Meditation: Priceless Gifts for Free

I hate to admit this, but I’ve been neglecting my meditation practice lately, big time. I’ve allowed myself to become “too busy.”  The result?  Well, let’s just say that I haven’t been my usual joyful self. I gave myself an inner boost this morning, though, and it made such a difference that I felt inspired to share.

Here are just some of the benefits you might receive in a 20-minute meditation:

  • Be reminded that your life is not about the outside world and all its complications.
  • Experience a sense of privilege to have been given the opportunity to live.
  • Feel closely connected with the energy behind all of life.
  • Remember how you are really supposed to show up.
  • Become refreshed with a deep sense of peace and joy

Would you agree that this list of benefits reads like a seminar you might pay hundreds of dollars for?

Meditation is free. Here’s a great wikiHow article to help you get started.

I’d love to hear your comments on what meditation has done for you.

Science Shows the Amazing Benefits of Meditation

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been deep in study of the scientific evidence that has come to light that supports many of the spiritual principles that have resonated with me without any hard proof. It has been fascinating and exciting to learn about all the correlations! In particular, I’d like to recommend Lynne McTaggart’s book, The Intention Experiment to anyone interested in learning about this new frontier where science and spirituality come together.

In her book, Lynne McTaggart has taught me much that I didn’t know about meditation. I have viewed meditation as a method for tuning in to my inner wisdom and to connect with divine energy, yet there are so many practical benefits that I am guessing many of us are unaware of. If we were, we might all be clamoring to make it a vital practice in our lives. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Experienced meditators can be more effective in their ability to use their thoughts to effectively influence desired outcomes. Generally speaking, there are two different forms of meditation. Each may produce different brain waves, and consequently offer different benefits:

Concentrative meditation holds attention on the breath, an image, or a sound to still the mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge. With practice, it appears to enlarge the mechanism by which we receive information and clarify the reception.

By concentrating on focused thoughts, the portion of the brain that handles attention is exercised. This exercise enables its cortical thickness to grow larger. Ordinarily cortical thickness deteriorates with age, yet regular meditation appears to reduce or reverse this process.

Mindfulness meditation involves sitting quietly and being a witness to whatever goes through your mind, not becoming involved or reacting to thoughts, worries, or images. This helps to condition a more calm, clear, and non-reactive state of mind to whatever is happening around and within you.

Studies have shown some other general benefits of meditation to include:

  • Higher levels of gamma waves, which often are associated with feelings of joy
  • A predominance of alpha rhythms, which is the optimal state for the manifestation of your thoughts
  • More coherent brain waves
  • A positive affect on the brain’s reasoning and analytical ability
  • An increase in ability to receive intuitive information, as well as the conscious awareness of it.

Guidance on how to practice either of these types of meditations is enough for two new articles, so I won’t go any further right here. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have in the meantime.


Attributes of Divine Energy – Part 2

Do you want to learn more about how to align with divine energy? This is the second article in my series designed to increase your awareness of the attributes of divine energy to support your clarity on what you’re seeking to align with. (Click here to read the first article in this series.)

Divine energy is present everywhere. Its power can be found at every point in space and every moment in time. Its presence exists in the most beautiful displays of nature as well as the most violent neighborhoods of a ghetto.

How can you align with this attribute of omnipresence?

The strength of divine energy is always with you.You merely need to shift your attention to allow it into your consciousness.This means that you are never alone in your journey.You are never on your own as you pursue the fulfillment of your dreams.Think of divine energy as your constant partner in life. You can more closely align yourself with this partnership by:

  • Developing a meditation practice where you intentionally tune in to divine guidance.
  • Begin your day by asking (orally or mentally) divine energy to show you everything you need to know that day to live in alignment with its will for you.Your reaching out could be in the form of casual conversation or prayer, whatever feels most comfortable to you.
  • At any moment in which you find yourself struggling to any degree, stop and remember that you are not alone. Ask divine energy for comfort, guidance or signs to show you what you need to know to rise about the challenge.

Please stay tuned as I share more about the invitation to align with our divine power.

Interview: Inspiration for Happiness


I am delighted to share my space here today with Dr. Susan Gregg, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations. I had the honor of asking Susan some questions about the path to happiness and inner peace. I found her answers very inspiring and wanted to share them with you:

SH: I understand that you were schooled in the ancient Toltec tradition with don Miguel Ruiz and Sister Sarita. What is it about the Toltec teachings that resonate so deeply with you?

SG: Ever since I was a young girl I have been fascinated by the idea of freedom and the essence of the Toltec tradition is experiencing personal freedom.

SH: The choice to feel happy is something you focus on in your teaching. Do you find happiness a more organic choice living in Hawaii than one might find living in the mainland states? What is it about Hawaii that calls you?

SG: I believe we can be happy no matter what is happening around us – we can be in the midst of tremendous change and still be happy. So I can be happy in the middle of an airport when I have been traveling for 28 hours, as is the case when I go to Europe once a year to work in Lithuania.

I love Hawaii. I love the people, the feel of the land, the smell of the air and the climate. It is easy to say of course I am happy – I live in paradise. I live in the country surrounded by luscious greenery. But the essence of what I teach people is how to be happy no matter what. I have seen people who are miserable in Hawaii. I love Hawaii so of course I live in a place that is most suited to me and reflects inner self.

Happiness is always just a thought away – so I invite people to think that thought. I used to have a coffee mug that said blossom where you are planted – I blossom here and wherever you are you can blossom and grow too.

A question was posed by one of my readers recently asking for some advice on how one can stay focused on positive thoughts despite the pull of the outside world. What would your advice be?

Life is emotionally neutral. Life is and then we tell ourselves a story. I suggest people let go of the idea of positive and negative. When I watch the news I see events – some people make choices based on judgment and fear. If I perceive them as bad or judge them, it is like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it. So when I watch the news I send those people love.

I find it much easier to change my perspective than to stop having negative thoughts. If I say don’t think about a red fire truck you immediately think about one. I frequently ask myself, “How can I see this through the eyes of love?” and “What would love do?” Seeing through the eyes of love allows me to see the love in everything.

How did the decision to produce Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations come to you?

My literary agent contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in writing it. I love meditation and always do guided meditations for my groups so it seemed like a wonderful fit. I really enjoyed writing it and have gotten wonderful feedback from readers.

What would your advice be for someone who wants to start a meditation practice, but doesn’t know how to begin or feels intimidated?

The easiest way to start meditating is by simply focusing your attention on your breath. Whenever your mind wanders just gently bring it back to feeling your breath. I also suggest people set aside time each day to meditate – even if it is only a few minutes. Spiritual practices take practice and with practice meditation becomes easier and very rewarding.

What would you tell them to expect in their early days of practice?

They will have lots of thoughts and that’s okay. Just like going to a gym – if you go regularly and work out, eventually your body will get in shape. Allow meditation to be easy and allow whatever happens be okay. My mantra about meditation and life for that matter is allow it all to be easy and effortless and savor every moment. Savor learning how to meditate, you can only be new to meditation when you are new to it – so savor being new to the process.

You have been a teacher of human potential for many years. How would you describe the evolution of human consciousness that you’ve experienced over the years?

Life just keeps getting better and better. Once we connect with our spirit magic and miracles become a part of every day life. And I have watched people make it so much harder than it needs to be. I did for a long time until I realized I could enjoy it all.

Is there any other specific message you’d like to leave with our readers here?

Give yourself the gift of happiness. Be willing to let go of your limiting beliefs and allow yourself to feel the love that always surrounds you. We never experience life. What we actually experience is our personal story about life – change the story and your experience changes. Once you realize you are making up the story may as well make it a good one!

SG: Thanks so much for having me. Aloha from paradise.

I’d encourage you to check out Susan’s book. Follow the link to her site to obtain a personally autographed copy.

Thanks for visiting. Here’s to choosing happiness!

Susan Hanshaw

Do You Tolerate Fraud in Your Outer Persona?

In yesterday’s article, Are You Doing What You Came Here to Do?, I shared the benefits of living in alignment with your true self. Today I want to follow that up with some tips on how you can begin to get in deeper touch with who you really are and what you are here to do. Today’s focus is on discerning the difference between the self that you share with the outer world and the voice that flows inside of you.

The key to knowing your true self is first in believing that there is a divine life that is you. It’s recognizing that who you really are is more than the role you play in your family or community, your job, your interests and the thoughts that run through your mind. Those things are all a part of the tapestry that makes up your physical self, yet they are really only the human legs for your divine self. Think of them like the machine and environment for your divine self to thrive and grow. With that idea as your framework, here are some practical tips for getting in touch and living in greater alignment with the soul of who you really are.

Many of us begin this journey with an outer persona that we show the world and an inner self that we keep hidden. Sometimes we put so much focus on our outer persona that we are totally detached from the essence of who we are and what is calling our heart. You can begin to get in touch with who you really are by paying attention to where you feel out of alignment in your outer world. For example:

  • Does your work feed your soul or are you just in it for the paycheck? If your work doesn’t feed you, what would you love to do if money was not part of the equation? Don’t edit or judge the dreams that you have. Consider them as significant and credible clues to who you are and what you are here to do.
  • Give yourself quiet time to listen to your inner voice. Whenever you find yourself alone, reject the tendency to busy yourself. When you’re driving alone in your car, turn off the music and pay attention to what is going on inside of you. When you’re in a waiting room, don’t distract yourself with a magazine or newspaper. Just close your eyes and turn within. Don’t get hung up worrying about what other people are going to think. Get to know your inner voice. What does it dream about? What ideas might it have about you that you may be too afraid to share with anyone else? Give this voice and its instincts credibility and strive to follow it.
  • Consider your life experiences and ask yourself during what events did you feel most alive. Do you have a nagging desire that raises its head every once in awhile that you just keep pushing down because you tell yourself that you’ll never have the guts to go for it? Is there a common theme in what makes you feel alive and those desires that just don’t go away? If so, this is a major clue calling your attention to what you are here to do.
  • Surround yourself with people with whom you can show up authentically. Sometimes we hold on to relationships simply for the sake of history. The relationship may feel like a drain or no longer a fit, yet we don’t want to hurt that person so we continue on even when it doesn’t feel good. Yet any relationship that doesn’t give you the freedom or support to express what is in your heart limits your ability to live in fuller alignment with who you really are.
  • Begin to identify with yourself as your divine self and not your bodily self. Even if you are still fuzzy about who you really are, think about that concept throughout the day. Seek to start each day off with this thought. Don’t take your divine self too seriously, though. Have fun with the idea.

Thanks for visiting. Stay tuned for more of this theme as it unfolds this week. Please feel free to email me if I can answer any questions.

My best to you,

Susan Hanshaw

Meditation as Your Channel for Guidance

I remember my first introduction to meditation. It was in a college philosophy class in 1980. Our instructor had us lying flat on the floor for what seemed like an incredibly long time. I got absolutely nothing out of it except a lowered self esteem and a leeriness for all things “out there”. I walked out of that class scarred with the idea that I was just one of those people who couldn’t get the hang of meditation. Little did I know what incredible influence it would have on my life two decades later.

For me, the biggest obstacle around meditation was getting to the point where I actually believed there was wisdom that was accessible to me. I had to learn to trust that the voice I heard or felt was credible. I had to learn to stop rationalizing the voice as something my mind had made up and just surrender to what was coming to me. I now think of meditation as a practice I treat like my physical workout. It’s necessary routine maintenance for my spirit. It keeps me tuned into who I really am and what I am here to do. It’s my sounding board and my channel for guidance.

I wanted to share with you some understandings I’ve come to over the years which have enabled me to embrace a meditation practice which once felt strange and foreign. If you happen to be someone who experiences a similar challenge, you might make some breakthroughs by considering these beliefs:

  1. The essence of you is not your body. Your body is simply the vessel that holds the energy of your light and enables it to do its work here on earth.
  2. Each one of us is connected through the divine source from which we were created. The only thing that separates you from divine wisdom is your mind. Again, by letting go of the idea that you are a separate body, you gain the insight that you are a part of universal energy which you can tap into at any time.
  3. Your life has significance in this universe. You’re not running around this planet like an unassigned free agent. There is divine guidance available to support you in your purpose here. You simply need to ask for the guidance and expect that it will come to you.
  4. You are a child of God. There is something that God wants to accomplish through you. The understanding of this mission can be received by tuning in to your connection to God in the silence of your meditations.
  5. Your heart is your bodily center of your spirit. Trust what comes to you from your heart more than your analytical mind.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about meditation. Stay tuned also for my special guest, Dr. Susan Gregg, who will appear in an interview here on Thursday, July 12th. Susan is the author of Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meditations. Check it out.

Thank you for visiting. Wishing you a journey of wonder and joy.

Susan Hanshaw

dreams begging for attention

I woke up this morning from a dream that I had run out of money. I’m not one to take dreams literally, yet this one came with a particularly strong desire to translate its meaning. I figured a storyline as drastic as this was just begging for my attention. So I sat down on the floor and meditated on it. And as usual, as I tuned into my inner guidance I was able to reach some powerful insights almost immediately.

One of the things I’ve learned lately is that I can think that I believe in something, yet unless I totally walk the talk, I can see that I don’t truly believe. This dream I had today forced me to take a look at how I was approaching my work. This reflection enabled me to see that I was holding myself back from truly claiming the role I want to play. I see now that in order to claim a new role, I have to let go of the one that I want to grow from. This is a mental shift I need to make. I can’t claim my success and doubt my aspirations at the same time. These two states cannot co-exist.

As I looked more closely at what was getting in my way of claiming success, I recognized some fears about reaching for the brass ring. What if it doesn’t work out the way I envision? Then what? Yet this was exactly the thinking that kept me clinging to my corporate job for so long. That is, until I was able to see that if it didn’t work out, I could always go back and get another job. You wouldn’t believe what a revelation that was! So today I told myself that if my work dream doesn’t pan out, I can always let go of it knowing that at least I’d tried.

My dream today led me to the awareness that I need to look at my life differently to make this shift. I must commit to my success from my heart, breathing it in so that it becomes my state of being. While I’m hoping this will be an adjustment I will make overnight, I suspect that this will require some practice before I’m totally there. But that’s okay. At least I know that the ability to do this lies completely inside of me.

Thank you for visiting. I’m wishing you an amazing journey.

Susan Hanshaw

maintaining your sense of connection

In yesterday’s video post, God: The Real Secret, I shared a message that came to me while I was exploring the rugged coastline that provides the setting for the rustically beautiful Timber Cove Inn in Fort Ross, California. There is just something about the energy of this ocean front getaway that seems to enfold me in a higher vibrational zone. There’s something about watching the waves emerge from the deep blue pools of water and crash against the dark rocks that reminds me of the presence of a higher power. What a symbolic expression of the existence of eternal peace and almighty strength.

Our room’s ocean view awakened me to feel the presence of God, which manifested in a sense of joy, love and hope that the world was mine for the asking. After breakfast my boyfriend and I ventured through the property and hiked along the hillside perched high above the water. The scene was breathtaking. I was so moved by its beauty that all I could think about was the love of God. I sat there atop a rock on the cliff peering down and felt my connection to the universe. As I focused on it, I felt my direct connection with our creator. And in those moments I dared myself to believe that what was happening there was truly real. I dared myself to believe the messages I felt being whispered to my heart held truth. I sat there in my bliss and didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to lose these hopeful truths to the practical needs of my human life. I didn’t want my connection to get washed away by my shower or left behind as we departed our room.

As I reflect upon this now, I see the vulnerabilities of my spiritual beliefs. I can trust easily what feels true in my heart when I feel totally connected to the source of life. Yet when I step away and invite my human insecurities into this bond, I seem to turn over my power. My heart often loses the war with my thinking, judging mind. I now see more clearly the work I need to do. I feel progress, though. I feel like I’ve just had a personal trainer show me the exercise I need to do to convert my flab into muscle. I know that it is just up to me to do the reps.

What about you? Do you see areas of weakness in your spiritual life that could benefit from some good workouts?

Thank you for visiting. I wish you an amazing journey.

Susan Hanshaw

sipping coffee with your soul

Two years ago I made the decision that I was not going to live my life in machine mode any longer. First I stopped punching my corporate time clock in exchange for a piece of security. Then I started to make an effort to wake up each new day to the idea that I am so much more than just my body. I am a divine spirit whose soul has chosen to be here for a purpose. I try to tune in each morning to that essence so that I can give myself the chance to live that day from that perspective.

How many of us have allowed an alarm to usher us incoherently into the shower where our minds busy themselves visiting all the tasks ahead on our to do list? How often do you dart off to Starbucks or to that job that doesn’t really matter without even a thought about why you are really here? Why is it that seeing what’s happening around town this weekend is more often top of mind that what’s meaningful for the rest of your life?

I am convinced that it is all conditioning. Imagine how different our world would be if we all woke up to the understanding that there is a soul beneath the cells that make up our bodies. Imagine if we were all trained to start our mornings by touching our souls in the silence of our minds and hearts, and feeling the connection that we have to the divine creative energy that surrounds us. What if we were all to believe that there is personal guidance available to us within that divine energy? What if we each perceived that guidance as more credible than even Oprah, and used it as a directional light for the actions we take in our lives?

I believe that as humans we share the common desire of wanting to be happy. I also believe that we have that desire because that is the spirit in which we were created. Our lives are supposed to be happy. And we have already been given the wisdom and the where-with-all to be happy. We just need to learn how to use it. The thing is, though, that this is an inside job. And most of us have been trained to work in the outside world. That’s okay. You’ve been trained to take on new roles before, haven’t you? Here are some everyday tips for creating a happier life from my user’s manual:

  1. Tell yourself that you are a significant being on this planet.
  2. Recognize that you have been given unique skills and attributes for a purpose.
  3. Believe that the wisdom to lead you to your passion and purpose lies within you.
  4. Believe that you have the ability to access this wisdom. It’s just not something that other people can do.
  5. Make a daily habit of tuning in to this wisdom by giving yourself some silent time to go within.
  6. Absolutely trust what comes to you.
  7. Take notes on what comes to you. You will build confidence in this information by discovering that you are receiving common messages.
  8. Develop the trust to follow this inner wisdom. Have the faith that it will lead you to where your heart and soul want you to go.
  9. Trust that your soul has the where-with-all to attract the opportunities you need to follow your heart.
  10. Recognize the opportunities that come as confirmation that you will be taken care of.
  11. Express gratitude for the gifts in your life. Gratitude attracts more of the same.

Thanks for visiting. Before I sign off I want to mention that I have provided you with a link here to my email address. If there is any support you might want outside of the public comments box, I would love to be of service to you. So please feel free. I’m not doing this for the paycheck.

Wishing you an awesome journey.

Susan Hanshaw