User blog: Michael Finney
While creating such a culture can take time to build and grow, there are several things you can do right now. None of these take huge planning or preparation, but take a conscious decision and commitment.
- Model it. Ok.. this may be an obvious one, but think about yourself personally. Is learning something you really model? When people think of you, is your thirst for knowledge and growing personally the first thing that comes to mind? If not, it might be time to do a self evaluation. It is going to be nearly impossible to commit your staff and personnel to growth if the one leading the charge is not committed.
- Allow people to safely fail. I am not suggesting throw caution to the wind here, but people will not take risks if the repercussions are detrimental to their position. Ensure safeguards are built in so that your people feel free to think outside the box. Knowing there will not be severe repercussions will open opportunities that may not otherwise surface.
- Push decision making outward. While things may be very comfortable when one person makes all the decisions, this may not be the best approach. Leverage the talent you have hired. You brought them on for a reason, now utilize it. If an employee comes to you with a decision to be made, walk them through the process. Ask open ended questions like, "What would they do? Why would they take such an approach? What are the options?" If you bring them along in the decision making process, you will begin to find the workflow will occur with less need for you to be hands on.
- Listen more than you speak. As the old saying goes, "There is a reason we are born with two ears and one mouth." Such is the case when dealing with groups. Now I would suggest there is a big difference between hearing and listening. Hearing means you are just picking up the words. Listening means you are hearing and really trying to understand what the person is saying. Instead of mentally formulating your next thought, just focus on what the person is saying. Try to understand and be clear their point. Its amazing what you will suddenly pick up... or shall I dare say... learn.
- Challenge (and be challenged) points of view. I recently read a book about the company Amazon.com. One of the things that stood out is that Jeff Bezo always challenged opposing views strongly. It was acceptable to have an opposing view, but you had better be ready to defend it. Consider this in your own company. Do people in your organization feel comfortable providing an opposing opinion? if so, do they provide a solid position to support their view? If not, consider ways you can open this door and build more of a collaborative environment.
"Life After Death by PowerPoint" is a reminder of what happens when we allow technology to be a higher priority than the learning. But PowerPoint hasn't been the only tool where this has occurred. Ever taken a MOOC where you spend the time painfully watching endless videos of lectures of a professor droning on and on and on and on.... Ironically, someone, somewhere calls that learning. I went through this today with a course on Lynda.com and it was painful. So how do you overcome this? You have this nifty set of tools for online learning and you are just itching to use them. Its as simple as three steps. So let's begin...
- What is the point of your class? Call it learning objectives, course goals, or outcomes, but build these first. Define what you want the student to learn and what you want them to be able to do upon completion. Put every other aspect out of your mind for the moment and build these first. I use the C-B-S (Condition, Behavior, Standard) method myself, but whatever works for you is great. If you don't have clearly defined goals of the class, the rest is going to be a problem.
- How do students learn this information the best? Maybe its visually, hands on, or writing, find the avenues that best present your material and how the students are going to learn it in the most beneficial format. For example, if you are teaching an art subject, you are going to need a lot of visual information. If its a writing class, its just theory until someone starts writing something. Based on your course objectives, find the ways that students will learn in and integrate it into their being.
- OK, now you can bring in the technology. Now that you have accomplished the learning objectives and determined the teaching methods, consider the technology. Only after you have successfully completed steps one and two. Consider tools that accomplish your learning process. To use one of our previous examples, consider a writing class. Perhaps a blogging tool, or a collaborative tool. There are a variety out there, and in many cases, your teaching approach can be accomplished.
What are the types of online courses available?Basically there are three types of online course packages one can purchase:
- Off the shelf courses. These are great, because you have a large selection to choose from. Often these come in a wide variety of topics and programs. In many cases, they are very cost effective and easy to set up and manage. A drawback is that they are often very generic and do not have the specifics for your company. Overall, off the shelf courses are a quick start to online training.
- White labelled courses. These are very similar to the off the shelf ones, with the some minor modifications. The biggest is that the course theme and designed is tailored more to your company. It carries the look and feel of your logo and colors. In some cases, it might even carry some minor specifics to your company. While still cost effective, white labelled courses will carry a higher price tag than your standard off the shelf courses. While a quick start like off the shelf, some time will be needed to provide the changes.
- Customized courses. Customized courses are the premium of online courses. They are designed to your specific needs and are highly detailed around your company's content. Often they built from the ground up and provide limited generic material. These courses tend to be more costly from a development standpoint. Allow time for custom courses to be deployed, as it can take between 20-90 hrs per course hour for development (depending on content).
Which is the best for you?There are three basic factors when considering which approach is the best for your company or organization.
- Content. Content is definitely king in this situation. What are you trying to accomplish with the online course? What are the needs of the organization? Can it be accomplished with with generic content, or does it require a lot of company specific material?
- Time. As with any project, time is a factor. How quickly do you need to deliver the class? How quickly with the material become stale? What other pressing issues need to be factored in? Are there internal resources one can utilize?
- Costs. I posted this last because it should never be your first consideration. However, what are the budgetary constraints? How does this compare with the other factors? What alternatives can be used to stay within budget?
Think of the three as a triangle, with each on a corner. As you move from one corner to another, you sacrifice one of the components. For example, if you have a very limited budget, are you going to sacrifice the content or the time factors. As well, if you have limited time, are you going to sacrifice the content or the cost factors. Each plays a part in the process, it simply comes down to what carries the greatest priority for your situation.
Different Styles of MeditationNothing is impervious to change and so is not meditation. While the fundamental focus of meditation has not shifted from what it had started with, there have been several other changes that have led to different styles being followed at different places of the earth over different periods. It helps to know what styles are in practice today so that you can make an informed choice when you plan to undertake meditation yourself.
Watching Your BreathingOne of the very basic forms of meditation is to just control the way you breathe. All you are supposed to do is to sit in an upright position, close your eyes and just concentrate on the way you breathe. While this sounds pretty simple and is actually not that hard to practice, it can make a world of difference. During our day-to-day life we hardly have the time to settle down for a few minutes. That means irregular breathing. Allowing our body some time to actually stay calm and carry on the processes quietly can make a significant difference to how our body performs. With more fresh air in our lungs the heart performs at its best and our body feels rejuvenated.
Watching Your ThoughtsThis is one of the tougher practices of meditation. Though physically not that demanding, it is an emotional challenge. The idea is to clear your mind of any thoughts and just let it be. You can sit in the normal upright posture and with your legs crossed. But the trick is to let go of your mind, because, at least initially, the more you will try this, the harder will it get.
Walking MeditationOne of the more innovative versions of meditation, this not only helps you at the level of the mind but you also get some exercise as you pace up and down. You can practice this in a room or outdoorsBusiness Management Articles, as long as there are no distractions. Don't try it in a room where the television is on or in a park with children playing. Again the process is to maintain a relatively brisk pace as you focus on your breathing and walking. Concentrate only on these two things and let go of your other concerns. Staying focused here is the real challenge.
Meditating While ChantingThis is a good style of meditation for the beginners. It has often been a problem for the ones who are starting off on yoga and meditation to actually stay focused and not let thoughts wander into their heads. Chanting a mantra can be of much help for them. This helps to keep away other thoughts and lets you focus more. The chant should be chosen carefully so that it is easy for you to remember and say. You need not say it aloud and can just repeat it in your head. As long as you are able to stay focused you know it is working right for you.
Looking for a great way to get started with meditation? Sign up for one of our meditation classes.
The amazing changes in life which come about from silent meditation are so divine that they can not ever be dreamt of up until they come about.
If you feel confused and are searching for solutions or you feel as if you are not connected to this Universe, silent meditation may hold the incredible power to help you find your center.
Maybe you have only a single internal battle for which you crave clarity or you are wanting to recover from an unhealthy habit such as nicotine. No matter what conflict you face, your percentages of finding the answer through meditation are enormous!
It probably may not happen in your first - or even in your second or third (and so on) - session, however it's possible. It absolutely is contingent upon how much focus and determination you devote into quieting your mind in meditation.
What could be some of the compelling benefits of meditation which might have you wondering why you didn't take advantage of meditating sooner?
Emotional Benefits of Meditation
Clear MindMeditating is a time for focusing on the present moment. It's a period of time to identify what is 'garbage' and what is real; and that will only be accomplished by listening to your most divine voice that lives down deep in your heart. Get rid of resentments here, take note of the truth, and identify achievable options.
Increased Self EsteemAfter you improve at meditating and deciding to cater to your deepest desires, you are sure to attain a strong sense of belonging through immense awareness. You are going to feel comfortable in your own skin in spite of what is going on and carry yourself with a sense of modesty - neither craving an excessive amount nor staying quiet when it's your time for attention.
PeaceInner Peace is a beautiful benefit of meditation that helps you escape to inner quiet no matter where you are. Keep in mind that discomfort is caused by mentally checking out from the here and now. When you are afraid, it's primarily when your thoughts are far away and you are the only one. There is nothing and nobody with you away in 'what-if' land with you; and things can get creepy when you're on your own in a different place.
Silent meditation gives you habitual experience with staying present in the moment; and it is a gift you can practice randomly over the course of each day!
A Lower Level of TensionAnxiety presents countless symptoms and causes and can contribute to an influx of conditions, like restlessness, indiscriminate anger, conceptual complications and numerous other psychiatric and physiological ill effects whose discomfort can all be substantially minimized or even abolished after a while by practicing meditation.
Meditation Benefits on Health
Longer LifeIt is possible you will already be acquainted with the relationship of tension and bad health, however the simple fact is: The physical response of nearly all humans to tension is not a medical-related mystery. Tension is recognized as causing some of the most health-compromising conditions consisting of very high pressure in the blood, obsessively eating, heart problems, lower white blood cell count and even more. And then consider the simply upsetting adverse effects of anxiety such as actual physical pain, joint and muscle cramps, and head aches.
If you take positive courses of action like meditating and consistently deciding upon more estimable behaviors, you are able to become far less affected by emotional tension and perhaps even more likely to have a better state of health and well being for an elongated lifetime as a result.
Improved Cardiovascular SystemSilently Meditating is normally performed by breathing in extended, consistent breaths. Getting oxygen in this way works miracles for your lungs, a human's capability to replace cells in the body, cardiovascular health, and sometimes even the health of the brain!
Wonders of Silent MeditationThe amazing gifts of silently meditating are probably the most valuable good reasons to silently meditate. With regard to the top answer on the question: Why do silent meditation? The number one answer is: To become one with the Universe and to benefit from the Life Force Energy that flows through every last person.
Supreme IntuitionMany people declare that retrospect has a 20/20 vision; and that is generally true. Think how it would be having this type of vision in your decision making process in advance, though. Regularly silently meditating enables you to establish a heavy intuitive comprehension of that which must transpire subsequently in order for you to attain your goals. Upon becoming aware of your own oneness with the Life Force Energy, it actually gets hard making the 'wrong' decision; as you appear to be steered to where you need to be.
Coincidental Timing and PlacementAt times it can be complicated to truly recognize the reason why you do that which you do...Why you drive miles out of your way any given day with no apparent rationale or stopping in a place you usually would not. Any time this coincidence occurs and you are introduced to a like-minded person or receive a prospect because of thisArticle Submission, that is an instance of Universal positioning; and it happens often once you stay in touch and keep on being attentive to the divine intuition you acquire through silent meditation.
Iit is fairly simple to find the right kind of yoga for you. Especially if you have all of the information there is to know about yoga. First and foremost you should try to consider why you are planning on entering the yoga lifestyle. Whether it was suggested to you from your doctor for medical treatment, or if it is a means for you to reconnect with a healthy lifestyle.
Just remember that you aren't alone. Many people struggle with trying to find the right yoga class for them. Some can spent years jumping from class to class, type to type, or different yoga teachers before finding the right match. You may find yourself drawn to the names of each yoga class, often times witty and inspiring. However, I would suggest making your decision on more than just the location or name of your yoga class. Instead taking the time to sit down with each of the teachers, and getting a feel for their technique of teaching.
It may be helpful if you can find a teacher that will allow you to sit in on each type of class. This will give you a first-hand view of what would be expected of you during your yoga class. While some may promote the use of props, and focus on slow and controlled movements. Others may focus on spirituality, or exercise. All of which are beneficial to many different people in their walks of life. However, power-yoga may not be the best choice if you suffer from chronic back pain. For this reason, you should take care in choosing the right type of yoga.
Before we look into the different types of classes and what you can expect you should first remember that as with any exercise program; you should first consult with your doctor. This is especially true if you have any diagnosed health problems that reduce your range of motion.
Once you have begun to visit the many different yoga classes available in your area, you will find that there is a common denominator among them all. That of which is that they are focused on bringing oneness to one's life. A unity between body, mind, and soul. Regardless of the fact that this oneness is all something we hold inside of ourselves on a daily basis. However, most people will find that it can be difficult to reach this place in our own selves without a little help.
Unfortunately there is no real way to answer the question of "what type of yoga is right for me?". It is more or less an moment of inspiration that you will find enter your mind once you have found the right class. As with so many things in life, yoga is specialized. However there are many different options to choose from. No one yoga class is going to be right for everyone who practices yoga. Just like no one yoga prop or work out wear will be right for one person. Think of it as a "fitting" for your lifestyle. Try your yoga class on for size, if it doesn't fit your lifestyle, your schedule, or your medical needs; then you should probably try to find something different.
While it is a common misconception among newcomers to yoga. You don't need to have a particular religion or belief to practice yoga. Just as you don't need to be of any one shape, or size to practice yoga. Everyone can and will benefit from the healing nature of yoga. It is even common for families to practice yoga together. If this is your plan, then finding a low-impact yoga will be imperative for younger children. Which will allow all of you to relax while getting healthy together. This of course is one of the many reasons that yoga has become so popular in the western world. As we all fight to keep our lifestyles healthy in a stressful and fast-pace lifestyle. We find that there just isn't enough time to run from one yoga class to another. Instead finding one class that will fit as a whole with your group of yoga friends, or family will help to keep your schedule relatively un-scathed.
The different types of yoga can be fairly difficult to differentiate. However, there are a few key differences that can help you choose which yoga is right for you. Whether you are looking for a high-impact yoga to help you drop pounds quickly; or simply trying to find relief from arthritis, or other chronic pain. There is a yoga that will be the perfect fit for you!
Hatha yoga (of which means union) is a term for yoga that employs both physical, and breathing exercise to calm the mind. This is only one of eight branches of traditional yoga, which has been passed down for generations in ancient Indian philosophy. It is thought that this style of yoga can help to attain enlightenment. Among these types of yoga that have stemmed from Hatha, you will find Raga, Mantra, and Tantra. All of which are considered to be philosophical styles of yoga, which are focused on elevating a person's mental state. It is common for Hatha yoga classes to ask their practitioners to follow a certain dietary conservation as well as ethical codes of living.
There are several different disciplines that you will find practiced in Hatha yoga. However due to it's popularity, some classes may even teach a fusion of several different styles of yoga. Including Hatha yoga. Most of these hybrid yoga classes (especially those that include Hatha yoga) are often times the best for beginner yoga practitioners. Simply because they will offer a wider range of poses, breathing, and physical elements. All of which are needed to practice yoga safely and get the most out of your workout.
While Hatha yoga has increased in popularity within the western world. There are many other kinds that can be found here in the United states alone. Ashtanga Viniyasa is one of the most increasingly popular forms of yoga in the last few years. It is a physical and mentally challenging form of yoga. Of which focuses on the unity between movement and breathing. However, this form of yoga can be fairly taxing and shouldn't be utilized for anyone with severe medical conditions. If you are a beginner, it is imperative to join a beginners Ashtanga class, so that you are able to learn at your own speed without posing an injury risk to yourself.
Along with Hatha and Ashtanga Viniyasa yoga's you will find a few other choices to choose from. One of which being Sivananda yoga. Which is based around as little as twelve postures. One such posture sequence includes the sun salutation. Of which focuses on breathing and meditation. This is one of the most well-rounded yoga classes that can be found today. It is especially suitable for all levels of expertise, ages, and physical abilities. Making it one of the most family friendly forms of yoga available.
Another popular form of yoga is Viniyoga. Of which is known for it's personalized touch. Each session of Viniyoga is tailored specially for the individual practitioner and their needs. These classes can vary from as short as fifteen minutes to two to three hours. However it is one of the best one-on-one yoga training that you can find. This is especially wonderful for anyone who might find it difficult to follow an instructor within a large class. This class is particularly well suited for children and those with medical conditions. Simply because it is so personal, and allows the trainer to keep your body, health, and physical limitations in mind when creating your routine.
The last form of yoga that is commonly practiced in the western world is Iyengar. Which is a slower and more precise means of practicing yoga. It is by far the most practiced yoga throughout the world (spanning not only in the western world). It plays in important role in one's bodily alignment and posture. This is particularly well suited for those with back-pain or any other severe or chronic pain. This form of yoga is also particularly suitable for seniors, as they practice with many different props to aid in their posture progression.
Remember, as with any new workout regiment that you should always know your own body's limitation. This will help you to choose the right style of yoga class for you. There is no right or wrong answer, simply knowing what you can and cannot handle is key. Regardless of the class, you should become prepared once you have chosen the right type of yoga for you. Your yoga instructor will be able to give you a list of the items you will need, whether it be yoga mats, blocks, blankets, or any other prop. It is best to come prepared!
The three popular types of yoga you may have heard of are hatha yoga, power yoga and bikram yoga. Hatha yoga is the style of yoga most practiced today. It is what you will think of when you think of yoga in general. Power yoga is a more aerobic-style yoga, with an emphasis on cardio. Bikram yoga is a style of yoga performed in a heated room to accelerate detoxification.
Found this article helpful and would like to get started in yoga? Try out David Schussel's free Instant Yoga: Yoga Anywhere class.
Lifeflow meditation makes you achieve a deeper state of meditation more rapidly than any other techniques. The causes are physiological; when you reach the brainwaves states of lifeflow, your brain commands your body to produce hormones and chemicals that are closely related to your feelings of well-being. The main value of this type of meditation is that it regroups various brainwaves for which every one of them the body responds differently. Merging them all togetherallows the entire brain to be stimulated and leaves amplified results.
Lifeflow meditation puts you into exceptionally profound and advantageous brainwave states easier than any other meditation technique. These states enhance your feelings of happiness and well-being, as well as your learning abilities and it reduces your stress levels. It is part of the brainwave meditation family. The regular brainwave meditations use a single type of wave; either the binaural, monaural, or isochronic tones. The asset of lifeflow meditation is that it uses all three of them in a meticulous mix.
The monaural and isochronic tones both have the benefit of being able to be listened to in the open air, without a headphones. Doing so, they have the faculty to influence the entire body with their waves in contrast with the binaural beats that have to be listened to with headphones for them to accomplish brain harmonization.
The lifeflow meditation entrainment follow a 10 step system divided in three components. The tracks from 10 to 8 are various levels of alpha brain waves, from 7 to 4 comes the theta brain waves, and the last three steps are made of a range of levels of delta brain waves. The entrainment is intended to begin with the number 10 and gradually go down the ladder to the lowest delta frequency. Even though there are nothing such as a firm rule of when to change level, the suggested timeline is to listen to a track for anywhere between 30 and 60 days prior to moving onto the next level. But in the end, it's up to you to decide when you are prepared to move on. If you feel like you need one more month with this level, do it. On the other hand, if you are a more experienced meditator, maybe you will want to move down the steps a little bit quicker. The guideline you should use to know when it's time to switch to the next step is to do it when you can really feel concrete changes in your everyday life.
The last wonderful thing I would like to bring up regarding lifeflow meditation is that it can be a lifelong practice. After you are done meditating through all the levels, you can come back to any of them, use them in any sequence, and continue to progress even more.
William James, psychologist, author and founder of the first American psychology laboratory said: "There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there for long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking."
Mr. James was referencing what we today call creative visualization; the practice of seeking to affect the outer world by changing one's thoughts or images in their mind.
Now, although this may not be news to you, what you may find interesting is how creative visualization combined with meditation can help you increase the effectiveness towards steering your life in a direction more suitable to your liking.
Meditation AdvancementsRepeating affirmations and declarations on a daily basis often produce very poor results in the quest for having a more joyful life and manifesting the material things you want. It can be very hard for you to remain "positive" and focused when day after day you're following the same mundane routine of reading your list of affirmations out loud.
However, meditation changes the playing field and magnifies the impact of affirmations because it's done at the level where the conscious mind has taken a backseat to the subconscious mind. This enhanced state of wellbeing promotes greater concentration allowing one to focus more intently on the goal at hand.
Add creative visualization to the mix, along with focusing closely on the end result of what seeking, and you'll find meditation is an amazing way to consistently bring the things, conditions and circumstances you want into your life; whether it be health, wealth, happiness or all of them.
Desire, Belief and ExpectancyAnother key to the advancement of meditation is having a clear understanding that your belief, desire and expectancy play an important role in achieving your goals. Without them, you might as well be heading upstream without a paddle.
As in the conscious state of mind, while meditating you must exhibit the desire to obtain your goal, believe you deserve to receive it and expect you will get it with unwavering intent. Anything less is a good sign that you'll come up short and be headed for disappointment.
In addition, it's important to recognize that although meditation can help you strengthen your immune system, reduce stress and relieve anxiety all its own, things like manifesting physical items, mending relationships and improving your health and environment, will require some action on your part.
Scientific Research Leads the Way
Meditation is the natural evolution for mankind and scientific research is slowly helping us understand what's behind it.
For most of us, the mind is an untapped resource which we carelessly disregard. We do this because almost from birth we are taught to rely only on our physical senses. What we don't realize is everybody has the same ability to harness the non-physical power of their mind and use it in a more creative and genius-like way to better them self.
Extensive scientific research from Harvard Medical School, the Brain Imaging Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology repeatedly show us the wonderful physical effects meditation has on the body.
It thickens and enhances areas of the brain which make us more alert, shows clear signs of significantly lowering blood pressure and can reduce the amount of fatty deposits in arteries, just to name a few.
In addition to the wonderful things we see through the scientific community, there are countless numbers of life changing events, healings and manifestations which frequently occur to people who meditate on a regular basis.
Advanced Techniques Equal Advanced Results
Simple mindfulness meditation, where the mind is quieted by focusing on the breath, does wonders for bringing serenity and wholeness to the participant, as well helping to relieve the external pressures induced by our fast-paced society.
Advancements made as little as 10 years ago in the area of Dynamic Meditation, a unique form of meditation which allows the participant to actively take part in achieving their goals from a non-physical standpoint, combines creative visualization with scientifically developed techniques to augment the manifestation process.
These advancements have swung open the door for the use of meditation in all areas of everyday life, making it more commonplace to focus within first to achieve what we want in the physical world.
It was thousands of years ago when Buddha said: "Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance." As mankind begins to grasp the unlimited power of the mind it will become more and more clear that using it in a creative and genius-like manner is our natural evolution.
I want to welcome our first guest post from Dr. Robert Puff, PhD.Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker and the creator of the weekly Meditation For Health Podcast, available at http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com He also has a blog at [http://www.meditation-enlightenment.com] If you would like to contact Dr. Puff, his e-mail address is DrPuff@cox.net Now take it away Dr. Puff.
Let's explore why we don't meditate twice a day? Some of us do, but many of us don't meditate when we should. People come home after a long, hard day of work, finish their day and fall into bed without meditating. There's simply 'no time' for meditation. But why don't we find the time? There is so much proof of why meditation is good for you. If you were to visit some of the healthiest people on the planet you will be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't believe in, attest to, and practice meditation. So if so many people expound in the benefits of meditation, why don't we meditate?
There may be many, many reasons why we don't meditate; but I think I can boil it down to two really specific things that keep us from meditating. I was exposed to meditation when I was 19 years old. I was studying psychology as an undergraduate in college and exploring the work of Herbert Benson out of Harvard. Herbert Benson really researched the benefits, physiologically, of meditation. I started meditating right away but there were gaps, breaks in my meditation. Why? Though I was very impressed with Dr. Benson's work, I was 19 years old and things like blood pressure and medical benefits weren't really an issue for me at that time. Dr. Benson talked a lot about the physiological effects that meditation had on your body. I was 19 and quite healthy. I wasn't concerned yet about my blood pressure or the medical benefits of meditation because I wasn't feeling any health problems at that time. I enjoyed meditation; I enjoyed relaxing and feeling very peaceful. Sometimes days, even weeks would go by without me meditating. Why? This is really the first reason many of us don't meditate. We really need a good reason to do something. We need a reason to meditate. If we're going to spend a half an hour a day doing something we need to know what we're doing really changes us or adds to our overall happiness. Our lives are busy and our time is precious so we don't want to 'waste' it doing something that we don't know for sure is beneficial. We may think "yes, this makes me feel nice and relaxed but it doesn't' really change me or add to my overall happiness." What changed for me is that many years later I met people who I felt were very deep, very healthy, very emotionally and spiritually mature people. What I learned about them, pretty much across the board, was that they meditated. They attested to meditation, they practiced meditation and they encouraged me to meditate. Because I really love growth, once I really understood how important meditation was to my own personal growth I started to meditate regularly. Once I started meditating regularly I saw the change within me. I began to change, radically change, and people around me noticed it too.
So the first thing that keeps us from meditating is that we really need a reason to meditate. As humans, we vacillate between two poles. At one end there is immediate gratification. "I'm tired, it was a long day and I'm going to have myself a few beers to relax." Or "When I go to Vegas I always have such a great time, even though I come back exhausted. It sure feels great while I'm there, so I go." So the first thing we do is look for something pleasurable. We want to feel good. Meditation can address this because once you start meditating on a regular basis you will begin to feel good. However, meditation takes time to work. You have to stick with it before you begin to really feel the deep affects of it. It will be better than having a few beers or going to Vegas, but it takes time.
So the second aspect that affects our behavior is our goals. As a profession in general, surgeons make more money than any other profession out there. But, they have to go to college for four years, and do very well. Then they have to go to medical school for another four years and do very well. Then they go off to do a residency for anywhere from five to seven years, working sometimes 100 hours a week. So why would they do this? They do this because of their goals. They realize that in the end they will be working in a very lucrative profession and have a very secure job. So besides the immediate effects of mediation we also need a deep, heartfelt reason as to why we are going to meditate day after day, week after week, year after year. For me this reason came from learning from others; from people who taught me that meditation is truly the number one change agent on the planet. If you want to grow, if you want to wake up and have a beautiful life then meditation is the key factor to this. But you have to believe it at the core, because like the surgeons going through medical school can be hard sometimes; meditation can be hard sometimes. It's not a bad experience but sometimes we're just too tired, too busy to take the time to meditate. Until we reach a point where meditation really, really is something we are invested in and believe that it will radically change our lives for the better, we're probably not going to meditate on a regular basis. There are just too many things out there that are calling for our attention. Telling us to come do this, come do that, this is more important. I can absolutely guarantee you that meditation is truly the most important thing you can do in your life for creating a beautiful, important, wonderful life. But until you believe this, other things will get in the way and distract you. What you can do is to find someone that can really motivate you to meditate. I would love to be this person to you, but I also know that I cannot be all things to all people. Some of us are research minded; we want to see the facts. If that's you, then there are many research articles out there, on my website and in my podcasts even, which explain how beneficial meditation is to you. Over the years I've seen many hardcore professionals change their meditative ways drastically after attending a retreat with my partner and me. That's why retreats are very helpful in this sense. Or perhaps you can find a local group near your home to meditate with others. Sometimes, it's a lot like an exercise class; we are more inspired to attend regularly if there are others there to meditate with us.
So there are really two main reasons why we don't meditate. One is that at first it may not give us enough pleasure to keep our attention. My response to that is to be patient, it will bring you pleasure if you hang in there. It's similar to exercise, at first we don't realize how good the exercise makes us feel until we've started doing it regularly and then our bodies actually crave that exercise. Your mind reacts in the same way. As you meditate regularly your mind too will crave those meditative states. It will grow to be the highlight of your day.
The second thing that often keeps us from meditating is that we don't really believe that it's good for us. So if you want to meditate, make sure you're connected with someone or something that drives it deep down inside of you that you need to meditate, meditation is really good for you. Continue to listen to my podcasts online, meditate regularly, find someone or something that inspires you to continue to meditate and you will realize as time goes on that you feel the effects of the meditation. That person, that story, that connection that makes you realize the importance of meditation will also make you realize that meditation is a key part to your life.