Posts Tagged ‘MINDFULNESS’

Happiness

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Happiness in my opinion, is a way of living, feeling, doing, that accompanies us, on our daily journey.
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If we are able to let go of our fears, guilt and doubt, life opens up with happy becoming visible.
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Mindfulness allows us to build a powerful focus on the breath, training the mind, to let go of anything cognitive.
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Without judgment, happiness can be a companion on this journey.
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Without judgment, thoughts fade, emotions evaporate, the brilliance of now, explodes, and opportunity abounds.
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The ego’s lair is the dog house on a colossal mansion estate, the true self and real power of our being.
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Realize and escape from the small, confined space of the ego.
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Free yourself from these barriers, let go, risk, live fully, smile, laugh.
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Shaila Catherine

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“Find an experience that is pleasant: looking at a sunrise, feeling the smooth fur of a cat, holding a warm cup of tea, or any other such simple thing.
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Practice moving the attention between the object and the pleasant feeling it elicits.
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Shift your attention between the object of pleasure (the visual image, feeling of warmth or softness) and the pleasurable feeling it evokes.
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Practice allowing the attention to settle within the experience of pleasantness without adding attachment.
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If the desire for more arises, notice that attachment.
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Ask yourself—what is this feeling of attachment?
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Does attachment increase the pleasure, or decrease it?
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Many people will recognize attachment by a characteristic feeling of contraction or separation.
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How do you notice attachment to pleasure as distinct from a simple experience of pleasure?
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Pleasure and Happiness

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“Pleasure is the happiness of madmen,
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while happiness is the pleasure of sages,”
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Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly
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Simple: simplicity is the path

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Simplicity is the word of the day.
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When judgments rush in, simply let them go, return focus on the breath for a cycle or two.
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Simple in awareness, unencumbered by complex cognition, life unfolds in vivid color.
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Simple in deed. Let go of thought when working. Enter the task at hand. Immerse yourself in the minutia, the inner workings of this skill.
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If preparing a meal, become the knife. Cut deliberately, cut to make the best meal with the current ingredients. Enter the task.
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Slow the pace, enter the task, be present, vividly aware,,alive. All senses engaged, smell,,listen, touch, see, let go.
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Practice.
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Be the Karate Kid, wax on wax off.
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It is not the complexity of the mind that finds happiness, it is inside the simplicity of being below thought, emotion, and judgment, that makes life and happiness available.
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Athletes, artists, etc. have accomplished this by entering skills a million times. Example: hitting a baseball, shooting a basketball, playing a piano until it becomes part of the body, getting lost in creative sculpting or painting.
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The Heart of Meditation: Techniques

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We use techniques in meditation for a very simple reason: most of us, at least when we begin meditation, need support for our mind.
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A technique provides a place for the mind to rest while it settles back down into its essential nature.
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That’s all a technique is really, a kind of cushion for the mind.
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No meditation technique is an end in itself, and no matter which technique you use, it will eventually dissolve when your meditation deepens.
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PTSD risk can be predicted by hormone levels prior to deployment March 8,2017

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Science Blog:
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Up to 20 percent of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan developed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder from trauma experienced during wartime, but new neuroscience research from The University of Texas at Austin suggests some soldiers might have a hormonal predisposition to experience such stress-related disorders.
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Cortisol — the stress hormone — is released as part of the body’s flight-or-fight response to life-threatening emergencies. Seminal research in the 1980s connected abnormal cortisol levels to an increased risk for PTSD, but three decades of subsequent research produced a mixed bag of findings, dampening enthusiasm for the role of cortisol as a primary cause of PTSD.
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However, new findings published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology point to cortisol’s critical role in the emergence of PTSD, but only when levels of testosterone — one of most important of the male sex hormones — are suppressed, researchers said.
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“Recent evidence points to testosterone’s suppression of cortisol activity, and vice versa. It is becoming clear to many researchers that you can’t understand the effects of one without simultaneously monitoring the activity of the other,” said UT Austin professor of psychology Robert Josephs, the first author of the study. “Prior attempts to link PTSD to cortisol may have failed because the powerful effect that testosterone has on the hormonal regulation of stress was not taken into account.”
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UT Austin researchers used hormone data obtained from saliva samples of 120 U.S. soldiers before deployment and tracked their monthly combat experiences in Iraq to examine the effects of traumatic war-zone stressors and PTSD symptoms over time.
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Before deployment, soldiers’ stress responses were tested in a stressful CO2 inhalation challenge. “Healthy stress responses showed a strong cortisol increase in response to the stressor, whereas abnormal stress responses showed a blunted, nonresponsive change in cortisol,” Josephs said.
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The researchers found that soldiers who had an abnormal cortisol response to the CO2 inhalation challenge were more likely to develop PTSD from war-zone stress. However, soldiers who had an elevated testosterone response to the CO2 inhalation challenge were not likely to develop PTSD, regardless of the soldiers’ cortisol response.
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“The means through which hormones contribute to the development of PTSD and other forms of stress-related mental illness are complex,” said Adam Cobb, a UT Austin clinical psychology doctoral candidate and co-author of the study. “Advancement in this area must involve examining how hormones function together, and with other psychobiological systems, in response to ever-changing environmental demands.”
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Knowing this, the scientists suggest future research could investigate the efficacy of preventative interventions targeting those with at-risk profiles of hormone stress reactivity. “We are still analyzing more data from this project, which we hope will reveal additional insights into risk for combat-related stress disorders and ultimately how to prevent them,” said Michael Telch, clinical psychology professor and corresponding author of the study.
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These findings add to a series of published reports from the Texas Combat PTSD Risk Project, a study funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency aimed at identifying biological, psychological and environmental vulnerability factors that predict the emergence of PTSD and other psychological problems among soldiers deployed to Iraq.
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Mindfulness: Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation

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Mindfulness is often likened to a mirror; it simply reflects what is there.
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It is not a process of thinking; it is preconceptual, before thought.
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One can be mindful of thought.
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There is all the difference in the world between thinking and knowing that thought is happening, as thoughts chase each other through the mind and the process is mirrored back to us.
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The only time that mindfulness can happen is in the present moment; if you are thinking of the past, that is memory.
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It is possible to be mindful of memory, of course, but such mindfulness can only happen in the present.
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Mindfulness is unbiased.
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It is not for or against anything, just like a mirror, which does not judge what it reflects.
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Mindfulness has no goal other than the seeing itself.
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It doesn’t try to add to what’s happening or subtract from it, to improve it in any way.
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It isn’t detached, like a person standing on a hill far away from an experience, observing it with binoculars.
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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.
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It can be used on a simple process like the breathing, or on highly charged and unpleasant emotions like fear or loneliness.
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