sleep! It won’t do you much good anyways as you won’t be able to get into REM sleep fast enough. At night, simply go to bed when you feel tired. Your body knows how much sleep it needs so stay strict on waking up and sleep only when you feel like you should.
What do you want in the next week? The next year? The next 5 years? You need to know what you want if you want to accurately appropriate your time to different activities. Figure out what your priorities so that you can figure out if you are on track at actually reaching your goals.
3. How You Spend Your Time
After you have figure out what you want, you need to figure out how you should spend yout time in order achieve your goals. It’s very easy to get stuck in the habit of doing something too often that does not put you any closer those goals. Yes, fun-time is REQUIRED or you will go insane but make sure you aren’t overindulging and leaving your real desires in the dust. Many people also spend too much time working towards their goals. Get the job done but don’t sacrifice your family, friends or health to do so.
Write or type-out a concise agenda for the day with approximation for how long you will spend on each activity. Obviously you should be flexible anything serendipitous or spontaneous occurs but try to stick to it. This takes the same type of comittment as waking up with your alarm clock so hopefully you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
You know from watching every movie and TV show EVER that friends are important. You are shaped by the people who you spend your time with. Tale a moment to analyze who your friends are. Do they support your goals, have a positive influence on your productivity, brim with optimism when you hang out? Or do they bring you down, doubt your ambitions and suck you into bad habits? Or maybe you have a friend or two that you have always spent time with but now you don’t share the same connection anymore. These are all variables that you need to weigh when deciding who your close friends should be.
This does not mean you need to kick friends that don’t make the cut out of your life. Simply try to choose wisely when apportioning time to different friends so that you spend your time with people that push you forward, not backwards.
Do you love what you do? Do you even like it? I surely hope so because that your job is what you have chosen to spend most of your week doing! This one’s easy: Ask yourself…
1. Do I like what I do for a living?
2. Does it provide me with enough money to satisfy my needs (and most of my wants)?
3. What I rather do for a job instead of what I do now?
If you answer “No, No” and have any answer for the third question, you should reconsider your job. Yes, I know the economy is tough right now so the idea of getting a new job is ludicrous… HOWEVER, if you already have a job, what’s the hurt in searching for a new one? Stay within the security of your current job and just see what else is out there. If you find something, apply and interview / start the company and you’ll be so much happier now that you’re passionate about what you do.
6. Physical Appearance
Even easier than the last one: Look in the mirror. Do you like your hair? Your skin? The way you dress? Ladies: Do you like your makeup? The way your legs look in those jeans?
Figure out what you don’t like and find a way to work towards changing it. For example:
Bad Skin –> Order skin treatment kit (ProActive, Neutrogena, etc.)
Yellow Teeth –> Buy whitening strips or schedule a whitening procedure at your dentist
Outdated Hair Style –> Go to a salon, ask what the stylist advises and pick a new dew
Flabby Arms –> Gym membership + start running around the block a couple of times every day
Most physical “problems” have very practical solutions that are often cheap too. Even changing small things about your physical appearance can result in a huge boost in confidence. No problem is too small.
7. Eating Habits
If you are an American, chances are you are out of shape (63% of Americans are overweight). It’s a disgusting statistic but a motivational one too. A big contributor to gaining extra fat is not eating well. All of that fast-food, microwavable sodium-traps and late-night treats take a tole on your physical appearance as well as on your overall health.
I’m all for eating the most tasty food you can find, but not everything that tastes good has to be unhealthy. Just try changing little things about your diet:
Whole Wheat Bread instead of White – flour mills use nitrogen oxide, chlorine, chloride, nitrosyl, benzoyl peroxide and various chemical salts as chemical bleaches to make the bread white
Drink water instead of soda – soda has absolutely no nutritional value, just sugar and sodium. Water, on the other hand, is required by your body to break food into energy
Cut out high fructose corn syrup completely – high in calories, zero nutrition
No Candy – again, high in sugar and calories and zero nutrition
Eat fruit when you are hungry instead of snacking – fruit is nature’s candy so pop some grapes instead of reaching for the Spicy Cheetos
Cut out unhealthy and unnecessary “additives” like ketchup, sugar, salt, cream, etc. – these are condiments, food that you add to other food. They are NOT necessary and are very unhealthy. Have you seen how much sodium is in ketchup? (A lot)
Avoid pasta, bread and rice as much as possible – white flour, refined sugar and white rice are digested so fast that they cause spikes in blood sugar and contribute to weight gain
8. Significant Other
At least for me, the person that can make me the most miserable (or happy) is the significant other. The girl/boyfriend/ spouse/ lover/ mistress, whatever you want to call him or her, usually has a big influence on your day-to-day. Unfortunately since love interests don’t grow on trees, we tend to get comfortable with who we’ve got even if we are far from happy. Being comfortable is not always a good thing!
Take a good, hard look at your relationship…
1. Write down the problems in your relationship that make you unhappy. Decide which ones you can fix by yourself and which you must talk to your partner about.
2. Discuss the problems with your partner without accusing them or placing blame and try to come up with a solution.
3. Also ask yourself these 3 super-important questions: Does he/she support my goals? Does he/she treat me with respect? Am I content sexually? “No” answers to any of these mean you need to fix something or you two won’t last much longer (without being miserable).
4. Get perspective. You may think that he/she is the best for you but try looking around at the other fish in the sea and comparing. This does not mean you should go experiment while in your relationship, just observe. Decide whether you want to continue trying to make it work with your significant other.
Do you spend enough time with your family? That is assuming you weren’t disowned or hold a deep hatred towards your kin. If you love them, show that you love them. As frustrating as family can be at times, you have to keep in mind that they love you more than anything. Even if your mom anoys the hell out of you and your father is constantly trying to convert you back to Catholicism, they still love you. Even one more day of family time a month can mean a lot them. Plus if you ever do need some love and support, they will be there for you instead of being bitter that you haven’t called in 2 years.
LAST MINUTE VALENTINE GIFT:
Listen to this great mix from my dear friend dj Shine, tunes perfect for Valentines Day.
How do you discover your real purpose in life? I’m not talking about your job, your daily responsibilities, or even your long-term goals. I mean the real reason why you’re here at all — the very reason you exist.
Perhaps you’re a rather nihilistic person who doesn’t believe you have a purpose and that life has no meaning. Doesn’t matter. Not believing that you have a purpose won’t prevent you from discovering it, just as a lack of belief in gravity won’t prevent you from tripping. All that a lack of belief will do is make it take longer, so if you’re one of those people, just change the number 20 in the title of this blog entry to 40 (or 60 if you’re really stubborn). Most likely though if you don’t believe you have a purpose, then you probably won’t believe what I’m saying anyway, but even so, what’s the risk of investing an hour just in case?
Here’s a story about Bruce Lee which sets the stage for this little exercise. A master martial artist asked Bruce to teach him everything Bruce knew about martial arts. Bruce held up two cups, both filled with liquid. “The first cup,” said Bruce, “represents all of your knowledge about martial arts. The second cup represents all of my knowledge about martial arts. If you want to fill your cup with my knowledge, you must first empty your cup of your knowledge.”
If you want to discover your true purpose in life, you must first empty your mind of all the false purposes you’ve been taught (including the idea that you may have no purpose at all).
So how to discover your purpose in life? While there are many ways to do this, some of them fairly involved, here is one of the simplest that anyone can do. The more open you are to this process, and the more you expect it to work, the faster it will work for you. But not being open to it or having doubts about it or thinking it’s an entirely idiotic and meaningless waste of time won’t prevent it from working as long as you stick with it — again, it will just take longer to converge.
Here’s what to do:
- Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
- Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
- Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
- Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.
That’s it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a counselor or an engineer or a bodybuilder. To some people this exercise will make perfect sense. To others it will seem utterly stupid. Usually it takes 15-20 minutes to clear your head of all the clutter and the social conditioning about what you think your purpose in life is. The false answers will come from your mind and your memories. But when the true answer finally arrives, it will feel like it’s coming to you from a different source entirely.
For those who are very entrenched in low-awareness living, it will take a lot longer to get all the false answers out, possibly more than an hour. But if you persist, after 100 or 200 or maybe even 500 answers, you’ll be struck by the answer that causes you to surge with emotion, the answer that breaks you. If you’ve never done this, it may very well sound silly to you. So let it seem silly, and do it anyway.
As you go through this process, some of your answers will be very similar. You may even re-list previous answers. Then you might head off on a new tangent and generate 10-20 more answers along some other theme. And that’s fine. You can list whatever answer pops into your head as long as you just keep writing.
At some point during the process (typically after about 50-100 answers), you may want to quit and just can’t see it converging. You may feel the urge to get up and make an excuse to do something else. That’s normal. Push past this resistance, and just keep writing. The feeling of resistance will eventually pass.
You may also discover a few answers that seem to give you a mini-surge of emotion, but they don’t quite make you cry — they’re just a bit off. Highlight those answers as you go along, so you can come back to them to generate new permutations. Each reflects a piece of your purpose, but individually they aren’t complete. When you start getting these kinds of answers, it just means you’re getting warm. Keep going.
It’s important to do this alone and with no interruptions. If you’re a nihilist, then feel free to start with the answer, “I don’t have a purpose,” or “Life is meaningless,” and take it from there. If you keep at it, you’ll still eventually converge.
When I did this exercise, it took me about 25 minutes, and I reached my final answer at step 106. Partial pieces of the answer (mini-surges) appeared at steps 17, 39, and 53, and then the bulk of it fell into place and was refined through steps 100-106. I felt the feeling of resistance (wanting to get up and do something else, expecting the process to fail, feeling very impatient and even irritated) around steps 55-60. At step 80 I took a 2-minute break to close my eyes, relax, clear my mind, and to focus on the intention for the answer to come to me — this was helpful as the answers I received after this break began to have greater clarity.
Here was my final answer: to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.
When you find your own unique answer to the question of why you’re here, you will feel it resonate with you deeply. The words will seem to have a special energy to you, and you will feel that energy whenever you read them.
Discovering your purpose is the easy part. The hard part is keeping it with you on a daily basis and working on yourself to the point where you become that purpose.
If you’re inclined to ask why this little process works, just put that question aside until after you’ve successfully completed it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably have your own answer to why it works. Most likely if you ask 10 different people why this works (people who’ve successfully completed it), you’ll get 10 different answers, all filtered through their individual belief systems, and each will contain its own reflection of truth.
Obviously, this process won’t work if you quit before convergence. I’d guesstimate that 80-90% of people should achieve convergence in less than an hour. If you’re really entrenched in your beliefs and resistant to the process, maybe it will take you 5 sessions and 3 hours, but I suspect that such people will simply quit early (like within the first 15 minutes) or won’t even attempt it at all. But if you’re drawn to read this blog (and haven’t been inclined to ban it from your life yet), then it’s doubtful you fall into this group.
Update: Be sure to read the follow-up to this article, especially if you’re having trouble with this particular approach (there’s an alternative method you can use): The Meaning of Life: Discover Your Purpose.
”A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so out of control that you have to transform your life…”
– Elizabeth Gilbert
“The key is to listen to your heart and let it carry you in the direction of your dreams. I’ve learned that it’s possible to set your sights high and achieve your dreams and do it with integrity, character, and love.”
– Michael Dell
|February 5th – 11th, 201272 Name of the Week:
Mem Vav Mem
If sickness, heartache, financial woes or other problems arise, I will work through them to connect to the Light.
I will concentrate on this sequence, purifying iniquities from precious lives.
My spiritual slate is clean as I allow the Light to engulf my physical and spiritual realms.
|We each come into this world with a specific purpose that is unique to us as well as a general purpose we all share: Our spiritual correction, or tikkun.As students of Kabbalah, we learn that our tikkun is made up of negative behaviors carried over from previous lifetimes. Correcting these destructive patterns is our job here. Transforming and clearing out this “baggage” is how we achieve our correction and ultimately our perfection.
There are two ways to achieve this. The first begins with a dawning realization that, “This is not the person I want to be. I cannot be someone who lives merely taking from others; I will be someone who gives.” As a result of this understanding, we begin our spiritual work.
This in itself is an accomplishment! Making a decision to change represents a huge step forward. It is our nature as physical beings to be dominated by the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone. To depart from this mindset is actually quite amazing—and it does not happen to everyone.
The other way we complete our tikkun is through external events and their effects. If we don’t willingly come to see our need for change, we will eventually be required to by the pain and suffering. The universe will beat down on us as an effect of our actions.
One way or another, we will all eventually get there and finish the job, if not in this life, then in a future one—but a person who has consciously chosen to change reveals more Light and blessings for themselves and for the world than one who merely reacts to outside forces.
We are given a simple choice in this world: Self-transformation or suffering.
Neither of these options is easy! Anything worth having is almost always difficult to achieve, but when the transformation is of our choosing we eradicate suffering from not only our lives, but the entire world.
This week, know that whatever you find most difficult to do is what you came into this world to correct.
Know in the moments you most want to be reactive, “This is my moment! This is my shining hour!” It is only in these moments we hold the rare opportunity to release ourselves from the slavery of our previous incarnations.
All the best,
”Whatever your goal may be, if you create in your mind a clear image of the result you want and represent it to yourself as if you’ve already achieved it, then you will go into the kind of states that will support you in creating the results you desire…. you’re not just a leaf in the wind. You can control your beliefs. You can control the way you model others. You can consciously direct your life. You can change.”
— Tony Robbins, Unlimited Power, page 62