Category Archives: Michael

RESILIENCE

Posted on by
inq-12.25.09-blogThis week’s Uplifting Moment is a guest post by Michael Davis. He wrote this post on Resilience a little while back, and when I re-read it, it reminded me of a very important fact: Resilience measures your ability to bounce back.

“RESILIENCE” by Michael Davis

The ideal life, at least for me, is not a life devoid of upsets and challenges. I’ve come to see problems as part of the process of life. What is important is how quickly I return to balance.

An example of this is when I went to the health club after recovering from an earache and sore throat, and discovered, to my surprise, that my normal run had not suffered at all since before I became ill. In fact, it was stronger. My pace was even, my mind more relaxed, and I was able to dive into the moment and enjoy it. read more

The Unexamined Life

Posted on by
um-030612-emailA guest post from Michael Davis

Socrates spoke one of history’s most enduring statements at his trial for heresy, when he was accused of encouraging his students to question the established beliefs of the day and think for themselves.

He said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

I have thought a lot about that statement through the years. What does it mean to examine your life?

Why would Socrates choose death (he was given the alternative of a life in prison) if he were not free to look, with his students, at what is important and true? read more

Be At Peace

Posted on by
um-020712-emailGuest post by Michael Davis

I had an experience this week that was both remarkable and rare, at least for me.

I was at peace.

I was driving around the town where I live, a place I have grown to love as if it were another member of my family, my window was down and the bright sun was shining on my arm, and I thought to myself, that I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, no unmet dragons to slay or damsels to save, and for that moment and several moments after, I was at peace. read more

Looking In

Posted on by
um_121311_emailThis is a guest post from Michael Davis

Do you ever judge what another person says, and then realize you say the same thing yourself?

This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. In fact, I’ve turned it into an awareness practice. Not every time mind you, but when I’m awake enough to notice, I often see a correlation between what I judge “out there” and what I do, or judge within myself.

Psychology has a handy name for this. It’s called projection, and it comes into play when a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, by projecting them on the outside world, usually on other people. The temporary effect is a reduction of anxiety. Why? Because it’s a relief to think that the cause of your woes come from somewhere else. read more

Unlocking The Creator Mind

Posted on by
um-111511-emailBegin with a thought.

Let that thought represent an idea that did not exist before you imagined it… an idea that exists only in the realm of pure possibility.

Now consider the fact that this thought has no weight, is not visible to others, cannot be measured (except as an electrochemical process) and yet is as real to you, its owner, as any object in the universe… if (and this is the crucial point) if you believe in its future. read more

BEING IN ACTION

Posted on by
inq-02.12.10-blogYoga, for many people, is synonymous with exercise, but Hatha Yoga is only one of eight forms of yoga. Among them are Bhakti – the yoga of loving kindness, Jnana – the yoga of wisdom, Raja – the yoga of discrimination, and Karma – the yoga of action.

The yoga that best fits the temperament for many of us living in the western world is Karma Yoga, the yoga of action. We are all about doing. We strive to do more in the course of a day, or a lifetime. We desire to better ourselves financially, so we can do more with our families and friends. When we meet someone new, the first question we often ask is “What do you do?”

The word karma means “to do” and as a yoga of action it recognizes that you cannot be in a physical body and not do. Life is action. Even the decisions you make not to do something, are a form of doing. The question the ancient yogis posed is this: Is it possible to be in action, without losing your spiritual connection and balance in the process? read more

WRITE YOUR SELF

Posted on by
inq-01.29.10-blogI have always considered myself to be a private person. I have no bumper stickers on my car. I wear muted colors so I can blend into any situation, and I was never comfortable being the center of attention until long after I finished school.

I suppose this is probably why I made a career out of being a public speaker, trainer, and coach. Some part of me knew I needed to get out in front of my shyness or I would never realize the deep dreams I held inside.

Speaking to people is one way to let others know what’s inside you. Recently, I have discovered another, and at least for me, more vulnerable medium: the written word.

I recently joined a writer’s workshop in San Francisco with a focus on fiction. The group of mostly published writers meets weekly for ten weeks. Each week, we are given an assignment, to write in the style of an author that our writing coach reads to us. And each week we bring our work, pass it around, and have someone else read it aloud. After several minutes of dead silence, the others in the room critique our writing, during which we are not allowed to defend, justify or explain our writing, while the feedback is given. read more

TAKE A BREATH

Posted on by
inq-01.22.10-blogLast week I talked about the importance of synchronizing breath and movement in order to come into the present. It occurred to me as I reread that message that more clarification may be helpful.

Here are two ways you can develop this skill in your own personal practice:

FACE THE PAIN — I have a pain in my right ankle. I can find positions where it doesn’t hurt, but when I walk it reasserts itself, causing me to compensate by shifting my balance to the other foot. Now I know from experience, that if I want to, I can push this pain to the edges of my awareness. I can acclimate to pain. The downside of this strategy is that pain can become the guest who never leaves, and who, after a while, becomes part of the furniture. read more

STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY AND BALANCE

Posted on by
inq-01.15.10-blogI first discovered yoga when I was 18 and living in South Florida. I’ve practiced it for over 40 years, and it has served me in many ways, not just as a spiritual and physical exercise system, but as a metaphor for life.I thought I would use this week’s blog to look at how this time-honored method can be used to inquire into your body and mind.Yoga develops your awareness in a unique way. Yogis discovered over a thousand years ago that if you synchronize movement and breath, you capture the attention of the mind, which is usually bouncing around from one subject to another like a butterfly, or as it’s sometimes called — a monkey mind. The benefit of drawing your awareness inward, through focusing your attention on the inflow and outflow of the breath, is that it brings you in direct contact with the present.In Flow Yoga, which I learned from Ganga White and Tracey Rich, the poses flow from one to another in a continuous movement. Even poses that appear to be unmoving are infused with the movement of the breath. Each inhalation draws the energy of the breath into the body, and with each exhalation, the pose is expanded to allow for more length and space. The inner awareness that develops, in a deeply sensory way, reveals where you are tight and constricted, and where you are relaxed and open.Over time, no matter where you were when you started, you gradually discover where and how to realign the body and let go of unnecessary holding.The experience of letting go can be subtle or dramatic, but it does come — especially if you develop a consistent practice. The practice of letting go also reveals just how tied the mind and the body are. In fact the word yoga means to yoke, like when an ox is yoked to a wagon.When you let go of something you’ve been holding in mind, it also releases the holding in the body. For instance, you can zero in on a spot in your body that is sore or tense, and by bringing your awareness (through your breathing) into that area, you can learn to see its root cause as being lodged in the mind as well. Self judgment is a good example, as are the memories that sometimes, even years later, cause anger to well up within us. A tight mind = a tight body. A flowing mind = a graceful body.When you learn where and how to relax the area around the tension, both body and mind are freed up. Yoga as an awareness practice, develops three skills, namely Strength, Flexibility, and Balance. There are numerous poses that develop each of these skills, and each skill depends on the other two.Strength is developed through learning to be Flexible in both mind and body, and through finding Balance in the ever-changing moment.Flexibility depends on both Strength and Balance, and allows you the freedom to explore beyond the limits imposed by the mind, with the added benefit of learning how to bend without breaking.Balance, requires both Strength and Flexibility. Try the Tree Pose sometime and you’ll see what I mean. Each of these skills can be practiced off the mat, as well as on it.Strength could be seen as: stamina, resilience, and fortitude   Flexibility could be: willingness to listen, adaptability, and letting go   Balance might include: equanimity, equilibrium, and non-attachmentPRACTICE Which of these skills (Strength, Flexibility, and Balance) need more of your attention? Can you think of some new ways to bring these skills into your family, work, or spiritual practice?If you are looking for ways to deepen your own personal practice, consider yoga as a way to bring mind, breath and body into synch, on and off the mat.If you are interested, on our website at: www.one-now.com you will find a tab called Products. In the “featured product” section will find Total Yoga from Ganga & Tracey. This is the practice Paulette and I use, and I recommend it highly. Also on that page is a guided breath practice by yours truly called Awakening Breath. The two practices are great for both beginners and seasoned practitioners.In peace,Michael

WHERE IS YOUR AWARENESS?

Posted on by
inq-01.08.10-blogI have been working to understand how awareness can be used to a higher advantage. It seems logical to think that a master of chess sees a wider and deeper perspective on the game than a novice. And in our own chess game, called life, the more awareness we have in any given situation, the more moves are visible, and ultimately available to us.

With that in mind, I have been paying more attention to where I place my attention. For example, if I only pay attention to my own wants and needs, I miss large pieces of the picture. Someone can be talking, and I can be nodding my head, and yet the conversation I’m engaged with is a universe away. I might be analyzing what they just said, or comparing it to some bit of information I have, or downright judging them. If the first conversation is the one in the moment, I liken the second conversation to a whirling dervish of mental activity that spins whenever something triggers it. read more