Is Vegetarianism Needed For Your Spiritual Growth?

veg basketYes… and No.

The majority of spiritual people do not eat meat, many of them go even further to veganism (no animal products) or raw food (only fresh produce). They will generally confirm that by doing so, their minds became clearer and their spiritual connection stronger. I am not here to dispute that, in fact, I have similar experience. On the other hand, every scientist will tell you that coincidence does not necessary mean causality.

Spiritual growth and sense of connection (to the Universe, God, Spirit or whatever you call it) comes from awareness, from being conscious in your life, listening to your inner voice and feelings, no matter what you are doing. If you meditate once a day and then you live a normal stressful life, you won’t get far. It is when you incorporate conscious decision making and thinking into everything you do through the day, things start happening pretty fast. And this is where the food connection is happening.

When you change your diet for spiritual reasons, the content of what you are digesting will not influence  your spiritual growth, but the fact that you are thinking about it will. An average person eats 3-5 times a day and every healthy meal will make them think about why they are doing it. This will effectively switch them from being aware once a day meditating to 6 times a day. Often for longer than the meditation because food takes time to prepare, eat and digest. It can also sparkle inspiring conversation with people who will notice what you eat and ask you about it. Explaining your view of the world to others might tune you to the right type of energy even more than meditation in solitude. Especially if they get it.

Please do not take this as a suggestion to stop eating the way you do if it works for you. This is not the point of this article. Once you understand how it works, you can use this knowledge to “boost” your awareness even further by applying the same conscious thinking to other areas of your life. For example while exercising,  commuting, while spending time with your loved ones etc.

On the other hand, you can use this knowledge to adjust your diet if vegan or raw does not work for you. Even though your food content does not directly impact your spiritual state, it will have a huge effect on your physical body. Usually when you start eating this way, you will lose weight and your body will detoxify, which is both great and you will be glad you did it. However, after some time (it could even be few years), your body will most likely develop deficiency of certain substances and you might reach its limits.

It is highly individual how it will affect you. In my case, I lost too much weight and became skinny and weak. I also noticed that I am less competitive and perform worse in both sports and my career. It is possible to address this with some substitutes but I choose to introduce a reasonable amount of good source meat back to my plate instead. This feels most natural and is working best for me. I haven’t lost any of my spirituality. What about you?

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Be productive, not busy

gmail-productivityBeing busy all the time is not a sign of you being an important person. It is a sign that you don’t plan properly, don’t know how to delegate or simply are a workaholic. Being busy all the time is a bad thing. It kills your creativity, it denies you happiness and it lowers your productivity.

Stop focusing on doing the work! Start focusing on achieving the desired outcomes.

Yes, sometimes it is the same thing and that’s good, but once you start focusing properly, you will notice how much of your work is not actually aimed at your goals. All the reporting, filing, discussing, reviewing, explaining, convincing… Especially if you work for a big company with several levels of management, maybe half of your time is wasted on overhead. Of course, some of it really has to be done. For example if your work is billed based on your reporting, you have to do it. The key is to optimize the order and priorities of your actions.

You have to devote your time to things that really matter and put equally high priority on your personal time, rest, family etc.

To be more productive, I focus not so much on WHAT I DO, but on WHAT IMPACT it will have. Then I weight it against the estimated time and effort needed. This way I can achieve more results with less work, which also means less stress and an overall better life. It does not mean I work less than before. I’m just way more productive.

This small change in everyday thinking is a practical application of the famous Pareto principle. When applied to work, it says that mere 20% of work can bring up to 80% of results. And it’s correct. The key is to find the right 20% to focus on, but what’s even more important is to actually start looking for it.

Start weighting the effects of your work today – You will become way more successful tomorrow.

 

P.S. When looking to boost your productivity, read also this article.

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Do You Know Smart Noise?

white_noise_SpectrogramSilence! // I‘ll kill you :) //

As our lives and especially our work get more and more complex, it gets increasingly difficult to focus on everything we need to do. If you work in an open space, from home with kids or while travelling, you are probably dealing with a lot of outside noises that disrupt your concentration. Some people get used to it, some prefer to play loud music into their headphones, others use ear plugs. However, there is a better method.

When you cannot get rid of noises, you have to do a noise cover up. Although playing loud music will cover the outside noises, it will also consume a big part of your mental power for itself. Effect varies depending on the type of music and your personal preference. Instrumental music without lyrics is generally better than singing. The worst you can do is to listen to the radio because advertisements and talking hosts will always interrupt your thought process. The best you can do in the music area is continuous electronic music without talking, like the one you can find for example here.

Regardless of what genre you choose, you still have to process it in your brain. To get even better results, you don’t need to use music at all. You need a sound which will cover the outside noises, but will also be constant in time so your brain does not need to process it. Any natural or artificial hum will do, like running water, ocean waves or digital white noise.

White noise is good and it’s working but it is awfully boring in the long run. I have something better for you. A signal processing engineer Dr. Ir. Stéphane Pigeon has created a magnificent website called mynoise.net where he put together samplings of various natural and artificial noises processed in a way that it can play in an infinite loop. And they are all configurable. You can strengthen the tones you like and disable those you don’t. Or leave it all on shuffle.

You can choose from 9 types of purely natural sounds including cat purr, 5 industrial noises and a wide range of combinations with bells, whistles, drones, chimes etc. There are also several options of synthetic noises (white, grey, impulse) and special brain waves stimulating noises (Isochronic, Binaural Beats and Binaural Harmonics). Feel free to try all of them.

My favourites are the Indian Drone and the Tibetan Choir for the day. I love the Fire noise for the evenings. I don’t have a fireplace at my current home but I really love how the sound of it brings me inner peace and pleasant thoughts.

Go and test it.

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Where is your mountain?

mountainIf you are reading this blog, chances are that you are the sort of a person who wants to do something with your life. You have your desires, plans and dreams, perhaps you even have your Wish Book.

Figuring out what you want in life is not that difficult. But achieving it, that’s a completely different matter. You have to fight with all kinds of obstacles and the biggest of them all are distractions.

Whatever life throws at you, you can eventually overcome it if you keep pushing in the right direction. But if the direction you put your energy in has changed, you will never get where you want to be.  And the trickiest part is that you might not even notice. You put in more and more effort, you can even achieve some minor victories, but your main goal is not getting any closer. It might even get farther away…

My own experience was like this for two years. I had a dream of creating my own training program for people to buy but I kept working as a coach in a different field, as an employee. Yes, I was sometimes working on my own material but not so often because I was very busy at work. And yes, I was saving some money as an investment to my own business, but not enough to achieve my goal given the way I was living back then. It felt like I was working on my goal, I have been putting more and more time and energy into it, but no results were coming out of it. I was pushing in the wrong direction. Eventually I became stressed and unhappy, until I asked myself a question:

What to do about it? Here is what I came up with:

Close your eyes and visualize your life goal as a mountain. Huge rocky mountain far away on the horizon. Nature all around is beautiful, you see forests, lakes and villages in every direction. You are standing on a crossing of many roads and it’s not really clear which one you should choose. What would you do?

You will choose the path closest to the direction of your mountain. You start walking towards it and you will make same decision on every crossroad you come across, until you reach the top.

It’s really simple in our imagination. What about in the real life?

Every time you are being asked to join a party, go on a trip, spend money on something… Or maybe you are being offered a different job, a new business opportunity, participation somewhere… Close your eyes again and recall that previous memory. Visualize the crossroads you are on right now, visualize the offer you are given and the path leading towards it. Now look for your mountain! Is the path you are choosing in the same direction? Or is it sideways and will take you off the course? Perhaps it’s even in the opposite direction and it would make your dream even farther than before!

You don’t want that to happen.

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Gender roles and dating

genderDo not believe what magazines, movies and books are selling to you. When it comes to romantic relationships, we are all being bombarded by stories of how you need to find the one and only true love and how difficult it is. There are countless articles on how to date, for both men and women. And it’s all used as a universal excuse to sell us more clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, new cars, phones, watches etc. The notion is that without all of those things, you are not good enough; therefore you will die lonely and sad.

It is a lie!

First of all, please realize that people writing those articles do not want you to have a functioning relationship. When you are in love, you grab your partner’s hand and you go out for a lovely walk. But if you are alone, you buy more magazines. And feeling miserable, you buy more products. Interestingly you can break out of this.

This social programming is rooted deeply in our society and it’s not easy to ignore it. Yet it doesn’t really work. All kinds of media have been shaping our views on relationships for maybe a hundred years. However there is a much stronger evolutionary programming, which has been rooted in our DNA for thousands of years.

If you look back at how people lived in tribes and caves, very different patterns emerge. And don’t think for a second that those are not valid anymore. Human psychology evolves very slowly and instinctive behaviours like fight or flight response work the same way regardless if you face a lion in a jungle or a thief in Bronx. The same goes for mating, we are just not aware of it as much.

For centuries it worked like this: man was a hunter-gatherer, woman took care of the home and family.

We have evolved a lot in the ways we fulfil our roles but those roles did not change in principle. Yes, men now help at home and women have their own jobs. But women did work before, just most of it was at home (cave) and now it’s outside. Men did not help at home because there was nothing to fix in the cave, now they do help because our homes are more complex and complicated. And it also took them more time to find the food centuries ago. Now it’s way easier so they spend more time at home. At a place which was for thousands of years dominated by women. A woman is evolutionarily programmed to take care of the family, including her man. She is responsible for transforming the house into a home. Regardless of how many shelves or closets her man builds there.

This evolutionary division of roles is influencing dating as well, more than you might think:

  1. Man is responsible for expressing the interest in woman, he is the one hunting.
  2. Man is also responsible for having interesting prospects of life, he has to find a cave which woman will like. (Whatever that cave might be… good sense of humour, adventurous life, great body, social status, intelligence or wealth.)
  3. But it’s a woman who is responsible for converting dating into a relationship. She makes a man want to stay, or to hunt again elsewhere.

There is no point in trying to change it, we are programmed this way.

Put more energy into your part and you both will be happier.

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