Heaven on Earth. Book 1. Mark Rose, Editor. Anne Rose, Copy Editor

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1 Heaven on Earth Book 1 Mark Rose, Editor Anne Rose, Copy Editor Articles by: Dr. Steven Farmer Kristina Kaine Miriam Madziga Gina Magee Stuart Alve Olson Anne Rose Mark Rose Candace Stuart-Findlay Emil Torabi Tom Von Deck Jeanie Ward Carol Woodliff Brad Yates

2 Copyright 2012 The Claflin Media Group LLC All rights reserved. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the prior consent of the publisher is an infringement of the copyright law. The Claflin Media Group LLC 3016 Claflin Rd. Manhattan, KS

3 Table of Contents Introduction 4 Happiness is Like a Naked Body...Mark Rose 5 The Tao of No Stress... Stuart Alve Olson 7 You are Good Enough... Brad Yates 10 The Secret to a Perpetual Meditative State...Tom Von Deck 15 If You Talk With the Animals...Dr. Steven Farmer 20 An Idle Search...Anne Rose 26 The Kingdom of Heaven...Emil Torabi 29 Life Mastery...Candace Stuart-Findlay 36 Who Are You?...Kristina Kaine 39 Savor Your Vision...Jeanie Ward 42 Noticing The Beauty in Your Neighborhood...Carol Woodliff 49 Awakening to Your Conscious Self...Gina Magee 51 Heaven on Earth...Miriam Madziga 54 Happiness is a Choice...Mark Rose 62 Afterward 68 Page 3

4 Introduction As a writer I have gotten several offers to be a part of a book project, but none of them felt right. So then I had the idea that I should do a book project, and the Heaven on Earth project was born. I chose the name Heaven on Earth because everyone has a different idea of what a perfect life looks like, and everyone s idea of how to achieve that perfect life is different, but the phrase Heaven on Earth can mean whatever you want it to mean. The articles I ve chosen for this book offer valuable information that can help you move towards Heaven on Earth no matter what Heaven on Earth looks like to you. Thank you for reading this introduction, I know you want to get into the articles so you can start living heaven on Earth, but there s one important thing you need to know. Reading this book will not change your life. In fact, reading any book will not change your life. It is only when you take the ideas you learn from reading and apply them that will you begin to see your life change. If you want to change your life, you must change your thoughts and your actions. The results you are getting in your life, the outer world, are determined by your thoughts, your inner world. If you want your outer world to change, you must first change your inner world. Hopefully, the articles in this book will give you fresh new ideas and techniques you can use to do just that. I m not saying that you have to change. I m not even saying that you need to change. I think you re perfect just as you are right now. But if you want to change, if you want your life to be different, if you want to live heaven on Earth, then the articles in this book will show you some steps to take. Imagine for a minute that your car has broken down. You can go to the store and buy the tools and the parts to fix your car. Then when you get home you can put the tools and the parts of the garage and expect the car to fix itself, or you can get to work. If you just leave the tools and the parts in the garage and expect the car to be fixed magically, you re probably going to be waiting a long time. If, however you use the tools and replace the parts, the car can be up and running fairly quickly. The key is you have to use the tools. You have to do something to improve the situation. This book is a tool, but like every other tool, you have to use it if you want to get anything done. Because these articles offer diverse points of view, read one article, and if you like it and it resonates with you, then spend some time applying the principles in that article. Visit the author s website for more information and insights, learn more about how to make that change, then move on to another article. You may find one article hits home and has more meaning for you than another article, and that s great. Do what feels right to you and work on the areas of your life that you want to work on. Page 4

5 All of the authors are concerned about you and your well-being. They all donated their time and their talents to help make this project possible. Please let them know how much you appreciate all they ve done by visiting their websites, signing up for their s, and even purchasing their products. The last thing I want to share with you is that Heaven on Earth is a possibility for you right now, this instant. Living a life of love, happiness, joy, abundance, and peace of mind is your birthright, and now is your time to claim it. It is my heartfelt wish that as you read the following articles and apply the wisdom you gain from them in your own life, you will indeed begin to experience Heaven on Earth. Enjoy and please visit to find out about new events and upcoming projects. Peace begins with me, Mark Rose Happiness is Like a Naked Body By Mark Rose Countless authors have come up with countless metaphors for what they think happiness is. I have heard people say happiness is everything from good health to a warm gun. Philosophers and poets have told us that happiness is a state of mind and a choice, and that happiness isn t a destination but a way to take the journey. For some people happiness is a good job, or a good spouse, or even obedient children. For others happiness is being alone or being with other people, sitting in silence or playing loud music. Happiness can be described in thousands of ways. I ve even used phrases like these myself, trying to really come up with a great simile for happiness, and then one day it hit me. Happiness is like a naked body. You may be thinking that what is going to follow is some rant about having a good sex life. It s not. If you want a good sex life, by all means have one, but that s not what this is about. We all have a naked body, we are all born naked, and we all spend at least some part of the day naked, unless of course you shower in your underwear. Underneath your clothes your body is naked. All your clothes do is hide your nakedness to the rest of the world. You can t change the fact that your body is naked. Page 5

6 You can cover yourself from head to toe and never let anyone see your naked body, but it s still there. No matter how much you cover up or how much you expose, your naked body is still there. Nothing you do will change the fact that you still have a naked body. Happiness is the same way. Happiness is your true nature. Your happiness is always inside you, always a part of you, and nothing you do will change that. You can cover your happiness with stress, worry, or fear, but none of that will change the fact that your true self is happy. Just like your clothes, the feelings that hide your happiness can be comfortable or uncomfortable. That old pair of jeans that you ve had for years is really great now, but when they were new, they may have been a little stiff and uncomfortable. The same is true with your feelings. The first time you were stressed about your work, it felt tight and uncomfortable, but now that stress fits you like an old pair of jeans. You get used to the feelings you have, and you think they re normal. Maybe you can t remember enjoying your work. All of your friends complain about their work, so you think a stressful work environment is normal, and then that uncomfortable feeling just starts to fit. But that doesn t mean you have to wear it, and it doesn t mean that it s the best way. Imagine someone who works in the office of a Fortune 500 company. If that person shows up for work in those old beat up jeans, it s not going to help his career. It may even cause him trouble by getting him fired. If that same person wears the right clothes to work but has his happiness covered with stress and worry, that will not help his career either, and he may get fired because of his attitude. The negative emotions you carry around may seem normal. It may seem as if you ve had them your whole life, but that s not who you really are. Your true self is happiness and love. You can remove those negative feelings from your life and let your true self come out. You re not meant to be upset, stressed, and worried. If you re angry, there s a problem. The secret to happiness is not in finding something new, but in releasing what s not working. Putting on more clothes will not expose your naked body, and putting on more feelings will not expose your true happiness. You may have moments of enjoyment, but that is not true happiness. True happiness only comes from letting go of what is blocking your happiness from flowing. Some people hide their naked bodies because they don t like the way they look, and they re afraid they won t be accepted by the people who see them. Some people hide their true self because they don t understand who they truly are, and they re afraid they won t be accepted by the people who see their true self. When you let go of the mask that s hiding the real you, you open yourself to truly love someone else and to be loved by someone else. This is a scary thought, especially if you think you need that person s acceptance. But when you peel away the layers and get down to your real self, your true self, you realize that you don t need the acceptance of anyone else. You realize that you Page 6

7 are love and happiness, and nothing can change that. When you can see yourself for who you truly are, it no longer matters to you how others see you. When you realize your happiness comes from inside you, you no longer rely on other people to make you happy. When you can see yourself as beautiful, you clothe yourself in beauty. When you see yourself as beautiful, you tend to wear nicer clothes because you want to accentuate your beautiful body. When you see your body as ugly, you tend to wear clothes that hide your body. The same is true with your inner self. When you see your inner self as beautiful you bathe yourself in love and happiness. If you see yourself as ugly or unworthy, you bathe yourself in negative emotions. As you examine your life, if you notice that you re not happy, you can change those negative feelings just like you can change your clothes. It s easier if you start with something small. Start by noticing just one negative emotion or bad feeling that you re having and let it go. When you look at it, realize that it s not who you truly are and just say, I m not going to let that bother me. I will no longer let that feeling control me. If it comes back, you can let it go again. With practice, you can learn to let go of all of your negative feelings. The more negativity you can let go of, the happier you ll be, and the more you practice, the easier it will be to let go. As you remove the stress, the fear, and the worry from your life, your happiness, your true self, will come out. Let go of anything that doesn t serve you. Let go of anything that isn t helping you, and accept the fact that you truly are happy. Accept your happiness now. Mark Rose is an author, teacher, and coach. You can learn more about him at If you have questions about any of his products or would like to inquire about coaching please contact Mark at Mark is also the editor and founder of the Heaven on Earth Project You can sign up for Mark s daily inspirational at either site. Thank you for your support. An excerpt from: Page 7

8 The Tao of No Stress By Stuart Alve Olson What is the Tao of No Stress? When some of my students first suggested that I write about stress elimination, my immediate reaction was to say no, mostly because I ve rarely suffered from the problems of stress, much less made it a focus of my study. But then I realized that my years of Taoist practices had indirectly provided me with numerous practical tools which alleviated the effects of stress. Taoism, at its very core is about achieving heightened mental and physical states of tranquility, which can be very useful to the modern-day sufferer of stress. I ve spent over twenty-five years studying, learning, writing about, and teaching the daily disciplines of how to deepen one s state of relaxation and let go of physical and mental tension and anxiety; that is, how to let go of stress. I didn t consciously set out to learn how to stop suffering from stress, rather to learn how to achieve tranquility and relaxation of body and mind through the practices of tai chi, qigong, massage, and meditation, which just happened to create the conditions of not suffering the effects of stress. Early in my life I was fortunate enough to have studied teachings and practices that showed me how to yield, accept, and remain calm in the worst of situations, so suffering the negative effects of stress hasn t been a factor in my life. I am by no means claiming that my life is trouble-free, but I ve learned how not to pile on the additional, negative effects of stress to whatever difficulties I m experiencing. There is a familiar saying that warns never to ask people who are not rich how to get rich; if they knew, wouldn t they already be rich? In Taoism, no student would ever seek to learn from a teacher who had not achieved high levels of tranquility. No martial art student would attempt to learn from a teacher who had no martial skills. The same applies in finding out how to eliminate stress. Just as no psychologist or therapist would assume or expect that my years of teaching students how to calm and focus themselves would qualify me to practice psychology or therapy, I cannot assume or expect the psychologist s training necessarily ensures that they are truly competent in eliminating their patients stress, or their own for that matter. If you want to know how to eliminate stress, ask someone who is without stress. Taoist teachings, from which the material in this book is drawn, contain wonderfully practical methods and advice for eliminating stress. The success of these practices can be witnessed in the long lives of great Taoist Masters. Moreover, the methods presented in this book are a distillation of the past twenty-five years of my own experience. I can tell you that they ve worked for me; and I am confident they will prove accessible and useful for anyone. Page 8

9 The Tao of No Stress A central theme of Taoism is active nonaction (in Chinese, wei wu wei), abiding by, noninterference, nonaggression, and non-contention. Active nonaction is a positive way of living in accord with nature and the self. Our lives become stressed because we are constantly actively in action, forcing our way through life s conditions and experiences, so much so that the activity is seen as more important than the doer of the actions. When, however, we lose the desire to interfere, to be aggressive, and to contend, peace and tranquility infuse us, and so we emulate active nonaction. Taoism does not speak to the masses, but to the individual. It is not concerned with how to be worldly, but how to be naturally just so, as the great Taoist philosopher Changtzu expressed it. Stress comes from too much attachment to worldly affairs and concerns and not enough love for the well-being of the self. Everything we do is a reflection of what is going on inside ourselves, and when we are too much attached to worldly concerns, we not only create stress, but we also pass it to others and out into the world. When the self is content with itself, problems and stresses cease. My Taoist teacher loved to say, Health is of the utmost importance; everything else is secondary. This means that focusing on your health and well-being will in the end take care of everything else in your life. Being healthy, being alive, being content, naturally just so: the concept is so simple that is easily overlooked. It is from these Taoist ideas that I form the basis of this work for the elimination of stress. I can see no other solution or cure to the pressures and stresses of the world except to make efforts toward health, living, and contentment, just as the Taoist of old exemplified with their own lives. The Three Paths to Eliminating Stress At the heart of Taoist teachings we find three basic and important criteria for eliminating stress. The first is to acquire a mind-set that allows for the release of your self trained responses to stressful situations. As you begin to pay attention to releasing stress, it should become clear that the responses to stress are often habitual. Take, for example, a person who experiences degrees of road rage. Every time he drives, this person will repeatedly experience road rage as the expression of stress, even though the stress often relates more to some other problem in his life then it does his actual driving experience. In Taoism, it is thought that a person is not necessarily violent simply because he hates someone else it is because there is something in himself he hates, and his violent actions are but an external venting of his own inner turmoil. Unfortunately, habitual responses to stress, such as road rage or violence often perpetuate further causes for stress. Identifying your self trained responses to stress and acquiring a mind-set that immediately recognizes and releases these responses is the first step in becoming stress free. Page 9

10 The second criterion is to learn how to pay attention to yourself in a positive manner rather than a negative manner in which you focus only on the negative effects of your experience of being stressed. This paying attention to yourself is very simple, as it is accomplished by massaging and pressing certain areas of the body to alleviate the negative physical effects of stress. These massaging methods alter the central nervous system s impulses for reacting to the stress and instead train it to respond to the elimination of stress. For example, if you are one of those persons who experience frequent bouts with roadrage, the cure is first to release the rage, to let it go. Then pull over and utilize both the massaging and breathing techniques to release the stress. Over time this will create a self trained positive response when experiencing road-rage, or any other stress. The third criterion is to learn how to breathe stress away. Breathing is the most important bodily function we have; it directly affects the circulation of the blood and our central nervous system. In Taoist spiritual cultivation, nothing plays a bigger role than the discipline and practice of breathing methods. The Chinese term qi, the internal energy that all Taoists aspire to experience flowing through their body, translates simultaneously as both breath and vital life energy. Qi is the animator of life, for without it the body is lifeless. When the qi is low in the abdomen, the body and mind are tranquil. When the qi is high in the chest, the body and mind are agitated. Therefore, based on the Taoist concept of qi, the elimination of stress relies greatly on our ability to breathe correctly. This is an excerpt from Stuart Alve Olson s book, The Tao of No Stress. Mr. Olsen is the head teacher at the Sanctuary of Tao in Phoenix, Arizona. You can learn more about him at his website and on his Amazon page where he has over twenty books available &sr=1-1 Page 10

11 You Are Good Enough by Brad Yates Although chances are very good that we have never met, I feel quite confident in saying this. You, my friend, are good enough. Citing my lack of familiarity with your traits and abilities, you might find yourself dismissing me as any kind of authority on the subject. Ha! says you. Good enough at what? you scoff (though I hope you won t). Well, I certainly couldn t suggest that you are good enough at the violin to play in a premier orchestra (though, for all I know, you might be, or maybe you ve never played a note in your life). And I m obviously in no position to recommend you as a starting player on a professional sports team (which, unbeknownst to me, you may already be). No, I m not talking about any particular skills or talents which you may or may not have. I m talking about something much deeper, something that is an important foundation upon which to build skills. What I mean is that, as a person, you are good enough. You are innately worthy and deserving of your place here on this planet and of the riches that are found here. You are good enough to have the life you desire. You are good enough to experience an abundance of health, wealth, and happiness. Maybe you are one of those lucky ones who already acknowledges this, and even if you are, you may be even better than you realize. Why would I tell you this? Because in working with many people over the years, one of the most prevalent misconceptions people have of themselves is that they are somehow not good enough. They aren t worthy. They aren t deserving. They are lucky to get what they have, even as they complain about it. And darned if that doesn t fly in the face of my absolute conviction that, underneath it all, we are all good enough. How else did we get here? Surely we didn t just bypass Quality Control on our way to this lifetime. But, stuff happens in life that makes many of us question our worth. We have experiences where our performance seems less than adequate, and we label ourselves as a failure. Some folks are unfortunate enough to have come across authority figures who have insisted on their lack of value. It s really sad to see the damage such ignorance can create. Page 11

12 Maybe you ve resigned yourself to a belief that you are somehow not good enough and therefore undeserving of a better life, or that a better life would be somehow wrong. Have you ever been told that feeling or speaking well of yourself is arrogant and wrong? If so, in order to protect yourself from being a bad person, you will feel compelled to argue with any suggestion that you possess real value, even if that suggestion comes from your own heart. Because in your heart, you know the truth. This need to deny your value is self-sabotage which is actually misguided self-love. You really are trying to take care of yourself. Acknowledge yourself for that. Appreciate that part of you is doing such a good job of protecting you from the consequences of acknowledging your true worth (such as being labeled as being conceited). Then decide that you don t need that kind of protection anymore. Those limiting beliefs about yourself are outdated. You ve been doing the best you could based on your old programming, but you now have the opportunity to do better. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to diffuse these feelings that, well intentioned as they may be, sabotage your real well-being. Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as EFT or Meridian Tapping) is one of the easiest and most effective methods. This new technique is being used effectively by a growing number of people to enhance all areas of their lives, including professional and financial success. EFT is a meridian-based energy therapy developed by Gary Craig from the landmark discoveries of Dr. Roger Callahan. Based on the same principles as acupuncture, though using tapping rather than needles, EFT is a simple technique that often provides rapid relief from physical-emotional issues (e.g. fear, anger, sadness, worry, cravings, nightmares, physical pain, and much more). It can also clear the negative thoughts that block our best performance, freeing us up to improve in any area of life, including academics and sports. Studies have shown that tapping effectively lowers levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is released into the system when you are confronted with what you perceive to be a threatening situation. If you thought of EFT as nothing more than a quick technique to use when you are experiencing stress, it would make a huge difference in your life. Take a moment to think. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and say, I am good enough. What do you feel? Think about having greater self-esteem. What thoughts and feelings come up around that? Yes, your first response might be, That would be awesome! But take a moment to dig a little deeper. It may take a little more focused attention than most folks are willing to give, but unless you already have a healthy knowledge of how awesome you are, there is probably some stress coming up. The warning signs are starting to kick in to stop you from moving forward. You Page 12

13 may find yourself feeling afraid of the trouble you d get yourself into with such a positive self-image. As you tap away that stress, you are tapping away your emotional connection to the limiting beliefs about yourself. Without those, you have the freedom to live in a new way. Another way to put it is that Emotional Freedom Techniques give you the emotional freedom to make better choices, which lead to better actions, which lead to a better life. And you can start right now. While EFT has yielded impressive results in treating physical and psychological issues, not everyone will benefit in the same way. The information presented here is not intended to replace appropriate treatment by a physician or mental health professional. The instructions offered here can provide great benefit in feeling better, but are only a brief introduction to EFT. There have been no documented negative side effects from using EFT, and there should be no problem with you doing the tapping as described here. However, different people require different care, and you must take responsibility for your own well-being. If you have any concerns, please consult a doctor prior to using this technique. It should also be noted that while many one minute wonders occur, it doesn t always happen this way. More often, some persistence is required to fully obtain the desired outcome. Also, sometimes the effects are permanent and sometimes the relief lasts only for a short period, only to be retriggered by another aspect of the issue. It only takes a few moments to tap again with a refresher round. The technique has been shown over and over to work, but it might take some time. That being said, let s learn EFT. To begin with, identify the troubling emotion, and create what is called a Reminder Phrase, the wording which describes and/or will bring up the emotion. For instance, your Reminder Phrase might be. I doubt I m good enough. We want a phrase that will remind you what the issue is, so that the disturbance in the energy system remains present until it is balanced. Otherwise, it is possible to become distracted from the issue while thinking of which points to tap, and the anxiety may seem to dissipate. As you make the statement, note how uncomfortable you are about this issue on a scale of zero (not at all) to ten (as upset as possible). This is called a SUD scale Subjective Units of Discomfort. It is sometimes difficult to evaluate this, but try to do so, as it will be effective in recognizing that relief is being gained. We start the technique with the Setup. There is likely to be some reluctance to letting go of this issue. Remember, there is a reason you have this feeling or belief. This desire on the part of the subconscious mind to hold onto this issue is called psychological reversal you are reversed about your desire to make this change, and there is actually a reversal in the polarity of your energy flow. The Setup clears the way for the tapping to work. It is a statement of self-acceptance in spite of the negative emotion or experience you are seeking to remove. Using your Reminder Phrase, it is stated like this: Even though I doubt I m good enough, I choose to accept myself. You will repeat this three times, and you can also interchange the words accept, forgive and love as you feel appropriate. It also helps, Page 13

14 if you are willing to state forgiveness and acceptance at the end of the third repetition for anyone else who may have contributed to this issue. While repeating the Setup, you will tap with two fingers on the karate chop point on the edge of your hand. The meridians run along both sides of the body, so you can tap with either hand on either side of the body. You will then proceed to tap on the following points while repeating the Reminder Phrase: Put it together, and you have what we call: THE BASIC RECIPE 1. The Setup: Repeat 3 times this affirmation: "Even though I have this (fear, pain, issue with so-and-so, etc.), I choose to accept (love, forgive) myself." while continuously tapping the Karate Chop point. 2. The Sequence: Using two fingers, tap between 5 and 10 times on each of the following energy points while repeating the Reminder Phrase at each point. Crown (Cr) Eyebrow (EB) Side of Eye (SE) Under Eye (UE) Under Nose (UN) Chin (Ch) Collar Bone (CB) Under Arm (UA) Finish the round by taking a deep breath. Then check to see where your level of discomfort Page 14

15 is. Remember to rate your discomfort on a scale of 0-10 each time so that you can monitor your progress with each issue. You will most likely feel more relaxed, and it is possible that the negative emotion will be gone. You can make up Reminder Phrases based on the thoughts and feelings you experienced earlier when thinking about being good enough. For example: Even though I ve failed at things in the past, I choose to love and accept myself Even though I don t deserve a good life, I choose to love and accept myself Perhaps you can recall specific events that contribute to emotional discomfort around money. EFT can be even more effective when targeting specifics, such as: Even though my parents said I was lazy when I got that bad report card, I choose to love and accept myself Even though my teacher embarrassed me in front of the class, I choose to love and accept myself As you tap, you will be reducing the stress, and clearing out the emotional discomfort around these thoughts. It may be very quick, or it may take some persistence, but these old beliefs will start to lose their hold over you. Keep it up, and you may find yourself laughing at these ideas. You will eventually find it impossible to let such ideas hold you back. There is an abundance of good in this world, and you deserve to experience it. The more you can allow yourself to feel good about yourself, the more you will see it showing up in your life. And not only will that be good for you, it will benefit countless others as well Brad Yates Brad is known internationally for his work with EFT and has presented alongside Jack Canfield, Joe Vitale, and Bob Doyle. He is the author of the best-selling children s book The Wizard s Wish, co-author of the best-seller, Freedom at Your Fingertips, and is a featured expert in the film The Tapping Solution. Page 15

16 The Secret to a Perpetual Meditative State By Tom Von Deck Heaven on Earth is within you and all around you always. You just don t always see it. On a rainy day, the sun is always shining. It s always there. This may strike you as an obvious analogy, at least to your intellect and that part of you which perceives things intuitively. However, you can understand this your whole life without taking the steps to understand it on an increasingly experiential level. When you don t take a step forward every day toward discovering that radiant sun behind the clouds, you eventually find an increasing feeling of emptiness as you advance in years. It s as if you haven t been doing your job, the job you were put on this planet to do. The clock keeps ticking and it feels like time is running out and you re running around in circles. Here, you re going to learn how to make it much easier to take some of these essential steps to finding Heaven on Earth. One of the most crucial of these steps is meditation. Meditation is not just a set of stringent practices that reduces stress and improves health. Meditation is your natural state of mind when you re not resisting experience. It s a moment when you re not pushing away uncomfortable experiences and when you re not clinging to that which is comfortable. You are practicing the art of letting experience happen so that you can experience it on deeper and deeper levels over time. Think about this. The opposite of heaven on Earth is unhappiness. What causes unhappiness? When the ego goes through life kicking and screaming the whole time, do you experience happiness? You may experience moments of pleasure, comfort, and pain, but none of these experiences amount to happiness. Happiness is behind the pleasurable and painful experiences. You can liken them to waves on the ocean. Behind the waves is an almost infinitely calm and still place. We like to think of ourselves as the waves, but our true nature is like that of the ocean. Deep, calm, still. A passing storm cannot disturb the ocean. It can only disturb the waves. Through calm observation of the waves, no matter how turbulent, you discover that you are something much more expansive and vast. This is where happiness resides. Meditation practices streamline this process by providing increasingly consistent access to this special place. Again, this is just theory until you gradually experience it on deeper and deeper levels. That is the hard part. The ego plays all kinds of tricks on you to keep you from doing this because it enjoys the comfortable and familiar. It does not want to experience too much at one time. It s also quite afraid of what it might discover within. There are also other obstacles to a meditative life. According to surveys, time is the biggest Page 16

17 factor. There are ways to beat the time factor and the ego s resistance so that cultivating a meditative state of mind becomes a much more natural process. If you re ready to overcome your obstacles and realize peace instead of reading about it, read on. First, let s break down meditation into its two essential components. Concentration is the art of falling in love with a chosen object. In meditation, the object is usually something simple and repetitive or constant. Popular objects of focus include the breath, a word, a phrase, a candle flame, a visualized image, and body sensations. During a meditation session, you do your best to keep your mind focused exclusively on the object. Over time, you become more deeply absorbed in the object. If it s the breath, you may become intimately aware of the rising and falling of the abdomen with increasing depth. You may also notice that each breath has its own character as your awareness becomes more subtle and you begin to merge with it like two lovers. As with lovers, a sense of oneness develops between you and the object. Even expert meditators are not perfect at this. The mind has a tendency to wander. In purely concentration style meditations, you simply bring your attention back to the object whenever you think of it. However, with most styles, you use the principle of mindfulness before going back to your lover. Mindfulness is the art of being present with your moment to moment experience without resistance. The ego tends to chase after comfort, familiarity, and pleasure. It also tends to bury experience that is painful or uncomfortable. This includes thoughts and emotions that come up as the mind settles. Mindfulness simply means to watch the thoughts, emotions and other experiences in a detached and calm manner. In a meditation practice, you practice mindfulness when the mind strays from its object. Thoughts will come up that distract you, and so will worry, itching, emotions, and other distractions. When this happens, you pay attention to what is going on and take note of it as it occurs. You can use labels like thinking to let yourself know that thinking is happening in the present moment. Imagine yourself as the ocean and your thoughts and experiences as the waves. Waves rise and fall. You can also imagine yourself as the sky with your thoughts being clouds. The clouds just float through the sky. Similarly, thoughts and emotions are just processes moving through you. They are not to be pushed away or clung to. After you take note of what is going on in the moment, you may notice that some of the less sticky thoughts begin to vanish naturally as you observe them with love. You are ready to go back to your object of focus. Now you know what meditation is if you didn t know already. One of the tricks to make the Page 17

18 meditation process easier is to find the lover that you are most compatible with. Not every man can fall in love with the same woman. Compatibility is a major factor. A lover with a compatible partner is going to find it easier to concentrate when in the other person s presence. It s much easier to immerse yourself in the subtle details of that person than it is with the mailman or your mother in law. Choosing an object of focus is a matter of experimentation. The first step in your experiment is to be familiar with your options. There are many ways to classify meditation objects, but for our purposes, let s divide them into three categories: verbal, visual, and kinesthetic. All of these can further be divided into devotional/religious and secular. Verbal meditations are words, phrases, syllables and chants. Om is a very popular syllable in the western world because it centers you and calms the forehead area where the pineal gland is. Other verbal meditations include Jesus is lord, hare Krishna, Lord make me an instrument of thy peace, peaceful calm, joyful calm, shalom, and even nonsense words like tupataya. All these phrases can be spoken aloud or silently with the inhale, the exhale, or both (though obviously you can t speak aloud on the inhale). You can also sing them in your favorite melody. Find a phrase that you can fall in love with. Experiment with different ones. Kinesthetic meditations work with sensations. Movement meditations such as Tai Chi Chuan qualify for this category because you are focusing on the subtle sensations associated with movement and, at times, the subtle flow of chi through your meridians. Other kinesthetic objects include the breath, body sensations, and certain types of energy work. Some people focus on the feelings associated with being with their beloved deity or soulmate. These are kinesthetic with perhaps a slight visual element. Popular visual meditations include childhood nature spots, waterfalls, waves of light cleansing your mind and body, and deity visualizations. Just like the other categories, there are oodles and oodles of visualized objects to choose from. Some are simple like the waterfall example, and others are mental movies. I usually recommend the simple ones because it s easy to get to know your object when it s not constantly changing. Don t let the visual fool you. In most visualizations you focus on all the senses, including smell, touch, hearing, and taste. As you relax into your lover, everything becomes more intimate and vivid through all sense channels. Now that you know some of the various meditation objects you can use, you can experiment for yourself and find out what works. For beginners, it s recommended that you learn a simple mindfulness meditation with the breath as the object of focus. From there, you can change your object and figure out what you re most compatible with. I offer a guided breath meditation video at Page 18

19 Don t just do a bunch of meditation sessions in a row and go with the one that relaxes you the most. After three meditation sessions, it is likely you ll respond well to the last one. This is because you ve just spent a considerable amount of time practicing meditation. Try a couple of techniques every day. Revisit one of the techniques you used on day one during day three. Switch it up a bit. Before long, you should get a good sense of what works for you. Follow your hunches. Once you have a good object, spend between ten minutes and one hour per day on it. What I ve described are the two main components of a simple meditation technique. Many formal practices expand beyond this simple anatomy for the purpose of enhancing the meditation process. You may notice that many forms of yoga have the end goal of meditation in mind. According to the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, meditation is the seventh limb of the eight limb yoga system. All the previous limbs lead up to the seventh and eighth (samadhi) limbs. In yoga studios, you hold poses and stretches and follow this physical activity with breathing exercises. In some cases, the class ends with a brief meditation/relaxation session in the corpse pose (lying on the back). There is a rhyme and reason to the sequence of exercises in many forms of yoga. You are creating a process that leads the mind and body into a state conducive to meditation. You can think of everything that lead up to meditation as a warm up. Most meditation traditions have warm ups. The simplest warm up is the famous relax and take a few deep breaths. Some Christian contemplatives begin with scripture and prayer to set the mood so to speak. Other traditions utilize methods to generate feelings in the body through self massage, light slapping, and other methods. Prayers of forgiveness and gratitude also work. I offer tons of options in my books and other programs. You ll find many such exercises on video sharing sites as well. When I m really up for it and wish to do a full sequence, I tend to start with physical exercises. Some involve stretching and others generate feeling in the body. I follow this by working on more subtle aspects of being such as emotions (kindness prayers work well) followed by deep breathing exercises. The journey toward increasing subtlety tends to mimic the transition of form into spirit. Spirit is absolute motionless stillness, but it s reachable through tuning into reality with increasing subtlety until you discover what is behind the flux. There is another warm up strategy that is good for beginners who find it very hard to concentrate for more than a few minutes. Let s say you devote an hour per day to meditation. You can meditate in five minute blocks and do some stretching and warm up exercises in between. One of the best ways to meditate more easily is to institute an integration strategy. Muslims pray five times per day, and the root of this practice is meditative. When you pause a few Page 19

20 times per day and devote this time to spiritual matters, you create a momentum of peace. The peace will build below the level of consciousness until you have a sudden quantum leap filled with greater peace and higher energy. When you sit down (or stand) for your twenty minute meditation session, you have already planted the seeds for a deeper experience. You do not have to pray to a deity if that just ain t your thing. Just use the down times of your day, like elevator rides for example, and interweave some exercises that are grounding, balancing, and centering. Aim for at least three minutes out of each hour and even five minutes if you can handle it. Take a few deep breaths, a stretch break, a gratitude break, or whatever works for you. After a month or two, you will be kissing yourself in appreciation as stress begins to roll off you in a way you ve probably never experienced. Integration strategies really help with the time factor for a couple of reasons. One is that you re getting in a lot of meditation time without having to schedule anything. It just integrates into your slow moments throughout the day. The other reason is that it will add much more quality to your formal practice when you get to that. You may find that you don t even have to spend as much time in formal practice to get the same effect. Keep in mind that your enhanced meditation practice is not going to be blissful every single time. It will be at times, but you may just become more aware of your anger, your crankiness, and your anxiety as the mind relaxes its grip. Calmly observe these waves and let go. Keep doing this, and your capacity for true bliss, true joy, true love, and true peace will reach greater and greater heights because none of these are emotions. They are behind the emotions. You are gradually realizing that heaven on earth is already here. Again, bliss is not the point of meditation. The long term peace that comes from your unfolding oceanic nature is the goal. You can only achieve it by making friends with ALL your experiences and gradually learn to observe them with love. Heaven on Earth is a journey and not a destination. Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, speaker, and author of Oceanic Mind The Deeper Meditation Training Course. He has been studying mind body practices since the late 1980 s at approximately the age of twelve. You can get his 200 page book, Oceanic Mind, as an ebook for 99 cents by visiting If You Talk With The Animals... By Dr. Steven Farmer Page 20

21 Joanne is talking with a friend in her backyard when a hummingbird flies up to her and hovers about half a meter in front of her face for several seconds and looks right into her eyes. Upon discussing this with her friend, she realizes that Hummingbird was telling her to lighten up and not take life so seriously. After a lengthy illness, Alicia s father dies. She and her fiancé take a walk on the beach later that same morning and happen to walk in front of her father s favorite hotel. About twenty meters out a lone dolphin jumps in and out of the waves. Alicia immediately knows that Dolphin is carrying a message from her father that he is at peace in the spirit world. Buttons, the family cat, awakens Silvia, a mother of three, by persistently meowing and pawing at her stomach. Since this is highly unusual behavior for Buttons, Silvia gets up, smells smoke, and immediately gets her husband, children, and their many pets out of the house. The cat s efforts and Silvia s openness to hearing Button s communication not only save their family but help save the majority of the house from burning. These and many other stories plus my personal experiences continue to amaze and inspire me and leave no doubt that our animal brothers and sisters love us and want to help us. It s a matter of paying attention and learning to communicate with the animals, and even more importantly, with the spirit of any animal that presents itself through a physical representative, such as the hummingbird, dolphin, or cat in the opening stories. As Chief Dan George, chief of the Salish tribe in British Columbia and a gifted actor ( Little Big Man and other films), said, If you talk with the animals, they will talk with you, and you will know each other. If you don t talk with them, you will not know them, and what you do not know, you fear. What one fears, one destroys. Talking with the animals requires a broader meaning of talk. It s actually more about listening listening with your eyes, ears, mind, and senses, and being open to receiving what they re trying to convey to you. I suggest the book, Kinship with All Animals by J. Allen Boone, published over fifty years ago. In it Boone describes his journey of discovery about how animals communicate. His curiosity began when he was hired to take care of Strongheart, a dog who was a movie star of the time. He noticed different instances where Strongheart seemed to be trying to tell him something, but he wasn t sure how to interpret what Strongheart was communicating. Thus began his journey. In one passage Mr. Boone describes a friend of his, a fellow who lived in the desert who had a unique gift of communicating with animals. Boone writes, He is known as a desert rat. The only name he has had for many years is Mojave Dan, but that is all he ever needs. He loves the desert, and it is constantly revealing to him its deepest secrets. I very much wanted to get in touch with him because up to that time he was the only human I had ever personally known who could carry on silent two-way conversations with animals and really share ideas with them. The real mystery was not so much Dan s Page 21

22 ability silently to communicate his thoughts to the animal but his capacity to understand when the animal spoke to him. He is a strict observer of the ancient desert rule that if you cannot improve on the desert silence then you should keep your mouth shut. But I thought there was some excuse for a certain amount of talking on this occasion; I had a major problem in human-animal relationships and had come a long distance to ask Dan s advice. I told him how Strongheart and I happened to be living together; I told him of the difficulty I was having in getting at the real truth about the big dog; and I asked him what he thought I should do next. There was no response at all from Dan. Just the desert silence. A silence so intense that it was rather disturbing to my city-sound-accustomed ears. Patient I waited... and waited... and waited. But not a sound or a movement did my friend make. One of two things seemed to have happened: either what I had said did not much interest him, or he had gone to sleep. Much more time elapsed. Finally Dan yawned and stretched. Then he spoke, aiming his words at the stars. There s facts about dogs, he said, and there s opinions about them. The dogs have the facts, and the humans have the opinions. If you want facts about a dog, always get them straight from the dog. If you want opinions, get them from the human. A real expert on human-animal relationships had spoken. Having done so, he rolled over on his side and this time definitely went to sleep. Animal Spirit Guides and Messages It may not be the specific animal that is communicating but often the spirit of that animal that is trying to reach us and give us a message. This takes animal communication to another level, one where the essence, or spirit of the entire species of the animal, is delivering a message for you through a physical representative. When the spirit animal is trying to reach you, they ll do so in a couple of different ways. Either they ll show up in an unusual way, like the hummingbird did with Joanne, and/or repeatedly over a short period of time. These appearances may be of the actual animal or else a symbol of that animal. For example you hear an owl hooting one evening, the next day go to a store where your attention is drawn to an owl figurine, and that afternoon turn on the television and there s a show about owls. Owl s spirit, or Owl (capitalized implies the spirit animal) is trying to reach you. Whenever you think that an animal spirit guide is offering a message, the simplest thing to do is close your eyes and ask the spirit of that animal what the message is. Once you do, pay attention to everything that happens after you ve asked. You may get visual impressions, hear a voice in your head, feel something strongly, or else get a thought that pops into your head. These are the four major avenues of perceiving spiritual information visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and cognitive. The information can come in any Page 22

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