Have you ever played a sport?
Close your eyes and think about when you were a kid, learning to play baseball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, tennis, golf… whatever your “thing” was. Hold on to a few of those memories as you first started out.
A few of us are naturals (not me). The rest need to stumble through the movements of the shot, swing, throw, catch, until we get it right; until we “got game”, right?
Since baseball and golf both played major roles in my development, those will guide the following discussion. Don’t worry if you never played either. Teaching has consumed the better part of my life in some form or fashion, so you’re in good hands.
Do you know how to hit a baseball?
The simple answer is: watch the ball, swing the bat, hit the ball.
Yeah, but it’s NOT that simple; not by a longshot.
The Mechanics Matter
Rockland Peak Performance breaks down the mechanics of a baseball swing like this:
- Setup / Stance
- Negative Weight Shift
- Rear Hip Load
- Maintain COM (center of mass)
- Linear Momentum
- Independent Hands
- High Elbow
- Losing the Barrel
- Stride Length
- Lower Half Stability
- Front Knee Angle
- Lead Leg Block
- Axis of Rotation
- One-Piece Swing
That’s 15 steps TO HIT A BASEBALL!!
Not as easy as… look and swing, is it?
How about a golf swing?
I honestly thought it was more. I hated golf as a kid because I had a fiery temper and very little patience. I guess all that aggression magnified the impression the sport left on me.
My Unimpressie Mechanics
My father and I were replaying the back nine after a father/son tourney. On the 12th hole, I shanked the hell out of the ball, sending it into the middle of the adjacent fairway, at which point I slung my club far enough to be more way impressive than the ball I hit.
That’s not something you’re supposed to do on a golf course. It’s a “gentleman’s” game.
My father told me if I ever did that again, he’d never play with me.
Four holes later, I repeated the exact same thing, club sling included.
My dad was NOT happy. “Why’d you do that? I told you’d I never play with you again if you did that,” he said.
“Thats why I threw it. I hate this game.”
From that day on, I was 100% a soccer player.
Golf is a very unforgiving game. You can have an off game in basketball, football, soccer, baseball, but still contribute. If there’s one thing off in your golf game… you’re toast.
So, I got 14 steps, comprising the golf swing from Golfspan.com, but there are several sub-steps which easily could take the total to 20-plus. The grip, alignment, and ball position alone can take up a couple of minutes pre-swing as people question each individual aspect.
- Direct Back
- Flex Knees
- Push Out Rear
- Ball Position
- Weight Transfer
Now, let’s look at the steps to meditate (as most people are taught or believe the experience should unfold), which is widely viewed as the gateway to higher states of consciousness, finding your true purpose, and releasing the grip the subconscious has on your life.
Sifting through and deleting the obvious, like get comfortable and stop, the following list is the meat and potatoes of meditation as listed on sites on the front page of Google. I won’t list any of the site names, as I don’t want you to think I’m picking on anyone of them.
This is not an attack on meditation.
This is me questioning how it’s presented, taught, passed down, explained, etc.
- Sit Down
- Notice and Follow Your Breath
- Notice Thoughts
- Return to Breath
Now, let’s dissect the differences.
Just using the golf and baseball examples, but including any sport you’ve played, too, it’s pretty plain to see all the things you need to do to hit the ball or put that round thing into a hole, a net, over a line or fence… in other words put some points on the board.
Not just a few things per action, right?
There are a boatload of steps to perform the basic actions with skill, finesse, or even a semblance of competency.
Considering all of that… ask yourself these questions:
- When you’re playing your favorite sport, how often do you fret about the bills getting paid?
- When’s the last time you played a sport and thought about the argument you had with your spouse?
- When’s the last time you competed and thought about that time when you were six and your father told you… XYZ?
Doesn’t happen, does it?
Then why does it happen when you sit down to meditate?
A lot of the noise you hear is the subconscious’s way of keeping you distracted, of running the programs you installed as a little kid and now use decades later to dictate how your life unfolds.
Yes, the money you do or do not have, the relationship problems you do or do not have, the addictions you carry, and all the other things you do to self-sabotage the life you REALLY WANT, are all byproducts of the emotional reactions your subconscious programmed when you were a child.
So… the next time someone calls you childish, remind them that’s how you’re wired. And guess what?
So are they 😉 That’s how we’re all wired.
As meditation is currently taught, you sit down with all of that noise and do your best to concentrate on the single action of putting your attention on the hairs inside your nose as you breathe.
Let me repeat that:
As meditation is currently taught, you sit down with all of that noise and do your best to concentrate on the single action of putting your attention on the hairs inside your nose as you breathe.
Now, you tell me why most people fail at meditation.
That’s like handing the average adult a truck full of toothpicks and telling them to rebuild the Millenium Falcon to scale with those little slivers of dead tree.
What’s the likelihood you’re gonna succeed at that?
I’ll give you my personal probability of succeeding. I’m a pretty confident person, so I’d say I’d do it, but it would more than likely take me my entire lifetime to accomplish, and I’d have to devote all of my time to that one endeavor.
When’s the last time you undertook a project, knowing you may or not complete it before you die?
Talk about delayed gratification, right?!
The other thing is the time.
We’re a society that wants change and we want it now. Pills, potions, and gadgets fly off the shelf as soon as the companies cranking them out can get them shelved. Hell, shelves are disappearing as Amazon is shipping things nearly straight off the factory floor, so we can get our grubby little hands on the “thing” du jour.
We don’t want to mess with things that take time.
We want what we want… right now!
And if we don’t get it, we’ll go looking elsewhere pretty damn fast, right?
Practice Like You Play
People tell us that meditation is about calming the mind.
I mean, it does… while you’re sitting down, but what happens when you get up?
You fly back into being triggered as soon as the real world happens, which, unless you live in the woods, is pretty damn near immediately after you open your eyes, right?
And THERE ARE cumulative effects to that calming, but they take FOREVER!
Studies have shown meditation starts working in minutes. Those disappear in newbies because the neural pathways aren’t there yet.
It can take up to 8 weeks to experience noticeable results, then years before you make any real progress slaying your demons in the real world.
That sucks, doesn’t it?
What if you’re tired of the pain RIGHT NOW?
What if you want to feel good now?
How Manifestation Really Works
I don’t think meditation is about calming the mind.
I think mediation is about connecting.
I think it’s about connecting with the energy aka the vibration you want to be. If you want to be happy, there’s a specific vibration for that. If you want to be loving, there’s one for that too. There’s a vibration for everything because that’s all everything is.
Everything is energy.
I think it’s about becoming a conduit for that energy, pulling it in, bathing in it, then recycling, and sending it back out int the world.
I love what the Dalai Lama says here:
To do that, you need to connect to that vibration. And to connect, there are more steps… A LOT MORE steps that are missing.
To connect a baseball bat to a ball, there are 15 steps.
To connect a golf club to a ball, there are (in my humble opinion) over 20.
So, to connect to the universe, there’s breathe, acknowledge thoughts, and breathe?
If it’s that simple, then why can’t people get it right? Why do so many people feel like they’re failing at meditation?
Part of it is because most people still believe they are trying to stop thoughts, but meditation is as much about doing things as a baseball or golf swing.
Laying the Foundation for Action
What’s the end goal of meditation, really?
Peace, love, joy, personal mastery, flow, enlightenment. Can we all agree on that?
To start checking off those boxes, my meditations had to become active.
- How do you breathe?
- What are the actions of the breath, the inhale, the exhale, and everything in between?
- Is there anything in between?
- Is there a follow-through or do you just go in and out?
- Why is it so secretive and why won’t people tell you more?
Remember that story about the emperor’s new clothes?
A couple of con artists sold the emperor on the idea they could make him the most beautiful clothes he ever saw… only he couldn’t see them.
Because he couldn’t “sense” them, and the magical tailors “could”, the emperor felt stupid, and the thieves walked away with a fat purse because everyone was too embarrassed to say anything.
Meditation, as it’s presented today, is a bit like that.
*Disclaimer: I’m not calling meditation a sham.
With meditation, you can’t see the results, so it’s a bit subjective, based on what people “think” the end result is supposed to be, but who really knows what the end result is?
People who represent the proffered experience tell us what it’s supposed to be like, but what is it really and why won’t they won’t say more than breathe, acknowledge thoughts, and breathe?
I’m not saying the Dalai Lama is wrong.
I’m not saying Sadguru is full of it.
I’m not saying Buddhism doesn’t work.
Far from it. I mean, who is some middle-aged white dude to challenge thousands of years of tradition?
All I’m saying is meditation didn’t seem to work for me either when I tried breathe, notice thoughts, and breathe.
The Journey… NOT The Destination
Let’s revisit the sports analogy because I think it’s the key to achieving that meditative focus and bringing us to the promised land-carrot on the end of the meditation stick so many of us chase.
Think about the process of the swing (pick one) once more. Fifteen things you need to do/think about from the time you pick up the club/bat until said stick hits the ball.
If you’ve never played, it’s enough to make your head spin, don’t you think?
Even if you’ve played a few games, it takes a while before you can get all those steps together to get results worthy of a smile. It takes even longer to get it done consistently.
But what if there was a way to make you feel good the very first time?
Imagine going out to play with your friends and being good the first time out? You’d be much more willing to play again, right?
Not just willing.
You’d be eager to play, right?
Because you performed well, and it felt good!
A Breath That Makes You Feel Good
The Amo breath/meditation, the one you’ll be learning soon, FEELS GOOD!
The process behind it and all the elements that make up the Amo breath literally fill you with love and supercharge your meditation THE FIRST TIME!
You don’t have to wait.
You don’t have to wonder if you did it right (it’s all in the process).
You feel good the very first time.
And if you feel good, it’s a lot easier to take that energy out with you into the real world; to take that experience and share that peace, love, joy, and calm with people throughout your day.
Pleasure and Pain (Not What You’re Accustomed To)
Don’t skip this section!
You’ve heard the whole pleasure and pain story, right?
Here’s a synopsis: We move toward pain and away from pleasure. That is… unless we come to associate pleasure with pain, which is some F’d up stuff our subconscious does to wreck our lives, but I digress. Lesson complete.
This isn’t that story. This is the story of actual pain.
Again, I’ll keep it short, I promise.
Long story short, I broke dozens of bones from the time I was about 12 until the last car accident I had when I was 21. I had two near death accidents nearly two years apart in university. Both were my fault.
I know physical pain. I carry it with me to this day.
And guess what?
You do to.
In one way or another, you carry pain. It might be physical, mental, emotional, psychological, or even spiritual pain, but you have it… same as me.
Some days are good days.
On those days, you can smile with ease. On those days, you can allow yourself to have some fun, am I right?
But what about days when the pain comes?
It’s hard isn’t it?
The most unhappy people I know carry the most pain. They get to a point in life where that pain defines them and even though they know they’d be better off letting it go; the pain is part of them. It defines them.
Personal experience has taught me the lessons of pain, as well as the why and how to let it go.
Now, let’s parlay that into two examples to bet on.
You’ll Never Think About Breathing the Same Way
Meditation A: You close your eyes and try to focus on your breath. One simple thing. Close your eyes, breathe, and stay calm. You struggle to sit more than five minutes. “Son of a b*tch!” You get up feeling frustrated, like a failure, or like you failed. “I can’t even do this one simple thing right!”
Meditation B: You close your eyes. Imagine your breath flooding into the bottom of your spine. You squeeze the PC muscle (kegel exercise muscle), and “walk” the breath up the curve of your spine using a diaphragmatic breath.
Once you get halfway up the spine, you “roll” the breath into your lungs and “walk” the breath up the rest of the way until all that energy hits the base of your skull. At the base of your skull, the breath explodes into a shimmer of fireworks; white light cascades inside your head. You smile and start the exhale.
The exhale is three parts. The first third of the exhale is dedicated to vibrating the head and neck. You do that by making the “Ahhhh” sound. It’s a little deeper than the sound you make when you stick your tongue out at the Dr.
With the second part of the breath, you focus on vibrating the head, chest, and abdomen with the “Mmmmm” sound. It’s a hum that shakes a good portion of your torso.
The third and final part of the exhale is dedicated to the “Oooo” sound, which you feel vibrate your entire torso.
As you start the first part of the breath, the “Ahhhh”, you imagine white light coming from above. This white light is the loving embrace/kiss of God. You’re using God’s foundational element, Amo (A-M-O) a.k.a love, to cleanse you, fill you, and love YOU!
You use the “Ahhh” sound to guide this light down your head, throat, and into your chest.
When the loving light hits your chest, you begin the second visual part of the breath, the “Mmmmm”. Imagine the loving light of God/Universe swirling into your chest cavity. A vortex of love, light, and energy spin like a hurricane in your heart center. As it spins, it grows and takes over your entire body.
The “Ahhhh” and “Mmmmm” are for filling you; for loving you; for energizing you.
The “Oooo” is for others. Now, imagine that loving light you collected now shooting out into and over the horizon, bathing the world with the love you channeled, became, and now share with the rest of us.
First round complete.
Start with the inhale and repeat the process over again.
After a few Amo breaths, revert to a few slow diaphragmatic breaths with our eyes closed. Enjoy that for a minute.
Now, open your eyes and take that feeling with you through the rest of the day.
If You’re Happy and You Know It…
It usually takes 2-3 breaths, and then you’re high as a kite. It’s impossible not to feel good with the Amo breath.
And if you feel good, you’re happy.
And if you’re happy, others feel it.
And if others feel it, they end up happy too.
You just healed yourself and, by doing so, healed others. You just performed a small miracle.
“Yeah, but it only lasts a few minutes.”
The first time. Do it again later in the day.
Do it the next morning and take that feeling with you.
I’ve been doing the Amo breath for close to two years. I have NEVER ONCE had a session where I stood up feeling frustrated or disappointed.
You can’t leave feeling bad, because all the goodness is baked into the process.
You’ll never get up feeling defeated.
You’ll never stand up wondering if you just did it right. Your troubles don’t bother you because you’re focused on the process.
The process is active. It’s alive, so you feel the results IMMEDIATELY!
Explaining the Amo Breath
The Amo breath is about being active in the process of feeling love, generating more of it, and sending it back out into the world.
It’s about creating that which you want through that which already exists, and passing it on to others.
It’s about seeing yourself as a conduit between that which exists and that which you want to become.
It’s about using that love, that vibration (KEY)… a physical vibration you can actually feel to heal yourself and to help others do the same.
Amo Is Literally Love
First, the Amo breath is a literal breath of love. Amo, in Spanish, means I love.
With this breath, the breath of God, you’re pulling love itself down through the ether and bathing yourself with its healing properties.
Bruce Lee once said, “Don’t speak negatively about yourself, even as a joke. Your body doesn’t know the difference. Words are energy and cast spells. Change the way you speak about yourself and you can change your life.”
The way you speak to yourself is just as important as the way you speak about yourself. Using a literal breath of love and visualizing that power feeding your body is a VERY powerful practice.
The Lightning Rod of Your Personal Power
For thousands of years, even before Jesus and Buddha showed up with their love message, another group of people in India had already had tapped the well of universal knowledge and were using those principles to lead remarkable lives.
A big part of that wisdom lies, not in the head, but in the spine. Seven of the body’s chakras or energy centers are situated from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. When tapped, that energy has the power to do remarkable things.
I don’t think Joe Dispenza will go as far as saying the word chakra, but he is well versed in the power of the spine. It’s the basis of his pineal gland meditation, of which he uses science to explain the kundalini (spinal) breath and the bandha (pc muscle lock) he promotes as a tool to reach higher states of consciousness.
Dr. Dispenza used this same process and the inherent power residing in the spine/chakras to heal his broken back many years ago. Today, he travels the world teaching people the science behind how and why it works, and has a boatload of data to back it all up.
Everything is Energy
Check this post out if you need some more info on the whole everything is energy idea. Either that, or Google a dude named Einstein. I think he was famous for some math equations of something like that 😉
And if everything is energy, then everything vibrates.
That means everything: emotions included!
So, the quickest way to get to a state is to vibrate at that state, right?
Luckily, we come with all the hardware built in (it’s the software most of us need help with).
The Vibration of the Universe
Ever heard of it?
If you haven’t read it, check out this book, Aum: The Melody of Love. It’s written by one of Paramhansa Yogananda’s students/disciples.
That’s the dude Steve Job’s credits with changing his life/perspective. In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs (I think that’s where I read it), the author reports the Apple founder handing Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi” out to people for special occasions.
Yogananda goes as far as saying spiritual seekers cannot reach their peak without that word.
But here’s the thing: the magic isn’t in the word.
It’s the vibration!
The Vagus Nerve
Every part of the Amo breath vibrates and that vibration is responsible for shaking things up in the vagus nerve which is the longest nerve in the body, running from the brain all the way to the abdomen.
The humming stimulates the vagus nerve, which serves as an “emotional reset button”.
The diaphragmatic breath we use in the beginning part of the inhale in the Amo breath also stimulates the vagus nerve, the nerve in charge of our parasympathetic nervous system.
That slow rhythmic breathing also smoothes heart rate variability (the variability between each heartbeat) an important factor syncing the brain, heart and stomach (digestive system) and creating the coherence needed for enhanced cognitive performance (according to the National Library of Medicine) and a Zen-like emotional experience.
Our own bodies are a factory of vibration cells, organs, and microorganisms. The humming associated with the Amo breath gets everything humming at a similar frequency and leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped into a new and improved body.
Intentions Make Good Indentions
As if all of these weren’t enough, the very intention that comes through with the visualization of the Amo breath is enough to make waves of change in your mood.
From the Leonardo da Vinci to Elon Musk, our history is paved with the innovations of people who saw the future and used the vision in their heads to make it a reality.
Some of the most inspirational stories I read along my own healing path include people who healed from cancer and broken bones.
It was the belief in their accomplishments that allowed me to overcome my own limiting emotions and become the kind of person I had read about it books by beating psoriasis, alcohol and drug addiction, poverty, running from responsibility, arthritis, and a list of other ailments so long, I’m happy to have forgotten most of them.
Wind It Up and Let it Go
I‘m pretty sure I never had any wind-up toys. We had some with ripcords, but kids nowadays have them too so I’m not that old.
But you’ve probably seen the toys in an old cartoon or movie, where they wind it up and let it go. It’s spring loaded, right?
From an engineering standpoint, it’s pretty simple, right? You tighten/wind up the spring and let it go. The built in tension in the spring sends the toy doing whatever it’s supposed to do until the juice runs out and the toy stops.
The Amo breath is like that the first time you do it.
If you want to keep it as simple as possible: inhale, then do the three part A-M-O.
Do that the first time for three to five breaths.
Stop and enjoy.
Tomorrow, set a timer for two minutes. Do the Amo breath for two minutes once a day for one week.
Next week, turn the timer up to three, and so on.
See if you can get yourself to thirty minutes. You’ll be happy every step of the way because the Amo breath feels good. It’s not a chore. It’s like a good workout. You’re charging your body with the most powerful self-help/spiritual practices around.
To learn more, check out the FREE 8-Day Amo Breath course.