Archive for February 1st, 2012

Reblogged: Piling It On

If you read my last blog entry you know that I just wrote a comment about being with what’s going on with you, here and now. I think this post is a great illuminating example of just that. Thank you for showing us it’s not all black cushions, tea pots, and facing the wall.
Remember from other posts as well that there is a difference between pain and suffering. . . the first is a part of life that is unavoidable. . . the other we “choose”….

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I’m particularly reblogging this because of the embedded clip from Noah Levine, dharma teacher and son of Stephen and Ondrea.
You might not be too sure why I am suggesting you watch it, so here it is: Because using mindfulness or even Buddhism (the Eight Fold Path) does not mean that you will always been seen with a smile that lights up the darkest of times like HH the Dalai Lama nor will you always sit serenely as so Thich Nhat Hanh is so often depicted.
Noah appeals to younger people but for all of us what he does is normalize the path… you can be genuinely who you are, not put on pretenses, being authentic and genuine and still practice.
I chuckle at work when people say things to me like, “I can’t believe a Buddhist would say that” or other such things. First, they don’t know anything about Buddhism and second, they don’t understand the practice.
We have moments… filled with grace, filled with anger. . . there are days that we wish we weren’t alive or that our loved one was not ailing or had died. . .the practice of mindfulness doesn’t say, “sit, smile, act like it’s all okay”… it says, “sit (or lay or stand or walk or kneel), become present, acknowledge, let go, repeat.” It’s about learning to have compassion for your experience in the here and now and learning to bring that forth to the world. It’s not a blanket check that says you can act mean to people and all will be forgiven; it is a cloak of acceptance that says, here and now, this is what I am experiencing.
If you don’t know Noah’s work, check out his podcast on Itunes for free.

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I’m a huge proponent of mind/body medicine… Especially when it comes to longterm illness, dying, and grieving. Touch alone is so power and healing. I like this post and the blogger gives a ton of great links to help you learn more! Great Job!

Hands-of-Faith Holistic Healing Centers® Blog

It could be that ache in your back, or that pain in your hip. It could be what the doctor prescribes for your postsurgical recovery. It could be because your 10 work deadlines, five appointments, and three kids’ soccer games have just about put you over the edge this week.

There are many reasons you might seek out massage, and each session might find you on the massage table for different objectives. Here are just a few of the reasons you should call your massage therapist today.

Research Shows It Works
Whether it’s the fact that massage improves the weight gain and development of preterm infants or that massage helps relieve debilitating pain in elderly stroke patients, research continues to prove out the numerous, life-changing benefits of massage.

Andrew Weil, MD, noted physician and proponent of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), says the research surrounding massage has…

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When you begin to see that your enemy is suffering, that is the beginning of insight. When you see in yourself the wish that the other person stop suffering, that is a sign of real love.

– Thich Nhat Hanh from Peace Is Every Step


More by Thich Nhat Hanh:

●  The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

●  You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

●  Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child

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Image by Alexis Tejeda via Flickr

Emotional Reactions

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Relief
  • Numbness
  • Irritated
  • Jealousy
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Powerlessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Resentful
  • Conflicted
  • Alienated
  • Worried
  • Appreciative
  • Paralyzed
  • Euphoric
  • Grateful
  • Feelings of emancipation
  • Guilt

I think when most of us think about grief, we think about emotions — ours or the people around us.  The list is unending.  And we may experience one of these emotions or several all at once.  And some of the emotions come over us in waves.  We can feel like we are stuck or we can feel like we are on a rollercoaster.

One thing that we can be sure of is that is that no matter how long it “feels like” we have been in the midst of any of these emotions, none of them last.  If someone has been sick a long time and profoundly suffering, a loved one may feel a sense of emancipation for years of caregiving.  They may feel guilt for feeling that way.  And in a moment, a week, a month, etc. they may feel hopeless, irritated, or relief.

Knowing that our suffering is only temporary does not make it feel any better.  But as mindfulness meditation teaches us, as we pay close attention is that our feelings, thoughts, and sensations are moment to moment.  We perceive them like a pearl necklace, one entity that is unchanging.  But in reality our feelings could be described more like the individual pearls before being strung and we perceive a continuity to them that creates our feeling of sustained emotion, grief or others…

Mindfulness meditation can be one simple but profound way to learn to touch all of these pearls as they enter into our consciousness. . .we may be sitting and be aware of tremendous sadness… then remember a sweet memory of the person who died… then alienation because we feel like we may no longer experience that kind of sweetness… and then we may form a picture of the person who died and feel relief that their pain no longer exists.  And all of that can happen in a matter of minutes (sometimes seconds).  We can learn to be in the moment with our thoughts, feelings, and sensations and learn to label them and allow them to pass rather than attaching to them and running away with the story lines that create that pearl necklace.

Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s work on mindfulness is a great starting place — pick up anything with his name on it and it will get you started.  Also, Stephen Levine‘s on being with dying or “The Grief Process”.  Or Ron Siegel’s book “Mindfulness Solution”.   Any of these great works will teach you how to compassionately be with you emotions and thoughts.  With practice, you will see that although they feel solid and unchanging, our emotions connected to grief  are ever-changing and are not unending.

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