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Daniel A. Detwiler

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Everything posted by Daniel A. Detwiler

  1. Hi Judith, I read your message. I am very glad you felt relief at getting your thoughts out. I am glad you don’t think you will act on your ideation. I simply want to say that this relief you felt can lead to more relief if you would share more with someone you could talk to directly. I know that there are local and national hotlines to prevent suicide. You can call and talk to people who are well trained and caring who can help you. Perhaps talking by phone will allow you some privacy and still get you the assistance you want and need. There are counselors at local mental health centers who could help you as well. Personally I know that you can get the relief from depression and suicidal ideation that you are seeking. You could also consider talking to your doctor about how you are feeling. I hope any of these ideas are helpful to you. In my own experience in life, sharing how you feel with trained professionals has been really helpful. I hope you will do so. Daniel
  2. Hi Gillian, I like the idea you describe of following our own inner compass regarding divisions. I agree that sometimes direct engagement is needed. Then, using what the author Robert Wright calls “cognitive empathy” is really required. That means asking yourself to try to understand the way of thinking about things that another person uses. If successful, it gives the listener a way to understand how that person forms their beliefs; a way to greater understanding. We will need compassion and patience and strength for this process as our own different thinking will likely arise and perhaps promote a desire to be defensive. If we can suffuse ourselves with love and show it in our own comments we might be able to share our own ideas. Not to “convert” anyone but to let others know we follow another path, our path, on these issues. It is my hope that this could possibly open their views to ours. Daniel
  3. Hi Gillian, I read the article by Grossman and Choi and your comments about some of their findings. Overcoming the current divides is a difficult task as you and all the contributors to this thread acknowledge. I want to add that it is difficult to know how and when to try to bridge the divide and with whom. My wife and I live amidst a community of about 250 condominiums. Lots of us walk or walk with our dogs. I know from trusted neighbors that several other neighbors with whom I interact while walking are Fox News believers. Since they have never uttered a word about their beliefs to me I was shocked. They seem to be hardworking, responsible and friendly. Thus the two identities are not mutually exclusive. My response is to say the Loving Kindness prayer for them mentally after I walk away from an encounter. Plus I chat just a bit longer so as to show the good feelings I have about their basic worth. That is what I personally can do. I know that is not enough to overcome divisions but it is what is possible for me towards that end. Daniel
  4. Hi Abby, I don't know if you will return to this thread. If you do, I would like to share some ideas with you. First, if your anxiety is really deep and constant, and if so, unbearable please speak with your physician. A full physical exam that includes assessment of cardiac function can be helpful as well. Sometimes cardiac conditions cause a kind of anxiety and when treated with cardiac medications, they subside. If it truly is psychosocial/emotional anxiety, anti-anxiety medication can calm you and allow you to acquire other ways to cope with underlying causes. Exercise might be one of the things that helps once the level of anxiety drops and then Psychotherapy/counseling and/or meditation might be part of the solution at that point. I am a former licensed clinical social worker and had a lot of success with patients who got anxiety and or depression to manageable levels and then were able to use the other forms of treatment to improve more. Daniel
  5. Hi Gillian and everyone on this thread. I had been worrying and feeling burdened by the state of the planet and the blocks to progress here in the United States. I took stock and withdrew from the nightly newscasts and cable channels. I read a brief synopsis on the internet in the morning and that is it. I am "taking refuge" as advocated especially by Tara Brach. My refuge is in the Loving Kindness Meditation. To me it is a prayer and I pray it often throughout each day. My way of doing that is to address the words to "all that is". May all that is be filled with loving kindness. May all that is be safe and protected. May all that is be protected from inner and outer harm. May all that is be healthy. May all that is be happy. May all that is live with ease. I can't really describe the sense of relief it gives me to pray this prayer. I recognize it is my way of "doing something" about all the things I care about. I also have done my own version of RAIN. That has brought some real benefit. I have reappraised my life and relationships. I recognize now the good I did and do and where I failed/fail. I can now live better with both. When thinking of those who can't see getting a vaccination as a service to all others on planet earth, I say the loving kindness prayer. To Mitch McConnell and those others who oppose any good plan to promote equality and care in America, I say the loving kindness prayer. This is my refuge. I have worked on forgiving those who have caused me hurt or injury. I am making progress. Letting go of anger and hurt is not easy but brings out the energy I used to use to feel those feelings. I am following Rick Hanson's guidance to soak in the goodness I feel whenever I feel it. He encourages us to let it grow and expand and it is getting easier. That has led me to recognize and be filled with gratitude for everything good that has happened and is happening in my own life and the lives of others. I enjoy this focus on the good. For me, it is empowering and uplifting. I only spend time with friends who feel grateful as well. I try to share positivity with all those I encounter daily in public by greeting them warmly and wishing them a good day or helping in some simple way. Every simple act seems well received and doing them helps me. At this hour of my life, I have decided that this is what I can do to make life better. Daniel
  6. I have mentioned in the past that I was a therapist for children and their parents. As such I kept abreast of the programming for children on television. Mr. Roger's neighborhood was one of those shows. I hope that other responders to Gillian's quote won't take offense if this former therapist says that when Mr. Rogers said " I like you just the way you are!" he spoke to the essence of the quote. He was saying that he loved, valued and affirmed the worth of every being in the context of all that made them up. Our task as adults is to do the same thing to and for ourselves. Continuing to unfurl the growth that keeps bursting forth if we permit it to do so. Daniel A. Detwiler
  7. Hi Gillian, thank you for your kind response. It has been several days now since the conversation my neighbor and I had. We have talked every day. There is no rupture of this overall good and meaningful relationship. We really did just express and move on. I liked your comment about conversations while you worked on the farm in Costa Rica. There is something bigger than opinions in working with the earth and its' plants or flowers. That helps the speakers to keep perspective. My encounter is nothing like what I am going to mention next but it does involve the earth. It is said that the night Buddha spent under the Bodhi tree before his enlightenment he was tormented with doubts by the god Mara. Finally, Buddha drove his hand into the earth and told Mara that he swore by the earth itself that he had found the truth about existence. It is said when he swore by the earth itself, Mara realized he could not conquer Buddha with doubts and disappeared. Buddha was enlightened. A conversation with my good neighbor is not on this order. However, the earth itself and the soil and rocks that we can feel offer us something greater than we usually consider. Something larger and more profound. Daniel
  8. I want to share an experience I had yesterday. My wife and I like and trust our single female neighbor. We do things like help each other with tasks, work our flower gardens which are adjoining and my wife has taken her for medical procedures. Yesterday, while she and I were both gardening a few feet apart we had a discussion of political ideas. She voted for Trump but did get vaccinated. Now, she is aghast of the unvaccinated saying "well Trump got vaccinated!". I just shared that in my own opinion, much of what he has said is not true. I went on to see that I am a true blue liberal and follow that way of thinking. She replied "to each his own". I agreed. A few minutes later she shared some negative thoughts about Latino immigrants. I calmly said "you don't sound very compassionate." She said "I call it as I see it." We both kept gardening. She asked me if the line of border stones she was putting in looked straight. I invited her further into my yard to get a better view (we don't have fences). She decided to redo her work a bit to make it straighter. I told her her work was turning out really well. She remarked that President Biden will be resigning soon because he is senile. She said she read that on the internet. I said to check her sources as I had not heard that and was pretty sure he would remain in office. We kept gardening. When I finished I wished her a good day and went to a side garden to weed and cut back flowers. She wished my wife a happy birthday. I told her I give my wife her greetings. This was the most honest exchange I have ever had with a person who has followed Trump in the past. We respect and like each other as neighbors. We never quit our joint task of gardening as we talked. She spoke her mind and I spoke mine. I was greatly relieved. She took it in stride and made her own points. For me in this longer relationship of neighbors and fellow gardeners this worked. Neither of us were angry but rather just truthful. This isn't a panacea. However, it was very real and being literally "grounded" in the earth while gardening which my neighbors and I all do, kept us very directly honest but did not hurt our relationship. For me, for us, this worked. Daniel
  9. I want to share an experience I had yesterday. My wife and I like and trust our single female neighbor. We do things like help each other with tasks, work our flower gardens which are adjoining and my wife has taken her for medical procedures. Yesterday, while she and I were both gardening a few feet apart we had a discussion of political ideas. She voted for Trump but did get vaccinated. Now, she is aghast of the unvaccinated saying "well Trump got vaccinated!". I just shared that in my own opinion, much of what he has said is not true. I went on to see that I am a true blue liberal and follow that way of thinking. She replied "to each his own". I agreed. A few minutes later she shared some negative thoughts about Latino immigrants. I calmly said "you don't sound very compassionate." She said "I call it as I see it." We both kept gardening. She asked me if the line of border stones she was putting in looked straight. I invited her further into my yard to get a better view (we don't have fences). She decided to redo her work a bit to make it straighter. I told her her work was turning out really well. She remarked that President Biden will be resigning soon because he is senile. She said she read that on the internet. I said to check her sources as I had not heard that and was pretty sure he would remain in office. We kept gardening. When I finished I wished her a good day and went to a side garden to weed and cut back flowers. She wished my wife a happy birthday. I told her I give my wife her greetings. This was the most honest exchange I have ever had with a person who has followed Trump in the past. We respect and like each other as neighbors. We never quit our joint task of gardening as we talked. She spoke her mind and I spoke mine. I was greatly relieved. She took it in stride and made her own points. For me in this longer relationship of neighbors and fellow gardeners this worked. Neither of us were angry but rather just truthful. This isn't a panacea. However, it was very real and being literally "grounded" in the earth while gardening which my neighbors and I all do, kept us very directly honest but did not hurt our relationship. For me, for us, this worked. Daniel
  10. I am most aware of energy. Science tells us “energy can neither be created or destroyed”. Over the past year the implications of that law of physics has deepened in my life. It means one thing obvious and yet outside of my consciousness until recently: energy is eternal! Another thing science has shown through lab experiments is that inside a void, previously thought to contain nothing, sub atomic particles appear and disappear in billionths of seconds. Energy is in that void and it creates. To me this means that energy underlies all of existence. I am fascinated by that thought. In my heart of hearts I believe that energy is consciousness . A consciousness that creates and never ceases. I find that thought very reassuring. In the midst of all sorts of conditions all beings encounter timeless energy is always present and I suspect, somehow aware. Daniel A. Detwiler
  11. Wow! No wonder that her book affects you so much; that quote is beautiful. I especially like "the fiery light that sees and knows". Richard Mendius in a beautiful CD along with Rick Hanson does a prolonged meditation on "the one who knows". Both your quote and Richard tip towards the mystery of "the one". To me, it suggests consciousness itself. Near death reports are full of descriptions of a magnificent light that is creative and totally loving. For me, those are characteristics of ultimate consciousness in itself. The consciousness of which we are all a part. Filling your life with friends, lovers, partners who nurture that awareness in themselves and in you is not easy for me. I have had the experience of two such people in my life. As we are aging, I realize that they won't always be with me nor I with them. However, our impact will remain as long as we draw breath and perhaps even more so after life. Daniel A. Detwiler
  12. Hi Vladimir, I read your self reflection and listened to your audio. You have a good voice, caring, strong and clear. Your message is excellent. Thank you for sharing. Daniel
  13. My favorite technique is one I learned from David on this forum. If I fall into self criticism, I catch myself, thank myself for recognizing that and return to the present. I use TNH's statements to center myself: "breathing in, I am aware of breathing in, breathing out I am aware of breathing out". Then, I tell myself some positive affirmations and move on. For me, this works. I know I will likely be challenged again but I will use these techniques and they will help me again. Daniel
  14. Hello Forum Members, the words that inspired me most are not in reference to mindfulness; they are about children. They are from the book "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran, the section called "On Children". The entire piece is brief but my favorite words of his follow.. "Your Children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life';s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you they belong not to you." To me, it reminds all parents that children are born to them but also to the world. The role of the parent is to love, guide and care for them so they can release their special talents to the world. Daniel
  15. Hi Gillian, I think I have learned these things from mindfulness: pause, breath, identify what I think and feel and then, wait. The more I do all of those things the better my response is to others. Sometimes, waiting lets an issue be resolved by the other person. Having enough time to hear themselves without immediate challenge gives others time to think about what they might have said, done or proposed. At times, the other person grasps that they can resolve the issue themselves. Waiting also gives me a chance to think about what I still need to understand and how I feel about an issue more clearly. I can inquire more peaceably and let my partner in communication hear my attitude of valuing them and myself. I am not a perfect person so I don't always do these things. However, being mindful grows and I do these positive things more of the time with a generally good result. Daniel
  16. This was really helpful, Gillian. Mindfulness regulates attention moment by moment. Compassion gives a caring connection to others and to the self. For the self it involves learning from the ways others have regulated our emotions up until this time. Then, we can find a way to do emotional regulating for ourselves. It also teaches us to ask the question of or about others "what do you need right now?" When we have information we can decide what we might do for another that is helpful and caring. He is a clear communicator and I like these ideas. Daniel
  17. Well Rachel, your blog was so beautiful, authentic and powerful it has left me without more words! For me, you shared truth in ways I have never put together like this. All I can say is please keep being who you are and please keep sharing that with us. Daniel
  18. Gillian, I liked your observation about contentment. At some times in my own life, contentment follows the elation of a happy experience. As I recall it, savor it and integrate it, contentment arises.
  19. Your description of happiness really rang true Rachel. I especially loved hearing your enjoyment of your daughter dancing. Beautiful! I have a granddaughter who dances and I share your sentiment. I am very happy when I laugh. My wife and I had our two grandchildren for a weekend recently and we played a hysterical board game in which each player choses a totally inappropriate response to a life situation described on a card. We all laughed until we cried. It was fun to share a slight "breaking of the rules of social interaction" with them in a safe situation. Because none of us would EVER say these things it was delicious to hear them come out of our mouths. My body shook with the joy and fun of it all. Those moments of pure fun made us all really happy. It was bodily, mentally and emotionally releasing. Also a moment of acceptance. We loved it. Daniel
  20. I appreciate your responses Gillian and Rachel. I am continuing to feel relief from the burden of anger. To let it go as both of you have described does something very good for the one who lets it go. Having some understanding that the other was/is wounded is easier with time as my own wounds from those negative encounters yield to healing. Compassion and acceptance are the beautiful qualities that you mention that allow us to move on. It feels enhancing to respond with them rather than anger and hurt. Thanks again.
  21. I had a tough experience in the last few years with an autocratic person. I was a leader in a program and that person led another. When my group and I advocated for a change to a topic that involved both groups, that person went wild. That person communicated in a way that was dehumanzing. After my last enconter I was literally in a state of shock.That person organized an attempt to turn a common community against us. It ended in a stalemate. I resigned to recuperate from the withering attacks. Then, a new leader from our group and other new members attempted interaction again. Same wild and savage response. The response was so strong and irrational again,that no one, even in that person's own group stood with them. When savage and wild didn't work anymore that person resigned in fury. That person no longer had any power to use as a weapon. It has taken two years. I now can see how damaged that person must have been as a child. I can see how their power went unchecked life long making it seem like a workable style to them. With use of the loving kindness meditation over months I am just about able to recognize that that person was caught in a web of reactions their whole life. Now, I am able to breathe air and let that person breath too. I feel free to be the person I truly am because I have some idea of how that person became that dictatorial way. My inner peace, even when that person crosses my mind, is intact. I now recognize that being engaged in those memories depletes me. I am letting them go. It has been a long road but if I am not at foregiveness ,at least I am at tolerance. That feels like a victory for understanding. It is the outcome of time,and reflection on what made that person as they are, that got me to peace. Daniel
  22. I think cultivating acceptance, contentment, patience and purpose is an excellent idea. It strikes me that they are all corner stones of a positive and healthy way of being. May you continue your success in doing so and have wonderful experiences. Daniel
  23. I recently commented that I liked the teaching of the monk swami Sarvapriananda better than his lay counterpart Rupert Spira. I noted that I liked that Swami was steeped in the ancient sages and their wisdom. Actually, I feel the same way about Buddhism. I love when Jack Kornfield or Joseph Goldstein reference ancient texts and stories about Buddha. Like Swami S. they convey the stories to illustrate the ethics of their beliefs and the chants and somewhat devotional nature of them. For me, mindfulness is at its fullest embedded in the Buddha and his teachings. Joseph Goldstein is especially skillful at going through the Buddhist Suttras and explaining them. At my age of 73, I notice I am increasingly inclined to grasp more about the ultimate nature of and reason for life itself. What is all of this about? I ask myself. This could seem odd to others, but I am increasingly comforted by videos of near death survivors or retunees as they call themselves. I have heard every day kind of people, Catholic priests, neurologists and just recently an orthopedic surgeon describe the same thing: engulfment in the absolute brilliance of white light with the purest unconditional love enveloping them. A life review with no judgment and a chance to see things from the view of others with whom they have had bad experiences to enahance their compassion. The final lesson: return and love everyone and everything. For me, this gives a purpose to my life and a direction to follow. I also understand "enlightment" much more concretely now. Not only does it give the widest and deepest understanding, it is the actual baptism into the light of love. Daniel
  24. I recently watched a dialogue between Swami Sarvapriananda of Adveita Vedanta and Rupert Spira who practices the Direct Approach to Adveita Vedanta. Both speakers and their moderator were always kind and respectful. However, as a life long reader of body language the only thing that kept hitting me was the sense of pain and disappointment on Swami S's face. It seemed clear to me that taking elements of Adveita Vedanta outside of their monastic origins was a difficult thing for Swami to endure. When Swami addresses a group, he talks with consumate knowledge of the origins of Adveita Vedanta through the centuries. He tells stories of past sages and their wisdom. Rupert Spira has none of that in his presentations. He works effeciently to help people realize that at the bottom of their human experience is the primal consciousness or awareness. It is like rapid enlingtenment. However, without a background of the ethics that go with it or the meditation practice to support it I am not sure what this rapidity brings to his listeners. They seem astonished or shocked by this discovery. I wonder if this feels like the gift Rupert hopes they will receive. Others will feel differently. For me, I will take a planful process of discovery echoing the footsteps of sages over quick enlightenment. Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Hi Daniel! I am sorry - I am just seeing this now. Status updates don't always show up for me, but it looks like they are now appearing at the bottom of the forum homepage.

      Anyways, thank you for your reflections on this. I think there is value to both approaches and that different people will resonate with different ones (perhaps also at different points in life). I appreciate both. Some of Rupert's more direct teachings have really struck me in profound ways, such as one that explored insecurity in relationships. It sparked a beautiful shift in me, but I know that not everyone will react in the same way to his teachings (as you've mentioned yourself as well). 

      I also just want to point out that I love those words you've used - "echoing the footsteps of sages". Beautiful!

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