Buddhism, mindfulness and wellbeing

oneday

oneday

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A poem for this new day...


Love After Love

The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other's welcome,

And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you

All your life, whom you ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott
 
oneday

oneday

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"...enlightenment does not provide perfection. Instead, it simply offers the pedestrian possibility of living with the acceptance of imperfection."

- Sheldon Kopp, 'If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! The pilgrimage of psychotherapy patients'
 
oneday

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Cos I was thinking about and talking about the first part of this poem in a therapy/support group yesterday...



Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.

Mary Oliver
 
oneday

oneday

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To praise is to praise
how one surrenders
to the emptiness.
To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.

Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.
So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where!
Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
we could have. It's a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we've been sleeping?
It doesn't matter how long we've been unconscious.
We're groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the buoyancy.

From ‘Buoyancy’ by Rumi, 13th century Persian Sufi poet and teacher
 
angiebib1976

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You cannot understand how much this post means to me, especially today.

Thankyou. x
 
oneday

oneday

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I'm really glad that it meant something special to you too, angie.

Take care
x
 
oneday

oneday

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Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh talks about ‘watering the positive seeds’ within us and others, making these grow and bloom. This isn’t to deny suffering, though, or hide from it, but, as he says,

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful...

How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural - you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.”
 
oneday

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Reciting this gatha* can give us energy to live the day well. Twenty-four hours are a treasure-chest of jewels. If we waste these hours, we waste our life. The practice is to smile as soon as we wake up, recognizing this day is an opportunity for practicing. It is up to us not to waste it. When we look at all beings with eyes of love and compassion we feel wonderful. with the energy of mindfulness, washing dishes, sweeping the floor, or practicing sitting or walking meditation are all the more precious.

-The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings, Thich Nhat Hanh

*Gatha= verse or hymn.
 
oneday

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I don’t remember signing up for his e-newsletter (probably did though), but received this by Rick Hanson by email yesterday and thought I’d share.

Rick Hanson’s most recent book is Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time. He's also the author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. I haven't read either yet, though a friend recommended Buddha’s Brain.

More from/about Rick Hanson at Dr. Rick Hanson | Author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom

The Practice

Take in the good - Rick Hanson

Why?

[Excerpted from the book Just One Thing, New Harbinger, 2011]

Scientists believe that your brain has a built-in negativity bias. This is because, as our ancestors dodged sticks and chased carrots over millions of years of evolution, the sticks had the greater urgency and impact on survival.

This negativity bias shows up in lots of ways. For example, studies have found that:

• The brain generally reacts more to a negative stimulus than to an equally intense positive one.

• Animals - including us - typically learn faster from pain than from pleasure; once burned, twice shy.

• Painful experiences are usually more memorable than pleasurable ones

• Most people will work harder to avoid losing something they have than they'll work to gain the same thing.

• Lasting, good relationships typically need at least a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.

In your own mind, what do you usually think about at the end of the day? The fifty things that went right, or the one that went wrong? Such as the driver who cut you off in traffic, or the one thing on your To Do list that didn't get done . . .

In effect, the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones. That shades implicit memory - your underlying feelings, expectations, beliefs, inclinations, and mood- i n an increasingly negative direction.

Which is not fair, since most of the facts in your life are probably positive or at least neutral. Besides the injustice of it, the growing pile of negative experiences in implicit memory naturally makes a person more anxious, irritable, and blue - plus it gets harder to be patient and giving toward others.

But you don't have to accept this bias! By tilting toward the good - toward that which brings more happiness and benefit to oneself and others - you merely level the playing field. Then, instead of positive experiences washing through you like water through a sieve, they'll collect in implicit memory deep down in your brain.

You'll still see the tough parts of life. In fact, you'll become more able to change them or bear them if you take in the good, since that will help put challenges in perspective, lift your energy and spirits, highlight useful resources, and fill up your own cup so you have more to offer to others.

And by the way, in addition to being good for adults, taking in the good is great for children, too, helping them to become more resilient, confident, and happy.

How?

1. Look for good facts, and turn them into good experiences

Good facts include positive events - like finishing a batch of e-mails or getting a compliment - and positive aspects of the world and yourself. Most good facts are ordinary and relatively minor - but they are still real. You are not looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but simply recognizing something that is actual and true.

Then, when you're aware of a good fact-either something that currently exists or has happened in the past - let yourself feel good about it. So often in life a good thing happens - flowers are blooming, someone is nice, a goal's been attained - and you know it, but you don't feel it. This time, let the good fact affect you. Try to do this step and the two that follow at least a half dozen times a day. When you do this, it usually takes only half a minute or so - there is always time to take in the good! You can do it on the fly in daily life, or at special times of reflection, like just before falling asleep (when the brain is especially receptive to new learning).

Be aware of any reluctance toward having positive experiences. Such as thinking that you don't deserve to, or that it's selfish, vain, or shameful to feel pleasure. Or that if you feel good, you will lower your guard and let bad things happen.

Then turn your attention back to the good facts. Keep opening up to them, breathing and relaxing, letting them move your needle. It's like sitting down to a meal: don't just look at it - taste it!

2. Really enjoy the experience

Most of the time, a good experience is pretty mild, and that's fine. Simply stay with it for ten, twenty, even thirty seconds in a row - instead of getting distracted by something else.

Soften and open around the experience; let it fill your mind; give over to it in your body. (From a meditative perspective, this is a kind of concentration practice - for a dozen seconds or more - in which you become absorbed in a positive experience.) The longer that something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together, and the stronger the trace in implicit memory.

In this practice, you are not clinging to positive experiences, since that would lead to tension and disappointment. Actually, you are doing the opposite: by taking them in, you will feel better fed inside, and less fragile or needy. Your happiness will become more unconditional, increasingly based on an inner fullness rather than on external conditions.

3. Intend and sense that the good experience is sinking in to you

People do this in different ways. Some feel it in the body as a warm glow spreading through the chest like the warmth of a cup of hot cocoa on a cold wintry day. Others visualize things like a golden syrup sinking down inside; a child might imagine a jewel going into a treasure chest in his or her heart. And some might simply know that while this good experience is held in awareness, its related neural networks are busily firing and wiring together.

Any single time of taking in the good will usually make just a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your whole being.

In particular, as you do the practices in this book - or engage any process of psychological healing and growth, or spiritual development - really take in the fruits of your efforts. Help them stick to your mental/neural ribs!
 
oneday

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He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.

- Friedrich Nietzsche
 
oneday

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I attended a mindfulness practice day yesterday (MSR - mindfulness-based stress reduction). The group facilitator read this poem as part of day.

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing
inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

― Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
 
oneday

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The following is an excerpt from Melvyn Bragg's Channel 4 interview with Dennis Potter of March 15th 1994. In February that year, the playwright had been told that he would soon die of cancer of the pancreas and liver. He continued to work on what turned out to be his last two plays, published posthumously, and to care for his wife who was also terminally ill and died in May that year. Dennis Potter died in June 1994, he was 59.


"We all, we're the one animal that knows that we're going to die, and yet we carry on paying our mortgages, doing our jobs, moving about, behaving as though there's eternity in a sense. And we forget or tend to forget that life can only be defined in the present tense; it is, and it is now only. I mean, as much as we would like to call back yesterday and indeed yearn to, and ache to sometimes, we can't. It's in us, but we can't actually; it's not there in front of us. However predictable tomorrow is, and unfortunately for most people, most of the time, it's too predictable, they're locked into whatever situation they're locked into ... Even so, no matter how predictable it is, there's the element of the unpredictable, of the ‘you don't know’. The only thing you know for sure is the present tense, and that nowness becomes so vivid that, almost in a perverse sort of way, I'm almost serene. You know, I can celebrate life.

Below my window… at this season, the blossom is out in full now... It's a plum tree, it looks like apple blossom but it's white, and looking at it, instead of saying "Oh that's nice blossom" ... last week looking at it through the window when I'm writing, I see it is the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be, and I can see it. Things are both more trivial than they ever were, and more important than they ever were, and the difference between the trivial and the important doesn't seem to matter. But the nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous, and if people could see that, you know. There's no way of telling you; you have to experience it, but the glory of it, if you like, the comfort of it, the reassurance ... not that I'm interested in reassuring people - bugger that. The fact is, if you see the present tense, boy do you see it! And boy can you celebrate it."
 
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lostminty

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Well.

I had an awesome experience meditating before. I'm some what ecstatic from it. All numb and tingly too.

I read in No Boundary by Ken Wilbur.

Started integrating (removing the distinctions within my mind) of things that troubled me...and other things too.

Feel great after a bit of acceptance.
 
oneday

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Keeping Quiet
by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victory with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
 
oneday

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THE WAY IT IS

There is a thread you follow.
It goes among things that change.
But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen: people get hurt or die;
And you suffer and get old.
Nothing you can do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford
 
oneday

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THANKING A MONKEY

There’s a monkey in my mind
swinging on a trapeze,
reaching back to the past
or leaning into the future,
never standing still.

Sometimes I want to kill
that monkey, shoot it square
between the eyes so I won’t
have to think anymore
or feel the pain of worry.

But today I thanked her
and she jumped down
straight into my lap,
trapeze still swinging
as we sat still.

Kaveri Patel
 
-Phoenix-

-Phoenix-

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It is good to wipe the dust off old threads and flick through them. Especially this one, which was started before my time on this forum. I've spent the weekend reading through it. It was time well spent.

The stories, the evolving minds video, the quotes, the pictures, the poems, the chant of metta, all of it was truly a worthwhile experience to read and a great resource. Very well done oneday! Long may this thread continue.

I started practicing mindfulness last December, so it's been a year. Though I went through a period in the Summer where I didn't practice for a long time, I started practicing again in September, making sure to do it every day for at least 10 minutes a day.

As of late, as I'm practicing more and more, I'm beginning to notice that mindfulness does spill over naturally into everyday life. I've found that in times where I would have judged myself harshly and felt a range of negative thoughts, I instead found myself noticing that I was doing it, and I was able to hold that thought in awareness, accept it, and watched it drift away of its own accord. Although sometimes it is hard to notice when I'm lost in thought, I feel it is working for me and I'm very glad I decided to start practicing. I still feel very much a beginner who is just starting to scratch the surface.

I'm wondering about whether or not to try taking classes for this. Everything I've learned up to this point was from reading or the internet. Unfortunately there are not many buddhist temples in my area but there are MBSR courses available. I'll have a think.

Anyway, I'll leave it there for now. Though I will re-post my favourite part of the thread. 240p doesn't do it justice though.

Imee Ooi - The Chant Of Metta

 
-Phoenix-

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I Am Awake



When the Buddha start to wander around India shortly after his enlightenment, he encountered several men who recognized him to be a very extraordinary being.

They asked him, "Are you a god?"
"No," he replied.
"Are you a reincarnation of god?"
"No," he replied.
"Are you a wizard, then?"
"No."
"Well, are you a man?"
"No."
"So what are you?" they asked, being very perplexed.
"I am awake."
 
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