Posts Tagged ‘MEDITATION’

15 percent of female undergraduates at UT have been raped, survey says

The University of Texas at Austin campus (2016 File Photo/The New York Times)

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AUSTIN — Fifteen percent of undergraduate female students surveyed at the University of Texas at Austin said they’ve been raped, according to a statewide study that the UT system will soon release.

“The first injustice committed in every assault or inappropriate behavior is the act itself, but the second injustice is often the silence of the community surrounding the survivor,” UT-Austin President Gregory L. Fenves told The Dallas Morning News. “We must not be silent anymore, and we must not be afraid to face the very real problems that exist at our university and in society in general.”

Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, broke the news of the forthcoming survey Thursday morning when she mentioned the 15 percent figure during debate on a bill she has written to penalize college staff and some students who fail to report incidents of sexual assault on campus. The bill — along with four other campus rape bills debated this week — was filed after years of scandals at Baylor University.

“Fifteen percent of women who go to their university are raped. Raped. That’s unacceptable,” Huffman said. “It’s beyond troubling. It’s shocking.

“It’s unacceptable and it has to stop.”

Multiple bills to fight campus rape have been filed by Republicans and Democrats as lawmakers acknowledge that the state needs to address scandals like the one at Baylor University.

The UT system is expected to release the survey’s results in the coming weeks, UT-Austin officials confirmed.

The study was comprehensive, surveying 28,000 students during the 2015 academic year at 13 UT academic and health campuses. A project of the School of Social Work’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, this survey is just the first round. A second one will be repeated in two years, the system said when it announced in 2015 that it would be undertaking “the nation’s most comprehensive study on sexual assaults ever conducted in higher education.”

System officials did not release more comprehensive data that would help to put the figure Huffman cited into context. That information will be released when the entire systemwide study comes out within the next 10 days, they said.

But UT-Austin officials confirmed the veracity of the number, saying 15 percent of the female undergraduate students they surveyed said they were “raped, either through force, threat of force, incapacitation or other forms of coercion such as lies and verbal pressure.”

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“My damage was internal, unseen. I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”

Chanel Miller, left, has written a memoir about dealing with the Brock Turner, right, sexual assault case. 

CBS News/Getty.

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On June 2, 2016, these words were spoken by a 23-year-old woman in a California courtroom.

She was addressing Brock Turner, a Stanford University student who was facing sentencing after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. The night of the attack, Turner—then nineteen and a member of Stanford’s swim team—had been chased down and apprehended by two international graduate students.

They’d witnessed Turner accosting a half-naked, unconscious woman outside of a party on campus—the same woman now standing before him in court.

“I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water,” the woman continued, relaying her experience in emergency care, “and decided I don’t want my body anymore.

I was terrified of it . . . I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”

Unbeknown to Turner, the statement being read to him would be seen over 14 million times online in the following week. It would also be read, live and uninterrupted for 25 minutes, on CNN.

People were shocked and disturbed as the young woman—who remains unidentified to the public—detailed the psychological wreckage she’d endured in the aftermath of the assault: relentless anxiety, overwhelming shame, and chronic nightmares of being assaulted and unable to wake up.

Equally appalling to many was the lenient sentence Turner received: six months in a county jail instead of a potential 14 years in state prison.

The judge presiding over the case, himself a Stanford graduate, feared that a longer jail term would have a “severe impact” on Turner and negatively affect his Olympic aspirations—a topic frequently mentioned at trial.

In a character-witness letter to the court, Turner’s father wrote that Brock was being harshly punished for “20 minutes of action” and “had never been violent to anyone,” including the night of the assault.

The day after the verdict, I found myself at a café watching my closest friend read the victim’s statement.

It was haunting to witness her absorb the words. This was a friend who’d taught me about sexism—who’d raised my awareness about the social norms that objectified her as a woman, and shielded men like Turner in court.

It was also someone I loved.

Watching her eyes fill with tears, I felt a mix of anger and helplessness.

Virtually all the women in my life—my friend included—had been the victim of sexual violence.

She viscerally understood the agitation, flashbacks, and isolation that Turner’s victim had described.

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My Rule for Childhood PTSD

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Never compare, never rank, never feel sorry for yourself.

Dissociation is my Achilles heel. I bargain, deny, and wander into the “What if’s” of my trauma.

If I ruminate suffering ensues.

It is simple, if I stay present life is good, if I ruminate life sucks.

A layman’s response to PTSD.

If you do one thing, stay present.

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Healing the Shame of Childhood Abuse Through Self-Compassion (excerpt). Psychology Today

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If you were a victim of childhood abuse or neglect, you know about shame.

You have likely been plagued by it all your life without identifying it as shame. You may feel shame because you blame yourself for the abuse itself (“My father wouldn’t have hit me if I had minded him”) or because you felt such humiliation at having been abused (“I feel like such a wimp for not defending myself”).

While those who were sexually abused tend to suffer from the most shame, those who suffered from physical, verbal, or emotional abuse blame themselves as well.

In the case of child sexual abuse, no matter how many times you’ve heard the words “It’s not your fault,” the chances are high that you still blame yourself in some way—for being submissive, for not telling someone and having the abuse continue, for “enticing” the abuser with your behavior or dress, or because you felt some physical pleasure.

In the case of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, you may blame yourself for “not listening” and thus making your parent or caretaker so angry that he or she yelled at you or hit you.

Children tend to blame the neglect and abuse they experience on themselves, in essence saying to themselves, “My mother is treating me like this because I’ve been bad” or “I am being neglected because I am unlovable.”

As an adult, you may have continued this kind of rationalization, putting up with poor treatment by others because you believe you brought it on yourself.

Conversely, when good things happen to you, you may actually become uncomfortable, because you feel so unworthy.

Complete article here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/201501/healing-the-shame-childhood-abuse-through-self-compassion

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How much of mental life occurs outside of Consciousness?

Pixabay: geralt
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“Much of mental life (over 99%) occurs outside of conscious awareness, and this is true for feelings and emotions too.”

Excerpt from Arnie Kozak, Dukkha (Suffering)
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My two cents: I find that percentage way to high, but it must be very high, very subversive to our wellbeing.

Neuroscientists tell us 60,000 thoughts cross our paths every day, emanating from this unending subconscious source. Netherland, maybe.

 

My next question would be, how much does our mental life impact our real life, our moment to moment existence, decisons, wellbeing, our ability to be happy?

 

For me, my childhood trauma lived entirely in my subconscious for five decades, dormant but alive subconsciously.

 

At 55 PTSD burst into my consciousness while experiencing a family crisis.

 

Mental disorders are definitely anchored in our subconscious, ghosts of memories past.

 

Time for me to get on my Bandwagon: Meditation, focusing intently on the breath, explores our subconscious, thoroughly in due time.

 

Healing was a process of uncovering the hidden source of my traumas, then integrating them to current time.

 

Without my meditation practice, I would not have healed.

 

It was not the only source of healing but it made it possible for therapy to work, for me to face my fight or flight mechanism and to explore my subconscious (inner) world.

 

Some of my subconscious has become known to me, the massive pile has shrunk and with that came freedom, not complete freedom but some.

 

Chasing our hidden fears is not a challenge for the faint of heart, courage and daily action are required to succeed.

How many people devote any time exploring their mental condition?

 

Surely not 99%!


If 99% occurs outside of conscious awareness, how can we not explore What shapes our life?
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Peeling the Onion: A meditative journey

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Think about the traumas in your life, it maybe one horrific accident or a complete childhood, as an onion, each one different than the next in size, taste, color and texture.

Our Onion grew as we aged, more layers added over the years.

Think of some of our awkward or embarrassing moments in life as smaller onions or scallions, much less formidable or detrimental than our big trauma Onion.

PTSD and our onion open up the same way, peeeling back the outer layers, exposing deeper trauma (Layers).

Meditation helped me first become aware of the subtleties of each layer, then helped me peel back the outer layer.

The process like meditation is repetitive.

I meditated everyday, observing my traumas storyline from a distance, becoming familiar with my fight or flight mechanism.

Our trauma Onion is extremely strong, capable of making us cry and suffer if not handled properly.

If we assume healing is the peeling away of all the layers until we hit our core, meditation was the scalpel that made the cuts.

We peel the onion by surrendering to the fear it lays at our doorstep. The deeper layers cause us to stop peeling, the fear is more formidable at these inner layers.

I have healed by sitting prone, focused, while surrendering to my fears, being vulnerable in the face of perceived danger.

Conclusion: That trauma Onion is a mirage, a past traumatic event, stored as an implicit memory with all the fear and emotion of that moment.

No real danger existed in any of my triggers.

The same external triggers exist, however my same mind does not react to them now.

I figured out organically, sitting quietly observing my trauma it was benign.

PTSD is the rerun of a traumatic event that we watch on our personal trauma T.V.

https://pixabay.com/users/OpenClipart-Vectors-30363/

A closed circuit showing of a past horrific event.

So why did ptsd live after my abuser, my father, died?

The memory does not need him being alive to exist. The onion has grown and now has a life of its own, inside our head unfortunately.

I have never seen an Onion peel itself or PTSD to heal with time.

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Do thoughts sabotage your meditation practice?

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I went to zen center for five years. We would meditate for a half hour, then do a three minute walking meditation, followed by another half hour of meditation.

Most of us fought for an hour for a few seconds of an empty, focused mind. Counting my breaths did not work for me or anyone but the Zen monk.

Being a visual person, I created a breathing model. It resembled an upright infinity symbol with four distinct parts.

Inhale, pause, exhale, pause. The pauses were the weak link, a sort of door for thoughts to proliferate.

First, I performed exercises highlighting my pauses.

I would take a deep inhale, then pause, a long, concerted pause where no exhaust leaks out. As I resisted the pressure in my lungs, I intently scanned my internal organs for agitation or energy.

Feel your whole chest cavity, give these pauses a purpose, an activity to accomplish.

Our pauses are the doors to our inner world. The pauses are as important as the inhales and exhales, treat them that way.

The mind and body work together like our inhales and exhales work with the pauses.

The breath does not flow without pauses, music is noise without pauses between notes.

The second pause is different from the initial pause.

The first pause is like a balloon we just inflated, the air inside creates pressure looking to be released.

It takes force to hold the first pause.

The pause after the exhale has no pressure to resist.

Our body is truly at a suspended animation, an opportunity to know our inner world.

Know where fear manifests in your body, where anger raises its powerful head, where trauma resides, and where contentment and joy spring forth.

The breath is the tool I used to explore my inner world, the tool used to release body trauma and the tool I used to integrate my PTSD.

Until I gave my pauses the attention they needed my meditation practice languished.

I always broke things down to smaller pieces, then worked on those pieces.

I worked on my pauses exclusively for a while, then went back to meditating with increased focus.

Where do thoughts enter your mind when meditating?

Inhales starts bottom right moving upward. The pauses are the short arches.

Inhale, pause, exhale, pause, one breath cycle

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Thoughts can be our Prison: add intent listening and feeling to your meditation practice

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I spent six months isolated in my garage huddled in fear, agorophic from avoiding my trauma.

My crime was trying to think my way out of PTSD, cognitively outsmart it.

Thinking (dissociating) fueled my trauma, symptoms intensified, my nervous system sensed imminent danger constantly.

Solution: I learned a specific way of focusing my mind, using hearing, the breath, somatic feeling (sensing my heart) and a visual model as a useful guide.

The visual guide is a continuum, a sort of upright infinity symbol. We see the breath has four distinct parts each as valuable as the other, it can flow like a sheet of music some days.

Then I am inside my nostrils when inhaling and exhaling. The cool air is the inhale, the exhale the warmer exhaust.

The pauses, for me, were the spaces where thoughts entered my consciousness.

My solution was to prioritize these pauses with present moment sensing. Pauses are like suspended animation, the body is as still is it will ever be.

The body makes noises inhaling and exhaling, expanding the lungs then contracting them.

So I used a somatic present moment sensing and intense hearing for my focus objects.

At my pauses I spend time sensing my chest cavity and heart, getting to know my inner world at this most frozen of times.

I may enter my heart and feel it slowing, then listen for its silent beat.

I use hearing as much as focus on the breath along with feeling my internal

machinations.

Be like a Geiger counter sensing agitation, tightness, pain, anxiety, calm, contentment or unrest during a pause.

Now my pauses had purpose, I would switch from being inside my nostrils for inhales and exhales, to listening and sensing at the pauses.

Thoughts had a much harder time entering my space.

Nothing is full proof and meditating is easier some days then others but even the bad days heal.

Remember, Meditation is not about influencing anything, achieving or overcoming anything, it is not an attack, it is learning to surrender.

Our first goal in meditation is build our focus to the point where thoughts clear and the mind is empty.

The body and mind start repairing and healing around this no thought space.

No cancer will not be cured but optimum mental health can be attained on this journey.

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What is the mind?

Pixabay: Gadini

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From Meditation for the Love of it:

According to the tantras, the phenomenon we experience as “mind” is actually a particularly vibrant and subtle kind of energy.

An ocean of energy, in fact, in which waves of thoughts and emotions arise and subside.

Your thoughts and feelings—the difficult, negative, obsessive ones, as well as the peaceful and clever ones—are all made of the same subtle, invisible, highly dynamic “stuff.”

Mindenergy is so evanescent (passing out of sight quickly) that it can dissolve in a moment, yet so powerful that it can create “stories” that run you for a lifetime.

The secret revealed by the tantric sages is that if you can recognize thoughts for what they are—if you can see that a thought is nothing but mind-energy—your thoughts will stop troubling you.

That doesn’t mean they’ll stop.

But you’ll no longer be at their mercy.

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Looking back, assessing the arduous journey

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For some of us abuse started around five, way before a little mind had developed. I did not have the skills to even discern it was abuse. Criticism replaced encouragement, achievement was expected not rewarded.

I thought everyone was raised like me. Perfection was demanded of all kids and met with harsh physical punishment when it was not attained.

Fear, anxiety and a stomach that ached and was prone to vomiting often followed me. Never figured out, it was my abuse that was the culprit. My nervous system was in survival mode quite often.

Everyday life had real danger, verbal threats, physical harm and suffering.

I was shocked to find other kids had a much different experience.

They could not relate to me and I sure as hell had no idea what love, support and kindness looked like. I did not fit in at home or school.

Looking back, it seemed I needed to suffer a tremendous amount in my life before death would grace my door.

One of the biggest joys of my life was healing (improving) the first time.

For two years life was free of intense anxiety and suffering.

At 68, I see I fought a lifetime to earn two short years. But those two years meant everything to me, a magnificent triumph.

Now another trauma has returned and upset the delicate balance between suffering and being free.

In spite of my plight, I meditate and practice as hard as ever.

For my life, I had to find some peace of mind, some happiness in my ability to endure my suffering and not slack off my effort.

That was happiness for me.

Happiness is much different for me than normal kids.

I have gratitude because I know other kids had it much worse than me.

Self pity is something I loathe and rarely practice.

This recent trauma has clarified why I am like I am.

It was not easy to sit and accept everything about myself.

How about your journey and challenges?

Never give up, never give in.

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