Episode 177 – Mastering Meditation
Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to our Becoming Your Best listeners, wherever you may be in the world today! This is Steve Shallenberger and where I’m sitting today it’s a beautiful spring morning. The skies are blue, I can see snow on the mountains, 11,000-foot rocky mountains that spring up here and go to the East. They’re majestic and beautiful! Today we are going to talk about one of the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, it is Principle 11 – Live in Peace and Balance. Oh my goodness, this is such a huge one because it impacts that asset that is the most valuable thing we have on the face of the Earth, and that’s our bodies, our mind, our heart, and our spirit. So the question is, how do we maximize that? How do we have the most energy possible? How do we live at peace? How do we extend our productivity over a long extended period of time, to maximize our success, and be among the high performers walking upon this planet here and do it in a way that blesses the world, and leaves a trail of good? That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I hope that you have fun. We are going to talk about one very specific aspect of living in peace and balance, it can be a tremendous tool that you can use every single day! This tool can bring peace and focus and confidence and clarity in your life. It will bring greater health for sure. It will help calm the mind and increase your vision. What is that? Well, that happens to be MEDITATION.
This year I’ve had the chance, or at least this last year, to talk about health longevity and defying aging. Among that, I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of individuals that have dedicated their lives to the field of medicine and health in this very subject. They, over years, have all come to certain conclusions that will help contribute to your health longevity and defying aging. They’ve given a number of great recommendations. Certainly fitness, a healthy diet that you can enjoy. Sleeping – getting adequate sleep. Having a purpose, in other words, your heart needs a reason to keep beating. Learning – always learning. On the list of all of these is meditation. As we reflect upon meditation, it has been practiced since antiquity and it helps us do a number of things, including focusing the mind on a particular subject, thought, or activity. By training attention and awareness, these forces contribute to becoming more mentally clear and emotionally calm. Meditation may be used with the aim, specifically, of increasing focus, effectiveness, gaining greater peace, perception, it contributes to enhanced memory and well-being. So much research, now, is showing as this is the case, as we are able to measure, physically, the brain, the electrical impulses of the brain and the brain waves. I might also add that meditation reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and they can measure this as well.
As we think about meditation and reflect upon it, today, if you’re driving, you can just listen in, of course, but if you happen to be at your desk, in a place where you can take notes, I’m going to share a few thoughts that may be helpful, as you build and become more enhanced in your meditation. There’s really three types of meditation. A Pointed Meditation, where you try to anchor your mind to one point of attention, like your breath, or a candle, or even a mantra. One of my favorite mantras is, “I feel healthy, I feel happy, I feel terrific!” And that is a mantra you can say over and over and over again, and what happens is this physical action begins having an impact on your emotional state, elevating that emotional state. It creates a chemical change, a set of emotions, the release of the endorphins makes you feel happier and have a more positive frame of reference. So, Pointed Meditation.
Number 2 is an Open Focus Meditation. This involves recognizing any thoughts, feelings or sensations that pop into your head, as they arise, without passing judgement on them. In other words, you are just recognizing that you have them. Being open to free impressions, promptings, and feelings that may come to you. The third type is the Cultivation Meditation, where you try to develop specific qualities or habits of the mind, like loving, kindness meditation, which emphasizes openness and compassion, that’s one example.
So, as we apply and practice, today, on this podcast, some medication… Yeah, I’ll tell you, meditation is medication, just not the physical kind. If you were to envision in front of you a guidepost with four indicators going different directions, let’s say we had different words on them. The top one might say “Help” and another indicator might say, “Support”, going a different direction, “Advice”, “Guidance”. Well, today, what I would like to invite us to do, is focus on the word, “Help”. And we will say this word, “Help” during the meditation exercise, three times. So, just think in your mind to the word there, it’s flashing on a neon, “Help”, and there it is again, “Help” and there you see it again, “Help”. And when we get into the meditation exercise, we will relax ourselves, and the total experience of meditation might take only five minutes, will be done with this podcast in 10 minutes max, but we will reflect upon that. You could substitute other words and during the meditation, just be open, either outgoing or incoming of either individuals that are in need of help, or help that you might be able to give to others, an organization, and individuals, or help that you may need.
So, here we go. Let’s just go ahead and give this a try, today. If you are in a situation or a position where you’re sitting down in your office, or just listening to this, in other words, not driving or not exercising, I’ll invite you to close your eyes. If you are driving or otherwise, of course, don’t do that, but you can participate, you can still do this and pay plenty of attention, or you can just pull over for a few minutes, and participate fully. That would be easy to do. Alright, here we go!
I’d like to invite each one of you that are in a position to do so, close your eyes. Obviously, if you’re driving, don’t close your eyes. Alright, here we go. So, those that can, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Fill your lungs up completely, more, and now exhale. Let it out slowly all the way. Now take another breath, and now let it out. You can feel the relaxation coming in to the upper body, you’re actually starting to feel your entire body, just kind of loosen up your arms there. Now we’ll take a third breath, fill up your lungs all the way, more, and now think of the word, “Help”. You don’t even need to direct your thoughts, just be open to any incoming or outgoing thoughts, totally relaxed. And now think of the word “Help”, once again. Be completely open to any impressions that you may have, or thoughts. Just acknowledge them. And now, one last deep breath, and once again, think of the word, “Help”. Being sensitive to anybody in your personal life, relationships or work or service or civic, that may be in need of your help or offer to help, but also, you may have a need and it’s okay to acknowledge that. We can figure out later how to get help. And now, open your eyes and write down or record any thoughts or impressions that you’ve had. I’ll give you just a minute or so, to capture those thoughts.
Okay, well, when I do this with a group of people, I typically ask the question, “How many of you feel more relaxed now than when we started this exercise activity?” Almost always 100% of the hands go up. So, how many of you, listening today, feel more relaxed, more at peace? I also, just out of curiosity, ask, “How many had a thought or impression of somebody that needed help, or that you could help?” And, frequently, many hands go up. And, “How many thought of an area that they needed help in?” This is an area, certainly being humble as an acknowledgment that we can benefit from the help of others. Many hands go up for this, as well. I’ve done this exercise personally a number of times, and I actually plotted out a course of action of how to do both. I had impressions come both ways, and when I got to my pre-week planning, I actually turned these ideas into action in a way that provided focus, peace, and balance of the things that mattered most.
So that’s the exercise today. That’s our podcast today. I finish with an invitation for each one of our listeners, that during the coming months, pause for a few minutes each day, and practice meditation. It can be any one of the three that we’ve just talked about or a combination of them. Just close your eyes, push back from your desk for a minute or if you’re driving, just pull over for a few minutes, quiet yourself, just like we did today. It might not take any more than three to five minutes. As you can see, the impact is palpable. You feel a greater peace, composure, calmness, and ability to do those things that matter most on your schedule. This is most important for those that have full and busy lives. And then, be attentive to the impact or influence on you, that meditation has. How do you feel? What are the insights that may have come to you? Write these down in your notebook or journal and then, they become part of you.
It has been a delight to be able to visit together with you. We feel so honored to be able to associate together with you, on this podcast. Thank you for listening! I wish we could just be sitting in the room together and be able to visit about these. But, you’re amazing! YOU are making a difference in this world. This is Steve Shallenberger, with Becoming Your Best, wishing you, a great day!