DAY 28: Silence that isn’t Empty
Day 27 Self Reflection:
On page 34 of your workbook, identify daily spiritual practices you would be willing to incorporate into your life,.
Day 27 Micro-Science: Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
If you turned out a TV this afternoon, examples of “success” would most likely be associated with people whom had achieved wealth and fame. The advertisements that followed would most likely indicate that once you get that “success” happiness will inevitable follow. The research, however, shows the exact opposite to be true. As happiness and feelings of authenticity are the true precursors to “success.” However, when i say “success” I don’t mean it in the traditional sense. Research has shown that people who focus on “intrinsic motivations,” such as doing a task because they find it rewarding are the ones to report the highest levels of happiness. On the other side of the coin, people who have “extrinsic motivations,” such as focusing on a task to get a reward will report are not as satisfied in life.
FACT: Research has shown that people who are more “extrinsically motivated” have lower levels of subjective well being, even if the complete their goals.
TAKEAWAY: Its truly important to pick your goals wisely and to make independent choices about what is important to you. As research as shown following what society wants for you to strive towards doesn’t always work out so well for your internal well being.
Day 27 Meditation: Witnessing Presence
Sometimes its hard to realize but there is “something” behind the storm of non-stop worry and mental chatter that currently takes up space in your head. Many people describe it as a “silence that isn’t empty.” We’re taught as a culture to identify with the voice is our head as “me.” However, for centuries spiritual practices have advocated for the fact who you really are is the “witnessing presence” behind all the mental noise that quietly listens but never says anything. At first it was hard for me to even imagine a time when my inner voice wasn’t taking up all the airwaves, but when paused and looked for this silence, sure enough there it was. After finally meeting “me” for the first time and becoming friends with this “observer,” I realized how nice it was to try in check in with “him” more often. Distancing myself from the mental noise then helped me to realize that the chattering in my head wasn’t as powerful as I had let it be in the past. In reality, the hamster wheel of worry and rumination wasn’t “me” but behind all that noise was something much more powerful that was “me,”
FACT: 85% of the cells in your brain are glial cells; commonly called “glue cells”or connective tissue that holds the rest of the neurons together.
TAKEAWAY: My alternative definition of “god” is the “invisible glue that holds everything together.” This definition fits with my science background as many things that we can’t see still benefit us immensely: such as gravity, dark matter in space, or glial cells or as I like to call them “god cells” that help us function and hold our lives (and brains) together.
Day 27 Meditation: The task for today is to become friends with the silence behind the storm of non-stop worry and mental chatter that currently takes up space in your head. So set the timer for five minutes and see how much airtime you can get with your “witnessing presence.” Try to pause the mental chatter and see if you can feel an “aliveness” once the voice stops talking. Inevitable the “inner voice” will start back up again, if it does just catch yourself and try to let those thoughts fade away until your alone again with the silence.
Day 27 Action Task: Spiritual Routine
Many people equate spirituality with religious practices, but one doesn’t have to be religious to be spiritual. There are many different definitions of what “counts” as a spiritual practice, but don’t let “whether your doing it right” get in the way of trying it out. The bottom line is that a spiritual practice is anything that rejuvenates you and helps you to become balanced. The hope with any daily practice is to open your mind up to the fact that the universe is big and your not at the center of it. Therefore, in my book, anything that helps you calm your brain and submit to a higher power is a spiritual experience as the great poet Rumi once said “there are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground, you just need to choose the one that fits you.”
FACT: If you were to put an atom under a microscope to see what counted as “physical matter.” The amount that is observable would be equivalent to seeing a bee in a space as large as a stadium.
TAKEAWAY: Appearances can be deceiving. As our bodies appear to be made of physical matter but at an atomic level, we are mostly moving particles that appear as empty space when we examine things a bit closer
Day 27 Action Task: The task from today is to look at the checklist you completing from your workbook today looking at daily spiritual practices. From checklist: pick one that you would like to be your main practice and incorporate it into your day.
#1) Russell Brand: Awakened Man
Russell Brand is a one of a kind mind that has some great insight into the human condition. Watch this short video to get a good idea of his viewpoints and spiritual practices.
#2) Alan Watts: The Real You
Alans Watts is a world renowned philosopher who helped bring Eastern practices to the Western world. In plain english, he gives an easy to understand definition of what counts as “the real you.”
#3) Alan Watts: It Starts Now
Here is another short video by Alan Watts that will give you something to ponder on your way to work. Let me warn you, this may stick with you for a while. So clear some space in your mind and get ready.