Posts Tagged ‘Ego’

Responding to a follower, how monumental is our task?

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Part of a response from a follower: “Almost all of the traumatic thoughts are hardwired to the nerves that it is almost beyond control.”

Consciously, it is almost beyond our control, our trauma is stored in the Amygdala on the right side of the brain. No access consciously to this side of our mind.

Mindfulness/Meditation reaches our right hemisphere.

This is the reason Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was combined with meditation/mindfulness.

The path to healing does not have to be a monumental struggle.

Those hard wired traumatic thoughts can be integrated, one at a time, using ten, slow, focused breaths.

I have helped people, triggered and ready to avoid, use their focus practice to integrate their trauma.

If we can stay present, focused on the breath intently, for ten breaths, our nervous system will calm.

These ten slow, focused breaths, activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Like applying the brakes at a stop light.

Cortisol dissipates in two ways, aerobic exercise and meditation.

Using this technique, our nervous system calms, our symptoms and fears start to recede.

In time our nervous system will calm and not react to these triggers.

Make friends with your nervous system and half the battle is accomplished.

When I finally had success staying present, focused when triggers exploded, life changed.

I had found something more powerful than my trauma.

With this new found power, I hunted down my triggers.

I would visit places where I was triggered, situation and people.

Now I became the hunter.

Become the hunter, master ten, focused, slow breaths.

Remember we are trying to describe an action with words, an action in a place where no words exist.

You have to sit and experience what I am describing.

It seems mundane and weak on the surface but holds our greatest power.

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My relationship with my mind

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For sufferers of PTSD, the mind becomes an adversary. Its behavior drastically changes.

Out of my conscious influence, imminent danger proliferates, igniting my defense system, the fight or flight mechanism.

Fear dominated my life.

Symptoms complicate and confuse us. We avoid, deal with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and memories. We are hyper vigilant, on the look out for emotional triggers.

Now, my relationship with my mind has changed.

I made friends with my nervous system. Staying focused and present when my fight or flight mechanism fired, exposed the mirage of trauma.

My nervous system calmed.

Next the thoughts and patterns were an issue.

The solution was quite simple.

I watch my thoughts now.

Unworthy or negative thoughts fade.

If I choose to give attention to any thought, it will be constructive or at least interesting.

My mind has changed its habits.

I have learned to keep my mind focused in this moment.

I have found that, this moment is all that exists, whether it is mundane, exhilarating or scary.

I have only experienced happiness in the present moment.

I have worried and doubted in the present moment, but it was about the past or a prediction.

You improve by not thinking, not ruminating!

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Updated: Mindfulness from Breath by Breath

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Mindfulness is unbiased. It is not for or against anything, just like a mirror, which does not judge what it reflects. 

 

Mindfulness has no goal other than the seeing itself. 

 

It doesn’t try to add to what’s happening or subtract from it, to improve it in any way. 

 

It isn’t detached, like a person standing on a hill far away from an experience, observing it with binoculars. 

 

It is a form of participation—you are fully living out your life, but you are awake in the midst of it—and it is not limited to the meditation hall. 

 

It can be used on a simple process like the breathing, or on highly charged and unpleasant emotions like fear or loneliness. 

 

It can also follow us into the ordinary life situations that make up our day.

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My two cents: When I meditate, there are no goals, no exertion of Influence, we observe and explore our inner world.

Like a mirror, it does not change the image it reflects.

When the image moves away, the mirror does not keep a copy.

Can we be that mirror in daily life when needed?

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Where are the peacemakers in our midst?

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We are on this journey together, in harmony, granted a short period of time on this planet.

We all die, you can be pharaoh, build a pyramid for the afterlife, but these possessions stay on earth.

All those possessions we have attained have no impact after we die. You may have a giant headstone, but that is to impress the living, who will be dead soon enough.

Our goal of being happy, is not a life of chasing pleasure or avoiding the unpleasant.

Happy people are givers with a highly developed gratitude practice, people who are kind and caring of others.

In this time of turmoil, where violence, hate and fear dominate our country, how do we heal and live a worthwhile life?

Politics are so divisive, journalists have taken sides as media becomes as biased as democrats and republicans.

One side hates the other side, believing they are evil.

No one wins in a society like this, especially the needy.

Where are the peacemakers in our midst?

Do no harm has changed to, do the most harm possible, eviscerate your enemy.

Disrespect and intolerance are the norm these days.

How do we change our present condition?

Thoughts?

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Healing Pain from the Past: “The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

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If we imagine a 100-year-old tree, we can see that the 50-year-old tree is contained within it. We could count the rings and point to the exact place where the 50-year-old tree is present in the 100-year-old tree.

We can see that the 20-year-old tree and the 10-year-old tree are all concretely present in the 100-year-old tree. It is the same with us.

Every experience we have is recorded in the shapes of connections in the neural networks in our brains.

If a past experience is still impacting us in any way, it’s because the connections that were made during that experience are still concretely present in our brains.

Someday brain imaging technology may become so accurate that we will be able to identify the exact place where our brain stores the experience of our 5-year-old self being humiliated by an older sibling, or our 10-year-old self being bitten by a neighborhood dog.

This is why healing the past is possible. We cannot change what happened in the past, but we can change how it impacts us.

The metaphor of the rings in a tree illustrates how the past can be accessed in the present because its marks remain within us.

We can access how those experiences are stored in our brains and change them.

In fact, neuroscientists have demonstrated that the key to transforming pain from the past is to get in touch with that pain while experiencing compassion at the same time.

This triggers a process in your brain called memory reconsolidation that literally rewrites your emotional response to a past experience.

The memory isn’t erased; it is simply changed so that it doesn’t cause distress anymore.

For this type of deep transformation to occur, all we need to do is to get in touch with pain from our past as well as our compassion for ourselves—both at the same time.

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Building Self Compassion

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The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

1. “There is a specific circuit in your brain that scientists call the Care Circuit, which creates the experience of compassion, warmth, and love.

2. Self-compassion training strengthens your Care Circuit—like exercising a muscle.

3. With enough compassion training, your Care Circuit can literally grow in size so that the increase is visible on a brain scan.

4. The Care Circuit is one of the primary emotional circuits in the brain that creates happiness and well-being.

5. Activating the Care Circuit through self-compassion training reduces every form of emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and anger.

6. Compassion training for 30 minutes a day for 14 days creates significant changes in the brain and leads to more prosocial and altruistic behavior.

7. Eight weeks of compassion training can make your temperament or personality significantly more positive.

8. Scientists have documented that Buddhist monks with intensive training in compassion have the strongest markers for happiness in their brains that have ever been recorded.”
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There is no limit to the amount of compassion (for yourself and others) that you can develop in your life if you are willing to practice.

Your body and your brain are designed to feel compassion, and the more you engage your Care Circuit, the stronger and bigger it becomes.

There is nothing stopping you from developing a radically new way of relating to yourself—with kindness and love.
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My two cents:  This is a roadmap made by Neuroscientists, pointing out the road less traveled, “The Happy Path”.

 

If you want to be happy, adopt a daily mindfulness/meditation practice.

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Part 1: narrative based and immediate based selfs

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“Living with your Heart Wide Open” by Steve Flowers

“The hunger from unmet needs can form a central theme in the story you repeat to yourself, creating a narrative of a wounded self.

As described above, the narrative-based self exists across time and continuously creates itself through the stories it repeats.

We mistakenly believe this “self” is a somewhat permanent entity that endures through the constant changes of life.

(my two cents: this self is our created “Ego”)

Psychologist William James characterized the narrative-based self as a construction of narratives woven together from the threads of experiences over time into a cohesive concept we reference as “me” to make sense of the “I” acting in the present moment (James 1890).

The immediacy-based self, in contrast, is a creature of the here and now.

It is grounded in the experience of who you are in each moment.

This sense of self exists only in the present moment and therefore is ageless and timeless.

It is the primary orientation from which awareness is experienced and thus is not characterized by concepts such as gender, race, religion, and personal history.

As such, the immediacy-based self is not a thing but rather an active center of awareness from which you can acknowledge moment-to-moment experience.

From this perspective, Descartes’s famous dictum becomes “I experience what’s happening, therefore I am.”

Neurological research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has shown that these two forms of self-awareness—narrative-based self and immediacy-based self—are located in two separate areas of the brain (Farb et al. 2007).

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A few prerequisites for happiness

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First, we must have a worthy self image, a healthy ego. We must love (approve of) ourselves to be truly happy.

Our awareness must be focused in the present moment. Happiness does not exist in our memories or future predictions.

Desires and needs must be in perspective. To many needs or constant desire eliminates our chance for happiness.

Worry, doubt, Dissociation, fear etc. must be at a minimal.

When my PTSD was active and strong, being happy was impossible. Fear and anxiety stole much more than just my happiness.

If we have a disorder, we must take action or happiness will never visit us.

Happiness must be earned in spite of all the challenges we all face.

Happiness does not arrive easily or with half effort.

I believe we all can find happiness with practice.

It will look entirely different for some.

Extra credit: https://ptsdawayout.com/2017/03/14/ricard-happiness-2/

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Happiness seems elusive for most of us!

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Growing up being happy did not seem to be our goal. Being raised Catholic, I had responsibility to the church and God.

My parents demanded proper behavior at home, school and in public. Somehow out of this indoctrination and proper behavior, happiness would be attained.

Well that never worked out. I studied hard, accomplished a college degree, added seven years as a professional baseball player, before a successful working career, but lasting happiness was a complete stranger.

Now I knew possessions, accomplishments, power or approval were not connected with true happiness.

Happiness is hidden, in some of the simplest thing we do.

Hidden in the mundane, clouded by bias and thought, happiness eludes us.

Emotions lead us away from happiness. Try being angry and happy at the same time. Many emotions are connected to negative thought and judgment.

I have found peace and happiness inside mundane chores at times.

Happiness only exists in this current moment, so we need to be present first to enjoy.

Thought seems to chase away happiness for me.

There is a time to think but continuous thought like we get involved in, is destructive.

An example: I have found peace doing laundry.

My purpose: Make my grandkids look as good as possible.

How: Enter the chore completely. Each piece of clothing I pick up, receives total attention and energy. I feel like part of each piece of clothing when my focus is strong.

Time ceases, thoughts fade while a quiet calm envelopes me.

I have felt my nervous system dissipate all its anxiety and aggravation in this space.

Being totally present with laundry, has settled my being and brought a grounding, a smile to my being.

Is this a happy moment?

For me it has the correct elements.

We are Ever present while focused, observing and acting without thinking.

Happiness does occupy spaces like this.

Thoughts?

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’YOU are NOT your THOUGHTS’

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Those with PTSD, anxiety, depression or another mental disorder, live with a constant, seemingly unending flow of negative, maybe even scary thoughts.

In a strange way I honored these thoughts as reality, as true.

It was all I had ever been exposed to. The totality of my experience yielded an extremely unworthy self image (Ego).

My Mindfulness/Meditation practice helped me explore my inner world, the place these unworthy thoughts hide.

Mindfulness teaches us to observe our thoughts without judgment or influence.

Look how fixated we become when someone angers us, disrespect us, or tries to harm us.

The more I identity with with my unworthiness, the more biased and violent my response will be.

My thoughts stole forty plus years of my life, so do not underestimate there power.

Now, I have learned to let thoughts fade.

I have learned my best chance at a happy life is multiplied a 1,000,000,000,000,000 times if I can stay present, observing the now.

It is true. My life sucks if I allow trauma thoughts to percolate for any amount of time.

Any thoughts?

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