Posts Tagged ‘Happy’

Matthew Ricard: Aversion

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Aversion is the negative side of attachment; we may have aversion to failure, loss, instability, or discomfort; and we usually believe that if the things toward which we feel aversion happen, we’ll surely be unhappy.

It can’t be emphasized enough that to experience genuine happiness we first have to recognize what blocks it.

This includes seeing our attachments, the things we believe will bring us happiness, but which actually do just the opposite.

We will continue to pursue the conditioned strategies of behavior that we hope will bring us happiness as long as we believe they are working.

And because they sometimes do bring us some degree of personal happiness, these behaviors can get reinforced for a long time.

That’s how people get caught on the treadmill of their attachments and routines for a lifetime without making any effort to change.

Paradoxically, we’re actually fortunate if life occasionally serves us a big dose of disappointment, because it forces us to question whether our attachments and strategies really serve us.”
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Happiness versus Meaning


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“Still, some people are high in one and low in the other, and there are traits that are related to happiness but not to meaning, and vice versa.

Here are four differences.

  1. Health, feeling good, and making money are all related to happiness but have little or no relationship to meaning.
  2. The more people report thinking about the past and the future, the more meaning they say they have in their lives—and the less happy they are.
  3. Finding your life to be relatively easy is related to more happiness; finding your life to be difficult is related to less happiness and, though it is a small effect, more meaning. Do you consider your life a struggle? You’re likely to be less happy but more likely to see your life as more meaningful. Are you under stress? More meaning and less happiness. What about worrying? Again, more meaning and less happiness. These findings mesh with a study we’ll discuss in more detail later, in which those who reported the greatest amount of meaning in their jobs included social workers and members of the clergy—difficult jobs that don’t make much money and that involve dealing with complicated and stressful situations.
  4. The researchers asked, without any elaboration, this simple question: “Are you a giver or a taker?” The effects are small here, but there is a pattern: Givers have more meaning in their lives; takers have less. Takers have more happiness; givers have less.
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PTSD: An Emotional wound

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The beatings have faded into obscurity, the pain long since past, almost forgotten.

The emotional scars were written in indelible ink.

They seem to have a lasting impact, resilient beyond necessity.

We are part of the walking wounded, still participating when we determine the risk is favorable.

On a bad day, I am risking little, more likely playing defense or hiding at home.

Life is a minefield, a battle inside our mind, thoughts wage an internal war.

The battle seems to never end, victories never vanquish the foe.

Is this our cross to bear?

PTSD has always been with me, I did not choose to be abused or be born into an abusive family.

My chronic pain is similar, a constant companion, it also ebbs and flows with stimulation.

Pain is unwanted as much as PTSD.

Pain and PTSD fluctuate at certain times, from active and painful to almost dormant.

Something is influencing the changes.

Infer that we can influence pain and PTSD also.

I am much better at managing my chronic pain than PTSD.

PTSD has a power source and capability of running on its own.

Normal people express so much deeper connection to one another. They trust each other at a level I would find dangerous.

I lack enough trust that I do not even understand the connection.

I have all the same positive emotions like a normal person, sadly mine has been hidden by abuse, pain, and fear.
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Happy Easter: A Kindness Post

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Photo by Adam Nemeroff on Unsplash

Kindness strengthens the brain: Study shows it helps boost the entire family’s cognitive health

By Jocelyn Solis-Moreira

Doing an act of kindness can make you feel good about yourself, and a new study suggests it also benefits the brains of everyone living under one roof. Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas report that teaching and practicing kindness at home improved parents’ resilience and children’s empathy.

Because both resilience and empathy use different cognitive skills such as responding well to stressors or considering different perspectives, the researchers suggest kindness can improve a person’s cognition.

The Children’s Kindness Network is an online kindness training program that enrolled 38 mothers and their 3- to 5- year old children. The program included “Kind Minds With Moozie” with five modules featuring a digital cow who explained creative exercises parents can use with their kids to learn about kindness.

“We aim to encourage parents to engage in practical, brain-healthy interactions with their children that aid in a better understanding of one another, especially during times of stress,” says Maria Johnson, MA, director of Youth & Family Innovations and coauthor of the study in a media release. “Research shows that kindness is a strong potentiator of vibrant social engagement, which in turn is a critical component of overall brain health.”

The team studied the impact on the program and children’s empathy. Parents filled out a survey on their own resilience and their kids’ empathy before and after the training program. Results showed that after the program, parents reported being more resilient and preschool-aged children were more empathetic. 

One surprising finding was that children’s empathy levels were below average despite showing improvements after training. The team explains this is likely because of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns that limited children’s social and emotional development.

“In times of stress, taking a moment to practice kindness for yourself and model it for your children can boost your own resilience and improve your child’s prosocial behaviors,” says Julie Fratantoni, PhD, cognitive neuroscientist and head of operations for The BrainHealth Project. “Do not underestimate the power of kindness, because it can ultimately change and shape brain health.”

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What does healing look like for you?

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Will you stop avoiding?


Will you trust again?

Will life be normal?

Will intrusive thoughts stop?

Will setbacks be over with?

Will we be happy?

Will we take more risks?

Will we still suffer?
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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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Giving, volunteering, has special benefits.

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Avoidance has been an issue for me, I have isolated myself too much over the last decade.

My kundalini teacher says we need to be part of the conscious collective, be part of a vibrant community, a support system.

An enormous challenge for us, way out of our comfort zone, this seems the ultimate test for us.

Volunteering for my grandson’s baseball team has brought nuggets of community, connection, and satisfaction.

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PTSD disappears when enthralled in their midst.

I am accepted, almost revered as an old pro baseball player.

Even being a little special to a group of 11-year-olds has wrapped me in a soothing blanket.

I am valued and accepted unconditionally.

This coaching has brought a sense of purpose, a desire to share and a much-needed connection to others.

The kids are stoked, improving while I have made new friends with other coaches and parents.

I get lost in their midst sharing my wisdom while chatting with parents and other coaches.

I am part of a live group again.

Something I have avoided rigorously, now brings me connection, purpose and satisfaction.

It is my element, a baseball diamond, I feel the most confident and at ease in this scenario.

Moral of the Story: Find something you love, then find a way to insert yourself.

It is hard to make that first step, to trust enough to take that risk.

It causes healing and growth.

My spirits are lifted and the kids give me gratitude.

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Oh that soothes this old man.

My grandson has gained confidence and depends on me being there, that is a wonderful feeling.

He is anxious and feels awkward. I bring him comfort being there, coaching.

What a wonderful feeling, I need more of these feelings.

Happy Healing!

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updated: A Path in sequence: ..Awareness, Acceptance, Surrender, Gratitude, Giving, Healing and then Happiness

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Sands of Time: Photograph by Bonnie Flamer
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Awareness: We have to see reality, the real world, how we fit in. Attention is placed on how our mind functions, how it interacts with our body mechanisms. We need to see ourselves without the bias of the “Ego’s” judgments. With 60,000 thoughts passing through our consciousness daily, awareness is key for perspective and proper navigation.
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Acceptance: Optimum acceptance would have us accepting everything about us right here, right now. There is nothing we can attain, accomplish or possess in the future that has any permanence or connection with happiness. We are complete, whole, capable of experiencing enormous happiness right now. Everything we need is available in this next breath.
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Surrender: Acceptance always had some resistance for me, some residual fear that kept parts of me closed off. Surrender is me opening my arms out wide opening my chest, my heart to catch what I fear. Surrender presents us vulnerable to our trauma fears. Once you have learned acceptance take the next step, surrender. It takes courage, guts to surrender.

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Gratitude: When our spirit fills with enough gratitude, desires deflate into proper perspective. Unless we can let go of the need for approval, the need for status and the need for importance, gratitude will wither. Awareness illuminates the path, acceptance frees the soul, and gratitude opens the door to our expansive side.
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Giving: I believe giving altruistically without regard for reward, distances the “ego” farthest from our consciousness. Giving allows us to escape the ego’s grasp and go deeper into our spiritual journey. Giving melts unworthiness and fear, moves the frozen with ease into action. In my opinion, giving is connected directly with happiness.
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Healing: On this journey, healing has been slowly underway, however at the giving stage, healing is accelerated, emotionally and physically. Focus on the breath while letting go of what scares you, liberates the mind, frees the spirit,, and expands consciousness.
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Happiness: Happiness, real happiness endures, it is a peace of mind we carry with us. It exists when difficulty, stress,,loss, joy and positive experiences unfold. In my experience, happy lives where thought does not exist, where the ego is dormant, where self fades for this moment.
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Can you identify where you are on the healing path?

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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Two simple quotes

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A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.

Author Unknown

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Lean too much on the approval of people, and it becomes a bed of thorns”

Tehyi Hsieh

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