Principle Three - Toolbox

Posted by A.C. Ping
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The quickest way to change the world is to love the world exactly how it is right now. The quickest way to change yourself is to love who you are right now.


I am here now, I love right now.

Breathing – The Four Fold Breath

When you get caught up in the drama of life it’s good to take a moment and centre yourself in your body. The four fold breath is a way of doing this quickly and easily.

Sit quietly either cross legged or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.

Now breathe in to the count of four through your nose allowing the breath to go deep within you. Visualising as you do this the white light and oxygen coming into your body.

Hold for the count of four. Visualising the oxygen coursing through your body to every part and the white light filling you up.

Exhale through your mouth to the count of four. Visualising any dark energies, blockages, toxins and negativities going out of your body and up into the ether.

Hold for the count of four. Visualising the energy around you and within you settling like the silt in a glass of dirty water settles to the bottom if it is left alone.

Now breathe back in through the nose to the count of four and repeat the pattern.

You can do this breathing exercise several times in a row until you feel yourself become more centred and your body more oxygenated. I often find that it causes me to yawn, letting me know that I haven’t been breathing as well as I could have been. I also find that if you are particularly stressed when you exhale let out a deep sigh of relief at the same time.

Exercise – Non-Automatic Behaviour

Recall the past/present/future model for being and also remember how our behavioural patterns keep us in the past/present loop with a momentum that keeps rolling along whether we like it or not.

Now – the challenge is to break out of that automated behaviour and expand the present moment. In other words – to do something differently so our neo-cortex cannot pass it on to the lower parts of our brains that handle automated tasks.

Any type of non-automated – or out of the ordinary behaviour will allow you to do this. So, what I mean here is if you can identify any behavioural pattern that you have – no matter what it is – then deliberately do something different then you will be breaking out of that automated behaviour.

Here are a few examples:-

  • doing your morning routine in a different order
  • taking a different route to work or using a different method of transport to get to work
  • walking half as fast as you usually do and taking note of all the things along the way

Do you get the idea?

Anything that is going to bring you into the present is good.

Visualisation – Getting Grounded

Go to a quiet place. Sit quietly and close your eyes.

Imagine you are walking through a field following a winding path through the long grass. You can hear the birds in the distance, feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.

You come to a clearing and in the middle of the clearing is a huge rock. You walk over to it and touch it, feeling the coolness of its surface. Slowly you walk all the way around the rock looing at the different makings on it. As you complete the circuit you realise that there are ridges in the rock face so you reach up and start climbing to the top.

When you get to the top you stand up and look around realising now that you can see for miles and miles in every direction.

As you take in the view you breathe deeply into your lungs and feel the solidness of the rock beneath your feet. You feel the dense energy of the rock and its connection to the earth beneath and you feel deeply connected to the earth energy and extremely grounded because of it.

You breathe deeply and then sit down and begin to enjoy this feeling of sitting on something so solid and still.

This is your grounding rock. This is a place that you can come to whenever you feel out of balance or lost in the worries of the past or the future. This is where you can come to sit, be still, be grounded and connect with Mother Earth.

When you have sat on your rock and collected your thoughts and centred your being turn and slowly climb down from your rock. Thank it for helping you to be grounded. Thank Mother Earth for the support she has given you.

Now turn and walk back along the path through the field and when you feel ready come back to this moment.

Meditation – For Focus (Extracted From ‘Be’)

If you want to achieve Self Mastery, firstly, you’ve got to get your mind to the stage where you just stop mindlessly reacting to things. Be still.

Imagine that your mind is like a glass of silty water being carried by a monkey swinging from branch to branch (bizarre image eh?). Just as the silt begins to settle the monkey sees something in the next tree and swings over to it, stirring up the silt again in the process. Can you relate to that?

See it this way – you decide that you’re not happy with the job you’ve been doing so you decide to sit down and quietly have a think about how you might change your life for the better. Just as you are deep in thought the phone rings. It’s one of your best friends and they have a great story to tell you about a guy that you’ve been keen on for a while. Before you know it you’re in the car on the way over to her place to plot your next move.

So, we’ve got to get the monkey to sit still for a while so that the silt can settle in the glass and the water will become clear. Single point focus is what is needed here – a meditative approach.

Although there are lots of really weird meditation practices you can do, meditation itself is nothing out of the ordinary. If you look it up in the dictionary it means “contemplation on a subject”. Christian monks have been doing it for years, as have Buddhists, Muslims and elite athletes. Elite athletes? Yes, when Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnast who shocked the world by getting a series of 10/10 scores at the 1980 Olympics, was asked how she managed to achieve all of those perfect results she answered “My mind is always full of getting it right” – sounds very meditative to me.

So, meditation - focus on one thing so that monkey will stop jumping around.

I’ve found the best way to meditate is to find somewhere quiet where there are no distractions and where you’re unlikely to be disturbed. Inside is generally better than outside because the energy tends to be calmer.

Sit quietly with your back straight and legs crossed. This is not just to be tortuous but rather because if you sit with your back straight you will align all of the energy centres, or chakras, in the body. From a Yin and Yang perspective, we are the bridge between Heaven and Earth – the Chi, or life force, flows in through the top of our head, down through our body and into the earth.

Once you are comfortable, focus your mind on one thing. This can be a mantra, which you repeat over and over again, an image, which you concentrate on, or a thing, like the breath. Personally, I like the breath because breathing is an unconscious action, so by focusing on the breath you link mind and body. To focus on the breath you concentrate on the touch of the breath on your top lip as you breathe in and out. Initially you may find that you have to either breathe hard or wet your top lip to be able to feel the touch of the breath, but eventually your mind will become sharp and you will find it easy.

Now, remember that what we are trying to do here is just to stabilise the mind so that we can tap into our true nature. Visualise that silt sinking slowly to the bottom of the glass and focus your mind gently on the touch of the breath.

What you will find is that after a very short space of time, your mind has wandered off. You may not even realise that it has happened until you’ve gone through several thought processes.

For example, you start meditating and a thought pops into your head about what you’re going to have for dinner. Then you realise that you haven’t had dinner with your parents for a while. Then you remember the last time you had dinner there and recall how good the desert was. Then you remember that you meant to ask your mother for the recipe. And suddenly you remember that you’re supposed to be meditating and you get pissed off that you’re so useless that you can’t even focus on one thing for five minutes. This is too hard, meditation is for those hippie people that are probably stoned when they do it anyway so they’re cheating, a voice inside your head says, why not just forget about all this and go and have a drink with some friends at the pub.

Gentleness is the trick! For a long time your mind has been allowed to do whatever it wanted, the monkey has been exploring wherever it pleased. It’s been swinging you around, not the reverse. You can’t change all that overnight and getting angry with yourself will only make it harder.

Humour and gentleness are much kinder masters. Anyone can meditate, it just takes a bit of time to settle into it. When you find that your mind has wandered off, just chuckle to yourself and gently come back to the breath.

After a while you will find that you can focus on the breath for longer and longer periods without wandering off. What you will also find is that more and more of that silt will settle to the bottom and your mind will become clearer and clearer.

This is the first, and maybe one of the hardest, steps to finding meaning.

Finding some degree of space and clarity.

Meditation doesn’t have to happen sitting down though. It can be done whilst walking, running, riding, and in the midst of many other pursuits.

Remember all you’re trying to do by meditating is to calm and focus the mind. You can do this as you go for your daily walk. Instead of allowing your mind to wander aimlessly, focus it instead on a point a couple of feet in front of your feet (be careful not to run into any poles!) and visualise that silt sinking to the bottom of the glass as you walk. Likewise as you run, concentrate just on your breathing (and ditto for the pole thing!).

The more you meditate, the more you’ll find a calm space within yourself where you can contemplate your life free from the chatter of society. Now you’re in a good space to act pro-actively rather than re-actively.

Intention Setting

Part of being present – and one of the reasons for the importance of being present – is that whatever you’re present intention is influences what you are creating in every moment.

Remember the equation:

Intention + Belief = Creation

So – be present to your intention in every moment.

One way to do this is to recognise when you are going into a new part of every day or a specific activity. For instance, going from your home environment into the work environment and vice versa. Or going into a meeting, presentation, dinner date, whatever…

The point is to take a moment before you go into that segment and set your intention for how you would like to BE in that segment.

So, you may have had a busy day at work with lots of deadlines and demands from other people on your time. You’ve might have drunk too much coffee to keep up, eaten too much for lunch and been a bit short with a couple of people.

Now you’ve raced out of the office to get home in time to have dinner with the family. On the way the traffic has been bad and you’ve been cut off by a rude bastard who gave you the finger when you tooted your horn at him.

You pull into the driveway, trip over your son’s new bike ripping a hole in your new pants and suddenly there’s your three year old daughter screaming at you to adjudicate on a fight she’s having with her brother.

“Hi honey I’m home…”

I don’t think so.

Try it this way.

You leave the office and on the way down to the car park in the lift you reflect on the day you’ve had. You acknowledge that you’ve been a bit stressed but you pat yourself on the back for all that you’ve achieved and you resolve to apologise to the people you snapped at late in the day. By the time you get to your car you’ve let go of the work day and set your intention to have a pleasant drive home acknowledging that no amount of pushing will make the traffic go any faster. So you put on some relaxing music, loosen your shirt, dial up the aircon and begin being present to what happens on the way home all around you.

Before you know it you’re only a couple of streets from home so you pull over and take a moment to think about how you’d like to be when you get there.

You think of your kids and your partner and a smile comes to your face. You set your intention to enjoy the next few hours with them.

As you slowly pull into the driveway you notice the bike and pick it up as you get out of the car. As your daughter comes running out of the front door you pick her up, swinging her around as you do so and give her such a big hug and kiss that she forgets all about her brother and hugs you back instead.

Now which scenario would you prefer?

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