Quieting the Mind and Being Present

Intuition is the language of the Heart. The Self speaks to us primarily through our intuition. It uses other methods of communication as well, but intuition is to the Heart, what thoughts are to the mind. Intuitions flow nearly constantly, like thoughts, but becoming aware of intuitions takes some practice because they are much subtler than thoughts. For that reason, thoughts usually win our attention over intuitions.

One of the benefits of meditation and other spiritual practices that quiet the egoic mind is that these practices make intuition more accessible. Most people need meditation or some other spiritual practice to subdue the dominance of the egoic mind. Once some mastery of the egoic mind is achieved, real progress can be made toward following our intuition.

Meditation, or any other activity that focuses the mind, causes the egoic mind to become quiet because it keeps the mind busy with a task. Actually, any activity we are fully engaged in can serve as a meditation. When we focus all of our attention on something, the mind becomes quiet and serves us only when needed.

We tend to skim by on the surface of life, instead of diving into the moment and really experiencing it. The egoic mind keeps us at a distance from the real experience and, instead, substitutes thoughts about the experience. It distances us from the present moment, where life is rich and alive. We can learn to be more present to the moment by just noticing what is going on. Being more present is usually accomplished by taking our attention off of thoughts and feelings and putting it on whatever else is happening in the moment.

Exercise: Being Present

Being present means giving your attention to everything that is happening in the moment, not just to your thoughts or feelings. If a thought arises, notice it, and then continue to notice everything else that is present. When you are engaged in a task and your mind wanders off of it, bring your attention back to the task, to the sensations that are present, and to the entire experience of that moment. With practice, being present to everything that’s going on in the moment will become more natural.

Doing a more formal kind of meditation is another very helpful practice. When done on a regular basis, meditation helps establish a calm mental state, which makes the intuition and consequently the Self’s guidance more accessible. Meditation is the most effective spiritual technique available for shifting out of the egoic state of consciousness and into the experience of our true nature. It is also no more complicated or difficult than being present to an activity.

Exercise: Sitting in Meditation

Make a commitment to meditate daily, even if you only do it for a few minutes a day. Start by meditating for ten minutes a day. Increase the amount of time you meditate as your enjoyment of it increases. Be sure to make your experience of meditation as comfortable, enjoyable, and pleasant as possible so that you look forward to meditating.

Retreat to a quiet place. Choose something to focus on that you enjoy so that your meditation will be pleasurable. If you are auditory, you would probably enjoy listening to music or to the sounds in the room. If you are more kinesthetic, you would probably enjoy focusing on any physical sensations and on any subtle energetic sensations that are present. If you are more visual, you might enjoy gazing at a picture of a saint, a work of art, colors, flowers, or something in nature.

Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring it back to what you are focusing on. Also notice what you are experiencing as you sit in meditation. While the mind is busy with what it’s focusing on, experience is still happening. That experience is who you are! As you practice meditation more, your mind will wander less and for shorter periods of time, and you will spend increasing amounts of time in the Now.

Once you begin spending more time in the Now, meditation becomes very pleasurable. The now is intensely pleasurable. It has everything: joy, bliss, peace, contentment, fulfillment, love, clarity, acceptance, and wisdom. You will wonder why you ever wandered from the Now, but then you will catch yourself doing it again. The egoic mind is very seductive, even though the Now is so joyous and full. Even those who live mostly in the Now find themselves wandering through the corridors of the egoic mind from time to time.

We can learn to be present to the thoughts in our egoic mind just as we are present to whatever else might be arising in any moment. Thinking can be like any other activity we are present to. When we are present to our thoughts, we don’t feel like we are thinking them, but more like we are noticing them being thought, which is very different from the usual way of thinking. Here is an exercise that will help you learn to be present to your thoughts:

Exercise: Being Present to Thoughts

Practicing being present to your thoughts will change your relationship to thought. Practice this as much as possible whenever thoughts arise.

Notice whatever thought is arising right now. Observe it as if you were standing at a distance from it. What is the experience of thinking? Notice that thinking seems to be contained in your head. What is aware of thinking? Is that Awareness contained by anything, even your body? How big is it? Does it have a boundary? What is the experience of this Awareness? That is who you are. You are the Awareness that is aware of thoughts coming and going.

The thoughts that arise in your egoic mind have nothing to do with who you really are. What arises in your egoic mind is not up to you. It is just the conditioning you were given. Without following a thought, commenting on a thought, or holding an opinion about a thought, simply observe how your thoughts come and go: One thought replaces another. Where do they come from? Where do they go? Notice how little coherence there is between thoughts and how they jump from subject to subject. At times, it seems they are designed solely to get your attention. What else do you notice about them? Are there different voices attached to them? Do you notice certain themes? How true are they? Do they have an impact on Awareness?

Being present to thoughts this way allows us to be objective about them. With objectivity, we can examine our thoughts in a way that wasn’t possible when we were identified with them. Through such an examination, a great deal can be learned about the nature of our conditioning, and what we learn about our conditioning can free us from it.

This new relationship to the egoic mind is very freeing. It not only can free us from our conditioning, but also free us to be aware of the fullness of the moment. Because the egoic mind no longer has the power to draw us into identification, we are free to give our attention to the whole of life, instead of to only our thoughts. What we discover is that part of what is happening in the whole of life is that the Self is speaking to us in its own way, through intuition.

From Radical Happiness: A Guide to Awakening by Gina Lake Copyright © 2008 Gina Lake

A Wonderful Baby Boy Gift Is Presented As A Gift Basket

As you celebrate the birth of a precious little boy, choosing a baby boy gift item may be harder than you think. You want the gift to be unique and different than the other gifts he will receive. Even after you have found just the right gift, you will still be faced with how to present it to him. A wonderful idea is to give your baby boy gift in a gift basket. These are lovely to present to the parents of the newborn baby boy.

Buy A Gift Basket Online Or Make It Yourself

It’s fun to go online and find just the perfect gift basket for that special little boy. There is a wide selection of choices available for your shopping pleasure. Or perhaps, you are creative and like the idea of making the gift basket yourself. After filling the basket with unique hand picked items, add white flowers to the top and a big blue bow. A perfect baby boy gift ready to present!

As you consider what items to use to stick in as extra little treats, you’ll find all types of basket fillers online or at your local department store. New babies like to be cuddles so don’t forget to include something super soft for the delightful experience of holding the little guy. You can never go wrong including a blanket in your baby boy gift basket. Include one that is super soft and snuggly and will be able to help keep the little guy warm.

A Bottle Blankie Makes A Creative Gift Idea

A really creative gift idea for the new baby boy is a bottle blankie. It snuggles the bottle and keeps the milk warm while the baby is drinking. These soft little blankets are helpful and add a sense of security for the baby. This type of gift also makes a nice and thoughtful christening present. It isn’t your average type of gift and so will be appreciated, all the more, by the parents. It may even be customized to make it a more special baby boy gift.

Give A Gift That’s Age Appropriate

Consider the baby’s age when choosing his gift. The gift will differ if it’s for a newborn baby as verses a toddler. Be sure to give a gift that is age appropriate. For a baby, things like diapers and lotions and creams as well as diaper wipes are truly appreciated by the parents.

Negotiating Tips to Save Money

Are you interested in saving money on about any item you purchase? Did you know you can do this with the power of negotiation? Did you also know that just about everything is negotiable? Believe it or not you can negotiate on almost all of your purchases. This means if you aren’t negotiating you are losing money. You are leaving money laying on the table and walking away.

This article will help you save that money by leaning about negotiating. You don’t have to be a remarkable negotiator to save money. All you have to do is learn a few basic things about the subject. This article will teach you what you need to know.

First you need to know what negotiation really is. Most people think it’s about getting a lower price. That is part of it but not all of it. Negotiation also consist of getting free items add to your deal. It’s also about getting better terms for your deal. All of these things make up the total package of negotiation. You can learn to do all of this with just a few simple techniques.

Lets start with learning to negotiate with the big box stores. You know the ones that says they have the lowest prices. The ones most people would never dream would negotiate a price. Well guess what? They will negotiate with you under the right conditions. There are several ways you can accomplish this. Start by always asking if this is the best price they can do. If this doesn’t work, here’s what to do.

1) Ask if there is a discount if you took the floor model.

2) Ask if they have a scratch and dent item like the one you want at a discount.

3) Ask if there is a discount if you pay cash money. Merchants usually have to pay credit card companies a three percent transaction fee on all credit card purchases. Ask the merchant to gave you the three percent off instead of paying it to the credit card company. Tell him you will pay him cash if he does. He will net the same profit margin on the sale either way it’s processed.

4) Ask the merchant to include some small item if he can’t reduce the price.

5) Always ask for free or reduced delivery fees.

6) If the person you are dealing with says he can’t or it’s not store policy, politely ask to speak to the person in charge. Then ask them for a discount. Remember all store policies can be broken.

The common component and key to all of these methods is one thing. You have to ASK! Most people have been conditioned not to ask. So, they don’t even try. By not trying you differently won’t save any money. You will always be paying full price for everything you buy. You should always ask for a discount on everything you purchase. The worst thing that can happen is someone might tell you no. Then again you might just save some money by asking.

Let’s move on to the area here negotiating is the norm. This would be sales like private party, furniture, antiques, boats, cars, or houses. Usually the higher the price the more acceptable negotiating becomes. This type of negotiating requires a little more strategy than asking for discounts at big box stores.

The first thing you need to know about this type of negotiation is the opening price offer. There are two schools of thought on this. There is one strategy that believes you should never make an opening offer. You should always ask the other person what is the least they would take for an item. This way they may offer you a price lower than you were prepared to offer. The second strategy is the one that I like the best. It is just the opposite of the first one. It believes you should always make the first offer. The difference is you make a very low (sometimes called lowball) first offer. This is to psychologically set the stage for the other person to get use to thinking in lower terms.

Here are ten tips about the negotiation process after the opening offer.

1) The first thing you need to do is know your limits. That is when to walk away from the negotiation because it has become a bad deal.

2)The second most important thing, after setting limits, is to make sure you are dealing with someone who has the authority to make a deal.

3) Never give any type of concession without asking for a concession in return.

4) Offer to give concessions which are perceived to be of high value by the other person, but are of low value to you.

5) Start by offering your biggest concession first. Then make concession offers smaller and smaller. Tell the other party you are getting close to your limit.

6) Offer to split the difference between two offers works well at closing a deal.

7) Ask the other person for their help in making the deal. Here’s how it works. Tell them you are very interested in the item. That you would really like to have it. But, tell them they are a little above your limit or amount of money you have. Ask them if they is any way they could help you make this work. This way you are both on the same side of the negotiation. There are no adversaries with this method. This technique works extremely well.

8) When the other party has reach their bottom price tell them you will take the deal if they could throw in something extra. When using this technique ask for something small. Don’t try to break the bank when you know the other party is at their bottom.

9) Here’s a similar technique called the nibble. Use it when everything has been agreed to in principal but before anything has been closed or signed. Tell the other party you are now having second thoughts about the deal. Tell them it would help you to move forward with the deal if they could throw in a small specific extra. They will probably give in to your terms rather than think they’re about ready to lose a deal.

10) Never threaten to walk out of a negotiation unless you mean it. This is because someone might call your bluff. You can give indications or hints that you might walk out. With these, you can always back track if someone calls you hand.

These methods listed here are only the beginning when it comes to negotiations. There is a lot more to learn. There are two ways to learn more about negotiating. The first way is to read all you can on the subject. The second way of learning is by using trial and error. Try different negotiating techniques to find out what works best for you. Learning by experience is sometimes the best teacher.

The key to making this work is simple. Ask for a discount with every purchase! This may mean you have to step out of your comfort zone. The way to do this is to not focus on the asking part. Focus instead on the money you will be saving. Also, think what is the worst thing that could happen. The worst thing is someone might say no to you. They might also say yes to you which would save you money.

Now you know the basics of negotiating. You know enough about it to save you some money. The key to all of it is to be bold enough to use it. You should always being asking for discounts. Are you bold enough to do that? If you are, you will be surprised by the results. It will put extra money in your pocket! Best of Luck with your negotiations!