Your most important job is to become your true self.
If not, you’ll eventually suffer in pain, regret or unrealized potential. It’s absolutely possible to create your life, livelihood and leadership in sync with your true spirit, and the fulfillment, prosperity and impact your true self longs for are your rewards. This Pause Pub space is dedicated to helping you know who you are meant to be and create a way of living and working where you really can wake up inspired and fall asleep grateful. If we do not pause well, we lose our way. So…
Let’s Clear the Way!
A few new agreements to consider:
You don’t have to still your mind.
You don’t have to shave your head.
You don’t have to sit still.
Learn more (this will take you to the “Short Course,” so feel free to go here first or come back). There’s also more demystifying and why inspiration at the Hit the Pause Button opening page here, if you haven’t seen that yet.
MYTHS & MISUNDERSTANDINGS; CLEAR THE WAY AND FIND YOUR WHY
What is mindfulness? What is meditation? So what, who cares?
Perhaps you tried meditation and thought “I can’t still my mind.” Once upon a time, I thought I was the only dork in the dojo failing when I first tried. It’s easy to be confused by this misunderstanding. (Hear me laughing at myself in the myth-busting audio below). That is not the purpose of meditation. It’s more about noticing where your attention goes and practicing being unattached to thoughts and other distractions. Ultimately it’s about remembering being at your authentic best; unplugging from the outer and inner distractions to plug into your deepest Best Self energy. This is already your true nature, so in a funny way, there’s really nothing to learn how to do at all. It could be the simplest thing— to sit and do nothing; to rest in your natural state of being. Ironically, this can feel like the hardest thing to do when we are trying too hard to do it right or make our mind chatter stop (again, NOT the point). A great place to start is noticing where your attention goes and bring it back to your breath.
Simply bringing your attention back to your breath (or other focus) is actually a good mind fitness workout, like resistance strength training at the gym. Just practicing this "bring back muscle" is a successful meditation. You are never failing at trying to still your mind, which is basically impossible. It's called practice for a good reason, and you can't really do it wrong. You could even say that the more times your mind wanders off and you need to practice the “bring back muscle,” you are getting a better workout for mindful inner abs! A great meditation teacher once said to me, “Each time you notice you were lost in runaway thoughts, instead of going “oh crap,” be grateful and glad you noticed!” Each of those moments is a gain for awareness. Breathe that in. This is an awesome distinction and kinder, smarter way to embark on or evolve your mindfulness practice.
We could sing (ok maybe silently to ourselves) with this obscure track (:58) from your new meditation helpers-Paul, John, George & Ringo, :-) Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my attention to me.
Over time, there is a paradox of not trying to “make your thoughts shut up” that allows you to connect to a calmer center that is undisturbable, thus, freeing you to come from clearer, wiser energy. This allows us to move into our true strength, higher perspectives, unlimited possibilities and smarter choices. In your meditation time, having a busy mind is not a problem. It is absolutely part of the practice.
Please let go of any possible perceptions of meditation being new agey, or merely a spa relaxation treatment, or religious dogma. You may be surprised to hear that so-called “alpha male” corporate exec clients (including a former Navy commander) tell me how meditation is actually a butt-kicking discipline with life-changing benefits for how they show up as leader, parent, partner, friend, conscious citizen and human being enjoying life. Science is having a ball confirming how meditation can reprogram our brains, adding words like neuroplasticity and amygdala to our conversations. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley clarifies some myths here.
Myth-Busting Take Five:
Busy brain/Posture/Dogma/Definitions/Find Your Why/ Self-Compassion, Structure, Support
3 introductory videos worth your while:
There are a ton of videos about why and how. Here are three simple introductions with potentially profound invitations.
Where are you? This one is not about mindfulness per se, but it’s a great way to discern the state of being shifts available as a result of a meditation practice (among other tools). [Conscious Leadership Group does a fabulous job with these videos to translate transformational growth concepts for a business audience. Their “Where am I?” is synergistic with our Inspired Leadership Lab core question, “What energy am I coming from?”] I’ve known Jim Dethmer, co-founder of CLG for many years, enjoyed some training with CLG and ended up in another playground with the root inspiration of much their work- The Hendricks Institute. I have great respect and admiration for them, and would highly recommend all of the above. :-)
You’re in good company, and some good companies
A Take Five list of Meditating Who’s and Wise Whys
Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs who Swear by Daily Meditation
Whether you are meditating alone or with a group, live or virtually, you can always consider that somewhere across the globe there are people meditating at the same time. Studies have even reported phenomenon like reduced crime rate from group meditation with a conscious intention. Isn’t that wild? Imagine what might be possible with your shared intentions at work or community. I’ve been in meditation groups where we say, if you are feeling like you need the “field” of the group to help you drop into meditation, ride that wave (so to speak), and if you feel like you can “give more energy” to the group, do that. These are all experiments in tapping into our individual and collective consciousness. It might be fun to imagine that you are in good company with these folks who the media features as proudly out about the benefits of mediation.
Mark Bertolini- CEO, Aetna, Richard Branson, Alanis Morissette, Eileen Fischer, the Dalai Lama, Arianna Huffington, Anderson Cooper, Dan Harris, Russell Simmons, Jeff Wiener- CEO, LinkedIn, Hugh Jackman, Steve Jobs, Jim Carrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Brand, Oprah, Marc Benioff- CEO, Salesforce, Lady Gaga, Richard Gere, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Former skeptic Bill Gates also joined the club recently.
We’ve already shared so many benefits. Yet, it’s amazing how our resistance can be tenacious, so there’s a method to my madness of how much information is here to help you Clear the Way. Scan (below) and see what else these might stir up for your own unique incentives. Based on studies about the benefits of meditation and what clients have shared over the years, see if these examples of why people pause inspire your why:
I pause to be able to respond from my best self, no matter what’s going on around me or inside of me.
I pause to bring more compassion and better listening into every meeting, including with myself.
We pause to have a greater impact on what we really care about, and to have more fun coming up with innovative new ideas together.
There are countless more! Here are just five other examples for now:
…to reboot resilience in dealing with my outer workload and inner emotions from a calmer center.
…to be an instrument of my greater potential and love the life I get to lead.
…to fuel healthier success & better relationships.
…to help me be a compassionate leader and create an authentically engaged culture.
…to be in effective new flow rather than coming from old fears ( I didn’t even realize were running me).
Finding Your Why
Of course, what truly matters most is not what anyone else says, whether that’s all the research data, a rock star or a rocket scientist. YOU and only you can discover the most compelling Why for you. It really makes a difference to contemplate why bother? Your resistance will show up and not want to wake up to meditate. (Coming up with ways to transcend your resistance to all kinds of important things and updating as needed is part of inspired leadership fuel & smart maintenance.) What does matter most to you? About your life, who you want to be and what you are up to, or whatever is the most salient inspiration to incentivize yourself. As we said earlier, if it just starts with less stress and better sleep, great. Connect the dots to why a meditation practice or other hit the pause button commitments will serve that. Let this evolve with you over time, as well. Hit the refresh button about why you are hitting the pause button. This will help you prevent falling off your meds (meditation!)
Finally, wise people say that the best way to meditate is the one you actually do.
Two sneaky excuses that sneak in
Last but not least we have the dynamic duo of “I don’t have time” and “This is selfish or self indulgent.”
One of the golden treasure keys to your inspired life may be found within these four words. We might even say it's like breaking a code. Consider when you say “I don't have time.”
Here's the code translation: “I am not choosing to make this important enough to create the time.” Depending on our state of mind, this can just sound annoying or we can let it be empowering. Stop and reflect on this, please.
You may come to a place that feels at peace. “That's right. I'm not creating the time, and I'm OK with that.” Great. However, if you honestly feel that hitting the pause button (and other things) would serve you well, then you've hit on something of real value for your fulfillment, prosperity, impact and feels-so-good integrity.
• What feels compelling about “ I don't have time” vs. “ I’m not choosing to make time” for you? Where would you like to lovingly challenge yourself?
• What are ways to make progress towards your intention/ heart's desire? What's one do-able next step now?
Just one of many articles reinforcing this point: Why I don’t have time is a big fat lie.
One size sit does not fit all
It’s important to say that certain types of meditation may not be the best tool or beneficial for everyone. As an example, if a person has trauma issues, closed-eye sitting in solitude might just make things worse. More social connection, body movement or other modalities may be more beneficial. I am not a therapist or trauma specialist, and I absolutely respect the sensitivity to not peddling meditation as a generic perfect pill for everyone. I’ve been at a long meditation retreat where someone was taken away in an ambulance (there were various perspectives asking if this was the right way to handle the situation- e.g. was this a beautiful spiritual awakening or a scary mental breakdown?) It’s obviously wise to be thoughtful about the potential sensitivities in our human operating systems. Let’s not be in the dark about the potential dark sides to long periods of sitting and what might get stirred up in some people). I share the caveat about how the new mindfulness craze might have people jumping in, teaching something they’ve barely done themselves, and so on. Here are a few articles to bow to this awareness: Health Spectator / Good Therapy. /Stress, PTSD & Mindfulness: “Sitting quietly and focusing on the breath for long periods of time may be soothing for some but very unsettling for others.”