On Fear

According to Jung, every culture lives by myth. The myths that affect culture most are usually the myths that blend empirical truth with fiction. The truth is, fear is a pretty good short term motivator. Nothing like a shark fin to clear a beach. That said, over time fear can change the way our brain processes emotions and non-verbal cues. Long term exposure to fear produces anxiety and impacts our thinking and decision making in negative ways. Fear leaves us susceptible to intense emotions, impulsive reactions and stress. Living under constant threat weakens our immune system and can cause long term health problems. Despite all these facts, fear as a motivating force remains a convincing myth. That kernel of truth – that we run when scared – maintains the power of the myth. But, myth it is. Fear doesn’t work in the long term.  And, the sooner we give up the myth, the sooner we will be able to create creative high functioning societal environments.

Be the Light

The truth is always deep beneath the surface level of the words.  It is the silent, peaceful knowing that is infectious. This feeling of peace is beyond measure, beyond reason and certainly beyond words.

Many years ago the communication scholar, Marshall McLuhan, famously coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” In other words, McLuhan understood “medium” in the broadest sense. He used the example of the light bulb to describe his theory. A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a profound effect on the environment. A light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence.

Similar to the light bulb, the life of every individual in their every thought, word and action influences the entire field of the cosmos. Therefore, someone with peace at heart naturally vibrates peace and harmony to influence the whole universe.

Molly Beauregard

Our Movie is LIVE

 

We’re thrilled to announce that the Tuning the Student Mind movie is now available for free online.

Click here to view the 27 minute movie as well as our 13 minute deleted scenes.

Enjoy!

Our New Year’s Resolution

 

Over 120,000,000 people voted in last year’s Presidential election. 96% of the individuals who voted did so in person. Our guess is that if you consider the commute to the polling location, standing in line and the act of voting itself, it likely took an average of an hour and a half to get the job done.

We wanted to share a few thoughts regarding this reality.

1.) Voting is the lowest common denominator of true engagement. While voting is important, true responsibility of citizenship requires engagement beyond an hour and a half commitment. The very nature of voting implies asking someone else to do something for you, rather than figuring out what you can do for yourself and/or others.

2.)  If those 120,000,000 voters mentioned above offered an hour and a half of time to a constructive volunteer effort once a quarter (four times a year), it would produce 720,000,000 hours of community participation.

3.)  Using an eight hour a day model those hours convert to 90 million work days.  

Just imagine what citizens might accomplish if everyone committed to giving six hours of volunteer time a year. Citizenship is not meant to be enacted in isolation. When we limit the benefits of citizenship to voting, passports and political opinions, we deny ourselves access to the fundamental value of democracy — PARTICIPATION. Furthermore, engagement with the world around us and true connection to other people is what helps us to evolve our consciousness and grow in compassion.  

Let’s re-imagine our role as citizens in 2017! Let us know what you are doing to get involved in your community. We promise to share our engagement with you too. Happy 2017! Now, get out there and spread some GOOD!

Photo: TTSM film director teaching yoga as a volunteer to 5th graders at McGlone Elementary School in Denver, CO

On Love

 

I have a beautiful garden in my backyard. The woman who helped me plan it made it clear that we needed to have a diversity of flowers in the bed. We laughed a lot during the planning – you see, I happen to really love lilies and other July blooming flowers. Debra reminded me that I wanted a garden that flowered throughout the year. And, she was right. In the spring, I have tulips and daffodils, in the summer I enjoy my lilies, in the fall I have mums and in the winter berries.

Love is born out of allurement – a gravitational pull toward something. This allurement or attraction is related good smells, a soft touch, a pleasing image, a shared laugh. Love is born out of this attraction.

With meditation and the expansion of consciousness, a new form of love spontaneously flows through us. This love is a love for the sake of love. A love related less to a figure-it-out mentality of evaluation but the simple flow of love as an undercurrent of feeling. An internal lighting up in the mere presence of other. Living in this state of love turns the world into a garden without any favorites.

On the Distinction Between Love and Desire

 

Feelings of love can sometimes seamlessly merge with feelings of desire. Culturally this connection is continuously reinforced by the media, by conversation, by our understanding of modes of expression. But, in truth, love and desire are distinct from one another. Certainly, expressing our love in a physical way can be meaningful and enjoyable. But it is not necessarily a required parallel action to be pursued every time we feel the stirrings of love deep in our heart. This is not a judgment. It is simply a reflection that is often overlooked in our hyper-sexualized culture.

Does Constant Interaction Add to Stress?

 

A meditation on interaction that needs to be watched over and over again to capture its rich, resonant beauty.

Produced by Aj Jackson & Narrated by Molly Beauregard

 

On Happiness

Real happiness is found in increasing the happiness of others. In giving to others, we forget ourselves. Forgetting ourselves – even momentarily – allows us to feel our own internal silence. That silence is actually the truth of our nature – pure happiness just waiting to be found.

Moving Beyond the Meme

Popular culture is littered with tag lines intended to lead us to enlightenment. “Live in the moment.” “Don’t be attached.” “Meditate.” “Just Breathe.” “You are who you choose to be.” Operating outside a broader understanding of an articulated spirituality, these abstracted ideas become diluted and meaningless. Like signposts in a desert, they point in the right direction but they leave us without any road to travel.

Our new series “Moving Beyond the Meme” will expand on the following abstracted ideas both by offering short blog posts and directing students to our developed book club offerings. 

Up first:  On Thinking

Thinking is important. It is also complex. In order for you to read this sentence several million neurons needed to fire together coherently. A working brain is an important asset. However, it is not all you are.

Thinking is simply a thin layer of activity that functions on the surface level of your existence. In the deeper more expansive regions of yourself, you are connected to the totality of the universe. When we concentrate our energy on controlling the thinking mind, we swirl in the top level of our existence: the thinking level. The goal of truly knowing our most expanded selves is to transcend the thinking mind. We do this by exploring our own consciousness in a state of silence beneath the level of thought.   

Second:  On Choosing Positive Thoughts

I have read a lot about positive thinking these days. Memes and Facebook posts dedicated to this notion of directing our thinking toward growing a positive outlook. While well intended, these images and short posts ignore one very simple truth: Working to choose positive thoughts is a bit like throwing a blanket on a pile of garbage and then pretending it’s not there when your friends come to visit. It’s important to note that how we feel colors our thoughts. False positivity generally confuses both the speaker and the receiver. True positivity comes at the hands of removing our personal stress. When we think and behave from a place of true contentment, that contentment is reflected in our actions and words. 

Third:  On Consciousness

The best way to understand consciousness is to experience it. That is why I offer students the opportunity to learn to meditate in my course, “Consciousness, Creativity and Identity”. The subjective experience of diving deep within themselves offers them the experience of feeling the expansiveness of their truest self in rich and nuanced ways. Consciousness is infinite. It is divine. It is absolute. Within it, all the mysteries of the universe are held. It is simultaneously both empty and full. It flows freely. 

Fourth:  The Relationship between Thinking and Consciousness

Talking about thinking without understanding its relationship to consciousness is like getting in the car without turning it on, pushing down the gas pedal  and never understanding why we don’t seem to get anywhere. 

Thinking is consciousness and it isn’t. And, this seems to be where many of us have gotten terribly confused. Thinking is an aspect of consciousness. When we are connected to the vast well-spring of consciousness that lies at the very core of our being, we are able to connect our individual mind with the universal mind. With that connection, we gain clarity of thinking. The act of thinking is akin to threading the needle of consciousness, enlivening the infinite through the finite.    

Literature that supports this blog is woven throughout the past four years of our book club picks. Some especially strong examples: January 2016, March 2015, December 2014, April 2014 and December 2013.   

 

From Anger to Clarity

From Anger to Clarity: Transforming Frustrations into Effective Actions

This past week offered many in our country a true opportunity for reflection. The atmosphere felt ripe with heightened emotions. Limiting my interactions in this atmosphere felt like a smart move. The temptation to blame anyone, everyone, someone for my internal sense of rumbling emotions felt overwhelming at times.

And, so I slept. I meditated. I listened to music. Fuming internally is no fun. I actually woke in the middle of the night to the smell of burning embers. It took me a minute to realize it was my own emotional stew pot simmering on a low boil. Experience offered me the comfort of knowing that this too shall pass.

We have all heard the expression anger begets anger. Which leads to the question can anger or any heightened emotion – for that matter – be used as a motivating force for good?

Years ago during a media studies course I was teaching, a student stopped me midstream and said, “Molly, I just feel so overwhelmed by the enormity of the problems I see in the world. It’s so depressing and so impossible to imagine my personal ability to impact change anywhere.” His sincerity silenced the room. Emboldened, I tossed my organized syllabus in the trash and totally revamped the semester’s learning objectives. By the end of the course, a cohort of students within my class had raised $5,000 by designing and implementing an entire “Who Cares?” media campaign dedicated to supporting Habitat for Humanity programs in Detroit. It was a small step, but an important development in my work as an educator. I had witnessed the most disgruntled and disengaged students in my course transform their attitudes with a simple shift in focus: away from cynicism, and toward engagement.

The simple truth is that when my students slowed down and asked in a moment of deep reflection, “Who Cares?” They discovered, they did. Rather than sitting and stewing in their own frustration, they turned toward service to others. And, in giving from a place of care, they made a meaningful contribution to their community.

In the Vedic literature, connecting with others through the experience of yourself is described in the following way: “I am That, thou art That, all this is That” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.10). Expanded consciousness allows individuals to actually “see” the personal in the diversity. This is why I believe meditation in the classroom is so important. Consciousness based education reminds students to slow down and interact with an awareness of their own impact on their surroundings.

Feeling anger is okay. We all get mad sometimes. But acting out of that anger is not so smart.  We must learn to transcend the calling to such primal states of understanding. Remember in addition to asking individuals to “be the change they wish to see in the world”, Mahatma Gandhi believed that “in a gentle way, you can shake the world” and that a “nation’s culture lies in the hearts and souls of its people.”  

Students ask me all the time what to “do” when others make them feel bad. They are often surprised when I respond by saying that they alone are responsible for how they feel. It’s okay to feel any old way but take ownership of it. It’s not “their” fault. It’s your opportunity.

~ Molly Beauregard

Image/Illustration by: @6bartwork   www.6bartwork.com

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