The Grass Isn’t Greener on the Other Side

Once upon a time there was a farmer who had some mouldy hay left over for his cows.

He didn’t have much money, so he wanted to make sure his cows ate the hay… fresh cow food was not cheap where he was.

So, he put the mouldy hay out, but to his dismay, the cows didn’t touch it. They knew it was mouldy and wanted the delicious fresh hay they were used to.

Then, he came up with a clever plan. He mixed up some of the fresh hay with the mouldy hay. That way, the cows would probably not suspect it’s mouldy, and would go ahead and eat it.

But his cunning plan didn’t work! They push away the mouldy hay and ate the fresh stuff.

The cows were too smart.

Then, as he watched his cows, he noticed they often poked their head out, through the fencing to try and reach the hay outside of their paddock. There was other perfectly good hay available within the paddock. But they were not fully happy with that. They wanted to try and get to the hay that was just out of reach.

So, he had a genius plan.

He placed the mouldy hay outside of the fenced area, so it was almost completely out of reach… but if they stretched their head through the gaps in the fence, they could eat it.

And you know what happened. They stretched hard to try and reach the mouldy hay, and happily ate it all!

Cow psychology and human psychology are very similar.

We always desire what’s out of reach.

We want what we don’t have, without thinking about all the disadvantages the new situation or person or experience will have on us. We are often reaching out to eat mouldy hay!

Your Work Is Good Enough… or Enjoy No Work!

Do you really need to change your job? What you have may be good enough!

There’s research to show it’s not so much what kind of work you have, but your attitude at work that makes the difference. You could be a simple cleaner, but if see how your work helps people to enjoy a cleaner, more organised environment, then you’re a happy cleaner! Check out the article on job, career or calling.

And if you’re out of work, think about all the free time you have! You may get some small financial benefits to cover basic accommodation and food… and with all the free time you have, you can learn a new skill, meditate more and go for nice walks with friends. People with jobs only have a few weeks off a year, if they’re lucky, and don’t have any free time ever!

Just look at how stressed your friends are on a monday morning at 9am to remind you that perhaps things aren't as bad as you think.

Your Relationship Status is Good Enough

Are you single? That’s great! I am too! You have the freedom to do whatever you want. At any time, you can go anywhere you like, without having to ask permission from anyone. You don’t have to waste money on extra presents and dinners…and you don’t have to deal with all the massive stresses that go along with being in a relationship. When things don't work out, they can be the cause of so much suffering. If you're single, no worries for you there!

Are you in a relationship or married? Wonderful! You don’t need to constantly seek the company of others because you have a partner. You can practice your mindfulness and kindfulness skills. You can grow emotionally and spiritually, whatever your partner is like. Ultimately all men and women are the same so try and be happy with who you have. It's a great practice in letting go of your ego and learning to be kind to yourself and each other.

Do You Have Enough Children?

Want kids? Why! Do you really want to fill up every single waking hour of your day with looking after children? You’re quite likely to worry about your kids for the rest of your life. Are they okay? Why are they not home yet? Have they done their homework?

And if you have children, do you really need more of them?! Doesn’t the planet have enough human beings on it already? And with the state of the world at the moment, isn’t it better to just live your life as best you can with the children you already have?

If you have kids, that’s great too. You are nurturing a human being, hopefully in a mindful and kindful way if you are the sort of person that reads this blog. You're practising letting go of your own personal desire to bring a beautiful being into the world - that's a lovely practice to do too.

You Have Enough Money

Rich people have rich people suffering and poor people have poor people suffering. If anything, go for the middle way. Science has also shown that an average salary to meet your basic needs is ideal for your wellbeing and happiness.

Have you not noticed how stressed rich people are? They are constantly trying to work out how to invest their money. And people are always after them, asking to borrow money or invest in this business or that venture. And most of them work so hard, to try and make even more money! They have huge bills because of their big cars and houses and so can often feel trapped. If wealth created happiness, then why are there so many miserable rich people out there? More money isn't usually the anser.

And poor people aren’t happy just because they're poor either. If you're rich, don't idealise the poor. They struggle to pay their bills each month, and often worrying about how to make ends meet.

So if you’re rich, sell the big house and car, and live more simply. Be happy with what you have - you have enough.

And if you’re poor, be content with the fact that you have enough already. If you’re reading this blog post, you have enough money for accessing a computer, internet and time as well! So you’re quite rich already. And there are so many other forms of capital - time, community, friendship, nature, education, happiness, peace and kindness. These are the qualities to measure your life with - not just your bank balance.

Yes, poverty is a real problem if you don't have enough to meet basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. But ultimately that's all you need. So if you have that, be grateful and that's enough!

You Are Famous And Sexy Enough

Do you want fame? Why! Don’t judge people on their outer circumstances. Have you not noticed famous people with not only fame but great wealth and amazing relationships still suffer so much inside, they sometimes even contemplate suicide?

That’s because it’s people inner world that matters most - not their outer circumstances. Don't judge people on flashy pics in magazines - you know it's all been photoshopped anyways!

If you’re famous, you’re constantly being harassed. You can’t even walk down the street without people stopping you for a selfie or a chat. You lose so much of your freedom. And you don’t know if people love you for who you are, or just for your fame.

And beauty. Why do you want to be more sexy? Beautiful people are constantly being harrassed. I'm so grateful I'm not too hot! When someone meets a beautiful person, all they see is their beauty...not their personality or intelligence.

Wear less makeup. Go easy in the gym. Be content with your body and be grateful you're not a superhot supermodel being chased around left, right and centre. That's the opposite of peace. That's stress!

Promotion and Gaining Power & Influence

Why do you want to get promoted at work? You’ll end up with more responsibilities and more stress! Aren’t you stressed enough already?

You’ll probably have to work longer hours and have less time with your friends and family. And with the extra money, you’re more likely end up getting a bigger flat or house or car, and then you’re stuck in that trap! So practice being content with the position you have.

Be content with your position and enjoy the extra free time to be mindful, spend time with friends and family and maybe do a spot of volunteer work instead.

Conclusion

You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. That’s enough!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below. I promise to read and respond to them all.


Please note, no cows were hurt in the writing of this blog post.

Could Quantum Physics, Mindfulness and Compassion Ever Be Connected?

There's lots of wooo wooo connections made between quantum physics and consciousness that have just been claimed to be absolute truth.

I'm actually a bit disappointed when I see these connections being made by pseudo scientists.

But....I've been researching articles published in well respected science journals and would like to make some possible connections and share some new theories of mine!

Famous Experiments with Weird Results

First of all, there is a very famous experiment in physics called the double slit experiment, that clearly shows that when a conscious being measures how a small particle or beam of light travels, it totally changes the way it behaves. See this video for an explanation.

Next, more recently, a well respected physicist suffered from severe depression for two years. The only thing that saved him was antidepressants. But when he researched more closely, he found that the lithium in antidepressants is not clear as to how it works. Through years of research and experimentation, he's found a possible explanation of how it works, but it would require the human brain to work on a quantum level. This starts to make another possible connection between quantum physics and consciousness. You can read about this on the BBC site and The Atlantic. And wikipedia outlines the theory of Quantum Mind too.

Mindfulness meets Quantum?

Now, what I'm going to suggest next is pure speculation, but I'd be interested in your thoughts!

In mindfulness, you're encouraged to observe the difficult emotions you experience, without judgement and with care, using conscious awareness. And anyone who's tried mindfulness finds, if you get the attitude right and are truly accepting of the experience in your body, the sensation either gradually reduces or sometimes instant collapses.

So the mindful, conscious observation creates transformation.

If we pretend or assume that the negative emotional experience in your body is a set of quantum 'particles', then according to physics this makes perfect sense.

Observation causes transformation.

Quantum Could Transform Your Past

Now I'm going to make an even bigger jump and connection.

Physics has found in the double slit experiment, even if you allow the light beam or electrons to pass through the slit and then observe their behaviour afterwards, they seem to know that you've observed them and as if 'go back in time' and go through a different slit. It's a shocking result even for the scientists!

It’s a shocking result even for the scientists!

Let's pretend we can translate this to mindfulness. This means, when you non judgmentally observe a negative emotion in your body, not only does the emotion 'collapse', but perhaps the emotion was no longer there originally either! Or in the case of a negative experience like an accident, the mindfulness perhaps goes back in time in a way, and the accident didn't happen.

I'm not saying it feels like the accident didn't happen. I'm saying the mindfulness in the present moment actually changed the past!

We are assuming here that consciousness can change the past, just like it seems to do in world of quantum physics.

Possible conclusion: Your mindfulness in the present can transform not only your memory but the actual experience you had in the past. Presence transforms all experiences throughout time.

Could Quantum Entanglement Mean We Are One?

I'd like to share another mysterious finding of quantum physics. A phenomenon called quantum entanglement. Entanglement is so strange, Einstein famously called it spooky action at a distance.

Entanglement is so strange, Einstein famously called it spooky action at a distance.

This is not just a theory - experiments prove it!

It's possible to get two tiny particles and 'entangle' them. They then have opposite 'spins'.

When you entangle two particles, you can separate them out as far as you wish - let's say we separate them a billion billion light years apart.

The amazing thing is this...if I change the spin of one of the particles, the spin of the other particle billions and billions of light years away, changes INSTANTANEOUSLY!
Not at the speed of light, but instantly.

This is an incredible finding. Up to this time, science thought nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

Here’s a cartoon video that explains quantum entanglement simply, and pushes the theory a bit further too.

How We Could Be Connected To Everyone...including Aliens!


Now we are going into the world of pure guessing and extrapolation.

This means, for me, there is some kind of underlying way in which the whole universe can be connected. In some way, everything is connected to everything else and able to influence each other instantly.

So, if quantum phenomena is connected to consciousness, our consciousness could have an immediate effect on another person on the planet, or even on an alien on the other side of the universe, immediately.

This means, if you are 'entangled' or have a connection with someone else on the planet, and you send them compassion and loving kindness in your mind and heart, you could have an immediate positive effect on that person. They effortlessly transform in that moment.

I admit, this is a very wild extrapolation of quantum physics, but it does nicely explain some of the observations from my experience of mindfulness and compassion practice.

Do let me know your thoughts...I’m genuinely interested in how you feel about this.

Peace and Love. 🙏🏽 <3

Shamash

Want a laugh? Here’s 5 Cringe Worthy Meditation Videos

Shamash with matthieu ricard, french translator for the dalai lama, and often quoted as the world's happiest human being

Shamash with matthieu ricard, french translator for the dalai lama, and often quoted as the world's happiest human being

Does laughter have a place in mindfulness?

I’ve noticed if I take mindfulness too seriously, it just doesn’t work.

Mindfulness and happiness seem to go hand in hand. As your mindfulness rises, your happiness goes up. As your happiness rises, mindfulness becomes easier.

That’s not to say you can’t be mindful if you’re unhappy. Not at all! You can be mindful of anything. But if you spend your day smiling, having a bit of fun here and there and being kind, you’ll find your meditation will be easier.

So...there’s a lot of serious information about meditation out there. But are there any short, funny meditations or talks?

I went on the hunt to find out.

if you spend your day smiling, having a bit of fun here and there and being kind, you’ll find your meditation will be easier.

These may offend some of you, but the more light-hearted, unattached members of our community will at least smile, I hope…..enjoy!

1. Animal from the Muppets tries to meditate

Let’s start gently, with the Muppets. Okay, not that gently. Here it is:

My favourite bit is when Animal just stares at us!

2. Puppetji vs Meditation

While we’re on the muppets... oppps, I mean puppets, here’s the legendary Puppetji espousing his wisdom on meditation in the the busyness and noise of the city.

My favourite quotes:

“Joyologist and Momentarian”
“The gunshots....simply the fabric of our lives…”

3. Puppetji Wisdom on The Secret

There’s so many funny clips from Puppetji. So here’s another one, with some nice wisdom thrown in there too! :)

More quotes to look out for:

“Words of Wizdumb”
“Everybody’s talking about the Secret...so I guess it’s not a frikkin’ secret anymore!”
“29 frikin’ 95 Dollars for the DVD....very expensive secret, hmmm?”

4. The F*ck That Meditation

With over 10 million views, the F*ck That Meditation is a popular one. I don’t recommend you play this one out too loud when at work...unless your boss understands your sense of humour.

5. How to meditate according to JP Sears

JP Sears has taken the role of hippy guru that doesn’t practice what he preaches. Here’s some meditation tips from him.

Bonus Videos!

6. Mindfulness at Work gone too far?

Do you think mindfulness is a solution for everything? Maybe you’ll change your mind after watching this clip.

7. The Dalai Lama walks into a Pizza Shop...

This is real! An Australian TV presenter tried to tell H.H. The Dalai Lama a joke and it went terribly wrong. Check this baby out…2.8 Million views and rising!

Did you enjoy of these videos? Have I missed any good ones you know of?!

Let me know in the comments below. I personally read and respond to all comments.

The 3 Ways To Be Best Friends with Yourself

The Buddha’s closest attendant and cousin was called Ananda.

One day, Ananda asked the Buddha:

‘How important is good friendship on the spiritual path? Is it half of the holy life?’

The Buddha turned around and effectively said:

‘No, Ananda. Good friendship is 100% of holy life. With good friendship you go on to attain the highest happiness.’¹

That seems quite high!

But let’s think about this a bit more. What would your life be like without friendship? I think personally I’d feel very sad.

The happiest times of my life have been when I’m spending time with others.

Let’s start with friendship to yourself in this post.

Can you be your own best friend?

To do this, break things down into three:

Your body, your mind and your heart.

Making Friends with Your Body

First of all, let’s find out how to be best friends with your body.

If your friend was in pain, would you ignore them?

Of course not!

If your body is tired, let it rest.

So, don’t ignore your body’s messages.

Ask your body, ‘What do you want to do right now?

Right now, I ask my body that question and immediately I get a response.

Uncross my legs, stand up and stretch please!!!!’

So I comply.

Ask your body, ‘What do you want to do right now?

I ask again, and my body says ‘Open the windows so we can have some fresh air!’

So I do. And smile.

‘This is fun. Now rotate my shoulders please!’, says my body.

Sure’ I respond.

My body continues: ‘Shake your hands…..Release your jaw....Smile a bit more….Take a deeeeep breath…..That’s it. Thanks!’

Oh, my body feels great now that I’m back on this computer. And I’m smiling from ear to ear!

So, treat your body like your friend. Talk to it. Listen to it. Let your body do what it wants.

It was my friend’s birthday the other day. So I bought her a gift. I wrote and drew on a nice card for her. She wanted me to stay longer and go up one of the tallest buildings in London. So I did that too. And it was fun.

But I didn’t control her. I didn’t say: ‘no, we’re going to go to my favourite cafe instead. And we’re gonna have coffee, not tea.’

And every time she spoke, I didn’t totally ignore her wishes.

And so, I do the same for my body…

I listen to it….I let it reeelaxxxxxx if it wants to relax.

I let my body walk if it wants to walk. Run if it wants to run.

So, that’s the body. Notice (mindfulness) your body, talk (communicate) to your body, listen (mindfulness) to your body and let your body be control sometimes, rather than you telling your body what to do all the time (kindfulness).

BONUS TIP: Look in the mirror every morning and smile at yourself. Look into your eyes and say ‘I am good enough, just the way I am’.
 

How to Be Best Friends with Your Mind

Can you be friends with your mind?

That means, if your mind wants to wander off for a bit, can you allow that?

When your mind says, I really want to eat a piece of chocolate, do you say, ‘sure okay...’ or do you say ‘No way!’

What would you say to your friend if she wanted some chocolate from time to time?

You’d say ‘sure’, I hope!

So let your mind do what it wants to do.

Let go of controlling.

It’s the controlling that leads to guilt, anger, frustration and depression.

The opposite of controlling is letting go and being kind.

You and your mind can be best friends!

Everyday, my mind and I are becoming better and better friends.

We learn from each other.

I now know that when I give my mind freedom to wander off, it doesn’t want to go anywhere too far. It soon comes back.

And when I let my mind write books and blog posts without controlling the title or what I ‘should’ be writing, it flows beautifully.

Everyday, my mind and I are becoming better & better friends.

It’s great fun being friends with my mind.

My mind becomes silent very quickly if I manage to bring up this right attitude.

And we then both enjoy the peace of mind very much.

So, please be kind to your mind. Care for your mind. Listen to your mind.

Try it and be patient and I'm sure you'll have the same experience as me.

BONUS TIP - Say to your mind every morning ‘Dear mind, you work so hard for me. Thank you. I love you!’
 
Opening Your Heart...to Your Heart!

Your heart is such a beautiful part of you.

So let’s talk about friendship with your heart.

If you were sitting on a park bench with your friend, what would you ask?

‘How are you? What’s going on for you? How’s life?’

So, try asking your heart ‘How are you doing, my dear friend?’

My heart feels so great to be even asked!

S/he’s very happy right now. Really happy that I’m letting her be herself.

To write about what she feels most strongly about.

Ask your heart ‘How are you doing, my dear friend?’

She feels connected with mind and body. And therefore with me too.

And she wants more of this. She wants me to listen to her all day today. And so I will!

What does your heart say?

Do you enjoy being friends with your heart?

I’m sure you will.

Because true friendship always comes from the heart.

BONUS TIP - Place your hand on your heart as you meditate or just as you take a deep breath. The warmth of your hand will most likely warm up your present moment experience.
 
Summary

The metaphor of making friends with your body, mind and heart is one of my favourites!

Treating yourself with love and kindness doesn’t lead to being out of control - instead you experience greater peace, love and joy.

So go ahead - trust in the wisdom of your being, and simply and gently ask what it would like to do. Any if it's safe to do so, go ahead and follow your body/mind/heart's advice.

You'll be surprised at just how wise your body, mind and heart are.

How to be Super Lucky: A true little story

Photo of us organising a happiness flashmob in Sydney outside the Happiness and Its Causes Conference

Photo of us organising a happiness flashmob in Sydney outside the Happiness and Its Causes Conference

I’ll like to share with you a real situation that happened to me last week.

I shall describe it in two different ways.

Real Situation. Interpretation One.

After speaking at a conference last week, I was making my way home, feeling tired after all the travel.

I wait in a queue as I’m boarding a flight in the middle of the night.

I show my ticket to the flight attendant. And then things start to go all wrong.

The attendant jerks the ticket out of my hand, making my phone fall from my hand.

I stupidly had removed the protective case and now it looks like my phone is going to fall through a gap onto the tarmac. I can’t let that happen!

Like an idiot, I step on my phone to try and stop it falling further. Instead I end up bending the whole phone and smashing the screen up completely. The Apple phone looks more like a banana.

The flight attendant ignores the fact that he knocked the phone out of my hand, and doesn’t even apologise. I’m shocked.

I should have demanded a free upgrade or something, but I’m so silly, I didn’t even do that.

When I land back home, I search for my wallet….I can’t find it! What?! No wallet as well!

All my credit cards…my cash…it’s all gone. Disappeared. Then I have the horrible thought: ‘Maybe I left it on the plane.’

So I call the flight company up…still no luck at all. They say it’s not there. I try calling the next day. They give the same answer.

What a terrible day. Smashed up phone. Lost cash. Lost credit cards…

How unlucky am I?

Real Situation. Interpretation Two.

I board my flight with two of my best friends. We’ve had the best time of our lives and are looking forward to spreading happiness back home.

My phone gets accidentally knocked out of my hand and I step on it and help stop it getting lost forever between the stairs and the plane. Smart move!

The flight attendant is a bit shocked, but I don’t make a big fuss as it’ll probably upset him, and it is an old phone after all. I’m proud how nice I am to him. I even tell him not to worry about it!

When I play around with the shattered screen in my seat. To my amazement, I discovered the phone still works, and I enjoy listening to meditations on the flight home. Bliss!

To my amazement, I discovered the phone still works, and I enjoy listening to meditations on the flight home. Bliss!

We have a fabulous flight - one of my friends who doesn’t normally enjoy flying says it’s the best flight she’s ever been on. We’re all very happy about that.

When we finally land, I discover I’ve lost my wallet. But one of my friends kindly treats me a Chai Tea Latte - one of my favourite drinks. Yummy. I’m loving this!

I then remember. I was clever enough to keep some emergency cash in my case. My friend also kindly offers me a train ticket to get home.

I decide to go on a bike rideinstead of rushing home. We do lots of exercise, and enjoy a delicious greek salad in a local park. I’m having a great day.

A few days later, my new credit cards arrive by motorbike just as I’m leaving the house for another trip. Literally as I’m outside my house.

And it turns out my travel insurance covered my phone, so I manage to get a brand new phone almost for free due to my accident! They say they don’t even need any evidence as they trust me. Wow! I’ve ended up making a profit out of the whole little accident!

It’s amazing how well things can turn out sometimes.

How lucky am I?

Conclusion

Any of you remember this van from a cartoon? We kept seeing this van wherever we went. Life is, indeed, one big mystery machine. How will you view it?

Any of you remember this van from a cartoon? We kept seeing this van wherever we went. Life is, indeed, one big mystery machine. How will you view it?

Happiness. Love. Luck. These as simple words, but they can be so elusive for many of us.

Perhaps they are not absolutes, but just interpretations in your head.

Maybe you’re already happy and peaceful, if you see things that way?

Maybe you’re already in love...with a person, with yourself, with life...if you see it that way?

Maybe you’re already one of the luckiest people in the world. Living in the 21st Century with enough time to not only find this blog, but to have time to read and smile as you do so.

Maybe you’re already good enough and already have enough right now?

Maybe you’re already good enough and already have enough right now?

Lucky us!

Got a moment? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments below. I read them all. Thanks! x

Are you passionate about sharing the benefits of mindfulness with others? It might be time to take it to the next level. Learn more about our program Teach Mindfulness Online.