Wednesday, January 30, 2013

False Advertising...

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

I remember watching television with my sister one evening and a cheese commercial came on the box.
It showed a pristine New Zealand vista, with a small shack on the banks of a lake filled with artisanal style cheese wheels...
It's a lovely image, but it's bullshit.
These are the guys that make our cheese...

I don't want to beat up on cheese, or cheese-makers, or the advertising agency that's trying to convey a particular brand image for their client's product, but as consumers we need to be very aware of the implicit biases that we may build up based upon what's presented to us by the commercial and popular media.
It is extremely easy for repeated images to subtly influence how we act. As we know over 90% of what we do day-to-day is unconscious reaction to stimuli, and those unconscious reactions can be created in response to the messages that we are repeatedly exposed to.
Of course my rant is directed not at cheese or at advertising necessarily, but more-so at the saturation of false messages that we are exposed to with increasing frequency.

I do think that although I'm sure a lot of people will read this post and think "Really Cliff?...What's the big deal?", that if advertising was a little more truthful we may be less likely to indulge in a lot of unnecessary buying, and make healthier choices. I mean if you saw lines of cows being milked and then the milk taken to a huge factory with enormous steel vats and process lines you may be a little less enamoured with the clean, natural image of cheese, or if you walked into McDonald's and the burger in the advert actually looked like the sad and wilted excuse for a sandwich you get over the counter...

We need to cultivate and exercise mindfulness and critical awareness so that we are not steered towards actions, purchases and decisions that are not congruent with our highest values and ethos.
We need to exercise critical awareness so that we are not misled by false, albeit good (and palatable) advertising messages....

~ Blessings

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Conscious Communication and Meditation

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

What is 'conscious communication'?

We all know how to communicate, but few of us really know how to communicate effectively.
As children we learn the method of communication (words, language) but not the ‘style’ of effective communication.
Over the course of our lives we become conditioned by our environment and what we see and hear around us, and predicate our actions (which include our speech) on the beliefs we develop as a result of this conditioning.
Because of this, our actions, speech and overall communication become very reactive. These reactive patterns may be based on insecurities, issues of self-worth, grief, loss and disempowerment and where this is the case, the way we react will not help us to move closer to our highest goals and achieve the life we want to be living.
Conscious communication skills allow us to create more harmonious relationships with those around us by becoming a responsive and compassionate communicator, intstead of a 'reactor'.

What is 'mindfulness meditation'?

Mindfulness is seeing things for what they are. It is being open to what is going on around you, without attachment and without ‘reaction’, moment to breaking moment. It is developing the ‘watcher’ or the ‘observer’ within.
Developing mindfulness is essential to maximise our enjoyment and appreciation of time. If we are not fully in each breaking moment, how can we hope to enjoy it?
It is also essential for realising what is important for our deepest happiness and, on the other hand, what we are doing or trying to possess merely to boost our ego.
Developing mindfulness can be very basic. Meditation has been used for centuries to develop mindfulness. Many eastern (and also western) religions and many schools of philosophy and psychology include mindfulness in some form as either a fundamental goal or tenet.

Conscious Communication and Meditation Classes by Donation

I will be hosting weekly classes focusing the highly effective 'conscious communication' techniques that I teach in my popular 'Conscious Communication' workshops along with the mindfulness meditations that I have used for the last 20 years and that I discuss in Choosing You and Time Rich Cash Optional.
An optional mind-body-spirit discussion will follow the class. 

What's the investment?
Cost - By donation. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013                      19:00 until 20:30
Ascension Health
7 Ascension Place, Rosedale, Auckland

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Gratefulness Exercise

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

First thing upon waking (or immediately after your morning meditation) lie in bed and think of all the things you are grateful for. 
Simply allow these to come up and you will find in a short time there are images, words, feelings and emotions flooding your mind and body. 
As each image or feeling arises give heart felt thanks for having that person, thing or experience in your life. 
Open your heart to these wonderful blessings that you have and be truly deeply grateful. 
Do this exercise for as long as is appropriate for you. As little as 5min can ste the tone for a wonderful day of love and light! 

~ Blessings,