Posts Tagged ‘Desire’

Updated: 3 tools for calming the nervous system



I know of three ways of depleting cortisol and adrenaline.

First is our diet, what we eat and how much body fat around our belly is influenced by our cortisol levels. Certain foods help deplete cortisol.

Second tool is Slowing the breath, focusing intently, activates our parasympathetic nervous system, applies the brakes.

This calms us, settles us down and lowers cortisol and adrenaline. It’s called meditation, it has many variations.

The third way is purely physical, aerobic exercise works like a charm.

Aerobic exercise to near failure works like a miracle. Start slow and adapt, then build up so you can exert maximum energy.

We have to want to heal more than any desire we entertain. I have never read that in any psychology book.

Therapy and my two therapists, one in San Diego then another in Eugene , helped me on my journey. I was encouraged to explore and try new things outside therapy.

Aerobic exercise and meditation were my two most valuable skills. Being a former pro jock, aerobic exercise was easy for me.

All my friends doubted I could ever meditate, I was always amped up, excitable and kind of high strung.

Do not let other people’s judgments rule our behavior. We get lost and run over by others because we are different, stay strong and try like hell in the face of worry and doubt.

I laughed at my friends, you think focusing on the spin of a baseball while hitting with 25,000 screaming fans can not be turned internally.

For a jock, being told we can not do something, is not something you want to bet against.

When my mind was frozen from trauma, my legs could still move and my willpower drove me to exhaustion.

Mechanically I can calm my body completely down.

We can not separate our mind from our body, they work as one.

There are many skills or tools we can learn to improve.

Yesterday, I started hiking to exhaustion again.

It’s half mental and half physical. It builds willpower.

How bad do you want to heal?

What is your level of commitment, are you in a little, a medium involvement or are you all in.

Intensity is a necessity for optimum results.



Desires wane as Ptsd matures




Desires wane as Ptsd matures.

Avoidance is a major symptom, we avoid at different levels.

My mental ability to navigate triggers successfully, determines life.

I have carved out a space where I can handle most of my triggers. The rest I avoid like the plague.

My mind brings enough intrusive thoughts at rest.

Certain places and people are dangerous for my emotional well-being.

My mind erupts, anticipation (worry, doubt, fear) of being in danger supercharges my PTSD.

Nothing is gained when our trauma explodes like this.

There is a heavy price to be paid if I trigger some of my scariest hidden compartments.

Desire to do some things will never be the same, other things we will never risk trying again.

After a decade of healing and suffering, this is what remains.

This is a map of my PTSD inside.

It is a balancing act and mine is way out of whack.

Trusting people or even wanting to be around them has waned.

How many things you once desired have you avoided with Ptsd?

Remember, desire and happiness are not companions.

More desire only brings more desire, not satisfaction, not happiness, nothing good.



The ebb and flow of desire


Let’s explore the ebb and flow of desire, and the expected satisfaction to follow.

Does satisfaction ever meet desires promise?

Let’s take a look at a five-star buffet. Food is a good testing ground for understanding desire.

The entrée is first; lobster, filet, chicken, pork, lasagna, or a vegetarian delight. When does the desire for your choice begin?

Sight, smell, the ambiance all add or subtract to desire.

Feel the draw, the strength, and perceived satisfaction or pleasure to be enjoyed.

Now, we move forward.

When does the desire for the entrée stop and the next desire for a side dish, begin. Does it stop when you start to select or does it stop after the desire for your next choice begins?

Does the desire for the side dish match the desire for the entrée?

Now move on to the salad choices.

Conclusion: Satisfaction rarely meets the promise of desire.

Most things we desire are impermanent and fleeting.

A fulfilled desire, a five-star buffet ends in hunger about five hours for now.

One meal will never sustain us, last a lifetime.

Pleasure is fleeting, one beer, one sexual encounter, one triumph over another never satisfies desire.

Satisfying desire does not quench the beast, he/she always wants more.

Then we have the egos desire to compare this meal to other meals.

If I say this is the worst steak ever after one bite, the meal becomes a waste of money and pleasure.

Fulfilling desire is a minefield, unfettered fulfillment leads to addiction and suffering.

How does desire impact your life?



Focused and Fearless by Shaila Catherine: “I” am


“Make a note of moments when the thought “I am” forms.

How much of your thinking is recreating and reinforcing the story of being you?

What would the experience of your life be like without the burden of incessant becoming?”



My two cents: “I” (Ego) am the one who loses balance, perspective, direction.

I turn desires into needs with excessive craving.

Ego tells me through irrational thoughts, his existence is paramount.

60,000 thoughts cross our path daily, coming from some nether land deep inside our mind.

Many of these thought are the Ego’s selfish needs and outrages.

When I go deep in the woods, that bear or nature could care less, I am Marty.

We are so much more than the small, rigid Ego.




What drives your desires

Pixabay: wirdefalks



Can we say desires have different origins and consequences.(yes)

Some desires are beneficial in proper perspective, bringing depth and purpose to our lives.

Some desires can be dysfunctional, destructive for us and others.

Desires mixed with emotions always have our Ego heavily involved.

Do desires lead to wellbeing or suffering?


Let’s look at the mechanism:

Take a wonderful buffet: The smells, colors, and presentation of the food invade our senses, creating desire.

The important part is not in the selection of the entree, it is the quality of our satisfaction that determines our behavior.

The first banana split was delicious, the second wonderful and by the middle of the third, a belly ache ensued.

Satisfaction never meets desire and definitely does not last for long.

That is mans issue, nothing satisfies for long, so desire never ends

Even with a buffet, stuffing my face, I will be hungry, possibly starving in a week.

Our ultimate desire, the need for oxygen (breath) goes unnoticed everyday.

Our Ego craves more satisfaction than is healthy for us.

Our Ego may desire to harm others who have wronged him.

So while desire is a necessity, moderation and perspective are always needed.

Mindfully we could choose desires that lead to Wellbeing.



PTSD is the biggest thief in the universe



If you follow this blog, my decade long healing journey, triumphs and losses have been shared. I healed twice in that decade, great joy and accomplishment filled my being for a while.

Underneath my supposed healing, I felt PTSD still had power. Then four months ago the final piece of hidden trauma from college exploded. The most humiliating betrayal of my life.

It feels like my whole life has erupted into trauma and suffering again.

My childhood abuse changed the way my (your) brain wired. Our nervous systems became super sensitive to danger.

Our worry circuit was overdeveloped, danger was always close.

Instead of pursuing pleasure, we spend our time on point, protecting our being from attack.

Our mental resources focus to much in survival mode, which shuts down enjoyment and security (normal life).

We never really feel safe, feel like we are worthy or deserving. We are different than other kids.

My father isolated me more, severing my attachments at school.

The ACE study details how abusive childhoods will have more suffering, addiction, mental disorders, cancer, alcoholism, prostitution and suicide.

Birth is the ultimate lottery, some win big, others are severely abused.

Personally, being the target of daily criticism and violence, created a negative self image.

How do you spin a self who feels worthy out of constant criticism from your dominant first caregiver.

My life feels like it has been mostly pain and suffering to the point I have huge resentment Now.

In the middle of PTSD, life is bleak and irrational.



healthy and unhealthy Desire

Pixabay: pinterastudio



The Buddha made a useful distinction between two kinds of desire.

First, there is healthy desire, such as trying to be more patient and loving.

Second, there is an unhealthy desire–the craving mentioned in chapter 2–that causes so much suffering.

For example, this kind of desire is active when we run away from or fight with what is painful, get driven about or addicted to what is pleasurable, or keep trying to impress other people.

So the issue is not desire per se but rather:

.Can we desire what is beneficial for ourselves and others?

.Can we pursue it with skillful means? For example, there might be a positive aim, such as helping a child read, but if a parent goes about it yelling, that’s not skillful.

.Can we be at peace with what happens? Different parts of the brain handle liking—-enjoying or preferring something—-and wanting, in the sense of craving.

This means it is possible to aim high and be ambitious without being consumed by pressure and drivenness.

Sure, there could be disappointment about not achieving a goal, but there can also be acceptance— and enthusiasm for the next opportunity.

from “Neurodharma” Rick Hanson



Me and Victimhood



I have waged a battle, an intense effort to never be a victim for long.

Realize we have no way of protecting ourselves completely from being traumatized.

My traumatizing childhood did not stop me from becoming a professional athlete.

My chronic pain did not take my life away for long. In front of 15 group members, I said we need to throw away the opioids and exercise. One guy followed me out.

Being paralyzed with Guillian Beret, I got up and took three steps when doctors and specialists told me I would be in a wheel chair for a couple years.

For the last two plus months with my college trauma exploding, I have been a victim.


All my tools and skills have not slowed the onslaught of fear and humiliation.

Now, my flag is planted against feeling sorry for myself, being numb or feeling worthless.

It takes me awhile to recognize where the real battle is being fought.

The battle is inside my head, not external.

Physical challenges are second nature to me, the emotional, betrayal trauma is my kryptonite.

While in rehab, paralyzed with intense pain, I thought why me.

No way to heal when, Why me is our mantra.

I was a pro jock and a seasoned meditator, Why not me.

Once you accept the challenge in its entirety, the battle of wills begins.

Victimhood ends. We do not have to win but keep battling.

Some periods of my life are filled with times of never giving up.

Playing defense, not making decisions and increasing my effort every time trauma enters my space, is the way I exist.

This usually leads to more wellbeing.

How about your experiences?



Part 2: narrative based and immediate based selfs



Neurological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has shown that these two forms of self-awareness—narrative-based self and immediacy-based self—are located in two separate areas of the brain (Farb et al. 2007).

Using neuroimagery, which can detect which “self” people are operating from, this study compared novice meditators to people who had participated in an eight-week program in mindfulness meditation.

When participants shifted from a narrative focus to their immediate experience, fMRIs indicated that the experienced meditators had less activity in the region associated with the narrative-based self.

In other words, through the practice of mindfulness meditation we can disidentify from the self we’ve created with our stories and discover a new sense of self based in the present moment.

The narrative-based self lives in a continuum of past and future, and as such is the source of wanting, dissatisfaction, and judging—in short, suffering.

The immediacy-based self exists only in the here and now.

These two orientations in the world are fundamentally (and neurologically) different.

The immediacy-based self lives with the inescapable emotional pain of being human, yet it is also present for the breeze on your face or the birdsong that you cannot feel or hear when you’re preoccupied with thoughts and stories.

The narrative-based self can help you avoid much of the emotional pain that’s inevitable when living in the here and now, but you pay the price, as you must instead live with the suffering that self-limiting stories create.



Have you ever practiced, Not being Special?



From “Buddha’s Brain”

“Consider renouncing specialness—including being important and admired.

Renunciation is the antithesis of clinging, and thus a radical path to happiness.

Say phrases like these in your mind, and notice what they feel like:

I give up being important. I renounce seeking approval.

Feel the peace in this surrender.

Love the person you are, much as you would care about any person dear to you.

But don’t love the self or any other mere mind-object.”




My two cents: That mere mind-object (Ego) wants to be the most important person in the room.

He/She believes achievement, power, approval and status are connected to happiness.

It was most difficult for me to not overachieve, trying to make up for my unworthiness.

I was always trying to win worthiness through achievement.

My father wanted me to be a great professional baseball player, I was so attached to that goal, it became me.

Happiness or contentment never visited me.

All that energy, emotion and intent made suffering a constant companion.

I learned happiness only visits one time zone, the present moment.

Needing to achieve is always in the future.

Extra credit:



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