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  1. 4 points
    Thank you for the open and honest sharing @MariaDe. First, let me just say that it is wonderful you notice this tendency within yourself. It is easy to simply act out on these feelings without reflecting on them; it takes courage to acknowledge these sorts of things and begin to address them honestly. I don't know how much advice I can give, but one thing I will say is that for me, it is has been helpful to make friends with my aloneness - my fears of being alone, my fears of being abandoned, etc. This has involved quieting the mind and just allowing myself to feel the somatic experience associated with this fear. Harnessing compassion, patience, and tenderness. Therapy has also been supportive for me, as has making time and space for myself beyond intimate relationship. If I come across resources that might be supportive, I will add them here. Wishing you well!
  2. 3 points
    One thing I do is to ask myself what that part of me is trying to achieve through that negative response. For example, If I found myself really defensive in a conversation I might later review and sort through what I was trying to do by that defensiveness. Your thoughts, feelings or bodily reactions may tell you something about that. I found that I become defensive if I feel attacked in some way. Sometimes, the problem is my perception is off. Other times I found I was reacting to a controlling attitude I picked up from another person that reminded me of a time when I felt helpless to respond. The inquiry gives some answers. Tara Brach describes a process of naming the feelings or thoughts that you dislike in yourself and letting them know that they are a part of your experience. Neither being aversive to them nor clinging to them. It is a tall order but works somewhat with me. Finally, talking to a therapist or trusted person can be helpful. Daniel
  3. 3 points
    Your comment, Gillian, reminds me of a book about skiing. It said that skiing powder is simpler than skiing anything else and requires only a few of the basic skill sets from skiing other types of snow, but it requires having progressed through the other types of skiing to some significant extent. The “mindfulness” Of Ajahn Sucitto’s talk is not the same mindfulness as at early stages of formal practice. Perhaps we could think of the qualities of mindfulness as occurring on a spectrum with simple but skillful attention of present-moment experience being on the weakest end and penetrating mindfulness being on the other. In all cases mindfulness is dependent on the presence and development of other factors. Its development also is dependent on temporarily letting-go of patterns that get in the way. Fortunately, with the help of a little guidance, those things tend to unfold naturally and, as you suggest, simply over the course of practice. Would you agree?
  4. 3 points
    I write up my day 14 challenge my areas of my life where I can be more forgiving are at my aunt's house also at my parents house even my apartment and my fiance's apartment. When am talking to my people any where in my life and I will be forgiving myself without judgement. I'm showing compassion to my co-worker boss and my best friends also two of my families even my fiance. Am being kind to one friend of mine and I'm not ready to show compassion right now because she doesn't do that to me and I don't see her that much because she lives out of state but me and her are staying contact each other I finish my 14 challenge today.
  5. 3 points
    Hi. I am new to the community, so thought I'd put in a comment. I had a 50 year career as a symphony percussionist, so naturally music affects me very deeply. What's maybe interesting to this community is how mindfulness has affected my experience of listening. Playing in a symphony orchestra seems glamorous and exciting to many people, but there are also long stretches of boredom and a lot of burnout. So toward the end of my career there were a lot of pieces I thought I'd never want to hear again, ever! But I started listening to music with my whole body, kind of like a musical body scan, noticing where my body was responding. I always envied people in the audience, because I knew that a lot of them were hearing the same thing I was, but with "beginner's mind", and hearing it on a much more emotional level. So I'm pleased to report that I am making listening to music (mostly classical and jazz) with new ears, and appreciating it in a way that I haven't before. Kind of like mindful eating. So I can hear a piece by Tchaikovsky, for example, that I'd played dozens of times and which I was sick of, and feel the tremendous emotion that the composer expressed. It's really wonderful to experience life on a deeper, richer level, and all you have to do is pay attention. My second grade teacher told me to do that. Better late than never. Peace to you all. Congratulations for choosing the path of wisdom. Keith
  6. 3 points
    I am noticing my own resistance to the way things are, and releasing the resistance. I am settling into the earth and breath and open heart. I am walking and connecting to what is most important to me. I know what I pay attention to grows. Then I am allowing some short period to see the election results. I am listening to my friends who have opposing views with more depth and understanding, because I am so confused by how people can listen to lack of integrity. The sun is shining this morning and the temperature in Vermont is beautiful today. Peace Peace Peace xoxo Jen
  7. 3 points
    Hi Faune! Nice to hear from you. I hear you about being stressed and I can say that this week has been tense for me as well. Thank you, Gillian, for acknowledging the tension here in the US, and I, too, have found solace in yoga, meditation, and silent group meditations. Writing has also helped me. I struggle to understand how so many individuals can vote for a leader who is openly racist and misogynistic. David, I hear what you're saying about social activism being a burden or maybe an escape for those who have yet to process their own trauma adequately. I think it's important, however, to acknowledge, like you have, that kindness toward oneself and others is itself a form of "activism" and is just as valid and worthy as working for a non-profit organization, volunteering, completing social projects, donating time and money, etc. As you so eloquently said, Gillian, there is "the power of the compassionate acts that go unseen." One of the most powerful, compassionate acts a person can take is getting help for themselves. This takes an incredible amount of courage and strength, and needs to be recognized as an act of compassion. In a sense, self-help is social activism, since a person who has healed their own trauma has a wealth of knowledge and experience from which to draw upon to heal others and the world.
  8. 3 points
    I was really stressed and depressed Wed. morning as i feared the same outcome as last time even though I know the final count would not be in. I did feel better after going out for my walk. I am an online activist so I get a lot pf mail too much of it political since that man took the WH and I deleted ever one, every bit of news, did not turn on the radio and when in the car I put in CD's. It lessened my stress considerably. I got a few snatches but i do not pay attention i might see although i was boosted by some that I saw. the tension is there but i try to keep it in the back of my mind. Meditation was very hard on Wed. AM. Yesterday was good. I figure at some point I will cry from relief or from anguish and at this point i will not predict either. If the latter happens I will be in trouble though.
  9. 3 points
    I'm not sure you are offering a different perspective. I am not talking about people who started "there" a long time ago and sine have experienced significant growth. I don't think a one-size-fits-all approach is either effective or trauma-sensitive. Actually, I think a lot of the glorification of activism oftentimes IS a projection of conceit (The greater universe of conditionality doesn't give a #%&! what one thinks anyone ought to do and how accomplished one displays his or herself to be at it). I think a lot more people are basically operating from places of trauma and great pain and fearfulness than we realize. I think they try to put on a bold face and make a good go at it, but it's taking a huge toll they cannot bear to acknowledge. You don't have to accuse me of projecting, I'll own to that being so in my case, except I have come to know it intimately. I really like one activist's take on finding a balance of kindness toward oneself and toward others that bears in mind the dangers of burnout, greed, or fanaticism. http://www.mushimikeda.com/blog/2017/11/15/one-activists-oath-first-vow-not-to-burn-out She is a dedicated practitioner, trainer, and activist who has seen a lot of burnout! I am not discouraging people from becoming involved in community activism or service until they are fully actualized, I'm just not saying it is a human duty for everyone regardless of their circumstances. I'm saying simply being kind toward oneself and others with whom one necessarily comes into contact is of great benefit itself. For some people that is challenge enough. Part of being available to others is being able to bear grief, loss, and suffering with compassion, dignity, and resiliency. I don't think mandated service projects and demands of social activism necessarily promote that, although they might in some cases. In others, they might seem overwhelming and trigger much more stress and woundedness. People are vulnerable and some not only have scars, they have deep, open wounds, but we live in a society where needing help, let alone admitting our vulnerability, is greatly discouraged. Given the crazy orientation and values of society, even getting good help, should one seek it, can be difficult. I don't think you can make people have the kind of transformations certain hospice workers and caregivers have had, many of whom received skilled guidance and support along the way. Additionally, I think there is a risk that people will displace into trying to "fix" in others what they have not faced and healed in themselves. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
  10. 3 points
    Hi David, “my deepest bows to anyone and everyone starting there.” Thanks for bringing this up. I’d like to add that a lot of us started “there” a long time ago and have a different perspective about social activism. A lot of people who are socially-engaged activists are motivated by compassion to act against social factors that are traumatizing and harming people and non-human beings. I was taught as a child, and by my dharma teachers, that these acts are human duty, a reflection of psychological maturity, a necessity, and of what you describe as: “If everyone simply would be responsible for behaving compassionately and somewhat decently, toward themselves and others, the world would be a very different place.” Alice Walker describes active social engagement as “paying the rent” for living in Earth and in society. I describe: “to get out there and "do something"--become an activist engaged in constructive social change, actually help people where help is needed” as: ... “behaving compassionately”, as a human duty, as morality and as essential medicine for ourselves and others, because we are responsible for those people who are suffering / traumatized and we are also responsible for ending or minimizing the factors that are creating their suffering and trauma. Compassion is engaged action. It is social activism. Our wellbeing is dependent on the welfare of other living beings, so it follows that their trauma is our own trauma. If we see and don’t act, then we are complicit and our “compassion” is just another pacifying lollipop ... another story in the head. Turning away / not acting to relieve the suffering of others is an egoic mechanism that degrades compassion into “self” serving succor and, IMO, results in a pathological alienation that significantly contributes to and perpetuates our own and others’ trauma / suffering. - - - Re: the OP question. I’m good. This isn’t my first pandemic circus. I was living in S.F. when the AIDS pandemic washed over that small city like a fast moving tsunami. People were dropping dead like flies. I witnessed young men drop dead on the street trying to go get food. Friends and neighbors would abruptly disappear. Hospitals were overwhelmed and those of us who were healthy became caregivers and assisted people as they died, one after another, and we became grief counselors for the families of the dying and dead. Daily, during the first year, I used a red pen to draw a line through what added up to more than 100 people in my address book. For a couple years there was literally no time for self-obsession. The living lived every day for the dying and grieving, and to our great surprise we discovered that “in a dark time, the eye begins to see”. Many of the living found something very valuable in this dark time when we were forced by circumstances to get over ourselves, be compassionately active and necessarily socially activated (activism). Our personal grief transformed into activism organically and this transformation when we rose above the needy scared “self” made us sane and effective. When I get my mindfulness teaching site launched, in addition to courses, I’ll be offering a one year online retreat. One of the requirements to participate will be a commitment to some form of social / community activism or volunteerism for the duration of the retreat. This is to prevent participants from spiraling deep into all-about-me-ism as we descend deep into a naked direct experience of what we are, where we are, and how where we are and what we are actually operate here in a fragile body, with a mind that tends toward wild, in a sick and collapsing society and in Earth, which has never been a safe place to live and never will be.
  11. 3 points
    I feel so blessed to be a part of this group where I feel so supported. THANK YOU @Jeff Miller @Gillian Sanger & @Jo L for your feedback and support. All such WONDERFUL and thoughtful responses. I will certainly use it as a framework to start formulating agreements with my son. I'm hopeful and optimistic we're on the right track.
  12. 2 points
    Hello Gillian, David and all forum members, I found a fascinating site called Buddhism Stack Exchange. On it Buddhist's and others knowledgeable of Buddhism answer questions submitted by people. They offered an excellent distinction between Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism. Those philosophies disagree about elements of consciousness and its purpose. However, what I especially liked is that the scholar recognized that both philosophies and practices admit to a "something else" behind this world of sensory experience. What it is called differs. I found that a uniting kind of experience. I love Swami Sarvapriyananda. What I love is that he is filled with great joy. To me, the joy of the Buddha flashes out from his smile. I also like that he sings the beautiful blessings found in his own tradition. Even translated they are totally beautiful. He is a young sage. While I prefer the Buddhist ideas, he shows the beautiful side of an enlightened being. He is joyous, realistic, aware and happy with his life. That enduring smile of the Buddha is not found only in Buddhism. Back to the Buddhism Stack Exchange: all participants have to sign a code of ethics before posting. They promise not to distort anything and not to engage in condemnation of differences. That makes me trust them much more. I plan to pose questions to the scholars about Buddhism and anticipate great answers. One final note, I have often wondered what Buddhism might say about the state of an enlightened one after death. One answer from another source (not Buddhism Stack Exchange) said that Buddhist thought about that state is "murky". The author said that it appears that the enlighteed person after death may become something like energy. I was delighted with that idea. In another post I am going to share some of my thinking about what that might mean. Daniel P.S. The swami always says this prayer: Om, may you lead us from darkness to light, lead us from the unreal to the real, lead us from death to immortality. Om Shanti (peace), Shanti, Shanti. Beautiful
  13. 2 points
    Hello to all. I plan to go for a long nature walk today and take beginner's mind with me. To notice the sights, sounds, smells, feelings anew makes the experience that much fresher. I am also working with a series of Shamatha meditations and am sitting with the intentions of relaxation, stability, and clarity. As these are new meditations for me, I am bringing a sense of openness and curiosity to them, which I find has (thus far) deepened my time on the cushion. Hoping you are all well, safe, and happy. Rachel
  14. 2 points
    We have 3 dogs who wake us up anywhere between 4 and 5:30 a.m. I love the routine of taking them out, feeding them, and then making coffee. It’s my fault they get up so early, because when I worked I would set the alarm for 4 or 4:30 so I could sit and quietly sip coffee and pet dogs for an hour before meditating and readying for work. Ha, ha, I wake up as a completely deluded and groggy person. Slowly I orient myself toward the day. The a.m. sit usually has its fill of wonder—I’m here, I’m breathing, and the world is teeming with energy. Too bad much of mankind is set on poisoning it. Wonder and poison. I am still like an awed, awkward and bewildered child in some respects who simply cannot make sense of it and lives outside of it. Yet, formal meditation practice fills me with confidence and resolve.
  15. 2 points
    This is beautiful Rachel. I really resonate with your being a morning person and finding the quiet nature of mornings sacred. I've always been an early riser as well, cherishing the opportunity to take mornings slowly. My favourite space for this is, of course, when I am in more natural spaces. I love being the first to rise at a cabin - to be able to tip toe down to the lake with tea or hot cacao, all alone, to watch dawn rise across the lake. I have to say that I am finding a bit of difficulty with this lately. We adopted two dogs from Greece last year and wow, are they ever keen listeners. The first stir in the morning gets them up and out of bed, paws tapping on the floor outside our bedroom door. I take them out first thing for them to do their business, but then sometimes it is a struggle to switch back to that sense of quietude. I've thought about bringing my meditation bench into our bedroom and getting up a bit earlier, but I've yet to enact that. Or, perhaps I can start to weave the dog outings more intentionally into my practice, exploring gratitude practice during these very short outdoor excursions. I admire your dedication to your morning practice amidst all the other necessities of life and will use this as inspiration to continue gifting myself with these special morning hours.
  16. 2 points
    As a person who has always been a 'morning person', even since being a very little girl, I have held the quiet of the morning sacred always. As a child, I used to read in the early morning hours, as a teen, watch the shadows and light play on my walls with the rising sun, as a college student, throw on a cozy sweatshirt and wander aimlessly around my deserted, bucolic New England campus, and as a single, working mom- I have held this space for over 15 years as my solo time- at first, just to exercise. Then the time became longer (with me getting up earlier) as my practices took root grew, and now, I wake at 5 am to sit in meditation, then journal, and finally to move my body all before assuming the roles of mom, teacher, daughter, colleague. I never, ever miss. It is my gift to myself. It is almost like a time portal for me, my mornings. Sometimes I can sense the residue of that sacred time as I go through my day, other times not as much and it feels far away. But I relish the knowing that it will come again every day that I am lucky enough to wake up.
  17. 2 points
    Rick Hanson’s newsletter just addressed how important one’s waking moments are in an essay entitled “Lean into Good on First Waking.” https://www.rickhanson.net/lean-into-good-on-first-waking/
  18. 2 points
    Namaste ^_^ Today I am happy to share with all of you my 100 day success. What success? I don't even know. What have I won? Nothing, Absolutely nothing but won everything too. In the past 100 days I've abstained from things I was addicted to and I was able to manage the tendency to eat un-mindfully, I've meditated everyday without missing a day, Some days I've meditated for 3 hours and others for only 5 mins. Back to my initial point, I've just realized that after 90 days (The needed time to recover fully from porn addiction) That I haven't gained anything supernatural, My life situation didn't turn into one of these inspirational movies scene nor I've attracted fulfilling satisfaction and unwavering determination. I thought porn and binge eating was the reason for my suffering, But they are just a symptom. Actually, When I reached 90 days I wasn't excited or amazed just equanimous . What I am trying to say over here is that I haven't added anything to myself that will miraculously make me happy forever nor I have lost something that "kept me in the mud" as I've described my life situation in my relapse topic. I was once reading a book called "Zen mind, Beginner" mind and the author said: "enlightenment is something wonderful; but if they attain it, that is nothing special." I just feel like that I am happy now and grateful for this experience I had through this journey and I feel like I've matured a lot, If you ask me to sum it in a sentence I would say: "Expect nothing and you will have everything". My words seems like dualistic, But they are not. It's just my life situation got better but my life is always joyful and peaceful. the reason for suffering is that we mistake the surface waves for the ocean, Doesn't matter what I will attain in this world it will never make me happy but temporarily. I suffered a lot because I wanted a lot. Now I will enjoy drinking my cup of tea without wanting to go somewhere or to be with someone. (HEY GILLIAN ^_^)
  19. 2 points
    Thank you for sharing @Rachel. It is really interesting to start to explore, "Okay what does this actually feel like." When the sensation is really strong (rock in the throat, heaviness in the forehead, etc.) I also practice bringing a hand to that area lovingly as if letting it know I see it, I support it, and I can be with it. @David - This was a lovely reflection: I can relate to that feeling of deep joy or bliss after a wave of strong emotion has moved through, like the peace that can be felt after a big rain storm - the lands nourished and the world quiet. This reminds me of something that I believe Tara Brach said (I could be wrong that it was here, so don't quote me on it). But in any case, it was something along the lines of mindfulness or presence being simple but not easy. It's simple... but not easy.
  20. 2 points
    My sense is that emotions are primarily physical, are somatic, are embodied. The mind tries to interpret them and explain them. It tries to devise strategies to avoid unpleasant ones and to seek and encourage pleasant ones. This goes back to the consciousness question. We might not be aware of the physical feeling and sensation triggered by some event, but it colors or affects how we relate to it. Basically the body orients us to seek what feels good to it and to avoid what doesn't. Because we have the capacity of long-term memory, recalling events can also elicit the feelings and emotions. My guess is that so much of our ruminating arises from our brains subconsciously planning how to seek out pleasant and gratifying experiences and to avert unpleasant ones. We can get carried away with anticipated pleasant events or even fantasies and conversely become anxious or hostile about potential lurking dangers. One of my teachers sums it up with the phrase, "seeking opportunities and avoiding threats." We start forming patterns for how we think and relate to certain triggered feelings and sensations from infancy. They become our "personalities." These patterns often are not well adapted for the complexities of modern social interactions and cultural pressures, or even developmental changes of growing up for that matter. So, to some degree I think we all develop and experience problems. The talk by Ajahn Sucitto just included in Sean's 5 Mindful Musings addresses this and how mindfulness practices can work to free us from these patterns. https://mindfulnessexercises.acemlna.com/lt.php?s=6038f5f1bae17d46a57132e295de1401&i=827A1130A2A13864 Ajahn Sucitto makes it sound so simple, but I would say for most people it is anything but. Still, the work toward it holds many rewards along the way. It's not like everything is drudgery until one reaches the promised land. I don't pretend to have done so, but I find the journey much more enjoyable than I did when I started. I know this is not the same as sharing how I notice particular feelings in my body, but it is my way of explaining that I feel them with a lot more particularity and a lot more deeply now than previously. This is not always a fun thing; many of my dreams seem to be revisiting painful occurrences from my past so that the emotions can be fully received. Although that in some ways is painful, there is a certain joy in it too. It's like being able to open all the doors and windows to air out the house and let in the sunshine and fresh air.
  21. 2 points
    I am still learning to feel my emotions in my physical body. Most of my life, my emotions were one thing and my body was another. No longer! My practices and somatic therapy are really helping me to not only sense my feelings and acknowledge them as they arise, but to articulate how they actually feel (like you did with your grief lump, @Gillian Sanger) so I can integrate them. For example, I had a great deal of apprehension arise when working with something from my childhood with my dad. I sat with it, allowed it to come and then be there, and named aloud what the sensation was: jittery0ness in my chest/heart center. Kind of like butterflies, but higher up. By breathing then, I opened up more space for it to just be there, and it was a welcome change from my lifelong default of trying to avoid it by ignoring it, making less of it, or denying it all together. Thanks for this important and thoughtful query, @Gillian Sanger! Hope you are all well.
  22. 2 points
    A warm hello to everyone in this thread, Thank you for sharing what has been present for you these days. I had a quiet weekend and tried to really minimize my online connection these past couple of days, but it is nice to come back and to read your comments. I really resonate with much of what has been said here - offering love and compassion to myself and to others, listening with greater depth and a willingness to understand, feelings of stress and unease, minimizing news exposure, and so forth. I think there are many lessons, insights, and reminders to come out of these times we find ourselves in. Wishing you all well today and this week ahead
  23. 2 points
    Thanks for the thoughtful responses to my comment. I’ll write up some thoughts about them this weekend. For now I’ll drop these articles and a quote for everyone’s consideration: *** “They saw this work as part of their meditation and mindfulness practice, not apart from it.[1] Thich Nhat Hanh outlined fourteen precepts of engaged Buddhism, which explained his philosophy.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engaged_Buddhism *** https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lionsroar.com/the-fourteen-precepts-of-engaged-buddhism/amp/ “ ... prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.” *** “We may be tempted to see compassion as a feeling, an emotional response we occasionally experience when we are touched by an encounter with acute pain. In these moments of openness, the layers of our defenses crumble; intuitively we feel an immediacy of response and we glimpse the power of nonseparation. Milarepa, a great Tibetan sage, expressed this when he said, “Just as I instinctively reach out to touch and heal a wound in my leg as part of my own body, so too I reach out to touch and heal the pain in another as part of this body.” https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lionsroar.com/she-who-hears-the-cries-of-the-world/amp/ *** “According to Buddhism, the root cause of suffering is ego, our mistaken belief in a solid, separate, and continuous self, and the three poisons we use to protect it—aggression, attachment, and ignorance. We act selfishly in service to a non-existent self. Buddhism traditionally said that the cause of suffering was personal and individual. Now to the personal causes of suffering we have added the psychological and the political. We understand how suffering and trauma are passed down within families, generation to generation. We work to break the cycle. We see how ego and the three poisons operate on a vast scale in our political, social, and economic systems. We take action against injustice and work for a more caring society to fulfil our basic vow as Buddhists—to reduce suffering. Buddhists are political because suffering is political.” - Melvin McLeod
  24. 2 points
    Good morning, ME Community Friends- I recently had a Black friend share with me that when people check in with her and ask, "How are you feeling/doing?" (especially in the wake of the ongoing harms upon Black bodies), it doesn't quite invite real dialogue. Instead she suggested asking this, "How is your heart feeling today?" It resonated. I have found this is a much deeper, connected way to offer care and compassion, to others as well as myself. So here is how my heart is/has been feeling in the past few days: I can feel the ways that my practice is holding me in a much clearer, calmer place than I would have been able to reside in in the past. For this I am grateful. Like many on here, I have minimized my news and social media consumption, almost to zero. This has also helped in keeping my mind and heart more still. With those things said, my heart feels sad, disheartened, and in places , alternately frightened and disgusted. I am no political scholar, but to my mind, the entirety of the government is not functioning to reflect the will of the people, and the whole system needs a reboot, as has happened in all of the empires over time. Empires fall and are built again in the image of something 'better'. We have a gigantic space where things can be 'better' for those who have repeatedly and intentionally been harmed by the systems. If the systems are improved, perhaps there would be a wider lens for folks to examine the parts they have played in said broken systems. To touch their own broken parts. To begin to heal. Given that is unlikely to be the case- I have no illusions that the outcome of the election changes what has been shown by the votes cast by the people in this country. There are so many who walk amongst us fueled by hatred, greed, power, and self interest, and who want to have a leader who allows and empowers them to express such things freely and without consequence. They want to 'other'; to not see our common humanity. And that fills me with great sadness. On the other hand, it fills me also with great resolve- to do what I can, where I stand, beginning with my own heart. If I tend to my own wounds, and I heal, even just a little, there are energetic ripples out from my heart into the world. If I talk to and learn with my own children, there too lies an opportunity for change. I recognize my heart and small world as a microcosm of the whole; and I will continue to wish for peace, ease, and freedom from suffering for all beings, in my home, my community, my country, and indeed, the world over. Wishing all of you well. Rachel
  25. 2 points
    Growing up, I had several uncles who played in a fairly popular band called Whiskey River (very apropos) and we used to go to their outdoor concerts when I was a young child, so I feel like music has always been in my life. I listen to a wide variety of artists and styles of music. Lately I listen to a lot of chanting; everything from Tina Turner to Deva Primal, Snatam Kaur, Krishna Das, Peruquois, Ajeet Kaur, etc. Chanting is soothing and facilitates my writing. I also love Madonna, and have seen her in concert five times! I've always admired her strength and attitude; her breaking of rules and constant evolution. Other artists I enjoy listening to are PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Prince, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Ani Defranco (she recently came out with a collaborative release about prison life that is absolutely brilliant). I have to be in a certain mood to listen to music because it does provoke so much emotion. There are times when I play certain artists to provoke certain emotions. For example, there are certain Ani Defranco songs, such as 'Dilate' and 'Untouchable Face' ("fuck you, and your untouchable face, fuck you for existing in the first place") that I play if I want to release anger; I typically dance while I listen to the songs really loudly. There are other songs, like PJ Harvey's 'Blue Drug' or Pink Floyd's 'Learning to Fly' that I listen to if I want to cry. Other songs bring back memories- any song by The Cure reminds me of my older sister, who was obsessed with The Cure when we were growing up. Music by Neil Young, Roxy Music, The Moody Blues reminds me of my Dad. This music that evokes memories is also very emotional for me, and sometimes I'll have to change the radio dial. I am grateful for the richness that music adds to life.
  26. 2 points
    Well, my feelings fall somewhere in what is discussed in this interview of Sharon Salzberg by David Treleaven. They run the gamut, wildly oscillating between hopelessness, particularly amidst the election uncertainty, and joyful presence. I recommend the interview, which might have been posted previously. https://davidtreleaven.com/tsm-podcast-episode-16-sharon-salzberg/ Anything else I might want to say might simply be construed as my being judgmental. But I will risk saying the following. I have had the sense that there has been a lot of pressure on people, consistent with American individualism and exceptionalism, to get out there and "do something"--become an activist engaged in constructive social change, actually help people where help is needed, or what have you. Well, there are a lot of traumatized people out here who, on top of everything else, have been continually triggered by 4 years of the most despicable display of bullying, lying, and polarizing. They neither deserve nor need to be made to feel shame that they are not doing enough. If everyone simply would be responsible for behaving compassionately and somewhat decently, toward themselves and others, the world would be a very different place. My deepest bows to anyone and everyone starting there.
  27. 1 point
    We are in Late Fall, tho prepping for Winter, with New Horizons ahead as I begin to embody all the Facets of Meditation! Exploring purchasing a Singing Bowl for Sound Meditation looking ahead!
  28. 1 point
    Animals have so much wisdom to offer. Trailing off from the theme of the beginner's mind, I love observing how very much 'in their body' my dogs are. Every time they get up from lying down, they stretch. They shake, they run, they move - and they also know how to relax deeply! They're snoring away as I type this...
  29. 1 point
    I think interacting with and in nature is a wonderful place to bring our beginner's mind. I read an article some months ago where the author spoke of watching her dog outside, doing what dogs do- sniffing, stopping, investigating, listening. When I let my dog out back or take her for a walk, I watch her using her dog form of beginner's mind- nothing but curiosity, joy, and wondering. She serves as an excellent reminder to see and experience even the familiar things with fresh senses.
  30. 1 point
    Hello Rachel and all others here! I hope this Monday is meeting you well. Today I will bring a beginner's mind to my walk as well. I take the dogs to the forest each day, and though I know the paths very well, I will be mindful to pay attention as if they were new - unfamiliar. I can already imagine that this will lead me to exploring new corners of the forest I haven't seen (or don't see frequently).
  31. 1 point
    I was looking for something like this! Thanks for sharing!
  32. 1 point
    I am also suffering from anxiety and stress during the pandemic. Thanks for your tips!
  33. 1 point
    Good day, I have a question? I know there are some kind people on this forum. I am wondering what people do when they become self aware of a negative aspect of their behavior or character?
  34. 1 point
    I, too, love both the image and the written passage. The words are very touching and beautiful, much like a poem.
  35. 1 point
    Thanks for your response, Jeff. I didn't know that the question had been posed to him. The source I read related to some perusal of Buddhist texts that described what they called the "murky" ideas about what happens to the enligtened one after death. I don't think Buddha worried about it. If I understand correctly, he was just happy to break the cycle of reincarnation through enlightenment and was content with that outcome. I can understand why that might have been "enough" for him. Daniel
  36. 1 point
    Here is a metta meditation - hope you enjoy it.
  37. 1 point
    Am happy to be 40 and take care about myself more so I can do fun things what I like to do.
  38. 1 point
    I listen to enya my soothing music to keep my whole body nervers clam and relax when am getting things done in a day.
  39. 1 point
    Hi Folks, I figured that those who want to follow Diana Winston at the Hammer Museum every Thursday @ 2:30PM/CDT, she has a Global Meditation Group; the process is: 1. Sign up each week at: https://hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2014/05/mindful-awareness-meditation 2. After you Register for Free, they send you the Zoom Link a couple of hours before; hope to see others there today! Namaste.
  40. 1 point
    Yes i started using the 28 days program and i will go steady with those 3 ways of breathing practices, https://mindfulnessexercises.com/three-breathing-techniques-that-promote-mindfulness/?fbclid=IwAR2z6Fis8s2aFjp0TechkB6kxLkbDmh9zeVUe2NyRz0bXq2EkimvoO_ypP0 Thx Thx
  41. 1 point
    100 days! Congrats @Ali Zien - and hello to you too What a lovely reflection you've offered. I am touched by your sentiments of feeling nothing supernatural about your accomplishments and yet instead feeling content – at peace. To me your words do not seem dualistic. Perhaps they hold some of life's paradox but that is a beautiful thing. We can feel celebratory or joyful about some experience while also having a quiet contentment with things as they are. At least this is how I see it. Thanks for the update and if you'd like to jump in on any other conversations here in the forum, I'd love to hear more of your thoughts and experiences. Wishing you a lovely day!
  42. 1 point
    Hi David, Yes this makes a lot of sense. I especially resonate with "its development also is dependent on temporarily letting go of patterns that get in the way." When I think about the difference between 'simple' and 'easy' as it relates to mindfulness, I take 'simple' to being something like 'straightforward enough to the mind'; however, because mindfulness requires us to be aware of the mind itself, it is not so easy. There could be so many analogies for this, but I guess it could also be the difference between reading a book about playing an instrument and actually playing the instrument. It's not that I think playing an instrument is simple, but the mind can make sense of it (i.e. press these keys, get that sound). Yet to play any instrument requires something more than the rational capacity of the mind.
  43. 1 point
    That is a fantastic article! Thanks so much, Gillian. I have long thought that anyone professing to favor acceptance and compassion should at least attempt to maintain them when facing anger, outrage, or the like from others. I pretty much have given up on that (except I try to teach it to my small meditation group) and I do agree with the article that insisting on only non-harsh speech is, quoting your article, a way of: "subtly creating a coercive environment in which there is pressure on the person who has just experienced immense pain to immediately choose a form of response that requires commitment, awareness, and some degree of healing from trauma in order to be accessible in the best of times, let alone in those circumstances when one is reeling and in shock. It can easily become yet another occasion in which the needs and norms of the dominant culture are prioritized over care for those people who have borne the invisible brunt of such norms." I would go farther and assert that such insistence is a way of asserting oneself by exercising dominion over the other. It is a way of shifting the topic from one which makes the listener uncomfortable to blaming the "victim" for how he or she presented it. Many parents do this to kids all the time and then wonder why they grow up to be resentful toward them. When I receive continued treatment in that way, even after swallowing my hostility and attempting to readdress my concerns in a much more modulated manner, I do tend to chose withdrawal from further contact to the greatest practicable extent just as the article suggests might happen. Let me observe one other thing, people who seem most intolerant of anger in others seem to display a great deal of righteous entitlement to their own, be it expressed aggressively or passively. I get it that anger is scary, hurtful and challenging to be around. So, if we have the means, we generally should try to modulate it. At the same time, it is a primary human feeling or emotion that should be accepted, respected, and understood--things your article does extremely well. Thanks again. I'm saving that one. Maybe I'll send it to Gil.
  44. 1 point
    Hello , I'm Paola, Italian living in Ireland. I am interested in everything that can relate to mindfulness and meditation practices. I've practiced meditation for about 15 years, mainly in Buddhist settings, shortly in the Tibetan tradition, more in depth in the Theravada and Insight, and my practice is evolving towards a more secular non-dual dharma I have trained to teach MBSR and Breathworks Mindfulness courses - (https://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/)., and I've been teaching since 2012. I have some areas of particular interest: mindfulness for cancer (I volunteer in a support center and teach introductory courses there) and pain management. At the moment I'm exploring how to make mindfulness inclusive.
  45. 1 point
    It is interesting how my relationship with and to music has shifted over the course of my lifetime. As a kid and young teenager, it was an escape...a way to fantasize about things and places and people far away from my small, suburban life. Even then, I was equally drawn to a mash up of artists and styles. Just like now! Like other input coming in through the senses (and like @Jo L so eloquently said), music can transport you to places and people from your past. I find that is true some of the time, especially if I hear something randomly (on shuffle or the radio). More often, I now reach for music that soothes...while I am driving or making dinner, I lean toward India Arie, Amos Lee, Mumford and Sons, Lana Del Rey, Jono McCleary, Ben Harper, The Staves, and others who stir something in me with soulful lyrics and/or acoustic instrumentation. I like to sing along. A new band I have recently discovered on Instagram is @infinitysong...incredible. Talented and mesmerizing. Highly recommend. Every evening, after my meditation, I like to listen to soundscapes to drift off to sleep. I love the mix of sounds from Mother Nature and synthesized binaural beats and find them so comforting. Thanks for the thoughtful question, @Gillian Sanger!! Rachel
  46. 1 point
    Because I tend to be coldly rational and judgmental, my practice nearly always focuses on "bottom-up" processes starting with awareness of bodily sensations, then resting attention on the breath, and then moving into global awareness of the body. For me, this progression serves gradually to admit awareness and acceptance of feelings (pleasant, unpleasant, or neither-pleasant-or-unpleasant) and then thoughts and emotions. It really releases the grasping aspects of disembodied thinking and judgment and results in a pleasant abiding with whatever affective states arise in the body/mind. Depending on what seems called-for, I either emphasize mindful awareness and investigation or abandon the breath and the substantial body for a more open awareness. Either way, I find formal meditation often reboots my system from being somewhat hyper-vigilant and tense to being much calmer, flexible, and openly present. For many weeks before the election, I had been emphasizing loving-kindness practice after briefly settling as described above. I have found this hard to keep up while doomscrolling election results, so I'm taking this week off. My consistent intention is to find refuge in the flow of natural conditions as they manifest in the constantly changing experience of this body and then to broaden it to include an interconnectedness with all manifestations such that my "top-down" process of evaluative and creative thinking are well-integrated and aligned with the "bottom-up" and greater external processes. During the day, I try to do a lot of brief pauses and checks with how well integrated mind and body are (which is not to say they are well-integrated). On rare occasions, I will listen to music--usually Deva Premal. I do not journal although from time to time I will do brief essays sometimes to myself and sometimes to others to organize my thoughts. For myself, there is danger in journaling and even "noting" in meditation practice. The danger is reinforcing the tendency to take too seriously the stories and views projected in my mind to explain experiences. For me, this just increases the rift between my mind and my body including heartfelt emotions. It tends to cause me to contract around a somewhat narcissistic sense of myself and of being separate from everything and everyone else. I don't dislike the storytelling aspect of my mind and attend to it with interest with its arisings and passings. I simply have learned not to trust it without much investigation and even then to hold it lightly. The fact that it generally does not appear during formal meditation and is much less salient during daily activities tells me the ordinary tendency is to give it undue authority. (This is a longwinded way of confessing I tend to be a "head-case" and have had a history of lending the storytelling mind way too much authority in the past.) Isn't it interesting how different we can be?
  47. 1 point
    Thanks to you both for sharing your thoughts on this topic as well as overall present moment feelings. David, I agree with much of what you've said, which I guess can be summarized in this: I think this statement really acknowledges the growth process we all go through and the fact that at different times we might need different things and give in different ways and to different degrees. I also am starting to really see and believe in the power of the compassionate acts that go unseen - the nurse who might not be engaged in social activism but brings love and kindness to all those he or she tends to... the parent who is teaching their child to take care of the earth... the elderly person who bestows wisdom, love, and acceptance upon all those they interact with. These are just examples and they are not to suggest that they are better or less-than the acts of compassion you could easily categorize as 'social activism', but they are additional loving acts that bring much peace and warmth to this world. I also agree with the fact that some might be called to social activism but are not ready or capable just yet (for one reason or another) to jump in. Perhaps they have health challenges, mental or physical, or perhaps as David has pointed out they are traumatized. I think there are many reasons that aren't always (or often) obvious. But, returning to the original question for my own present moment feelings: This week has seen a lot of ups and downs in terms of attention and emotions. Though I am not in the US, I am continually checking the news, which is causing my mind to run a bit rampant. However, amidst it all, I have felt a call to come back to silent practice. Recently I've been practicing mantra meditation, yoga, and listening to other guided meditations, but the other morning something just called out for silence. So I am back to silent morning practices, even if the mind is more active during these sits this week.
  48. 1 point
    Hi Tanya, I hear that you are being very conscientious and planful about your son's visit, and I think that's commendable and a great start! I would suggest the following: 1. Agree to listen reflectively. We hear things through our own filters and often misperceive what the other is saying, so if a difficult topic comes up, practice reflective listening, which essentially means repeating what the other says to ensure that you are hearing the message correctly. For example, if my sister says, "I'm really frustrated because you always interrupt me" I might think she's calling me rude, but instead of assuming that and getting upset, I repeat, "so you're upset because you feel like I cut you off when you're talking." That way, she feels heard and I can try to put myself in her shoes. 2. Agree to give each person a turn to speak so both parties feel heard, instead of one person walking away. 3. Agree to time outs if things get to heated. Rules for time out: make sure you agree on a specific amount of time to separate, do physically separate, make sure you come back together after the agreed upon amount of time and calmly talk about the issue to come to a resolution. 4. Agree not to go to bed angry. 5. Agree to disagree. It's ok not to agree on things. In fact, respecting each person's individuality is critical in allowing autonomy and freedom within the family, rather than conformity and feelings of over-identification. 6. Use humor! Family issues are often quite comical if you can lighten up about them:) 7. Always practice non-judgment and radical acceptance. Recognize that differences of opinion are natural and do not necessarily mean disrespect.
  49. 1 point
    I tried curiosity with a neighbor who treated others well in the neighborhood. However, he constantly expressed racist thoughts and generalizations about black people. Yet h'e couldnt account for the source of his racism. He had been unable to relate to black employees of a store he managed and had to be moved to be a manger elsewhere. l had to walk a tightrope in this conversation and needed all my skills as a therapist to have this conversation successfully. The origin was in his own family. He had been a gifted sportsman in high school. His parents needed his income from a job to meet family necessities. He still felt the rage over having had to sacrifice his sports dreams. To him, anyone who received andy kind of government aid was not making the sacrifices he had to make, and therefore got breaks he never had. He generalized from that anger and hurt to any and all black people who needed government aid to live. We barely made it through that conversation though we had a good relationship. It helped me understand him but did nothing for him to help him change himself. It helped me realize an important thing, behind racists and bullies lie fear, anger and some great hurt that prompts irrational ideas. I do not show curiosity much to anyone who is racist as barring an overall good relationship preceeding such a discussion it can prompt the rage to be directed at the questioner.
  50. 1 point
    Given what is happening in our world this last week, I think that supporting racial justice in a helpful way is critical. I belong to a group located in Minneapolis called Humanize my Hoodie ( https://humanizemyhoodie.com )that presents internationally; educating schools, professionals, and organizations about threat perception, implicit bias, microaggression, etc. and how to advocate for change in communities, and challenge systemic policies such as undeserved communities, profiling, and prison institutions. I know there are a lot of other great organizations out there to get involved with, like the NAACP https://www.naacp.org and the Southern Poverty Law Center https://www.splcenter.org and https://www.blacklivesmatter.com Also, educating family and friends is important. Racism is so ingrained in our culture that people make ignorant comments or have beliefs that they aren't even aware are racist. Making a point of gently but firmly correcting someone is being a responsible citizen. I'm not going to get into the politics of things but please consider how our leaders are reacting to this situation. What is compassion? What is mindful?

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