Tag Archive | Love

Still your waters

Every breath you take, every step you make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Still your waters. (Josh Waitzkin)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I still my waters? How do you go from stormy waters to still waters?”

“When your waters are stormy, that’s the best time to practice. That’s the ultimate stress test for whatever technique you’re using.

The best technique I’ve found involves breathing and a mantra.

Stilling your waters = Deep Breathing + Mantra

The mantra is key to the process. Its purpose is to slow down and distract your mind.

“What mantra?”

“The mantra can be one meaningful word that you say with each breath. (eg Love)

Or it can be two meaningful words, one on the inhalation, the other other on the exhalation. (eg Peace, Joy)

Or it can be multiple meaningful words, one with each breath. (eg your central values)

Play around, experiment. Do it every time you need to still your mind. The measure of success is how quickly you manage to do it.

This is the core of the practice. However you can add a few more little things to make it more powerful.

You can add a smile with each exhalation. This relaxes the muscles of the face which helps you relax.

You can make it a practice of Self-Love and Active Love.
Express Love to yourself and your beautiful BodyMind.
Bring to mind a person that is dear to you, or someone you’ve learned something from, and send them Love.

You can associate the practice with one of your Heroes, and bring them to mind whenever you practice.”

“Who did you associate the practice with?”

“Thich Nhat Hanh.

His teachings and way of being deeply resonate with me. Whenever I think of him, I bring to mind the title of one of his books, and smile:

Peace is every step.

Only I’ve added another line to it:

Peace is every step.
Peace is every breath.

The Essence of Meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of meditation?”

“Haven’t we gone through this already?”

“We’re going to keep going through this until I manage to implement it.”

“There’s five aspects to it:




Intention-Setting is essentially Priming. This is how you initiate the practice. You can set the intention ahead of time (eg I’m going to meditate immediately after I wake up), or in the moment (eg I’m going to perform this action as meditation).

Focus-Point refers to choosing one point of focus and trying to maintain your attention on it. I say ‘trying’ because your attention will INEVITABLY wander.

The last three combined form the core of the practice. Thinking in terms of rep(etition)s, like in physical training, combined they constitute one quality-rep – or beautiful-rep, as I like to call it.

Meta-Awareness refers to noticing that your attention has wandered.

Response refers to managing your reaction to it. The keys here are Non-Judgmental Acceptance, and Loving Kindness.

Return refers to gently bringing your attention back to your focus-point.

A beautiful focus-point is the breath. But it can be the sensations in your body, an emotion, or anything else. You can choose any item in your environment and focus on it.

These are the purely technical aspects of the practice. Consistently perform quality-reps of it and you can get great benefits. However you can upgrade [<link; short] it by turning it into a spiritual practice.”


Make every single meditation a Loving Meditation.

You’re thus imbuing the practice with Meaning.

Love is a meta-practice.

Using the macro/micro model, we might think of Love as the macro focus-point, and of your chosen point of focus as the micro focus-point.

Or, using the foreground/background model, we might think of Love as the background, and of your chosen point of focus as the foreground.”

Celebration Optimization 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’ve been thinking of ways to optimize my celebration practice [<link; medium length].”

“You’re constantly optimizing things.”

“I simply love doing it. For me Optimization is a value in itself, and a form of self-expression.”

“What are your latest optimizations?”

“Firstly, I made it part of my Embodiment practice by making every celebration embodied. I call it Embodied Celebration, or ECelebration [<link; medium] for short. Whenever I celebrate, I also connect with my beautiful BodyMind.

Secondly, I started calling it Loving Celebration [<link; short]. This way, whenever I mentally access it, I access Love as well.

Thirdly, whenever I celebrate I connect with my Future-Self by saying to myself,

I love you Dani-who-I will-be.

“Do you keep it generic, or do you bring to mind a specific time in the future?”

“A specific time: the end of my life. Whenever I celebrate, I think ‘Memento mori’, and bring to mind the image of myself on my deathbed.

“That’s intense.”

“Precisely the point. It’s meant to powerfully emphasize the meaning of my actions.”

On Movement and Meaning

There’s poetry in every moment. (Jason Silva)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I make Movement sustainable?”

Make it engaging by making it Meaningful in the moment.

You can do that by enriching its mental representation [<link; medium read].

This is a Creative act. You’re weaving a personal story around it.”

“What is your personal story?”

“I see Movement as Meditation,
as a sacred playful ritual of connecting with myself and the Child Within.

I see Movement as a loving act of Self-Care and Self-Exploration.
As I savor the dancing sensations, I send Love in their direction,
and celebrate the beautiful miracle that is my BodyMind.

I call this process Practical Poetry.”

On Celebration and Stacking

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“A beautiful idea I got from BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits is that the most important factor in habit creation is Celebration. By celebrating immediately after the desired habitual behavior, you make it more likely to engage in it next time.

You may have heard the idea that it takes 40 days to install a new habit. Actually, the more intense the celebration, the less time it takes to install a habit.

“How can you increase the intensity of the celebration?”

“One way to do it is by stacking several practices on top of it, thus amplifying the emotional effect.”

“A kind of emotional flooding [<link; short length]?”


The way I do it is as follows:

That’s like me! (Practice: Celebration)

I love you Dani. (Practice: Self-Love, Connecting with my Inner Child)

I love you Dani-who-I-will-be. (Practice: Self-Love, Connecting with my Future-Self, Recommitment)

I love you [the name of one person whose life touched mine]. (Practice: Active Love)

Thank you [for one thing, or to one person]. (Practice: Gratitude)

I say it like a little mantra.

I’m not only amplifying the celebration, but also practicing several things at once. This is what I call a high-density practice.”

“Do you do this every time you celebrate?”

“No. I say it strategically, when I need it most.”

Games of Gratitude: Gratitude Flooding 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“We’ve talked a while back about the Gratitude Flooding [<link; short length] Game.”

“The one that involves expressing Gratitude for every item in your possession?”

“Yes. That’s one way to go about it. I call it going wide

Another way to go about it is going deep. Taking one thing and branching off from it.

Take a song for instance. You might go something like:

Express Gratitude for the song.
Express Gratitude to the Artist for the song.
Express Gratitude to all the people involved in producing the song.
Express Gratitude for the technology that allows you to listen to the song. (mp3 player, computer, head-phones, speakers, etc.)
Express Gratitude to all the people involved in producing the technology.

Go slowly, and FEEL the Gratitude flooding your heart at every step.

For songs that are particularly meaningful to me, I also evoke in my mind the past instance of me who first listened to the song and say:

I love you Dani-who-I-was. [<link; medium]

Then I evoke in my mind the context of when I first listened to the song, and send Love in the present to all the people involved in that context, even if I can’t remember all the details.”

“Why did you label this one under Design?”

“This is an instance of Experience Design.”

Loving Play

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

The Buddhist virtue of Loving Kindness is interesting because it combines what might be thought of as two distinct values into one.

This is an instance of concept-stacking [<link; short read]. Or, to use a different model, integrating two concepts into one.

What if you integrated the two central values of your life – Love and Play – into one?

What a beautiful idea.

Loving Play

It expresses both my love of Play, and both values together as a monad, a twin value.

You can also express it in reverse:

Playful Love

Equally powerful.

Gratitude Optimization

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize my Gratitude practice?”

Through Contrasting you can amplify its effect.

Whenever you express gratitude for something, you can bring to mind its opposite. For instance, whenever you express gratitude for life, you can bring to mind death. Memento mori.

Another thing you can do is place every object of Gratitude in your life in relation to three fundamental categories:

Be / Be not
Can / Can not
Have / Have not

You can make a list of them. Something like:

– Life
– BodyMind
– Health

– Breathe
– Think
– Feel
– See
– Hear
– Smell
– Taste
– Move
– Create
– Learn
– Appreciate Beauty

– Experiences
– Relationships
– Resources

– Ideas
– Tools
– Teachers

Reading the list can have a powerful effect because it shows an overview of everything you can be grateful for in your life.”

“You placed your BodyMind in the Being not the Having category.”

“It’s one of my axioms of being [<link; medium length]. As I see it, I don’t have a BodyMind; I AM a BodyMind.

The things in the Being category are the most powerful because they enable everything else.

The things in the Being Able To category come second because they enable everything in the third category.

Which is not to say that items in the third category are not important. All of them are.

It’s just a reminder that, whenever you express Gratitude for having something, to also express Gratitude for the things that make you able to enjoy them. To always have in view how they integrate in the Whole.

And, last but not least, you can conceptually connect Gratitude with Love, you can merge the two systems of meaning. You can see expressing Gratitude as an expression of Love.

On Love and Presence

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“Meditation is a practice, so a means to an end. What is its end?”

The skill of Presence.

The skill determines the amount of time you spend in the present moment – how present you are in your own life –, which reflects the level of control over your own mental/emotional processes.”

“So Meditation is the practice of the skill of Presence.”


I also like to think of Meditation as the unit of practice.”

“Why do you keep redrawing the map of the practice?”

“I’m constantly trying to simplify it, to get to the essence of it.”

“What’s the newest insight?”

To practice Presence is to practice Love.

The map of the Presence practice

The practice has two components:

Maintaining your attention on one thing. It can be the breath, or anything else.

The response to your present experience, whatever it is. 

We might call them Loving Attention and Loving Acceptance.”

“What about Kindness and Compassion?”

I see Kindness, Compassion and Gratitude as expressions of Love.

On Gratitude and Templating

The soul becomes dyed with the color of your thoughts. (Marcus Aurelius)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If you were to choose only one thing to be grateful for, what would it be?”

My beautiful BodyMind.

This immensely intricate system of systems is the one that most influences the quality of our life. 

I think a deep appreciation and concern for our BodyMind is the highest expression of Self-Love, which has three components:

– Self-Awareness
– Self-Care
– Self-Mastery

“Then start every Gratitude practice by expressing Gratitude for your beautiful BodyMind.

You’re familiar with the idea of expressing Gratitude for three things. Turn it into a template [<link; medium read].

Fixed part: (Monad, One Thing)
Thank you for my beautiful BodyMind.

Variable part: (Triad)
Thank you for being Alive. [
Memento mori; Contrasting]
Thank you for my computer.
Thank you for the food.

The fixed part of the template you’ll be accessing most frequently, thus making it most present in your mind.
The variable part, less frequently.

And you can use the template with other things as well.”