The Present is Perfect, Joyful, and Contented

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There are going to be plenty of times that you’ll want to give up – don’t. With the right tools, it’s simple to neither be trapped by circumstances and behaviors of the past, nor dominated by worrying about the future.

When the mind-made chains and shackles of the past and future are even temporarily removed, the perfection of the present becomes abundantly clear. If you’ll take stock, again and again you’ll discover that there’s nothing wrong in this moment, only your mind makes it so.

While it may not seem entirely practical at all times to be fully present, knowing that this peaceful state of perfection is available and accessible leads to a very different kind of existence. Knowing that a life of contentment is always just a moment of attention away puts the rest of your worldly pursuits and concerns in proper perspective.

The experience of being fully present provides room for a spaciousness in awareness that offers a wide angle view of the past and future from a thousand miles above. With everything that has happened to you, you can either succumb to things that cannot be undone, or treat what has happened as a second chance to grow and develop. You get to choose whether or not your past will be an obstacle, or the seeds for growth when you discover that you’re perfectly okay in the present.

Many people are going nowhere fast. Direction is so much more important than speed. Slow down for once. Starve your distractions and feed your focus, bring it back. Take stock of what’s right in front of you. There’s nothing wrong right here, you’re just fine, there’s nothing to adopt or reject in this present moment.

Take the time and give your complete attention each day even for a few minutes. Everything is just fine, including you, just as you are, living breathing wholeness and completeness – perfect, timelessly so.

 

May you be happy, may you be well, safe, peaceful and at ease🙏

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

For meditation classes and retreats:
www.mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

True Empowerment: Developing the Foundation for Realization

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It’s not difficult to imagine why, but the path to realization usually begins with a certain degree of suffering. Momentary insights are the easy part. Frankly speaking, “ah-ha” moments in your life usually amount to nothing in the long run – everyone has them – supposed wake-up calls, the ever elusive transformative event that we thought would really bring about a life-altering change in how we behave and look at things. Most discover that the power of long-standing unconscious habits are far more powerful than momentary insights.

For true empowerment to begin, emotional realization is the next part – that you are 100% responsible for your emotional life at all times – that no one makes you angry, depressed, guilty or causes you anxiety etc.

I think you’ll find the next levels of difficulty are manifesting, then sustaining your realization in the world. And that manifesting of your practice is really what’s important and that comes with taking 100% responsibility for your projections of yourself, your view of others and your world. A realized being doesn’t just become kind of an enlightened blob, or an enlightened couch potato, but actually exhibits a certain level of gentle strength and wisdom.

Release of blame, control, demands on others and the world are symptomatic of realization. Generosity, ethical discipline, patience, joy and focused attention are seen as kind of a manifestation or the expression of realization, they’re also seen as the foundation and support for realization.

To learn more about MMC;
* Michael Gregory, Director
* MMC Retreat Center in Ellenton, Florida
* Membership:
Go to: mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

 

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

The Importance of Solitude and Being Alone

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Ultimately relationships and money cannot protect you from the pain that is part of simply being alive and existing. These things at best can provide you with a temporary solace, and often not even that, sometimes even bringing more problems and distress. For someone who is trying to be more fully conscious, relationships and finance are at best compliments to their awareness.

Previously I sought my salvation, my protection from suffering in relationships and women, fine material things, travel, and intoxicants. The unhealthy part of my consciousness drifts towards these false refuges again and again through my adult years. Each time I come back to center, increasingly wiser for every experience. With each return to sensibility I receive the validation of a greater joy and peace that comes from within, and smile at myself for foolishly thinking that it could have ever been another way.

This weekend I will be sitting meditatively still with a hall full of quiet practitioners patiently and peacefully observing their breath, body, and changing mental and emotional states. Each will have made the determination and intention to pause in the busyness of their lives for reflection, each coming back to center, to the present from sophisticated lives filled to the brim with activity, thoughts and emotions.

As I prepare to lead this retreat I reflect back to the loving Thai, Burmese, and Tibetan teachers who instructed me out of the darkness which I had unconsciously created. Another silent retreat this weekend, back to a wholeness that had been painstakingly regained, from a wholeness lost.

I long to return to my mountain retreat in the Tibetan Himalayas. I long to return to the overarching warmth and heartfelt friendship of my Thai teachers. I know this is also destination and companion addiction, the belief that I would be happier elsewhere, or romantically involved, but wise enough to know that I must be content and settled within or no place or person will ever be right for me.

There is a balance to be found here: at peace within, allows me to be at peace in my relationships. It is possible to be in lasting, loving passionate relationship without compulsion, obsessing, and neediness. Without this return to mindful center each day through daily practice and the quietude of retreat I have often temporarily found myself unconsciously slipping into compulsion and reactive to old behaviors from destructive seeds planted long ago. Solitude makes it possible to be in passionate balance with others and my environment.

So thankful to return to the present, alone, and quiet once more, surrounded by my true friends, my wife, and other companions on the path of solitude.

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

New Beginnings

New Beginnings Start With Healthy Reflection

There are two ways to reflect on and approach this year’s end: Everything that happened in 2016 either appeared to happen to you or it happened for you to see as a teaching to grow and learn from. If you choose the first option you disempower and needlessly victimize yourself. The wise choose the latter.

Infinite causes and conditions came together this year just as they have in every other year and when seen through the lens of timelessness, without any moral equivalency, everything that has transpired was truly perfect.

When you finally surrender and truly let go of everything that happened this year, you will realize that you let go of nothing at all. You can only lose what what you cling to. Reality waits for no one. The only problem was – you thought you had time.

“I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind. ” — Ecclesiastes 1.14

We suffer in direct proportion to the degree in which we resist change and the intensity of our grieving lies in direct proportion to our denial of impermanence. In 2017 may we deeply accept the changes that will surely be part of our lives in the news, health, finance, relationships, loss and much much more…

There will be many positive gifts and changes in 2017 as well – may we make our hearts vulnerable once more and be open to receiving them. We cannot make a better past and so may the doors that seemed to close this year be seen as new beginnings. May we remove the dust from our sleepy eyes and open our lives again and again to the abundance, love and kindness that truly surrounds each of us and pervades our world.

In the coming year may we release our ego-clinging and realize that by protecting others we protect ourselves. We are truly of benefit to others when we practice mindfulness, patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy – it is in such a way that by protecting others we protect ourselves.

 

To learn more about MMC;
* Michael Gregory, Director
* MMC Retreat Center in Ellenton, Florida
* Membership:
Go to: mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

May you be happy, may you be well, safe, peaceful and at ease.

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

Embrace Change and Appreciate the Moment

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In a single moment, light can illuminate a space that has been darkened for eternity…

You are truly limitless – your very nature is one of never-ending pure potential. So remember, whenever you believe that you have become static, stuck or think that every day is just going to bring more of the same – then you can be certain of this essential truth: you are afraid of something and that something has yet to be faced.

While you may fear the unknown and resist change, these are both losing propositions as this is precisely what life has to offer. One way or another – change is the one aspect of your life you can count on, and the unknown is exactly what awaits. I share an equation with you that has never been proven wrong, and I’m equally certain that it never will – it is better to embrace change, as you will suffer in direct proportion to the degree to which you resist.

Change is built into the very fabric of the way things are, and so there is every reason to embrace impermanence, for doing so is to embrace reality as it is. Moreover, you are not in control over the rate or the vector of change – and in this recognition may you be humbled.

Make plans, and plan for change – it would be foolish not to, but within those plans – plan for this: there is an excellent chance that things will not go as planned.

Don’t let fear of change deter you into remaining frozen or static, however – from relationships, to investments, to your very health – fully accept that not only does nothing last, but that is part of the grand bargain with life itself. This knowledge and embracement of change not only has a silver-lining, but also comes with an extra never-ending benefit:

When you open-heartedly accept that change is all that there really is and therefore you are not in control of the way things are, a deep appreciation, respect and gratitude begins to seep in: you begin to deeply love and fully live with what you have while you have it. You will treat yourself and others differently – you will hug your children longer, you will be less likely to quarrel.

Knowing this – go ahead – breathe it all in – life itself and all of its gifts are right here in front of you, and then exhale – knowing this life will soon be gone. Then live – breathe in again appreciating everything in your life, and repeat…exhale, releasing your resistance to losing it all once more. Embracing the reality of impermanence viscerally changes and invigorates your energy, your attitude…everything. For the better.

May you be happy, May you be well, May you be safe, May you be accepting of the way things are – peaceful and at ease.

Metta,
Michael

This moment

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This moment is the last moment, and every moment is a rebirth.

It is widely believed that which is just born, which has just come into existence, has no past behind it. Birth seen through this lens, is the condition of having no past.

And likewise, anything which now dies, which has just ceased to be, has no future left in front of it. It is widely believed that death is the condition of having no future.

These comments however defy direct experience and rationale, as it is the case that the present moment has no past or future simultaneously.

That is, birth and death are one in this present moment. This moment is just now being born – you can never find a past to the present moment, and you can never find something after it either.

Yet also, this moment is just now dying- as you could never find a future to this moment, and you can never find something after it.

This present moment then, is the synchronicity of opposites, a momentary coming together of an underlying field of infinite possibilities – an unending continuance of infinite birth and death – of being and non-being, of existence and non-existence in an eternal present.

Rest in this timeless awareness, all else that can be conceived is a mirage, a play in a forest of symbolic appearance.

– Wilbur, Ippen, Myself

Teaching and Meditation info below:

Mondays live in St. Pete 6-8 pm EST at 222 2nd St. North in the Accupuncture and Herbal Therapy Building. Tuesdays live in Sarasota at Prana Yoga 3840 S. Osprey from 6-8pm. Wednesday’s 6:30-8:30 at the Centre for Women in Tampa 305 S. Hyde Park live and online.

Dec 9-11 retreat in Denver, Colorado on the Union of love, Compassion, and Wisdom

18th Annual Ten Day Silent New Year Retreat Dec 26th-Jan. 3rd at our retreat center just South of Tampa.

May you be happy, may you be well, safe, peaceful and at ease🙏

For more info and/ or to schedule sessions with Michael, Davita or any of the other excellent counselors at Beyond Therapy or to attend classes at Mindfulness Meditation Centers:

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

 

Limitless Compassion❤️

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Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness – they are a sign of strength. My work involves listening to thousands of stories each year involving people in pain and crisis – – many of which directly have involved you or people you know.

I know that everyone lives their own private hell and the content of their hell I neither have the luxury or privilege to value, discount or judge. I encourage you to follow my lead in that statement of truth.

Those we find to be intolerant, intolerant to everything we hold to be precious and dear, and even those who are destructive to our shared environment are those we need to show the most compassion toward. Release your anger and embrace a listening and loving conversation. Model in yourself what you wish to see in others and the world.

Lately much of what I have seen involves people discounting and even rejoicing (gloating) in others’ pain because the pain does not directly involve you or is a pain that you cannot relate. It saddens me to see such a lack of empathy from those I know who are deeply caring in other aspects of their lives. I am also energized – I know that I need to double-down on my efforts to communicate the necessity of compassion for us to live together in a shared world.

I believe everyone is worthy of compassion, even for those who victoriously gloat in the face of others and falsely believe that they themselves will not experience the result of that karma. That is simply untrue with regard to the nature of reality – the cycle will continue, and like a shadow that never departs – those who do not show compassion for those who are in pain are only sowing the seeds of their own future painful harvest. You can do better. We can do better.

I don’t care whatever difficulties we have had or may have. I don’t care what you’re going through. Let’s put everything aside and practice mindfulness, compassion, and kindness together. Regardless of religion or political affiliation, race, gender or sexual-orientation – all are warmly welcomed with an open mind and an open-heart.

May you be happy, may you be well, safe, peaceful and at ease

For more info and/ or to schedule sessions with Michael, Davita or any of the other excellent counselors at Beyond Therapy or to attend classes at Mindfulness Meditation Centers:

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

Feel free to like, comment on, share, or invite others to read our daily mindfulness and counseling posts.

For meditation classes and retreats:
www.mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

To watch either live on-line or recorded classes please contact: davitamoodley@gmail.com for more info

Instagram: mindmichael

To love is to recognize ourselves in one another ❤️

“Don’t call anyone a devil, because within you, you can experience hell and the devil, and the devil is nothing, but you!” -Michael Bassey Johnson

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We always have the opportunity to focus on what is tearing us apart, or on what is keeping us together – it is this very perspective that makes us great – we will not be made “great again” in any other way. Where there is love there will be peace and there will be life.

We need to stop lying to our souls. If you want to understand the world you must turn away from it and look within. I have learned more from the darkness of my life, then from the light in any classroom. Perhaps we fall down, because we were supposed to find something in our depths.

Prideful ignorance is our deepest secret.

It is one of the scariest things to come to terms with, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don’t know it or don’t want to admit it – this is pride.

Reveal yourself…

If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your own belief system, if you have never deeply questioned yourself, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are being both proud and ignorant.

Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic, honest, heartfelt conversation.

It will do you both a world of good.

The deeper you go into yourself the more you realize when you point the finger and blame others for how you feel that you become your own worst enemy. The mind becomes much more beautiful when a man can begin to admit to his own confusion and admit to the internal division between his spiritual beliefs and his daily speech and actions…

There’s just something unsettling about studying your prejudices. Maybe it’s that when you reflect into your own mind, you don’t see what you wish to see—or glimpse something that you wish weren’t there.

To learn more about MMC go to: mindfulnessmeditationcenters.com

Feel free to share with friends and family.

May you be happy, may you be well, safe, peaceful and at ease.

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

Old Lang Syne

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Her creative mind left malnourished destructively devoured itself. Neck deep in bland security, the soulless high walls left her painfully out of touch with her gypsy-esque beginnings. Eventually she chose passion over love, and like a fool that played with thorned stems – in her bored and middling years she dismissively rejected the blossoms.

 

The time drifted. He watched his love slip away and chose to care for her in passive silence, for there he found no rejection. He treasured her with a distant heart, and pretended the distance shielded him from the pain.

 

The deafening mistrust grew until their love went unspoken and numbingly vacant. Dream years past, barely recognizable pictures, only faded images and wrinkled memories remained.

 

I listen intently to their explanations and their half-hearted attempts to repair and amend, confusedly desperate to feel both lovingly wanted and shamefully rejected. Neither wants this familiar misery to end but they also cannot bring themselves to begin again.

 

I take no sides in this well-worn theme. The time glossed over with children, weekends, vacations, and of course their share of tragedies. But these weren’t the lives that either imagined, enmeshed together with the disarming comfort of the passionless familiar.

 

Nearing the end of this play, in the autumn of their years – they feel saddened to stay, but compelled to move on. An unknown future awaits – and at this crossroads I encourage them to follow their passion and leave the door open to the possibility of a beautiful if not distant friendship.

 

They spoke of past innocence and old adventures while the conversation ran its course. She kissed him one last time. As she drove away, she contemplated the good times they’d had so long ago, and with it came the return of that old familiar pain. When she left, the red lights blurred, and the snow turned into rain.

 

Mediated  transitional  relationship counseling is offered.

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

Instagram: mindmichael
Blog: www.mindfulnessbeyondtherapy.com

Speak to Everyone Like You Would Speak to Someone You Love❤

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What people could so beautifully and consciously imagine is so very different from the darkness they all too often unconsciously conjure. What people can say is very different than what they will say. What people can do is very different from what they will do.

 

However difficult relationships may sometimes seem, there is always something you can do to be more vulnerable and reveal your good heart more fully. No matter the difficulty you are having there is always something you could say to be more kind. No matter the injury, it is always in your interest to think the very best of others. The healing will begin when your swirling mind settles and your impassioned heart is still.

 
Love others according to your capacity to love, resist the temptation to withdraw love because of distance, time, or space. You are empowered when you value others in accordance with their essence, not their action. Observe how someone transforms in your mind when you hold them gently in the light of loving awareness. Forgive yourself for ever thinking or speaking of them differently than your kindest capacity.

 
Stitch your cracked heart from any bitterness or emotion you could not convey – make peace with those broken pieces. Remind yourself when you fall from grace that you are far from burdened, it is up to you to be sweet and lovely again.

 
And despite how open, loving, and peaceful you attempt to be – people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. Not everyone is coming from where you are coming from – love them anyway. ❤