Archive for the ‘Assorted’ Category

Emotions are ephemeral, fleeting and transparent

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Matthew Ricard: excerpt from “Happiness”

 


Despite their rich terminology for describing a wide range of mental events, the traditional languages of Buddhism have no word for emotion as such.

 


That may be because according to Buddhism all types of mental activity, including rational thought, are associated with some kind of feeling, be it one of pleasure, pain, or indifference.

 

And most affective states, such as love and hatred, arise together with discursive thought.

 

Rather than distinguishing between emotions and thoughts, Buddhism is more concerned with understanding which types of mental activity are conducive to one’s own and others’ well-being, and which are harmful, especially in the long run.

 

 


This is actually quite consistent with what cognitive science tells us about the brain and emotion.

 

 

Every region in the brain that has been identified with some aspect of emotion has also been identified with aspects of cognition.

 

 


There are no “emotion centers” in the brain.

 

 


The neuronal circuits that support emotions are completely intertwined with those that support cognition.

 


This anatomical arrangement is consistent with the Buddhist view that these processes cannot be separated: emotions appear in a context of action and thought, and almost never in isolation from the other aspects of our experience.

 

 

It should be noted that this runs counter to Freudian theory, which holds that powerful feelings of anger or jealousy, for instance, can arise without any particular cognitive or conceptual content.”
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Opening up to what scares us!

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Thoughts linked to negative emotions or past traumatizing events, arouse our fear, and our fight or flight mechanism (adrenal stress response).

 

 

We have great resistance facing these fears. In fact human nature chases pleasure and avoids the awkward.

 

 

These fears bring anxiety, triggers, flashbacks, hypervigilance, nightmares, memory loss, mental confusion, and panic.

 

 

What is the solution?

 

 

Surrender.

 

 

We visualize our heart as a butterfly net, catching that scary thought, feeling only the body sensation. Absorb what our body has to teach us without thought. We observe our inner worlds reaction.

 

 

Our inner world can be a friend, our nervous system a calming companion.

 


Surrendering like this is safe. We are focused on the breath until thoughts fade.

 

 

As the scary memory enters our focus, we catch this fear, surrender to it, expose our open heart to understand it.

 

 

What we resist, persists. Surrender to your fears with an open heart not a confused mind.
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Loneliness

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A new epidemic of suicides has arisen, middle-aged men who are lonely.

 


Men have always identified with their jobs, attached self-worth into the equation. I still tell people I was a professional baseball player, when I am much closer to the grave than playing ball again.

 

Our “Ego” is the culprit. Look at these three lives, extraordinary response to isolation, suffering and pain.

 


Nelson Mandela spent two decades isolated in a prison cell, Viktor Frankl survived a concentration camp, Mother Theresa sacrificed in a leper colony.

 


Mandela brought a divided, racist nation together, Viktor wrote the “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Mother Theresa comforted lepers for decades. The human spirit is capable of superhuman behavior.

 

Loneliness fades when a great purpose is discovered.

 


Action is stronger than lonely thoughts.

 


Gratitude and giving are two essential elements connected with happiness, actions that destroy loneliness.

 


Grasping at lonely thoughts can lead to suicide.

 


Letting those lonely thoughts fade extinguishes their venom.

 


Check out all the judgments around your loneliness.
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Thoughts about Thoughts

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The mind is capable of complex equations, incredible abstract thought, hosting a crescendo of mercurial emotions, or simple intense focus.

 

 

One side houses our cognitive functions, our judgment center, our identity (Ego) and where we fit in with other “Egos”. This side exists in the past, some present and the future. Our self talk and self-image are developed on this side (judgments).

 

 


The other side is expansive, creative and only knows this present moment. This side does not think but observes intently. It is void of words, sentences, judgments, right or wrong or good or bad. We are all perfect, worthy and have enormous opportunity on this side.

 

 

Meditation/Mindfulness attempts to access this creative side while focusing intently on the breath. We practice letting go of thought, our cognitive engine. We stay present and observe, not think for periods of time.

 

 

60,000 thoughts on average cross our path daily. This means the temptation to constantly think and travel into the past or future becomes dominant.

 

 


Retraining the mind takes daily practice and constant vigilance.
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Sunday quote

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Three Marks of Existence:

 

Suffering.
Impermanence.
No-self.

 

 

“Street” version by Jon Kabat-

 

Shit happens.
Everything changes.

It’s not about you, anyway.
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Distracted versus Focus Mind!!!!

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A distracted mind wanders into quicksand over and over again.

 

 

Worry, doubt, anxiety, resentment, jealousy, and fear lie beneath our distraction.

 


The distracted mind tunes into the noise, the focused mind observes.

 

 

The distracted mind is like Velcro, always slowing down, viewing the accident in the other lane, always attracted to the light of confusion.

 


The focused mind builds awareness and thus has the ability to let all the noise fade into oblivion.

 


Mindfulness is the moment to moment application of focus (awareness).

 


When we find ourselves distracted, we use our focus practice to come back to now, empty of thought.

 

At first, our focus on the breath is more mechanical, becoming more natural and organic with practice.

 

Distracted states:
Worry: The past failures bleed into our future.
Doubt: We judge failure or embarrassment is possible.
Jealousy: Our selfish part needs more.
Anger: Rarely needed, constantly overused.
Fear: Thought and emotion create its own habitual fear.
Anxious: Leads into dissociative thought.
Pessimism: A negative way of living.
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Choiceless Awareness from “The Need to Please”

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“In developing mindfulness, we start with practices that have a laser-like focus, such as Mindfulness of the Breath. These directed meditations help us build concentration and steadiness of attention.

 


Over time, the focus expands to include more of our present-moment experience.

 


Eventually, we drop any particular focus of attention and, with the breath as an anchor, watch the flow of our experience, holding it all in kind, independent awareness.

 


This type of meditation is known as choiceless awareness.

 


The practice of choiceless awareness beckons us to be completely open to whatever experience presents itself: thoughts, feelings, sounds, or sensations.

 

 

We simply rest in awareness of these experiences, not choosing, fighting, or encouraging anything in particular as the object of awareness.

 

 

You might think of choiceless awareness as simply being present with yourself. With practice, you can watch experiences come and go much like bubbles that float into your awareness and then drift away or pop.

 

 

Mindfulness practice helps us experience that our awareness is separate from the objects of our awareness.”
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