Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Observing: no judgments

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Matthew Ricard from “Happiness”

“Observe what arises in your experience without imposing anything on it, without letting yourself be either drawn to it or put off by it.”

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My two cents: We would be healed if thoughts were treated as neutral, harmless appendages.

Oh yes, appendages, thoughts and emotions are not part of our core, our true self, they are appendages, attached to the periphery of our being.

Emotions are ephemeral, fleeting, and ever-changing, thoughts are invisible unless grasped firmly.

PYSD would die if we did not impose judgment on our thoughts and emotions!

Think of that.

As Ricard says, “Feel the freshness of this present moment.”
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It takes action, practice, hard work and guts to heal

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First class menu

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“Meditation is a matter not of theory but of practice, just as it does not satisfy your hunger to read a restaurant menu if you are not going to eat something from it.”

Matthew Ricard from “Happiness”

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My two cents: Healing is not a spectators sport, reading heals nothing, it takes daily action.

We PTSDers avoid and isolate, go numb and sedentary.

Taking action in the face of fear and anxiety is a necessity.

It takes great desire, focus and persistence, besides courage to heal.

It is a moment-to-moment battle with our thoughts, anxiety, and fear.

Know the playing field, be prepared, have an attack plan, and finally develop your tools.

Healing is not for the faint of heart, victims find it difficult if not nearly impossible to take action.

We must prepare and accept PTSD’s suffering, then take healing action in the face of this fear.

We start with small actions and small incremental gains with daily work.

Sedentary is closer to death, action closer to life.

Your decision, your life.

happy Healing!


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Third class menu not so elegant!

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Sunday: Week in Review

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It has been a stellar week, PTSD has receded back into the cracks of darkness.

Less symptom activity, more letting go is happening, a big break in the action with neutral and positive emotions flowing.

I am still guarded but optimistic.

Mornings are happier, life has opportunities and some joy at times.

I see this more as PTSD receding, opportunity is always there just covered up by active trauma.

PTSD is a dark cloud that follows us, our personal bad weather machine.

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PTSD is abstract, confusing but powerfully charged with partial control of our nervous system (defense mechanism).

Healing happens at optimum rates when we can stay calm over longer periods.

Being triggered, full of cortisol and adrenaline, this upset confuses and damages our chances of well-being.

The ability to dissipate cortisol and adrenaline becomes a soothing skill for recovery.

Learn to use your breath to calm the nervous system.

I hope this period of relief holds.

Happy Healing!
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Matthew Ricard: Authentic Happiness

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Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity; it is a state of being, a profound emotional balance struck by a subtle understanding of how the mind functions.

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While ordinary pleasures are produced by contact with pleasant objects and end when that contact is broken,

sukha (happiness) —lasting well-being—is felt so long as we remain in harmony with our inner nature.

One intrinsic aspect of it is selflessness, which radiates from within rather than focusing on the self.

One who is at peace with herself will contribute spontaneously to establishing peace within her family, her neighborhood, and, circumstances permitting, society at large.

In brief, there is no direct relationship between pleasure and happiness.

This distinction does not suggest that we mustn’t seek out pleasurable sensations.

There is no reason to deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of a magnificent landscape, of swimming in the sea, or of the scent of a rose.

Pleasures become obstacles only when they upset the mind’s equilibrium and lead to an obsession with gratification or an aversion to anything that thwarts them.
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Matthew Ricard (Happiness): THE SELF

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Rigorous analysis leads us to conclude that the self does not reside in any part of the body, nor is it some diffuse entity permeating the entire body.

We willingly believe that the self is associated with consciousness, but consciousness too is an elusive current: in terms of living experience, the past moment of consciousness is dead (only its impact remains), the future is not yet, and the present doesn’t last.

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How could a distinct self exist, suspended like a flower in the sky, between something that no longer exists and something that does not yet exist?

It cannot be detected in either the body or the mind; it is neither a distinct entity in a combination of the two, nor one outside of them.

No serious analysis or direct introspective experience can lead to a strong conviction that we possess a self.

Someone may believe himself to be tall, young, and intelligent, but neither height nor youth nor intelligence is the self.

Buddhism therefore concludes that the self is just a name we give to a continuum, just as we name a river the Ganges or the Mississippi.

Such a continuum certainly exists, but only as a convention based upon the interdependence of the consciousness, the body, and the environment.

It is entirely without autonomous existence.
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PTSD: A pleasant break

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Life has been freer, and calmer this week, and PTSD has rolled back up.

Letting go and focusing work much better this week.

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The onslaught of intrusive thoughts and emotions has dried up, that river bottom is waterless this week.

It is such a pleasant break, similar to life before an old trauma surfaced during covid.

Covid reinforced one of PTSD’s dastardly symptoms, avoidance.

Covid made other people dangerous in real life, we were told to avoid them, wearing masks to further distance ourselves.

Covid sent PTSD people into crisis, we isolated more.

Our social skills deteriorated during quarantine.

We already avoided, lacked the trust of others, and covid spiked that symptom.

Isolating can damage us further, making the road to recovery that much longer.

If I knew why this week has been so much better, I would bottle it and share it with everyone.

We are like worker ants, performing our daily practice, toiling in obscurity.

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This relief has been surprising, PTSD has been problematic for a while.

Never give up, never give in.

It is a war, have a battle plan, and a daily action plan.

Happy healing.
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Someone asked: Does PTSD define me?

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With all my being I wish to answer no, PTSD does not define me, but that is not accurate.

For a decade-plus I have battled PTSD, seeking freedom and wellbeing.

It has been the dominant influence on my personality, and my day-to-day survival.

For five years PTSD had almost total control, my fight or flight mechanism would fire over and over and over and over and over during the day.

It wore me out physically and emotionally, I was a zombie for a while.

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Life was painful, disconnected, rigid, and isolated, suffering seemed constant.

PTSD defined me back then completely.

Nowadays PTSD dominates much less, there is hope, not to heal but to gain the upper hand.

Fight or flight firing has stopped, intrusive thoughts bring more depression than terror.

Small victories heal us incrementally, never giving up is a necessity.

If your expectations are for a calm, drama-free life, then disappointment will be your companion.

PTSD defining us is all a matter of percentages, how much time does PTSD steal from your life?
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Shaila Catherine: Mental Absorption (jhana states)

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“When the mind abandons its contact with the senses, including discursive thinking, the concentrated absorption of jhana begins.

The mind is utterly still and focused on its object.

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The specific object of focus becomes progressively refined in the development of concentration, from the physical sensations of breathing, to a perception of light.

Rapture, pleasure, and equanimity may accompany the bright radiant mind, while attention is continually directed toward the place where the breath is known.

As these perceptions grow increasingly subtle, attention remains connected and the subtle perception of breath is recognized as a perception of stable brightness in mind.

In jhana, attention is virtually merged into its object, creating an impression of complete unification.

Even if there is sensory impact from sounds and sensations, the mind remains completely unmoved.

Sensory contact—even strong pain or loud noise—does not disturb the tranquillity or affect the unification of the mind with its object of concentration.

It is as though you don’t hear anything, yet the capacity of hearing is not impaired.

It is as if you don’t feel pain, and yet the bodily processes are functioning.

There may or may not be subtle awareness of the impact of a sound or physical contact, but the mind lets go so automatically that there can be no sensory residue to disturb the concentration.

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Thoughts and how to deal with Them

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From Shaila Catherine: “Focused and Fearless”

“You do not need to get rid of thoughts, just cease to believe them.

If you are not seduced by the story that they represent, the thoughts will not disturb your mind.

Tenzin Palmo, a nun in the Tibetan tradition wrote:

There is the thought, and then there is the knowing of the thought.

And the difference between being aware of the thought and just thinking is immense.

Normally we are so identified with our thoughts and emotions, that we are them.

We are the happiness, we are the anger, we are the fear.

We have to learn to step back and know our thoughts and emotions are just thoughts and emotions.

They’re just mental states.

They’re not solid, they’re transparent.”

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My two cents: As I have said, thoughts are air without action, an appendage compared to our true self, our core.

You can not see my thoughts, so they do not exist in the world until I act on them in some way.

60,000 thoughts cross our path daily.

I would guess 55,000 plus are unknown to even us.

Why do we pick negative, trauma thoughts to grasp?

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Healing is not a spectator sport


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I am not healed or probably will never be healed, however, I have sat quietly, in the middle of my biggest PTSD trauma fears (fight or flight mechanism firing violently).

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I have fired my triggers intentionally, then took my breath in the middle of this unrest.

When all the cortisol and adrenaline dissipated, I went back to normal life.

In less than 15 minutes I went from fight or flight firing to calm using only my breath.

The thoughts and comorbid depression are my challenges.

I have helped others use meditation to calm their fight or flight mechanism.

It is a mechanical process, like aerobic exercise will do the same thing.

We need therapy and inner world work to integrate the rest.

We heal in small increments with many different therapies and actions.

Daily work is required.

Healing is not a spectator sport.
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