Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Body and Mind: a partnership



Let’s look at life in a different way. We are granted a body at birth, sometimes parents are part of the package. A mind comes with that body, the organ that will decide if we find wellbeing, suffering or something in between.

The body deteriorates at a much faster pace than the mind in normal times. Think of the needs of your body, then your mind.

The body is never satisfied for long, desires are never fulfilled for long. Constantly fulfilling desire leads to addiction not wellbeing.

The greatest meal on earth keeps hunger pains away for maybe 8 or 10 hours. One meal does not sustain us forever.

I mean look how often we need oxygen, four breathes a minute, every 15 seconds of so.

Then the body starts deteriorating if we reach maturity. We wither and die, no one has escaped.

What does the mind need. Well it uses 25% of the bodies oxygen and is dépendant on the body being healthy.

The mind has the option of grasping our desires, then judging success or failure on how we fulfill them.

The mind can also discount the Ego’s needs, making decisions in an unbiased observer mode.

Wellbeing happens when these two forces are balanced.

We have to fulfill certain desires but we need balance and perspective.

One banana split is wonderful, the second damn good, the third brings stomach pains.

Substitute drugs, alcohol, sex, power, status or approval for the banana split.

More desire does not quench desire, it promulgates more and more.

“Happiness does not come from having much, but from being attached to little.”

—Venerable Cheng Yen!!!



Demystifying Meditation for Depression and PTSD



Take the robes, lineage and all the rules out of your meditation practice. Our goal is not enlightenment, it is improving, healing or wellbeing.

I may meditate for 30 minutes but my goal is to focus on ten breaths with very specific intention. How, you may ask?

We use a combination of our senses. Thought is the enemy, thinking is the opposite of meditating. Actually these two actions happen in different hémisphères of the brain.

So let’s start: Visually; I use a model a continuum so getting lost in the pauses becomes much harder. There are visual models, the boxed breath and my breathing track. I also monitor what my eyes see with eyelids closed.

Auditory: A plethora of stimulus here. Pick out the quietest sound in the room, then go beneath it. Listen for the sound of your inhales and exhales. For me, I hear my inhales and exhales, as my focus stays inside my nostrils. For those experienced, a symphony plays inside our head, listen inside your ears.

Tactile: During the pauses, internal noise stops, it is a special opportunity to search for agitation, tightness, fear in the body. Focus on your inner world, intently. I , also focus on my third eye, or my upper lip close to my nostrils, feeling the cool inhales pass followed by the warmer exhale.

Smell: At the zen center form was important, incense and repeating phrases were staples. Incense can tell the brain it is time to meditate.

Mindset: No goals. We influence nothing, try to exert no energy, we observe and focus. We always set for others first.

Again, we are the ultimate observer, detached from thought and judgment, existing totally in this moment, unencumbered by the past.

We let thought clear, and hold an empty, focused space so our mind and body can repair as neuroscience tells us.

Know that ten focused breaths can deliver us to a no thought space, and active meditation. Once we are there time stops and the body repairs itself.


Inhale starts at bottom right corner traveling up and to the left.



An Affirmation for Unworthiness

Pixabay: Bessi



One of my affirmations to address unworthiness I harbor deep inside.

“In this moment right now, I feel kindness and goodness oozing out of every pore.”

What color would yours be?

Green slime for me.

Pixabay: OpenClipart-Vectors



Things I own, permanent things



On my arduous journey with childhood trauma, I have found a few constants, things that are permanent, only a few.

Life is complex, things we thought vital in our youth, fade in importance as we age.

Things I coveted have changed in value, possessions get damaged, stolen or worn out. Status, beauty, and health all deteriorate with time. My trophies took enormous effort, grueling competitiveness to attain, now they collect dust out of sight.

What seemed to hold ultimate happiness, disappoints quickly, then fades to the next challenge.

How many times have we chased things, college, career, status, fame etc. searching for happiness, only to find nothing behind it.

The band that dreams of a miracle hit, expecting lasting happiness, finds intense pressure in a cutthroat business to write more hits quickly, instead.

The greatest, most expensive meal in the world, turns to hunger in six hours.

Fulfilling desire does not quench the beast, it feeds it.

What endures.

For me, two things off the top of my head, giving and gratitude are constants for me. My emotions peak and valley like a big rollercoaster, but I am a giver and appreciate what I have.

Giving without regard for reward is called loving kindness by the Buddhists, a tenet of wellbeing.

Giving has always been a part of my life, being able to run a blog that helps others improve, is precious in my life.

The bond I share with a few on this healing path endures and matures.

I always count my blessings and know others have it much tougher than me.

My meditation practice is permanent, a daily companion who asks no toll for soothing my being.

My permanent things have an abstract quality to them, unlike possesssions we protect from thieves.

You can not steal my kindness, gratitude, or meditation practice. They cost nothing but are more valuable than all my possesssions.

The few things that I will leave this earth with.

How about you, what is permanent in your life?



We are not Normal: Is that a problem for you?

CT scans belong to children of the same age, you’ll notice that the one on the left is much bigger and has fewer blurred structures than the one on the right. 

This radical difference is not caused by disease or physical injury, it’s actually the result of extreme emotional trauma and neglect.

The image comes from a paper by Professor Bruce D Perry, Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital.



Feeling good about ourselves, in childhood, in early adulthood and old age, never quite crystslizes for us.

We have that void, it is the space in our brain that being hugged, supported and loved accumulated as the base for self worth. That does not exist for us.

Ours never felt safe, instead it spotted danger, in fact imminent danger.

We have an uninvited ghost (childhood PTSD) sabotaging our “Ego” and self worth from inside our 🧠 brain.

From my perspective, all my therapy, all the books I have devoured and all the actual application of my healing skills, highlighted how much different I was from a normal person.

Instead of belonging to a family, feeling safe, secure, we are outcast from the earliest age.

For the rest of our lives, we subconsciously crave to be normal, included, invisible in the midst of our peers.

We never get close.

My joy in this life only came when I gave up the desire to be normal.

Do I have to state the obvious, that is very, very, not normal.

We live the road less 🧳 traveled, not by choice but by the unwanted abuse we endured as kids.

We spend weeks, actually a lifetime looking for inclusion and self worth.

Common man terms, we crave approval and inclusion, we are terrified of betrayal and ridicule.

We covet things that bring us approval.

Sad, none of these things contain what we lack, wellbeing, love, trust, or happiness.

Without great introspection and effort to improve, we suffer until we die.

I have found myself in two groups in my life that I never desired, chronic pain and PTSD.

It is how we accept our fate, then our ability to fight, that determines if we can carve out a small piece of mind.

This blog has given me a platform to finally feel included to a group.

I belong to your group, fellow abused kids trying to figure out trauma and find the courage to continue living.

I see it in the compassion and sharing of feelings in the response section.

This is one of the few places where I am understood and valued.

Thank you for that.

We are very hard to describe or define, we never really know why we feel and act in certain situations.

I need to work on forgiving myself everyday, it is that stream of guilt that runs underground inside us that haunts me.

Funny, when I am most vulnerable, seemingly in victim mode, sharing my weaknesses, is when my followers have given me a cyber hug.

For me, I have received more kindness on this blog than from real life.



Compassion and Kindness

Pixabay: klimkin



Rick Hanson:

“Very simply, compassion is wishing that beings not suffer, and kindness is wishing that they be happy.

As wishes, these are forms of desire.

Which raises an important question that we should address first:




. . . . . . . Is desire okay?”



Sustaining a steady mind



“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



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?



Pain, suffering and Craving



In a word there is suffering, named by Buddha as the First Noble Truth of human existence. This is not the whole of life.

There are also love and joy, laughing with friends, and the comfort of a warm sweater on a cold day.

Yet each of us must face the truth of suffering some of the time, and many of us face it all the time.

Poignantly, much of our suffering is added to life. We add it when we worry needlessly, criticize ourselves to no good purpose, or replay the same conversation over and over again.

We add it when we freeeze up around an authority figure or feel ashamed of some minor fault.

Life has unavoidable physical and emotional pains, and then we add suffering to them: thus the saying “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. 

For example we get embarrassed about having an illness or drink to much to numb old wounds.

This add-on suffering is not accidental. It has a source: “craving,” the sense of something missing, something wrong, something we must get.

From Neurodharma by Rick Hanson



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



“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



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.



Neurodharma by Rick Hanson



“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, of “Minding the Body, Mending the Brain”



“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”



“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


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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