[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text]I was born into an atheist family where prayer or going to church...

One of the many foundations of my program #AwakenedLeadership for individuals and organizations... Along my journeys, and for many years now, I have often struggled to keep my meditation practice alive. At home I used the excuse of being too busy with work and life in New York City. While traveling, I often delay the practice, thinking, “I don’t have time to practice today; I have to do this or visit that place." Basically, I am procrastinating and my Ego mind is fighting this healthy practice that threatens him! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The practice of meditation has a lot of benefits. Better health, better sleep, increased concentration and focus, increased energy, lower anxiety, and an overall increase in general feelings of happiness. With such a list, it should be easy to sit, but that's not always true.
There is an old Zen saying: You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.
So after years of trying and failing, starting and stopping, I wanted to share with you ten steps that can help you, even if you have never meditated before, to get the practice going and to KEEP IT going.
Tomorrow I enter into a 10 days meditation & Sufi Healing Training in Dharamsala, and as I am getting ready, I am remembering my 10-day Vipassana meditation course 2 years ago. A close friend of mine asked me what was most difficult about it. Was it to follow the strict rules? (No talking, no writing, no reading, no phone, no watch, no music, no eye contact, no physical activity, for the full 10 days.) Was it physically handling the 6AM to 9PM meditation – over 12 hours seated – each day? Or was it the fight of permanent random thoughts and noises inside my head? In fact, for me the most difficult aspect was to physically sit for hours and hours, days after days, without being able to move. But the most beautiful part of the 10 days, the most profound and powerful element of the transformation, was the total silence. I should say Silence, with a capital S. Last week, I spent a night in the desert (all photos here). I was in the most remote location of Rajasthan, western India, in Khuri, only 150 km from the Pakistan border, the farthest you can go without a special permit. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKhuri is a very small, rural village, 50 km from the beautiful city of Jaisalmer (photos here), surrounded by dunes and wind turbines. Life is very simple there, and only a few families of farmers survive the harsh conditions of the desert and the lack of water apart from a few very old stone wells.
As I arrived in Bodhgaya, the holiest place in the world for Buddhists, I did not expect an extraordinary and sad event to hit my journey. I guess, like in life, good things and bad things happen, always. It is our ability to handle them, to react or not, to move forward or not, which, at the end, defines our true capacity to be happy here and now. A few hours ago (a few days ago as you read this post), multiple bombs exploded in the very heart of the Bodh Gaya Mahabodhi temple, a temple dedicated to love and enlightenment, one where the prince Siddhartha, before he became a Buddha, came to meditate and sat under a now famous tree. In the next few days I will write a post on this place if today’s event allows me to enter the shrine complex. When you are awoken at 6 a.m. at sunrise by the sound of a bomb, you realize first how glad you are to be alive and not injured. I cannot ignore the fact that many people live constantly with this terrible sound and walk around their homes and towns with that permanent fear. Fear of an attack; Fear of everyone around; Fear of an invisible enemy. [caption id="attachment_14624" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Monkey who seems to think very deeply... Monkey who seems to think very deeply...[/caption]
When’s the last time you did nothing? No thinking. No TV. No work. There are 148 hours in the week: How often do you take 10 minutes of your day to connect with yourself? Most of us work so hard and are so committed to our careers, friends and family we never take the time to commit to ourselves. Would you run a car engine incessantly? Of course not. So why do we do this to our bodies and minds? 7180069 Buddhists call the human brain the “monkey brain” because they say it jumps around all the time — from thought to thought and sensation to sensation. Meditation helps tame the jumping. It’ll help you return to the here-and-now in order to observe what’s occurring in your body. A recent Harvard and MIT study has proven that meditation has physical and mental benefits. However, unlike most medicines and therapy, mediation is free and accessible to everyone.