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…)

This is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.

At any time of the day,
Evening or night,
Make yawning into a conscious practice.
No need to wait until you feel like it:
Yawn anyway.
Open your jaw wide and stretch it.
Make it a big yawn.
Take a deep breath,
Into the lower part of the belly.
With the exhale, make a sound: “Aaaaah!”
Do it again.
In less than a minute, the body will respond:
You will continue to yawn naturally.
Notice a change in your breathing rhythm,
And a natural release of the diaphragm.
Do this for about five minutes, three or four time a day.

This simple practice will change everything in just a few minutes. The key is to yawn consciously—not to wait until the body yawns on its own—and to yawn totally, generously, with maximum stretch and sound. If you can, take a short nap after using this practice; if your body needs rest in that moment, it will naturally take what it needs after some conscious yawning.

The benefits of conscious yawning are too many to list here. You will discover just how much this supports presence very quickly on your own. So, here is just a short summary. (more…)

Ok, friends, listen up, as this is seriously interesting stuff.

A couple of years ago, I got introduced to a supplement (that’s capsules in a bottle, like at the health food store) by my friend John Gray.  The effects have been remarkable over this time, and the implications for the relationship of brain chemistry and consciousness are off the charts.  I got in touch with Brian Cunningham,  the inventor of the capsules in the bottle, and learned a lot about how the brain works.

Wanna know more?  Well, I’m no scientist, but I’ve been experimenting, so I’ll do my best to explain.

For as long as we can remember back, we know that human beings have been affected by different moods, or states of consciousness.  Excitement is a state of consciousness.  Boredom is a state.  So is depression, anxiety, grief.  At the other end of the spectrum is elation, oneness with God, insight and clarity.  For most of our human history there has been a very foggy understanding of the relationship between states of consciousness and the biochemistry of the brain.

As you know, in the last few decades, scientists have begun to understand what is going on in the brain when, for example, someone is depressed.  There is a neurochemical imbalance.

Brian Cunningham explains to me that our brains have an array of neurochemicals that need to be in a specific balance.  To create a symphony, to make beautiful music, you want to have every instrument working in harmony. It’s the same thing with neurochemistry in your brain. When there is an imbalance, we experience negative states like anxiety, stress, and depression. Depression, for example, is characterized by a deficiency of serotonin. Anxiety could be too much elevation of cortisol and adrenaline hormones, or also an imbalance of serotonin. Everything has to be in balance.   We have, in recent years come to understand how to treat pathological states with chemicals.  When someone is depressed, they do not have enough serotonin. It is being created, but reabsorbed too quickly.  So by inhibiting the process of “uptaking” serotonin, we can reduce symptoms of depression.  An equivalent understanding applies to anxiety, and even more severe states like schizophrenia.

Now here is the really interesting part.  Ready?  Sure?  Ok.  Here goes! (more…)

This is a practice from my 2008 book Leap Before You Look.

Find a place in nature
Where you can go every day.

If you live in a city,
It could be a park or even a flowerbed,
But if you live near a forest, like we do,
Step into the wild outdoors.
Sit in exactly the same spot every day,
Facing in the same direction,
And just be with things as they are.
Feel through your skin;
Listen carefully;
Watch and pay attention to the colors and shapes and movement.
Be aware of the movement of the trees,
The sounds and activities of small animals and insects.
The boundaries where you end
And nature begins
Will dissolve.

At the core of modern humanity’s suffering is the feeling of separation. We feel separated from each other in the ways we relate. We feel separated from the other members of our family. We feel separated from each other in our religious beliefs. We feel separated financially, racially, nationally. We feel separated from ourselves and from nature and from the divine.

Nature is not a way to experience Oneness; nature is One. There is no me and not-me in nature: everything is interconnected. When you return to the same place every day, you are returning to an ecosystem that is constantly in relationship with itself. The bark of the tree is home to the ants, who move in and out of the earth. They are eaten sometimes by the birds, whose song fills the space, and whose excrement returns to the soil. Everything is part of everything else. Nature is making love to itself, and eating itself, and excreting itself on itself all the time. Nature is incestuous, cannibalistic, and totally uncivilized.

When you start to sit in the same spot every day, you will at first feel like an outsider. You are bringing your civilized mind into nature, like an intellectual from New York City trying to fit in on a farm. You may sit awkwardly on the edge of a tree trunk, trying not to get dirty or be bitten by bugs. And just as you may feel cut off from nature, so nature may also not yet open to you. But just wait a little while. As you relax into this place, it will affect you, and you will affect it as well. You will become a part of the ecosystem. You will be accepted into the family. After a while, you may even experience the trees and the birds welcoming you home each day.

Your visits to this place will become an initiation into Oneness.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You Look.

Buy it now from our online store.