Posts Tagged ‘Hardship’

Buddhism and Western medicine: a good read

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Alex Lickerman, MD, is a physician and former director of primary care at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the University of Chicago. He is also a practicing Nichiren Buddhist and leader in the Nichiren Buddhist lay organization, the Soka Gakkai International, USA (SGI-USA).

 

Buddhism and Western medicine would seem an incongruous mixture, but in the hands of Alex Lickerman they meld seamlessly into a recipe for overcoming life’s hardships—indeed, for turning them into advantages. An accomplished physician, Lickerman has no truck for the supernatural, but recognizes that the tenets of Nichiren Buddhism have been honed over centuries to help alleviate life’s inevitable sufferings. The Undefeated Mind is a deeply engaging story of how Lickerman has fused modern medicine with ancient wisdom to heal his patients both physically and psychologically—lessons that apply to all of us.”
–Jerry Coyne, professor of Ecology and Evolution at University of Chicago

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Ricard: Learning to welcome Difficult Emotions

Footpath through dense greenery

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“One crucial aspect of working with our emotions is learning to stop viewing them as obstacles to our happiness.
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We almost always judge the emotions that feel bad as bad; we see them as the enemy, as something to be conquered or eradicated.”
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I think our judging happens without thought, as though it is an involuntary reflex, habitually practiced with every external experience.
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We avoid our own body functions, adrenal stress response (fight or flight), difficult emotions, (fear, anxiety, self doubt, anxiety, etc.), pain or unpleasantness.
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Having the ability to experience awkward, unpleasant, or anxious situations without judgment frees us to experience this current moment.
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Go visit an uncomfortable or awkward situation today without reacting, without judging until these emotions subside.
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Let the storyline go and feel the body sensations, intimately, quietly.
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On the surface judging steals our waking time needed to experience happiness, freedom,the present moment, life.
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99% of all judgments impact our chance of being happy negatively.
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Healing, finding happiness is not a birth right, it is earned through daily work.
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Irreverence is the path I choose at times now!

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Growing up in a container of violence, criticism and control, I struggled for identity, self worth.
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Trying to blend in, trying to be, or even act normal, was a constant desire.
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Overachieving was my vehicle for inflating my self worth.
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Accomplishments, titles, awards were pursued and collected in place of self worth and happiness.
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I always tried to fit in, tried to avoid being the target of ridicule as a child, then as an adult.
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I felt damaged to my core, unworthy without the possibility of redemption and happiness.
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My father’s abuse actually suppressed my true personality, extrovert became introvert for almost 60 years.
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I finally healed and a pure extrovert emerged.
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In a store the other day, I purchased the LOUDEST, BRIGHTEST, UGLIEST looking T-shirt I could find. Fluorescent actually.
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I realized that I need not project anything to others or the world to be happy or fulfilled.
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All healing and happiness originates inside, the ego’s domain is the external.
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Sit today, focus, let go, discover the real you, he/she is perfect, like the rest of us.
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Life isn’t about getting and having, .

  
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“Life isn’t about getting and having,
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it’s about giving and being.”
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–Kevin Kruse-
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When unfulfilled desire steals opportunity, suffering ensues.
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Desire and need must wane for growth and healing to begin.
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Acceptance, total acceptance of us and our current situation is the prerequisite for growth and happiness.
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Some of our day needs to be spent with the mind going slow, empty of thought, immersed in this present moment.
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The Physical Breath,,, Bring awareness to life’s immediate necessity air

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The inhale takes the majority of energy needed to breathe.
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Inhaling needs the chest to expand and that takes strength and effort.
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Muscles have to contract to accommodate oxygen.
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Notice what happens physically, visually when we inhale deeply.
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Focus, feel your lungs expand, fill up, and then hold this energy, life force.
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The first pause has a feeling of pressure wanting to be released.
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The deeper we breathe, the more pressure we create.
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The exhale takes little energy.
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It feels as the inhale created all the pressure (energy) needed to exhale.
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The exhale feels like a release valve on a tire.
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Tension, worry, and doubt can flow out in the exhale also.
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The chest and lungs return to resting.
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We inflate the chest and lungs and then return them back to resting, simple.
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The last pause allows the bad air to clear and the breath to have balance, flow, symmetry, rhythm.
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The most immediate, most powerful life force, the breath.
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Take a closer, deeper look.
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The Undefeated Mind by Alex Lickerman, physical and emotional pain,,, our judgment is all important or lack of it, if we are mindful!

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“Though the experience of physical pain and emotional pain are clearly different, functional imaging studies show that, with few exceptions, the regions of the brain that these types of pain activate are identical.
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These include not only the regions responsible for giving pain its unpleasant character, but also those responsible for regulating its size, location, and intensity (perhaps partially explaining the startling finding that Tylenol, a centrally acting pain reliever, alleviates not only the pain of a smashed finger but also the pain of hurt feelings.)
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No wonder, then, that physical and emotional pain produce the same reaction: a strong desire to avoid the things that cause them.
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“Suffer what there is to suffer.
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Enjoy what there is to enjoy.
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Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life,”
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wrote Nichiren Daishonin.
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Yet most of us clearly don’t.
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Unfortunately, the strategies we use to avoid emotional pain often cause more harm than does the experience of emotional pain itself:
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more harm results, for example, from excessive drinking or drug use than from the anxiety they’re often used to anesthetize; more harm results from relationship sabotage than from the fear of intimacy that often drives it.
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Not only that, but attempting to suppress emotional pain may paradoxically increase it.
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In contrast, being accepting of emotional pain, being willing to experience it without attempting to control it, has actually been found to decrease it.”
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With multiple deployments, are the Soldiers and Vets dealing with complex PTSD,

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Complex PTSD is defined as trauma experienced over a long period of time. Simple PTSD is a one time trauma event. In Complex PTSD, trauma has been repeated over and over. Many more tentacles to heal from this extended exposure.
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Usually Complex PTSD happens in childhood abuse, however our redeployment policy has exposed our soldiers to longer and longer periods of battle.
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Our military model resembles the British military. We share the same statistical incidence of PTSD when we deploy into battle.
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Where we differ greatly is redeployment. The British do not have a spike in PTSD cases with redeployment. We have 22 suicides a day for starters.
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Think about it. This battlefield resembles the Pacific Therater in World War Two. They are in constant danger. Suicide bombers (IED’s) blur the lines of engagement.
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This heightened state takes a toll on all involved. Trauma has fertile ground for thoughts to ruminate under this kind of stress.
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Next, we can train our young men to kill, however we have failed to give him tools to handle the consequences of this act.
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On top of those burdens, these young men are exposed to horrific gore that war delivers.
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Something has happened at a deeper level because of all these long redeployments.
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This is far more serious than the military realizes, in my opinion.
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