Tuesday, November 17, 2015

EMOTIONS and an intro to Mindfulness Tools

Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly, based on work of Stacy Kesten (mindfulinspirations.com, MARC/UCLA) at Red Lotus Retreats first meditation/yoga event
Mindfulness is allowing what is to be right now with compassion and free of judgment.
Why does the world have to suck so much? First my boyfriend now this refugee crisis!
An Introduction to Mindfulness
I like to be mindful with my BFF dog.
Let's talk about mindfulness. Let's begin with a definition:

“Mindfulness is paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, compassion, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is.”
If we can notice when we are lingering in the past, hurtling ourselves into the future, or stuck in a place of judgment, we can just notice this and gently redirect our attention back to the present moment -- back to right here right now.
  • Mindfulness (sati) may also be defined as "allowing now to be" or "bare  awareness, which is nonjudgmental and non-evaluative, of whatever is in the present moment." Berkeley and Harvard Professor Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) perhaps put it most succinctly: "Be here now." The Buddha outlined a path to use mindfulness to realize enlightenment (sati-patthana) by being mindful of the body, feelings, mind, and mind-objects.
    Here are some techniques to help practice mindfulness in daily life, four tools to use during a busy day to bring ourselves back into the present:

    Me stop? You stop! Or I'll kill you, all of you!
    1. Practice S.T.O.P. Stop, think, observe, proceed. STOP. Wait, hold on, be still a moment. Maybe even take a long, calming breath. THINK. What's happening? What am I planning to do? Will it be a well thought out response or a habitual reaction? OBSERVE. Look at what's going on internally and externally. PROCEED. Now with a level head and an open heart, it's safe to go.
    But what if I can't tolerate it?
    2. Practice R.A.I.N. When feeling triggered or facing challenging emotions: RECOGNIZE. That means label the feeling to become aware of the presence of an emotion. ACCEPT. Allow what is to be, asking: Is it okay to have this emotion? If so, allow it to be there without trying to push it away. INVESTIGATE. Feel it in the body. Where is it felt? Does it move or change as we investigate? NON-IDENTIFICATION: Find some space. Move from “my fear” to “the fear.” We are not our fear. It’s just something that is happening here now (an impersonal and impermanent process).
    How will I handle my emotions?
    Calm down? Don't tell me to calm down!!! I just lost my iPad with my favorite song!
    Why, why is there dukkha in the world?!
    Remember that it only takes 90 seconds for an emotion to make its way through the body. Let it go without rushing or impeding it.
    The only thing that keeps an emotion from moving through us is our own clinging or resisting an emotion. These are manifestations of craving and aversion founded on ignorance* -- more popularly referred to as the Three Roots of All Bad Karma: greed, hatred, and delusion.
    • *Ignorance? Misunderstanding, confusion, illusion, delusion -- not seeing things as they actually are; not seeing that all things, including emotions, are impermanent (restlessly passing away from sub-moment to sub-moment), unsatisfactory (not worth grasping or clinging to), and impersonal (not at all what they seem).
    Nobody cares about Beirut, just Paris?
    Or maybe we're rehashing the thought that is causing the emotion. If we take these four steps, practicing R.A.I.N., we can learn to recognize, accept, investigate, and not identify with emotions that pass through us so that they can freely pass through, which is done by allowing them then letting them go.
    I didn't want to kill. I, I just...
    3. Mindfulness Bell: Let's choose something that we regularly do each day like reach for a door handle or sit down at a desk or make a phone call. Then let's use these moments to connect with our body, breath, and emotions. This practice connects us with the present moment.
    4. Remember this quotable quote when feeling anxious or STRESSED OUT about the future:
    "I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."
    - Mark Twain

    Stacy Kesten (stacy@mindfulinspirations.com)
    To be on mailing list for tips and free guided meditations, email: stacy@mindfulinspirations.com
    "To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders."
    - Lao Tzu (Taoism)

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