Posts Tagged ‘Purpose’

Lost in childhood, lost for decades

Pixabay: Flensshot

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In my childhood, I never had a content moment, a moment of pure satisfaction, a situation that had a purpose I created.

My parents were young, 16 when the pregnancy happened. My father resented his freedom being stolen, later I would read about how narcissists only care about themselves .

I know a purpose would benefit me. My mother told me God made me to be a professional baseball player, my father just demanded I be twice as good as everyone else, there was no room for my purpose.

I do not feel sorry for myself, I want to understand why my life lacked purpose. Starved for approval throughout my childhood, adulthood was a lost journey for decades.

Who was I? “I” had no idea.

Looking back, experiencing approval was more important than my wellbeing. I would risk and persevere to earn approval.

Approval equaled happiness for me, but happiness is not what I felt.

Approval was external, fleeting and could change to criticism, so life was always stressful, in flux.

Approval was never permanent so my pseudo happiness was based on false assumptions.

I yearn for that content, calm, confidant feeling, an internal knowing I am fine.

My path has decided to enhance giving and gratitude.

Thoughts and emotions are discounted as ephemeral and transparent, like appendages.

My Aware Presence is given maximum energy.

Simple, concrete, specific goals are best.

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Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds

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Alice G. WaltonSenior Contributor

There’s been a lot of discussion about what kinds of mental activities are actually capable of changing the brain. Some promises of bolstered IQ and enhanced brain function via specially-designed “brain games” have fizzled out. Meanwhile, meditation and mindfulness training have accumulated some impressive evidence, suggesting that the practices can change not only the structure and function of the brain, but also our behavior and moment-to-moment experience.

Now, a new study from the Max Planck Institute finds that three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in corresponding brain regions. The results, published in Science Advances, have a lot of relevance to schools, businesses and, of course, the general public.

Participants, who were between 20 and 55 years of age, engaged in three different types of training for three months each, totaling a nine-month study period. The first training was dubbed the “Presence” module, and was very similar to focused awareness meditation, an ancient practice that’s been studied a lot in recent years. In this study, participants learned to focus their attention, bringing it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations.

The second training was called “Affect,” which sought to enhance empathy and compassion for others—participants learned “loving-kindness” (metta) meditation, and did work with partners, the goal of which was to enhance one’s compassion and empathy.

The last was the “Perspective” module, akin to mindfulness or open-monitoring meditation. Here, the focus was on observing one’s own thoughts non-judgmentally and enhancing understanding of the perspectives of others.

The researchers wagered that training in each of these methods would lead to volume increases in corresponding brain areas. And this was largely what they found, as they scanned the participants’ brains at the end of each module and compared groups against one another. Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. Affect training was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions like empathy; and Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others, and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.

The results are exciting in that they offer an even more nuanced look at how meditation can change the brain, and in a relatively short amount of time. Lots of research has found that experienced meditators have significantly altered brain structure and function, but a growing number of studies has also found that relatively brief meditation training in novices (for instance, the well-known eight-week MBSR program) can also shift brain function, improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

And, the authors say, the results may be applicable in a number of settings, for kids and adults alike. “Our findings suggest a potential biological basis for how mindfulness and different aspects of social intelligence could be nurtured.”

They add that this kind of sensitivity is especially important nowadays, as our community becomes more global, and understanding of others’ experiences more essential.

“With growing globalization, interconnectedness, and complexity of our societies, ‘soft skills’ have become increasingly important,” they say. “Social competences, such as empathy, compassion, and taking the perspective of another person, allow for a better understanding of others’ feelings and different beliefs and are crucial for successful cooperation.”

Meditation, in its different forms, may be a powerful way to boost the types of intelligence that matter.

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Do all of us have a purpose?

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Do all of us have a purpose?


Matthew Ricard say yes, our purpose is to be happy.


“Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things”.


This means chasing pleasure is the wrong fork in the road.


Happiness is connected to having an enormous feeling of gratitude, to a life of giving without regard for rewards.

 

Happiness is also having desire, greed, jealousy, anger, anxiety and suffering held in perspective.

 

We must be able to leave our losses, our unworthy thoughts and judgments behind.

 

Happiness exists in one time frame, the present moment.


Without purpose depression, unworthiness, boredom and suffering enter our lives.

 

Purpose brings us back to current awareness.

 

The mind works best, going slow, focused on the current task or empty of thought and focused on the senses.
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A Mindfulness Practice, mine has four parts


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Mindfulness for me, has four parts or sides. One part is practice, time on the cushion, as the Buddhist say.

 

This quiet time is where we build our focus. Most people see this as so mundane and boring that daily practice becomes impossible. Many distractions frustrate 90% of those who try. You need a purpose to persevere and start a successful Mindfulness Practice.


The second part is application. After we have built our focus, explored our inner world, the next step is application. Check in as often as you can during the day, where is your focus? Are you lost in thought? Our goal is to spend more time in the present moment, each day growing a little.

 


The third part is dependent on the first two parts. We need strong focus, resilience in our nervous system and courage in this third part.

 

When a trigger explodes (fight or flight firing), our goal is to focus on the breath, feel the body sensation, then let go of the storyline. This does not happen immediately.

 

Maybe with eyes open we trace our breathing model for a few breaths. We try to dissipate the cortisol and adrenaline a little more each time. Confidence is gained each time we face this fear.

 


The last part tries to place ourselves in a space where happiness thrives. We try to observe life in the present moment more and more each day. It is a way of life if practiced with purpose.
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Purpose is needed for change

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Our mind responds best to stimuli that is simple, concrete, and immediate.

 

 

If that stimuli contains a strong enough purpose, we will take action.

 

 

Example 1: Weight loss
simple, concrete, immediate: change food intake, increase exercise, increase positive self-image practice (Meditate, affirmations), good snacks when hunger calls, willpower.

 

 


Example 2: improve my PTSD
simple, concrete, immediate: focus on awareness and letting go, affirmations everyday, meditation (mindfulness) practice (nothing simpler), aerobic exercise, constant vigilance of where my mind has wandered, a focus plan for panic attacks, resilience (willpower)

 

 

If you are a coach, personal trainer, or a therapist, inspiring clients to take action is the challenge.

 


Change does not happen without action.

 

 


Actions overcome words, thoughts and emotions.

 

 


What purpose is important enough for you to take action?
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