Archive for the ‘Assorted’ Category

Prefrontal cortex and Attention!

 

 

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“Altered Traits”

In humans the prefrontal cortex takes up a larger ratio of the brain’s top layer, the neocortex, than in any other species, and has been the site of the major evolutionary changes that make us human. 

 

 

This neural zone, as we will see, holds the seeds of awakening to enduring well-being, but it is also entwined with emotional suffering. 

 

 

 

We can envision wonderful possibilities, and we also can be disturbed by worrisome thoughts—both signs of the prefrontal cortex at work. 

 

 

 

While William James wrote about attention as though it were one single entity, science now tells us the concept refers not just to one ability but to many. 

 

 

Among them: 

 

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Where our work lies

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I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion―

 

and where it isn’t,

 

that’s where my work lies.”

 

~Ram Dass
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My two cents: It takes a mindfulness practice to realize where it isn’t!

 

Our work lies in self discovery, awareness and total acceptance.
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Self compassion skills workbook: “Interbeing”

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“I hope you find the practices described in this book to be healing and liberating.

 

However, these practices should be viewed only as an introduction to the extensive teachings on mindfulness and self-compassion that are available.

 

I recommend exploring the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, Kristin Neff, Chris Germer, Paul Gilbert, and Richard Schwartz.

 

 

Finding teachers that you trust can be incredibly helpful to you on your path.

 

 

Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching of “interbeing” is one that can be particularly helpful in cultivating compassion.

 

 

He coined the term interbeing to refer to a special way of perceiving who we are and how we are connected to something much greater than ourselves.

 

 

If we believe that we are completely cut off and disconnected from others, it can seem as though there is a conflict between self-compassion and compassion for others.

 

 

The teaching of interbeing explains how this is a mistaken view.

 

 

We can begin to understand interbeing by examining the piece of paper from which you are reading right now.

 

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The Joy of Mindfulness

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Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

One important function of mindfulness is learning to embrace and transform our suffering—which has been the focus of much of this workbook.

 

 

However, mindfulness can also be a source of joy.

 

 

Mindfulness helps us wake up to all of the conditions for happiness that are already available to us in this moment.

 

 

Many people drink their tea or coffee, but never taste it.

 

 

Their minds are far away, occupied by worries or regrets.

 

 

When we learn how to slow down and taste our tea, we find that it is wonderful.

 

 

Sitting by a tree, walking with a friend, and taking a hot shower on a cold morning and all potential source of joy, if we know how to pay attention to them.
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“Self Compassion Skills Workbook”: Positive Psychology

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Researchers who study well-being—positive psychologists—have concluded overwhelmingly that happiness comes from a well-defined set of skills and attitudes.

 

 

As we develop compassion, gratitude, optimism, and mindfulness, we learn that happiness is available in each moment of life.

 

 

In fact, the present moment is the only place that happiness can be found.

 

 

If we want to be happy in the future, the best thing we can do is to find happiness in the present.

 

 

Researchers have found that contentment and happiness do not come from getting the things we want in life—such as financial wealth, a new car, or career success.

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Sending and Recieving

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“Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

 

Picture someone—a person or an animal—with whom you feel safe and comfortable.

 

 

Let the image of that person become clear.

 

 

Write down the person you choose:

 

 

With each breath, you will alternate sending and receiving compassion.

 

 

With each in breath, imagine receiving compassion—either from this other person or from another source.

 

 

With each out breath, imagine sending compassion to this other person.

 

 

Recognize that it’s possible for both of you to receive compassion and there is no competition.

 

 

Write down the body sensations you notice: Continue this practice for at least 5 minutes.
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Peacemakers

 

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“In the practice of compassion, there are no enemies.

 

We are peacemakers, who are committed to finding ways to understand and embrace whatever thoughts, feelings and sensations arise within us.

 

This might not be easy, but it’s much easier than constantly being at war with ourselves. We begin this practice by consciously calling for a ceasefire.

 

To be clear, we do not passively surrender to the darkest parts of ourselves.

 

We don’t give in to self-hate or despair. We don’t allow these parts to control us.

 

Yet neither do we seek to annihilate these parts of ourselves. We have learned that hating our hatred just creates more hatred.

 

In the end, we see that these parts of ourselves are like crying children.

 

They aren’t being rational, and shouldn’t be put in charge of anything.

 

 

What they need is love, understanding, and a commitment to repair whatever relational bond has been broken.

 

This is a practice of active nonviolence and of conflict resolution—in our relationship with ourselves.

 

The more you understand the obstacle that is blocking your self-compassion, the easier it will be to transform it.
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