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Buddhism, mindfulness and wellbeing

oneday

oneday

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I related to this that I read this morning, including the difficult (for me at least) practice of simply observing painful thoughts and emotions, allowing some breathing room around them, allowing them to loosen their grip on us.

... I didn't want it to, but the envy and resentment felt like they were eating me alive.

Then I remembered the Buddha's teachings on suffering. When we're caught up in painful thoughts and emotions, we have a choice. We can choose to feed them by going over and over our grievances: "This isn't fair"; "Tonight is when the real fun will start." By repeatedly conjuring up images or thoughts that evoke envy and resentment, we, in effect, become an envious and resentful person, which keeps our attention on the empty part of the glass.

But we can make a different choice. We can resolve to mindfully observe the painful thoughts and emotions without feeding them with stress-filled commentary. The Buddhist teacher S.N. Goenka called this "learning to observe [unpleasant sensations] objectively." An objective, mindful observation might take this form: "Ah, envy and resentment are present." (Compare this to repeatedly saying, "This isn't fair.") Observing painful thoughts and emotions objectively loosens their grip on us.

This gives us some breathing room in which we can make a conscious choice not to continue to feed them.



You can read the rest of the article at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201110/are-you-glass-half-full-or-glass-half-empty-person
 
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maxitab

maxitab

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This is so appropriate for me today, I call it Radical Acceptance, which is very hard, especially at the moment, but is the only thing that got me some clear head/feeling space..................
 
oneday

oneday

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I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


Mary Oliver
From Summer Day, in New and Selected Poems 1992

(I was out of London yesterday, and strolling through the fields, and hills and heathland, around where I grew up, and visited the tree which marks where we scattered dad's ashes, and later came across this poem.)
 
oneday

oneday

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Open your eyes to the great mystery as it is daily and hourly performed; let your heart enlarge to embrace the eternity of time and the infinity of space in its every palpitation; live in the world as if walking in the Garden of Paradise.

From Sayings and Tales of Zen Buddhism
 
J

Jericho

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Not really relevant for Oneday's thread but before I take a break for a while I thought I'd leave this here for a oneday, Apo and a few others..

A monk asked Ma-tsu, "Why do you teach, 'Mind is Buddha'?"
Ma-tsu said, "To stop a baby from crying."
The monk said, "When the crying has stopped, what then?"
Ma-tsu said, "Then I teach, 'Not mind, not Buddha.' "
The monk said, "How about someone who isn't attached to either?"

Mat-su said, "I would tell him, 'Not beings.' "
The monk said, "And what if you met a man unattached to all things: what would you tell him?"
Ma-tsu said, "I would just let him experience the great Tao."
 
oneday

oneday

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Thanks for the post, Jericho - it certainly seems relevant to me - I'm relating it to the post above about opening our eyes to the great mystery, letting our hearts enlarge to embrace time and space, the 'radical acceptance' of this world as our Paradise (the only one we've got here and now, after all) etc.

Hey, why are you taking a break? Are things okay? Hope so. Let us know. Take care, mate :)
 
oneday

oneday

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Having had a quick glance at some posts elsewhere, I'm guessing that difficulties around anger may .. er.. be around. I've been struggling myself with my anger (more of which later maybe). These quotes that I came across recently say something about a mindful approach to anger

They come from a book called 'Taming The Tiger Within', by Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. They offer insights that helped me think about how I/we usually deal with our anger (often in destructive, non-helpful ways), and some ideas about approaching our own anger more compassionately and helpfully...

“When you say something unkind, when you
do something in retaliation, your anger increases.
You make the other person suffer, and they try hard
to say or do something back to make you suffer,
and get relief from their suffering. That is
how conflict escalates.”

“Just like our organs, our anger is part of us.
When we are angry, we have to go back to ourselves
and take good care of our anger. We cannot say,
‘Go away, anger, I don’t want you.’ When you have
a stomachache, you don’t say, ‘I don’t want you
stomach, go away.’ No, you take care of it.
In the same way, we have to embrace and
take good care of our anger.”

“Just because anger or hate is present does not
mean that the capacity to love and accept
is not there; love is always with you.”

“When you are angry, and you suffer, please go
back and inspect very deeply the content, the nature
of your perceptions. If you are capable of removing
the wrong perception, peace and happiness will
be restored in you, and you will be able to
love the other person again.”

“When you get angry with someone, please don’t
pretend that you are not angry. Don’t pretend that
you don’t suffer. If the other person is dear to you,
then you have to confess that you are angry, and that
you suffer. Tell him or her in a calm, loving way.”

“In the beginning you may not understand the
nature of your anger, or why it has come to be.
But if you know how to embrace it with the
energy of mindfulness, it will begin
to become clear to you.”

“Anger is like a howling baby, suffering and crying.
Your anger is your baby. The baby needs his mother
to embrace him. You are the mother.
Embrace your baby.”

“Anger has roots in nonanger elements. It
has roots in the way we live our daily life. If we
take good care of everything in us, without
discrimination, we prevent our negative energies
from dominating. We reduce the strength
of our negative seeds so that they
won’t overwhelm us.”

“In a time of anger or despair, even if we feel
overwhelmed, our love is still there. Our capacity to
communicate, to forgive, to be compassionate is
still there. You have to believe this. We are more
than our anger, we are more than our suffering.
We must recognise that we do have within
us the capacity to love, to understand,
to be compassionate, always.”

“When we embrace anger and take good care of
our anger, we obtain relief. We can look deeply into
it and gain many insights. One of the first insights
may be that the seed of anger in us has grown too
big, and is the main cause of our misery. As we
begin to see this reality, we realise that the other
person, whom our anger is directed at, is only
a secondary cause. The other person is
not the real cause of our anger.”

From 'Taming The Tiger Within'
By Thich Nhat Hanh
 
oneday

oneday

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I liked these quotes I found this morning, by Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön. I've found the books of hers I've read inspiring too, e.g. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, and Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living. (For more see: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/8052.Pema_Ch_dr_n or see what you think of this artcle by her: http://shambhalatimes.org/2009/02/20/three-methods-for-working-with-chaos-by-pema-chodron/.)


“…Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

― Pema Chödrön


“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart


"The Tibetan yogini Machig Labdron... said that in her tradition they did not exorcise demons. They treated them with compassion. The advice she was given by her teacher and passed on to her students was, 'Approach what you find repulsive, help the ones you think you cannot help, and go to places that scare you.' This begins when we sit down to meditate and practice not struggling with our own mind."

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart


“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”

― Pema Chödrön
 
oneday

oneday

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I came across this piece below this morning, from the PsychCentral website: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness (lots of other pieces on mindfulness and mental health here too.) It's relevant to me just now.

(I'm attending a weekend course this weekend run by 'Alternatives to Violence' - it's about handling conflict and anger. More at www.avpbritain.org.uk if you're interested. I recommend it.)


Feeling Vulnerable? A Mindful Strategy to Relax the Enemies Within
By ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PhD

With the world getting smaller and smaller due to the internet, we all know to some degree the many wars that are currently being waged. But how about the wars that get waged in us all the time? It’s as if we perceive enemies within us trying to take us over. I remember one time I was working within an organisation and there was a depression course being listed for patients and the marketing for it said, “Kill your depression for good.”


What? Pour negative energy into your depression? Doesn’t sound like a good cocktail.

There is an African Proverb that says:

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

This is similar to Thich Nhat Hanh’s saying:

Peace in ourselves, peace in the world.”

I think it’s helpful to consider that all parts of us, the parts that feel afraid, anxious, depressed, addicted, secure and insecure make up who we are. None of these are enemies, but instead, my vulnerabilities that need quite the opposite of aggression.

However, our nervous system reads them as enemies, because we are wired to try and get away from anything that causes us pain. So our minds go on an ambush of rumination to try and fix or get away from the pain.

And then this causes more suffering, makes us more vulnerable and sensitive to the people around us.

When we’re able to befriend our own pain, there’s less of a knee-jerk reaction to judge and fear the people around us. Why? Because we feel more secure in who we are.

The next time you feel these uncomfortable feelings arising:

1. See if you can recognise your reaction of wanting to get away from it.

2. Find where you experience this feeling in the body.

3. Imagine cradling the feeling while also imagining being cradled.

This is not a path to a quick fix, but rather a new way of being with yourself in this life.

By Elisha Goldstein
 
oneday

oneday

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I'm posting this again - seemed relevant to the above...



The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi


I think Rumi is the most wonderful poet especially if you like 'spiritual' without the bullshit. He was a 13th Century Persian Sufi mystic and poet.
 
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