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.
SH: 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?
SG: 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.
SH: How did the decision to produce Idiot’s Guide to Short Meditations come to you?
SG: 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.
SH: What would your advice be for someone who wants to start a meditation practice, but doesn’t know how to begin or feels intimidated?
SG: 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.
SH: What would you tell them to expect in their early days of practice?
SG: 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.
SH: 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?
SG: 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.
SH: Is there any other specific message you’d like to leave with our readers here?
SG: 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!