Mindfulness

MINDFULNESS: Beyond Mindfulness. In the Live Conscious community we’re interested in meditation and equally interested in what happens after we get up off our meditation cushions. How do we carry mindfulness with us throughout our days—paying attention and staying conscious? We use a very pragmatic method—working with three different degrees of consciousness—so that we become aware of what degree of consciousness we are in and what degree we would like to be in. Learning to navigate consciousness not only supports mindfulness, but also is a key to unlocking our hearts and making our relationships easy. There is beauty in living this way, holding every moment, even the difficult ones, as something worth noticing.

Be More Peaceful

We can learn to be more peaceful and, in turn, create a more peaceful world. I, along with 19 others, have just recently returned home from yet another remarkable retreat, or “lab” as we fondly refer to them. For me this retreat was sweeter than any previous—mostly...

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How To Lengthen Your Life

The truth is we’ll all be dying in a moment. When you look back at your life so far, how quickly has it gone by? Long and drawn out, or has the time gone by in the snap of your fingers? At death’s door most people say: “My life went by in a flash.” Why?...

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Be Here Now Like Maow

Years of study with a Japanese Zen master gave me a strong referent experience of what it means to be here now. He was my first Zen teacher and now there’s our cat, Maow. We can all learn to be here now, like Maow. He is the master of simple enlightenment. Maow is...

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A Mindful Life

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so...

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Emotional Toolbox

Spring is slowly arriving in Toronto. The trees are leafing, tulips and daffodils abound and the lilacs will be here in a week. The magnolia trees are stunning and the lawns are a vivid green from the months of snow and early spring rains. It’s still cool, but I’m...

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Back To The Future—Now

BACK TO THE FUTURE Yesterday I wore my NOW watch all day long.  This watch was a gift from my husband, Jake, on Valentines Day. The only thing on it’s face is the word NOW—a timely reminder to focus on NOW. BUT NOW IS NOT ALWAYS AN EASY PLACE TO BE Right now I...

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Protected: Spacious Meditation

Here are instructions for the meditation: If you haven’t ever done the Spacious Meditation before you may want to listen to this short introduction. Once you’ve heard it, you probably won’t need to hear it again. However, feel free to download it if...

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I Never Step In The Same River Twice

For a dozen years, I attended a lot of meditation retreats. Two or three times a year I immersed myself in the practice, for week-long intensives. Before each new Zen ‘sesshin’, as they were called, or Vipassana retreat, I struggled with whether to take the time out...

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Peaceful State of Mind

How to achieve peace We recently received a request for help from a man who was frustrating himself with not being able to maintain a peaceful state of mind. He was sick of the rollercoaster he found himself riding on a daily basis. At times he would find himself...

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Patience

Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.           — Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton   How many times a day do you check your email? I don’t even want to ask myself that question. I don’t want to know because I’m pretty...

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How To Meditate

Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.                                                                                                 Shunryu Suzuki   For many years I attended week-long meditation retreats.  After each retreat I would...

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How To Stop Obsessive Thoughts

Many people experience obsessive thoughts of one kind of another. Not only can we drive ourselves crazy with these thoughts, but when our negative obsessive thoughts are about another person, such thoughts are potentially harmful—and at the very least they are unkind....

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Being Kind

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Dali Lama   A patient recently shared with me the difficulties he was having relating with his mother. There were parts of her—certain behaviors and attitudes of hers—that he was having difficulty accepting....

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Embodied Awareness

How Aware Are You? In our retreats we teach a way to use language, Perception Language, which helps to ground us in the present moment. Using Perception Language minimizes our tendency to become reactive or defensive. But, for those times when we do become...

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Be Here Now

EVERY MOMENT IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MINDFULNESS An opportunity to Be Here Now. We just have to REMEMBER to be mindful. A few months ago I was thinking about the Ram Das’ 1971 book “Be Here Now”.  I went and pulled the book off my bookshelf and when I saw the actual...

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Mindfulness Spoken Here & Now!

Something new is alive in me and I can’t wait to share myself. Since I say I can’t wait, I’ll give you a few highlights. I have embellished my mindfulness toolbox after recently attending a 10-day training in California. Perception Language, is a mindful way to use...

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Sensory Awareness Leads to Mindfulness

Do you want to live your life with more mindfulness? Do you want to stop rushing toward the end of your life? In a Live Conscious Retreat we begin each day with a form of mindfulness meditation called Sensory Awareness. In this practice we use our senses to slow...

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Meditation and Psychotherapy

We recently had a gathering of Live Conscious graduates join us at our home for a discussion about meditation and psychotherapy and how to live without resistance, which I refer to as living with “Fierce Grace.” This expression comes from a movie about the spiritual...

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Sensing Ourselves at Maya Tulum

On the seventh morning, of our Maya Tulum retreat we greet ourselves with a most remarkable sunrise… as Mayan zen-like monks rake the powder-fine white sand beach…seemingly just raking as they rake. The turquoise water is the clearest and gentlest since we...

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Therapy Retreats

Therapy retreats (good ones) may be more effective than weekly therapy sessions in bringing about personal growth and development. By participating in a high quality, week-long (or longer) therapy retreat, we’re able to access deeper levels of ourselves. We...

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Is It Realistic To Befriend Ourselves?

Pema Chodron is an ordained Buddhist nun in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. One of the goals of her work is to apply Buddhist teachings in everyday life. Consider her words: “Loving-kindness (maitri) toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything....

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What is Spirituality?

I think of Live Conscious not only as a psychological practice and a set of communications tools, but as a spiritual practice as well. I hear many people talk about spirituality—of course I live in Santa Fe… but, even elsewhere, I hear many references to...

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Don’t Try So Hard

I believe hard work often pays off. I also believe there are situations in which we should try less hard. When we try hard we tend to narrow our focus—followed by a cascade of physiological changes that begin with a release of adrenaline. When we try hard we create...

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Moments

Have you ever taken notice of moments? The moments I am talking about are like photographic stills, or perhaps movie clips where my attention is fully focused and I feel extremely alive. I am suddenly fully awake and present. Shifting myself out of auto-pilot . . . I...

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What Are You Paying Attention To?

All day long we bring certain things—experiences—to life while ignoring other experiences. We do this mostly unconsciously, but we can do so consciously. The key is how we use our attention. I think of attention as our paint brush, life our canvas. Did anyone ever...

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