Posts Tagged ‘breath’

Secrets to help you Meditate

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When meditating, I exert no influence.

Whatever comes up is observed from a distance.

Anxious Thoughts, judgments, worry and doubt, body sensations, the breath, and our interior world are observed.

Observation takes no action, exerts no pressure on anything, passively leads us to acceptance.

Any strong emotions or judgments fade away without our participation.

Words become powerless, judgments obsolete and resistance useless.

Learning to detach from the “Egos” grasp frees us to heal and improve..

Accepting all of us is not easy, does not happen without daily practice.

We do not try to escape. We are detectives, we are on an undercover stake out of our inner world, our mind.

Next comes Surrender, we picture our heart as a butterfly net and then catch our fears gently with a child’s curiosity.

We are not doing anything to our fears, surrender exerts no pressure, no influence.

Thoughts, judgments and emotions fade quickly with practice.

We learn how to train our mind to stay present, empty of negative thought and emotion.

It was scary as hell at first, I perceived my triggers had power to harm me.

That was an erroneous conclusion.

I was afraid of my own fight or flight mechanism firing, an unfounded fear at best.

PTSD is a bluff, nothing happens after cortisol and adrenaline dissipate, returning us to a normal calm.

You have to practice to reap these benefits.

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“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~ Lao Tzu

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Do you value others approval over self approval?

Childhood abuse, C-PTSD, made me extremely vulnerable, craving approval from others.

That craving took all the time needed for healthy self approval.

Constant criticism and beatings created a void, a damaged “Ego”, needing kindness at all costs.

My “Ego” felt unworthy, not equal to others, I judged myself defective.

The battle to heal or wellbeing is an internal one I found out.

Internal healing, accepting, then surrendering to my fears paved the way to a different existence.

Please learn from my mistakes and journey out of hell.

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A Followers journey

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Posted by powerfulbeautifulwise:

“Until I found your blog, I’d discounted meditation because I thought of it like you described “a Zen center filled with intellectuals pursuing the abstract awakening or enlightenment goal.” I’m starting with baby steps – breathing in self-acceptance and breathing out regret when difficult memories overwhelm me. By starting small, I don’t feel the judgment that I might be doing it wrong.

In working with people recovering from abusive relationships, I’ve also wondered why some are willing to invest in the hard work while others continue to suffer. I’ve concluded that suffering does bring some payout. Until I bottomed out, I took some pride in my ability to suffer. I try to understand that someone trapped in suffering is getting some reward from it. Western society has been elevating the victim status, which may explain one of the rewards.

Thanks for your post. You’ve helped me sort out some thoughts.”

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A few of the Benefits of a Meditation/Mindfulness practice:

Improving Attention

One of the most obvious benefits from meditation is that it improves our attention. One study has shown that just 5 days of 20 minute training can show significant improvements in our ability to focus and concentrate. The fact that mindfulness meditation can improve our attention is one of the most well-documented benefits. And the practice of staying focused on our breath can build concentration that often spills over into many other activities.

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Improving Cognition

Another interesting study showed that just 4 days of 20 minute training showed significant increases in cognitive functioning, especially memory and learning. Other related research indicates that meditation can help slow down Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some of this may in part be due to our increased attention, but it seems meditation also acts on other parts of the brain more directly related to learning and memory, such as increasing gray matter in the hippocampus.

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Managing Stress and Anxiety

Meditation has also been shown to reduce gray matter in the amygdala, which is a part of the brain commonly associated with stress, anxiety, and emotional processing. This demonstrates why meditation does so well in relieving stress and increasing relaxation. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of The Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts, is one of the leading teachers and researchers in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Here you can find a wonderful lecture he gave to Google summarizing a lot of the research demonstrating how effective mindfulness meditation is for reducing stress and improving medical outcomes.

Improving Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

In light of meditation’s ability to reduce stress, it has also been reported to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. This particular study followed 200 participants for 5 years who were at a “high risk” for heart attacks and strokes. They found that those who practiced meditation regularly reduced their risk for heart attacks and strokes by almost 50%.

Reducing Pain

Mindful breathing has also been discovered to reduce pain, according to a recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience. After just four 20 minute mindfulness sessions, participants did better at reducing unpleasant sensations (such as 120 degrees of heat, a temperature that most people find painful) than those who did not receive mindfulness training. Researchers theorize that mindfulness trainees have an easier time keeping their focus directed toward their breathing and thereby ignoring the discomfort caused by the heat. It’s likely that mindfulness can show similar effects on other types of pain as well.

Overcoming Depression

Surprisingly, mindfulness meditation is said to be on par with antidepressants in preventing depression relapse. According to researchers, mindfulness prevents excessive rumination (a common cause of depression) by teaching individuals how to reflect on thoughts and emotional states in a non-judgmental and non-attaching way. Instead of clinging to “negative” thoughts and feelings – and feeding into them – mindfulness teaches us to sit back and watch these emotions and thoughts without needing to overreact or feel guilty about how we feel. This makes it a lot easier to fully experience these passing thoughts and emotions, and then let them go.

Overcoming Fears of Death

Another recent study published earlier this year found that mindfulness can also ease fears and anxieties related to death. Mindful people tend to be more accepting of their limited time while alive. They also tend to be less dependent on fantasy-filled beliefs and desires for self-preservation or immortality. They understand that death is not the opposite of life, but a necessary part of it. Thus, they accept the reality of their demise, instead of being defensive.

Changing Bad Habits

There is a particular technique in mindfulness training that helps individuals overcome addictions and other bad habits. It’s called urge surfing, and it’s a popular tool in some psychotherapies to help individuals quit smoking or stop obsessive eating. The main goal of the meditation is to “ride out” your desire to do certain negative habits, but not act on them. Mindfulness teaches you that many of these desires are impermanent, and if we just sit back and watch them, it is very likely that they will subside and go away (without us necessarily needing to smoke another cigarette, or eat that slice of cake).

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Changing Brain Structure

In addition to many of the benefits mentioned above, it has also been shown that 8 weeks of mindfulness training can cause long-term changes to our brain structure. While this isn’t necessarily a “benefit” in-and-of-itself, it is evidence for just how powerful mindfulness training can be. For more on this you can also check out my article Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity.

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A few Roadblocks we face while healing

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From the blog https://kathyberman.com/. A great resource blog

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The first roadblock separates over 90% of people searching for a cure.

Taking daily action, facing our fears while sitting quietly, makes cowards out of us.

Denial or one of the millions of excuses prevents people from risking change. It is a sad fact,

Next for those who start a daily practice, a time arrives when healing begins and these scary, anxious feelings explode.

Our first reflex is to avoid, run or extinguish these feelings. We judge them as bad.

Healing is not comfortable, some of our trauma leaves in a conscious way, exiting violently.

Most people I encounter think they are getting worse, but the opposite is true.

My triggers erupted as they exited my mind and body.

I figured their intensity was proportionate to the violent abuse endured as a child.

This was my experience and what I have witnessed with others healing.

Healing was painful for me, then it became euphoric in a few weeks.

Please, accept the challenge and risk, take action, fight for your wellbeing.

Never give in!

Never give up!

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The mind is far more powerful focused, empty of thought, than when it is thinking.

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The mind is far more powerful focused, empty of thought, than when it is thinking.

Ask an enlightened monk, where does the power of mind reside, in thinking or in emptiness?

With severe childhood PTSD my minds thinking brought unbelievable suffering.

Sitting quietly, focused on my breath and internal body sensations, my mind repaired itself.

The thinking side of the mind is wonderful when I direct my thoughts with a purpose.

Letting the mind wander, collects negative thoughts like a magnet attracts metal objects.

Focused, we can choose what thoughts we entertain or let them fade away.

Optimum function lets all thoughts fade in favor of just being here, present and aware.

Seems boring and mundane because it is not an intellectual property.

The words mean nothing, the action of doing contains the magical fairy dust.

We can change the way our mind handles thoughts and emotions.

If life is great then ignore this, if not you need to try something different.

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Sunday morning Insights

Pixabay: Larisa-K

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Sufferers of PTSD, depression or other disorders are generally confused and anxious.

Fear mixed with intense anxiety stops the mind from functioning properly.

We sense danger from a perceived lethal threat. We want to escape as quickly as possible, our defense mechanism has complete control.

Unfortunately, going out in public, say to a restaurant, would fire my fight or flight mechanism without my consent.

Somehow these situations linked to my abusive childhood. Our triggers seem to pick their own scenario.

Cognitively I understood no real danger existed, my defense mechanism did not agree.

Healing for me, consisted of sitting calmly, focused on my breath, as my nervous system fired violently.

My focus released the scary thoughts, then concentrated on the connected body sensations. For me, my solar plexus is where my trauma manifested inside the body.

Making friends with the bodies nervous system, intimately knowing (being with) the sensations, integrated my trauma.

Being able to build focus on the breath is body armor for the anxiety disorders.

The breath controls our nervous system and heavily influences our defense mechanism.

Navy Seals are taught to dissipate fear by extending their exhales.

Cortisol and adrenaline can be used for fuel instead of being afraid or triggered.

PTSD has access to the switch firing our fight or flight mechanism, we have final control of our nervous system.

Remember trauma is stored in the right hemisphere, inside our amygdala.

We can not access stored trauma consciously.

Meditation grants us direct access to our stored trauma.

No miracle just current neuroscience.

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Improving in my mindfulness group

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We work on brain science, focus, letting go, body awareness, thoughts, and application of our practice.

We work on issues that derail us. Home work or focus during the week has helped strengthen their practice and improve life.

We work on sitting shorter periods with maximum effort (focus). I have introduced different objects of focus.

I always recommend using my breathing model and listening as our core focus. Then ideas like, altruism (loving kindness gratitude), showering others with kindness without regard for reward becomes our focus object.

A shift in focus from a visual to listening object expands everyone’s skill level.

Imagine sitting with your back to a dense jungle, tender dry from a year long drought. Something in the jungle is heading our way.

Can you quiet down inside your ears, listening deep into that jungle?

Scenario two: We are commanding a submarine 200 feet below the surface. An enemy ship is hunting us. Shhhhhh.

Absolute quiet, absolute silence is our goal for the next 15 minutes.

Add some creative challenges to your mindfulness practice.

Enjoy the journey.

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