7 Tips To Make 2020 A Great Year!

As we enter into not just a new year but a new decade, it’s a great time to pause on all the distractions and create a window of time to get very clear about your year and decade ahead. One of my favourite Sanskrit phrases is ‘yad bhavam tat bhavati’ which means what we think we become. It all starts here, with the thought, the intention and the vision. Then the manifestation of that thought into reality is what follows.

Making 2020 a great year is going to require some planning AND action. I like to put aside a morning or afternoon to dedicate some time solely to laying out my vision for the year ahead and getting clear on how I would like that year to unfold. It’s a process that requires a few stages so I have outlined 7 tips on how to create a magnificent 2020.

1. OBSERVE. Observe 2019 and ask what would you have changed about it? Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So if there are things that you didn’t like in 2019, and you don’t assess them and use that information to create change, then it could well be that similar experiences will re-occur in 2020. So scan back through the year and pinpoint the experiences or results that you would like to address or change so that they don’t reappear in the following year. Now I need to make a point here that this is not to look back with regret, pain, shame or suffering, rather look back from a place of learning, growth and possibility.

2. GOALS. Write down what your BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL is for 2020. This is the one big thing that you would like to see happen by the end of 2020. It will be the one thing that in December 2020 you will be able to say, “YES! I did it!!” and possibly even do a fist pump at the same time having known you really stepped up and achieved something that was a great accomplishment! Think BIG!

3. FEEL IT. Feel like it’s already happened. To attract what you want, you need to be energetically aligned to the thing that you are attracting. So if you want to attract abundance, you will need to stop feeling poor. If you want to be in a loving relationship, then start by being loving. Your feelings are like a wifi signal that emit out into the ether and it draws into you similar energies or vibrations. This is one of the more challenging aspects of this process because generally our feelings are a result of our past experiences and if we haven’t had the experience then how do we know what it feels like? This is where your imagination will have to come in. I had a client who wanted to buy a house in a beachside town. They loved the idea but never imagined it would ever come true. I had them everyday imagine they walked from their home to the beach each morning and felt the sand between their toes and the sun on their skin and the sea breeze in their face. And within a year they had bought their home by the sea and were living that reality. We were given an imagination for a reason!

4. PLAN. Time can fly by and before you know it very little has been done to manifest your new reality. Each week you will have to carve out some time to make sure that your vision actually goes from a thought to a reality. I like to print off a weekly calendar and highlight the times that I will be dedicating to enhance certain areas of my life and also to assess my goals and check they are still on track. This can look like blocking out 3 mornings a week for a gym workout or yoga class. Sunday nights might be a 1-hour vision assessment session. Monday evening could be dedicated to going through your banking, bills and finances. Once you segment and allocate the time for these things it takes the stress out of having to get around to doing them and also brings more order to your process of achieving your goals.

5. READ. There are thousands of great self-help books to help you continue to expand your thinking and keep it positive and productive. Where your attention goes it grows. So if your mind is engaged in a positive self-help book it will be upgrading your thoughts a whole lot more than a trashy Netflix series. You could pick 12 books that you want to read that year and aim for one a month. Some suggestions to get you started are: The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra and The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles.

6. MEDITATE. One of the most important things I feel you could do if you aren’t already doing it is meditate everyday. Meditation contributes to every area of your life from physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. But when it comes to expanding your perspective of who you are and what’s possible for in 2020, then meditation will play a big part. When you meditate your mind liberates itself from deep conditioning of old patterns of thinking that can hold you back with self-doubt and unworthiness. In meditation you may experience impulses of creativity and bursts of ideas that flow through you. Things like writing a book, a business idea or an impulse for an investment. Meditation isn’t about renouncing the world and having nothing, it’s a tool to help you tap into your creative potential and live a full life.

7. ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Find yourself an accountability partner who will check in with you regularly to make sure you are on track. It’s very easy to start on January 1st, 2020 with all the best intentions. Ideas are easy. Action, that’s another thing altogether. Action takes time and effort. To create a great successful life we will have to do things that you simply won’t feel compelled to do which means that often you will naturally take the easiest option which won’t always be the best option. An accountability partner is someone that you could meet once a month and assess each other’s progress. This might sound laborious however it does have huge benefits to it. Another option is to find a good coach that will do this job for you.

So here we are, we have farewelled 2019 and embracing a new year. A year that will have twists and turns, unmet expectations, highs and lows. It won’t be perfect and it will present challenges. There will also be magical moments of such beauty, simplicity and joy. I wish you a wonderful year ahead. Thanks for being with us on this journey through 2019. Here’s to making the planet a better place to live for all species in 2020.

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If you are feeling like you need a break from the busy-ness of life in 2020, then you might like to join us in Bali in May. This 6-day retreat in the rainforests of Bali will leave you feeling revitalised, uplifted and clear on your goals in life. It’s a powerful experience that incorporates yoga, breathwork, meditation and breakthrough sessions to help you reconnect with your most remarkable Self. Find out more by clicking here.

A Guide To Protect Yourself From The Stresses Of Those Around You

If you’re an empathetic person you’re probably having a tough time of late. A recent Gallup poll that surveyed 155,000 people in 140 different countries revealed that we are becoming sadder and angrier than ever before. This isn’t great for society and it isn’t great for empathetic people either. Being sensitive to the feelings of others and really feeling their pain, sounds like an honourable thing, but geez, it’s can be uncomfortable, and at times debilitating. Which begs us to ask the question, is empathy a good thing? If we experience the feeling of pain when others are in pain then aren’t we self-perpetuating more pain?

This is where compassion comes in. Compassion is where we understand that someone is in pain, and we feel love for that person or people, and our energy level doesn’t deteriorate. Compassion isn’t an emotion, it’s a state. Emotions are when we react to other people and circumstances. Compassion is a state that holds itself regardless of how someone else is feeling. Empathy is when you feel someone’s pain; compassion is when you feel love for someone in pain. It’s easy for us to sit and suffer alongside those that are suffering, in fact, it’s almost expected of us through our conditioning. Quite often the person in pain will want their partner or friend to also feel their pain so that there is a better connection. However, does that really help the healing, and support progress out of that state for all involved? Could Mother Theresa or Fred Hollows have done their work if they were emotionally affected each day by the people they cared for?

Compassion and empathy are very close to each other; they are both a sense of awareness about others and their state of well-being. But for empaths, one thing we have to be careful about is how much we allow that to deteriorate our own state. This requires mindfulness and practice to simply hold space for that person or group of people, to acknowledge where they are, and with grace, love and warmth, simply be there for them. This then becomes a guiding light and foundation of support for them, to release what needs to release, to feel what they need to feel, and be ok knowing its not causing suffering for you also. On the flip side, when its our turn to go through a challenging time, (and they will surely come), knowing we can lean on solid, unwavering support, someone who is going to be able to hold space for us and not fill us with guilt that we have turned their life into emotional turmoil, will be a welcome relief.

So how do we switch empathy to compassion? This is a process that requires some initial practise until you become more skilled in it if it’s not something you are familiar with. Check in with what your feeling body (read emotional state) is doing and mindfully elevate it to love. Love is the quality and essence of compassion. So pause and ask yourself, am I being pulled into their energetic frequency? Am I synching into their emotional state? Then from that unemotional place of pure love, simply Be there. Just Be. Give yourself the right to just Be. It will, in the end, be better for you and your health, and more importantly, be better for them also.

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Tom is a meditation teacher, author, speaker, coach and filmmaker. To leaern to meditate with Tom or attend one of his retreats head to https://www.tomcronin.com/. To find out where to see his film The Portal or how to host a screening yourself, head to https://entertheportal.com/

10 Tips To Break Your Phone Addiction

How’s your relationship with your phone? Are you two inseparable? Is it on you every minute of the day? Lately my phone has been making serious in-roads into my life, to the point where I was responding to it every minute of the day. Voxer, SMS, Whatsapp, Messenger, Emails, Instagram, Linkedin, and phone calls. It didn’t stop, I was losing control of my life to my phone. And lately wherever I go, I have been noticing how everyone else is on their phones as well…all the time!

For that reason, I had to set some very clear boundaries so that my phone no longer controlled my life. I found that once I set these boundaries, I felt less agitated and less hyper-stimulated. It made a big difference to my day. We are in unchartered waters now, in the history of human evolution we have never been so exposed to anything like this. Just get a train to the city at peak hour in the morning and have a look around. It will be very rare to find someone not engaged in their phone in some way.

I didn’t want to be owned like this by my phone, so I set to map out ways I could live more freely from my phone and here I share with you the 10 steps that I took to try to take back the power from my phone. Now admittedly, these are my preferences, and sometimes I struggle to stick to them!!

1. Avoid the phone while I am eating. I found eating and being on my phone highly distracting from my ability to enjoy my food. It was like eating was ‘just something you do’ rather than a special part of my day to relish the sensory delights and nourish myself for sustenance. So now eating is for eating!
2. Avoid the phone for the first hour in the morning. I found myself waking up and falling into the void of everyone else thinking processes by reading feeds, messages, and news items. I wanted to start my day with greater clarity and stillness so now my day starts with meditation to create space then visualisation, gratitude, and intention setting. It’s not until after this is done, that I will check my overnight messages.
3. Avoid the phone 30 minutes (ideally one hour) before bedtime. Rather than ending my day with some low-grade news feeds or Instagram posts of people’s cappuccinos, I like to finish my day now with some stretching, and reading deep spiritual and transformational books before I drift off to sleep. These leaves my mind in a positive framework that helps me set up the next day ahead.
4. Don’t read or text on my phone while walking. I found that while I was walking and texting or walking and reading on my phone, my nervous system would get over-stimulated and I felt uncomfortable. So now if I have to respond to something on my phone while walking I will stop and pause to send the message, and then keep walking.
5. Turn my phone on airplane mode or silent while driving. I found myself responding to messages at red traffic lights (shhh!) and I was always feeling a sense of haste trying to squeeze everything in during those small windows at traffic lights. So once I made the decision to turn my phone off in the car I was much more at ease with the drive and yes, also driving legally!
6. Turn my phone on airplane mode at night time while sleeping. It’s been proven that your phone is emitting radiation. Even just the thought of my phone being on in the house while sleeping left me uncomfortable. So every night now I turn my phone onto airplane mode.
7. Turn my Wi-Fi off in your house at night time while sleeping. When we sleep we open ourselves up to frequencies around us. Knowing that there is a black box in our home sending out an entire web of information isn’t something that I wanted to expose myself to so we now turn that off every night before bed.
8. Don’t take my phone into the gym. Ok so I’m sure many people like to listen to music or podcasts at the gym but I found that I was getting work messages and responding to them while I was at the gym so now I prefer to work out without my phone, and keep my workouts separate from my work!
9. Avoid double screening by leaving my phone off while watching TV. I used to have my phone with me everywhere I went, which meant it was on me while I watch TV with my family. If it buzzed or a message came through I would immediately answer it. Not only distracting me from my family time but also from the TV show. Now I leave my phone off or in another room so that for that window of time I am not distracted.
10. Block out time in my day to check my phone and respond to messages. By now you are probably wondering how I will ever respond to my messages on my phone. What I do is a blackout periods of time to get through things that need to get done. So the end of the meeting when I get to my car I’ll sit in my car before driving off and respond to any messages that have come through. And I do these in stages throughout the day so I’m compartmentalizing the time on my phone and not always responding to it. This way I’m empowered and not giving my power to my phone.

So like I said, these are my preferences and sometimes I bend these rules, but they are a useful guide to help me be less controlled by my phone and live a more balanced, calmer life. Do you have any other suggestions that might help our readers with their phones? Please share below.

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Tom is a meditation teacher, speaker, personal coach, and producer and co-writer of the film and book The Portal!

A unique cinematic experience created to inspire humankind into a new era, THE PORTAL is about the ability for inner change to bring about a powerful planetary shift.

Exploring the role crisis plays in our evolution—and the mental programs we’re born into—this experiential documentary brings to life the stories of six people who have used stillness and mindfulness to move beyond trauma.

To find out where you can watch the film or read the book click here. 

My Son Stopped Me In My Tracks With This Comment

I returned home from yoga as you do on a Saturday morning and commented to my family as I walked in the front door that it was a glorious perfect day outside! To which my son replied, “No it’s not Dad, it would be perfect if it was raining!” He had a very valid point and he was thinking very differently to me. I was thinking about myself and how lucky we were to have such a beautiful day, where he was thinking about the needs of the planet where. Here we were one hand the middle of winter with clear blue skies, 25°C, and I was swimming in the ocean. What bliss! But on the other hand here we were in the middle of a drought, we have ice caps melting, and rainforests burning. For the rest of the day I had mixed emotions, I knew that this glorious day that I was experiencing here in Sydney was partly a result of the planet cooking and us humans were turning up the dial on the hotplate.

It’s completely undeniable now that things are deteriorating environmentally on our planet and the ability to correct this anomaly is getting slimmer and slimmer. I know many of us experience some level of futility and frustration at not knowing what we can do to bring about change but I also think if we all collectively made a number of minor changes in the way we live our life that we could have a huge impact and make things a whole lot better.

So I have outlined a few things that I feel that if we tweak our lives a little bit, the compounding effect of that could be quite substantial. Now admittedly some of these things go against the grain of how we’ve been programmed by deeply condition systems. The main one of these systems is the system built on spending more money. The entire economic and capitalistic system requires us to keep spending more money which means buying more things, so we have more successful businesses. Anyone in economics will agree that this is what’s required to keep the economic system flourishing. This is one of the systems that is deeply flawed because not only is it leading to environmental disaster is also keeping us completely trapped in a debt spiral that is seeing the banks make more money than they have ever made before and more of the world’s population chained to more debt than we’ve ever seen in the history of humankind.

So here are a few ways we can transcend the system and makes some minor changes that collectively will make huge differences:

1. Buy fewer clothes. Do we really need the copious amounts of clothes in our wardrobe that we need to change every season as a new style comes out? This is something I’ve been exploring a lot more lately, and I’m taking a bit more of a Steve Jobs approach by wearing the same clothes over and over again. I’ve even realised that as some of the fashions have changed I was able to take some of those clothes to a tailor and have them adjusted so they still would look wearable with the current trends. I’ve also got in the habit of repairing my clothes when they have holes in things in them. I was about to throw out some old jeans because they have holes in them and then recalled that when we were kids my mother would always stitch holes in our socks and jumpers to get a few more years out of them. I took them to a seamstress and she has patched them up and I reckon there’s another 5 years left in them!

2. Fly less. Now I’m going to be very hypocritical here because I’m about to go on a substantial tour flying across Australia, America and Europe for my film and book The Portal https://entertheportal.com/ that is coming out soon. This does challenge me because I know the impact those flights have on the environment is quite significant. There are some ways to navigate this by offsetting my flights by buying carbon credits, which gives me a little bit of peace of mind. I can’t help but look at my Instagram feed this time of year and noticed how many people are posting photos of their holidays from Bali, Greece and the likes of Spain. Flying is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and I think we need to start thinking more about this extravagance of holidaying all over the world until we find a better solution for the impact that those flights are having on our environment. Hopefully in the future will have another form of travel that won’t be so impractical on the environment but in the meantime if we are flying, buying carbon credits might help?

3. Eat less red meat. One of the main causes of the burning of the Amazon rainforest is farmers needing more land to grow cows for meat. The meat consumption on the planet is higher than it’s ever been before which is leading to not only a rapid deterioration of rainforests but also huge increase in the methane gas emissions cause by cattle. If you are a meat eater perhaps consider eating more fish or chicken and reduce red meat intake.

4. Buy fewer products packed in plastic. Recently I noticed how many shampoo and conditioner containers we had in our bathroom. And I started to think about how many households will be in the same situation across the world. And this is just shampoo and conditioner! So I went down to my local wholesale grocer that sells bulk grains, legumes and herbs and spices, and noticed that they are now also supplying things like shampoos and conditioners in bulk. I was excited by this and realised that we can now just have one bottle for each and top them up regularly from large containers in the store. We’ve also resorted to buying as much produce as possible from our local growers market and find as many ways as possible to do grocery shopping that doesn’t include using things packaged in plastic. It’s become a bit of a playful game in which everyone wins.

5. Use solar energy for our houses and cars. I’m only renting currently and so our house doesn’t have solar panels even though we requested it with our landlord. But in our future house ideally it will be completely solar efficient and having spoken to some solar panel installers, I’ve been told that it costs less to install solar panels than the current energy costs of our house. My ideal situation would be to have a house that was 100% solar energy that also fuels my car. This is neither complex nor difficult, the technology and capability is available right now and it’s a direction we should all be moving in as fast as possible.

These aren’t massive changes but admittedly they do take time to implement and some of these I’m guilty for not following my suggestions entirely. But I realise that just these five changes alone, if everyone were to make them, it would have a huge effect on the planet. Of course there are so many other ways that we can make a positive impact, but these five stood out to me. Perhaps you have some suggestions? Please share them below. I just don’t think we’re going to be able to get governments, industry and the system itself to make the changes and it really is just going to come down to individuals like you and me to start making different decisions. Let’s hope we make these changes fast enough to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

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To exlore some of these ideas further you might like to read my latest film and book The Portal that was created to inspire humankind into a new era and is about the ability for inner change to bring about a powerful planetary shift.

Exploring the role crisis plays in our evolution—and the mental programs we’re born into—this experiential film and book bring to life the stories of six people who have used stillness and mindfulness to move beyond trauma.

An unusual blend of technology, love, human potential, philosophy, brain hacking, stillness and inner peace, THE PORTAL is a film and book that humanity needs Right Now.

You can find out more here!

Letting Go Of Looking For Your Life Purpose

Summary:

There is so much emphasis on needing to know your life purpose lately, with seminars, conferences and Instagram posts talking about why you need to find your life purpose! Many clients come to me confused, frustrated and challenged that they don’t know what their purpose is and ask if I can help them ‘find their life purpose’.

In short…NO, I can’t. And the good news is if it hasn’t dawned on you what your purpose is yet, then just get on with living and take life day by day. That’s all you need to do. Keep it simple and let go of the idea that you might ever find your life purpose…just living is simply enough.

What’s Next?

  • My book that I co-wrote with Jacqui Fifer is now out! The Portal- How Meditation Can Save The World explores how meditation and mindfulness will unlock your power, grow your compassion for those around you and awaken your thirst for change. Sharing personal stories from six people who healed their lives through meditation as well as compelling insights from some of today’s most innovative thinkers, The Portal shares a powerful vision for humanity transformed. Order it now and get your bonuses here!
  • My fortnightly coaching group Zen Academy For Transformational Leadership is open for registration. Are you feeling compelled to be a zen leader in today’s complex world? Book your free consult here. 
  • BALI RETREAT! One of the most transformational experiences you will ever have. This 6-day yoga and meditation immersion will leave you feeling on a high and clear about the life you want and can live! Book here

How To Meditate When You Literally Dont Have Time To Meditate!

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote an article talking about how we often don’t make time to meditate because we have positioned something higher up as a preference than the deep fulfilment that comes from meditation. Usually it’s the case that we have the time to meditate but it’s just not as a high-priority as some of the other things that we are choosing to do. However there are circumstances where we literally will just not be able to find the time to meditate. Today I will share with you some tips and suggestions on how to meditate when you literally have no time to meditate. This was inspired by an inquiry I had from one of my students today, (thank you Beth) who has a newborn child and really is struggling to find time to meditate.

This is common now for many people as we take on more demands than ever before and there will be days where sitting in a chair and closing your eyes for 20 minutes to do a meditation may just not be possible. It is those days that we need to be adaptable and look at alternatives for a meditation practice.

Meditation doesn’t have to always be an eyes-closed, withdrawing-the-senses-from-the-outer-world experience. We can incorporate a meditation practice while we are driving the car, while we are pushing the trolley in the supermarket aisle, while we are preparing dinner, and while we are at kid’s sport. It just takes a little practice and a little tweaking on what our understanding of meditation is. Yes, sitting in a chair, closing our eyes and transcending deeply into the quiet inner world beyond thought and the senses is a very powerful and effective form of meditation. One that I highly recommend we do on a daily basis.

However being present in an eyes open state, and completely in this moment without the fluctuations of the mind traversing into the future and the past is also an effective meditation practice. Being present and mindful of being the embodiment of love in each moment regardless of your environment is also a meditation practice. Freedom from emotional fluctuations in the feeling body, experiencing the subtle and blissful state of Being is also a meditation.

This can all be done throughout your day regardless of how busy you are. So yes you might have a lot of things on, and you might have no time at all throughout your day to sit in a chair and close your eyes and dive deep into meditation, however that doesn’t mean that you’re unable to be blissfully present in each and every moment. That is your meditation on those days.

So here are some tips to meditate when there is no time to meditate:

  • In the shower, pick up the soap, smell it, assess what fragrance is in the soap, feel the warm drops on your skin, and have gratitude that you are able to shower with clean warm hygienic water. There are many people in the world right now that this is not possible.
  • While on the way to work, either on the public transport or while driving, take time out from listening to the radio or a podcast, don’t go on social media and don’t read the paper. All of that is mind wandering into other people’s thoughts. Sit and be present. Can you be there, and empty the mind of thoughts. This won’t be easy, but with practice you will have glimpses into a space with no thought, just Being present.
  • While at the supermarket, take in the sounds around you, what do you hear? Be aware of the smells around you, what do you smell? What do you feel on your skin, is it cold or warm in there? Come to your senses and just observe that.
  • When cooking dinner, prepare your meals with love and do it slowly. Be aware that the food you are preparing is to be consumed by you, your family or friends. Be mindful that the energy that you are preparing and cooking with will go into that food. Ask yourself am I the embodiment of love now?
  • Before bed, turn off your phone, turn off your wifi, turn off your TV and anything that is bright or noisy, and then sit at the foot of your bed on the floor. Just for a few minutes close your eyes, place your hands over your heart and repeat slowly five times: “I Am The Expression Of Love.”

So there you have some very simple suggestions to help you meditate when you have no time to meditate. Perhaps you have some suggestions that you might like to share with us? We’d love to hear them below!

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Our monthly meditation coaching sessions are becoming a huge hit around the world! Feel free to check out our Inner Sanctum monthly meditation coaching. It’s less than $1.90 a week! Our last session had a big response with attendees saying:
“Your description of deep transcendence brings me to tears.”
“Wow, Magnificent! Thank you Tom.”
“A brilliant focusing of the concepts developed through meditation.”
“I always feel so invigorated after these sessions, thank you Tom!”

How To Have The Perfect 2019!

It seemed that for many people, myself included, 2018 was a pretty intense year. The challenges flowed thick and fast! There were times when I was like “Ok, I’m ready for a break now…please ease off for a while!” Was this the case for you?

Well, my feeling is that 2019 is going to be a good year, the question is: will it be free of challenges? In short, NO. Challenges never stop all through our life. Ask anyone you know what their current challenge is and I’m sure they will find something. Then you think, well the Dalai Lama must have it pretty good? He has plenty of money, has accommodation with no debt, as much food as he wants, over 1 million Instagram followers and all the purple robes he ever needs. And yet he is always surrounded by bodyguards with assassination a constant threat, and he faces health issues just like everybody else, having recently spent 4 weeks in the Mayo Clinic for prostate problems. You will see him here supported by two monks holding him up and some firm looking bodyguards behind him.

It’s the nature of reality. As Dr John Demartini, the great thought leader suggests, we will always experience equal measure of support and challenge. Life will have pleasure and life will have pain. Where we struggle is that we have an expectation that if we try harder, get more money, look better, have more followers or manifest that dream boat, then we will finally be free and find peace and happiness. But there is no arrival. We never ‘get there’. What we can do is get better at not expecting to ‘get there’ and deal with the challenges as they appear. I was once told by my coach (yes I coach and get coached) that the challenges never stop, we just stop seeing them as challenges.

I liken it to the analogy of lifting weights which I may have mentioned to you before. If there was no gravitational pull on the dumb bell then there would be no challenge to the arm and therefore there would be no development of the muscle. So I actually pay my gym membership and go to the gym FOR the challenge. So what has all this got to do with making 2019 a great year? By letting go of it being perfect and letting go of it not having challenges we can be in flow more and less resistant to what is. Most of our stresses and anxieties stem from holding on so rigidly to what we think it should be rather than seeing it for what it is- an opportunity to let go and be. The wise do not seeking perfection in places that perfection does not exist. When I am stressed and in a state of mild overwhelm it’s always my reminder to let go and stop trying to control life and create perfection. When you think you have arrived, and you get those 1 million follows on your Insta, or you find that soul mate, or you finally pay off your mortgage, something will pop up to present a challenge. So yes, let’s make 2019 a great year and realise our goals, knowing full well, that when we do, it won’t be perfect and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Someone once said to me: “a rishi observes the fluctuations of life with a mild fascination and slight smile”. I guess this is one thing you can say about the Dalai Lama, throughout all of his challenges, he seems to always have that sweet smile on his face regardless.

Have a beautiful and perfectly imperfect 2019.

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Tom is a meditation teacher, author, corporate speaker and personal coach. He provides one on one coaching as well as group coaching in his Zen Academy for Transformational Leadership. To contact Tom about receiving his guidance or booking him to speak at your company click here.

How To Avoid Angry Confrontations

It’s very disturbing when someone gets angry with you isn’t it? Almost immediately you feel that charge in your body, your blood pressure increases, you feel the flush in your cheeks, your heart starts pumping and adrenalin is coursing through your veins. Your first reaction is aggression. You rise up to meet your challenger and you defend your ground and force back on them with equal if not greater intensity of anger.

Now we have a collision of angry energy that usually escalates as each party unconsciously is vying for supremacy in this angry battle. Before long the entire episode, that can take literally a few minutes, can not only change your day or week, but can severely damage the relationship for good.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a way to be a part of that exchange that doesn’t involve you dropping down into a negative angry space. And there are two really good reasons why it’s important that we do our best to hold our own space and not get influenced by other people’s energetic states.

Firstly, holding our own calm and compassionate space is much healthier for our body. When we change our emotional state into anger our whole body changes. We are moving into sympathetic nervous system state as your body is preparing for a battle. Your blood pressure increases, your breath rate changes, your heart starts beating faster, your blood sugar levels changes, your brain starts functioning from basic reptilian rear lobe, and your biochemistry changes as cortisol and adrenalin replace serotonin and oxytocin. Now our entire state of well-being and happiness has been removed and it could take the entire day to reclaim it back.

Secondly, when we merge our angry state with the person who is projecting their angry state onto us, we have removed any possibility of inspiring them to another alternative. There is no backing out now and what was one angry person is now two angry people. This can then have a multiplying effect as we share our new angry state with friends and family who can then also join in the angry movement. “Oh that just makes me so angry!” they may reply to your sharing of the situation. Now two becomes three and so on it goes like a nasty virus of mediocrity and negativity spreading across society. By not having autonomy and sustaining our calm non-reactive state we have removed any possibility of offering the angry person any other option. We missed the possibility of inspiring harmony and unity at a much healthier level. This is disempowering for you and not great for them.

So how do we avoid getting pulled into those situations? Well this is the challenging part that requires constant vigilance and awareness. The ego of course thrives in angry confrontation; this really enlivens the ego and gives it a sense of purpose. The ego is like woo hoo! I love this stuff! And then the ego hijacks your state. The key to preventing the ego from disempowering you is constant vigilance and awareness of what’s ego and what’s not. We need to differentiate between what is ego and what is our essential nature because if we try doing this by suppressing emotions, (a characteristic of ego) then that suppressed energy will seek a release in some shape or form at a later date.

Behind the noise of the ego is a silent witness, a quiet awareness that simply is. In Vedic teachings they call it AMness or Being. Connecting with that is done though the deep transcending meditation techniques that take the mind out of duality and into the silence, where there is no thought, form or phenomenon. Regular meditation will over time enable you to sustain the presence of this quiet awareness through even the most testing of times. Then when a situation arises, you will have your default state prevail and no ego hijacking you out of it into a reactive emotional state. From here compassion, kindness, rationale and calm will be able to prevail within you. This may help diffuse the situation quickly and offer some inspiration for your angry attacker as another alternative. If not, then the next best outcome is that instead of two angry people we only now have one.

A little disclaimer…this process takes time and practice. It’s not an overnight shift that takes place. Be easy on yourself if you find yourself getting swept away by emotional reactivity. And if in doubt, seek out some support and guidance through these situations that doesn’t involve dumping more anger onto your Mum, brother, colleague or best friend.

Oh and one more thing, sometimes we may need to respond in a firm forceful way. Certain situations might call for this. Doing this mindfully and resetting quickly back to calm after the incident will dramatically affect how you feel and it will wash you of the negative charge quickly.

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A Juice With A Buddhist Monk Revealed The Root Cause Of All Suffering

I had the pleasure of meeting a young monk recently who spent six months a year meditating in the mountains of France in a Buddhist monastery. We caught for a juice at Bondi Beach to discuss Buddhism and enlightenment.

I was going through a time of personal discovery and I was curious to hear his perspective on the cause of suffering. His response was remarkably simple and it completely changed my perspective on things. I recently had a family pet pass away, a family member that was sick, I had to move house, I had been in a minor car accident and I was grappling with constant challenges in a project that I was working on. It felt like there was a weight of burden fall over me.

The Buddhist monk put things very simply by saying that there are really only two causes of suffering:

1. We have this deluded idea that things will be permanent when in actually fact ALL forms and phenomenon are impermanent. Everything will pass and attachment to things staying the same will cause suffering.

2. We perceive ourselves and the world around us through our limited awareness as separate entities. The notion of duality, i.e. two things, is also the root cause of suffering.

I sat with this for the rest of the day in deep contemplation. I observed all forms and phenomenon and saw them for what they were…transitory things that will come and go. Family, pets, friends, cars, money, trees, my body, even the sun will all come and go. Nothing is permanent. My existence is like a blink of an eye lid in the history of the Universe. I come, then I go. Here and gone.

The next one was much deeper. It’s one thing to intellectualise that all things are One, and nothing is separate, but to experience this is altogether different. But at the subtlest level of existence this is true…the Unified Field of Oneness is the subtlest level of reality, a Uni-verse. One thing. And when there is one thing, there is no-thing that I am not. Then if I am all things there is no-thing lacking and no holes to fill in. We pass through life with a constant ache, trying to fill in perceived big black holes in our life. As we continue to fill all of these holes, like college degree, paying off the mortgage, getting married, making money, we find that there are simply more holes that keep opening up! It’s a never ending yearning that is never fully satiated. The ache continues to eat away inside me. Get more, need more.

Is the answer to continue to explore Oneness and realise there are no holes to fill? Yes there’s action, but what if the action was born out of completeness and an expression of fulfilment not for fulfilment?

This a simplistic perspective into the complexity of life. It doesn’t answer the dilemmas of plastic in the oceans, prejudice and racism, hunger and homelessness, domestic violence or the gazillion other issues facing humanity and the planet. But it sure got me thinking….

 

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How A Young Rich Kid Reminded Me Of A Valuable Lesson

There’s probably a good chance that you don’t quite feel you are where you want to be or that you ‘have enough’? Do you feel there is more that you could do or more that you could have? What does it actually feel like to have ‘more than enough’? It’s almost impossible to imagine right?

This is one of the most powerful forces that drives us into action and that also leaves us with a gnawing feeling of not ever truly being satisfied. The other day I was sitting at the front of the cafe having my standard cashew nut milk chai latte as you do in Bondi, when a very young man in a $500,000 McLaren sports car pulled up right out the front of the cafe. The door of his car swished open up to the sky like a spaceship, he got out of the car and walked into the cafe to order his takeaway coffee. As he stood there at the front of the cafe waiting for his coffee, I couldn’t help myself and I went up to him and asked about his car. I was curious as to how this very young man had accumulated such wealth to drive a car like this. He briefly told me that he acquired his wealth through property development and then finished the sentence with “but I wish I started when I was younger”.

His coffee was ready; he grabbed it, got back in the car and sped off down the road. I sat there thinking about his predicament…it still wasn’t enough for him. It’s not that he was a greedy human being, it’s that he suffers from the same ailment that we all do. We exist with an ego that simply is never truly content. It’s not possible for our ego to ever fully be satisfied. No matter where we are and how much we have, the ego is never truly satisfied. It always wants more and it will never have enough. Period.

Yet this is not who we are in our entire entirety. Can we feel fulfilled? Yes, we already are fulfilled. At our deepest level, in the depth of Being, we are all that there is. We are complete, whole, and there is no lack. Imagine the Divine or the Universe saying, “I need more!” It’s laughable right? Our sense of lack is a function of our disconnection to our unbounded Divine essence. When this connection becomes established and stabilised, those pangs of not having enough start to fade away and a deep sense of awe, wonder, gratitude and love flow through us. We simply Be.

Transcendence of the boundaries of individuation and separateness is key to making this connection. This is done through the art of meditation. Our unlimited Self is subtle and not found in the relative field. Cars, money, houses, partners, children, these are all very worldly tangible things. The divine, well this is very very subtle and not as obvious and easy to access than a car or a chai latte. So we seek the obvious and the most dense first. But if we ignore the subtle, then we will always be plagued with a sense of lack and wanting to fill in another hole.

Seeking is a function of the ego. Being is always there. Being is Love. Being is Stillness. Be.