Posts tagged #meditation

Interview with Paul Lara-No Fluff Spiritual Fulfillment

In today’s world, we’re sold the allure of happiness every day. We may love the high or the “nice zone” of happy, but when we rely on happiness as the end all be all, it’s a recipe for disaster. Don’t focus on the fluffy and convenient side of life—the subtle realities in the background are much more important to be aware of (for instance, our shadow tendencies). That’s what Paul Lara, of Qi Belly, believes. The real learning is witnessed and achieved when we take a mind/body approach to all aspects of the Self.  

Lara is a practitioner with an experiential and dedicated background in Zen Meditation, Martial arts, Tai Chi, Reiki and Qi Gong. What I’m trying to stress here is that he lived in Asia and endured many years of no fluff training. Literally, no fluff anywhere. Or most likely toilet paper. No toilet paper and no fluff. Know’m sayin’? Hardcore.

You’d think that he’d be a bit of a hard ass. Nothing could be further from the truth. He’s as laid back as the Dude in the Big Lebowski, minus the drugs, but physically fit and much smarter. So not really at all like the Dude, but he does have a very calm vibe. So sit back, draw a deep breath and let his takeaway gems sink in:

1.        Sabotage: it is inevitable, initially. The experience in itself is the lesson. In the beginning we are of two distinct minds/two voices. We have our Conscious intent-this includes our self-improvement goals and desired outcomes. Then we have the other aspect of the psyche-the Ego. The Ego wants to keep things as they are. When we start delving into the unknown this creates fear. The Ego voice (that is trying to protect us from the fear and the unknown) is much stronger in the beginning of this process and has been reinforced for many years. The voice of Conscious intent is not as strong—it is new.

Zen theory: True freedom is understanding which inner voice is talking.

Note: when we become intimate with Self, we are very aware of which voice is talking to us.

2.      Patterns: The voice is what creates the patterns. This never goes away. It is all about the journey towards greater and greater awareness. Habits or patterns may be hard to witness at first—they are somewhat ugly. We may have shame. Once we have the practice and discipline to accept ourselves then we are on our way. The opposite practice would be to walk away or to lie to ourselves. This is moving further away from the Self.

3.       Environmental health: This means to live within the rhythmic understanding of the natural order. To live within nature’s seasons and in turn, our own internal seasons. We learn to exist within these cycles. In other words, “if we wish that every day is the first of July, it’s going to be a hard go.”

4.       Tips: Use consistency, honesty about what you see (about ourselves and others) and discipline. Handle situations with functionality; adapt; stay healthy as you change. Trust in what you feel and get your head out of the way. The heart knows best.

Please visit to delve deeper into what Paul offers! Also check out his new podcast here:

How my Cat Barney Taught Me to Meditate

At times in our life, we need to look around and see what or whom is influencing us. We may be surprised…

Recently, I realized that one of my biggest influences in my life is my cat Barney. Before you start rolling your eyes and feeling sorry for the poor girl with no life, hear me out. I’m talking about how Barney models perfect behaviour for self-care and relaxation. Not only that—he is the perfect teacher of meditation.

At the tender age of kittenhood, he was dropped off at a farm in the middle of winter, basically to fight it out in survival of the fittest mode. With great revenge to the inhumane individual who did this to him, he thrives today. So, with his relaxed attitude to life’s ups and downs, he continues to teach me—don’t sweat it lady.

For instance, each time I walk in the door, Barney is either chilling at the window, stretched full length on the couch or sitting casually by his food bowl. He doesn’t get uptight. He doesn’t get bent out of shape. He’s cool.

I attribute his gift for flow—living to his regular practice of meditation.

Every 2-3 days, I find Barney either on the couch or in the corner on my bedroom floor, in full meditation pose (cat style). He lays on his back with his paws curled into his chest, his head to one side and his lower body turned to the right. His eyes are partially open (this is the creepy part until I got used to it) and rolled back into his head. His mouth is open part way with his mouth in a strange trance-like grin. He does this for about 20 minutes and then rolls off his back, shakes his head, meows confusedly and walks away. Note: I know the difference between when a cat is sleeping and what Barney is doing—big difference!

So, every time I see Barney doing this, I think—meditation. I need to meditate more. Then I will sit and meditate or just close my eyes and breathe. I feel more relaxed, I feel less stressed, I feel more connected to my inner self.
He is a constant reminder to go with the flow and go within to balance, centre and refocus myself.
Thanks Barney—I’ll remember this article the next time you scratch my couch to shreds.