Keep calm and enter the Void

If you saw the Netflix show Stranger Things, then you’ll get my next analogy about the Void. The Void appears as a vast infinite expanse of black nothing abyss. It is entirely empty and black, except for the character Eleven herself and whatever or whoever she is trying to locate. Next time you meditate, close your eyes and imagine entering the Void within your mind. It’s entirely still and dark. Thoughts will appear in the distance. Observe then and then keep moving. If you get a freaked out, then open your eyes and start again.

This is a refuge inside of your mind, just for you. Your thoughts will still appear, but this isn’t their home, so let go as smoothly as they arrived.

Remember to breathe.

The Field

Is there something or someone on your mind, something in the past or a problem you are working through that’s making you anxious? The following exercise won’t answer any specific questions you have or offer up a solution, but it will help you.

Take ten deep breaths through your nose and imagine a field. See it bathed in the late afternoon sun, or maybe it’s early morning, and you can feel the dew under your feet as the sun starts to warm up the ground. Feel the breeze on your face and take note of the different smells.

Now take the problem or memory that’s on your mind and release it into the field. It’s now standing in front of you. Sometimes it’s a person, an event or both. Let the sun shine on it and release it from your mind. Don’t try to solve the problem and don’t intellectualize it. It’s free to go. Give it up to the sun and the warmth of the field. If the person you’ve released wants to come back to you, then gently tell them they are free to go with your blessing and love.

That’s it. It’s an exercise in release and surrendering whatever you are holding onto the field and leaving it there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there – Rumi

Side note: It’s incredible how many people imagine a green field. It’s a little uncanny and cool.

Lagging indicators and leading indicators

“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.”  – Warren Buffett

Don’t give in to impatience. People give up because they don’t see results and confuse leading indicators with lagging indicators.

Physical health is a lagging indicator. Daily exercise and a healthy balanced diet is a leading indicator.

Financial independence is a lagging indicator. Persistence, simple living, and long-term saving habits are the leading indicators.

A happy marriage is a lagging indicator. Being in service to your spouse, compromise, kindness, and humbleness are the leading indicators.

A midlife crisis is a lagging indicator. Not being true to yourself and not having the courage to do what’s right for you when you are younger is the leading indicator.

Low stress is a lagging indicator. Controlling smartphone / screen time, daily meditation, spending time with friends, getting eight hours of sleep and cutting out the booze are leading indicators.

It’s never to late to start, but realise where and when you need to start if you want a certain outcome for yourself.

 

 

 

Flee from them

If you have a gambling problem, then don’t go to Las Vegas even if the best show in the world is playing on the strip.

If you can’t say no to that last drink, then stay away from bars.

If you are addicted to nicotine, then don’t hang out in the smoking lounge.

If you are trying to kick caffeine, then stay away from coffee shops.

If you are addicted to the endorphin kick from social media, then delete the apps like Facebook or Instagram that suck you in. Turn off push notifications and opt out of the email. There are brilliant people at these companies whose sole job, compensation and bonuses are centered on getting you to spend more time scrolling through the feed. Sadly a lot of them could be applying that same expertise to nobler causes, but money talks and principles walk out the door.

If there are people you follow on Twitter who spew negativity, hate, and decisiveness and in the process make you feel pretty shitty then unfollow them.

Don’t try to control these vices; you need to flee from them. Keep away from the hooks, and you won’t get sucked in. Addictive vices are seductive, so to counter the gravitational pull you have to engineer your life and habits to avoid them. Associate with people that reinforce good habits and keep you on track. Sometimes the best way to beat something is to run away.

Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.

Compounded benefits

Nine women can’t make a baby in one month. It’s an overused phrase in business, but it’s still a goodie. The sentence is typically a response when someone on the project team asks if more people will accelerate the timing of the project. More doesn’t always equal faster.

Got a beach holiday planned this summer? Doing 200 sit-ups the day before you hit the beach isn’t going to get you that flat tummy. You’ll probably strain a back muscle in the process though.

Want to get a clean bill of health during your annual physical? Staying off sugar, not drinking booze and cutting back on red meat for one week before the blood test isn’t going to help your cholesterol levels.

Are you saving for retirement? Living large and waiting for a liquidity pop or a lottery ticket to play catch up when you are older is a risky move.

Some things you have to do every day. Slow and steady. Be patient and find joy in the day to day rituals. Most things in life compound over time. Start with a little bit every day, and it’ll grow over time.

Mushin

The difference between the first time you do something and the next time is incredible. Muscle memory kicks in after a couple of times. Repetition increases confidence and creativity, and it’s easier to get into the concentration flow. With enough repetition you don’t think anymore you just do. In martial arts, this mind state is called Mushin. It comes from the term mushin no shin which means the mind without mind. This flow state is possible anywhere whether it’s hiking, exercising, working, playing. Rinse and repeat.

Blue fire belly breathing

Here’s a breathing tip

Sit in lotus pose or if it’s more comfortable then kneel on the floor. Relax your body from head to toe, and slowly start belly breathing. Inhale and exhale through your nose.

Imagine a small fire at the base of your belly. Every inhale of fresh oxygen fuels the flames. The exhale relaxes your tummy and lets the light expand. Inhaled fuel the fire and exhales loosen up the body. Grow the fire by inhaling until changes from yellow to orange to blue. The flame is so big now that it needs more space. Your exhales are turn blue as the heat escapes your body and fight more space around you. Keep feeding the fires and feeling you tummy becomes warmer and looser. Wind it down slowly with slower, and longer inhale. Expel the blue flame with your last exhalation. Sit and feel the warm afterglow permeate through your body.

Done.