Would you rather get ahead or get enough?

Would you rather get ahead or get enough?

Around 567 years BCE, Siddhartha Gautama, later to be given the appellation Buddha, was raised sheltered by his father in a palace at the foothills of the Himalayas. One day, while outside the walls of the palace, Siddhartha encountered old age, sickness, and death in the streets of the city over which his family ruled. Confronted by the reality of such an experience, he devoted his life to finding a way to eradicate suffering. Later, as the story goes, while meditating under a bodhi tree he became enlightened.

I encourage you to go read more of the interim years between the Siddhartha’s fated experience outside the walls of his father’s house, and his later enlightenment in which he become a Buddha. There are many universal lessons and truths hidden within our myths and legends.

Not unlike Siddhartha, the reality we think we are living in is separate and disconnected from true reality. Only there’s isn’t some universal monarch sheltering us from this truth. We have been conditioned to ignore the pervasive experience of truth sitting right outside the door of our everyday life (if we’re lucky enough to have a door behind which to hide).

But some of us are waking up to that conditioning. We realize that the story we’ve been fed from birth is, for lack of a better word, bullshit.

How to get ahead

We’ve been fed inconsistent and contradictory ideas for so long, they are starting to make sense to us. For example, we’ve been taught to be wary of religious doctrine, yet be uncompromising and dogmatic in our beliefs. When was the last time you agreed to disagree?

We’ve been taught to make our own way, to be self-sufficient and not rely on others to make our own way, but then to take loans out to fund the biggest expenditures of our life: education and home ownership (don’t worry, you’ll have real freedom someday AFTER you qualify to buy a house by giving up all your authority and initiative to a corporation that deems to keep you around for at least two years). How many of you are still pursuing that dream?

We’ve been conditioned to value free time and a carefree attitude over connection and deep reverence. Wealth is being able to afford not to care, whether it’s the price of whole, organic foods or the fact that people are living on our streets without safety or warmth. Is getting ahead really worth it?

Think back to the last time you took an action not because it improved your individual life, but because it was the right thing for the greater community in which you live. Taking these small but impactful actions are the moments that connect us to the greater whole.

How to get enough

So I ask you to commit to taking one action a day that you wouldn’t have normally, in pursuit of your truth: whether it be changing your opinion based on new information, reconciling with a lost lover or familial relationship, picking up the garbage on your street, or telling someone when you think they’re beautiful. SHARE YOURSELF! Share what you see with others, be in relationship, show up to your community.

In doing so, I promise you will find what it means to be YOU—a unique being inhabiting this Earth at this time with us. We’re looking for you. We (will) see you.

Matthew Koren founded Spirit in Transition in 2015, a business consulting firm specializing in building high-performance learning organizations, teams and individuals.

When Your Meditation Isn’t So Meditative.

When Your Meditation Isn’t So Meditative.

My meditation practice has not been peaceful the last few weeks. What’s more is that I’ve been rather lazy in approaching how best to deal with it. It’s almost like I’m stuck in observation mode, just watching myself wallow without jumping in with a strategy or plan.

What’s great about that is for once, I’m not jumping in with a strategy or a plan! However, I do want my meditation practice to return to a time of peace and deep relaxation. So join me as we go back to the basics and improve your meditation practice with me!

Meditation Basics

There are times when the going is good. It may still be a struggle to find the time to sit down however, once you do, you can feel yourself relaxing into the peace of doing nothing. Relieving yourself of the stressors of life, if even temporarily, is worth the sore butt from sitting too long!

Then there are the times when your meditation is not working out as planned. Try as you might to wrangle the mind, it refuses to be constrained. You just can’t find the right position, cushion, background music or back support. Or worse, your body is comfortable and your mind won’t sit still!

One of the keys I offer to you is this: meditation, like emotions, have phases. You can expect the beginning phase of your meditation to be unpredictable. Sometimes it will be turbulent, and sometimes calm. Sometimes you will glide into your meditation easily, and other times, it’ll be like herding cats in your mind. This is why I highly recommend you do your breathing practices first. Once you master your breathing practice, the subsequent phases of your meditation will flow through easily and predictably.

The Key is in your Breath

Controlling your breath, or intentionally altering your breathing pattern is work you can do on the physical system that directly impacts your mind. Bringing your attention to your body and addressing what’s going on in the body is the first step to any successful meditation practice.

That’s why meditation teachers will often instruct you to return to your breath if your mind has taken over. Your mind will follow your breath, so when your meditation practice seems to be giving you diminishing returns, turn it into a breathing practice until the calm mind state you are looking for returns. And it will return. Your mind will follow your breath.

So breathe easy knowing that the solution to our turbulent meditation practice is right under your nose.If you want help, join us for a complimentary Tools for Awakening series meditation which happen regularly. Just check out the calendar to see when the next one is upcoming.


Matthew Koren founded Spirit in Transition in 2015, a business consulting firm specializing in building high-performance learning organizations, teams and individuals.