Keep It Simple Meditation

This week we learn a helpful technique from Chogyam Trungpa on how to meditate while doing things that would seem trivial…

If you pour a cup of tea, you are aware of extending your arm and touching your hand to the teapot, lifting it and pouring the water.

Finally the water touches your teacup and fills it, and you stop pouring and put the teapot down precisely, as in the Japanese tea ceremony. You become aware that each precise movement has dignity.

We have long forgotten that activities can be simple and precise. Every act of our lives can contain simplicity and precision and thus can have tremendous beauty and dignity.

During the next week, as often as possible, slow down and become mindful and conscious of what you’re doing, no matter how trivial. You’ll be stunned at the meaning and beauty to be found in an act as simple as sharpening a pencil.

Until next Monday, meditate every day and let it all go.

How to Stay Focused with the “Five More” Technique

Today I’d like to tell you how to stay focused with The “Five More” Technique.

I learned this simple yet very powerful tip from self-help guru Sam Horn. Here it is in a nutshell:

The next time you’re about to get off task,
say mentally or aloud to yourself, “Just Five More.”

What does this mean?

Ah, come on. It’s simple.

Continue to work for five more minutes on whatever you’re working on.

Jog for five more minutes if you’re getting your daily exercise.

Write five more sentences if you’re bogged down composing a blog entry.

It’s that simple, and this technique works because it builds persistence.

So every time you’re about to get unfocused or about to give up on something, just Do Five More, okay?

Don’t Have Time to Meditate?

For today’s meditation, let’s approach things a little differently by examining a comment by Jack London, author of “Call of the Wild, “Sea Wolf,” and many other fine novels and short stories. London correctly observes…

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

We’re looking at this rather aggressive comment today because there are so many people who don’t spend a few minutes focusing on their breathing at least once every day because they feel they don’t have time to meditate.

Well, make time, by golly.

As Jack London so correctly observes, you have to go after what you want in life. He says to do it with a club, which is a bit much for me, but I agree that to get what you want in life (even if your goal is to eventually want nothing at all), you have to act.

You won’t get what you want (or what you don’t want) by complaining that you don’t have time.

So get up twenty minutes earlier, go to bed twenty minutes later, or turn off the darn boob tube for twenty minutes every evening and make meditation a daily part of your life!

Do it.

Do it today!

Seriously, you can make time for meditation, no matter how busy your schedule. Just be creative and carve out 20 to 30 minutes each day to get in touch with yourself.

After a month of daily meditation, I guarantee you’ll join me in considering your meditation minutes the best and most productive time you spend each day.

That’s it. No more harping or yelling from me on this topic for at least six months.

Two Wake Up Tips

This week I’m sharing two easy but very useful tips you can use to shake off the sleepy blues and pop out of bed happy and alert.

I don’t know if you realized this or not, but the human mind can get so used to certain sounds that you’ll no longer even be aware of them.

With that fact in hand, you can now see why it’s so easy to sleep through or even ignore the familiar ring of an alarm clock you’ve had for years.

So, for the first tip for waking up refreshed, buy at least two more alarm clocks and then switch between them every week.

Even better, purchase one of the new digital alarm units that feature sounds from nature, as well as music.

Sounds that differ from what you hear every day are going to wake you up much better than hearing the same awful buzz most mornings of your life!

The second tip you’re probably familiar with, though you also probably never do it.

Try this tip because it works…

After you drag yourself out of that warm bed, jump start your body by moving it.

That’s right… move.

You don’t have to drop to the floor for twenty push-ups, either.

Instead, stand by your bed and start swinging your arms up and down and then in circular motions.

Wiggle your torso.

Lift those legs up and down a few times.

You’ll be stunned at how well this technique works, even when you think you’re exhausted from not getting enough sleep the night before.

And those, Dear Reader, are the two “wake up refreshed tips” I have for you today.

A Lao-Tzu Meditation

For today’s meditation, we turn east to Lao-Tzu, who tells us…

A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

Most of us during these crazed Covid days are easily injured or even broken because we don’t bend the way we should.

For this week’s meditation, breathe in, hold for a few seconds, relax and breathe out and let go. Repeat several times until you feel your awareness shift into a more peaceful space.

Now, breathe in a tree whose branches are covered with ice. The limbs are bent so dramatically, it’s hard to believe the very tree itself doesn’t topple over to the earth.

But, instead, the limbs bend, they bend gracefully and painlessly and carry the weight of the ice until it melts in the afternoon sun.

The tree, unburdened of its limbs encrusted with heavy ice, once again stands tall and at peace.


Bent, unbent, never broken.

It’s that easy.

Just breathe in the bending, hold, relax and let go.

Ahhh, peace!

The Pickle Juice Cold and Flu Remedy

A reader of one of my newsletters wrote me the following letter in the winter of 2003:

Chet, I haven’t had the flu, or even a cold, in 30 years because I consume two tablespoons of cold dill pickle juice each morning when I get up.A doctor told me to do that 30 years ago. I haven’t had any problems since I started the daily ritual.

Well, this is the kind of simple, elegant, natural cold and flu remedy that I enjoy sharing with people, so I hope you’ll add two tablespoons of dill pickle juice to your morning routine in the near future.

I also hope you have the same experience as my reader and spend the next 30 years without a cold or flu.

While researching this home remedy on the Internet, I learned that people also use dill pickle juice for upset stomach, and, interestingly enough, hangovers. So this might be a good addition to your health routine, especially if you’re still drinking alcohol.

The Pickle Juice Cold and Flu Remedy is said to be an excellent treatment for early onset of a cold or flu, and works even better when used in combination with other common natural remedies.

Here’s to staying healthy with natural remedies for summer colds and winter flu.

Stereo Espresso – a Wake-up Fast MP3

Is getting up in the morning Hell for you?

Well, if it is my StereoEspresso MP3 is a wake-up tool you’ll never want to be without.

If you’re living in our awful Modern Times (and if you aren’t, you’re either dead or in a position to not have to get up in the morning anyway) and count yourself as the average overworked, over-stressed man or woman, getting started in the morning is torture.

For instance, your alarm goes off and you can’t believe it’s already time to get up because you’re as exhausted as a hung-over grad student who stayed up all night to finish a paper.

So what do you do?

If you’re like the average Joe or Jane, you stumble to the kitchen to pour the day’s first of many cups of coffee.

You may even have an espresso machine.

And I also bet you’ve set the autotimer on your caffeine machine to have hot brew ready and waiting for you as soon as you get out of bed every morning.

Then you swallow that dark, stimulant-laden beverage — either loaded with sugar for an extra energy boost or black as coal if you really need to jump-start your body.

After a shower and another cup of Java — sipping that one on your drive to work, am I right? — you eventually start feeling like you may be awake enough to survive to the first coffee break.

You know as well as I do that the above routine is NOT a healthy way to start your day and to live your life.

Well, my free StereoEspresso MP3 is going to help you wake up every morning without the jitters and bad breath associated with coffee and caffeine.

Here’s one good way to use this amazing audio tool:

Program your bedroom MP3 player to blast this track to coincide with your alarm clock. You’ll have jacked the volume the night before, and, boom, you’ll burst wide awake to a fun, uplifting tune that’s layered with powerful brainwave entrainment technology.

This MP uses audio technology that stimulates beta brainwave activity, which is associated with improved emotional stability, as well as productive energy levels, attentiveness, and concentration.

Click here to download a zip file containing use instructions and this ABSOLUTELY FREE and powerful MP3.

How to Stop Farting with Sequential Eating

Do you suffer from gas or fart like there’s no tomorrow?

Does your tummy bubble and groan, tumble and moan every time you sit down to eat?

Do you pop a Rolaids or Tums after half your meals?

If any of the above apply to you, then you’re one of millions of other human beings who aren’t properly digesting their foods.

If you’ve plagued by digestive problems, today’s your chance to try sequential eating, a technique I learned from the late Dr. Stanley Bass more than twenty years ago.

This sequential eating technique may sound weird, but it works beautifully for a lot of folks.

Here’s what you need to do to eat sequentially

Instead of eating a forkload of beans and then a forkload of potatoes and then a forkload of salmon, eat all of one food first and then go on to the next item on your plate.

For this to work properly, you MUST eat the least dense food first and the most dense last.

For example, say your dinner consists of salad, green beans, boiled red potatoes, and salmon. (We’ll ignore the fact that this is a bad combination and that for best digestion starches and proteins shouldn’t be eaten at the same meal at all.)

To practice sequential eating, you’d eat all of each item in this order:

Eat all the salad.
Eat all the green beans.
Eat all the potatoes.
Eat all the salmon.

If anyone happens to comment on how you’re eating, just tell them your doctor told you to do it and then they’ll leave you alone.

To repeat the key principle:

You MUST eat the least dense food first and the most dense last.

I had one man write and tell me his 50+ year indigestion problems resolved in two days after he started practicing sequential eating.

Try sequential eating. I’m betting your farting days will be a thing of the past.

How to Overcome Fear

For this week’s meditation we turn to my favorite Greek writer, Nikos Kazantzakis, who reveals…

I fear nothing. I hope for nothing, I am free.

Wow, that says it all, doesn’t it?

I mean, seriously, most (if not all) the problems that plague each of us as human beings come from fearing something or hoping for something.

Well, for the next seven days, try this meditation to let go of both fear and hope…

To begin, take several long, slow deep breaths until you’re clear and still.

Once you’re focused, breathe in something that you’re afraid of. During the still pause between the in-breath and the out-breath, notice the nasty feeling in your body as your fearful thought reveals its power in you.

Now, as you start to slowly exhale, let go of that fearful thought. Just breathe it out slowly. As you’re breathing out and letting go, you’ll notice a feeling of bliss has replaced the icky feeling of fear.

If several things are causing you fear, repeat the exercise with each one.

Work with fear today.

Tomorrow, repeat the exercise but instead of fear, breathe in something you’re hoping for. Hold the hoped for thought for a second and note the feeling. Exhale slowly and totally release whatever it is you were hoping for.

As you’re breathing out, you’ll again notice a feeling of bliss.

Wow, fear and hope both shackle us.

Let go of what you fear as well as what you hope for, and, guess what?

You’re free!

In Memory of Maggie

(I wrote this piece about one of my favorite canine companions in late November of 1999, almost exactly twenty years before my beloved wife Ellen passed away.)

One hot afternoon in the late summer of 1999 before I became self-employed, I stepped outside the building where I worked at the time to get some fresh but humid air in my lungs after a long stretch of being hunched over a computer keyboard.

Curled up in a nasty, dirty ball of old white fur at one side of the double doors of the back end of the building was one of the sorriest-looking dogs I’d seen in my 51 years on this planet.

I have lousy vision, but I didn’t even have to squint through my coke-bottle lenses to see more fleas hopping on that old dog than kids at Disney World. I suspect the fleas were having a better time, too, because they didn’t have to stand in line for a ride or for something to eat.

I have to confess something before getting further into this story.

Although our house is always full of pets, I’m not the world’s greatest animal lover.

Yes, I tend to get attached to them when they end up living with us, but I usually go out of my way to not add to our always over-crowded shelter for homeless critters.

On the other hand, my wife Ellen is an animal magnet who attracts stray cats and dogs the way succulent buds attract bees. For her, we could always find room and food for one more guest.

Before we had kids, at one point in our marriage, Ellen fed, counseled, and cared for eleven different stray cats, three of whom eventually made the cut and remained as in-house pets, one of which we still have. Her name is Daisy, and she’s neurotic, and that’s another story.

So, anyway, there I am, squatting in front of this smelly old pile of white fur, trying to decide if I should poke through the fleas to see if anything was still living amidst the bones.

I’m thinking at the time, “Chet, if it’s alive you’re going to have to take it home to Ellen. And if you do that, you’re going to have two stray dogs at Casa Day as well as two live-in stray cats as well as the neighborhood felines and canines that park outside the house all day and half the night. Do you really want to complicate your life even more?”

I sighed, gave into the inevitable, and poked the pile of fur.

Lo and behold, from somewhere inside the mess a body and face uncurled, with dark black eyes clouded with cataracts. Old white terrier ears perked up, and an old dog cocked her head and melted my heart.

Thus did I meet Maggie, and I immediately named her Old Dog.

Inquiring around the building I learned Old Dog had been hanging around for days and that a couple of people had been feeding her and giving her water. Everyone believed her to be between owners. “You better give her a home,” someone advised, “before she disappears. Stray dogs have a way of disappearing around this neighborhood.”

I understand that’s a problem in parts of China, too, where dog is considered a delicacy. Tastes like chicken, I’m told, though I don’t know this to be a fact. But that’s another story too.

Anyway, realizing I was letting myself in for yet another animal adventure that I could probably just as well do without, I bundled Old Dog in my arms and carried her to my car.

Hauling that mutt, I looked like Pig Pen with dirt and fleas falling off me all over the place.

I mean, seriously, if we’d had access to her permanent record, we would have discovered that Old Dog had been given her last bath in 1993.

So I brought Old Dog home and after setting fire to the car to clean out the fleas and germs, I carried her to the back yard and plopped her down by the hose.

She kind of grinned, though it wasn’t a pretty sight, what with all the missing teeth and yellow stumps and bad breath.

I gave Old Dog three shampooings and rinses in a row.

I had to scoop a mound of dead fleas out of the way to work on her paws, but I finally got her cleaned up and more-or-less presentable.

She’d been on such a bad diet for so long her fur felt like brillo pads.

Even cleaned up, Old Dog didn’t have much going for her.

She could barely walk, she was just about blind from cataracts, and she was deaf as a dumpster. If you weren’t standing right in front of her, you just couldn’t get her attention unless you clapped your hands as hard as you could. Then she’d eventually turn around, though sometimes it took seven or eight minutes.

My wife took to Old Dog like hot pepper sauce takes to red beans and rice, and she promptly informed me her name would be Maggie.

As those married for more than 25 years are apt to do, we argued about names for four days before I finally capitulated.

And that’s how Old Dog became Maggie.

We really didn’t think Maggie would survive more than a couple of days. She was starving, she was half blind, she was totally deaf, and her back legs gave way under her more often than not, and she’d fall over and then pick herself back up.

But we put her on a healthy diet with plenty of love, super green drinks, probiotics, and digestive enzymes, and, happily, over the next couple of weeks she came back to life. The vet figured she was anywhere from 16 to 109 years of age.

Well, Maggie turned out to be some kind of dog. Even though she slept 22 or 23 out of every 24 hours, when she was awake, she was a joy to behold.

I remember taking her outside to do her business during cold winter mornings. She’d perk up those old terrier ears of hers and then she’d suddenly flash on a memory of her youth, and those back legs would start pumping, both kicking backward at the same time, and she’d race the length of the driveway before stopping to rest.

It sounds nuts, but Maggie was so graceful during those bursts of speed she reminded me of Secretariat, the most beautiful racing horse in my memory palace.

I remember how she’d drive the cats crazy, how she loved to sneak into the kitchen to eat neurotic Daisy’s food all the time. It drove Daisy so batty she took to peeing on the bookcases for awhile, but that’s another story too.

I remember how Maggie always wanted to sleep on one part of the couch if any of us were down in the den watching the idiot box. On rare occasions she’d get up and stretch and walk over and crawl into my lap. Petting Maggie was like stroking a porcupine. Even adding a good oil with plenty of essential fatty acids to her diet, we never did soften down her dried up fur.

I remember how Maggie would clatter with old terrier feet on the kitchen floor when she felt good, and how she’d kind of drag herself up the stairs, suffering in silence, when she was having a bad spell.

Maggie could sneeze like a champion, and my sons nicknamed her Sonic Sneeze, and we called her that sometimes when my wife wasn’t listening.

I remember how she’d do everything but leap over the car to get in with us if we were going somewhere.

Gosh, I can remember almost everything about Maggie’s year with us, and that amazes me since now that I’m hunkered down in middle age half the time I can’t even recall my zip code.

But today, most vividly, I remember two Fridays ago when I came home to learn Maggie had been hit by a car when she was sniffing in the street in front of our house.

Two Fridays ago I found Maggie where my wife had put her in the backyard.

There she was, as still as cold stone, and still one of the sorriest-looking dogs I had ever seen.

She was dead, and I broke down and bawled like a baby.

I couldn’t touch her at that point.

I had to walk around the house a couple of times, choking off tears and letting tears flow.

I eventually made it to the garage and pulled out the shovels and went to the woods behind our house and dug her a good grave, with hard, square edges, just as symmetrical as could be.

I wrapped my old dog in a couple of towels and put her in a cardboard box, and lowered her in the hole, and covered the hole with earth and leaves.

I stood over her grave and cried some more and finally managed to speak my heart to her when I said, “Gosh, you were a good old dog, and I’m going to miss you a lot.”

Then I closed off my tears before going into the house to try to do the things we all must do when death comes to visit.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and I still miss Maggie a lot, and I know I always will.

Oh sure, talking about her helps layer over some of the grief, and meditating and accepting her death helps some, and praying helps some, and writing about her helps some. But, you know, so far the only consolation that really helps is that I expect to meet Maggie again when I pass on.

On that happy day she’ll gallop toward me, her back feet kicking at the same time like Secretariat in his prime, and Maggie, an old dog no more, will leap into my arms, almost knocking me over with the joy of our reunion.

What a grand old time we’ll have on that day.