I am grateful for leaf blowers. Not in spite of, but precisely because of the annoying noise they make. On a recent cool morning I was lucky enough to be sitting on a deep porch overlooking the Old River on Perdido Key in Florida. My coffee in hand I settled into a chair in a half lotus position watching pelicans flying low over the water in their focused hunt for fish. It was a perfect place to meditate listening to the lap of the water below and the call of the birds above.

The Reluctant Alchemist

The Reluctant Alchemist

At that moment someone started a leaf blower across the river. All at once my perfect meditation spot was ruined by the reverberating noise which seemed to obliterate every other sound.

I tried to move back into gratitude and think about the man somewhere across the river from me who was intent on making a living blowing leaves. Bringing my self back, I closed my eyes and tried again. “I hate leaf blowers, I hate leaf blowers, I hate leaf blowers…” repeated in my head.

I thought of giving up and going back inside hoping the sound would be muffled. And then I made a different choice. I closed my eyes and listened for other sounds. Beneath the noise of the wretched machine was the slap of the water against the slim river beach below, from behind a bird whistled and chattered, a conversation echoed between people working at the beach next door, a thudding hammer signaled repairs being made to a dock after a series of hurricanes during the Summer. Laughing at myself I realized that the sound of the leaf blower had forced me to focus on all the other things I could hear and I had to be grateful for it too.

“Transcendence” isn’t a place you get to and stay…it’s something you choose on a moment to moment basis…according to the dictionary, to transcend is to “go beyond limits, to surpass something”. Think of it as a game: you are learning to transcend your own thoughts, irritations, situations. And the great thing is we are given opportunities to practice all day, every day!

1. Transcendence isn’t a destination, it’s a moment to moment choice.

2. Choosing to “move beyond” something like irritation or fear is a practice.

3. Your practice is anytime, anywhere: fearful, irritated, angry? Time to practice!

4. Moving beyond your own thoughts is also a form of transcendence.

5. Engage in non-fruitive action: do things for the sake of doing them, not in pursuit of a goal, do it for fun!

6. Surrender: engage in whatever situations you are given, they are your best teachers and a virtual practice field available every moment of the day.

7. Try not to take it (or yourself) too seriously, think of the whole thing as a big game.

RELATED: Why positive thinking could be holding your back by the authors of Be More Kid

If you type ‘Why positive thinking is good for you’ into your internet browser, links to literally hundreds of articles appear - each telling you why you should think positively and the repercussions if you don’t! But what if positive thinking might actually be holding you back?... to read more click HERE