I’m combining the fourth and fifth instalments of my Mindfulness training.
Negative thoughts are often the source of sadness and fear, and if you have no training in getting your attention away from them, you’re helpless. The capacity to separate (defuse) from them is essential for us to be fully in the present.
Live in the Present because there is no point worrying about the past or being fearful of the future. Dwelling on the past and future will only DRAIN your energy so you miss out on the only life you have, the Present.
Be Here, Now! Be psychologically present, engage in what’s happening in this moment. When you are in the present, you are aware of the physical world around you and the world within you.
Life happens NOW!
When you are living in a storm of emotional distress you can’t connect with the present. So, what do you do?
DROP ANCHOR! BREATHE DEEPLY AND EXHALE SLOWLY!
The larger the reality space, the greater the emotional storm it unleashes within. Remember, the reality space is the gap between the reality that is and the reality you would want.
When this space is large, two emotions show up: ANGER and FEAR. These two emotions can dominate your life, if you let them. Your “fight or flight” response is triggered.
The fight response turns into anger. The flight response turns into fear.
So, as the storm waves are rolling over us, here is an interesting idea:
When we have discomfort and suffering in our body and mind, instead of reacting to it we must respond to it and then a change takes place.
We begin to experience the suffering, fear, and pain NOT as “our” suffering but as “the” suffering. So, we then are experiencing the personal pain in a universal way.
When I say, it’s MY pain or MY depression, I am isolated and locked into MY suffering and unable to give it any succor (support, compassion or separation).
But when it’s “the” pain, I take it less personally and I’m not threatened to investigate it. The pain is shared universally, it has the whole world to float in and I’m NOT standing alone in it.
So, how do we drop anchor and calm the fury?
Push your feet hard on the floor and straighten your spine. Take a slow, deep breath and exhale slowly through the mouth. Look around and notice five things you can see. Notice where you are and what you are doing.
This exercise brings us back into the present so we can engage in life. During hard times we will have to drop anchor many times.
When you face the storms of life you will have good days and bad days, strong moments and weak ones. But when you persevere with mindfulness you will not do much running from the reality space and you will stop fighting it.
You must try to live in the present and ask yourself these questions:
“What do you stand for in the face of trauma? What values do you have?”
We will cover this in the next instalment.
Keep Your Chin Up and Persevere With Your Mindfulness Skills.
At the start of this session I was asked some questions to reflect on:
What matters to me?
What do I stand for?
What sort of human being am I?
What are my values?
Values are how you want to behave in relation to your purpose and relationships.
Some values are:
Acceptance: to be open and accepting of myself, others and life itself.
Assertiveness: to stand up for my rights and request what I want.
Courage: to be courageous in the face of fear, threat, or difficulty.
Mindfulness: to be conscious of, open to, and curious about my here-and-now experience.
I was told to think of life as a huge network of relationships:
Relationships with our body and mind, with family and friends, etc.
How can you make your relationships flourish?
You need to Connect, Care, and Contribute.
Connect- in any relationship means to engage and participate in the here and now.
Care- do we really care about the relationship? We need to act in caring ways.
Contribute- to nurture and give to the relationship.
Then there is “Taking A Stand”.
When life hits us hard, we tend to run and retreat. But, what we need to do is:
Take A Stand. Stand up to the difficulties.
There are 4 approaches to problem situations:
- Leave the situation. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t!
- Stay and change what can be changed. The reality gap sometimes can be closed but many times it can’t. But, we still have to do something. We are still breathing and life goes on! We need to activate all our mindfulness skills to steer our life in a meaningful direction.
- Stay and accept what can’t be changed. You have to ACCEPT all the painful feelings and thoughts and DEFUSE from them, separate from them, distance yourself from them, give them the space to come and go, engage in the present and choose to live by your values, and live each day fully despite the hurtful challenges you face.
- Stay and give up. Worry, rant and rave, cry, turn to alcohol and drugs, all of which make your problems worse. This option sucks the life out of us.
A Thought To End With:
Through mindfulness skills you can acquire what we all want:
Also published on Medium.
THE ANSWER TO A HAPPY LIFE, Psychological Flexibility AND PROZAC.
Sort of standing outside and looking in. Interesting