ZEN and NOW:
I constantly work on silencing my inner critic’s negative prompts to disconnect because – “I am not loved, validated, good enough” anchoring myself in authenticity is easy when I remember the gift of self compassion.
In active addiction I did to myself what I would not let anyone do to me, polarising positive messages hits that inner reset point back into being in the flow… The shadow of victimhood is my default setting…that kept me stuck in the cycle of obsession and compulsively acting out, over thinking-everything, and reacting underpinned by a cascade of stress hormones (cortisol and and adrenaline) ergo stress- eating, shopping, internet -social-media-surfing to feel even worse by comparing myself to others and their perceived perfect lives to silence the echo of a painful existence.
My personal recovery from addiction is in its 30th year of continuing to be in community, connected and thriving in all areas of my life. The antidote to self-loathing is -self-compassion. I love experiencing for its gracious witnessing quality, acknowledging the minutiae, in the moment with a daily insight meditation practice:
RITUAL is a continuum of habits the influence our body, thinking, feeling behaviours.
REPETITION embeds felt sense: behaviours, knowledge, experience. The bodies keeps score.
RELEASING is being in “flow’ a continuum of breathing in to receive, and out to release.
You can using the body as grounding agent for the mind. To calm the mind begin with a desire to restore balance. this involves learning how to engage in the process of RITUAL: a series of felt-sense expereinces, memories encounters. REPETITION : same-time and place to meditate with a preferred mudra and mantra. RELEASING : observing with attachment is letting go with consciously conscious compassion.
Surrender with grace the need to attach to any negative criticisms- not doing it right, perfectly, not the right time or place…just do it. Observe your mind wanting to control the process, intensity, stimuli and or expression. Suspend your inner-critic’s negative judgement. Cultivating compassion is an act of self love in action.
Meditation disciplines helps us thrive in all our relationship, beginning with ourselves. Although any change is daunting at first…soon it becomes effortless to want to be doing everything through a meditative mind-set …compassion can be in every breath, every action – everything.
Meditation can be beautifully explained in metaphors: “Washing the dishes to wash the dishes” by Thich Nhat Hanh about how to be mindful in everything I do..from the mundane to the magical, one of my favourite TNH teachings is: The cup in your hands.
. . . There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes. . . .the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes.
When washing the dishes, and am ruminating, I notice my impatience: judging washing the dishes as a waste of my precious time. Thankfully I am brought back into the moment by the very thought that disconnected from the present moment. And I am back, at the sink, washing the dishes….Meditation is noticing the moment-to-moment changing conditions within you. The litany of ideas and expectations that occur, in the moment an actually help us focus, and create intentions and a meditative mindset begins by easing into the stillness…this requires expanding awareness.
I teach people how to breathe, deeper, longer in order for the breath to become stronger and fully supporting the bodies ability to thrive. What helped me begin to transform stress into vitality then and continues today a few decades into my daily meditation practice is the quality of breath-work- by focussing on body awareness and allowing the mind to enter the present moment.
As you pay attention to the body, and the mind enters the present moment, you will experience aliveness and a newfound presence of mind. You can easily continue to use the practices in your daily routines for ongoing access to a richer, more natural experience of life.
A typical introduction to mindfulness meditation practice begins with awareness of the breath/breathing. This can be done standing, sitting or lying down. The intention is to interrupt our mental disconnection from reality when we are projecting into the future or ruminating on the past. As thoughts continue to come and go the intention is to raise awareness of the physical sensations taking place during the process and not attaching any meaning to passing thoughts.
My daily meditation practice has evolved over 30 years sometimes it includes a breath-body-scan, mantra, a mudra and restorative yoga postures and always begins with setting up my posture, breathing in and out…. Mindfulness meditation stress-management is proving to be one of the most promising non-stimagtising wellbeing/mental health strategies.
Cultivating a mindfulness meditation practice provides a “safe and sacred space.’ Time-managment becomes balanced and boundaried. Learning the value in being able to “switch-off” slows down the brain’s autopilot set point. Just as we are neuro-biologically hard-wired to connect, conditioned mind becomes “stuck” in reactionary habits.
“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology.
This study and many others from Harvard Medical School demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing. There are many ways to cultivate the efficacy of mindfulness through repetition and regular practice until it becomes a natural everyday occurrence in addiction & personal recovery..
The digital addict’s brain complex circuitry systems are impacted in the same way as illicit drugs, sugar and salt. No wonder young people are highly stressed, reactive, demotivated and depressed. However, in my experience of working with addictive personality types of diverse cultures, ages and gender there is hope for change when the person is treated holistically – with a strong emphasis upon stress and anxiety-management.
In my daily practice I have found that focussing on the breath eventually means that whatever I was hoping to solve by over thinking has actually happened by the energy attached to it become less intense or important. Over time I become so absorbed in my breath that problems disappear. I become the breath.
Understanding complex human behaviours with a mindfulness mindset engenders balance: the foundational key to claiming personal power, authenticity and autonomy. Fear immobilises people. autopilot reactionary behavior. Oppositional and aggressively controlling of others reality. And when I am am impatient, angry or fearful and project this onto you how our encounter is a setup for a conflicted views and or power struggles.
Mindfulness present-moment mind-set interrupts over thinking. Insight Mindfulness meditation practices restore calmness by challenging the existential question: “who am I?” Flawed coping mechanisms, patterns and themes inform our narratives. Addiction is a disconnection from reality. Cultivating self-compassion is reconnecting to your essential being. Meditation is an encounter with your reality.
“When all your desires are distilled
You will cast two votes
To love more and to be happy.” -Hafiz
Easing into the stillness Insight Meditation:
Posture: Begin with a few stretches to adjust your posture, realign the spine, open the chest, and relax the shoulders. Breathe in from the base of our spine, a long deep inhale, hold and then exhale. You will automatically feel your body oxygenating itself.
Invite absolute conscious connection: awareness of the breath. Continue deep breathing: inhale and exhale via the nose. Attune to the sensations occurring in the moment. Begin by noticing the subtle energy shifts from oxygenating your body. For the next few minutes bring your focus continuously back to your breath.
Meditative detachment harnesses the wisdom that is uncertainty, the freedom from the past, from the known/conditioned mind. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.
In the immediacy of daily life I make the time throughout the day to conscious de-stress my thinking…often when I am moving about the city, I am aware that I am often disconnected from the present moment, and habitually over thinking, worrying about the future…f the stress escalation in my body, particularly my head and stop….breathe, get present and detached – back into my bubble. Reminding myself that “Just For Today” I have everything I need, I am safe, I am enough, I am present.
Just for Today I will commit myself to detachment. I will be mindful of my story and not project this onto you. I will not be wilful , thereby mind fully not manifesting new problems. I will participate in everything with mindful detachment.
Just for Today I will practice mindfulness when I am challenged with uncertainty. In my willingness to accept uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of the problem, out of the confusion, disorder, and chaos. The more uncertain things seem to be, the more secure I will feel, because uncertainty is my path to freedom. Through the wisdom of uncertainty, I will find my boundaries.
I will step into the field of all possibilities and anticipate the excitement that can occur when I remain open to an infinity of choices. When I step into the field of all possibilities, I will experience all the fun, adventure, magic, and mystery of life.
Healing the disconnect between head and heart – from woundedness to wisdom is the hero’s journey. We incarnate with karmic impressions as the innocent archetype. Our individual attachment style: insecure, ambivalent and or secure is dependent upon the consistency of emotional, spiritual, and intellectual attunement we encounter with our early childhood primary caregivers.
Mature adults have four attachment styles: secure, anxious–preoccupied, dismissive–avoidant, and fearful–avoidant. The secure attachment style in adults corresponds to the secure attachment style in children. The anxious–preoccupied attachment style in adults corresponds to the anxious–ambivalent attachment style in children.
However, the dismissive–avoidant attachment style and the fearful–avoidant attachment style, which are distinct in adults, correspond to a single avoidant attachment style in children. The descriptions of adult attachment styles offered below are based on the relationship questionnaire devised by Bartholomew and Horowitz, and on a review of studies by Pietromonaco and Barrett.
Change your thinking/change your life. I recommend beginning the day with a daily reading/lesson. I began to harness a spiritual practice in 1988 by the daily reading from “A Course in Miracles” – 365 lessons. Followed by singing silently or singing aloud a mantra to take me in a meditative stance. Easing into the stillness to develop awareness when the mind is focussed on the breath.
The psycho-educational aspect of developing awareness is invaluable : if you are new to recovery begin each daily with a reading from my book of affirmations, ancient texts, talks etc from a plethora of organically philosophy, mythology, theology, and spiritual teachings.
The brains neuro-plasticity responds to stimulation it receives. Take mini-breaks from the computer screen and sit quietly for a few minutes. Focus on an image of peace, harmony and happiness. hold the image for a few minutes all the while deep breathing in and softly exhaling.
Every few weeks I commit to an immersion process. Learning new pathways is often covering old ground, however this is how we learn by bridging theory with practice; engaging a part of my personality in an endeavour to active wholeness is uplifting and profoundly exhilarating. Effortless softening and strengthening.
An invaluable tool is self-discipline. Meditation engenders a relationship with yourself that reflects your intrinsic/extrinsic relationship with your higher power, family and friends.Meditation engenders retraining the mind. for example doing a Metta Meditation is equipoise.
I do this to encourage a sense of emotional balance becoming more and more effortlessly available. Meditation practice opens us up to the world, and allows us to realize fully what we are feeling as we encounter both suffering and joy.
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 are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
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 whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
Every form of genuine awareness is liberating. Each moment we release entanglement and identification is selfless and free. But remember too that every practice of awareness can create a shadow when we mistakenly cling to it. A misuse of space can easily lead us to become spaced-out and unfocused. A misuse of absorption can lead to denial, the ignoring of other experiences, and a misuse of ordinary awareness can create a false sense of “self” as a witness. These shadows are the subtlety of attachment. See them for what they are and let them go is accessing the lenses of awareness to serve your wise attention.
The more you experience the power of wise attention, the more your trust in the ground of awareness itself will grow. You will learn to relax and let go. In any moment of being caught, awareness will step in, a presence without judging or resisting. Close-in or vast, near or far, awareness illuminates the ungraspable nature of the universe. It returns the heart and mind to its birthright, naturally luminous and free.
May you be free from worry and indecision. May you be happy.