Make That Change
By Jerry Brownstein
“If you wanna make the world a better place. Take a look at yourself, and then make that change”
(‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson)
Many people are feeling a powerful urge to find new meaning in their lives... meaning that goes beyond the day to day activities that take up most of their time and energy. They are becoming more and more aware that something needs to change; that there is another dimension to life that lies beyond the compartmentalized box that society has placed them in. This feeling is the evolutionary impulse of our times. It is urging us to strive for our full potential. The key to reaching that potential is for individuals to expand their awareness so that they make choices in their lives that are in synch with their inner wisdom.
So how do we go about achieving this more evolved consciousness? Some people are jump-started by a drastic life-changing experience like a powerful epiphany, a kundalini awakening, or a near death experience... but these are extremely rare. For most of us our transformation begins with reading a few spiritual books, going to an occasional retreat, attending workshops, taking a weekly yoga class, etc.. These are all worthwhile activities that can help to spark the expansion of consciousness... but they are not enough. If you really want to grow and evolve it is necessary to make the commitment to create a daily practice that enriches all aspects of your being: Body, Mind and Soul.
You create a practice by cultivating new habits that I call “blissiplines”. These are actually disciplines, but that word has too many negative connotations, so it works better to prefix your new habits with “bliss” rather than “dis”. Your daily practice can start with as little as ten minutes each morning and then grow as you become more comfortable with it. We are all unique individuals so you will develop a personalized mixture of blissiplines that work for you and your lifestyle. Physical practices like yoga, Qi Gong and energy exercises are blended with the inner explorations of meditation, affirmations, visualization and conscious breathing. Body, mind and spirit are all nourished so that you feel your true inner beauty on all levels, and can bring that wonderful energy into every area of your life.
Getting started is a very individual matter. Some people love to read and teach themselves; others prefer to have personal guidance; and most of us respond best to a combination of both. The one ingredient that is essential to the success of any daily practice is meditation. Not only does it reduce stress, increase mental clarity, and strengthen your immune system, but it is the proven pathway to a more evolved consciousness. Meditation calms your mind and opens the doors of your perception so that you are able to receive new ways of thinking and feeling. It is not necessary to meditate in any prescribed way - whatever you can do to truly quiet your mind is a useful meditation. The important thing is to meditate every day, even if only for a few minutes. Most people find that it works best to meditate first thing in the morning before your mind gets a grip on you. Making meditation the cornerstone of your daily practice insures that you will continue to strengthen the connection to your inner stillness.
There are two powerful practices that you can use in conjunction with meditation to bring more peace, joy and love into your life: Affirmations and Visualizations. Affirmations are positive messages about ourselves and the world around us that reprogram our inner guidance. Repeating them over and over makes new connections in your subconscious mind… changing your core belief system to reflect positive values. Visualization is a creative way to envision in your mind’s eye the healthy and joyous life that you desire. It stimulates your imagination to be the bridge between the limited world that your mind is trapped in, and the beautiful world that your heart knows is possible.
Inner explorations soothe the soul and clarify the mind, but we must not forget the body. Remember, we are holistic beings so our goal is to have Mind, Body and Spirit all working in harmony. Your body is the temple that houses your spirit, so it is important to keep it healthy, strong and vibrant. Everyone knows that the keys to good health are regular exercise and eating right… but knowing this and actually doing it are two very different things. The good news is that blending healthy habits into your daily life can be a simple and easy process. There are graceful forms of exercise that can add a physical dimension to your practice. Yoga, Qi Gong, and the Five Tibetan Rites are among the most popular and effective practices that blend physical movement with inner peace. Special Energy Exercises are a powerful way to work through your meridians and get your body balanced and flowing. A good way to get extra benefits from physical exercises is to do them in conjunction with affirmations. Double tasking is generally a recipe for lack of focus, but in this case it can actually sharpen your intention and deepen your practice. Whether you are lifting, running, walking or doing yoga, it is easy to get in a rhythm of adding a positive message to your movements. Life begins with your breath, so learning how to breathe consciously is another important part of your physical and spiritual health.
These are just some of the many tools that you can use to enrich your life by including them in your daily practice, but the most important factor is your intention to actually do them. If you try to do too much at first you may get discouraged, so start by keeping your goal reasonable – five to ten minutes each morning. Once you have established that as a regular part of your life you can then deepen your practice by gradually adding things. Over time you will feel yourself letting go of old ways of being and believing. Your practice will give you the power to make conscious choices that reflect the wisdom of your heart. Every day... in ways large and small... you will become ‘a pioneer of your future rather than a prisoner of your past.’ •