During the start of his career as an entrepreneur, Nate Rifkin found himself severely in debt with a daily drinking habit. As he contemplated his life and the business mistakes he had made, Rifkin decided that he needed to look inward to find a solution for his self-sabotaging behavior. It was at this time that he discovered the ancient practice of standing meditation. Rifkin believes that his businesses suffered when he projected his internal issues onto them. By practicing this simple meditation, he was able to change his life and overcome the troubles that had befallen him.
Now, he uses the practice of standing meditation to help others in their quest for success and happiness. In addition, he aims to spread awareness about his discovery to prevent entrepreneurs from making the same mistakes he did.
Fortunately, Rifkin was kind enough to sit with us and talk about his experiences and offer our readers advice on dealing with their internal turmoil and stress as entrepreneurs.
Focus on the Inner Work
Before Rifkin started standing meditation, he was in a pretty bad place. As he puts it, "I had to crawl through my own personal hell to do the inner work to get my entrepreneurial life together."
Rifkin believes that one of the most critical aspects of standing meditation is that it forces its practitioner to focus on what's going on inside. It's a practice that helps you look inside and find an answer to whatever problems you face. By focusing inward, he believes everyone can achieve success as an entrepreneur.
So how exactly are you supposed to start? First, take a look at your ingrained patterns and realize what is causing you to implode with self-doubt and negative inner dialogue. Next, begin to focus on the root of it all. Once you have created a system where you can do this, you can start practicing standing meditation.
Rifkin believes that it’s important not to slip back into any old patterns after you try to change them. He says that many entrepreneurs fail because they aren't willing to recognize their own stubbornness and its effect on their lives. Instead, Rifkin encourages entrepreneurs to recognize these patterns and embrace healing themselves as a tangible way to change themselves for the better.
Restore Your Factory Settings
According to Rifkin, once you have taken steps to do your inner work, you can reset your brain and thought patterns. Doing this enables you to eliminate the built-up emotional protections and unhelpful self-protection mechanisms that alter our decision-making. When we open ourselves back up, we reinstate the openness that we exhibit as children. When we reach this uninfluenced state, we dissolve all our preconceived notions and inner trauma.
Rifkin states, "I honestly think we're born as super entrepreneurs ... As we grow up, we acquire patterns that are meant to help us survive emotional trauma at a younger age. However, they don't serve us anymore."
Is it Like Sitting Meditation?
Standing meditation is quite different from sitting meditation. As implied in the name, the main difference is that when you do standing meditation, you are on your feet and positioning yourself in a certain way to open up specific channels within your body. This practice is based on the idea that these energy channels in your body need to be open for you to function optimally.
You can think of it as a way to recharge your brain and body by bringing in fresh energy. When you become blocked, you will no longer feel the energy flowing through your body or around it. You will then find yourself dealing with issues such as self-doubt, negativity, and all sorts of other mental blocks.
Standing meditation also differs from sitting meditation because of its focus on self-healing and finding ways to release trauma and stress.
How Does it Work?
As Rifkin puts it, "the way in which you stand is like giving yourself an acupuncture treatment." When you stand a certain way, you open up your energy channels and allow energy to flow through and affect your embryonic stem cells and their behavior.
The practice of standing meditation is incredibly simple. It's something that anyone can do at home, in the morning or the evening, and doesn't require any special equipment or training to get started. You simply need to find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed.
It will be best to stand with your bare feet on the ground and make sure that you're in a place where there is fresh air. Then, take a few minutes to focus on your breathing and how the energy flows through your body.
To position yourself, Rifkin says to act like you're sitting on a barstool that's too tall. As he describes it, "it's like you're riding an invisible horse in place." Once you position your legs, extend your arms like you're "holding an imaginary beach ball in front of you." Rifkin believes that this stance makes standing meditation much more dynamic and helps you open your meridians to resolve old trauma.
If you would like a visual demonstration of this practice, watch the video below for more information.
Escalate Your Resilience
According to Rifkin, standing meditation can be quite emotionally and physically challenging. It's a practice that will allow you to access old traumas and experiences. Standing meditation is not meant to be easy, as it will enable us to push past our existing boundaries and limitations. For this technique to be effective, you need to make your body release tension.
Even though you are pushing your body, you also must teach yourself how to relax simultaneously. As you do this, emotions may bubble up, and you may discover that you are dealing with anxiety or other emotional symptoms. Rifkin states, "When the anger or anxiety bubbles up, you have to keep breathing deeply and face it directly."
Once you start to experience these complex emotions and physical sensations, you must stick with what you're doing and follow through. The key here is to keep practicing this technique every day and push through the challenges. Recalling his own experience doing this, Rifkin says, "All of this for me was tremendously useful in facing mental, emotional, and physical challenges in the rest of my life."
Once you master your positioning and stance, you can let your mind focus on relaxing different parts of your body to reduce any noticed tension.
Overcoming Your Inner Critic
As an entrepreneur, Rifkin has experienced his share of self-doubt. Using standing meditation, he was able to release this mental block and pave the way for new ideas to surface. However, it took some work to get to this point. When asked about how to help overcome that negative voice in your head, Rifkin says, "You have to trick that voice into helping you. What I do is give it a directed task." According to him, our brains are constantly looking for a task or puzzle to solve. By giving your mind a job to do, it can focus its attention elsewhere. He says that you can do this by focusing on what your breath feels like or where tension is in your body.
Rifkin says that you can also ask yourself questions like:
Am I still breathing deeply?
Can I take deeper breaths?
What do I feel within my body?
What do I feel within my mind?
Working through these questions and focusing on what comes up will help you relax and get focused. Once you give your mind a job to do, it moves away from the constant chatter in your head.
If you're still distracted by your thoughts, Rifkin suggests deeply breathing and focusing on relaxing your tissues.
Instilling the Habit of Standing Meditation
If you want to make this technique a habit, Rifkin recommends dedicating a particular part of your day to your practice. When he first started, Rifkin chose to do his standing meditation right as he began his day. Rifkin describes his routine, "I started with just sixty seconds and actually used a timer. As time went on, I added five seconds per day."
By starting small, you give yourself a better chance of sticking to your routine on a daily basis. When recalling his standing meditation journey, Rifkin stated that slowly adding a few seconds each day helped build the confidence he needed to continue. As a result, he noticed his physical and emotional ability improve. In addition, it helped him make the habit and internally ingrain it as part of his identity.
In fact, Rifkin started to feel so good that he quit drinking alcohol during the morning and began to change his mindset about himself.
If you have trouble implementing new habits into your daily schedule, he recommends sandwiching your standing meditation between two practices that you already complete every day, like taking a shower or brushing your teeth. You can also try it at the end of every workday.
When Your Emotions Bubble Up
Rifkin wants everyone to remember that starting a standing meditation routine will be a process that makes your emotions bubble up, which is a good thing. Once they are more visible, you can figure out what's causing them and how to find a resolution. Regarding the influx of emotions, Rifkin states, "It'll come up in layers, which is good because it makes it more manageable."
However, it's important to remember that often, trauma comes in layers, so if you feel like you're dealing with the same issue constantly, it's because you have not yet reached the deeper layers of trauma that are bothering you.
If you have a lot of traumas and you need to decompress, he suggests using multiple modalities to work through your inner stressors. Work with a therapist or talk with a friend to process everything and sort it out as your trauma comes up. Rifkin states, "For 99.99% of us, our worst trauma happened in the presence of another human being. So, working with someone is not just helpful; it's essential to get over that trauma because you're finally able to normalize working through it with a supportive human being in your presence, so it's like you're rewriting the tape."
When considering whether you should talk with a therapist or a friend, consider the pros and cons of each option. When we choose our friends, they can be similar to us and reinforce some of our negative thought patterns. However, our friends also enable us to have very freeing and open conversations about ourselves. If you are thinking about talking to a therapist, remember that they can provide you with many tools that can help your emotional and mental development. However, make sure that you find the right fit for you and feel comfortable having complex discussions with them.
Five Tips for a Successful Practice
Rifkin left us with five tips on how to start and make your practice your own regarding standing meditation.
1. Place your left hand on your belly and your hand on your chest.
By doing this, you program yourself to breathe in a more helpful way that helps reduce cortisol and other stress-related functions in your body. This will help you alleviate some of your trauma and emotional weight. Rifkin states, "the default for most people is to breathe into their chest, which signals panic and danger." So, by switching the way you breathe, you change the signals you are sending to your body and brain.
2. Sit properly.
When you're sitting, make sure that your spine is always upright so that you don't create unnecessary muscular tension. If you sit unevenly, this added tension will deepen your already existing tension. When you relax your muscles, it's easier for you to enter a meditative state and relax your tissues. By doing this, your creativity will soar as an entrepreneur because you will become looser and more open.
3. Redirect your mind to your body when stressed.
According to Rifkin, if you get stressed out at work, your negative thoughts can multiply and occupy too much space in your mind. To mitigate this, you can start practicing deep breathing instead of fighting the negative thoughts in your head. Redirect your thoughts to focus on your breath, and you will soon lose all those negative distractions bouncing around in your mind.
4. Choose an exclusive time slot to practice standing meditation.
Since standing meditation requires focus, it's helpful to choose one time every day to focus on your breathing. Pick times where you can find 10-20 minutes of peace and quiet to do this practice without having any distractions. Make sure that you practice daily and learn how to incorporate it into your life.
Rifkin believes that this tip is crucial because it makes us battle our ingrained thought patterns that occur throughout the day. He states, "these are patterns that are usually built unconsciously, and they're keeping us stressed."
5. Remember that if you're having a rough day, it will pass.
Tomorrow will always come and be different, so don't get too lost in focus if you're not having a great day. The same goes if you're having a fantastic day. Remember that days are just fleeting moments in life and that nothing, bad or good, lasts forever. Rifkin states, "It's not about the day-to-day, it’s about years. What's going to come? What are you going to accomplish over the years?"
You must be able to adapt and think of the bigger picture. We often forget that this moment is a small piece in the grand scheme of things.
Avoiding Passing Tension to Your Kids
If you're reading this and reflecting on those sour moments in your past, you may be wondering how you can avoid instilling this trauma in your children. Rifkin says that the number one thing that you can do is work on being a good person. You can't control everything your kids will experience, but you can decide what type of person you want to be. Rifkin states, "You as a person are going to have a much bigger impact on your children than what you say to them."
If you improve yourself and make the world a better place, your kids will follow suit. If you're constantly looking inward and trying to improve yourself, you are already making a difference in the world and the eyes of others, including your kids.
Be Available but Don't Hover
Rifkin’s story is empowering for entrepreneurs. If he can achieve so much after filing bankruptcy, you can do the same with your life too. First, however, we must remember that our past is not our present or future and that moments pass by quickly. When Rifkin was going through his tough times, he had thoughts about his future involving failure. We all have those thoughts, but we must remember that our future is unwritten, and anything can happen. The present moment isn't as damaging as your mind makes it out to be. With the right mindset and practices with standing meditation, you will rise from the ashes just like Nate Rifkin did. He transformed himself into a highly successful entrepreneur and is here to help you do the sam