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

Start Here to Find Real Happiness

Deepak Chopra, M.D., author and pioneer in the field of mind body medicine, quotes a study of risk factors for heart disease done by the Massachusetts Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Surprisingly, the #1 risk factor was job dissatisfaction, and #2 was a low sense of personal happiness. Many years ago, both of these risks were very much a part of my life. The year was 1974. I was 26 years old, and my wife of three years had died a sudden tragic death. And at the time, I was employed in a career that brought me little satisfaction. How to grow happiness Fortunately, things turned around. One evening, a month after my wife’s passing, I went with a friend to a lecture that introduced us to the nature and benefits of meditation. It sounded promising and I realized that I had little to lose so both my friend and I enrolled in the course. We attended a 1.5 hour meeting on four consecutive days. It didn’t take long for the effects of meditation to show up. Just a few hours after my first meditation experience, I found myself spontaneously skipping through a restaurant on the way to the cash register after eating! I felt exhilarated and didn’t know why. What was happening? This unexpected feeling of euphoria wasn’t preceded by any accomplishment or achievement. And I wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sometime later I learned that these experiences are not uncommon when people begin to add meditation to their daily lives. Now not everyone experiences such exhilaration after one meditation; most however begin to soon notice moments when they are happy for no apparent reason. They are just happy with life. The ancient cultures from where Effortless Meditation™ comes explain that the nature of life is bliss. Life is not meant to be filled with chronic stress and unhappiness. And yet today, many are so overwhelmed trying to accomplish everything on their “To Do” lists that they’ve lost the ability to enjoy life. To the rescue comes pharmaceutical companies who make billions annually on medications for anxiety and depression. The good news is that we have the power within to find lasting happiness. The remedy: Tap into the reservoir of happiness and freedom that already exists in your mind with the addition of a simple personal hygiene practice. This reservoir of well-being isn’t found on the surface, the conscious thinking level of your mind. That’s why most people are not aware of it. It exists at the depths of the mind, the source of your thought. A short example might help. Do an online search of tsunamis in Southeast Asia, and you’ll find articles about people scuba diving during some of the most horrific storms. They had a splendid day diving and when they surface, they were shocked to see wreckage and chaos. Like that, peace, joy, relaxation and well-being exists deep below the surface of the conscious thinking stress filled mind. A Key: Subject [...]

By |2019-01-29T15:39:24+00:00June 6th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Rx for What Ails Us: Choose Peace

“The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.” – Mother Teresa There has never been a greater need for peace in the world than right NOW. Mother Teresa was right on. Watch the news or observe conversations and human interactions around you, and you’ll experience the frustration, judgments, and conflicts that permeate our lives. We have a curable dis-ease; we focus on our perceived lack and individual differences rather than our abundance and our similarities. Our small ego self rears its combative head and sees competition, challenge, and threats everywhere. We then choose to isolate from those who may seem different and then fear grows. Our emotional heart, on the other hand, wants to unite us. The heart desires peace and love. Imagine a world where we looked at all the peoples of the world as brothers and sisters. What if we were in touch with our abundance and similarities? After all, isn’t the world a collection of human beings with families, hopes, fears, loves, and sorrows just like ours. Imagine a world where the family circle that Mother Teresa refers to is expanded. A world where everyone is loved as family. It is not only possible to have this enlightened vision of life, it comes naturally if we allow it. We need only to surrender to our heart’s nature – choose peace. You may ask, how do we do that? Choosing Peace I feel blessed to have discovered meditation 40+ years ago. At the time, I was not looking it. I didn’t do a Google search, there was no Google; there were no personal computers. One evening, a good friend invited me to a meditation introduction class. Having nothing else to do, I went. The teacher conducting the class surprised me with a comment that still resonates in my mind; he said “there’s something missing in most people’s lives. The missing element is inside, not out there in the world.” By nurturing our inner life with meditation, he said, every aspect of our life would improve beyond what we thought was possible. Much to my delight, he was correct. During Effortless Meditation™ my mind quiets down EFFORTLESSLY. And let me assure you, if I can do it you can too. The mind at its quietest is completely still – there are no thoughts. At those moments, our body rests more deeply than in sleep while simultaneously our mind is awake. This is deep restful awareness. In this experience, our ego drops away and our heart expands. These are moments when we are truly at peace. This stillness is our Higher Self from which joy, inspiration, love and positive energy come. The glory of our meditation practice is that the peace of our higher self comes with us after meditation ends. In the same way that we always leave a swimming pool wet. There’s always water sticking to our body. Choosing peace becomes easy and natural once we begin to meditate every [...]

By |2019-01-29T15:43:37+00:00March 12th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

How to Improve Your Love Life

Imagine walking down the street and having only $5.00 in your pocket and not much more in your bank account – tough times. Your best friend, approaches and dejectedly asks if you could give him a couple dollars – he looks distressed. Since it’s a dear friend, you reach into your wallet and give him $2.00, however you feel strained because your resources were significantly depleted. Now, what if you were a millionaire and the same scenario played out. A close friend begs you for a few dollars. How would you respond this time? You’d be delighted to help. The difference in your response to your friend’s plea for help has nothing to do with their request. Your reaction has everything to do with what you have available to give. When I’m tired or stressed out, it influences the way I to respond to everyone including those I love. The bottom line is that to improve our love life, we need to take care of ourselves in the most fundamental ways. We must have something to give. We need adequate rest; we need energy to handle the demands that come our way. Those of you who regularly practice Effortless Meditation™ (EM) find there is more love in your heart and in your life after you incorporated meditation into your daily life. With each meditation, you culture tender qualities of both heart and mind. You have more to give, more love, energy, and happiness. Relationships spontaneously improve without trying to make them better. Continuing to meditate, ideally twice each day for 15 to 20 minutes, you begin to feel so good inside that your joy and happiness bubbles out. As an example a new client commented, after meditating just a few days, that during a meditation he almost laughed. There was no apparent reason – he was not recalling a humorous incident. He was just sitting alone in a room meditating with his eyes closed and feeling so good that he chuckled. Herein lies a key to improving your love life. Meditate daily to reduce the stress in your life and to tap into and release the unlimited love, light, and compassion inside you. With this abundance of love available, you will be like the millionaire who was thrilled to help his friend in a time of distress. Life is gratifying when your heart is filled with love. Follow the simple suggestions presented here and you can have such a life. Greg Schweitzer Stress Reduction Resources, Director

By |2019-01-29T15:43:53+00:00February 3rd, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

7 Tips for a Healthy Winter

Winter presents challenges in the Northeast, and it also has charm. The pace of life slows in the winter. Do you notice and appreciate the stillness brought on with snow? Nature seems to take a deep sigh from the frenzy of the warmer months. As an engineering student in college, I learned that cold creates order and contracts while heat expands and excites. Just compare the crystalline nature of a snowflake or an ice cube to a pot of boiling water – you get the picture. Align yourself with the forces of nature So, get in step with the season. Winter is an excellent time to slow down a bit to bring order and balance to your life. Add some quiet time to your day; even a few minutes or several conscious breaths will have an impact. You may enjoy the influence of quiet so much that you will make it part of your daily routine. (For those meditating regularly, the value of this inner stillness is quite apparent to you.) Here are additional steps that you can take to enhance your health and enjoyment this winter. These recommendations are time tested; they come to us from ancient Ayurvedic health care. Regular schedules and routines are helpful during any season, however they are particularly valuable during the winter. Favor warm, heavier foods in the blustery cold winter months. Stay hydrated, if you’re feeling thirsty, pay attention and drink. Just a few sips of room temperature water will often be enough. Reduce your intake of dry foods & dry snacks in winter months. Minimize cold drinks especially ice cold ones. Keep your head and neck covered while outdoors. If these sound like common sense suggestions, great. Your natural instincts are right on. Now, take action on them and you’ll have a healthier, more joy filled winter. Greg Schweitzer Director, Stress Reduction Resources

By |2019-01-29T15:44:07+00:00January 7th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

How to Be Cool Without Trying [Effortless Meditation™]

I’m often asked by new meditators, “Why isn’t everyone doing this?” It’s an excellent question and one that still perplexes me, even after 40+ years of daily meditation experience. I am not alone in my wonder. What is cool? Mehmet Oz, M.D. made an interesting and insightful comment in a TV discussion. He was lamenting the state of wellness in our country. He said that to his amazement many people’s eyes glaze over at the mention of health. “We need to let people know that it is cool to be healthy,” says Dr. Oz. “It’s cool to sleep well, and wake up refreshed and happy. It’s cool to be mentally alert and enthusiastic about your day. It’s cool to be filled with energy and not drag yourself through the day tired and cranky. It’s cool to have good relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.” In order to be really cool, we need to be at the top of our game. For that, we have to treat ourselves well. We need to be healthy. So how do we do that and still attend to the relentless demands on our time? It’s my opinion that many give up on their health because it seems so hard to be healthy. Move, exercise your body regularly. Eat healthy food rich in vital nutrients, and minimize your intake of sugars and processed foods. We are what we eat. We’ve heard these cornerstones of healthy living for decades, however it does not appear that our collective health has improved all that much. Here’s what’s wrong. Arguably, we’ve overlooked the most essential ingredient for being well! Rest is an Enzyme of Life – often short-changed We must also rest. Quality sleep is vital to clear the body of stress and fatigue, and refuel us for the demands of the new day. Rest is an enzyme of life as necessary to us as the air we breathe. To enjoy the dynamic activity of our daily life, we need balance and that comes with rest. Here’s a self-care supplement to bring it all together. Many have said it’s the best investment they’ve ever made – Effortless Meditation™ instruction. It will do wonders if you add it to your daily routine. Many report that they sleep better, their mind is clearer, and their mental and physical health have improved. These statements are based upon my own personal experience with meditation and from hearing from and observing thousands of others that I’ve taught to meditate over these many years. Our daily meditation practice recharges our batteries for the day ahead. We’re more alert, patient, enthusiastic, and far healthier. Those who meditate daily spontaneously notice these and countless other benefits. And without trying, they begin to make better lifestyle choices that further improve their health. They eat better, exercise more frequently, stop smoking, and they are more patient and kind. Those who meditate notice that they handle the stress of daily life more effectively. They are more resilient. It’s no wonder that [...]

By |2019-01-29T15:45:20+00:00November 29th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Fertilizer for Growth: Be Still

When introduced to meditation in 1974, I was skeptical. As an engineer, skepticism came naturally. Yet, the meditation instructor who had just given an introductory lecture was convincing. Do Less, Accomplish More Meditation, he said, was one activity that would enhance every aspect of our lives. In the same way that watering the root feeds the entire plant. In contrast, trying to enhance the quality of each leaf, stem, and flower separately is inefficient and not as effective as simply watering the root. I decided to learn to meditate. My life was in turmoil. What did I have to lose? There was a fee for his meditation course, but I told myself that if it didn’t work, it would not be my first disappointment. It was worth the small financial risk. If half of what this teacher said was true, I’d be happy. Well, many years later, I’m pleased to report that everything he said was right-on. What he taught me was how to be still. I learned a mental technique, meditation, to quiet my busy stressed out mind. Much to my delight, I found that my mind effortlessly calmed down during meditation. More importantly, there was more peace and joy in my life after meditating. Meditation is... An analogy is helpful to explain the role of meditation. (There are many styles of meditation. I’m describing the one that I practice and teach – Effortless Meditation™.) Anyone who has ever seen the ocean knows that the surface always has some degree of turbulence. If a big storm comes up it could be overwhelming – perhaps 50 foot high waves. Such turbulence often brings destruction to anything in its path, and yet deep beneath the ocean’s wild surface the water is quiet, calm. Scuba divers tell us how peaceful and charming the ocean is at its depths even during storms. Our mind is like that. On the surface of the conscious “chattering” mind, we have many thoughts especially when we’re under stress. Effortless Meditation™ is a mental technique that helps the active conscious mind settle down so that we can experience the stillness and calm at the mind’s core. Our peaceful, calm mind is fertilizer for personal growth. It nourishes us while recharging our batteries with energy for the activity that follows our meditation. A client once wrote, “Meditation is like a mini vacation, and now I’m vacationing every day.” With each meditation, we draw the influence of meditation into our active life. In the same way that water sticks to our body when we come out of a swimming pool, the energy, calm and well-being experienced in meditation stays with us after our meditation session ends. The Need of the Times The need for this experience has never been greater than today. Observe as you walk down the street or into a restaurant, or even while driving, people’s heads looking down at their smart phones. They are multitasking, trying to squeeze more out of every moment. Life is so busy [...]

By |2019-01-29T15:45:37+00:00September 14th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments
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