Level II Workout


Mind Stillness
Being Present


Mind Stillness
There is a quiet place where you can go to be free from your thoughts.  In this Mind Stillness exercise you will practice how to silence your thoughts and experience peacefulness within.

Begin by closing your eyes and taking deep loud (heavy) conscious breaths.  Place your attention onto the sound of your breath.  Try not to attach words, or verbally direct your breathing.  For this exercise silence is what you want to achieve so just listen.  Once you have taken a few deep breaths begin to feel the movement of your body as it expands with each inhale and relaxes with each exhale. Continue your conscious breathing allowing your thoughts to surrender into stillness.  With your awareness on the sound of your breath, begin to glimpse at your moments of silence.  There will be moments of silence in your inhale and in your exhale. Try not to take your attention away from your breath in search of silence, just allow yourself to gently notice it and continue listening to the sounds of your inhales and exhales (if you seek out the silence, you may begin to struggle with thoughts).  If you are consciously listening to your breath, you’ll notice the gaps of stillness getting longer. Continue with this exercise as long as you achieve moments of silence.  If you begin to wrestle with thoughts, try breathing louder and deeper placing your attention onto the sounds of your breath.  You can also say the word “ears” or “listen” as a command to go back to listening to your breath.

Capturing moments of silence is similar to playing with a shy child.  It will peek out at you from time to time, but the moment it thinks you have seen it, it will run and hide.  Until it’s comfortable with you, it will only show you glimpses at a time.  Be persistent with this exercise and eventually, Mind Stillness will be available to you whenever you seek it.


Being Present
Being present is honoring what you are doing by giving it your full attention.  This requires you to be aware of your thoughts because it’s your thoughts that will quickly guide you away from the present if they are allowed to run free.

When you open your eyes in the morning, tell yourself that you will practice “Being Present” then give your full attention to everything you do during your day. You can start by saying the task you are performing.  For example, when you are brushing your teeth say to yourself, “brushing teeth” and whenever your thoughts move away from brushing your teeth, say it again.  By doing this exercise, you are training your thoughts to stay present and at the same time building your awareness muscle.  Use this exercise with everything you do throughout the day. When you experience what you are doing rather than doing it by memory you will enjoy the outcome more fully.  As your day gets busier, remind yourself to stay present regardless of how many directions you are being pulled.  This can be challenging, but being aware of your thoughts will help to keep you present and using the word phrases (brushing teeth, cooking) will remind you to come back to what you are doing.  If your thoughts are persistent then acknowledge them with the intention of addressing them at a later time.  If it helps to write yourself a reminder note then quickly jot one down and bring your attention back to what you are doing.  Eventually, the rapid thoughts will subside and you will find it easier to stay in your present moments.  Just remember that you are the director of your thoughts so set boundaries within your own mind.

There may be times when you can’t keep your focus on the present.  Rather than struggle with your thoughts, surrender to them.  It is okay to jump out of your practice as long as you intend to jump back in.  It’s like learning to ride a bike, the first few times you may fall off, but if you keep practicing you will eventually get it and when you do, it will be with you forever.

Most of us have lived with unconscious thoughts running through our heads for a long time.  It will take practice to find the balance between letting go of unconscious thoughts and living consciously in the present.  Step into this exercise as a beginner everyday and go to sleep every evening with gratitude for what you accomplished.

Persistent Thoughts

Some thoughts are stubborn and difficult to let go of.  Days will pass and you continue to be absorbed in the thoughts and emotions of the past.  This can happen when you are upset, or when you are anticipating something.  It is not uncommon to hold onto the thoughts a little tighter.  It is important to keep your initial emotions in the past where you first experienced them even if it is of excitement and you want to carry it with you from day to day.  Through your continued excitement, you will experience new exciting moments that are created by your present thoughts.  Don’t let your past thoughts, and emotions, keep you from living in the present.

The following exercise may help you to release your persistent thoughts:
First, write down the names of the people in your life who really support you unconditionally (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally).  Next, make three columns and write the words “Important” “Fairly” and “Accessories”.  If the thought is about a person, put their name in the column that applies to them.  Note: The only names in the important column should be from your list of people who really support you. The unconditional loving people who want the best for you.

If your repeated thought falls in the “Important” column then it deserves your full attention.  Make time to re-visit the thought when you are in a place to give it your undivided attention.  If the thought is so persistent and you cannot get it out of your head then STOP what you are doing and acknowledge it.  It is important to you so take the time to address it.  If your thought falls under your “Fairly” column then decide how much time and energy you want to commit to it.  Recognizing its importance will put the thought in perspective so you can address it appropriately.  If it falls under the “Accessories” column then give yourself permission to release it knowing it doesn’t deserve to share the space you hold for yourself and loved ones.  If it continues to pop up say the word “accessory” as a reminder to let it go.

By determining the significance of your repeated thoughts, you will be able to clearly recognize whether they deserve your attention, or your acceptance to release them.  Apply this process to any thoughts that are repeat offenders.

Note:  If your persistent thought involves an important person, but it is the act, or lack of, that has you repeatedly thinking about them than categorize the act by its importance not the person.  For example, your child is an important person, but your repeated thought is directed at their forgetfulness to take out the trash.  Determine the significance of the act (taking out the trash) rather than the person.  You may find that it falls under accessory and easily dismiss the thought.


Future Plans
Planning for the future in the present moment is absolutely possible.  It may seem confusing since anticipating for it, and planning for it doesn’t seem to be in sync with your practice of staying present.  As long as your full attention is on what you are doing in any moment, you are present. The “what” you are doing is secondary.  It’s “how” you do it that builds this muscle.

For example, if you are planning for a future wedding there are many things to plan for.  You will have to book the location, cake, caterer and so on.  When you are performing a task, let’s say the cake, keep your focus on just the cake until you are ready to move onto something else.  As long as your full attention is on one task at a time and not jumping from one thing to another, you are successfully planning for your future in the present.  If thoughts about your wedding come up throughout your day and you allow your attention to be taken away from what you are doing to address those thoughts, then you are not staying present.  But, if a thought comes up and you acknowledge its importance and deal with it at a later time when you can give it your full attention, you remain present.  You are staying true to the present and successfully planning for the future.  Give your complete attention to everything you do and enjoy the benefits of being present.

There is a place where you can experience an abundance of joy and peaceful feelings without physically going anywhere.  It is your sacred place within. The following exercise helps me to step away from the outside world and remember who I am.

With this exercise you want to be comfortable so choose a comfortable place to sit or if you prefer, a place to lie down and gently close your eyes.  Let the darkness float all around you as you draw your attention inward (to draw your attention inward, you can listen to the sounds of your breath or feel the beating of your heart).  With your eyes closed, scan your body to make sure you’re not holding onto any tension.  Relax your shoulders, your neck, and your jaw and then come back to your attention within.  Continue to sit in the darkness for a few more seconds.  Then, using the darkness as your canvas begin to paint a picture of the most beautiful place you can dream of.  Visualize it exactly how you would want it to look and with everything you want it to have.  Imagine the sounds you would hear when your thoughts are still.  Your beautiful place may be near the ocean or in the mountains.  It may be in your own home snuggled up to a loved one, or in your grandma’s kitchen filled with warm smells of your favorite foods.  You might enjoy basking in the hot sun, or cuddling up with a book in front of a warm crackling fire.  There are so many wonderful places that offer us the freedom to just let go and be.

Once you have visualized your dream place see your picture lining the entire inside of your body like wallpaper (you may not be able to actually see the picture, but your thoughts will paint it for you).  With your eyes closed, envision the glowing of a golden light shinning over your entire picture.  Now, place yourself inside the middle of it and be in stillness knowing you are exactly where you want to be.  Quite your thoughts as you continue to listen to the sounds of your gentle breath.  Stay here as long as you remain calm and peaceful.  This is the place where you are separate from the outside world; it is your Kingdom of Heaven.  When you are ready to end your practice, take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.  Before you stand up allow your body to balance itself.  This is a great place to connect with your inner self.

Don’t be discouraged if you weren’t able to see your dream picture.  By practicing this exercise with intention you will experience calmness and inner peace and that is the purpose of this exercise.








Joy flourishes from within and on the vines that carry its many seeds, there are plenty of blooms waiting to blossom.

When seeking joy go within and with a silenced mind feel the excitement of knowing, the joy of being, and the blessing of loving.  Allow the feelings to percolate with enthusiasm and then bubble out in an eruption of joy.  When we are joyful within, an amazing amount of joy radiates out of us and all its beauty is revealed. Don’t look to outside sources as the solution to bring joy into your life.  When you seek joy through external sources you will be masked with the feeling of joy, but you will soon realize those feelings become difficult to hold onto because you don’t own the joy that is created by stuff.  It can enhance the joy that already exist, but it can’t replace the authentic joy that comes from within.  Continue to nurture your inner self with love, acceptance and gratitude and you will be showered with an abundance of joy.

To nurture your spirit try the following:
Read something joyful
Touch, taste, or smell something that overcomes you with joy
Look at fun and loving pictures
Remember an uncontrollable heartfelt laugh; laugh out loud
Bask in the joy of a loved one, or pet
Watch a joyful movie
Go somewhere that fills you with joy (a walk, your garden, a favorite place)
Do anything that makes you happy!

Holding onto joy may seem challenging at times, but it’s always within us.   During the difficult times it patiently waits for permission to share its excitement and enthusiasm for what’s around the corner.