Posts tagged with “being present”

Does More Money Mean More Happiness?

Is having more money an important goal in your life? Do you think that more money will bring more happiness? True, it’s cliché to say that money doesn’t buy you happiness. However, a wealth of recent studies seem to back up that assertion. More importantly, it’s clear that there’s something even more valuable than money when it comes to really enjoying your life.

We’ve all heard stories of lottery winners who are no happier after winning than before. In one surprising study they were happy on a par with accident victims who had been paralyzed. Other studies have shown that above a level of family income required to provide for needs, gains in income don’t equate to gains in happiness.

In fact, it seems that people routinely miscalculate what will make them happy. Events such as vacations, holidays, moving to California, having kids, and getting a raise are just as likely to leave you with the same amount of happiness or even less.

One surprising study showed that higher levels of wealth can lead to a lower ability to savor life experiences. Could it be that “having more stuff” can become clutter that leads to more and more headaches and hassles and less and less time and energy put into enjoying the experiences that give us the most pleasure?

So, what is more important than money when it comes to happiness?

The key to happiness seems to be how we engage in the experiences we are having. The moments we end up cherishing most are the ones that stand out as vivid, meaningful, savored, shared, and remembered. What if those attributes became the measuring stick we used in deciding what to put our time and energy into?

Would we still work 60-80 hours per week just for the money or for that promotion? Would we still engage in work that drained our vitality and left us longing for the weekend? Would we plan our days like one big “To Do List” rushing from one event to the next? Would we still enroll our kids in so many activities that they are just as stressed out as we are? Would we really think it was worth it to move this fast and be this busy?

What if happiness really does depend on savoring the moment and engaging in moments worth savoring? What if being able to do that meant refining our senses and our sensibilities to better appreciate what is happening now? What if our lives are happier the more we are able to be present, engaged, mindful, and grateful?

The truth is that money is neutral—neither good or bad. It’s a means of exchange, pure and simple. It’s the way we accomplish our economic exchanges that matter more for our happiness.

So, is your work meaningful to you? Does it contribute something good to others and the world? Do you do it in a way that creates vivid, meaningful, savored, shared moments worth remembering?

What if those qualities guided how you related to all the precious moments of your life? How might that affect the choices you make?

Enjoy your practice,


Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. This week on Spiritual Growth Monthly, we’re practicing a simple, 4-step technique that empowers you to start the day being present, feeling great, and focusing on what is most important to you. Click here to check it out.

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Discovering a Deeper Reserve of Energy and Calm

At the end of last week, I was tapped out. I felt like I’d given everything I had, yet still had more to do. Though the weekend was coming, that too was filled with a nice-sized TO DO List. So, approaching the Qigong Meditation class that I teach every Friday afternoon felt a bit daunting. How would I summon up the energy to give a good class? What I didn’t know was that I would discover the answer in that very class.

Fortunately, I’ve taught this class for years, so I trust the practice and my ability to lead it. Usually, I begin with a little talk on some pertinent insight related to what we are about to do. However, this day, as I contemplated what to say, the words in my head were: “I got nothing.”

O.K. I’d really have to trust the practice today. I decided to dispense with the intro talk and just dive into it. I would let go, be present with what we were doing, and feel it “live” in the moment. I would “get out of the way,” which would be easy because I had no energy to be “in the way” or “take control” of how the class would go.

As I let go of trying at all, and just sunk into feeling the inner cues that begin our practice, I felt a “deep resonance” in my voice that I didn’t expect. Honestly, I felt a little relieved to find that quality there without any effort of “trying” on my part. I followed that feeling and continued through the form, keeping my internal focus on being present, feeling what was happening, and allowing that to come through my voice.

As we went along, I could feel the energy in the room getting very quiet and deeply relaxed. I found myself naturally expressing what was going on using some words I hadn’t used in that class before such as “Feel yourself as a simple presence with nothing else attached.”

At the end of class, we go around the room and I invite our class members to describe, “How did that feel today?” There was a general consensus that the room felt “very quiet” today, as if we had left the world and gone to a peaceful oasis. While I am well familiar with that feeling and relax into it as a daily practice, it was particularly deep and stayed with me particularly strongly the rest of that day—and I still feel it on this Monday.

So, that is my message for you today. In whatever you are doing, see if there might be something in this for you:

Let go of trying too hard.

Relax, trust, and let things come to you.

Be present with what is happening—

and be open to a deeper energy and calm

moving through you and leading the way.”

Enjoy your practice,


Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. Click here to discover more about the quiet power of Qigong Meditation.

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How to Release Stress and Frustration Instantly!

Last week, we explored the fact that personal change is simply recognizing your current habits, acknowledging that they are just habits which can be changed and not character traits fixed in stone, and then practicing what you would rather be doing instead.

As Thomas Sterner says in The Practicing Mind:

“With deliberate and repeated effort progress is inevitable.” (p. 94)

Today, let’s talk about the state of mind or quality of attention that will shift your perspective immediately—present-moment engagement in what you are doing.

We are trained from an early age to be focused on results and rewards that are “out there” somewhere in the future. We think that when we get “there” or “achieve that,” then we’ll be happy. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. If and when we get “there,” we simply project some other idea out in front of us and chase after that. That’s a habit we’re trained to follow.

Obsessive focus on future results also takes us out of present enjoyment and hampers the progress of actually getting what we desire because we hold onto an ideal of what “should” be happening. We get frustrated and stressed because we hold onto an imaginary idea of what we should be, do, or have and/or how fast and perfectly we should be progressing. This is a recipe for self-criticism and poor results.

Instead, the mindset that will reduce your stress and frustration while actually improving your enjoyment and results is being consciously engaged in what you are doing at the moment.

What does that mean?

It means “being present” in what you are doing. You do this by slowing things down, simplifying what you are doing down to one thing, and intently focusing exclusively on that one thing at a time.

That doesn’t mean that you forget about results. Results are in the background, on your mental horizon, invisibly guiding the process. Yet paying attention to the details of what you are doing right now is how you get “there” most enjoyably and effectively. You focus on the quality of what you are actually doing instead of on some idea of how it should be going. This instantly relieves stress and frustration.

Periodically step back and observe if what you are doing is headed in the right direction, make adjustments, and then get back to paying attention to exactly what you are doing in the moment. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Be very present in it. Then, observe what works and what doesn’t, as objectively as possible, without self-criticism. Adjust your present actions accordingly. And return to engaging in what you are doing with full present-moment attention.

Enjoy your practice!


Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. The Power of Practice Program guides you in how to engage in present-moment daily practices in every area of your life. Click here to learn more.

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