How to Spice up Your Life

By Mary Jaksch

To be happy we need to find a balance between comfort and adventure.

If our life is too predictable, it feels boring. If it’s too uncertain, it feels unsafe. How is your life? If you think of life as a continuum with ‘adventure’ at one end and ‘boredom’ at the other end, where would you place your life? Is it too predictable? Or too wild?

A quick way to find out is take a close look at one of your usual weekdays.

How to Boost Creativity Through Meditation

Photo: Fernando de Souza
What is the essence of creativity? What makes us feel so fully alive when we are in the presence of creativity?

While watching a DVD of Lianne Carroll, a jazz pianist and singer from the UK, I saw her shambling across the stage, twinset flapping. “Dowdy,” I thought, settling back into the couch. Then she touched the keys of the piano and suddenly all ideas fell out of my mind.

What Makes us Creative?


Photo: diluvi

By Mary Jaksch

Are you creative?

More creativity means more fun, more buzz, more laughter in life.

Scientists see creative innovation as the communication between regions of the brain that are not usually connected. A crucial ingredient of creativity is the ability to develop alternative solutions, known as ‘divergent thinking’.

How does this work? Let’s look at how the idea of writing a post about creativity occurred to me: I was watching an elegant tango dancer glide across the floor.

Are Zen Rituals Relics of the Past?


Photo: o2ma

Is there merit in holding onto the traditional Zen rituals–or should we ditch them? To find an answer it is important to understand what their function is and why rituals can be powerful agents of change.

What is the function of Zen rituals?

Most rituals in Zen mark liminal states. Limen is Latin for threshold. A threshold is a ‘betwixt and between’

How to be at Ease: 3 Ways to Escape Self-consciousness

Photo: audreyjm529

To be at ease means to be in harmony with circumstances.

 

When we’re at ease we’re unselfconscious and confident. We feel connected. Our body is soft, natural, fluid, and graceful. When we are ill at ease we’ re self-conscious and tentative. We feel isolated. Our body is uptight and unresponsive. But the more we try to be at ease, the more we feel anxious and self-conscious.

Practising Gratitude: A Path to Contentment

Photo: johnelamper

Are you grateful?

Do you think that’s too sweeping a question? Maybe you prefer to give me a qualified response. Something like this: “Well, I’m grateful for my health, but I’m hacked off about my boss. My kids are doing ok at school, but they’re getting a bit lippy. The wife and I get on alright, but not much is happening in bed.”

Looking to the Future for Fulfilment: Are You Waiting for Your Ship to Come in?

Photo by Bruno Girin
Spiritual practice can be like a cargo cult. There’s a widespread religious movement in Melanesia where people believe that one day their ship will finally come in, sent by the gods. It will be laden with washing machines, TVs, sofas, cars, fridges, and everything else they have always waited for.

 

Do you look to the future for fulfilment?

 

Maybe you’re not waiting for fridges.

The Secret of Instant Calmness: 3 Ways to Quieten the Mind

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Photo: Peter Kurdulija

Is your mind in a spin? Do you feel stressed? Here are three ways to calm your mind in an instant.

  • The deep breath.

Take a deep breath. Fill your belly and your chest as your inhale deeply. Then release the breath, letting it flow out naturally. Notice how your mind changes when you do this. The deep breath can help you in difficult situations.

Solitude or loneliness? Five Ways to Reconnect with Others

solitude bird sky450Photo Val Ayres
Do you suffer from loneliness? Like many people, maybe you too feel isolated and disconnected. Recently a young guy asked me: “Doesn’t meditation drive you further into loneliness?” This is an interesting question as meditation is a solitary practice. Let’s take a look at loneliness versus solitude.

Loneliness is the feeling of being separate.

Our Western culture breeds loneliness. I think there are five reasons for this:

  • Our traditional social structures have weakened or broken down.

Does Meditation Really Work?

Do you notice the benefits of meditation in your life? There is a big gap between the orderliness of retreats and the chaos of ordinary life. Take a peek into a Zen retreat you’ll see black mats and straight rows. People sit like rocks and every minute of the day is regulated from black dawn to the last bow at night. Life, on the other hand, is chaotic and colourful.
There is no way we can impose control.