Find Your Peace

FJ0A0304What creates the sense of suffering for me, and I feel for everyone really, is the sensation that our minds cannot relax and be with the truth of each experience, unless it is the way WE want it to be.

When we meditate we’re developing our emotional awareness to be with what IS happening.  We’re able to pop out of our own experience and view ourselves ‘in the moment’.  This helps bring some clarity into our own emotions and, in time, we become more comfortable with ourselves in any given situation.  This leads to authentic self confidence and fear and suffering starts to dissolve.

For this month we will focus on dealing with suffering and difficult situations.  We will see if we can LOOSEN our grip on trying to control each moment.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 10th

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

WHERE

THE WEYMOUTH CLUB

75 FINNELL DRIVE

WEYMOUTH, MA 02188

781.337.4600

The meditation technique taught in this class uses your awareness of the present moment (and breath) to help you stay in THIS moment without judging the moment, or yourself.

Each class ends with a 20 minute guided meditation.

$10 for Weymouth Club Mind/Body Members
$15 for Weymouth Club Members
$30 for Non-Members

ABOUT THE BOSTON BUDDHA – He has been called the blue collar Buddha and a Happiness Ambassador, and he’s all that and more –  the guy you just met but feel like you’ve known your whole life, the guy who has you doubled over laughing within minutes.  And, oh yeah, he’s the guy who can teach you how to enjoy life.

Andy Kelley founded The Boston Buddha to help ordinary people like himself, learn to detach and recharge through meditation.  He prides himself on being a “regular guy” that reaches an audience that might not otherwise be inclined to meditate.

Andy studied under Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon, co-founders of The Chopra Center and renowned experts in the field of mind-body medicine.  Andy is currently a certified Meditation Instructor for The Chopra Center.  He is also a graduate of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School.

Andy has worked with companies such as Hill Holiday, Thomson Reuters, and the American Association of University Women among others.

Andy Kelley’s mantra is “Meditation for Everyone”.

How to be kind to yourself when you're stressed out.

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” – Mark Twain

FJ0A0323It’s pretty much impossible to be in any kind of career these days and not experience bouts of intense stress from time to time.

Most of us are bombarded with tons of stuff all throughout our day.  We have too much on our plate, emails, phone calls, texts to return, and deadlines quickly approaching.  Management is on top of us, everyone seems to rely on us – and to top it all off,  we have to leave work ‘on time’ today to pick up the kids and feed them before baseball practice.  We’re under a lot of pressure – so much that we suspect the quality of our work, day, and life is suffering.

Let’s face it, there will always be stress in our life.  The difference between those who are calm, relaxed, and focused in these stressful times, and those who aren’t, is based on HOW you deal with stress in the moment.

When we’re overstressed, we react, go too fast, and can pile on even more stress by making little mistakes that we would not usually make.  When this happens, we tend to be a little too hard on ourselves. We say things like, “What the hell’s wrong with me?“, ” You did it again, you idiot“, etc.  As if being a total donkey to our self with some nasty self-criticism will make us feel better.
Continue reading “How to be kind to yourself when you're stressed out.”

5 Reasons to attend our Move & Meditate day long Workshop

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The Center At Westwoods Labyrindth

Take a minute to reflect on all the emotional energy and effort you put into everything that you do in your life – your work, family, friendships, community, travel, health, etc.
Our lives are very busy and clearly over-scheduled – sometimes we forget how restorative and renewing it can be to take any time away from our daily routine to recharge the batteries and connect deeply with ourselves and others in nature.  When was the last time you took a full day for yourself and disconnected from your smartphone, your laptop, your Saturday routine and just recharged?

Why would you want to do that?

Well, I have five great reasons to join us on our day long mini-retreat, Saturday, July 26th – from 9 to 5 at The Center At Westwoods.

Continue reading “5 Reasons to attend our Move & Meditate day long Workshop”

Bodhichitta – Awakening Heartfulness

What a great vibe in class last night!  As I was practicing, I was thinking that there’s another great way to cultivate the path of bodhicitta – the practice of Tonglen.HEARTFULNESS

The Buddhist term bodhicitta in Sanskrit means the awakened heart and mind. “Citta” is translated as consciousness of heart and mind; “bodhi” means awaken.

Sometimes we can mistake our meditation practice as a tool to fix our self.  What we’re really doing in is learning to accept what is – and fully FEEL – what is true.

For me, the path of botticitta is the willingness to be open to what’s difficult – a willingness to touch all those raw nerves that makes us fully alive.  That takes a lot of heart.

My wife’s family come from a long line of Buddhist monks. I’m often reminded by our Aunt June, that in most Asian cultures the word for mind and heart is the same. So, I invite you to think of mindfulness and hart-fulness together, as one. I know it helps me add in that feeling of true compassion for my self and gives me more freedom to be with what is.

So, we can use Tonglen as “the middle way” – to be with – the act of compassion. It’s kind of like we are learning to put down our armor. If we give up our resistance – if we feel the pain, the fear, the love – our defenses and story will start to fall down. We really see that the only way to open… is to listen.

With Tonglen, we’re learning to say, “Ok, there’s the pain. Can I let go of my resistance and just let myself feel fully what’s true here?”.

We learn to breathe in with Tonglen and just open ourselves to be touched by the pain. Then, we learn to breathe out and sense that wide open space that can hold it all. So there’s breathing in and being touched by the pain, breathing out and letting go into that love, that heart-fulness, that wide openness.

In my friend Kevan Gale‘s guided Tonglen meditation below, we sense our own pain, our own suffering and then other’s – and we breathe with that but then we open it and widen our circle, so that we’re breathing for all of those beings that have that same experience of suffering as we do.

It takes courage and heart to let go of this resistance and be willing to sit with what’s here. It takes compassion to get under our storyline, our drama and notice what it feels like in your body – because as I said last night – that wounded feeling, that shakiness, those feelings that we tend to push away can feel “pretty crappy” the first few thousand times we choose to feel them.

I hope this helps!

-Andy

10 Minute Guided Meditation with Kevan Gale of Stil Studio (this session was recorded live during class)

https://www.thebostonbuddha.com/audio_mp3/KG_Tonglen_1-2.mp3

On Your Mark, Deep Breath, OM!

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Patriots Day 2008

Running The Boston Marathon? Come and gain a mental training advantage on us!  Take Move & Meditate at Stil Studio for FREE on Monday 4/14 OR Thursday evening 4/17!

It has been an exhausting year and a very cold training season.  As a runner myself, I can really relate to the strong emotions the runners will feel this year as they make their way to the starting line.  I understand the lifestyle, the passion for the sport, and the anxiety (which many will deny having) – from tapering struggles, to obsessive race day weather watching, to wondering if one will actually sleep the night before – these distractions can derail all the hard work a runner has put in this winter.  I do understand a little something about The Boston Marathon, having completed three myself (2001, 2008, 2011) – I know how hard it is to sit and do nothing that week before… waiting, while all your friends and family are in town wanting to see you and tour this great city.

I’ve also seen enough media coverage this year to know that there must be a balance on how much a runner takes in – so you don’t expend all your emotional energy well before the race begins.

 

That’s why this week Stil Studio and The Boston Buddha will be dedicating our MOVE & MEDITATE class to anyone running The Boston Marathon – FREE.  Stop by on Monday night 6:30 to 7:30 PM or Thursday evening from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.  We will settle in with some light stretching to help calm your nerves and overcome any doubts you may have.

The theme and meditation for next week will be on letting go of difficult emotions.

MOVE & MEDITATE is a weekly class at Stil Studio (Legacy Place in Dedham) that combines the balance of a gentle flow with a healthy amount of relaxation and meditation, to help students recharge and melt away stress from every part of their body.
On Mondays (Betty Riaz & Andy Kelley) and Thursdays (Jen Howell & Andy Kelley) the class consists of a 30-minute simple slow flow Vinyasa series in a dimly lit room followed by a 25-minute guided meditation, based on themes ranging from willpower to releasing anger.

This class can fill up quick so register in advance here: http://stilstudio.com/schedule/
or call the studio 781.407.9642

www.stilstudio.com

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Three Steps To Cultivating Optimism

bodhiNegative experiences are an essential part of life.  As the Buddha said, ” Life is suffering”.  It’s the First Nobel Truth.  This week in our Move & Meditate class we will learn different techniques to help us learn from our suffering and cultivate the positive in our life.

The first way to deal with a negative experience is to BE with it.  The first question I asked myself when I notice that I’m stressed or suffering is, ” What need is not being met right now?”.  So often we are motivated to escape that negative experience as soon as we are in it, that we can’t find the root of the problem.  If we can embrace and be with the negative experience, that helps us look for strategies to address that need that is not being met.   So, we want to be with the experience, feel the experience, observe the experience.
Continue reading “Three Steps To Cultivating Optimism”

Think Twice – Shifting From Reactive To Reflective Awareness

IMG_1757The brain shifts between two modes of operation – a reflective mode and a reactive mode.

The Reflective Mind – that ideal self, the authentic you, the you that is aware that you are making thoughtful decisions.

The Reactive Mind – the protector, instinct, quick decision making, reacts to the stimulus.  It runs on a reward system and wants to feel better now.

When we operate from the reactive mode we tend to focus on the short-term.  We’re desperate to avoid any pain and conflict – operating from fear, instinct, and stress.

This mode drives us to make choices that seem like a good idea right now… because we get pleasure and avoid pain.  However, this leads to avoiding things that are not necessarily in our best interest. We will put off something that makes us anxious or indulge in something that seems to help us to calm down at that moment but not helpful in the long term.

It’s not long after making that short term decision that we start to judge our decision.  We get down on our self.

When we meditate we learn to become more aware of that inner critic voice, the inner parent – that voice is always seems disappointed in you. Anything with an attitude of criticism tends to push us back to that reactive mode.

What we need is a “buddy”… we need to befriend ourselves… and that is why I think that one of the most important elements of mindfulness and meditation is cultivating self-compassion.

When mindfulness is practiced in a very reflective way, it significantly increases our self-compassion. It changes our relationship to our self – because we start to let go of the judgment and blame and start to see the situation with more clarity.

I hope this helps!

 

-Andy

Mindful Apps

Meditation AppFrom time to time people ask me if I use guided meditations, meditation timers, and other “brain game” apps.  While I don’t use them often, I think they’re super helpful in finding your practice – especially in the beginning.  Guided meditations are great for people (like me) that need to be frequently re-directed back to the object of our attention.  For these people, there’s not enough stimulation coming in to keep them interested enough to want to stay with the practice – so they give up meditating entirely.

Guided meditations help increase the activity by using thought skillfully (instead of letting the thoughts use you).   iTunes has lots of different options available for meditation timers and there are so many free timers.  Here are a few apps that I use the most.

Continue reading “Mindful Apps”

"FEEL" Body Scan Meditation

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Click the image above to listen to FEEL.

“Realize that this very body, with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” – Pema Chodron

I hope you enjoy this free 2o minute guided “body scan” meditation that I created for you to help you improve your body awareness – helping you shift your internal default setting from REACTING all the time – to more of a REFLECTIVE perspective.  Practicing “Feel” on a regular basis helps our mind slow down and become more relaxed in the body – so we can focus easier.  It shifts our attention away from our worries of the day and thoughts about the past and the future.  It dissolves physical stress and emotions that may be trapped within the body. It trains our attention to feel what’s really going on – in this moment – in our body.

 

So… “Don’t Think. Feel.”  – Bruce Lee

I hope this helps!

Peace IN. – Andy

(MP3 download) Right click and “save link as…”  to download it to your computer

Commit To Sit 2014 – The 250 "Work Day" Meditation Challenge with Stil Studio and The Boston Buddha

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“Don’t think. Feel.”  – Bruce Lee

 

The Challenge:

Meditate twice a day – for ten minutes – Monday through Friday, 5 days a week.  Take the weekend off.

GOOD NEWS: Yoga and Shavasana count as a meditation, so come to yoga with us at STIL STUDIO!

Who:

Whether you are a beginner or have years of experience, join us to manage your stress a little easier, lower your blood pressure, improve your focus, enjoy better sleep or explore your inner landscape – this is an exceptional opportunity to learn with some of the most accomplished leaders in the field of mindfulness and meditation. We welcome everyone to be a part of this amazing journey!

What: Meditate with The Boston Buddha and Stil Studio.

When: Continue reading “Commit To Sit 2014 – The 250 "Work Day" Meditation Challenge with Stil Studio and The Boston Buddha”