Here’s a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

Notice how you are already breathing in this moment.
Is the breath coming more into the upper part of the body?
Is it reaching the diaphragm?
Or is the breath reaching all the way down to the lower belly?
After just watching the way you are breathing for a couple of minutes,
Begin to bring some intention to your breathing.
With the in-breath,
Let the lower belly soften and expand.
When the lower belly feels full,
Feel the diaphragm expand with the breath.
Finally, let the chest and lungs fill completely with breath.
Hold the in-breath for a few moments,
Only as long as is comfortable,
Then let the air be expelled fully from the lungs:
First from the chest, then the diaphragm, and then the lower belly.
Just when you think you’re done,
Give an extra little push,
And you will find there is even more air to be expelled.
Hold on the out-breath for a few moments, before you inhale again.
Continue to breathe totally in this way for several minutes. (more…)

When I first learned meditation back in 1971, it was motivated more by despair than devotion to any ideal.  I was born into an unusually unhappy family, and by the time I reached my teen years it was obvious that I had to do something different to avoid suicide or going crazy — both of which had run in my family.  I checked out psychotherapy, which involved a lot of talking back then, but quickly discovered that most of the therapists I could find were just as disoriented as the people they were trying to help.

And then I found meditation.  I withdrew four British pounds from my bank account, and armed with flowers, a new white handkerchief and an orange, I went along to an inconspicuous suburban house in England.  An hour later I had my own personal mantra.  I meditated with that mantra conscientiously throughout my teen years, and after university I went to India to dive even deeper in.  I’ve tried almost every kind of meditation imaginable in these last 40 years, including using sex, running, fasting, eyes open, eyes closed, eyes rolled back, forget the eyes, focus on the breath, deep breathing, shallow breathing, alternate nostril breathing, forget the breathing feel the body, focus on pockets of pain, seek out bliss, welcome thoughts, ignore thoughts…  I’ve also had periods, perhaps understandably, which I call my “screw this” periods, where my “meditation” became whatever I happened to be doing anyway.

Meditation has somehow or other been a component of all of my adult life.  I’ve been through loving it as a zealot and resisting it as a rebel, but it has never drifted further away than the next room, where it waits patiently for me to return to my senses again. (more…)

How does nutrition effect the body and the spirit?

Many times we sit to meditate, or practice yoga, or we simply want to drop in and be present, and the mind is just too busy.  We may come up with all kinds of metaphysical reasons why this is so:  is it old impressions in the mind burning through, or am I picking up on the collective shift? Is it my karma or my dogma or just the echo of my mama?

Well, what if that distracted mind and foggy view has a less esoteric explanation, like the burger  you ate too late last night?

Rachael Richardson is a licensed Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian since 2002.  I will be talking with her this Thursday on a live teleseminar.

Here are some topics she addressed, to prepare us for the call:

“We could look at the cleanliness and the origin of foods, and the energy which they carry and move into the body. Our bodies become everything that we observe, touch, interact with, think, and eat, of course. So there’s all that energy that comes into us. We can look at choosing foods that are consciously prepared, developed, grown, etc.

There’s also the aspect of how we think about our food as we choose it. When you choose food, even food that you know is not that great for you, you can picture it going through the intestines, and ask, “how does my intestinal track like this right now? ” (more…)

“I love you.”

“I hate you.”

“I need you.”

“I want space from you.”

“I resent you.”

“I’m curious about you.

We make statements similar to these all the time in all types of relationships. When we speak in this way, it makes it sound as if there are fixed things called an “I” and  a “you.” The statement defines the relationship between these two entities. As long as it appears to be that way, all of our attempts to become more intimate, to improve the quality of relationship, are restricted to changing the verb that goes between the “I” and the “you.” If we can shift from “I resent you” to “I forgive you,” it feels like a big win. If we shift from “I hate you” to “I trust you,” it seems like greater intimacy.

When Chameli and I started to develop the Deeper Love work eight years ago, we both came together in a spirit of discovery. We had realized that trying to change the relationship between the “I” and the “you” didn’t work very well. It’s rather like two people sitting on either side of the Grand Canyon, wanting to experience love together. One throws a missive across the canyon, perhaps a rock with a note tied to it, saying “I love you.” It arrives at the other side. The recipient unwraps it, experiences warm, fuzzy, feelings, and sends back another missive, maybe pink and wrapped in lace, saying “I love you too.” They’ve now entered a Hallmark world together, but the vastness of the canyon between them is a more significant cause of the feeling of separation than the content of the notes that they send back and forth.

For my wife, Chameli, and me, the journey into a deeper intimacy began with an investigation of this thing called “I.” You don’t have to look very deeply into the sense of a me to discover that it’s not really a thing at all, but rather a collection of voices. That’s why our relationships are so often characterized by mixed messages and shifting dynamics. At one moment the “I” is the victim, and in the next moment the “I” has become the playful child, the next moment the loving parent, the next moment the horny lover.   There are thousands of voices like this.  Just scratch the surface a little bit, and we discover that we don’t have just one personality, but everybody has multiple personalities. (more…)