There comes a time in your meditation practice where something seems to awaken inside of you. This powerful experience can literally change the way you see the world.
Some people suddenly become more perceptive, more intuitive and better at business.
Others release emotions they’ve held for decades.
And there are those who have stranger experiences still.
It can happen in an instant. It can build up over weeks or months. Either way, it rips apart your old thinking the way a baby chick rips apart its shell.
Suddenly, there’s a whole new world to explore.
The only thing left is for you to figure out how to navigate it. It’s lucky that you’ve trained in the best techniques to do that.
Here’s what not to do:
Anyone who knows me knows that I love superheroes. Sure, they’re tacky, cheesy and predictable. Those are just reasons, though, and since when do people like stuff because it’s logical?
Superhero stories speak to us because there are so many drivers woven in to them. There’s something for you there, whether you like adventure, power, the nobility of fighting for what’s right, the ultimate celebrity status they enjoy…
Or maybe you like watching people come to terms with something greater than themselves. Their life changes in a moment. Everything they thought was possible is now completely out the window.
They have to live their normal lives while carrying this much potential inside them.
If you meditate long enough, you know what I mean. There’s a sudden leap in your consciousness. Things that used to stop you now seem laughably trivial. Things you used to take for granted, you now deeply appreciate.
And no one around you notices.
What kind of superhero does this make you?
What separates a good teacher from a great one?
A good teacher knows their topic, knows how to teach it and can work with a range of learners.
A great teacher…
Well, a great teacher changes everything. They teach the topic and, along the way, transform lives.
They are mesmerising. It’s hard to look away or lose interest. Something about them plants hooks in your attention and gently holds it.
They care about you. This isn’t just a job or something to get through – they are driven to help you master the material.
That makes them flexible, too. If the class struggles on a topic, they spend more time there. If they get it, they move on.
They use humour, stories, fun, laughter, tension, anger and joy. Their words and actions pull you along not just intellectually but with your whole self.
The way most people come across meditation is they’re looking for a way to relax. The problem is that it’s not a relaxation technique. If you begin by expecting nothing but calm and comfort, you’re in for a shock.
Is it relaxing?
Will it reduce your tendency to get stressed in the first place?
But so will reading, jogging, exercising, feeling gratitude…
Meditation works on deep levels of your mind. It expands your consciousness by bringing suppressed thoughts into your awareness. Unlike what Freudians will tell you, not everything that’s suppressed is a bad thing. Expanding your consciousness gives you greater control over your thinking.
Relaxation is a side effect.
So if your main reason to meditate is to feel calmer, you’d better be prepared for the rest of it.
Can our leaders – bosses, CEOs, politicians, generals, priests… – use hypnosis to influence us?
Well, feel free to ask them. I’m sure they’ll tell you all about their favourite influence tactics.
If you asked me, though, then I’d say yeah. Yeah, they do.
They might not even know it’s hypnosis. (Try telling a CEO of a megacorp that you can teach them hypnosis and they’ll throw you out of their office. Teach them “influence and persuasion” and they’ll lap it up.)
But they definitely use it.
Some people have accused me of being creative. It’s a charge I won’t bother to deny. After all, I write every day. You need a high volume of ideas to feel comfortable doing that.
But it’s an awkward moment when someone asks how I think of so many topics to write about.
The truth is, I don’t.
I don’t think of them, that is.
They emerge like details in a dream. Do you know what I mean by that? In a dream, you can walk around a house and the ceiling is blurry and patchy. Then you look up, and texture and lights add themselves to the scene. They aren’t there until you pay attention to them.
That’s how I come up with new ways to think about things. Those, in turn, give me what to write about.
I don’t do anything. The only credit I can take is being aware enough to listen. There’s a voice in my head – the ancients would call it my muse – that whispers new insights to me.
There’s an inner conflict so common that it’s practically a cliché. Someone works hard because they love their job and it gives them meaning. On the other hand, they want to spend more time with their family.
Maybe this isn’t your conflict. It might look similar, though. Work versus study. Family versus me-time. Reading classic works of literature versus writing one.
There’s only so much time to go around, so how to you divide it up?
The common advice is to go for “work-life balance” or something similar.
Sure, go for that if you want.
It’s your loss.
Because if you were to find this balance, you might be tempted to settle for it.
Whereas if you kept looking… and I mean really looking… you’d find something a whole lot better.
There’s a principle in medicine that applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re healthy or not. It doesn’t matter whether you have a genetic condition, an old injury, a nasty infection… or if you’re in the prime of your life.
This principle underlies modern medicine and alternative medicine (at least, the ones that work). Every doctor and healer by other names knows this to be true.
It’s the cause of more healing than anything else on the planet. It does contradictory things, like boost your immune system or restrain it, to improve your wellbeing.
And when you understand it, you can use to keep yourself safe, healthy and full of energy.
Are you ready to hear what it is?
As any athlete will tell you, performance is as much a mental game as a physical one. Golfers know that the tiniest uncertainty in your swing can send the ball careening off into the lake. And in more direct sports, when you’re facing down another player, a stronger mind can overcome a gap in talent and training.
That’s why sports coaches and other trainers love visualisation. This powerful tool primes the athlete for success.
It works by imagining yourself triumph in the future. The same part of your brain imagines as remembers, so some part of you thinks it’s “remembering” a future victory.
Your unconscious assumes that your success is inevitable, a foregone conclusion, and so does everything it can to align reality to this belief.
In other words, it makes you play good. Really good. It draws on every lesson you’ve learned, every snippet you’ve overheard and everything you’ve experienced to create a world in which you win.
That’s the theory, anyway.
If you want to live a more fulfilling and satisfying life, it pays to strengthen your mental health. The stronger the pillars of your mind are, the better able you are to live the life you truly want.
A healthy mind takes action, unhindered by fear, confusion or distractions. And it keeps working when things get tough.
Your mind is the product of your entire lifestyle (and, I suppose, the reverse is also true). Looking after it is like looking after your body. You’ll want to live right, eat right and sleep right. Your mind needs social contact, interesting puzzles and physical movement to stay at its best.
Looking after yourself draws on every aspect of your life. So meditation is not the whole answer, though it’s certainly part of it.