Reboot Your Spiritual Practice

If your practice feels stale or if you feel like you’re on the wrong track, it’s time to reset your practice. Check out the tips below for a start.

Clarify your intent
road turn-pola
Get clear on what you want, because that is what will manifest. If you’re really clear that you want the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, then you’ll do what it takes to make it happen. (It’s also helpful to get clear on not wanting a practice—if that’s the case—because then you stop wasting your energy with thoughts like, “I should be meditating,” “I should be reading spiritual books,”  “I should be, should be, should be…”)

Tip: For some folks who are trying to establish a regular meditation practice, sometimes all it takes is going to bed earlier because then it’s not such a challenge to wake up and meditate.

LettingTheDaysGoBy

“Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down.” Retreat from your everyday life occasionally, so this doesn’t happen to you 🙂

Get away from your life for a few days
When you’re looking to reboot your practice, it’s essential to get away from your life for a few days. When you’re in your everyday groove, it’s hard to see what is right for you. All the routines we have make it hard to see new possibilities. Getting away creates a space to see how to reboot your practice.

Getting away from your life includes an electronics fast. If you go on a retreat and check your phone or tablet frequently for Instagram and FB updates, emails, texts, Twitter feeds, the news, let’s be honest, you are in no way getting away from your life. So don’t waste your time and money going on retreat and then negating the chance of it working by staying connected to your life.

If you don’t think you have the time to get away, revisit the first point—clarify your intent. If it’s important to you, you’ll make it happen; if it’s not, you won’t.

Tip: Clean the heck out of your living and work spaces before you get away. Our home and work spaces are a reflection of our mind, so when we clean them up, we create more space to see new ways ahead.

Hit the delete button on the people, places and activities that discourage your practice. When you get away, you frequently get insight into what needs to be dropped or changed. Check out these posts for more on being empirical about the places and activities that either empower or drain you and avoiding naysayers.

Quiet-GalReinvigorate your mindfulness

Stop repeating your story in your head. Stop inwardly practicing conversations or debates. Don’t talk to your friends and relatives in your mind. Don’t inwardly “write reviews.” Instead, simply be in the moment—be in the experience without commentary. Mental chatter is draining and prevents you from both seeing what is correct and feeling calm. More on mindfulness as a core practice can be found here, and for a helpful trick with mindfulness, check out the 7-second rule.

Start something NEW and FUN
Whether it’s learning to cook, surf, paint, play an instrument, sew, etc., having something new and fun that excites you will give you energy and invigorate your life and meditation.

Read or re-read How to Be Happy Now. Almost every tip in the book will help you reboot your practice. A free excerpt is available here or buy on Amazon (US, UK, DE).

Let me know if you have questions or want more detail on any of the above. 🙂

Woofs and LOVE,
Sara

© 2015 Sara Weston.

Meditation Tip: It Can All Wait

SittingInChair

When you’re meditating, there is a tendency to let yourself think about the pressing issues in your life (because they’re important!). But the truth is you’ve got the rest of the day to deal with these things. Your meditation is not the time, and in fact, the quieter you are in your meditation, the easier it will be to see how to deal with these issues. So when you find yourself thinking about your problems, just remind yourself that you can think about later—after you’re done meditating.

Click here for a free eBook on how to meditate.

© 2014 Sara Weston. Sara is the author of he book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DEA FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

You Are Not Your Mind

Your mind is an amazing and essential tool, but it is not who you truly are. All the thoughts and ideas that run through your mind feel very close, like “you,” so it can certainly feel like your mind defines who you are—but if you put your mind on “Pause” for a moment and stop your thoughts, you will find that there is still a presence there. You find that you are still there even when your mind is not thinking.

What is that presence that is still there when the mind is silent? I can tell you that it is your true self, the light and consciousness that make up everything and everyone. But it’s not very transformative to read that. What’s powerful is to experience that eternality for yourself! What’s transformative is to start meditating and slowing down the mind so you can find out for yourself that who you truly are is beyond the mind and the body, is eternal and is good. If you need meditation instruction, check out the free eBook on How to Meditate.

© 2014 Sara Weston. Sara is the author of he book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DEA FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Be A Beginner

Beginners-Mind2

When you have the state of mind of a beginner, you allow yourself to try new things and are open to new ideas, which is energizing and fun. When you are a beginner, you’re not afraid to try something just because you won’t be good at it or because it’s “not you.” You can have a great time at something and do it without the intent of becoming an expert. Who doesn’t love and admire the eighty-one-year-old woman who is picking up the piano for the first time or the fifty-year-old who is just learning to surf, both of whom are unlikely to become experts in these fields.

When you have the mind state of an expert and are heavy with success, you’re more likely to stay in your comfort zone and limit your experiences to those in which you can excel, and obviously that is not a fun way to live. And even in the fields in which you are truly an expert, it’s always great to not know it all. In being open we create room to learn new things and refine and improve our knowledge and skills.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, life is simply harder when you approach it as a know-it-all. When we think back on times when we “knew it all,” we invariably created more work for ourselves. I recall a time at one of my first jobs, the sous-chef saw me laboriously chopping an onion and said, “Hey, let me show you a great way to quickly dice an onion.” I replied, “I already know how” and summarily cut off the opportunity to learn how to do something in a more efficient way. At some point, I did learn the professional way to dice an onion and was amazed at what an idiot I had been. In “knowing it all,” I looked like an idiot to my coworkers by clinging to an inefficient way, but more importantly, I kept myself from learning a much better way of doing something. I’m grateful I had this experience so I could learn firsthand the beauty of being a beginner!

(Slightly amusing aside: after the book was published with this entry, several people asked me how to cut an onion.)

Tip excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE. © 2013 – 2014 Sara Weston.  A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Drop the desire/aversion approach to life.

Most people spend an enormous amount of energy trying to attract the things they desire and repel the things they are averse to. The things most people want to attract are relationship, money, success and recognition. The things most people try to keep away are the things they are afraid of or that make them uncomfortable, such as being alone, unloved, in pain, or appearing dumb or unsuccessful. In this desire/aversion approach, the basis of our thoughts and actions revolve around trying to get what we desire and avoid what we are averse to.

The problem with this approach is twofold. First, it’s not a very reliable approach because if your happiness is based on getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want, you’re bound to be unhappy a lot of the time! We can look at our own lives and the people around us and see that the world just doesn’t go our way a lot of the time. And even when we do get what we want, the happiness that it creates can be very transient. The new car (or house, or job, or boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife) that you wanted may turn out to not be what you expected, or after you have had it for a while it’s not as exciting; you get used to it and it no longer thrills you, or you wreck it and that makes you unhappy. In all these cases, the happiness brought on by these things should absolutely be enjoyed, but they should be recognized as undependable sources of lasting happiness.

Second, this desire/aversion approach to happiness consumes an enormous amount of mental energy. All of the strategizing, scheming and avoiding required to bring what you desire and repel what you don’t, creates a busy mind which blocks you from seeing and feeling your innate light. So paradoxically, all the mental activity devoted to getting what you want so you’ll be happy, actually makes you feel less happy.

Dropping the desire/aversion approach to life doesn’t mean you don’t try to achieve things, it just means you don’t look to those achievements for intrinsic, lasting happiness. They are fun, many times worth doing or having, just don’t expect them to be your ultimate source of happiness. And happily, when you stop clinging so tightly to the things you desire, you actually enjoy them more because you’re not so afraid of losing them.

The alternative to this system is to get your happiness from the light of eternity. When you go into the light you can’t help but get a smile on your face. After meditating you can do the most mundane things and be radiantly happy because you feel that light in your being. From this place, when good things happen to you, you can enjoy them and when bad things happen, your boat won’t be so rocked by the world not going your way. After some years of meditation, your happiness will barely be affected by what’s going on in the world. This might sound so strange as to not even be appealing, but I can tell you it’s the best place to be. You’re not unrealistic about what is going on in the world, nor are you spaced out or ungrounded, you are simply getting your happiness from light instead of from things working out in the world.

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way, available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE. © 2013 – 2014 Sara Weston.  A FREE excerpt of the book is available here.

Meditation Tip: Don’t judge your meditation

MedGalIt’s important to not judge your meditation. The only bad meditation is the one you don’t do! The truth is even when you have meditations that don’t feel as “good” or “powerful” as others, the light is still transforming you. It’s still working, even if it doesn’t feel like a good meditation to you. That being said you need to meditate correctly for it to really work, so please check out the post on meditating correctly, if you need a refresher.

For meditation instruction, download the free eBook on How to Meditate.

Excerpted from the book How to Be Happy NOW…Even if Things Aren’t Going Your Way available on AmazonAmazon UK and Amazon DE. © 2013 – 2014 Sara Weston

Meditation Is the Means to Enlightenment

Download free meditation instruction.

Meditation is the means to enlightenment. When you stop thought through meditation, a reality that is deeper than our everyday reality begins to be revealed to you. That deeper reality, though unseen by most, is ever present.  And once you begin to dip your toes in these eternal waters, you begin to see the vast wisdom and love that is at your core. So I invite you to find this love that is at your core. I invite you to meditate.

Happy Solstice,
Sara

For meditation instruction, download the free eBook on How to Meditate