This is a guest post by Tom Cronin, a former trader who has become a meditation teacher. More information at the foot of the post.
Someone once said: “We don’t know what we don’t know.” If only I knew what I didn’t know when starting out as a young broker in finance at 19 years of age.
It was the late 80’s in Australia. Greed was good. A few years in as a young broker and things started to go a little wayward for me. There was frenetic trading by day and frenetic playing by night. It took its toll and imbalances began to show.
At that time I didn’t know about the laws of cause and effect. I didn’t know about stress management, and I certainly didn’t know anything about goal setting. I was invincible, with a huge six figure salary, and we played like Masters of The Universe.
But it didn’t last. Cracks appeared. Insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, then depression and eventually agoraphobia, which led to being unable to go to work.
The option of doctors, psychiatrists and pharmaceuticals didn’t appeal to me. I had to sort out my mind. I explored meditation and an entire cosmos of awareness opened up. The symptoms dissipated and life flourished. I continued further down that rabbit hole, exploring deeper and deeper. This took me to teacher training in India, Bali and Australia.
I continued on in finance as a broker while also teaching meditation. The two worlds were extreme ends of the spectrum and yet fascinatingly were able to interplay with each other.
26 years later, and well-worn by years of pushing buttons, closing deals and raking in the dollars — I took the big leap in to the unknown world of what I call Zentrepreneurialship. I started up my own business teaching meditation, hosting retreats in Bali, keynote speaking and mentoring. Entrepreneurialship in the world of Zen.
It became time to share with others the profound insights that I had come across in my meditations and eastern philosophy studies. I took the leap and walked away from a highly successful career with multiple six figure salary to travel the world spreading what I had learned.
Here are five tips to re-align your life: for living effortlessly and abundantly, and avoiding the turmoil I had to go through before I found the balance I now have.
1. Stress Management
Stress is an imbalance determined by a response we’ve had to an event or line of events in our life. Dr. Bruce Lipton from Stanford University Medical School, said in a paper in 1998 that 95% of all sickness is a product of stress. Stress leaves an imprint of huge distortions on our mind and in our body. The greatest vehicle available to us to reduce not only deeply stored stresses but also the stress response to future events is meditation.
In specific meditation practices the body will dive into a state of rest that is found to be four times deeper than sleep. In this profoundly deep state of rest an internal intelligence will restore balance and re-organise the body to a higher level. For maximum benefits it is recommend that sitting for 20 minute meditations a day.
2. The Law Of Cause And Effect
“As you sow, so shall you reap.” This is also known as Karma. For every action there is a corresponding re-action. An act of kindness is always followed by a sensation of lightness and well-being within. An act of aggression is returned with a like force. Everything we do results in a re-action somewhere, somehow. When we wake up to this phenomenon we are able to be more vigilant and creative in how we live life. You become pro-active rather than re-active in the creation of your life.
3. Mastery Of The Mind, And Intention Setting
Your thoughts are the rudder that steers your life. For every thought that you are having, there are trillions of potential thoughts that you aren’t having. Most people have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day and 85% of those thoughts are recycled thoughts of the day before and the day before. This keeps us in the “recurring known”, unable to break free of old paradigms. By sitting each day and contemplating goals, intentions and visions we are able to grab that rudder and steer the ship into new territories of greatness.
Some tips for goal setting: use images on vision boards placed by your bed, and write intentions on post-it notes places in locations where you will see them daily. Before rising from bed and before going to sleep, hold the feeling of how you would feel when your goals are realised.
4. Eliminate Self-Sabotage And Remove Your Upper Limit
We’ve been programmed the believe that life has ups and downs. This mindset is deeply ingrained into us. It’s so conditioned into us that when life is purring along nicely we always find a way either consciously or subconsciously to self-sabotage it. For example:
• You’ll be super healthy then reward yourself with a big binge night out and 2 dominos pizzas.
• Your relationship is cute and rosy and you have a fight at dinner and fall out with each other.
• You receive a bonus at work and blow it at the casino.
We have the ability to live a life of greatness day after day, every day. Recognise where you commonly self-sabotage and step in to prevent the slide down. This is the start to amazingness every day. Dissolve that upper limit ceiling that is keeping a limit to how great your life can be. When your belief system is that life has “ups and ups” — then there’s a good chance it will. Sure, not everything will work out your way, but it’s how you respond that will determine the next sequence of events.
5. Live From The Heart
A friend of mine, Jamie Gonzales, recently wrote: “I’m out of my mind! What do you expect, I’m living from my heart.” You don’t have to go far to shift from a blocked life that is analytical and complicated to a life that flows with ease and grace. You only have to go about 50 centimetres — from the head to the heart.
Mark Twain once said: “Life is simple, it’s the mind that’s complicated.” When we live from the heart, intuitively living a truth from our feeling level we live fearlessly, with love, passion and intensity. The mind creates road block after road block and stifles our ability to leap into unknown spaces where magic and awesomeness occurs. The best tool for living from the heart is meditation. This daily practice will quieten the mind and awaken the heart centre. After each meditation spend a few moments placing your attention on your heart centre and feeling the light and warmth in that space inside your chest.
First Steps Towards Change
The application of these five mind tools isn’t an overnight process. It takes time and vigilance to override a deep conditioning of thinking. But day by day and with a regular meditation programme, you will be able to live each day with these principles.
Be gentle and kind on yourself if you fall down.
It’s the getting back up again that leads to greatness.
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