Linda Hall

May 7, 2019 in Authors

Get to Know Your Mindbliss Authors

How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

I first became interested in meditation as a young painter at Art School in the early 1970’s. Sensitive by nature and quite shy, I felt uncomfortable being around large groups of people and was easily overwhelmed; as a result, I often found it hard to deal with stress.

I remember learning meditation from a book. Sitting quietly meditating by the canal that ran outside the noisy college canteen, I focused my attention on the sensation of slowing my breath and was able to create a pocket of calm for myself where I felt more at peace.

Meditation impacted my life in several fundamental ways. It gave me tools to manage my naturally sensitive system and calm my mind which, in turn, made it easier for me to deal with everyday stress.

From an early age I had a tendency for deep, rather intense reflection. Meditation gave me a quiet space where I could just be, and that felt like a blessed relief.

Meditation also taught me how to listen to my own needs and to honour them. As I’d grown into adulthood, I’d become a perfectionist with a tendency to be extremely driven and strong-willed. To the detriment of my health, I was always pushing myself beyond healthy limitations. I worked extremely long hours and developed an unhealthy lifestyle, drinking too much and eating high sugary foods. Meditation taught me to listen to my body and be kinder to myself.

This brings me to perhaps the most valuable gift that meditation gave me. Learning to love and accept myself unconditionally, allowed me to begin the process of healing long-standing self-esteem issues I’d struggled with for many years. Alongside the love of my family, meditation has truly been the biggest agent that’s shaped my life and changed it for the better.

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

For me, the experience of meditating is a many layered, unfolding process. As each layer opens, the experience becomes more spacious – giving me a sense of having more inner space. At the same time, it grounds me at a physical and emotional level that I find extremely calming and comforting.

When I begin a meditation, I focus on being present in the moment through my senses and this immediately calms my mind and triggers my body’s relaxation response. Neuroscience tells us that when we engage our senses, the part of our brain that governs our thought processes quietens.

As my mind begins to soften and relax, the pressure of all the to-do lists I hold in my head lifts and there’s just the present moment with the rhythmic sensations of my breath and the simple here-and-now around me.

If thoughts come, the practice of mindfulness helps me to see them as mere disturbances at my surface, and let them go without judging them or attaching to them.

My meditation practice is an opportunity for me to consciously practice self-care and develop a more loving relationship with myself, so I include self-compassion, self-kindness and self-appreciation. I’m always struck by how much this relaxes my nervous system and brings a sense of wholeness and healing. It just goes to show the amount of stress and tension our bodies and minds can hold through being self-critical and hard on ourselves.

I’ll also include the practice of gratitude and an affirmation or two as this never fails to give me a warm glow and lift my mood.

When I meditate, I’m not seeking a ‘bliss’ state. I’m simply surrendering to trusting that my body, mind and spirit naturally possess an innate wisdom – an inner template for balance. As I step out of my own way, this template automatically activates and begins to move the whole of my being towards equilibrium. This movement isn’t necessarily straight-forward.

A tension, sensation or emotion may rise into my awareness to be acknowledged and breathed with as part of the healing process. An attitude of acceptance helps everything to flow.

What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

Over half way into the sixth decade of my life, my three most valuable pieces of advice would be these. :

#1 Invest your energy in what supports, nourishes and truly fulfils you as an individual.

#2 Be present in your actions and listen to your gut instinct to help you set clear boundaries.

#3 Believe in yourself – don’t wait for things to be perfect, life is what you make it!

What is your favourite quote?

My favourite quote is by Julian of Norwich and one I regularly use in my meditation groups.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

I find a real power in its gentle, positive energy.

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

I think a good start would be if we all practiced simple compassion towards each other and looked at people through a more inclusive lense that recognizes we are all individuals doing our best within our given limitations. To my mind, we would do well to embrace open-mindedness.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

The biggest benefit for me has been learning how to live more mindfully in my day-to-day life. My natural tendency as a perfectionist is still to be rather driven in most things. Being mindful means I’m more likely to notice when I’m pushing myself too hard and take a break when necessary. This has enabled me to look after my health better as I’m more in touch with my own needs.

Mindfulness has also been an invaluable tool for managing negative and anxiety thinking patterns. I used to exhaust myself by imagining worse case scenarios and I no longer do that!

Mindfulness has taught me the value of accepting things as they are in the moment, no matter how challenging.

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome was becoming chronically ill with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for almost a decade some years ago.

Various factors contributed to the break-down in my health, including the death of my father, the break-up of a long-term relationship and half a life-time of pushing myself too hard.

It was a real wake-up call for me. Because ME/CFS was, and still is, such a misunderstood condition, I had to dig deep and learn to support myself at an emotional level rather than look to others to do this for me. I remember feeling isolated and quite desolate at times.

Meditation was my ‘safe place’ where I felt at peace, empowered and held. It had already provided me with a framework to explore my own spirituality for some years and now that spiritual journey became synonymous with my journey towards wellness.

In order to become well, I needed to do some inner work that included healing old issues I’d carried with me for a long while. Meditation allowed me to develop my capacity for acceptance, unconditional love and hope – which in themselves can be immensely healing.

On a physiological level, meditation provided me with a means to calm and stabilize my burnt out, and by now highly reactive, nervous system so my body could get on with the business of healing itself and respond to the treatment protocols I was following. I began using the practice of mindfulness, along with other meditative techniques such as grounding, through-out my day to modulate my body’s hypersensitive stress response. This slowly but surely supported me towards my eventual recovery.

The experience of living with chronic illness and making a commitment to my recovery, taught me the importance of respecting and honouring my own needs. It showed me that if I believed in myself and drew on my inner resources, I would have the capacity to get through just about anything. It taught me to respect and trust in my body’s ability to heal and I also learned the immense value of patience. Above all, it taught me that even the darkest times hold a ‘gift’: to see the challenges that life presents, as opportunities for learning and personal growth.

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

I believe that, in the main, we can choose to be happy or not – it’s a question of how we decide to see ourselves and our situation. I’m naturally a ‘cup half full person’ and choose to invest my attention and energy in things that nourish and support me rather than things that may undermine me.

For me, happiness isn’t a transient state but something profoundly deeper and more meaningful in the core of my being. I’m reminded of a beautiful quote from Albert Camus that speaks volumes:

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer”.

It’s that invincible summer that sustains me through the ups and downs of my life.

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

“Learn to be consciously present in the Now, because what happens in the Now decides your past and your future.”
~ Love, Linda.

Cory Cochiolo

February 27, 2019 in Authors

Get to Know Your Mindbliss Authors

How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

I found meditation back in 2003. I was very sick and on lots of medication. I needed help and a close friend took me to a group called Soul Group, it was a bunch of spiritual like minded people who got together once a week and just talked about all sorts of crazy wonderful things like Aliens and reincarnations of Jesus etc.

The meeting was held in a school called the Institute of Thought…. it was were l got my certification as a Hypnotherapist… l didn’t move on from all of life’s experiences connected to that school until 2011! That’s how l found meditation!

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

I believe meditation to be very personal. Everyone is different and each one of us may have different feelings or experiences during our meditation practice.

For me personally, l feel an overwhelming feeling of joy, peace, love… it feels like someone l love is holding me.

Sometimes it feels like Mother Earth holding me or a guide, angel etc, it feels like HOME!

At times it can be difficult, hard to sit, hard to focus or let go. The brain can be extremely strong willed when we aren’t in a good place, but that’s the times l know l need it the most. There is no right or wrong with meditation, do what feels good for you.

What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

Wow ok, first part of my advice about life and what l have learned so far on my journey this time around is:

#1 That there is no end to life and all of its challenges and it’s beauty. We never stop learning or needing to learn. We never get that spiritual that all we see is sunshine, fairies and unicorns. We are on earth because we are here to learn through contrast, duality. There is light and dark, good and bad, l believe life is all about finding balance, learning and evolving through experiences and most of all loving, creating as much love within and around us through all that life brings.

#2 Second would be to stop picking on yourself. I think when l get to the other side, my soul and friends their will say, thank goodness you finally stopped beating yourself up about every little thing you thought you did wrong…. lighten up, my life is filled with so much more happiness than it was when l thought I wasn’t good enough…. I am good enough, l bet you are too!

#3 Last, your life is exactly what you make of it. Your happiness comes down to you and how you choose to view your external and internal experiences. See good in others, see the beauty around you, look at life and it’s challenges as opportunities to grow rather than being a victim and life will serve you well.

What is your favourite quote?

I don’t have one… most powerful statement is:

“l love you!”

I say it to myself all the time! 🙂

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

That one is easy… smile! It feels good!

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

For me the biggest benefit l have learned through meditation is that l am not alone.

I never will be. The connection we have as beings is undeniable. Learning that we are all one, learning that life is real yet an illusion, learning that everyone and everything l see around me is a reflection of my self, learning that we are all aspects of God, beautiful and perfectly imperfect… learning who l am and loving all of me. I have learned sooooo much just by being quiet in meditation.

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

I became really sensitive during my spiritual quest. I got so l could do all these things l didn’t know l was capable of, like feeling people, reading people, all of my different psychic abilities woke up.

I didn’t know how to handle my awakenings so l found alcohol. I would drink to numb down my vibration and my senses. I wanted to switch off my mind, my feelings, the world, l ran away from myself for about 15 years.

I stopped drinking when l started to really love myself. Loving myself was a hard a rocky journey that still challenges me at times but it’s very rare these days. I quit drinking and stopped running from myself back in 2014! I just stopped. No more!

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

Just stopping and smelling the roses. It’s not really obvious things that make me happy or that mean anything to me, I’m a bit strange l think, lol! I really love the sky, it honestly takes me to other worlds. I love the smell of Ellie’s head, my grand baby, l love to dance yet am shy about dancing in front of others, lm working on ecstatic dance not being my nemesis. I love soft skin, chocolate, making people feel good, money but l don’t need a lot, just enough to share. I smile at birds while lm driving or rabbits on the side of the road and my heart swells as if l know them, that one is weird. I just try and see things, big and small, l don’t miss a trick and l try to see good in all of it! That makes me happy!

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

“This is your journey, your discovery, don’t try and make it like mine or anyone else’s, enjoy you and all that you learn about you during meditation. Don’t compare, don’t judge, just do you and you will find joy in just sitting and being quiet 😉” ~ Love Cory

Sonic Yogi

January 14, 2019 in Authors

Get to Know Your Mindbliss Authors

How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

I came to the “spiritual” path, seemingly by accident. I was not a spiritual seeker per se. I began to practice yoga, casually, at the local Gold’s Gym. I was experiencing stress in my career as a professional musician, and also in my personal life. That stress manifested in some physical conditions like high blood pressure and digestive issues. I saw people in the group classes at the Gold’s Gym and it looked like the exercises would be relaxing. I began to take some classes, and also change my diet. I began to feel better and better, and became more consistent at attending classes.

Then about 2 years later, I first began to meditate. Although I had been feeling better since beginning yoga, I began to feel a re-emergence of some of the conflict in my mind and body. One night I thought, I need to meditate. Nobody had ever instructed me, and I wasn’t sure what to do other than sit still and breathe. My mind was on overdrive at that time with a lot of negative self talk. It was overwhelming and I couldn’t shut it off. “If there is a God”, I thought, “please help me find peace”. As I meditated I found more and more peace within. The negative voice in my head became quieter and quieter as I meditated. I realized, in that initial experience, that the negative image that my mind had of me, was not actually “me”. It was just a series of “stories” I had told myself, about myself. Letting go of this “image” was a difficult process, but that point, I began to let that image of myself go. I realized through that experience, many suffer (at the hand of their own mind) in the same way I did.

My circumstances in life did not change overnight, but I committed myself to loving and serving others. I resolved that I would like to share as much as I could with others about finding and maintaining the same sense of wellbeing that I had found. My music has since become part of that commitment.

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

One way I have described it in the beginning, is that I feel euphoric or “high”. The only reference I had for this was smoking cannabis, when I was younger. I thought “I have got to tell people about this!” I experienced a definite shift in consciousness. I felt euphoric, but also connected to the Universe. I didn’t feel foggy as I remembered some of my experiences with Cannabis. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not recommending Cannabis to anyone, but I have found that meditation can allow a person to release stress and encourage the chemicals that our body naturally produces to begin to flow.

In the beginning I wanted to find this feeling in every meditation. I have since come to realize that it is not necessary to chase any “feeling”, but to simply remain present in the moment. Feelings come and go. I have also realized that sometimes meditation can also help to uncover difficult or unpleasant emotions, but that these are opportunities to let these emotions, thoughts and beliefs go. That process results in feeling lighter, and less burdened mentally…which in turn generally leads to more feelings of “bliss”.

In general after a meditation I feel more of this blissful feeling. It is a relaxed, calm and contented feeling.

What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

If I were to impart words to my earlier self, I would say:

#1 In this moment, Now, Choose Love and not fear.
Realize that now is all there is. The future and the past are creations of the mind, in this present moment. You can choose to create from a place of Love, and gratitude.. or fear.

#2 Be the Love that you seek.
Realize that there is no barrier to Love. We all desire love. Give Love in the form of kindness and service to others.

#3 It is in giving, that you receive.
I found that serving others brought me the most joy. 🙂

What is your favourite quote?

“Man is from heaven and the music is from heaven and whenever you know the keys of how to open the doors of music you have opened the doors of heaven also. The secret lies in the music. If there is a choice between philosophy, religion, science and music; if you ask me to choose one, after which all the remaining ones will disappear from the earth, I will choose music. Because if there is music, religion will follow. It cannot disappear.” ~Osho

“The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” ~Yeshua

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

Relax. Learn to relax, and meditate. Simply, give your mind and body time to relax at the end of each day. This is mental hygiene. I have found that is important for me to be as consistent with this as I would brushing my teeth, or bathing. I think the more I have learned to be responsible to myself in this way, the more I can see how I can choose actions that are good for others and the environment.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

Meditation has given me the ability to remain calm, and relaxed in difficult situations. Meditation has helped me to heal from anxiety and mental and emotional trauma of the past.

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

I think letting go of the image of my “old self” was one of the most difficult things I have experienced. I didn’t eat or sleep for several days and faced some very dark aspects of myself. I found that some aspects of my created identity were connected into my nervous system. Reacting to these negative thoughts or associations as they related to my “identity” created constant stress reactions. I overcame it by letting go of my agenda, beliefs and my own sense of self, and humbly asking for help from the Universe, God or whatever one might want to refer to the “All that is”. In that process I realized that asking for forgiveness for past mistakes, or even seek to correct them when possible and by doing so let them go. This required courage and humility that I wasn’t sure I had, but in pushing through, it felt so good to let the past go.

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

I think being content and grateful allows me to just BE. I have found that gratitude is like a doorway that always leads to the present moment. I have learned that real happiness for me is not about getting a thing or a circumstance. That can be nice, but making those things responsible for my happiness is giving my power to something I am not in control of and has a seed of fear about losing that thing. Being grateful, and present to “what is” has no opposite. There is a peace there that is beyond the minds ability to understand.

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

“I would like to thank everyone for taking the time and discipline to practice meditation. Know that the time that each of you commit to your practice is valuable for all. Also, the lessons we are learning in this practice have the most impact on others, when they are seen in the small everyday actions that reflect kindness, respect and integrity.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to share with Mindbliss community” ~In gratitude, Jonathan Adams a.k.a. Sonic Yogi

How to Meditate Properly

January 14, 2019 in Articles

Each time you set out to do a task, whether it’s painting a room, planning a vacation, or simply folding the laundry, you want to do it the right way. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who intentionally seeks to do something the wrong way. What’s the point of that? Doing something the right way increases the likelihood that you will accomplish your goals and expectations.

The same goes for meditation. Meditating correctly will foster greater fulfillment and ease in your practice. Learning how to meditate properly is an essential part of your meditation journey.

Have you ever painted a room? This almost universally-hated chore has a lot of nuances: the paint finish and color, cleaning the room before and after, protecting the flooring and trim, using the right brushes and rollers to apply the paint, not to mention the fact that you’re probably going to have to do more than one coat. Everyone seems to have their own method of painting a room, but there is a proper way to do it.

When you take the time to meditate, you want that time to be well spent. You expect your meditation to increase fulfillment and ease, but if you fail to meditate well, you will be sorely disappointed in your practice, just as a sloppily painted room disappoints every time you walk into it.

It is very important not only to meditate, but to meditate well. Meditating, when done properly, has some incredible health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, it has been known to:

  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Lessen the impacts of asthma
  • Ease the burden of cancer
  • Alleviate chronic pain
  • Reduce depression
  • Lessen the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve the quality of sleep
  • Alleviate irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce the incidence of tension headaches

These aren’t baseless claims; they are backed by science. Numerous studies have documented stress reduction as a result of regular meditation. Meditation has specifically been proven to reduce stress in people suffering from a chronic illness. One study even showed that regular meditation could reduce stress in cancer patients by 31 percent.

Yet another study showed that symptoms of depression could be reduced in adults who practice meditation. There is also evidence that meditating before bed can help those with sleep disorders not only sleep sooner but sleep longer as well.

The studies mentioned here are only a handful of hundreds of similar research projects that have routinely proven the efficacy of meditation. The trick is to do it well.

Meditating isn’t easy. It takes a great deal of practice and discipline. If you are new to meditation, heed this advice and start your practice on the right foot. If you are an experienced meditator, read these tips with an open mind, you may discover new ways to improve your practice. Let’s learn how to meditate properly.

Find the Time

This seems obvious, but it isn’t. In a single day, we pack in as many appointments, meetings and commitments as possible, but are any of those appointments with you? Take the time to schedule an appointment with yourself. Put it on your calendar and regard it with the same level of commitment that you would any other meeting. Meet yourself in your meditation space and commit to the time you have set aside. Don’t allow other responsibilities or or tasks, no matter how important they may seem, keep you from this time.

The monotony of the day-to-day tasks are very short term. The emotional, cognitive and physical benefits of meditation are long term. Time is more valuable than money, because it’s a finite resource. You can’t create it, but you can squander it. Choose to invest in yourself and don’t allow anything to get between you and the self-care of meditation.     

Also consider the context of the time you choose. Will your environment be distraction free at the start and the end of your practice? Consider what could happen in your environment in the next 5 to 10 minutes. Are the kids due to get home from school? Is the UPS guy going to ring your doorbell? Are you expecting a phone call? If these are possibilities, you may want to choose a different time to meditate.

Don’t pick a time simply because it is convenient at the moment. Think about potential outside distractions that could barge into your practice and negatively impact the quality of your meditation. Meditating well depends on your ability to find a time that is completely distraction free.

Set Up Your Meditation Environment

Choose a place where you would like to meditate. It could be your patio, a sofa, your bed or even in a designated meditation room, if you are so lucky. The most important thing is to find a place where you are comfortable. It could be extremely distracting to settle in on an itchy carpet or in a room that’s too hot or too cold. Consider everything about the environment and how it may impact your practice before you select the place where you should meditate.

Your meditation environment should also have a pleasant aura and be relatively quiet. Negative energy and background noise may case your mind to wander. Find a place that easily enables you to rid yourself of distractions and find joy.

If you like, you can decorate your meditation environment with things that inspire you. Making the space personal will increase the intimacy and quality of your meditation. This could include:

  • photos of love ones,
  • mementos from cherished memories,
  • religious icons,
  • beautiful crystals and plants,
  • comfy cushions, blankets and rugs,
  • candles to set the ambience
  • few of your favorite books.

If it brings you joy and a sense of peace, it should be in your meditation space.

Practice Good Posture

If you want to learn how to meditate properly, posture is key. When you think about it, adjusting your physical stance is the first thing you do when you come to a place of meditation. You can meditate in any position. Standing, sitting or laying (or some variation of the three) are all acceptable positions in which to meditate. Regardless of your position, create excellent posture to meditate well.

Good posture fosters many health benefits, including increased concentration, better breathing and reducing the stress on your joints. Each of these benefits will enhance your meditation practice.

If you struggle to find good posture, start by getting into your meditation stance. Squish your shoulders up to your ears, then roll them back to push your chest forward. Lift your chin so that your jaw is parallel to the floor. This may feel strange at first, but the longer you do it the more natural this position will become.

Great posture will also help reduce distractions. If you aren’t in a comfortable position when meditating, you will inevitably begin to feel stress in your joints and muscles. These aches are often very distracting. Don’t let those distractions creep in; start with great posture.

Release Distractions

We live in a world that has no shortage of distractions. According to a recent report by eMarketer, the average American consumes more than 12 hours of media, that includes TV, radio, print and digital, per day. That’s an incredible amount of distraction. Enough is enough! In order to meditate well, you must be able to rid yourself of these pervasive outside distractions.

Do not bring your phone to the place where you meditate. Make your meditation environment relatively soundproof and, if necessary, add blinds or curtains to prevent the sunlight from distracting you.

Before you begin to meditate, think about what you are wearing. Is it comfortable? Does it make you feel good? Does it distract you? The same goes for your jewelry or any other ornamentation you may choose to wear. Change your clothes or remove your jewelry if needed.

Think about how you feel. Are you struggling with cold symptoms? Treat them! Are your lips chapped? Apply lip balm. Have you had enough food and water? Be sure to come to your practice well hydrated and with a full-ish stomach. There’s nothing more distracting than being hungry or thirsty.

These small efforts will pay off in spades with the benefits you receive from meditating well.  

Observe Thoughts Without Judgement

You may have mastered the art of emptying your mind, but you will always have thoughts from floating through your head. How you respond to those thoughts is what separates simply meditating and meditating well.

When a thought enters your mind, allow it to pass by, not giving it any brain energy or consideration. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t revisit those thoughts post-meditation. Often, these passing thoughts provide great insight into your emotions and mental well-being.

No matter what the thought may be, acknowledge it, accept it and don’t pass judgement on yourself for having the thought in the first place. Thoughts are just that: little ideas that stay inside our heads unless we make a conscious choice to act upon them. The art of meditating properly depends on your ability to not judge yourself for such thoughts.

Eliminate Expectations

What are your meditation goals? How long do you think it will take to reach them? If you have answers to either of these questions, you aren’t meditating properly.

Just as meditating well is contingent upon not judging oneself, it is also devoid of expectations. Sure, you may choose to begin a meditation practice because you want to reduce stress or anxiety, which is completely reasonable. The problem arises when a value is attached to the goal; it not only undermines the whole point of meditating, but it also opens you up to another avenue to judge yourself.

Leave your goals at the office.

Be Receptive to Change

No two meditation sessions will ever be the same, and they shouldn’t be. If you begin to notice patterns of distraction, thoughts or other enemies to meditating well, you may need to alter your practice.

Maybe you find a new environment to meditate, or perhaps you find that repeating a mantra helps you to stay more focused. Whatever it is, make the adjustments you need for your practice to produce the best possible results.

You may also want to try a guided meditation to help maintain your focus. There are many guided meditations available on the Mindbliss meditation app. Download the app today to begin your guided meditation journey.  

Allow Flexibility

Meditation can take many forms. Allow it to do so, without question or hesitation. You may be moved to meditate at work during a stressful day. You may typically meditate when you get home but know that in a certain moment, you could really use the support of meditation. Honor that.

You don’t always have to meditate in the same place and at the same time every day. There are many points in the day that may require meditation. Engage in your practice whenever you need. It’s your practice, own it and do it your way to meditate well.


Create a pattern of meditation. Try to find time to meditate every day and carry out your meditation at the same time each day, if possible. Our busy schedules won’t always allow for this, but no matter when you come to your practice, come with an open heart and an open mind.

Research tells us that is takes 21 days to form a new habit. If the prospect of daily meditation is a daunting one, give it three weeks and see how repeating this practice can enhance your well-being. As with most things in life, the more you do it, the more fruitful your meditation practice will become. Use this guide to learn how to meditate properly and allow your practice to blossom.

Meditation is a practice. If you want to do it properly, you must practice. As with most things that you ‘practice,’ it’s not easy and is often downright challenging.

Bleacher Report recently named Michael Jordan as the most successful athlete of all time. How did he get there? Practice. He didn’t achieve this designation overnight It took thousands of hours of blood, sweat and sacrifice to achieve such an honor. Meditation is no different.

Well, it is a little different in that it’s not about competition, but the notion of tirelessly practicing at something to gain honor holds true.

Anything that is worth doing is worth doing well. Don’t shortchange yourself with a sub-par meditation practice. Honor yourself. Put in the work and begin to meditate properly today.

If you’d like to dive further into your wellbeing and personal growth, download our Mindbliss Meditation App HERE from your iPhone/Android. We have a large and diverse range of 400 (and growing) quality meditations and are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

10 Easy Ways to Become More Mindful

January 14, 2019 in Articles

Mindfulness. Whether you realize it or not, it’s something that you engage every day. You mind the time as you are getting ready in the morning (you don’t want to be late!), are mindful of the other drivers as you commute to work (nobody wants to get in an accident) and mind your kids as you try to throw dinner together (probably should’ve ordered pizza). These are all involuntary, unintentional examples. But what about intentional mindfulness, in the form of mindfulness meditation? The kind that involves specifically meditating on your thoughts or actions to bring inner peace and relaxation?

Mindful meditation is just that: being mindful. It is practiced by settling down in a calm environment, quieting your mind and focusing on your breath. During mindful meditation, you explore your mind and allow passing thoughts to drift by, not succumbing to distraction. This is much easier said than done, especially in our fast-paced world with unlimited distractions.

Eliminating distractions is difficult; most people can only manage to do so in small doses. There are few among us who can sit for minutes, even hours on end successfully practicing mindful meditation. Fortunately, you can easily center yourself and quiet your mind in as little as one minute.

Despite the limited time commitment, many believe that they can’t fit meditation into their life. They are wrong. Every day, we are presented with countless opportunities to practice mindfulness, and instead, choose to check our phones or complain about the traffic.

It’s time to make a change! Here are ten quick and easy steps to become more mindful.

1. Check-In With Yourself

When was the last time you took time for yourself? You probably don’t even remember. When you check in, you practice much-needed self-care by taking the time to consider your physical, emotional and mental well-being. This consideration is a form of mindful meditation. You can do this is the car, as you are taking a coffee break, or while waiting in line at the grocery store.

Start by taking a deep breath. Think about every part of your body. What sensations each part may be feeling and if there are any ways you can improve or savor those sensations. Perhaps you discover that you are hungry and want a snack? Maybe you realize that the tag of your shirt is itchy and you should cut it off. Whatever it may be, take the time to check-in with yourself, you may be surprised by what you learn and how easily you can increase your comfort.

2. Be Mindful About Your Music

US consumers spend an average of 24 hours per week listening to music. That applies to 91 percent of the population who reports listening to music on a regular basis. That’s an incredible amount of time spent on one activity. Granted, most people listen to music while doing other things, like riding in a car, working or exercising.

The next time you listen to music, you can easily practice mindful meditation, too! Reduce as many external distractions as possible, like your cell phone. Don’t skip around stations or songs, focus on listening to a single song from start to finish. As you listen, try to isolate the different sounds: the vocals, bass, guitar and drums. Notice any emotions that are evoked by the lyrics and explore the motivations for those emotions.

Listening to music is a simple thing, but when done mindfully, it can make a huge difference in your self-awareness and well-being.

3. Add Inspiration to the Unexpected

Life can be pretty dull if we allow it to be. We get in the car, we run an errand, we go online. Do these things inspire us? Not really.

But what if you conscientiously wove intentional, inspirational symbols into your routine? This could be anything from a charm on a keychain, a photo of a cherished loved one on your dashboard or creating a meaningful password for your email account.

When you see these things, you are triggered to become mindful and spend a moment meditating on that idea or person. You can take your daily routine from being just that – a routine – to being a journey into mindful meditation.

Interestingly, most of us were much better at this in our adolescence. As a means of expressing ourselves, we would decorate our lockers, scribble on our sneakers and hang posters on the wall; all of which would bring people, places and things to mind.

We’re not asking you to start bedazzling your notebooks, but maybe you add a post-it note to the fridge that has a favorite verse or saying written on it? Adding small cues to daily life will inspire you to practice mindful meditation on a regular basis.

4. Relax With Purpose

What do you do to relax? Read a good book? Sit outside and watch the sun go down (or come up)? Maybe you like to binge watch your favorite shows? Whatever you to do unwind, do it with purpose.

As you settle into whatever it is you do to unwind, rid yourself of distractions. Turn of your phone, put the kids to bed and get into a place where you can fully engage in what you’re doing. Think about how you feel in the moment. Explore your emotions and consider not only what you are feeling, but why. Fully immerse your senses to truly enjoy doing nothing.

This is difficult to do. It’s challenging enough to find time in the day to do something for yourself, let alone incorporate mindful meditation into the activity. When you do, you are not only giving your body and mind the break it needs, but you are feeding your soul.

5. Be Intentional About Your Routine

There are a few things we do every day. We brush our teeth, get dressed, make breakfast, etc. We do them the exact same way every day with little effort or thought put into it. Many of these tasks are as involuntary as breathing.

As you are preparing for the day, be mindful of every part of your body that is being used to complete a task. Think about how your arms move, how your mind processes and the outcome of your symphony of senses coming together to reach a common goal.

Take it a step further by using your non-dominant hand to do things like shaving, brushing your teeth, or curling your hair. In order to complete those tasks with your non-dominant hand, you must be extremely mindful of every step and intentional about the way you do it.

6. Create a Mindful Environment

The environments where you live, work and play can have a profound impact on your ability to be mindful. If any of these environments are messy, unorganized or just plain ugly, you will have a hard time enjoying the stress-reduction benefits of mindful meditation.

Take the time to make these environments comfortable and happy for you. Declutter, clean up and add some personal pieces that encourage mindfulness. Things like favorite books, family photos and religious icons are simple, inexpensive additions to your décor that will prompt you to engage in mindful meditation.

Also, consider adding art to places where you spend a great deal of time. According to researchers at the University of London, looking at art creates a surge of dopamine in the brain, evoking the same feeling as being in love.

7. Love Thyself

As the saying goes, “we are our own worst critics.” It’s absolutely true. We give those around us immeasurable grace but fail to extend the same courtesy to ourselves. Despite our best efforts to remain positive on the outside, the reality is that most of us are very negative about ourselves on the inside.

When you notice yourself doing this, take the time to be mindful and rid yourself of the negative thoughts. Acknowledge that what your doing is hurting you in the long run and know that almost every other person has the same struggle.

Dig deep and consider why you are so hard on yourself. Is it being caused by a past hurt, an insecurity, or a childhood wound? Whatever it is, shift your focus and mindfully meditate to foster more self-love.

8. Actively Listen

As our world becomes less and less personal, this skill becomes more and more important. Sure, you may have 500 Facebook “friends” but how many of those people would you call in an emergency or take on a vacation? The fact of the matter is that many of us – a third of Americans, in fact – are lonely. We have fewer and fewer face-to-face interactions and when we do, they lack quality.

Combat loneliness by bringing mindfulness to your next conversation. Listen to your companion with each of your senses. Resist the urge to think about what you want to say next and instead hang on their every word. Lean in, nod, make eye contact and don’t let distractions keep you from truly listening. Mindfully meditating on the conversation will help you become a better listener and friend.

9. Complain and Consider 

Complaining, although considered negative by most, is actually a healthy expression of emotion. When you have strong feelings about something you want to vent about it; it’s a natural human response to adversity. Don’t judge yourself for being honest about your feelings (see Love Thyself). But do explore the cause of the complaint.

When you find yourself complaining, be mindful about the root cause of the issue. Is it that you have an inherent bias against the subject and no matter what they do, it will be met with your disapproval? Does the person or experience causing the complaint remind you of something negative in your past? No matter what the source may be, mindfully meditate to explore it and consider ways you can avoid having the same complaint in the future.    

10. Slow Down

Everyone wants to go fast. It doesn’t matter if you are running 10 minutes early or five minutes late, even the slightest delay on the road can send an otherwise sane person into a road-raging tailspin. Why? Society pressures us to be first in everything, even first in a line of traffic. Don’t give into the pressure!

No matter what your destination, whether you are 10 minutes early or five minutes late, the outcome will be the same. It’s easy to let our blood pressure rise when we are in a rush and want to be on time. The reality is that our obsession with the clock is never worth the stress. The next time you feel the urge to rush, be mindful about what you are doing, where you are going and that you will get there, one way or another, whether you are early or late. Making a certain time is simply not worth the fuss.

Slow down, take a deep breath and rest easy in the calm of mindful meditation.

Everyone, no matter what their schedule can find time for mindful meditation. It’s easy if you have the right tools. Enjoy the benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction by using these 10 quick tips to transform the way you see your world.

If you are already on the path toward mindfulness and would like to take it a step further, consider using a guided mindfulness meditation. Download Mindbliss meditation app to begin your journey.

We have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations and are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

Julie Skoff

January 8, 2019 in Authors

Get to Know Your Mindbliss Authors

How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

For over 30 years, I suffered from chronic insomnia and sleeplessness in which conventional medicine provided no relief. During most of my professional life, as a registered nurse, I found myself in a crazy cycle of exhaustion, anxiety, and depression, only to be given a cocktail of pills over and over and over for some sense of relief.

I felt like a walking zombie most of the time, yet I could still perform effectively in my career and family responsibilities, or at least I thought I could. I became very skilled at faking that all was ok eventually to find that my body, mind, and spirit were being detrimentally affected.

I had reached a point in which I literally wanted to DIE just for a good night’s sleep and get some relief from this overwhelming cycle. That was until I experienced the miracle of meditation to heal my heart and mind and after only eight months of consistent practice, I was off all medications and my sleep had returned to normal. Anxiety and depression faded away. As you can imagine, this impacted my life in quite a miraculous way and this transformation ignited a fire and passion inside me to help others experience the same.

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

This is actually a bit more challenging to describe only because every single meditation is different. Just like knowing that no two snowflakes are the same, or grains of sand, the same can be said for meditation, no two meditations are ever the same, EVER, and for someone just starting out this can be quite helpful to know because often times when we dive into a practice like this, we create a preconceived notion of what our experience will be like, yet this can work against a meditator keeping them out of a meditative state. When the mind is seeking to get something, to experience something, to feel something, it is unable to rest in complete stillness. So, adopting an attitude of allowance and acceptance are key qualities to bring to your practice.

All that being said, for the most part, if one can be still and simply focus on the breath, slowly but surely, you WILL transcend your thoughts and rest in a void. In other words, you relax in the space between two thoughts or rest in the space between two breaths. You surrender your sense of self and as you do, you transcend your own thinking mind. It is the definition of mind-bliss!

It may be worth noting that there are actually several physical sensations a person may experience while meditating, especially in the beginning, such as intense heat or cold deep within the body, or a slight sense of nausea or dizziness. Some may feel a ‘sway’ deep within their body as well, while others may feel extreme heaviness or lightness making them feel as if they are floating or expanding into the room. Others may become so relaxed that they feel as if their respirations slow to the point of ceasing all together.

These sensations are all normal, however, they can be a bit unsettling, so it is good to have a teacher or guide that you trust to help reassure you that you are on the right path.

What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

I currently have three special plaques hanging on my kitchen wall. These are the three things I try to keep in my conscious mind and live by, so I share them with you today. Each one requires an action step so you will note that that is my additional advice to give.

#1 You must SEEK IT!
“Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” ― Rumi

#2 You must DO IT!
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Jesus

#3 You must BELIEVE IT!
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” – Buddha

What is your favourite quote?

“Be Still and Know”

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

As soon as your eyes open each morning, decide that you will be whatever it is you want more of in the world.

If you want to experience more love, then YOU be and give love. If you want more Light in the world, YOU bring the light to someone’s darkness. If you want more peace in the world, then YOU live by peace. If you want more happiness in the world, then YOU be happy. As Gandhi once said, you must, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.”

This is such a simple concept that can create unimaginable beautiful waves that can ripple across the miles and across people’s hearts and minds. The key, however, is to actually live it. Which for many is quite demanding. The good news is, is that the more one lives by this simple call to action, the easier it becomes.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

The biggest benefit meditation has been for me is that it allowed me to connect with my true self, transcending the one full of false illusions, lies, worry, fear, and pain. It is my experience that meditation is the gateway to the Divine essence from which we all come from, Love and Light. This is where much of my own personal healing took place which has now afforded me the opportunity to help others heal as well.

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

Loving myself and knowing my worth.

Somewhere along the way, most of us have become forgetful to our true nature and divine essence. In this forgetfulness, we start to believe untrue notions about ourselves. These beliefs hold us down and limit us from living the life we are meant to live. They keep us in fear, anxiety, depression, worry, anger and so on.

Meditation is a way to aid your journey of self-discovery and help you remember and get in touch with your true nature. The Divinity within. As I mentioned earlier, this truly was my saving grace and at the same time, I had to consciously rewire those negative pathways I created about myself over the years. The combination of reprogramming and the stillness promoted the healing process, and the beauty of this, is that it is a possibility for all those that dare to seek it.

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

For me, being in the moment, with a clear mind and calm heart, lends to me being content and at ease. When I am content and at ease, happiness seems to naturally flow.

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

“If you are looking to experience deep inner peace, first recognize that the human mind likes to distract and complicate all of life. Your job is to learn how to work with, around, and through the distractions and complications, because they are never-ending. Meditation affords us the opportunity to learn how to do just that and to realize from a different, more loving perspective, that the more simple we live, the more sacred life becomes and the more sacred life is, we realize just how simple it really was to get there.”
~ Love, Julie.

Hannah Leatherbury

December 17, 2018 in Authors

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How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

I was always a quiet, introspective kid who liked to spend time in nature and didn’t mind alone time, so it’s funny that my first formal meditation experiences were in a group setting as part of a class I took at a yoga studio called Spiritual Growth and Meditation.

This was when I was out of college and in my 20’s — I was feeling lost and seeking answers. Since those classes, meditation has become a daily practice for me – it would be hard to describe all of the changes I have seen from integrating the practice into my life. One of the most important ones for me though is being able to be OK with not being totally in control of my life. It’s easier for me to laugh and move on when things don’t go my way, and also easier for me to not get too attached when things are going well.

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

I learned about meditation through yoga. In Classical Yoga (first written text we know of is called “The Yoga Sutras” attributed to an Indian sage and author, Patanjali) there are 4 stages that describe the process of moving into meditation. I’ll name them with their Sanskrit names and describe how they show up in my personal practice a little bit:

Stage 1: Pratyahara – Turning attention inwards. This is the first stage of my practice where I actively try to re-direct my senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch) away from my surroundings. This might look like closing my eyes or focusing my eyes on a single candle flame, it might look like me finding a quiet space so there is less noise to distract me, or if no quiet space can be found, not trying to figure out or follow the sounds that are happening around me. It might also look like me noticing sensations inside of my body (breath flow, heart beat etc.) rather than outside of my skin. As an introvert, this stage usually feels like a relief, and it often relaxes me.

Stage 2: Dharana – Focused attention and concentration. This is the point in my practice where I choose one point of focus (I call it my anchor) for my mind to come back to. The anchor is like my home base. My anchor might be the flow of my breath or a mantra/repetitive phrase. Whenever I start to daydream, reminisce, or problem solve in my head, there is a part of me that is watching and realizing I’ve lost my chosen point of of focus and this part of me says “hey, come back!” This stage often feels like work, but I enjoy it.

Stage 3: Dhyana – Sustained concentration/meditation – This is the stage where I am able to keep focusing on my anchor for more than two or three breaths before another thought breaks in. Even though I’ve been practicing for years now, there are still days where it is difficult for me to get to this stage. Getting into the meditative state is always a possibility, but it’s not something I can predict and it doesn’t happen every time I practice. All I have control over is making the decision to practice, making the time to do it, settling in, and choosing an anchor. Meditation occurs to me when conditions are right. It has gotten easier to get to this state when I am doing a practice every day.

Stage 4: Samadhi – Bliss beyond description/interconnection with all that is. This is the stage of the practice that is described in texts (and by great teachers) as being aware that there is no separation between any living or non-living being in the past, present, or future. Sounds pretty far out, but I think I have experienced this once – I wrote more about it here – and the experience is something that will forever inform how I look at the world and other people. This stage is a blessing, and I do not seek it when I come to my practice. I believe that this stage will “happen to me” when I am ready for it.

What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

#1 This too will pass. Everything moves in cycles.

#2 Adopt a dog. They will model how to love unconditionally.

#3 Make time for your practice. Although you cannot know how it will impact you, trust that it will.

What is your favourite quote?

“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. And between the two my life flows.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

Smile at strangers.

Hold the door for someone who’s hands are full.

Small and random acts of kindness are more powerful than we know.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

Waking up to how I create so much of my own suffering.

Meditation has shown me how to observe my perceptions, my thoughts and my reactions to other people’s actions.

It has shown me how easy it is for me to blame other for “stressing me out” and “stealing my peace.” But, in actuality my inability to let go of the circumstance and to forgive creates my suffering.

Taking things personally, and panicking over events that will mean nothing in 10 years creates my suffering. I’d like to think it’s made me easier to live with 🙂

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

I was born premature and underwent heart surgery (without anesthesia) in my first days of life. I was on oxygen for a month after my birth because my lungs were not fully developed.

I believe that this time in my life is the single biggest challenge that I’ve lived through. I do not know how I overcame it other than the grace of some very caring human beings, the intelligence of a body that fights to heal itself, and God.

The lesson of this challenge for me is that I can never take my life for granted. I am here for a reason, my life meant something then, and no matter how blue I might get, my life won’t stop meaning something.

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

I think happiness is a moving target.

Another teacher of mine once said that contentment and happiness are different goals and to aim for contentment instead of happiness. If we constantly aim for happiness, we miss out on feelings like grief, discomfort, frustration, impatience. And while I’d rather not spend all my time with those feelings, they make me more human. I’m able to connect with other people, art, music, theatre because those feelings are real for me. Contentment is when I’m still able to be grateful for where I am now even if it’s not where I’m aiming to go.

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

“Keep up your practice. The world needs you.” ~ Love, Hannah.

Christina McMahon

December 17, 2018 in Authors

Get to Know Your Mindbliss Authors

How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

Eight years ago, I had an experience of trauma while I was doing academic fieldwork in Southern Africa. Thankfully, I was unharmed physically, but from a psychological and emotional perspective, I was in shambles.

My therapist asked me what action step I could take in order to feel safe in the world again. I said, “Learn meditation,” because I knew I could protect myself better if I learned to stay present and aware of my surroundings. And yet, the benefits of learning meditation reached far beyond my physical safety.

The more I practiced, the more I learned how to cultivate an inner happiness that could remain untouched by outer circumstances. I also learned how to soothe my emotional wounds with self-compassion.

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

When I am meditating, my thoughts begin to slow down as I watch them. At first, there is only a brief pause between each thought, then the pause between thoughts grows longer as I go deeper.

In meditation, this brings me a feeling of profound peace, as I realize that what defines me is my silent center, not my chatty mind.

What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

#1 The days you say “I don’t have time to meditate” are the exact days you need to meditate the most. Even if you just have five minutes, you will still reap the benefit.

#2 To paraphrase author Matt Kahn, when you are feeling down, you deserve more love, not less. Try not to beat yourself up if you feel anxious, stressed, or not yourself. That’s the moment you need to shower yourself with compassion.

#3 Give yourself the gift of unstructured time at least once a week. Make no plans for that time period, whether it’s an hour, two hours, etc. When you wake up that morning, go where the road takes you, or where your heart leads you – whether that’s a farmers market, a walk in the forest, a movie by yourself, a yoga class, or journaling on your couch. Allow yourself to recharge, and you’ll have more energy the rest of your week.

What is your favourite quote?

It’s actually from my husband, Darrin Kagele, who is a therapist and mindfulness teacher:

“Surrender does not mean giving up, it means giving up control.” ~ Darrin Kagele

The best things in my life came to me when I stopped trying to manipulate the timing and circumstances of their arrival. I let go, and trusted that life would bring me the blessings I longed for in their own time – and that includes my wonderful husband and our beautiful new baby, Ruby.

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

Listen deeper. Whenever you’re talking to someone who has a problem, resist the temptation to jump in right away with advice or an anecdote from your own life. Stay with their experience. Ask them questions. Listen more closely. Give them understanding and empathy first, because that is what truly heals.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

Resilience. After I meditate, my mind operates at a calmer pace, which allows me to respond consciously to challenging circumstances in my day rather than being reactive when they arise. I’ve learned not to take things so personally, although I still struggle with that!

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

Healing my relationship with my father. We were always clashing when I was younger, and I often felt unloved, unworthy, and like I was “the problem child” or “the difficult one.” It’s a painful story that I carried with me into my adult life. I overcame it by doing my inner work – learning to love myself exactly as I am. I’ve even been able to forgive my Dad. The work of Tara Brach, who teaches meditation and Buddhist psychology, helped me to do that.

I learned to stop expecting my Dad to meet my needs for being heard and understood, because he does not have the tools for that at this point in his evolution. Instead, I need to recognize and appreciate the ways that he does show his love for me.

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

Happiness means being able to remain connected to myself in the face of all things good and bad. When I feel good about myself, I’m naturally happy, and I can extend more love to others.

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

YES! It’s a message of gratitude.

“Thank you for taking the time to meditate. Every time you do that, you are raising your own consciousness and the consciousness of the planet. Your time on the couch, the cushion, or wherever you practice meditation, is a gift to us all.” ~ Love Christina.

Dakota Walker

December 7, 2018 in Authors

Get to Know Your Mindbliss Authors

How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

For me, even as a child I would find myself sitting in silence in the forest or someplace in nature to “connect” with the wild things. It felt at home, like I had done that for many lifetimes. As a kid, I didn’t know it was meditation or shamanic journeying, I thought everyone did that. It was my one “safe place” to go.

I remember emptying my closet one day and creating a fort inside, I drew “buttons” on the wall (which did not make my parents happy) and I pretended it was a space ship that took me to another world. What I know now from my years as a Shamanic Coach, is that I had created a portal to go to the Upper World. Meditation and Journeying have changed the way I interact with the ordinary world, I see things differently and I experience life much more fully as a result.

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

I don’t “meditate” in the typical fashion of sitting still and emptying my mind. For me, I meditate much more deeply by using music, or the drum beat, or shamanic breathwork which I use to “transport” me into another realm. I can go into a trance which is much like a lucid state of dreaming, and interact with the non-ordinary worlds. I do much of my soul work in these places, communing with ancestors, spirit guides, angels, etc.

I teach the Medicine Wheel and it was during one of my journeys that I was shown what I call the Soul Archetypes, and how they fall into each direction and each Soul Archetype has a very distinct way of meditating that fits them. So meditation is much more enriched when you meditate according to your Soul Archetype. For example, a Visionary who resides in the East Direction of the Medicine Wheel thrives on mindfulness, or silent meditations, or prayer, or chanting whereas the Sacred Heart Warrior of the South would meditate more deeply through creative expression such as Trance Dance, or Art, or even a walking meditation. I think this is one aspect of meditation that is severely lacking in the way we teach meditation.

What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

#1 Discover what makes you, you.

#2 Stop playing small.

#3 Step through the fears and the “what if’s” and just do it. We have just this one guarantee of life (we can hope for reincarnation but do we really know concretely and with evidence?) so do this one life right and have no regrets.

What is your favourite quote?

Anything by Henry David Thoreau, he has such beautiful words of wisdom about living so fully and in truth but I am always struck by his quote:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…” ~Henry David Thoreau

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

Be present. It is only in this present moment which we live fully. In the present space, we aren’t fretting about the future, or defined by our past. We aren’t disconnected when we are fully present, or distracted. And it starts simply by paying attention, returning to the moment, capturing your life as it is happening in real time.

When I feel myself moving out of presence, I pause and find one focal point in my immediate surroundings – something I can use my senses to experience – smell a flower, touch a tree, taste my meal, whatever it might be and that brings me back to the moment. It takes practice.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

Learning that there is more than this 3D world, healing deep wounds, connecting with those beyond the veil, taking time to give to my own soul. I know that is more than just one big thing but it’s the culmination of what meditation and journeying has created for me personally. They are the perfect ingredients that has created the most change for me.

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

Believing that I could make a difference in the world. I was so afraid of being seen, or that I wouldn’t matter. I am a survivor of bullying all through my high school years that left me with 2 suicide attempts. I grew up in a small rural farming community in Ohio and I didn’t fit in with the people I grew up with. Much of my childhood was spent alone, or being bullied and beat up.

When I turned 21 I left Ohio to move to Arizona. I had no job, no money, and no place to live but in my gut I knew I had to do it. That was the first time I trusted myself and I trusted the unknown. It ended up being my first step on a conscious Shamanic journey that has lasted 30 years now.

From that, I learned how to rise above the pain and yet use that pain and experience as a way to deepen my path. I realized that those times of being bullied and alone, that I was being shown how to be strong, how to be empathetic to others, to be conscious of the pain others feel. I was shown just how resilient I am, and I vowed to never play small again, or shrink back from someone else’s words or actions.

As a result, I now teach a Mentorship program where the primary focus is in teaching others how to rise up into their authentic beingness, and to step back into their power as well. I’ve been teaching this work for nearly 15 years now and have witnessed the deep and profound healing of hundreds of people. And each time, I am grateful for having gone through the fires myself so that I can have a greater understanding of others.

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

Relationship. First with myself, how well do I treat me? That is the core of all relationships is the self-love piece. Then it’s relationships to others – people, nature, animals, spirit, etc.

I just finished a year long adventure. I took 12 months to travel all over the USA alone, a self-exploration journey so to speak as well as a journey to find where I wanted to live next. I traveled 33, 243 miles and I discovered some of the most amazing places in America.

I had a long list of places I could see myself moving to – places with great weather, loads of options for outdoor enthusiasts, spiritual communities, great art, music, etc. But in the end, I chose the most unlikely of places – I chose to move back to Ohio after 30 years and vowing I would never returned but … my family are all here and ultimately it was my relationship to them that mattered most. So happiness to me is more about who is taking up space in my heart and nurturing those seeds.

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

The fact that you are here, making meditation and journeying a part of your everyday life is a huge contribution to helping to shift the world. We can only change the world, truly, by the work we do within ourselves. We raise our vibration, our awareness, and that ripples out into the world in such a beautiful and meaningful way. I’m grateful that I can be a part of your journey in some way and to be a witness to all the goodness you bring forward. Love, Dakota.

Jim Malloy

November 22, 2018 in Authors

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How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?

I was 18 and had just finished high school when a close friend took me to a meditation lecture. The speaker, who seemed extremely peaceful, told us that meditation would change our lives in wonderful ways. So I signed up, took the course, and it did indeed change my life in wonderful ways.

All the ways that meditation has impacted my life are too numerous to include here. But here are some of the major changes I experienced right out of the gate. Physically, I felt much more relaxed, and my energy level – which had been very low – immediately skyrocketed. The frequent headaches I had been having stopped completely within the first week.

On a spiritual level, I felt more at peace and in the flow, and new insights about my life and about “Life” began pouring into my mind, as though the floodgates had suddenly opened.

How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?

My meditation experiences vary from day to day. Some days they’re deeply relaxing, and some days just slightly relaxing. Some days they’re mildly blissful, and some days extremely blissful. Sometimes I feel a wonderful lightness, sometimes I feel the heavy restfulness of Yoga Nidra, and sometimes I fall asleep. Some days my mind is fairly quiet, while other days there are a fair amount of thoughts… but I’m okay with that. I learned early on, that days when there are more thoughts are simply part of a natural cycle.

For me, the bottom line is putting aside expectations and “shoulds,” and accepting whatever happens in each meditation… confident that whatever I experience, valuable growth and transformation are taking place at a deep level of my being.

What are the top 3 most valuable pieces of life advice you can give from your life experience so far?

#1 Learn to trust that the Universe has your back. One way to develop this trust is to pay attention to those times when the support of the Universe is being demonstrated in your life – especially when you are taking risks.

#2 We are currently going through a long cycle of accelerated consciousness evolution, and one of its side effects is that everything is amplified – our emotions, thoughts, perceptions, reactions, world events, etc. Because we’re experiencing everything so intensely, try to be gentle with yourself, and try to give others a bit of slack as well.

#3 Learn to rely on your inner wisdom. This is especially important with regards to spiritual teachings. Rather than accepting without question what a meditation teacher, yoga teacher, guru, etc. tells you, I suggest you assess it with a gut-check and a bit of common sense before embracing it as true and/or acting on it.

What is your favourite quote?

“Penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others.” ~ Meher Baba

What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?

Meditate regularly. Meditation facilitates your spiritual evolution, and the more quickly each of us evolves, the more quickly humanity as a whole will evolve beyond our current problems.

What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?

It helped me discover and live my life’s purpose.

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?

My biggest challenge was acting as my mother’s caregiver for the last 4 years of her life. She was a warm, likeable, easy-going person, and a good mother and friend. But when she became ill with both emphysema and osteoporosis, the combination of pain, difficulty getting sufficient oxygen, and the medication she was taking, turned her into a “patient from hell.” So the challenge was not just meeting the normal demands that caregivers face (which are very high on the list of stressors), but acting with the loving-kindness I felt she deserved.

How did I get through it? Meditation was a huge help in managing the stress. And the Universe did come through with timely assistance on occasions when it was sorely needed. But beyond that, it was mostly just toughing it out – summoning as much inner strength and compassion as I could, in order to keep my impulses in check… the impulse to react with anger, to defend myself, and to try to reason with my mother in her unreasonable state.

This challenge strengthened me, humbled me, and revealed the inner resources that are available when I dig deep within myself.

When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?

For me, it’s simply a feeling. Sometimes I feel happy – sometimes not. Sometimes the feeling of happiness is triggered by external circumstances – sometimes not.

Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?

Make a commitment to meditate regularly. These three steps will help you keep it:

#1. Pick a number of days per week that’s do-able for you. Seven is a good number, 🙂 but maybe four or five days are more realistic for you.

#2. Choose a length of time that’s comfortable for you. Regardless of what you may have heard, longer meditations are not necessarily better. For most individuals, between 15 and 30 minutes is sufficient for producing good results.

#3. Choose a time of day that’s “your meditation time.” Unless you have a total aversion to structure, this will make it easier to maintain your practice.

~ Light & peace, Jim Malloy