By Paul David Walker – Excerpt from: Invent Your Future Starting With Your Calling
We recently did our monthly Open Line web conference on the topic of Preparing Your Thought For The Day. We had so much interest, not only domestically but also globally, that we thought that we would include the audio for this Open Line with an excerpt from the new book, Invent Your Future Starting With Your Calling by Paul David Walker. If you’d like to get a copy, please look to the end of the article for the link to Amazon.
Open Line webinar audio, Preparing Your Thought For The Day
Know the Difference
The truth is that anything can cause your conscious mind to let go of comparative thought and find Integrative Presence. It would be impossible to catalog all the experiences people have had. What is important is to know the difference between the two states of mind. Meditation is a practice that will help you find your personal roadmap into this powerful state.
When I have asked people to describe how they feel when they experience Integrative Presence, they say words such as confident, at peace, exhilarated, powerful, graceful, focused, and present. Some report a slow-motion effect.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told how the five seconds he had to win the NBA championship with one shot seemed like five minutes. He felt relaxed, as if he had all the time in the world, yet he appeared to move like lightning to the rest of the world—the very definition of Integrative Presence. His creativity, within these few precious seconds, was pure genius. He was integrating the skills he had learned over the years, his desire to make the shot, and the flow of the moment, without interruption from his thoughts.
Most people have experienced this state of mind. The question is what percentage of our life is spent in this state? The art of getting into this state of mind is letting go of thoughts and connecting with the flow of events in the moment. Meditation is practice for your mind and body. An athlete must practice his or her sport; a leader must practice disciplining his or her mind.
Practices & Actions
As in sports, there is no substitute for practice. Knowing how to move from “normal thinking” into Integrative Presence comes from practice.
Take time to connect with your peak experiences and observe how you transitioned yourself. Find ways to still your mental chatter and connect with the present, and you will become a much more effective and happier person.
The following is a simple meditation technique that can help you clear your mind. It will help you establish an inner roadmap to stillness, which enables you to flow with present reality.
1. Find the Right Environment: Find a quiet place and arrange to have no distractions or interruptions, whether it’s a special place in your home or a place out in nature. It is especially important in the first stages of meditation to find the right location. It helps you move toward stillness naturally. Over time you will be able to meditate anywhere, at any time, even as you walk through hallways.
2. Sit Comfortably: You want your body to be at ease. Find a comfortable chair and be sure not to cross your arms or legs. Sit up straight so you will not have to move should one of your limbs fall asleep.
3. Take Three Deep Breaths: When you take these deep breaths, hold the oxygen in as long as you can on each breath, and let the oxygen out suddenly once you can no longer hold the air.
4. Breathe Normally: Return to your normal breathing pattern. Close your eyes and put your attention on your breathing process. Follow your breath in and then out. Notice the rhythm and depth of each of your breaths. Spend two to three minutes just following your breath with your attention.
5. Imagine a Beautiful Place: Imagine yourself in a beautiful place in nature. Each time you begin meditating, come back to this place. It will serve as an anchor for peace and help you to relax each time. When you have felt the peace of this place, use it as a background and return your attention to your breathing.
6. Let Go of Your Thoughts: As thoughts arise in your mind, do not resist them. Practice observing without processing, and then letting go of them. You can imagine them floating up into the sky or being absorbed by nature. As you let go, return your attention to your breathing.
7. Deepen Your Breathing: After you find your natural rhythm, increase the depth of your breathing. Inhale 10 to 15 percent deeper and exhale 10 to 15 percent deeper. Play with this deeper rhythm until it becomes natural. Continue to let go of thoughts as they arise.
8. Notice Stillness: At the moment you fully inhale, just before you exhale, notice that a still point occurs. Likewise, after you have fully exhaled, the same still point happens. One, the inhale, is full and the second, the exhale, is empty. Notice the difference.
9. Fall into Stillness: At times when your total focus is on this deeper breathing process, you will notice the stillness inside you. Let your consciousness fall into this stillness. Let go and don’t be afraid; it is your destination. Stay there as long as your ego will allow. It might take a number of sessions before you achieve this stillness, but it is worth the practice and discipline.
10. Open Your Eyes: After about twenty to twenty-five minutes, gently open your eyes without moving and notice the world around you. Notice your state of mind and journal your experience.
11. Take This State of Mind with You: Practice staying with this state of mind as you get up from your chair and walk, focusing on your breathing as before. Find a rhythm between your steps and your breath. Count how many breaths per step until you find a comfortable pace that is a little deeper than normal. This will help you begin to integrate this state of mind into your daily life.
12. Do Short Meditations: Once you have mastered this practice you will be able to take a few minutes to clear your mind between meetings or even with short pauses during meetings. Meditation creates the same state of being that Florence Joyner and other athletes achieve when they are “in the zone.” Your consciousness will naturally expand and you will be able to perform more effectively. Once again, there is no substitute for practice. As you continue to meditate, you will find the quality of your thought improving. You will have great ideas and find it easy to solve problems. Creating this space of stillness within you leads to Integrative Presence or being “in the zone.” Meditation is a powerful tool for those who are inventing their future. It helps with idea generation and stress reduction. If you are a leader, you need both to be successful.
With practice, every aspect of our lives will improve. Practice being the stillness in the storm, a person who listens, a person who puts aside personal views and is moving like a basketball player in the zone. Demonstrate real stillness when it comes to the performance part of leadership, in contrast to the bombastic person who is constantly throwing shallow or reactionary viewpoints.
Stillness, and the awareness that come with it, creates wonder and humility. The more we know, the more we see endless possibilities and these create a natural humility. As I have said to many of the CEOs with whom I work, it is hard to criticize humility.
Excerpt from: Invent Your Future Starting With Your Calling, Copyright Paul David Walker. To get a copy, please click here. Or copy and paste this link into your browser:
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• Invent Your Future Starting With Your Calling – Paul David Walker
• Unleashing Genius, Leading Yourself, Teams and Corporations – Paul David Walker.
• Play to Win – Larry Wilson
• The Path to Awakening – Shamar Rinpoche
• The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Permission is needed from Paul David Walker to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2015 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.
Paul David Walker is a Senior LCS Consultant and one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years as well as many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include StarKist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the founder of Genius Stone Partners, and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is the author of the bestselling book, Unleashing Genius, Leading Yourself, Teams and Corporations. and his new book, Invent Your Future Starting With Your Calling. You can reach Paul at Paul@lighthouseconsulting.com.
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