Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

A reader asks a question. “Not Thinking”?

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“I often read about the importance of ‘not thinking,’ but the mind is rebellious. Are you are saying the alternative is to focus on something else, such as the breath and that quiets the mind?”
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Mindfulness/meditative practice is exactly that, a focus exercise, a way of letting go of the “Ego’s grasp.
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The “Ego” wants to direct our being. It accomplishes that by bringing forth unlimited thought and judgment filled with emotion.
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The “ego” wants to stoke the cognitive engines, judge, position itself, be in charge.
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Remember the ”ego” is never equal to another, it feels superior or inferior and makes judgments based on this.
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It feels awkward for the mind to slow down and empty.
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It is habitual for us from birth to engage thought and judgment as a way of living.
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Wonder if that does not lead to any happiness?
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Quieting the mind happens when we can accept ourselves and situation in life totally first.
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If we believe there is something out there we can accomplish or defeat our quest fades.
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We develop the skill of letting go, accepting and finally surrendering to our fears and emotional judgment.
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Please try the breathing track with eyes open first, tracing your breath for a few cycles. Know this is exactly what you are going to focus on and then let go of the storyline.
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It is a learned skill. Practice and proficiency will follow.
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I buy into all the Buddhist philosophy for the most part except for one technical detail::::—–____. “Counting”

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Math is the highest form of cognitive functioning. Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who had a stroke which destroyed the functioning of her left hemisphere, regained math skills last, a full eight years after her stroke.
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We are trying to do the opposite from thinking, we are trying to go beneath the ego, not summon the guy to thought.
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Our goal is to get to empty for longer and longer periods of time.
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Empty, the cessation of thought, not, not thinking but a focus, an acceptance and then letting go of the storyline.
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Knowing the breath is on a continuum, all parts connected, flowing gently like a sheet of music, eliminates some of the ability of thought to disrupt our emptiness.
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Counting engages thinking. Last mindfulness sit I counted to fifty, then I surely want to make 52 or 60 this time. That is called a goal, we do not want any goals, just awareness and emptiness.
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I used to get lost, as everyone else, at the end of the inhale and exhale. Thoughts would pour in intrusively, constantly.
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That is why I developed my breathing track. I closed the places where I got lost and connected the exhales and inhales with flat arches.
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This model is simple, concrete, immediate and when practiced daily the strongest focus mechanism we will ever possess.
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It is like taking coal and making a diamond with focus practice.
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Practice today.
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Neuroscience has documented the minds processes, details for us, what illuminates when we feel positive, and what areas light up for negative feelings

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Findings have astonished scientists, the mind is far more plastic and changeable than ever thought possible.
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Lost in all of this, application. How many of us have 10,000″plus hours meditating to induce these results?
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We have to reach a state of emptiness to enjoy the full benefits of mindfulness.
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The old count your breath model makes this a long drawn out process. Maybe five years, maybe a decade to reach empty.
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I have witnessed experienced meditators reach empty in six weeks with daily practice on the breathing track. It helps eliminate thoughts and enhances letting go. It promotes balance and a slowing pace, activating our parasympathetic nervous system.
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The learned skill, following your breath, being your breath, while gently slowing it down without thought, develops in the simplest of daily practices.
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Complexity leads to failure when programming the mind.
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We need only this:
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Simple, (the simpler, the stronger under pressure, the easier to repeat and make habitual, bulletproof.)
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Immediate (desperate, urgent), we will act when our backs are up against the wall, a now, present emotion, desperation, that is.
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Concrete (you can touch it, follow it, trace it, see it, nothing abstract), counting our breaths, math, is a high functioning cognitive process, the opposite purpose of meditating/mindfulness.
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Indestructible (can withstand the fight or flight mechanism launching, the adrenal stress response, what we know as fear).
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I like this description, no religion, no cult, just the breath, the mind, our thoughts and focus at play.

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Ricard, Lutz and Davidson:

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“Meditation explores
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the nature of the mind,
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providing a way to study
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consciousness
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and subjective
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mental states
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from the first person
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perspective of the meditator.”
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Gray matter is the new gold standard for mental health, happiness

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Scientific America again:
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“Meditation brings out changes not just in well defined cognitive and emotional processes but also in the volume of certain brain areas, possibly reflecting alterations in the number of connections among brain cells.
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A preliminary study by Sara W. Lazar of Harvard university and her colleagues showed that among longtime meditators, as compared with a control group, the volume of the brains darker tissue, it’s gray matter, differed in the Insula and prefrontal vortices.”
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“In a follow up study, Lazar and her colleagues also showed that mindfulness training
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decreased the volume of the amygdala,
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a region involved in fear processing, for those participants who showed the most noticeable reductions in stress over the course of trainning.”
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Meditate and grow gray matter, you can exchange it for some happiness in a while.
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No doubt,,, neuroscience proves mindfulness changes the brain even at a cellular level

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Scientific America: Ricard and Davidson.
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“Also called open-monitoring meditation, mindfulness entails observing sights, sounds, and other sensations, including internal bodily sensations and thoughts, without being carried away by them.
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Expert meditators have diminished activity in anxiety related areas, such as insular cortex and Amygdala.”
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Neuroscience is proving a 2500 year old practice of meditative contemplation is accurate, down to the final piece, loving kindness giving.
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Scientific America: the neuroscience of meditation

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Loving kindness meditation:
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“This form of meditation on love and compassion has proved to be more than just a spiritual exercise.
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It has shown potential to benefit healthcare workers, teachers and others who run the risk of emotional burnout linked to distress experienced from a deeply empathetic reaction to another persons plight.”
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