Unlock Mind And Body Tensions

 

22 - How's The Water
How to overcome energy loss, burnout and apathy? Take an effortless worry free and non-resistance diet for your mind and body.

Have you ever felt you’re working too hard, spending a lot of time on something, and investing your energy without getting desired or expected results? Tensions may be preventing you from your goals or a happier state. But where does tension come from?

You’re trying to hard.

When we’re practicing an instrument, playing sports or working at the office physical tensions often occur. While playing guitar, for instance, one might experience back pain, shoulder strains, right wrist swelling or left arm problems. When tension escalates it can develop to neck constraints, funny/ugly faces and even tendonitis. One starts to move muscle lips, cheeks or eyes, putting lots of unnecessary strength over the forehead or teeth gnashing.

So, what to do? Fear not my friend. Help is on its way. The Principle Of Least Resistance and Pareto’s Law (The 80/20 Rule) will shed some light on the matter.

Ever wondered why all in nature moves so gracefully and freely? A river takes the path of least resistance towards sea. The river moulds itself to every obstacle along the way. There is no effort, no concern, and no resistance. Just naturalness.

Our bodies obey the same rule. We can’t force ourselves to be taller and, in the same way, grass, flowers or trees simply grow. Everything in the Universe is ruled by this simple economic principle of spontaneity: Do Less, Achieve More.

Superstars, Olympic athletes, top performers, professional dancers or music idols, they all share this natural ability to make extremely difficult things seem easy and simple. This is one reason why they (usually) are not the best at teaching, sharing or talking about that state of easiness. How can a fish teach other to swim? How can you talk about the “perfect” way to breathe? You’ve done that all your life. There was no struggle, no effort, and no challenge. And now you simple do without thinking or analysing.

When we start devoting our practice to this natural state of mind/body control tensions begin to dissolve. Allow yourself not to force things, but to move along. Be water.

Recently I had the opportunity to accompany Gypsy Jazz great Paulus Schafer and I asked him for advice to improve my playing. He simply said:

“Hey Nuno, you know what to do, you already play great, and so you just need to keep playing and add more emotion and feel to what you are playing.”

Later that day, at the workshop, I asked him if he used a metronome to build speed and accuracy. He replied, surprised:

“What is that...? Oh, the tic-tac! No, never used it. I just start playing at a comfortable pace and, every day, I try to push the envelope, always being honest with myself and keeping consistency, accuracy and emotion.”

How many times do we force ourselves to reach a goal in the practice room instead of building naturalness and ease with our playing?

May I find serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can and;

Wisdom to know the difference.

In our lives, as in our practice sessions, we build tension and waste energy when we look for power, control or approval towards others and ourselves. Criticism or fear can also undermine our natural qualities. Instead we should assume and reveal those qualities, enhancing their development.

“Master being different.

One day you will be recognized because you are different”

(NBA Superstar Shaquille O’Neal)

There are 3 practical exercises we can use in our day-to-day life. Give it a shot:

1 – ACCEPTANCE. Learn and practice accepting people as they are, including yourself (specially when you’re practicing something new in your instrument or art). This also applies to difficult circumstances and unfavourable events. Let each moment be what it is. Go easy on yourself. Don’t force things you cannot change, just witness them as they occur. Accept what is and let go of unrealistic or perfectionist scenarios. Avoid idealism sucking life out of you.

2 – RESPONSABILITY: You are the only person responsible for your actions, words, and feelings. Even when you are able to identify a person or a circumstance as the source of your concerns, it’s your thoughts about it that cause your discomfort. Not every guitar player has lightning bolt speed capacity like Jimmy Rosenberg or Yngwie Malmsteen. There are actually giants in music that never played fast (take Bill Frissell as one example). Guilt is useless. When facing a problem take the responsibility and generate a creative solution. Be aware of the storyline created by your mind. Everything is just an interpretation. If you shift the colour of your eyeglass lenses you will be seeing things from a different perspective.

3 – DETACHMENT: Stop persuading, convincing or explaining. Defensiveness generates resistance and forcing things only magnifies the initial barriers between people, events or abilities. Nobody has to prove the sun is shining. Even when people disagree or misinterpret your intentions, the sun keeps shining. The truth stands for itself, no matter what.

In the end, Pareto’s Law helps you acknowledge the importance of identifying the essential of each and every task at hand. Depurate your actions, thoughts and emotions to the basics and rudiments. Master them and elaborate on them.

Most importantly, one has to understand the great difference between a Goal and a Dream. Ask yourself if what you’re searching for is a Goal or a Dream.

A Dream is something usually identified as unreachable, one far fetch idealization that would provide great joy if some random or unpredictable event might happen by chance or luck.

A Goal is totally different. Once you set a Goal you’ll persist, step by step, until you reach it. Be aware of roadblocks and mind-body tensions as reminders of your own energy management. Go with the flow, be water and never take “No” for an answer. Soon you’ll be playing your “A-Game” as the easiest thing in the world.

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Unlock Yourself From Karma

 

21 - Karma

What you reap is what you sow.

Every action is followed by an equal reaction.

If you are aware of your choices you’ll understand the cause-effect process.

The circular motion of the Cosmos reflects it self on our lives and actions. In order to generate abundance we need to keep a flowing circle of energy alive, in movement, and dynamic. Let go of what comes to you and share it with others. Don’t cage the bird, let it fly, let it loose. Give and it shall be given to you. So what is Karma?

Karma simply means the consequence to an action. Since every action is based on a choice, one must develop greater consciousness about their choices in order to improve results.

The problem arises when we miss to realize that our lives are governed by every single choice we make. Every act, decision or thought is – indeed – our own personal choice taking action in every single moment of our lives. Consequences emerge from those conscious or unconscious choices.

This is why your thoughts create the life you are living.

Lack of awareness leads us to let go of the responsibility to consciously take our choices therefore we start making unconscious ones. Soon we develop automatic responses to certain situations with the aid of so-called “Triggers”. We don’t think, we just act, we respond to certain stressors with a usual behaviour pre-recorded in our brain.

Pavlov calls this “Classical Conditioning” a concept popularized with his dog experiment. The dog associated eating to a ring stimulus. Every time he heard the ring it started salivating.

This behavioural reinforcement was also demonstrated in child experiments. A needle sting was unnoticed induced to the child while the other adult was feeding him. Soon the child started crying by only seeing the spoon because of his “needle pain-spoon feeding” association.

Hence, we are used to predictably and repetitively respond the same way to the same stimuli. Our “Triggers” unfold automatically according to certain people, environments, ideas, conversations, communities or events. We are not choosing – in that present moment – to react in a certain way. Our habitual behaviour has decided how to react a long time ago, by repeating the same reaction pattern.

For instance, how do you react to an insult? Do you choose to be offended or do you choose not to be offended? Is that reaction unconscious or conscious? Is it automatic or deliberate?

Monitoring your choices enables your better response to everyday life events. Think about the programs you have allowed running into your “Brain’s Operating System”. Be open to a new software update and start taking responsibility for your choices. Choose differently. What got you here wont take you there! Upgrade yourself to a newer, renewed and fulfilling version.

The next time you feel the urge to scream, complain or react just STOP. Focus your attention to what is going on inwardly and wait for a better solution. Observe and choose consciously.

If you’re constantly performing the same actions you can’t expect different results. Like Einstein stated: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” But if you want different results you have to START PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR CHOICES, bringing them to the light of consciousness.

How about some practical exercises to work on? Glad you’ve asked 🙂

1 – Always think about THE CONSEQUENCE of the choice to be made. If I take this action what will be the reaction? Is this product or result in tune with what I was aiming for in the first place?

2 – Investigate the positive outcomes of your choice/action. Does it generate joy, pleasure or happiness? Does it improve your current state or does it creates harm, loss or damage?

Do you still think Karma is a bitch? Invite it to your live, have dinner with it, sometime, and soon you’ll notice Karma as the best friend you’ll ever have!

Unlock Your Energy Flow

20 - Abundance VS. Scarcity

Abundance is the one thing in the world able to create prosperity. That seems to be the reason why people strive for more. How to get a better home, a faster car, a lovelier spouse, new clothes, healthier relationships, a trip around the world, and so on?

Although life’s unlimited resources are at our disposal we constantly feel lacking and, what’s worse, a sense of competitiveness in order to conquer the last piece of pie on the table. Constant negative news about the world’s energy resources coming to an end are very distracting and we seem to forget that not everybody is after the same things. We all have different wants and needs and nobody is taking the other person’s place.

Nevertheless, abundance is what we aim. And that is a good thing; we just need to understand what it really stands for and how it works. Shall we?

 “Abundance is not something we acquire, it is something we tune into”

(Dr Wayne Dyer)

Abundance means “To Flow”. Nowadays, this concept is deeply rooted into money for the simple fact that the word “Currency” means to run or to flow. So, the only way we can generate abundance in life is to let it flow THROUGH us.

Letting Go seems to be the foundation for life’s stability, well-being, peace of mind and also… Abundance. Let go of your thoughts, they are creating your suffering. Let go of your need to control, it is creating your stress. Let go the need of attract savings, it is causing you to lose money.

Everything that stops moving dies. Simple as that! Everything that stops circulating gets stagnant, stops growing and ends its evolution process. Our blood is constantly circulating in our veins. A river never stops running towards the ocean. The cosmos is in a perpetual and endless motion. So should we.

Start moving. Give and take! Let go and start again. The more you give, the more you take. You can’t pour more tea into a full cup; you need to empty it first. Likewise, how are you supposed to learn something new if your mind is filled with concepts, prejudices and preconceived ideas?

The more you give, the more the universe will flood you with renewed energy, goods and opportunities. If you want to take more knowledge or expertise, give it more time and focused practice. If you want to take deeper relationships for yourself, give it more care. If you want to take more income from your current job give it more vital energy.

This doesn’t mean you should sell all your belongings, start mindlessly donating your money and adopt a life in the woods! When one door closes another opens, right? Isn’t it funny, when you lose a client, another one suddenly surprises you?

Got it: Give and take, so… no catch? Yes, there is a catch.

Scan your intentions, why are you giving? Is it heart-felt or are you hiding something? Be true to yourself. Unwilling gifts or sense of losing something can reveal your deepest motifs. Why are you so eager for knowledge or expertise? Is it to surpass everyone around or is it to feed your hungry soul? Why are you digging in relationships? Is it rooted into loneliness or into love? Why do you want the promotion so much? Is it fear of inferiority or is it pride on giving your absolute best?

THINK about your joyful gestures:
T – Is it True?

H – is it Helpful?

I – is it Inspiring?

N – is it Necessary?

K – is it Kind?

Learn how to give what you want to receive. Scan your intentions and act based on joy. Give what you can give. Give your attention to people, give love and affection, and show appreciation or gratitude. Offer a gift, write a letter and compliment a lot.

“Purify your heart before you let love into it, for even the sweetest honey sour in a dirty container.”

(Pythagoras)

Unlock Your Creative Consciousness

17 - Silence, Meditation, Non Judgment(b)

Success is often described and perceived as the opposite of Failure. What we usually miss to realize is the fact that the Self and the Ego are two separate entities focused on different priorities.

When we focus our attention outwardly we interpret Success as winning. We begin to feel affected by social pressure, other people’s thoughts, and constant demand to catch up. We act because the world is looking at us.

When we direct that focus inwardly we might realize Success as the ability to effortlessly achieve our will. We give our best even when no one is looking.

The Ego represents our social image, what we do, our role in the workplace and all the labels others use to correctly identify us (father, son, work colleague, athlete, friend, baker, taxi driver, photographer, musician, blonde, freckled, foreign, husband, wife, black, funny, fat, tall, attractive and so on…). It focuses on external objects. This builds an apparent need for control, power or approval that will generate fear. This happens because the titles originated by the Ego can only endure while that title stands. Once the title, or money, or work place or social status ends, so it ends the power that sustains them.

Self, on the other hand, focus inwardly and is brought up by Consciousness. The stronger we grow our awareness of Self, the wider will be our pure potential and creative mind-set. The more Self Conscious we are, the more power we have. And this Self-Power endures because it’s based inwardly.

Self-knowledge is a must. To understand our deepest wants and needs strengthen us. It empowers us with our own life control and steer us in the right direction: the direction we choose consciously to pursue. Think about your consciousness and awareness as a taxi driver. If you don’t know where to go you can’t ask your taxi driver to guide you properly. He will only drive around, wasting time, until you make a decision. You will be lost in thoughts, referring to outside stimuli, asking for others approval, searching for an answer and basing your life in fear.

In contrast, if you start focusing – not on the objects of your experience but – on your inner Self you will develop the ability to Let Go, not wanting to control events or other people. The quality of your attention determines the quality of your results.

So, how do we grow Self-Awareness, Self-Consciousness and Self-Knowledge in benefit of a successful life? If we concede in a definition of success as the craft or aptitude to fulfil, effortlessly, our needs and wishes, then it all comes down to 3 simple steps:

1 – Experience SILENCE. Without it, our self-dialogue will always be turbulent. Turn off the TV, radio, phone, and every other source of distraction and rumination. We don’t need an Original Sound Track as a background to our lives, especially if this O.S.T. is based on noise. We’re so used to it that the Self feels pretty uncomfortable after the car radio is shut down or the nagging supermarket songs disappear suddenly. But it feels so invigorating and refreshing after a while… It builds space around you and boosts air into your lungs and ideas into your mind. Give it a try.

2 – MEDITATE. It’s a basic need, just like breathing, eating or taking a bath. You do brush your teeth everyday, right? Probably you even floss. It’s great for your hygiene habits. Meditation is just your mental hygiene habit, starting now. MEDITATE.

3 – STOP JUDGMENTAL THINKING. Observe without creating that inner turbulence generated by evaluations, analysis or labels. Wear a bracelet on your wrist. Every time you caught yourself judging or criticizing, change the bracelet to the other wrist. It will be your constant reminder to slow down, preventing your mind to race.

One of the best ways to experience all 3 at the same time is a simple contact with nature. Stay observant and you’ll hear the music.

For more on the subject check Deepak Chopra’s “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success”