Saturday, June 8, 2013

Four Ways to Solve Pressing Problems

Photo By Azure McBride

The meditative mind is a creative, open and aware mind.  Learning to harness that energy can produce amazing results in business, love or in any area of our lives.  We can direct that fertile energy by tapping our meditative mind in these four ways:

1.       Give Yourself Permission to Solve Problems in Your Sleep
Dreams have informed me for much of my life.  I began writing my memoir based on a recurring dream of my father.  To use the information in your dreams, set an intention to resolve a problem before you go to bed.  Simply state the problem and ask that the answer be given while you sleep.  If you fear you may have trouble remembering your dream, set an intention to remember the dream by saying to yourself several times, "I will remember my dream when I wake up."  It is a simple practice, but it does work.  Place a notebook by your bed and when you wake, record your dream.  Clues to solving stubborn issues may appear.  You may need to repeat this practice over several days or weeks, but with time you will see a theme emerging from your dreams that will give you guidance.  It is not wishful thinking, scientists are discovering more about our dreams and how the brain functions every day.  Robert Strickgold, associate professor of psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School states: "...sleep permits a time when the brain can search for and identify useful associations between recently formed emotional memories and older ones, helping to place them in a more useful context, from which their resolution may become more readily apparent."

2.       Take a Mindful Walk
Albert Einstein and writer Virginia Woolf both took walks to clear their minds to create the space for new ideas to emerge.  Walking, especially in nature, can quiet the voices in our heads that keep us from getting a clear answer to our problems.  Walking can also help us break through creative blocks.  Taking a mindful walk simply means quietly putting our attention on our surroundings.  We do not need to overly observe, all that is required is to gently notice.  When we find our mind cluttering up with worries or chores of the day, we can redirect our attention towards our environment.  When we consciously let go of whatever it is that is plaguing us and decide to enjoy every step of our path, our mind is open to new ideas and solutions.

3.       Deep Breathing
The art of deep breathing from the diaphragm is as old as man and is a practice used by athletes, women in labor, singers, actors and in mediation.  I find this practice to be quickest and easiest way to reset my inner emotional landscape, and I use it daily if not several times per day.  Deep breathing facilitates an  energy that the Chinese call Chi, the Hindu call Prana and masters of old and scientist today tout can strengthen the body, make us calmer and even happier.  We can take a deep breath any time we feel stressed, hold it for a count of three or four and then release it fully like deflating a balloon to recharge our bodies and minds. 

4.       Create a Mantra
Creating a mantra is another practice that I use often.  By simply repeating a phrase such as "I know the answer," "I trust," or a popular mediation mantra, "I am," connecting ourselves with our divine entity if we so believe, a more positive mental state can be achieved.  The easy practice of creating a mantra and repeating it to ourselves several times when we feel stuck can redirect our thinking and infuse us with confidence and hope.