Posts Tagged ‘Mind’

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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Learning in the Brain

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From Rick Hanson:

1. Experience what you’d like to develop.

2. Turn that experience into lasting change in your brain.

I call the first stage activation and the second stage installation.

This is positive neuroplasticity: turning passing states into lasting traits. The second stage is absolutely necessary.

Experiencing does not equal learning.

Without a change in neural structure or function, there is no enduring mental change for the better.

Unfortunately, we typically move on so quickly from one experience to another that the current thought of feeling has little chance to leave a lasting trace.

In working with others, we might think that something good will somehow rub off on the people we are trying to help.

It may for some, though not very efficiently,and for many there is little to no lasting gain.

As a result, most beneficial experiences pass through the brain like water through a sieve, leaving no value behind.

You have a good conversation with a friend or feel calmer in meditation– and then an hour later it’s like it never happened.

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?

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Electrical signaling represents the language of the mind

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The “mind,”as I mean it in this book, consists of the experiences and information that are represented by a nervous system.

This might seem puzzling at first, but we are surrounded by examples of information being represented by something physical, such as the meanings of the squiggly shapes your eyes are scanning right now.

As the Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel put it:

Brain cells have particular ways of processing information and communicating with one another…..

……..Electrical signaling represents the language of the mind,

The means whereby nerve cells……communicate with one another…..

….. All animals have some form of mental life that reflects the architecture of their nervous system.

From Rick Hanson

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My two cents: For a mind or a person to have wellbeing, our nervous system must be our friend, in my opinion.

Look how our relationship with the fight or flight mechanism impacts our mind.

Seems disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD hijack the nervous system, sensitize it and then overreact to stimulus.

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The mind has causal power of it’s own.

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Neurodharma by Rick Hanson

“Imagine a conversation today with a friend about a funny event with her dog. As you talk, flows of information that have a logic of their own cascade through your nervous system, enlisting underlying neural activities for their representation.

Suppose you speak again tomorrow about the same event: any information that is the same as today’s will be represented by a different pattern of neural activity. Even a concept as simple as 2 + 2 = 4 will be known tomorrow via a different neurons than it is known today.

This means that many of our experiences proceed in ways that are causally independent of the underlying physical substrates that represent them.

The mind has causal power of it’s own.

More to come

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Me and Victimhood

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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.

I HATE THAT!

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?

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May I be at Peace

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Living with your Heart Wide Open:

“May I open to great self-compassion.

May I open to deep reconciliation of my past with the wise understanding that all of my past has led me to this moment.

May I hold myself gently, with mercy, kindness, and levity.

May I accept my imperfections and see that I am imperfectly perfect just as I am.

May I be as healthy as I can be.

May I have ease in body and mind.

May I be at peace.”

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Self-Authorship part 1: “Living with your Heart Wide Open”

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The stories you repeat make up your personal history and identity.

They include the place and time you were born, the way it was in your family, the things that happened to you, the things you did, the things others did, your first love, and your first betrayal.

It goes on and on—as long as you repeat it.

When you really look at your self-stories, you may discover that they’re repetitive and even arbitrary, depending on your mood.

It’s likely that the details don’t even match up with those in the stories of your parents or closest siblings.

A good question is “Who would you be without your story?”

Seeing yourself without your story is an excellent way to let go of taking things personally (which can be very helpful with shame and inadequacy).

Self-authorship begins very early in life in our responses to our caregivers.

If we are raised in a safe and secure environment in which we feel accepted and validated, we tend to have more self-compassion and less self-criticism (Neff and McGehee 2008).

But if our caregivers are more critical or aggressive or we feel unsafe with them for any reason, we tend to become more self-critical and insecure as we grow older (Gilbert and Proctor 2006).

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What is the mind?

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From Meditation for the Love of it:

According to the tantras, the phenomenon we experience as “mind” is actually a particularly vibrant and subtle kind of energy.

An ocean of energy, in fact, in which waves of thoughts and emotions arise and subside.

Your thoughts and feelings—the difficult, negative, obsessive ones, as well as the peaceful and clever ones—are all made of the same subtle, invisible, highly dynamic “stuff.”

Mindenergy is so evanescent (passing out of sight quickly) that it can dissolve in a moment, yet so powerful that it can create “stories” that run you for a lifetime.

The secret revealed by the tantric sages is that if you can recognize thoughts for what they are—if you can see that a thought is nothing but mind-energy—your thoughts will stop troubling you.

That doesn’t mean they’ll stop.

But you’ll no longer be at their mercy.

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I am Responsible: first three words of healing


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We are Responsible for our life, our behavior, our reactions and our attitude.

 

Realize excuses are failures to take responsibility.

 

My father was an abusive, violent narcissist.

 

In spite of my father, I am responsible for how I live my life, treat other people and treat myself.

 

If you want to heal this bridge needs to be crossed.

 


We need not forgive but we must take total responsibility for our life.

 


Next, Wellbeing will be harder for me to achieve, it is the challenge I was born into.

 

My responsibility let me accept the challenge of changing it.

 

The buck stops with us, we are the captain of the ship, the quarterback of the offense, the one who is responsible for our actions.

 

Hard to avoid giving all out effort, if you take responsibility.

 


If you do not take responsibility, victim will be the label you earn.

 


Conclusion: Do not compare your challenges with another, think of your challenges as a heavy sled, we are tasked with pushing a certain distance everyday.

 

Focus intently on moving the sled, distractions will find it harder to break through.


Responsibility brings the gift of purpose.

 

My father wins if I fail.

 

That’s all the incentive I have ever needed in the dark times of doubt and helplessness.

 

What is your incentive.

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Anything that fluctuates can be influenced

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Both Chronic pain and PTSD entered my life with me being clueless about their power, intensity and mechanism.

It took me 6 months with each to understand the challenge and form a plan to cope.

One of the first patterns I witnessed was how PTSD and chronic pain fluctuated during the day and night.

So my pain or PTSD did not have a constant intensity or duration.

PTSD rotated from calm to extremely triggered in seconds. Some times were calm and easier, others pure terror.

Chronic pain has an ebb and flow, intense times along with easier times.

My relationship with chronic pain was different than the other 14 in our chronic pain group. I took action, lost the fear of my pain and improved.

They lived a sedentary life filled with 30 pills a day, they suffered.

I hiked uphill causing my pain to spike, then the music was cranked, my goal was to never let pain stop my legs from moving.

Hiking another 15 minutes with my pain as a companion, in a month my chronic pain started to compress. I did not fear my pain after that month.

PTSD was a roller coaster ride of terror, followed by mental anguish and then worry about future anxiety.

The only breaks happened during times getting lost in a chore, nature or a hobby.

I found meditation provided the focus and platform to observe my fears without being part of them.

It takes time, courage and willpower.

My recent eruption of a buried trauma has challenged my skills.

I forgot how intense a serious trauma can be.

Taking action, even the slightest action moves us out of victimhood.

Better to resist, to take action.

Being sedentary powers chronic pain and PTSD.

Thoughts proliferate in a sedentary environment of Pain or Trauma.

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