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The Power of Awareness course is a 7-week online mindfulness training course developed and presented by renowned mindfulness teachers Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.

The goal of the course is to help participants cultivate mental clarity, compassion and overall well-being in their lives.

The training is centered around the power of the present moment, which is the place from which our reality is created.

Our work lives, relationships, and our home lives are all created and fueled by the thoughts, feelings and actions that occur in our lives on a day-to-day basis.

The thing is that we aren't necessarily aware of these thoughts, feelings and actions and the impact that they have.

By understanding and learning to cultivate mindfulness in our lives we become better equipped to create the life that we dream of.

That doesn't necessarily mean becoming a millionaire or any other material aspect of life – though stability is of course something that we all aspire to – but rather contentment and peace within ourselves, with our friends and family and those we interact with on a daily basis.

The Power of Awareness Course Details

I'm a big fan of the Sounds True catalogue and took this course in 2018, with the intention of writing about it for my readers.

The course covers a huge amount of detail and by the end you will have learned valuable mindfulness skills and tools that will help you in the following key five areas:

1. Healing

How to cope with your emotions, feelings and thoughts in everyday life, and indeed address those past experiences holding you back from living out your potential.

Healing has to be the beginning of this course, because we need to understand the healing process and how it is possible to move forward without constantly being dragged back into the past.

2. Centering

You will learn to stay calmer and more focused and balanced in your daily life, helping you to make better decisions and have greater effectiveness over external circumstances.

3. Presence

The majority of us live our lives on a reactionary basis: As interactions and problems arise in our lives we respond to them with autopilot reactions that aren't always conducive to creating a positive outcome.

The Power of Awareness helps you learn to stop reacting in this habitual way and instead to slow down your responses and bring presence to any given situation.

4. Connection

In the connection week you will work on improving the relationships in your lives. You'll learn how to improve the quality of your interaction with those closest to you, those in the workplace and the people you encounter in other areas of life.

5. Expansion

Expanding your consciousness will enable you to tap into a limitless source of loving awareness that you can share with the world, but also give to yourself to feel more content with who you are, and to appreciate the opportunities and talents that you have been blessed with.

Meditation Practice with Tara Brach & Jack Kornfield

One of the cornerstones of the course is a meditation practice that concludes each weekly teaching.

Don't worry if you are new to meditation, and perhaps not yet a big fan. These are 15-minute meditations that will introduce you to the experience and how it can help you bring calmness, peace and greater compassion to your life, not to mention reducing stress and anxiety levels and promoting inner healing.

In addition to the teachings you will receive guided meditations to help deepen your practice.

So you won't just be sitting there meditating on your own but rather you will have guided meditations with the narration to help you engage. Jack and Tara will guide you through a number of different topics through the weeks.

On a personal note I know that meditation is a wonderful gift to give yourself. Often people from the outside view it as a chore, something you have to fit into your day and that interferes with your schedule.

We are so used to go-go-go that taking a moment out to recalibrate seems alien.

But actually it is a gift to yourself. Like you would treat yourself to a massage, or a drink at the end of the week, meditation is a natural healing process that you can engage with at any time to re-centre your mind and bring about a sense of oneness and peace with the world.

Meditation is possibly the best addiction one can acquire a life.

=> Click Here to Register for Power of Awareness <= Power of Awareness Weekly Program

The course covers a broad curriculum, so I'm not going to list every aspect in this review. If you want to read a full rundown then you can visit the Power of Awareness course page by clicking the link above.

However, here's a brief overview of each week:

Week 1: How to Establish Your Practice and Awaken to Your Body

Week 1 covers the basics of mindfulness practice and the foundations of conscious breathing. I incorporate breathing exercises into my daily schedule and they really are invaluable in remaining present and coping with challenging situations in life.

Week 2: Mindfulness with Your Emotions & freedom with Your Thoughts

In week 2 you will start to bring mindfulness practice to your emotions, thoughts and feelings and learn how you can use your emotions to support and guide you through life, rather than allowing them to habitually control you.

Week 3: How to Work with Difficulty in Your Life

For me this is one of the most important weeks of the course. The large majority of us are suffering from some trauma or fear, or some past negativity that is holding us back from truly being able to embrace and enjoy life.

Week 3 will help you learn to cope with the overwhelming feelings that come with trauma, loss, fear and general difficulty and hardship in life. You will learn tools to break free from reactivity and learn how to consciously respond in your life.

Week 4: Expanding the Love for Yourself and Others

This leads nicely on from Week 3 because the trauma and negative experiences we have had in the past cause us to feel guilt and often dislike for ourselves. We struggle to move forward because we self-blame and internalize situations even though they aren't our fault.

Expanding love is a self-forgiveness journey that gives you the healing power of loving-kindness to forgive yourself and others and to cultivate compassion in your life.

Week 5: Creating Mindful Relationships

Again, this follows nicely from the previous week because now you can put these things into practice and start using the skills of mindfulness to deepen and strengthen your bonds with others.

Many of us have fractured relationships with family members; quite often our parents or partners.

Even though we might be on talking terms there are unspoken about areas of animosity over things that have happened or the way family members react or judge us. Or perhaps you have problematic relationships with old friends or even your siblings or children.

This week concentrates on developing a mindful communication style that seeks to nurture relationships rather than harm them further, which is easily done when we try to speak about difficult issues with people but voices are raised and tension escalates.

Week 6: Bring More Awareness into Your Daily Life & Care for Our World

Week 6 is about influence and your role within  your immediate circle, your community and the wider world.

How can you take everything you've learned on this course and extend your present, loving-kindness to others so that they can benefit from similar healing?

This week ties everything together as you enter that realization the world is interdependent and that we all have a very unique role to play in not just our own lives but that of everyone else's.

Week 7: Power of Awareness Half Day Personal Retreat Experience

This is a very special and personal way to end the course. You will press what is known as a “sacred pause” on your everyday reality – which is the life you have been used to – to create a new space for intuition and insight to flourish in your life.

You will learn about the importance of slowing down, walking meditation, healing and relaxation and releasing your inner judge. This concept is something that you can take with you  once the course is over and integrate into your life at different intervals.

A personal retreat can be taken at any time. It could be scheduled as part of your week, or it could just be that you have a planned set of rituals that you engage in when you feel stressed, anxious, fearful or like you're not being present enough in life.

=> Click Here to Register for Power of Awareness <= Community Mentoring

As part of the course you will be able to ask questions and voice your struggles and realizations to mentors chosen by Jack and Tara.

The calls are offered on different days and times each week so you can select availability that suits you.

There is no limit to the amount of calls that you can participate in, which is really great because it gives you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the teachings and to release your thoughts and energy through others who understand what you are learning and potentially going through.

Your Certificate of Completion

When you finish the Power of Awareness online course you will receive a certificate from the UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Centre and the Awareness Training Institute (ATI). The Greater Good Science Centre study psychology, sociology and neuroscience of well-being.

Also note that the course gives you 19 continuing education credits (CE). These are mandated by US states and professional organizations for members of certain professions as part of a license or certificated renewal process.

These are generally valid for counsellors, social workers, and psychologists. So if you are going to any of those fields, or considering that might be a pathway for you in the future, these credits will be valuable going forward.

Extra Course Value

In addition to the certification of completion you also receive guided meditations for self-healing by Jack Kornfield, and meditations for emotional healing by Tara Brach. You can download these and import them to iTunes (or whatever player you use).

Power of Awareness Pricing

There is a single payment option and a payment plan option. On the single payment option you can currently save $100 on the next course date, which is priced at  $397, so you will pay $297. Or you can make three monthly payments of $107.

The course comprises over 9 hours of video teachings, and the additional meditation audios, the meditation practices, the weekly community mentoring sessions, membership to the online community and personal journalling exercises too.

Consider that if you were to go away and do a similar course at a meditation retreat, in addition to your travel expenses you would easily be looking at $1500 plus+.

In Conclusion

I loved this course. But I'm probably biased because I think Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach are amazing mentors who have brought so much peace and joy to so many people.

To have both of these mentors curating and presenting this course, with their over 40 years of experience in not just clinical psychology but mindfulness practice, makes it so valuable and so worthwhile.

I know for some the price will be somewhat restrictive, especially if your monthly margins are tight. But I also think it's worth pointing out how much group sessions locally, or even therapy costs.

Many years ago when I saw a counsellor it was in excess of $80 a session. So you get less than four sessions with a counsellor at the discounted price of this course. It is a great personal investment; something that'll assist you greatly on life's journey.

The video content itself is as you'd expect very high quality, and of course accessible from any of your devices.  You can also access your personal online journal at any time, and of course your Power of Awareness reflections coursework book which is a private course book designed for you to document your answers and thoughts and refer back to it as needed.

The beauty of course like this is that the content is all very practical. You are consistently being give techniques and tools that you can integrate immediately into your own life and make a positive difference.

Jack and Tara lead you through the course like a journey, using stories, quotes and inner-engineering practices to deepen your understanding of mindfulness.

What you will notice specifically is that you start the course in a projective state, living in your every day external mode. But as the course goes on your mind naturally starts to shift inward as you literally start to reconnect with yourself.

Any mindfulness/meditation/ self-awareness training is always valuable and generally leaves you feeling far more positive and better equipped to deal with your inner struggles and the difficult situations that arise in life.

However, with such a well structured course by two so very experience teachers, the Power of Awareness has a far greater reach, leaving you feeling truly vibrant and alive.

=> Click Here for Access to the Discounted Course <=
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There are two main categories of meditation: focused attention and open awareness.

In this post I'll explain the difference between the two, and cover some other related types of meditation you might have come across.

Focused Attention Meditation

Focused attention meditation, also called concentrative meditation, is when your attention is focused on a single object. The object of focus could be internal or external, for example:

  • A mantra – repeating a word, phrase, or sound over and over
  • Visualization – picturing a place or focusing on a goal
  • A body part – focusing on a particular area or sensation in the body
  • Candle – looking at a flame to focus the mind
  • Mala beads – counting beads on a mala
  • A sound – listening to a gong or chime

In this type of meditation, the goal is to keep the attention focused and nothing else. So if you were to stare at a candle, or repeat a mantra, you would just engage the mind in that practice.

The more you practice, the better you will become at zoning in and the fewer distractions and lapses in concentration you will experience.

A subset of focused attention meditation is Samatha meditation, which is commonly done through mindfulness breathing. Participants pay attention to the sensations of inhalation and exhalation without forcing attention. The idea is to simply observe the natural breathing process with gentleness.

Samatha meditation can also focus on other bodily parts, as follows:

  • The nostrils
  • Rising and falling of the chest
  • The flow of air entering and exiting the nose
  • Air moving across the upper lip
  • Expansion and contraction of the diaphragm

Focus on a tree, the horizon, a candle, any single object.

Open Awareness Meditation

Also called open monitoring or non-directive meditation, this style of meditation is the opposite of focused attention.

Instead of concentrating on something, your attention is open and remains aware of everything that is happening.

All experiences are perceived as they happen, with a goal of remaining non-judgmental toward oneself.

Some of the things that are watched in this meditation are:

  • Thoughts
  • Feelings
  • Memories
  • Sounds
  • Smells
  • Bodily sensations

Instead of getting caught up in a thoughts or feeling, the practitioner is instead encouraged to simply witness everything and be present to whatever is happening.

The beauty of meditation is that it's for all ages.

How Do Focused & Open Meditation Affect the Brain?

It has long been thought that meditation has many positive benefits. And numerous studies have made some interesting discoveries.

It's useful to look at the scientific research because it can help us decide which type of meditation is best for our goals. For example: do you want to increase focus and sustained attention span? Or do you want to improve creativity, or problem solving?

One study on focused attention meditation, open monitoring meditation, and loving kindness meditation – which incorporates elements of both focused attention and open monitoring meditation – tried to find out the effects of these kinds of meditation on cognitive processes.

Although it is unclear exactly how the meditation affects these processes, the study found that different meditations were connected with neural structures and electroencephalographic activity.

Some of the findings from the studies determined a connection between meditation and attentional scope:

  • Those who participated in 3 months of intensive Vipassana meditation had a broader attentional scope.
  • Meditators were able to pay attention better and monitor events more accurately.
  • OMM meditators were able to perform better on sustained attention tasks than focused attention meditators.
  • Vipassana meditators who performed auditory tasks both before and after meditation had greater amplitudes to tones which is thought to illustrate better attention and engagement during a task.
  • Several studies showed support for the thought that focused attention meditation encourages better focus and increases sustained attention.
  • Experienced meditators were found to have more connectivity to the right insula, a region of the cerebral cortex, which researchers believe may enhance awareness of bodily states.
  • Theta brain activity is increased during meditation.

Findings regarding meditation and conflict resolution include:

  1. Meditation also seems to improve the connectivity between attentional networks in the brain.
  2. Integrative body-mind training (IBMT), a practice similar to open monitoring meditation, resulted in improved conflict resolution.
  3. Participants in a 6-week focused attention meditation training who were asked to complete a task had fewer errors than the control group and has less emotional interference.

Research on meditation and creativity shows varied results. An overview of studies shows that:

  • Some studies suggest a strong positive impact on creativity from meditation
  • Other studies had a weak or no association at all
  • Another study found there were short-term effects on creativity
  • Convergent thinking usually improves after focused attention meditation and divergent thinking is improved after open monitoring meditation
  • Meditation seems to induce different cognitive states (1)

However, one study in particular focused on the impact of focused attention and open monitoring meditation on creativity tasks which use convergent and divergent thinking. The researchers found that these types of meditation did have an effect on creativity.

  • Open monitoring meditation helped to create a state that promotes divergent thinking which helps with the generation of new ideas
  • Focused attention meditation doesn’t help with convergent thinking which is the process of coming up with a single solution to a problem
  • Participants experienced an increase in mood after the meditation sessions
  • The study showed that meditation has an impact on divergent thinking and acknowledged that not every kind of meditation may have the same effect
  • It was also suggested that open monitoring meditation has benefits other than simply relaxation and receiving attention
  • It seems that practicing open monitoring meditation restructures one’s cognitive processing enough to have an effect on the performance of unrelated tasks (2)
Other Types of Meditation Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a common term you'll hear. It is a unique blend of both focused attention and open monitoring meditations. Techniques from both types of meditation are used to help remain aware but non-judgmental of whatever is experienced.

When practicing mindfulness meditation, you would choose something to focus on and continue to put your attention on that. However, instead of focusing on that one object to the point of excluding everything else around, you would remain aware of your surroundings.

As you focus on the object, you have a peripheral and internal awareness of different sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Then, as those things drift into your consciousness, you simply observe them without getting carried away or caught up in thoughts.

You also refrain from judging them and simply accept them as part of the experience.

Effortless presence.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Another type of meditation that draws from both focused awareness and open monitoring meditation is called loving kindness. This meditation is focused on cultivating love and compassion for oneself and then extending those feelings to others.

Loving kindness meditation can induce positive feelings of warmth, happiness, and joy in a person. After developing a loving feeling toward oneself, those benevolent wishes are extended toward friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, and then to all of humanity.

Wishes of peace, calm, and well-being can also be expressed toward living things such as plants, animals, trees, and the Earth as a whole.

It is suggested to start by visualizing a person that you are very close to and have strong feelings for such as a spouse, parent, child, or good friend. This will make it easy to feel gratitude for that person and arouse a sensation of love within you that you can build upon.

During the meditation practitioners often focus on their breathing while also visualizing that they are exhaling out stress and tension while breathing in feelings of peace and love.

Effortless Presence Meditation

You could say that reaching the state of effortless presence is the goal of all forms of meditation, though starting out with focused or open meditation is the pathway to this effortless presence.

This refers to a state where your attention is not focused on a particular object, thought, or sensation. Instead, there is simply a quiet awareness that is experienced, free from any mental commentary or distractions.

Forms of meditation that require you to focus or silently observe are simply a means of training one’s mind to remain calm and still. Ultimately, you will gradually begin to enter this state of “no mind” or effortless existence.

Starting Out with Meditation

Now that you’ve read about some of the positive effects of meditation, you may want to start your own practice. But which type of meditation is best for beginners?

It is often recommended that those new to meditation start with a focused attention meditation as opposed to open monitoring.

Focused attention helps the practitioner to bring their mind to a state of stillness. This is helpful for beginners because it can be effective in preventing distractions from arising.

If a distraction does arise or the mind wanders, the attention is simply brought back to the object of awareness once you realize you have lost focus.

Repeatedly engaging in this type of meditation will improve concentration and gradually minimize distractions.

Then, after you have built up your awareness, you can move on to open monitoring meditation more easily.

The attention that has been created through focused attention will benefit the process of open monitoring as you allow all sensations to rise up inside and then pass through without reacting to them.

If the mind starts to wander, attention is gently brought back to the positive feelings. Once the meditation ends, the practitioner can return to the memory of these good sensations throughout the day as needed (3).

————

If you haven't read my Easy Meditation Guide I suggest doing that next. It also contains a brief summary of focused and open meditation but also provides practical steps on how to start meditating immediately.

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In a fast-paced, heavily distracting and often confusing world, small minds are bombarded with emotions and feelings that are often difficult to understand and cope with.

For this reason, studies show that children are increasingly suffering from stress, anxiety, and even depression.

Practicing mindfulness can help kids learn to focus, manage stress, regulate emotions, and develop a positive outlook on the world.

Mindful awareness helps students with self regulation, optimism, and planning and organizational skills ~ Maria Hersey, Ph.D., the U.S. director of education and training at The Hawn Foundation.

Practicing Mindfulness helps children to notice the positives and get a perspective on the negatives. This assists in developing a sense of appreciation, gratitude and contentment.

In turn this reduces their risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

I've pulled together a list of wonderful, fun books that you can use to introduce your child to mindfulness, and enjoy some reading time too.

Best Mindfulness Books for Kids 1. Listening to My Body

Book overview:

Curiosity is normal in children, but most often, their feelings and sensations about people and things remain unexplained.

Listening to My Body is an interactive book that engages children and helps them name their feelings and sensations and understand the connection between them. This book makes use of mindfulness activities to help kids develop emotional resilience.

Age group:  8-12 years old

=> Click to see Listening to My Body

2. I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Book overview:

Created by the same team who wrote I Am Yoga, I Am Peace is a wonderful picture book that helps children find peace within through mindful practice. It is an ideal tool for teachers in the classroom and moms at bedtime, as it brings a simple clear message of awareness and understanding in a manner perfect for kids.

Connect your kids with the earth. Enhance their imagination. Develop the expression of their emotions. Be present in the present.

Age group: 4-8 years old

=> Click to see I Am Peace

3. Cassidy's Present

Book overview:

If your child loves dogs this is a great book to inspire mindfuness. Cassidy is a playful pup who likes the smell of flowers, the feel of the warm sun, and the taste of a snowflake on her tongue.

But her human friends, Anna and Charlie, seem too distracted by the cares and concerns of their everyday life to join Cassidy as she plays through the seasons.

Cassidy helps her friends to appreciate the present moment and everything it has to offer.

Age group: 5-12 years old

=> Click to see Cassidy's Present

4. Listening with My Heart: A Story of Kindness and Self-Compassion

Book overview:

As much as it is necessary and important to teach our kids to be friendly to others, it is essential to talk to them about being friends to themselves.

This friendly book regards self-acceptance and positive self-talk to be helpful in building a child’s emotional resilience and develop a happy and strong mentality.

Listening to My Heart also touches on other universal subjects of empathy, friendship, and kindness. As a bonus, mindfulness and self-compassion activities are also included in this small yet beautiful book.

Age group: 5-10 years old

=> Click to see Listening with My Body

5. A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles

Book overview:

This amazing book introduces one of the most innovative meditation practices for children — pebble meditation.

An engaging and playful activity that introduces meditation during the early years, pebble meditation is developed to involve kids in a hands-on manner that establishes their interconnection with nature.

A Handful of Quiet is a perfect tool to help children relieve stress, heighten their concentration, nurture their gratitude, and help them deal with different difficult emotions.

Aside from doing it with the guidance of teachers and parents, children can also do pebble meditation on their own.

Age group: 5-9 years old

=> Click to see A Handful of Quiet

6. The Mindful Dragon: A Dragon Book about Mindfulness

Book overview:

Kids love dragons, and, with the help of cute and entertaining creative illustrations, the Mindful Dragon teaches kids the importance of focus and peace, and helps them develop an understanding of their present emotions.

What if your dragon is worried about many things? Well, grab this fun book and train him to be mindful!

Age group: 4-8 years old

=> Click to see The Mindful Dragon

7. Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids

Book overview:

Even kids have anxieties and worries. Sitting Like a Frog presents mindfulness practices in a simple, kid-friendly way to help children learn concentration, deal with anxiety and stress, and handle demanding emotions.

The book also contains practices that are focused on certain common scenarios to help youngsters get a grip on their feelings, manage anger, become more aware, and exercise patience. Along with the book is a 60-minute audio CD of guided exercises.

This lovely book is the perfect introduction to mindfulness meditation.

Age group: 5-12 years old

=> Click to see Sitting Like a Frog

8. Master of Mindfulness: How to Be Your Own Superhero in Times of Stress

Book overview:

Childhood is supposed to be all about unicorns and rainbows, but what if it’s not? In this world that gets more chaotic and stressful day by day, kids would greatly benefit from child-friendly resources that increase their wellness.

An empowering book that uses cool illustrations, Master of Mindfulness is ideal for showing kids how to be focussed, stay calm, be confident, and channel and use their inner strength to be their own superhero!

In any scenario, a child could use some superpowers, and this is what this little book aims to fulfill — to give children the skills they need to handle their emotions the mindful way.

Age group: 5-12 years old

=> Click to see Master of Mindfulness

9. Marmalade the Moose's Mindful Meanders

Book overview:

Walking in mindfulness is what Marmalade the Moose likes to do! Join her as she navigates to fun places such as the beach, a farm, and a forest.

She also enjoys going on an exciting hike with her friends and just lives in the present and be aware of everything little thing that happens in the background — the tweeting of the bird or the swaying of tree leaves. This book is perfect for both kids and adults to learn more about gratitude, mindfulness, and happiness!

Age group: 0-10 years old

=> Click to see Marmalade the Moose

10. Mind Bubbles: Exploring Mindfulness with Kids

Book overview:

Children today are engaged in a fast-paced, media-driven, competitive society that can lead to increased stress and stress-related problems such as anxiety and depression. Mindfulness is a way to deal with this stress and can help children calm themselves and focus their attention.

Mind Bubbles presents an easy way for young children to work with their breath while noting thoughts and feelings passing and popping like bubbles. The book is a clear, concise, and secular explanation of mindfulness.

Age group: 4-8 years old

=> Click to see Mind Bubbles

11. Crab and Whale

Book overview:

It’s never too early to start! Designed to gently introduce kids to the practice of mindfulness, Crab and Whale is a wonderfully illustrated story perfect for playtime or bedtime.

The story of the crab and the whale touches on the values of mindfulness: acceptance, generosity, gratitude, kindness, patience, and trust.

This book helps children become more relaxed and resilient in an imaginative and interactive way.

Age group: 2-11 years old

=> Click to see Crab and Whale

12. I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids

Book overview:

Positive self-talk builds confidence, and confidence empowers a person. Start from the early years and help your children tap into their own inner strength to find the empowerment they need for situations they will face in everyday life.

This fun and colorful book is a wonderful way to teach kids to practice kindness and peace, speak up when necessary, handle difficult situations, and listen to that quiet voice inside.

Age group: 5-11 years old

=> Click to see I Can Do Hard Things

13. Meditation Is an Open Sky: Mindfulness for Kids

Book overview:

Inside the Meditation Is an Open Sky contains simple exercises that help children to help handle difficult emotions, manage stress, deal with challenges, and find focus.

This book is designed to teach children the value of kindness and gratitude and how to feel safe when afraid, be calm when anxious, and relax when frustrated.

Simple and fun, this mindfulness book is perfect for helping kids navigate through their everyday life, all the while maintaining their wellbeing.

Age group: 4-8 years old

=>Click to see Meditation Is an Open Sky

14. The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation

Book overview:

The Lemonade Hurricane is a story of Emma, a kid who doesn’t like hurricanes and loves to sit still, and Henry, her little brother, who is her complete opposite–the reason she calls him The Lemonade Hurricane.

One day, Emma decides to teach Henry how to be still and rest.

For parents and teachers who want to introduce mindfulness meditation to children, this book is the ideal tool! Presented as an enchanting story, The Lemonade Hurricane teaches kids how to sit, bow, and breathe to calm the raging hurricane within them.

Age group: 5-6 years old

=> Click to see The Lemonade Hurricane

15. The Magic is Inside You

Book overview:

Follow Madeleine and her adventures as she learns how to take over her mind, turn her thoughts into powerful thinking, and improve her confidence.

This little book can be used by parents and teachers to guide children in developing positive self-esteem and transforming their mindset from negative to a strong can-do attitude.

The Magic is Inside You provides children with the right words to express their emotions in certain situations.

=> Click to see The Magic is Inside You

16. What Does It Mean to Be Present?

Book overview:

Join a group of friends in this interactive book as they navigate through childhood in school, at home, and at the beach!

Follow their experiences as they learn how to be in the present, such as waiting patiently for their turn, focusing on what is happening at the moment, and noticing and taking action when someone needs help.

For parents and teachers, this book is a great tool to help children start mindfulness early and set the tone for their lives!

Age group: 4-8 years old

=> Click to see What Does It Men to Be Present

17. Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere

Book overview:

A lovely collection of illustrated mindfulness exercises, Breathe Like a Bear teaches children techniques for managing their breath, body, and emotions. It is filled with imaginative and playful ideas children will love and help them better connect with themselves.

What makes it even better is that the simple and short mindfulness practices in this book can be performed anytime, anywhere!

Encourage your child to be mindful the most whimsical way with Breathe Like a Bear.

Age group: 4-8 years old

=> Click to see Breathe Like a Bear

18. Puppy Mind

Book overview:

Puppy Mind follows the story of a  young boy discovers his mind is like a puppy, always wandering away, into the past or the future. He then starts to train his puppy mind to learn how to be and live in the present.

Through breathing practices, the boy becomes a stronger master to his puppy mind, remembering how to breathe, keeping it in the present. Puppy Mind is a wonderful introduction to mindfulness meditation.

Age group: 3-7 years old

=> Click to see Puppy Mind

19. Moody Cow Meditates

Book overview:

A perfect way to introduce meditation to children, Moody Cow Meditates is designed to help kids discover calm, confidence, and resilience!

In this fun-filled, colourful book, Peter the cow learns how to manage his mind and control his emotions through a simple exercise with the help of his grandfather.

Teach your child the secret to handling negative..

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Starting a meditation practice may be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

But how exactly do you begin?

What is meditation and what kind will be right for you?

Perhaps you’ve heard that meditating has positive benefits, but what are they?

What is Meditation?

In the simplest terms, meditation is a practice where the mind is focused for a period of time.

It is often used with the intention of becoming more present, having increased attention or awareness, calming the mind, and achieving mental clarity.

Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state ~ Wikipedia

Types of Meditation Concentration Meditation (Focused Attention Meditation)

In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on a single thing, whether it’s internally in your mind or some external stimulus such as an object in front of you.

Examples of internal focus include breathing or repeating a certain word, while external focus could be looking at a candle, listening to the repeating sound of a bell, or counting beads on a mala.

Each time you become distracted, you bring your attention back to that single point of focus.

Try focussing your attention on an object for a couple of minutes. This is Focused Attention Meditation.

Mindfulness Meditation (Open Monitoring Meditation)

During mindfulness meditation, we observe the thoughts moving through the mind and the feelings that arise as a result.

The key is to not get caught up in your thoughts. Instead of getting distracted and descending into a mental tangent, simply witness what is happening and try not to judge in any way.

Just observe. Watch your mind instead of becoming emotionally invested in its thoughts.

Over time you will become more aware of how your mind works and how thoughts and feelings flow through you.

You will  start to notice the mind’s tendency to judge things and make assumptions, and in turn you'll have greater control over your decision making and actions in life.

Moving Meditations

If you find it difficult to sit still while meditating, or it is uncomfortable because of an injury or health condition, moving meditations might be a good alternative.

These meditations can take the form of slow and purposeful movement in activities like tai chi, qigong, yoga, walking, or even dancing.

With each movement of the body, you are feeling every sensation, from the ground beneath you to the air moving against your skin.

By focussing your awareness on the flow of movements, you start to focus deeply on every motion. You become present with the action you are executing, not thinking ahead to the next step or worrying about what came before.

This will transmit to everyday life, resulting in reduced anxiety and fearfulness. I'll cover this in another post; but for now let's stick to the more traditional approach.

How to Start Meditating Now!

Meditation is possible for just about everyone and can be done just about anywhere. If you're just getting started, this guide will prove useful in giving you a step-by-step plan to follow

Once you've meditated once, you'll be good to try again.

1. Find a Place to Sit

Although you can meditate standing or walking, as mentioned previously, meditation is generally a seated practice; which is good because most people are comfortable when seated.

Seating Options
  • Chair: A chair is a good option for beginners, and for those who aren't comfortable sitting on the floor or on a cushion. Some people find sitting crossed legged very uncomfortable too.
  • Meditation Cushion: If you’ve been to a meditation or yoga class, you may have encountered one of these before. Known as a zafu, it's a round but firm cushion used to promote a strong, upright posture which contributes to alertness. If you can't cross your legs comfortably, you won't be able to use one.
  • Meditation Bench: These short little benches are also called zen kneeling benches or Seiza benches. The legs are tilted forward so you can maintain a tall posture and straight back while meditating. With bent knees, you can easily tuck your legs under the bench which will hold your weight comfortably so you can relax.
  • Back Jack Floor Chair: A floor chair like a back jack can be easily folded and put into storage and won’t take up a lot of space. It's a good in-between option for those who want to sit on the floor or in a cross-legged posture but need additional back support.

Finding a nice spot to sit outdoors makes for great meditation.

2. Use a Timer

Having a timer that you can set and forget about will help keep the focus on meditating. The timer will prevent you from getting distracted by wanting to check the clock and see how much time has gone by, or whether or not you're late for your next appointment.

Timer Options

Phone: The easiest thing to use is the timer on your phone. Most smartphones have a built-in timer that can be programmed to signal the end of your meditation.

Apps: If you want additional features that your phone’s timer doesn’t offer, download a timer app. Many are free, and those that aren’t usually only cost a few dollars.

Some of the most popular meditation timers include:

  • Insight Timer: This is one of the most popular apps for meditation. Not only does it have a great timer feature, but also offers 15,000 meditations and some courses and charts in the free version. The app is available in 30 languages and can be used on both iOS and Android devices. There is a paid premium version with additional courses and features that are available for $5/month.
  • Pocket Meditation Timer: This free app is available only for iOS users. It's a simple timer and does not include any guided meditations. There's also the option to hide the time to prevent distractions or the temptation to peek and see how much time is left. It has unique sounds and different background images so you can customize it to your preferences.
3. Eliminate Distraction

Eliminate any distractions that might tempt you away from meditating or disturb you. Silence your phone or put it in the another room, and turn off the TV.

Don't give your body any excuse for distraction either, so make sure you aren't thirsty or that you don't need the bathroom.

4. Close your eyes

You may have seen images of monks or meditation masters meditating with their eyes fixed on objects or the space in front of them. But this tends to be something for advanced meditators who are able to go into a trance-like state.

For now, close your eyes so that you aren't distracted by external stimuli. This will help you better connect with your inner self.

A traditional seated (lotus) meditation position. As a beginner, you don't have to sit like this, but do close your eyes.

5. Start small and make incremental increases

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to meditate for an hour, or even half an hour. You’re much more likely to succeed if you tell yourself “I’ll just do two minutes” to start with.

If you manage two minutes then move to five. In no time you'll be looking forward to your 15-minute meditation every day!

6. Get comfortable, but not too comfortable

Choose from the options set out above for seating, but try to avoid lying down. The reason for this is that if you get too relaxed you may fall asleep. Sit with your back straight to help you stay alert and focused on your breathing.

Let your hands fall where they may, ideally on your lap, knees or palm on top of palm. Don’t worry about keeping them in a certain posture for now, just go with what feels relaxed.

7. Follow your normal breathing pattern

Don’t try to breathe deeply. Just breathe normally. Open up your airwaves by looking down slightly or by moving your chin towards your chest.

Focus on the feelings and sensations of the air moving through the nostrils. Notice how the chest rises and falls.

As you become more experienced, your breathing will naturally slow down.

8. Don't get frustrated with your mind

The biggest mistake people make is thinking they are failing at meditation because the mind starts to wander.

Your mind is almost guaranteed to wander and the likelihood is that your mind will become even more active the moment you sit down to meditate.

Meditation is a healing process and you may find yourself face to face with challenging thoughts linked to suppressed emotions.

This is quite normal. Just observe and remain calm. Let go of thoughts and feelings and simply bring your attention back to the breath when it starts to wander.

If you have a reaction such as wanting to cry, just allow it to happen and go with it. This indicates a much needed release and I assure that you will feel better afterwards.

Other Useful Tips 1. Meditate as soon as you wake up

Most people want to make meditation a daily habit, but it’s easy to forget as the day passes by.

If you can't meditate the morning, schedule it in for a mid-morning or afternoon break.

Meditation can actually be done anywhere, whether you're riding the bus or sitting under a tree in the park, but for now you need to develop a habit and make it something you do regularly, like exercise.

Once you do, you'll miss it when you don't.

2. Don’t worry about doing it wrong

Meditation is easy, it's just the meditating that takes practice. Just do it, and keep doing it. Eventually it will become second nature. Move forward and focus on making it daily practice, not on perfecting the how or over-questioning the why.

3. Try counting breaths

If you find that you are constantly distracted during a breathing meditation, switch things up and count each breath you take instead. See if you can reach a certain number like 100.

4. Don’t try to empty your mind!

It’s nearly impossible to stop thoughts completely or make the mind perfectly still.

If that's your goal you will end up feeling frustrated and tempted to give up on meditation altogether.

Instead, just observe thoughts as they come and go. See them as clouds drifting through your mind. Watch them pass.

5. Observe your thoughts without judgment

Thoughts can arise during meditation that may be troubling or strange.

The moment we sit still and take leave from the noise that occupies our busy lives, the brain begins to search for something to busy itself with – it's not used to this calm!

Again, just let these thoughts pass by and don't feed them your emotions.

7. Try a body scan meditation

Instead of focusing on your breath, you might like to try a body scan meditation.

Start at your toes and scan all the way to the top of your head.

Go slowly and focus your attention on each part of your body as you work up to your head: your calves, things, stomach, arms hips; every part of your body.

Tense and sense each part and let it go, observing sensations like tension, soreness, weakness or strength. Just notice and move on.

8. Try using meditation music

Meditation music can be a really useful tool for helping you relax and remain present.

Check out the music at Binaural Beats Meditation, which is specifically designed to help you benefit from meditation.

Guided meditations can be really enjoyable and may be preferable. With a guided meditation you'll hear a voice leading you through the meditation.

If that sounds like your sort of thing, check out Brainsync by Kelly Howell.

Or, use the free music on my YouTube channel.

The Benefits of Meditation

Now that you know how to get started with meditation, you probably want to know what benefits are likely to arise as a result.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that meditation is beneficial for the mind and body. Some people attribute feeling calmer, more peaceful and focused, less anxious, and more grateful to their meditation practice.

But what does the science tell us?

Meditation is free and healthy, and can lead to a happier, longer life. What's stopping you?

Cognitive Benefits Improve Memory and Focus

One study found that meditation and mindfulness training helped to improve memory and reduced the mind from wandering.

It also helped improve GRE reading-comprehension scores in the participants. Researchers concluded that mindfulness was an effective technique “for improving cognitive function” (1).

Decrease Stress

Several groups of people underwent 8 weeks of training in meditation and then were asked to engage in multitasking behavior.

Those who meditated were able to stay on task and found that they weren’t as stressed compared to the groups who did not meditate. They also found that their memory improved (2).

Another study of participants with anxiety received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes.

They then underwent a stress test where they had to give an 8-minute public speech followed by a mental arithmetic task observed by evaluators.

After these tasks, their adrenocorticotropic hormones and pro-inflammatory cytokines were measured and those who underwent MBSR had a greater reduction in these stress markers (3).

Improved Performances and Less Sleep Needed

One study of meditators suggests that meditation does have short-term effects on performance. Almost everyone who was given a task after meditating, even when sleep-deprived, had improved reaction times.

The study also found that long-term meditators had a decrease in sleep time versus those who do not meditate (4).

Physical and Health Benefits Pain Reduction

Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center conducted a study where participants were exposed to a 120-degree thermal probe.

After participating in mindfulness meditation training, groups experienced the painful probe again and the participants who had meditated had the largest reduction in pain.

The researchers concluded that mindfulness meditation reduced emotional pain by 44%, and the intensity of physical pain by 27% (5).

Smoking Reduction

Researchers at the University of Oregon studied the areas of the brain related to self-control and addiction to see if smokers could reduce their tobacco use.

Using a form of meditation called Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT), the participants reduced their smoking by 60% after 5 hours of training in 2 weeks.

The results suggest that meditation can help to improve self-control and reduce smoking (6).

Slower Brain Aging

Several scientists at the Department of Neurology in the School of Medicine at UCLA conducted a study on the deterioration of the brain over time.

Although life expectancy is increasing, it has been noted that the brain still deteriorates with age.

When looking at long-term meditators, the researchers found that the rate of decline was much less than in the control group. These findings indicate that long-term meditation may help the brain age at a slower rate (7).

Lower Blood Pressure

Meditation has long been thought to be helpful in lowering blood pressure and transcendental meditation has been studied extensively in this manner.

Some studies showed that various mindfulness techniques have produced small reductions in blood pressure. However, a review of several studies concluded that more research needs to be done (8).

Increased Circulation and Decreased EEG Activity

One study found that there was increased blood flow in the brain during meditation and that EEG (electroencephalogram) activity decreased.

The EEG records activity in the brain and a decrease in EEG indicates that meditation has a calming effect on the brain (9).

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to meditation. If you have any comments, please leave them below.

—————

Study References:

1: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797612459659
2: http://faculty.washington.edu/wobbrock/pubs/gi-12.02.pdf
3: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178116308472
4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2919439/
5: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/36/12705
6: https://www.pnas.org/content/110/34/13971
7: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01551/full
8: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3303565/
9: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-03023-002

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The majority of people set a broad resolution, one that they have probably set a number of times before, and one they have never seen through.

While setting a New Year’s resolution feels positive at the time, the outcome can end up feeling quite negative.

For example, if your goal is to lose 20 lbs by April and you don’t achieve this, or don’t even manage to get started, the yearly cycle just repeats itself: you’re not even halfway through the year and already you’re feeling down on yourself for not being able to lose the weight.

The result is that you continue with the same habits that have controlled your weight your whole life: unhealthy diet, minimal exercise, emotional eating, etc.

This is the reason gym owners love January; because the New Year’s Resolution culture drives people to sign up and commit to a membership that rarely gets used after a couple of weeks.

But people keep paying because, like every year before, they have an emotional attachment to the resolution they’ve set. This is something that they are going to do: when they have time, when they have the energy, when they feel good about themselves.

You see, setting a New Year’s resolution becomes a habit in itself; it's just something you do each year as a token gesture to the year’s end.

But how serious are you about actually committing to that resolution?

What happens to most people is that they just slip back into the same old story.

You spend the better part of January feeling good about the potential of a New Year and the idea of wiping the slate clean and starting again, but you haven’t actually taken the time to take stock of your life and assess where you’re at: what’s really important, what you really want out of life?

What I Recommend Doing Instead

I recommend making a commitment, not a resolution.

No one cares whether you break a New Year’s resolution, because the majority of people break them by the end of January anyway. They are made to be broken.

It’s almost a running joke: “Oh, you couldn’t quit? Me neither. Let’s go grab a drink”.

So you just become become like everyone else, every single year. You settle back into the same story, the same habits, the same cycle.

As I mentioned before, the resolutions tend to be really broad:

  • I’m definitely going to lose weight this year
  • I’m going to join a gym next week
  • I’m going to cut down on smoking
  • I’m going to eat more healthily
  • I’m quitting drinking
  • I’m going to change my job this year
  • I’m going to cut down on spending money on clothes and start saving
  • I’m going to get out of this destructive relationship
  • I’m going to work less and spend more time with my kids
  • I’m going to appreciate my life more and be grateful for the small blessings.

The truth is that there is nothing unique about these statements, so why do they need to be resolutions?

You most likely think and say things like this all year round, which proves that you’re not really serious about doing them.

The only way to truly make a change is to make a solid commitment. And to accept that with that commitment will come some suffering.

Creating sustainable, positive change takes hard work. It means being uncomfortable sometimes.

How to Make a Solid Commitment

To explain what I mean, I'll use myself as an example.

Back in 2017, I decided that I needed to improve my cardiovascular fitness. I played sports throughout my teenage years and my 20s, but for the past five years I’d only really been lifting weights in the gym and walking a fair bit.

I was asked to participate in a run, and in doing so realized that I was actually quite unfit.

So I made a commitment to myself that I would become the best runner that I could.

But just saying that wasn’t good enough on its own.

So I took the simple step of committing to doing something every day to make that happen.

I ran three times a week, without fail, and then ran a local race (Parkrun) on a Saturday.

On the days I wasn’t running, I would do something to contribute to becoming a better runner. That might include reading up on running technique and training schedules, or doing core exercises or light stretches at home.  It might also include reading a book on running, or an autobiography by a famous runner.

When you really want to achieve something, you have to commit. What's the point in doing something if you aren’t going to give it your best shot?

Of course there are days when you don’t feel like going for a run, attending your class, or whatever it is that you have committed to.

There are days when you lack energy and focus, when you are tired and stressed out, when it’s raining and cold outside.

But these are the barriers you need to break down to prevent yourself slipping back into your old habits, which form the very reasons that people’s New Year’s resolutions are seldom successful.

In addition, overcoming these barriers will make you a happier, more positive, more capable person. You will also begin to inspire others. Your relationships and experience of the world will become far more rewarding.

Fast forward to 2018 and I have knocked seven minutes off my 5K time, and recently placed 11th out of 200 or so people in a local race.

As I write this, it's dark, wet and  below 10° outside. But I will still go for my run, because I am so used to being committed to doing it. The only thing that can stop me is me. Moreover, I know that when I don’t want to run, the reward of completing the run is so much greater.

6 Steps to Making a Concrete Commitment

The key is to simply identify what you want improve on, and make a commitment to doing something every single day that will help you make positive change:

  1. Put one foot in front of the other. Take action, starting today.
  2. Don't focus on negative things that have happened in the past, or what potentially might become an obstacle in the future. The past and the future do not exist. They can’t help you. All you have is now. Make the most of it.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others and concern yourself with how much better they are, what they have that you don’t. You have no idea how capable you are, because you have never given yourself the chance to find out. Now is the time to make a commitment to push your boundaries of limitation and overcome self-limiting beliefs.
  4. Simply focus on being here right now and identifying what you can do in this moment to take a step towards your goal. Small steps quickly develop into strides.
  5. Make every day count. Don’t waste time on negative people and negative influences. Don’t sit around worrying about things that are out of your control. Put your time and effort into bringing about sustainable positive change in your life.
  6. Don’t make excuses: The rain is not an excuse not to go for a run. Being stressed out is not an excuse to go out and buy a packet of cigarettes. The weekend is not an excuse to go out and eat junk food. Overcoming these challenges is part of the suffering that you have to go through to make sustainable, positive change.
How to Retain Positivity Throughout the Year

The short answer to retaining positivity throughout the year is to think of your life in terms of now, in terms of moments, not in terms of years.

The wonderful thing about making a daily commitment to positive change is that every day brings with it the positive reward that you are making progress, that you are overcoming adversity, that you are taking your mind to places that it has never been before.

You are exploring yourself in uncharted terrain. You are learning more about your capabilities and pushing the boundaries of what you thought was possible.

Once you start the ball rolling you will begin to reap the rewards of having an intentional and purposeful life.

Life is all about the journey, not the goal.

This might sound cliché but is absolutely true.

It is what you learn along the way that brings the greatest reward.

It is the people you interact with, the people that you learn from, the knowledge that you gain, the people that you end up influencing and inspiring.

Don’t focus on the mountaintop; focus on appreciating the valleys you traverse along the way.

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The biggest mistake people make is that they quit too early.

They give up on themselves.

I don't mean early as in one year in, or even one week or one month. I'm talking about quitting before your 30, before you're 40, before you're 50.

I'm talking about having something that you really want to do in life and by the time you really get around to doing it, or at least giving it your best shot, thinking that it's too late – and not doing it all.

Maybe there was something – a hobby or career path – that you started when you were 15, 20 or 25 years old, but life took a few turns: you weren't mature enough, you went through some tough times, you couldn't handle the expectation…and you ended up taking another path.

Or maybe you were quite successful at something at a very young age but things went pear-shaped in some way: maybe the success faded, maybe you couldn't handle the responsibility, maybe you were in a bad place emotionally and took a break and never went back.

Maybe when you should have gone back you had new responsibilities to take care of: you had to get a real job, you did what your parents expected you to do, you did what you thought you should be doing rather than what you wanted to do – you took what you thought was an easier path.

Now, all these years on, you find yourself in a position where you want to get back on that pathway. Emotionally, you are in a better place. You have the resources at your disposal, you have a stronger vision, and you have the maturity and the experience behind you to get back to doing what you love.

The problem is, it's 10, 20 or 30 years down the line; things have changed, times have changed.

The people around you are talking about retiring, maybe having another child. They say they feel tired and that they're getting old, that they have wrinkles and “can't handle the late night's any more”.

The people around you are into reality TV, surfing Facebook, shopping online of an evening, taking any opportunity they can to sit down. It comes with age, right?

But you don't feel like that.

You've got a fire in your belly. Something is pulling at your soul. You don't feel old at all. If anything, you feel more energized and committed than you have ever done.

You don't recognize the place that other people around you are in.

You recognize that you could achieve so much in the next 10, 20 or 30 years. In fact, you feel like you can achieve a hell of a lot in three months, six months or a year.

You could put your heart and soul back into doing what you love and, not do it in pursuit of money or fame, but because it's your passion: Because you enjoy the journey, you enjoy the commitment, you enjoy the process, the self-development, the reward of the doing, the creativity, the intuitive endeavor.

But you know it's gonna be a lonely ride, right?

Because people won't really get it.

And that's a little scary.

They'll probably think it's a midlife crisis; like you're going back to doing something you used to do when you were “young”.

They'll probably think “you're a bit old for all that”.

But here's the thing: you are exactly the right age to do this.

You are in exactly the right place to do this.

This is exactly the right time.

There has never been a better time.

There has never been a better moment to get restarted.

Whatever is in your head that you want to do, make a commitment to doing it every day from now on.

Even if it's just 15 minutes of whatever it is: 15 minutes practice, 15 minutes reading, 15 minutes drawing, 15 minutes writing, 15 minutes running… whatever, now is the perfect time.

Once you start doing it, you'll feel even more energized and revitalized. You'll feel reconnected with yourself and in better alignment with the universe.

But know this…

There will be many days when you doubt yourself: Am I any good at this? Am I too old? Do people think I'm stupid?  Does anyone really care? Is this a waste of time?

But the truth is: If it doesn't scare you a little, if it doesn't come with a little doubt, it's probably not worth doing.

Everything worth doing comes with a little fear, a little discomfort.

The only thing that matters is that you do it.

Everything else will fall into place.

You will never lie on your deathbed and regret doing this. And people will only end up admiring you for doing it, even from afar, and even if they don't say so.

This is your life, your journey.

People die before they reach 10 years old, before they reach their 20s, in their 30s and 40s. It's tragic.

You are still here.

And while you're still here, you have the opportunity to do this.

Don't stand in the way of yourself, don't resist your intuition and the magnet that is pulling you towards what you want to do.

Stop making excuses.

Start now.

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This is a wonderful poem by Charles Bukowski. It's about remaining fluid, creative, independent and present in life.

I'll give you my thoughts below the poem, but first I'll let you read through and establish your own without my influence.

No Leaders Please

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
don’t swim in the same slough.
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself
and
stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
change your tone and shape so often that they can
never
categorize you.

reinvigorate yourself and
accept what is
but only on the terms that you have invented
and reinvented.

be self-taught.

and reinvent your life because you must;
it is your life and
its history
and the present
belong only to
you.

Charles Bukowski

Why I Love This Poem

‘No Leaders Please' is a powerful reminder to remain a free spirit, to break free of conformity, to never let people put you in a box and stick a label on it that says “this is who you are and what you are like”.

Even if that label is flattering, we should remain aware that it can become defining and ultimately restrictive. It can make us stagnate and allow our lives to be defined by the opinions of others, and by the past.

It is a reminder to retain our independence and live life on our terms. Bukowski warns us of remaining static and swimming “in the same slough”,  which inevitably leads to the “clutches of mediocrity”, as he puts it.

Although the poem doesn't mention leaders, the title does, and the content suggests a rejection of leadership, particularly the line “be self-taught”.

Throughout our lives we are continually presented with leaders in different guises, many of whom have an agenda such as pride or money; many of whom do not have our best interests at heart and seek only to further their goals.

Allowing such people to lead you and dictate your life can result in living life on terms other than your own. If you “change your tone and shape so often…they can never categorize you”.

So yes it's important to listen and learn, but even more important to continue upon a journey of self-learning and keep advancing our knowledge: to question everything, particularly our own thoughts and opinions and not just those of others.

One slightly ambiguous part is the last three words of the following line; “reinvent your life because you must“.  To me this suggests that to not do so would be to risk your freedom; your happiness; the point of life, perhaps.

The poem is a powerful reminder to retain that child-like creativity that enables us to reinvent ourselves and find new passion in life: new interests, new hobbies, new learnings.

This “is your life” and you must write your own story.

Because “its history and the present belong only to you”.

Of course, this is just a brief summary of my interpretation. Poetry can mean different things to different people; that's the beauty of it.

This poem was taken from the book The Pleasures of the Damned – selected poems 1951 to 1993 – by Charles Bukowski.

> Click here to buy this book and other Bukowski poetry

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I don't like running long distances.

I started out running cross-country in school at around 11 years old and, after a year or so, I'd had enough.

I went on to run the 1500 meters on track, but I only did it because I was the best of the bunch at it in PE and the sports coach put me in for it. However, at the Borough Championships I could only place fourth.

I could have been better, if I had trained; if I had joined a running club and improved my technique, my diet and general training methods.

But I didn't like distance running, middle or long. I found it boring. And where cross-country was concerned, it seemed like such an unnecessary sufferance.

I preferred quick thrill athletics, like the 100 meters, shotput and long jump.

Yet all these years later, as I am touching 40, I find myself running long distance again.

I started about a year ago. What drove me to start was the fact that I'd spent a number of years sitting down working for long periods of time and had read emerging research on how detrimental sedentary working conditions are on our health.

I wasn't playing football any more either, and I really wanted to get my body moving again.

My brother is a keen runner too, so he motivated me in the right direction.

The thing is, as I'm sure you well know, if you haven't run a long distance in a long time, it is extremely difficult to get back into. You will suffer.

But hey, everything starts with just one step…

When I say long distances, I'm currently running around 2.5-5km each session, depending on how much time I have that day.

I actually started out with the belief that I would begin to enjoy at some point. I figured if I ran regularly enough it would get easier.

But the fact is, I still do not like running long distance. I feel much better suited to shorter distances, and more exhilarating sports like football or tennis.

So why the hell do I do something I don't really like?

Well, the benefits far outweigh the pain of having to push through those sessions when you're tired from a long day, a lack of sleep, aching muscles, the extreme cold in the winter, or the extreme heat in the summer.

Long-distance running brings with it a number of physical and mental obstacles, and overcoming each of them brings great reward. I hope these benefits will encourage you to run, too.

Even if you don't like running, it continues to challenge you in a way that makes you want to go for a run.

I even look forward to a run, knowing that when I do start I won't particularly enjoy the physicality of it.

It's you against you. You against your capability. You against your mind.

It's a constant motivating force in your life, one that continually challenges you to step up and try harder. This hardens you and inspires you to step up in other areas of life too.

And here's the thing: you don't need to go out and run 5k or 10k, you don't even have to run 1k.

Just start by running a short distance and increase it gradually. There's nothing wrong with running a bit, stopping, and then running a bit more, either. Do what you can.

But you should get started.

And here's 10 reasons why…

10 Reasons You Should Start Running 1. Active Meditation

Running is  meditative, but perhaps not in the same way for everyone. For me , my runs usually start with me traversing thought cycles about work and life in general.

But as the run becomes harder, my mind begins to slow down and focus on the trail. As more effort is required to keep my cadence, I settle into a meditative zone, my mind fairly still and in the moment. I find myself focussing on the very simple task of putting one foot in front of the other.

That's all I have to do. Suddenly life becomes very straight forward.

This is a beautiful thing.

2. Escape the Noise

This ties in with the first point, but I wanted to elaborate. More often that not we are either out at work, with our partner, socialising with friends, at home or out with the kids. Our lives are generally full and busy, and so are our minds.

When we do get down time, many of us struggle to get the sleep we need amidst our busy lives, and are often caught up in the anxieties surrounding finances, obligations, responsibilities and goals.

No doubt some people reading this will live in a big city, where even when it is supposed to be quiet it is relatively noisy. Our brains rarely ever get to settle.

Running makes this happen. It provides a sanctuary to escape the noise.

3. Clarity of Mind

At the end of every trail is clarity of mind.

You start out in a junkyard and end up in a temple.

Quite often, at the end of a run, I sit for a while, or go for a light walk and just observe my surroundings.

There is peace and clarity of mind to be found after a run.

And the beauty of this is that you don't have to be a great runner, you don't have to be fit. You can start now, and just run as far as you can, and then stop, and then run a bit longer if you want to. If not, then walk a bit more.

You can still achieve this clarity of mind, just with a little exertion; because from that panting arises stillness.

4. Better Health

Society has become sedentary. Our muscles are not being used for large portions of the day.

Research shows this causes a number of health issues, including rising blood sugar levels, sleeping problems, poor mood, back problems … the list is fairly long.

All of these problems can be kept at bay by increasing the amount of exercise you do.

People usually cite not having time as an excuse for not exercising, and I get that, but you don't have to go to a gym to exercise.

I used to do a lot of gym work through my 20s and early 30s and I know full well it can take 20 minutes to get ready for the gym, and 30 minutes to get there and get started. Then it's one hour to train, and then 30 minutes to get changed and back home.

This is a big commitment if you're training three or four times a week.

With running, on the other hand, you can be very spontaneous. You can run as and when you can.

Everyone has 15 minutes to schedule a run three or four times a week. This is the goal you should aim for.

With running you can combine resistance exercises too. If you run through a field or a park, or pass a playground on your route, you might choose to stop and do some press ups, sit ups, or even chin ups if there is a bar available. You can always do resistance exercises at home too.

Running is difficult.  Some people absolutely love it. Some people learn to love it. I'm not sure I ever will. But I do love the fact that I know is good for my health, particularly my cardiovascular health.

5. Me Time

Many people go from a hectic home life to a hectic work life and back again, in that cycle, over and over.

Even the weekends are jam-packed with things going on: taking the kids out, socialising with friends, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, festivals, you name it something is always going on.

Of course, these things can be great fun, but  everyone needs some me time. Everyone needs some time for themselves, time for them to contemplate, to ponder, to turn the mind inwards, to be with yourself.

A daily, or bi-daily run is perfect me time. 

I have lost count of the number of times I speak to friends and they say; “I don't have any time for myself”. I can sympathise with that.

As I am writing this post, my daughter is crying in the hallway outside my door. This is a case in point. Even when we are doing something alone at home, we are often still surround by distractions (noise).

It can often feel like we don't have any time for ourselves, that someone always needs something from us: some emotional support, a favour, some work, whatever is.

Make your run “your thing”, the thing you do on your own to create some much needed space between all  the responsibilities, demands and obligations.

6. Improved Sleep

Out of the health benefits, sleep deserves a special mention – not least because it is very important.

If you have an overactive mind, if you're someone who finds it difficult to settle down when you get into bed, or you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep, or perhaps you simply wake up way too early and still feel tired, running is going to benefit improve your sleep health.

The thing is this: you might be at work all day, sitting on your computer and putting your brain through its paces. You come home feeling really tired. But then why, when you get into bed, do you suddenly feel wide awake.

Well, you need to put your body through its paces too. The human body was built to move, not sit in a chair. At the end of a day, you should be mentally and physically tired.

In terms of sleep, running is more than that, though.

Running in the evening helps put the day to bed. I like to look at my evening run as running everything off – off my shoulders and off my mind. Any stress or problems that have arisen through the day, I am running them off and putting them to bed until tomorrow.

I'm not running away from them, but I will not allow them to hang around late into the evening and keep me thinking about them all the way into bed.

Running does not make me immune to the monkey mind, but  as someone who has always struggled to turn off the thought wheel at bedtime, running is a great way to expend that extra energy and empty the mind, which is certainly conducive to better sleep.

7. Connecting with Nature

I guess it's quite cliché, but this is my thing, and I always go on about it: People need to get out into nature more often.

We are part of nature. We are part of this interdependent world of living organisms.

It feels good when we take a holiday by the seaside or in a beautiful rural setting.

It feels good to listen to the birds singing in the morning, or the crickets stridulating in the evening.

It feels good to see beautiful flowers and huge trees.

It feels good to feel the breeze on your face.

Running is the perfect excuse to get out there and reconnect with the natural world, to put foot to trail and become part of the scenery.

Over the year you run through the seasons: you watch spring turn to summer and summer to autumn and autumn to winter.

You find a new appreciation of these transitions.

You notice how trees and plants on your regular route have changed from week to week. You rediscover your innate appreciation for nature and find a sense of belonging in that, which is completely natural.

It just feels good to be away from the hustle and bustle: the cars, the fumes, the people rushing around, the constant backdrop of noise.

Go find some quiet, scenic places to run. It will change your life, today.

8. Improved Mood

Everyone always associates running with health and fitness, but something that doesn't always get mentioned is how running impacts on mood , which of course is a big part of health.

Rates of mental illness are on the rise,  of which a large number of cases are based around anxiety and depression, fueled by stress. Running is a wonderful tool for combating the blues and improving mood. It is a medication you can tap into any time; a natural cure.

If you're feeling angry or uncomfortable about situation, or highly stressed or anxious, simply put on your running shoes and hit the trail.

It's a guaranteed mood improver. And not just that. Quite often I start out running with a problem in my mind, and within five minutes into the run I have a perspective on this problem and a potential solution, which leads me onto my next point.

9. Creative Thinking

Many of the ideas for my blog posts come from my runs. Similarly, many ideas for my music projects and other areas of my life are inspired by thoughts I have on my runs, or in my warm down walk or contemplative sit down afterwards.

So if you're sitting at your computer wracking your brain trying to write an article, or you're a painter, poet, designer or artist of any kind struggling for ideas and inspiration, going for a run will usually remedy this problem. And if it doesn't, you can guarantee you'll feel a whole lot better for it anyway.

10. Mind Control

I have covered clarity of mind, but on a personal level this needs a special mention.

My mind is a monster; it has a life of its own, which is fine, but it also tries to run mine too. Keeping him in check is often a 24-hour job.

When I run, it's me against him…

Him: You're tired

Me: So what? I can easily complete this run.

Him: You should stop

Me: No way, I'm not stopping

Him: You don't have to run all the way

Me: I'll run even further

Him: You're not built for long distance running

Me: Maybe not, but I have the ability and I will do my best

Him: Your legs haven't recovered from Tuesday's run

Me: Well they should have. Let this be a lesson to them/me.

My goal is to beat him into submission, every time. Once he quits, I find peace.

In Summary

Any exercise is good exercise. Whether you're lifting weights, swimming, playing football or tennis or even just walking around the block, it's all positive and worthwhile.

But there's something quite unique about running, and once you start you begin to understand why some people end up making it a massive part of their lives.

People start out being able to run just a couple of hundred meters and end up entering marathons not even a year or two later. Some people even go on to run ultra marathons and beyond.

But let me just say this to finish: don't look at other runners to find your inspiration. Don't compare yourself with other people, because you will probably just come up with comments in your head like

“He/she is much slimmer than me / much fitter than me”.

“I could never run like that”.

“I'm not a good runner”.

“That looks so difficult”.

This is not about anyone else. This is about you.

Perhaps you would like to improve your mood and develop a more positive mindset; perhaps you would like to lose some weight; perhaps you would like to get outdoors more; perhaps you would like to sleep better; or perhaps just have a bit of me time.

Running can help you with all these things. And as I've said twice already in this post, you DO NOT have to be good at running, or fit. Those things will come in time, but right now they shouldn't be your focus.

If you want to try running, then do it. Don't wait to get the perfect pair of trainers, or the latest fashionable shorts or best leggings. If you have some old gear in your wardrobe, start with that.

Get out there.

Start a slow run until you feel that you can't comfortably run any further.  Then walk a bit, and then run some more if you can. And then with each run just increase it a little bit more.

Naturally, you will ease your way into it and before you know it you will be running further than you thought you could. Once you make progress you will want to buy a better pair of trainers, you will Google tips to help you with your running posture and your diet.

Get started and let the journey unfold. You'll be surprised where it takes you, mentally and physically.

Kick start it, and the benefits will follow.

I cannot promise you that you will ever love running. I really don't. There are other sports I would much rather be doing.

But running has this special way of teaching you so much about yourself. It shapes not just your physical fitness, but also a disciplined, motivated mindset that will be of use in many different areas of your life.

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Armed with just a tape recorder and a tiny studio, a woman with a passion for sharing spiritual wisdom decided to follow her dream.

In 1985, Tami Simon founded what we know now as a very successful multimedia publishing company – Sounds True.

Growing from a one-woman company to a business that employs more than 80 people, Sounds True disseminates teachings centered mainly in spiritual wisdom, but also in health and wellbeing.

The ethos behind the mission is that when we “wake up”, we realize the interconnectivity we share with one another. This prompts us to follow a sense of purpose and take greater responsibility for ourselves and the world at large.

Partnered with some of the leading teachers in various fields, Sounds True publishes audio, online programs and books that support spiritual awakening, transformation, health and healing, and psychology.

Sounds True also hold events/retreats that bring people together, helping them connect with one another and accelerate their journey.

So Why This Review?

What prompted me to write this review and share this resource with my readers was actually somewhat of a surprise.

I ordered a book from Amazon by Dr. Joel Khan called The Plant-Based solution. When I opened the book there was a card in there advertising some Sounds True audios.

I thought, this is strange,  what links does this have to the book, and how would they know I would be interested in Sounds True.

Moreover, did they know that I have been purchasing products from the Sounds True store for a number of years?

For a moment, it all got a bit conspiratorial. Of course, this wasn't the case. When I looked at the spine of the book I saw the Sounds True logo. I then realised, to my surprise, that they had published the book.

Despite having purchased things from the store in the past, I had never really looked into the back story, or any of the other projects that they were involved in.

So I decided to dig a little deeper, and I was mightily impressed. It really is a great store, and one where I think the majority of my readers would find something of benefit.

What's On Offer…

As a publishing company, Sounds True offers a library of more than 1500 publication, disseminated through various media, including audio recordings, video programs, music recordings, books, online courses and in-person events.

Sounds True has released, and is continuously releasing, recordings of original works by various lecturers, teachers, and writers.

A few notable peeps you may have heard of are as follows:

Caroline Myss
A distinguished speaker in various fields such as spirituality, health, and consciousness and bestselling author, Caroline Myss is also a producer of compelling audio/visual products that cover healing, personal development, and spiritual awakening. Caroline’s recent book, Defy Gravity, explores how healing is achieved beyond the bounds of reason.

Eckhart Tolle
Author of the bestsellers A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, and The Power of Now – sold around 5 million and 3 million copies respectively in North America alone – Eckhart Tolle was named one of the most spiritually influential people in 2011.

Jack Kornfield
A bestselling author and Vipassana teacher, Jack Kornfield has set himself as one of the most trusted meditation gurus and spiritual masters of today. He has published several bestsellers and is best known for his After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Aside from being a professor, Jon Kabat-Zinn is also a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center and is the creator of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) approach. He is also the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts.

Tara Brach
An author, psychologist, and teacher, Tara Brach shares teachings based on Western psychology and Eastern spirituality. She is the author of books, Radical Acceptance and True Refuge: Finding Peace & Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. Together with Jack Kornfield, she co-founded the Awareness Training Institute (ATI), offering mindfulness and compassion courses.

With so many products to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is best suited to you, or indeed which one of the many that you want to buy. The website has the option of filtering by most popular,  so I'll run through some of these to give you an idea of what's on offer, starting with online courses.

By the way, Sounds True offer a FREE video series with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. It's called The Power of Awareness and designed to transform your life through mindfulness, compassion & wellbeing.

Definitely worth taking part.

=> Click here for the free series

Online Courses

Prior to the Internet, and even in its infancy when speeds were slow, taking a course meant enrolling at a physical location and turning up each week on time.

For those with demanding jobs, busy social lives, kids and all the rest of it, this  was a big ask; despite how interested you were in learning something new.

But now we all have access to courses which we can fit around our schedule: We can choose when we learn, and even where we learn thanks to mobile devices.

Sounds True offers online courses in spiritual awakening, health, healing, personal growth, and successful relationships.

Two of the most notable are as follows:

1. Healing Trauma

Developed by Peter Levine, this course taps on your innate ability to heal yourself.  The course is designed for anyone who has experienced any trauma in their life and feels unable to move forward and heal the wounds.

When we think about trauma we tend to think of a head injury from a car accident or something like that, and while this is certainly a very serious circumstance, trauma can come in many guises. For example: being very hurt from a relationship, or being unable to get over a bad experience that has caused you to develop anxiety.

The Healing Trauma course teaches you how trauma affects the body, and how you can transform your mental and physical state to begin the healing process.

2. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

This is a course I have personally taken, which I review here. I have taken a couple of these courses online in the past and this is without doubt the most outstanding of the bunch, simply because of its high quality video content and the level of expertise of the instructors.

The course is conducted over an 8-week period, covering how mindfulness can be implemented in your life, and how it can help many different aspects of your life.

This course is an excellent way to propel yourself toward greater control over your stress levels and emotional responses, and how to practice self kindness and compassion – which in turn will manifest itself in greater compassion and empathy for others.

In a nutshell, it's a very positive course that will quickly start to give you a more positive life balance.

=> Click here to visit the store

Audio & Guided Meditation

Sounds True offers spoken word recordings in CD, DVD, audio download and video download formats. Aside from spiritual wisdom and awakening, other categories supplied include health and healing, meditation, and relationships.

Some of the best-selling audio is as follows:

  • Morning Energy Meditation by Caroline Myss: This energy-boosting meditation focusses on bringing awareness to your bodily energy system to help you face the day with faith, hope, positivity and love.
  • Radical Self-acceptance by Tara Brach: Tara instructs you on the importance of self-acceptance and how freeing yourself from self-wrecking insecurities can positively change the way you live and propel you to greater heights.
  • The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brené Brown: This audio addresses the reality that perfect parenting doesn’t exist, and that the ability of parents to embrace imperfection is what makes children live life with authenticity, compassion and a sense of connection. (I'm going to grab this one!)

=> Click here to visit the store

Video

Some of the best-selling video is as follows:

  • The Ashtanga Yoga Collection by Richard Freeman: This video guides you through the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, focusing on the union of posture, breath and body movements.
  • Presence Through Movement Qi Flow Yoga by Kim Eng:  You'll learn that your body is more than just a physical figure; it is an important instrument to access and cultivate the vital energy within us.
  • Awakening in the Now by Jack Kornfield: An awakening to the liberating fact that the present is what matters the most, and where your greatest treasure can be found.

There's music available too, primarily focused on the spiritual, healing and meditative fields, featuring the works of artists such as Jeffrey Thompson, Sandra Ingerman, Deva Premal, Aleya Dao, Jai Uttal, Nawang Khechog, and Savina Yannatou. You will also find a number of books on the site, but I usually buy my books on Amazon.

What Makes Sounds True a Wonderful Company

I think we would all agree that once companies begin making a solid profit they should further increase their corporate social responsibility and impact on broader society.

And that's one thing I really like about Sounds True: Despite the growth and development of the company in past years, it has retained the personal touch of an independent company that rose out of humble beginnings, and its intention to impact the world positively.

Green Initiatives

Digging around on their website I found information on their green initiatives. As a company running a publishing business, they do have a responsibility to be mindful of how they affect the health of the planet :

Sounds True makes efforts to go green and minimize the ecological footprint of the business. Such efforts and initiatives include joining the Green Press Initiative, printing books using chlorine-free paper, being a member of the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability community, and purchasing and using renewable energy in their offices and warehouses.

Prison Library Project

Sounds True works hand-in-hand with the Prison Dharma Network and Prison Library Project in bringing light and hope to federal and state prisons and jails all over the country.

The company sends used books and audio and music programs to inmates to help with personal development and transformation.

I think this is a really positive project. Obviously there are those who go to prison for heinous crimes that none of us could forgive, and indeed we would not want those people to be released back into society.

But there are hundreds of thousands of people in prison for minor offences, things we would all agree as mistakes on their life journey. Providing a support network that encourages prisoners to read and expand their minds and develop their purpose in life can only be a positive thing.

Customers and users of the programs are also encouraged to support the initiative by sending their used Sounds True CD/DVDs and books. As a small compensation, anyone who donates will receive a gift certificate worth $10 that can be applied to their future purchase in the site.

Sounds good to me!

Sounds True Dogs

In recent years we have all been exposed to news regarding the way big corporations treat their staff. We've all heard the horror stories of Walmart in the US, and zero contract hours in the UK.

Many of us know people who work very hard in low-paid jobs and feel aggrieved that the company they work for doesn't care more about their well-being. So when buying from a company, it is always reassuring to know that the staff working there are being treated well.

In light of this, I was pleased to read that Sounds True is very much interested in the holistic growth and development of staff.

One of their initiatives is Sounds True Dogs, which encourages employees to bring their canine and feline friends to the office. The office often accommodates up to 15 dogs and cats on any given day. That might be a little too much “woof” for me, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Okay, so let's get into some of the more boring details regarding customer service, shipping and the return policy.

Customer Service

It is all pretty much standard fare and what you would expect from any online store today. Though they do have the additional nice touch of a live chat. Of course this is available only during office hours (Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm – MT), but I do occasionally use this service on different websites when I get stuck with a question about a particular product – so it's useful.

Email/Phone

Email support is responsive and I have had same-day replies in the past. Enquiries can  be submitted to support@soundstrue.com.

They also have a phone number (303-665-3151), which  I'm sure many people will be pleased to hear. Many online stores do not have a phone number, not necessarily because they don't want one, but because it costs money to employ someone to man the phone and deal with enquiries – email is more cost efficient for smaller businesses. However, a phone number sure is helpful when you have a query that you want to get dealt with very quickly.

Shipping Costs

Sounds True ships their products both locally and internationally.

Domestic

You can choose from 3 options for domestic shipping:

Standard: The US Postal Service delivers orders to all physical addresses, PO boxes, and military destinations in all US territories including Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico within 6-12 business days.

Physical orders worth $50 and up are free delivery.

Expedite: With a shipping cost of $18.95, FedEx delivers orders to physical addresses only in all US territories including Alaska and Hawaii within 3-4 business days.

Express: FedEx delivers to physical addresses only in all US territories, including Alaska and Hawaii, within 3-4 business days, for a shipping cost of $25.95.

International

For international orders, standard shipping applies and delivers within 7-21 business days. Charges are as follows:

Up to: $30 = $12
$30.01 – $60 = $15
$60.01 – $100 = $18
Over $100 = $25

Return Policy

I have to say that Sounds True’s return policy is amazing.  They offer a 1-year refund window! I don't think I've come across another online store that offers such a generous refund policy.

The policy covers the return of and refund for hard goods, digital downloads, subscription and live events.

If for any reason a product fails to meet your expectations, you can ask for a refund and return the product to Sounds True, as long as the following criteria are met:

  • The return is within 1 year from the purchase date.
  • The return is accompanied with the receipt and a filled out refund or returns form.

Important things to remember when asking for a refund:

  • Original shipping charges are not included in the refund.
  • If your request is made over 120 days after the purchase date, you’ll receive a check as funds.
  • For products not made by Sounds True but are offered on their website, the warranty period is indicated in the product description.

For refunds on digital downloads, subscriptions and live events, requests should be sent to support@soundstrue.com along with complete name, order number, postal code, contact number and the reason for the refund.

Additional Features

Aside from the products on offer, You might be interested in some of the free offerings to be found on the website.

Weekly Wisdom

This feature presents weekly podcasts by different experts from various fields. The podcasts range from minutes to hours, sharing captivating and compelling messages on all things life.

There are four categories to choose from:

  1. Insights at the Edge: Podcasts presenting interviews with spiritual thought leaders.
  2. Producer’s Pick: Podcasts personally selected by expert producers to convey clarity.
  3. A Good Minute: Podcasts that share wisdom to turn what the mind speaks into heart priorities.
  4. Wise Words: Podcasts that impart wisdom through contemplative reading.
Sounds True Radio

Aside from the Weekly Wisdom, Sounds True Radio is another cool feature available on the website. It offers 24/7 listening to music by different artists, and interviews with leading authors.

The radio allows you to listen in full to newly released songs, and offers an opportunity to buy the whole album – should you find yourself enjoying the peace the music brings.

Download a Free Gift

Everyone loves a free gift, and Sounds True offer two.  In exchange for your email address ,you can download The Practice of Mindfulness (features 6 different guided meditations by different experts.), and Meditation Music  – which is more easy listening than seated meditation; in my opinion.

Of course,  by providing your email address you are giving them permission to send you emails about latest releases, discounts and the Weekly Wisdom.

=> Click here to download your free gifts (go to the top of the page that says ‘2 free gifts')

Well that just about wraps up my review.

Phew.

It was pretty long, I know, but hopefully you got a good idea of what Sounds True is all about, what's on offer, and what to expect when making a purchase. Enjoy!

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