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LIVING A SPIRIT FILLED LIFE: Transcend Your Lower Self

Here’s a metaphor to illustrate our human quest. Have you ever stood under a waterfall? I did this in Hawaii. For the first couple minutes, it was exhilarating however, it quickly became too much. Life is often like that. The project or event we’re working on is initially compelling and then overwhelm sets in. Do not despair, here’s a remedy. The waterfall represents the daily cascading thoughts of our conscious mind. Without the balance of being able to step back, we get lost in the incessant chatter of our mind. We begin to suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, ADD, insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure... Then one day, a wise one enters our life and tells us there’s another way to live. They say it’s simple. Just move behind the waterfall. And guess what? When you step back, you discover, as I did, there’s serenity and charm. This is your Higher Self, the Silent Observer or Spirit. This quiet mind is the experience you culture during the practice of Effortless Meditation™. Your Higher Self is beyond or transcendental to all the activity of your mind. It is the silence beyond your thoughts. As we contact this stillness in our daily meditation practice, we begin to identify more and more with peace and love in our life. And how do we know this is happening? Here are signs: You used to feel anxiety and tension throughout your day, and now you feel love and bliss for no reason. You feel good just being you. You don’t have to try to feel that way. That is how our Spirit feels. Wouldn’t you like to cultivate this higher experience of life every day? We can have a spirit filled life. Well-being is our birthright. Meditation anyone? Please join me. Greg Schweitzer Director, Stress Reduction Resources 335 words

By |2019-10-28T22:40:21+00:00October 28th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

WHO ARE YOU? Effortless Meditation™ provides insight

Let’s go deep. Just follow along, putting yourself in this conversation. Who are you at your core, i.e. who is the one inside who sees, hears, and loves? I’m Sally Jones, you say. I ask, who is Sally Jones? I’m the mother of Samantha Jones, you reply. Is that who you are? Did you exist before Samantha came into the world? Of course you did, so that must not be who you are at your core. This illustrates that at the most basic levels, our identity is muddled. There’s a relentless stream of thoughts and labels swirling around inside our easily distracted minds. In the busyness of our daily lives, it’s not surprising that we become bewildered. Has your life ever seemed like a drama, a movie? It’s as if there’s a cast of characters in our brain, playing with our emotions. You’re a banker, a mother, a daughter, and a runner. And each identity has a story to tell that plays out in our mind. Now, going back to the movie analogy, think of the roles that we play in our lives as the characters on the screen. If it’s a compelling movie, each character transports us into their story. In other words, we get enmeshed and often lose ourselves while watching. In the movie, we laugh, cry, become angry or anxious. The characters and story on the screen have, momentarily at least, taken over our lives. You may be thinking that you enjoy getting lost in a movie – it’s recreation. And I completely agree, however the key to a healthy life is balance. Getting swept up and losing ourselves in a two-hour movie is entertainment.  However, being lost and overwhelmed daily by the thoughts and emotions playing out in your mind has serious consequences. That’s why a stable foundation is vital. So where’s this going? A Foundation – the Solution Doesn’t everyone yearn for stability in their lives; we all feel better when we have  a sense of direction, meaning and purpose. No one enjoys being at the mercy of the dizzying array of daily stressors that hijack our conscious thinking mind. So, here’s a solution. To restore balance and control in dealing with the thoughts and emotions of our lives, we need a stable foundation. Without a foundation, for example, a beautiful home can collapse in a mighty storm. For you and me, a settled calm mind is arguably our best foundation. Because without it, we’re like a leaf blowing in the wind, or a ship without a rudder. But my mind is never quiet, never calm, you say. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is good news. Your mind can be stable, and is already stable at its core. What we all need to do is nurture and strengthen our mental core, our foundation. This will bring that inner calm that we all desire. Fortunately, doing this is simple because we have an important tool – meditation. The Silent Witness, Our Higher [...]

By |2019-08-21T17:53:50+00:00August 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Medication Weary? Try Effortless Meditation™, nature’s pharmacy

Over the past 40 years of teaching meditation, many clients expressed concerns about taking their prescribed medication. They want to take less, or at best, none at all. Can you relate? Fortunately there is good news. People find relief when they begin the practice of Effortless Meditation to access nature’s pharmacy. So where’s the problem? For some, their medications aren’t providing the relief they’d like. For others, it’s a slippery slope. One prescription medication leads to another and another. All too often people begin taking additional medication to deal with a side effect, such as anxiety or fatigue, of another drug they’re taking. To add insult to injury, pharmaceuticals do not come cheap. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute the average annual cost of a brand-name drug has more than tripled in the last 10 years, from $1,808 in 2006 to $6,798 in 2017. What does this mean to you? In the May 2019 AARP Bulletin, it states that older adults now take on average 4.5 medication each month. For the senior adult, this translates to an expense of over $30,000 a year for brand-name drugs. Even those who are fortunate to get all their medication in generic form, the fees are substantial. Is it any wonder that health insurance premiums have gone through the roof? Heal your brain - try Effortless Meditation My hope is that the above information is a motivator to take action. Don’t get me wrong, the use of modern pharmaceuticals can save lives, and ease pain and suffering. It behooves all of us to be informed healthcare consumers, and have relationships with doctors that we like and trust. A highly respected physician once told me that doctors know there’s more to medicine than drugs and surgery. They want to see their patients take self-care seriously although they find it’s often not easy to get this point across. Many of their patients are looking for a quick fix and magic pill. Who has the time for self-care? Today, however there is growing support to convince patients of the wisdom in caring for themselves. The science is in. There’s volumes of evidence that people who regularly meditate, eat well, and exercise are far healthier than those who don’t. For example, a five-year longitudinal study showed that a group of 2,000 individuals practicing Transcendental Meditation® (compare Effortless Meditation™) went to doctors and hospital 60% less than the control group that didn’t meditate. Here’s another illustration: A 71 year-old client took our Effortless Meditation course at a large university teaching hospital. Before enrolling in the course, his resting blood pressure was off the charts high, 190/90. After just three days of meditating twice a day, for 15 - 20 minutes at a sitting, Bernie was amazed by how good he felt. Three months later, his doctor couldn’t believe the change in his patient. Bernie’s blood pressure had dropped to 138/78! He took BP meds most of his adult life, and couldn’t remember ever having such low numbers. Over [...]

By |2019-06-18T18:51:34+00:00June 18th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Overwhelmed, Tired, or Anxious? Listen to your heart

In Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive, she tells about a turning point in her life. By many measures, she was extremely successful – fame, money, and extraordinary achievement. Then one day, she woke up in a pool of her blood after taking a fall precipitated by overwhelm and exhaustion. In that dazed moment, she wondered, is this success? The answer changed her life. I too had such a moment, a wake-up call; mine was at the age of 26. One dark evening, I totaled my sports car driving recklessly, way too fast, to a party. My precious car spun off the road and rolled into a field. I’d been driving like a lunatic for months. Racing around curves on winding country roads, and for what? An adrenaline high? Two weeks later, I was sitting in my bedroom meditating after a long work day. In the middle of meditation, my life flashed before my eyes. I saw the foolishness of my behavior on the evening of my accident. It was a revelation. I wanted to live, not throw my life away challenging myself to go faster. How did this fuzzy thinking happen? The search for happiness and meaning:an inside job As a teenager and young adult, I was led to believe that a college degree brought happiness. It was a ticket to success. I had gotten the degree three years earlier and had what many thought was a good job. Yet, I certainly didn’t feel successful or happy. Was something wrong? In those days, it was customary for me to come home from work tired and tense. Then make some dinner and quietly ask myself, is this all there is? I was frustrated, bored, and weary. Life was difficult. However, there was a glimmer of light on the horizon. A few months earlier, I took a meditation course and began a daily practice. I now looked forward to coming home from work to meditate. Each 15 – 20 minutes of sitting quietly in meditation brought relief from the tension of the day and recharged my batteries for the activity ahead. After meditation, I was at peace and happier. There were lots of changes. At some point in our development, like Arianna Huffington, many of us question life’s teachings and values. For example, during this period of introspection, my earliest mentor, my dear father tried to set me straight. He said, “you’ve got to get it out of your head that you’ll find work that you enjoy doing. People do not enjoy working.” Sadly, I had to tell him that I didn’t believe that. Some big changes were afoot. Approximately six months after my car accident, someone at the local meditation center asked me a provocative question. Had I ever considered becoming a meditation teacher? What? I was stunned that someone would suggest that I could teach others something as important as meditation. I knew how to be an engineer, but a teacher? Could I do that? After months of ruminating on this [...]

By |2019-08-21T18:18:00+00:00May 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Thrive Under Stress: Access Your Higher Self

A physician was recently asked, what’s the #1 behavior contributing to people’s ill health? Not surprisingly she said it was the way in which people deal with the stress in their lives – workplace, family, finances, and health, to name a few. It does seem that everything is vying for our limited attention. Open your email, and … you get the picture. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Add to the mix, work projects and deadlines, relationship concerns, world news, and social media posts. We are wired up and melting down. How do we stay sane and calm? How can we thrive when it’s so easy to get lost in the pressures of our daily lives? Even many common coping mechanisms - caffeine to power us through the day, and the use of alcohol and recreational chemicals to wind down in the evening - add to the problem. Stay with me, there is hope. Turn to your Higher Self First, let’s get a little abstract for just a moment. Who is it that's lost in the pressure? Best-selling author, Dr. Wayne Dyer gave us an insightful story. A woman phoned him one afternoon and within a few minutes, she was irrational and losing it. Fortunately, before becoming a celebrity, Wayne was a counseling psychologist. Skillfully he jumped in and interrupted the caller’s tirade. He told her he wanted to speak to the person who had it together to look up his phone number and dial the phone. You see, he knew that there was more than one self “in there.” The emotional, hysterical self was not the one that he wanted to converse with. Like it or not, we all have an unhinged voice(s) in our head, while simultaneously a centered higher self or silent witness exists inside. This is our true self, the one that notices the chaos without getting overwhelmed by it. Which self is dominate in your life? If your life is out of control far too often, your small or lower self is running the show. It’s time to bring your wise, true self to the forefront. The question is, how’s that done? An analogy helps. Image being on a ship at sea when a storm comes up unexpectedly. Everyone onboard is scared, this could be the end. However, if there was scuba gear on the ship and you knew how to use it, you could put it on and dive deep into the water where you’d experience calm and delight. Our mind is like this. Fears, insecurities, and stress are on the surface and deep within at the source of thought is the peace of your Higher Self. A worthy goal is to bring balance to your life by cultivating the stability that already exists deep within. The crazed woman on the phone with Wayne was thrashing about on the turbulent surface of her mind. Fortunately, she was talking with someone who knew how to change the situation by helping her reach inside [...]

By |2019-03-19T14:19:15+00:00March 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Improve Our Heart Health Without Trying

The American Heart Association says that 1 in 4 deaths in this country are due to cardiovascular disease. It’s the leading cause of death for both women and men. The good news is there’s much that we can do about heart disease other than be dependent upon medication and surgery. Just regularly take steps to implement the following proven lifestyle strategies in order to live a longer, healthier, and happier life: 1. Get adequate rest and sleep 2. Eat nutrient rich food 3. Exercise, move your body Chronic Stress and an antidote: Deep rest In this short blog, we’ll focus on #1 on the above list. It’s arguably the foundation to our heart health and well-being. Rest heals, and it requires little mental or physical effort. Just close your eyes. It doesn’t get easier! You don’t have to try to change or do anything. If you’re thinking that you don’t have the time to rest, there’s something that you do not understand. We require rest to sustain the energy needed to live. Without rest, we aren’t focused, alert, or wise. Fatigue begets dullness which begs the question, Why are we so tired? All signs point to the stress in our busy lives. Last week, a client said everyone knows that stress is bad. He was talking about chronic stress, and reflecting on his experience as a physician. When we’re stressed, our heart rate rises, muscles tense, digestion slows, and our immune system activity is suppressed. During the stress response, the body gears up to survive threats whether they are real or imagined. Now, stress is not all bad. The stress response could save your life if you were being chased by a tiger. Our bodies are designed to be able to handle such isolated or intermittent stress. The problem we face today, however, is that stress is chronic – it’s in our face to some degree every hour, most days. To confirm this, watch the news, drive to work, open your email, or have a family meeting. Take notice if you heart isn’t beating more rapidly during some of these events. That’s the influence of stress. Yes, it’s good to pay attention to these influences because the negative impacts of stress accumulate over the months and years. It’s best to take corrective action proactively. A critical step is to get an adequate amount of restful sleep daily. It is a key to a healthy heart and a happy live. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours. Yet sleep association and government statistics tell us that 1 out of 3 Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. If you are in that group, consider getting to bed earlier and learning to meditate. Meditation: What’s the big deal? Meditation is one of the best things we can do to improve our response to the stress in our life. In other words, we handle stressful situations more effectively when we meditate regularly. So, how do we get started? There are many ways to meditate, and [...]

By |2019-02-07T21:32:27+00:00February 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Journey to Inner Peace & Delight

When I graduated from college with an engineering degree, I thought I had arrived. My joy was short lived; I had to find a job, and in 1971, they were in short supply. To insure that I’d be happy, I got married immediately upon graduation. Surely, being married would bring lasting happiness! Neither of these worked so well. As it turned out, engineering was not a good fit for my interests and adjusting to marital life was difficult at best. For me and many others, searching for happiness was much like looking under rocks. There had to be something under one of them to fulfill us. Fortunately for me, it wasn’t too many years later that someone pointed out that there was a better way. I met a wise teacher who told me there’s a deeper truth to finding happiness and inner peace. Happiness is inside Yesterday, I had the good fortune to accompany my five year old granddaughter to story time at our local library. The story teller had the children mesmerized by a tale of frogs and pollywogs. She had them hopping, dancing and wiggling with joy. The kids were in ecstasy. And this is with them every day. My granddaughter is delight personified. She doesn’t need to be given a gift to have joy, her happiness just is. She’s excited by life – a silly expression, a new idea, a song, almost anything brings her delight. I’m grateful to have her in my life, her joy is contagious. The good news is that it is a memory or state of BEING that we can nurture even as adults. My first meditation teacher often told us that the nature of life is bliss. He explained that stress blocks the flow of energy and bliss in our nervous system. By releasing inner stress and tension, meditation allows us to reclaim the well-being and joy that resides inside all of us. States of being I see the evidence of it with every Effortless Meditation™ course that I teach. As we progress through the series of seven sessions, the mood gets lighter and more joyful. Frequently, couples who express relationship concerns notice after only a few days of meditation practice that they are more patient with each other. They also recognize they are happier and at peace for no apparent reason. Eureka, happiness, inner peace, and delight don’t need a reason to exist! They are states of being that occur spontaneously and effortlessly when our brain and nervous system are functioning more normally/optimally. In his delightful book, Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs and Cats, author Eckhart Tolle states that “true happiness is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things.” You may experience it when watching your dog run playfully through a meadow. “But to be aware of these little quiet things, we need to be quiet inside. A high degree of alertness is required. Be still. Look. Listen. Be present.” To get there, try this… Meditation is rapidly growing [...]

By |2019-01-29T15:36:32+00:00December 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Burnout Be Gone

Do you remember the days when a 40-hour work week was standard? We all know those days are gone. Wayne Muller, in his classic book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives states that we live in a world where overwork is seen as a professional virtue. A badge of honor, and yet with it there’s often exhaustion and a resignation that you are helpless to do anything about it. Life spinning out of control is seen as the norm. Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are strategies for working more efficiently. It’s often possible to scale back those hours without reducing the amount of work that gets done. In my earlier life as an industrial engineer, I saw lots of people resigned to working long hours, and many were wasting a lot of time at work. There are lots of distractions that can fill up our days if we allow it. Try focusing on what’s important and minimizing or discarding the rest. Hint: How much time do you spend on social media, TV watching, shopping, personal email or texting? Awareness and performance: Breaking out of prison Change does not come easy for most of us. Overwhelm from working long hours or obsessive thinking gets hardwired in our brain. And the problem gets worse the longer we maintain negative routines. These become habits of thought and action. So how do we move in the direction of positive change? It starts with awareness. A spiritual teacher once asked his students what is the first thing that you need to know if you want to break out of prison. Some said, befriend the guard who has the keys. Another said, find where the keys are kept. The answer however was, the first thing you need to know is that you are in prison. Without that awareness, breaking free won’t happen! Change is only possible when we have the awareness that we are stuck. Until that moment, we aren’t ready to change and will resist it. Lifestyle changes: Meditation … For many of us, our lives took a dramatic turn for the better when we learned to meditate. Sitting with our eyes closed in the deep effortless calm of meditation for 10 – 20 minutes twice a day is a game changer over time. Awareness expands in every meditation. One of the first signs of change that many new meditators experience is, after just a few days of meditation practice, they begin to respond to situations in a healthier way. They realize that they are more relaxed and patient; they are seeing things from a broader perspective. By adding meditation to our daily life, such positive changes in thinking and behavior occur spontaneously without effort. The calm awareness of meditation integrates seamlessly into our lives after meditation. For example, I began to eat healthier foods after learning to meditate. I wasn’t looking for ways to change my diet, a healthier diet sort of found me. Many others [...]

By |2019-01-29T15:36:51+00:00December 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

How Can I See This Differently?

This is perhaps one of the most helpful questions to ask yourself when you are feeling stressed out or stuck. Whether you’re upset about your boss, spouse, a problem at work, or world news, changing your perspective will empower you to find creative solutions and relief. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer Author Wayne Dyer, affectionately called the Doctor of Motivation by many of his millions of fans, often said “When you change the way you look at things, the things that you look at change.” So, let’s consider the mechanics of how we can change the way we see things. Our perceptions reach our brain through the nervous system. Neurologists, the scientists who study the nervous system, have discovered that stress, pressure, fatigue, poor diet, alcohol and drugs damage neural connections between the brain’s prefrontal cortex (the higher thinking CEO) and the rest of the brain. With chronic exposure to these toxic influences, our higher more evolved rational thinking brain circuits get bypassed due to the impaired neural connections. Then to our detriment, the brain reverts to using its more primitive stimulus/response pathways. This is why we tend toward rigid thinking and reactive behavior, worry, anxiety, distracted attention, and low self-esteem. At these times, even the smallest of challenges can overwhelm us. So what can we do in our pressure filled world to see things differently, broaden our perspective and gain relief? I know of no better way to change the way we see and respond to the world than to incorporate a regular meditation practice into our life. While there are many styles of meditation. I’ll discuss the one with which I am most familiar – Effortless Meditation or EM. During EM, we experience a deep state of rest that releases stress in our nervous system. This is transformational because the nervous system is a conduit for all information coming to and from our brain. Stress, which has been called health enemy #1, is a major impediment to the proper functioning of the nervous system and brain. Therefore, when we reduce stress in our nervous system, we see and respond to things differently because our nervous system and brain are functioning as nature intended. The evidence of this beneficial change is seen in responses from people who meditate. Frequently they report that they look forward to meditating when they return home from work. Before they learned to meditate, they felt that they took all the stress of the day home with them. Now, after work, they sit in meditation and release their perception altering stress before engaging in family life. They are calmer, relaxed, more patient, and revitalized from the deep rest in their meditation. Many say that their families encourage them to meditate. Summary The world is as we are. After meditation, without effort, we see things differently because we are different. The benefits we experience are rooted in the change in our brain and nervous system brought about by meditation practice. “Love is my gift to the world. [...]

By |2019-01-29T15:37:54+00:00September 2nd, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

BE RESILIENT: Play the Ball Where the Monkey Drops It

A good friend and business colleague, Wendy Kershner, sent me this wonderful story that I’d like to paraphrase for you. It comes from a book with the above title written by Gregory Knox James (2001). During the colonization of India, the British settled in Calcutta. They missed their game of golf tremendously so they decided to build a golf course. Once it was ready for play, the monkeys moved in as this area of India was home to many of them. They quickly disrupted the golfer’s pleasure by picking up the ball after it was hit and moving it. Not to be undone the British built a high wall around the golf course to keep the mischievous monkeys out. But, this was just a game for the monkeys – scaling the wall, was no problem! The Brits then decided to trap the monkeys and transport them far away. This was impractical as there were far too many monkeys, so they gave up. Then came a creative thought. They decided to change the game. The new rules were that you would play the ball where the monkey dropped it. This turned out to be a “win” for both the golfers and the monkeys. When life doesn’t go your way… Maybe you have noticed that life does not always go as we plan. Others do not follow our script or direction. They seem to have a mind of their own. How dare they? Anyone with children, a spouse or significant other probably sees this playing out quite often. So what do you do when the monkey drops the ball far from where you hit it? Do you grumble, get angry, sulk or worry yourself sick? Or do you make lemonade, when everything is turning up lemons? A friend told me that he and his wife were a good match because she liked to be right and he liked to be happy! Their relationship thrived because of flexibility and adaptability. Learning to stretch both physically and mentally is a good thing. I’ll suggest that you create some “space” in your brain so that creative solutions can come. An excellent way to do that is with a daily Effortless Meditation™ practice. As you begin to make some time to be still in meditation, the pressures of daily life will reduce. Then, like the British golfers, you too will begin to see new possibilities and opportunities. And you’ll have more fun. Life is good, just as it is, when you learn to let go, relax and be resilient. Greg Schweitzer Stress Reduction Resources, Director

By |2019-02-08T02:12:21+00:00July 24th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments
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