Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

Combining Neuroscience with Meditation (Mindfulness) Practice

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Rick Hanson from Neurodharma:

“So how can we warm the heart and develop compassion and kindness, for our own sake and for that if others.

Mindfulness is necessary, but not sufficient.

Studies of mindfulness and related meditations have found that these can alter neural networks for attention, self awareness, and self-control. This is really good, but it doesn’t directly strengthen key parts of the neural basis of compassion and kindness.

Related but distinct networks handle these things.

For example, pleasurable social experience activate brain regions that help produce experiences of physical pleasure.

Being generous, cooperative, and fair can stimulate neural reward centers. And social pain– such as rejection or loneliness—taps the same network that underlie physical pain.

It is when we focus on warmheartedness itself that it’s aspects are most experienced in the mind and developed in the nervous system.

Compassion-focused meditation stimulates specific parts of the brain involved with the with the sense of connection, positive emotions, and reward, including the middle orbitofrontal cortex, behind where your eyebrows meet.

Long term practitioners of lovingkindness meditation develop similar neurological reactions to seeing the faces of strangers and their own faces, with growing sense of “you’re like me.”

They also build neural tissue in key parts of the hippocampus that support feelings of empathy towards others.”

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Sustaining a steady mind

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“If awakening is like a mountain, in some moments you may find yourself far up the slopes– but can you stay there, on firm footing?

Or do you keep slipping back down again?”

Rick Hanson

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My two cents: My meditation practice has been deep and powerful at times, then at other times I get lost in endless thought, worry and doubt.

I reach that special place at times meditating, my issue is slipping back into the abyss an hour later.

My concentration steadies my mind and allows serene moments, fleeting contact without the bias of my ego.

Sustaining this space is my current goal.

How about you?

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Hooking up with my worthy Marty, my perfect me.

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I believe each of our true selves, our core, our soul is perfect, our bodies and behavior have flaws.

At 69, dealing with an old trauma, a time of re-experiencing a huge unworthy event, I yearn for that worthy Marty.

Meditation was the vehicle that introduced me to my true self.

Yes it took me a long time, an arduous journey of harnessing my concentration powers.

In time, a meditation sit, an hour of intense concentration, brought me to a place of serene quiet, a place I was whole, worthy and happy.

Now, I am headed back to that place once again, sidetracked by old trauma and learned habits no more.

Opportunity thrives in this empty space, a place where thoughts die and worthiness is normal.

Please join me.

Concentration is a learned skill, takes daily practice to grow your wellbeing.

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“The mind uses the brain to make the mind.”

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“Mental activity and neural activity thus affect each other.

Causes flow both ways, from the mind into the brain….and from the brain into the mind.

The mind and brain are two distinct aspects, integrated system.

As the interpersonal neurobiologist Dan Siegel summarizes it,

The mind uses the brain to make the mind.”

From Rick Hanson

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My two cents: The brain can be seen, touched, the mind can not.

The more we learn how the mind operates, the more our path towards happiness is illuminated.

I have found myself lost, off my spiritual journey.

Now, my path switches to building my concentration intensely, hooking up with that spiritual Marty, the one with much less Ego and much more gratitude and giving.

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Neurodharma by Rick Hanson

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“Neurodharma is rare book, perhaps the most stunning marriage of ancient wisdom and modern science ever written. Only Rick Hanson could weave impeccable scholarship of core Buddhism texts together with the latest neuroscience to reveal an exciting, practical, and accessible path to human happiness that anyone can follow. The Dalai Lama once told me that he loves neuroscience, but that western psychology is still in kindergarten. With this brilliant synthesis psychology just took a giant leap forward.

Joan Z. Borysenko, PhD.author of “Minding the Body, Mending the Brain”

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“This is an ambitious book, and only a few people in the world could attempt it. Rick Hanson is one of them. A brilliant and practical synthesis of wisdom and science, a must-read for anyone who is interested in deep personal growth or making this a better world, which hopefully is everyone.”

Shawn Achor, Happiness Researcher and New York Times best selling author of “Big Potential”

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“Rick Hanson’s brilliance is the capacity to offer practical, powerful, scientifically grounded practices that lead to true happiness and a loving heart. This is an illuminating and transformational book.”

Tara Bach, PhD., author of Radical Acceptance and Radical Compassion

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There are 7 plus pages of praise in the beginning of this book just like these three. Hanson’s first book “Buddha’s Brain helped me heal, changed my life.

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Caring for ourselves in relationships

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Living with your Heart Wide Open:

“Caring for ourselves in relationships with others is another way to cultivate self-compassion.

Do you really need to remain in relationships that make you feel small or less alive?

Do you really need to accommodate yet another phone conversation with the “friend” who calls you only when she needs advice or reassurance?

Do you always have to accommodate lunch invitations from a coworker who likes to gossip about the other people in your workplace?

Why not try discouraging relationships that feel like they deplete you and nourishing relationships that make you feel loved and appreciated and bring out the best in you?

We are meant to love one another and care for one another in the deepest sense, and cultivating relationships that manifest these qualities is the very heart of self-compassion.”

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Compassion for our Inner Critic?

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“You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).”

Living with your Heart Wide Open

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My two cents: Have compassion for our inner critic, interesting!

I have been trying to murder my inner critic, at least cut his vocal cords.

Once again, surrendering to our fears is the correct path.

My human nature always wants to face, resist and fight off criticism, external or internal.

That has ended badly.

Now, I will adapt and build compassion for my inner critic.

New things are always awkward at first.

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The Many Paths to Self-Compassion from Living with your Heart Wide Open

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Investigating how you can cultivate self-compassion in your life involves an exploration of how you relate to your body, thoughts, and emotions, and also how you choose and maintain your relationships.

Considering how we can be more compassionate toward our bodies can help many of us see how very little compassion we have for ourselves and how hard we push ourselves physically.

You may find yourself answering yet another e-mail even though you’ve needed to use the bathroom for over an hour, or you may eat junk food from the nearest source just so you can get back to work sooner.

You may convince yourself that you don’t have time to exercise, or you may have a somewhat perverse sense of pride in how little sleep you get.

Paying attention to the many ways you mistreat your body can provide a great deal of insight into how you can begin practicing self-compassion right now—simply by reversing many of these habits. It’s the same with thoughts and emotions.

You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).

When you notice that you’re being hard on yourself for something like being late for an appointment, you can turn toward this self-criticism with a soft and kind acknowledgement, like “It’s only a mistake; I love you anyway.

If you notice that you’re ruminating on a feeling like guilt and saying things to yourself that are just making you feel more guilty, you can acknowledge this morbid indulgence; for example, you might say,

“This is just a guilt-fest” or “Will heaping on even more guilt really help me learn from this mistake?”

For most of us, learning to attend to our thoughts and emotions with this friendly kind of attention is a very different way of being in the world.

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Oscar Wilde quotes


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“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

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“The world is a stage and the play is badly cast.”
– Oscar Wilde

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PTSD stats

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From Recovery Village

PTSD treatment statistics

Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two can treat PTSD. There are multiple types of psychotherapies used to treat PTSD; however, trauma-focused psychotherapies with a mental healthcare professional are the most recommended. This type of treatment helps people process their experiences by focusing on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning. 

Studies have demonstrated that up to 46% of people with PTSD show improvement within the first six weeks of psychotherapy. Antidepressants are also a treatment option to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, including anxiety, with studies showing up to 62% of people receiving medication for PTSD show improvement. (American Family Physician, 2003)

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My two cents: 46% improve? What kind of stat is that. Hell I improved and suffered for decades.

I improved over a five year period of daily work. This stat was taken after six weeks of therapy.

This study is worthless, no one with serious PTSD heals in six weeks.

Our Psychological cabal does not have stats about healing, the duration it takes to heal or what therapy works best.

Each therapist you visit is a special fiefdom of their schooling and beliefs.

Each therapist will have different skills and different philosophies on healing.

Took me six months to understand PTSD and its symptoms.

In my experience a combination of therapy, medication and our own daily work heals the best, fastest.

Depends on the therapy and therapist you choose plus how hard you work and what skills you develop.

Healing is possible but not easy or quick.

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