RVL meets reality – Mindfulness, Crisis prevention and tossing away old baggage Part 1.

DISCLAIMER – PLEASE READ

Ladies and gentlemen, readers, I write this as a presentation to make suggestions for people who need to get a little self-wellness into their sphere. I need to make it absolutely clear that I am NOT a medical professional, I am NOT a Psychiatric professional or a Crisis Counselor.

I AM a survivor and this material is material I have found that works for me. Doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you but then again, it just might.

The information I contain in here is NOT something I just made up on the spur of the moment, it is carefully sourced from relevant and reliable sources and it is material employed in health care centres in post hospital programs, HOWEVER, it is NOT meant, nor intended, to replace or discount proper care and attention from qualified medical/psychological/psychiatric professionals. If you are in trouble PLEASE SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY, DON”T WAIT. Contact your nearest Crisis Line, Doctor or Healthcare Centre. DON’T TRY AND GO IT ALONE…

That being said, I offer the following for your consideration.

Mindfulness, Crisis prevention and tossing away old baggage

Written and Presented by
Tim

Introduction

People around us, everyday, in many ways, love to push buttons. Some people push buttons for a job, like operating a lathe or a drill, others push buttons to move money and information around but the buttons we need to be most aware of are our buttons. The ones that people push just because they can, just because they take a perverse pleasure in seeing/ experiencing a reaction.

Those people feed off us, they get amusement from seeing the negative reactions that their antics cause and each time we rise to the bait, so to speak, each time we react in a negative way you can bet your ass that somewhere, some individual is laughing their ass off. So, why do we give them the satisfaction?

We give them this power when we are weary, weakened by some physical event; such as illness or trouble in our lives. Why shouldn’t we give this away? Because then we become responsible for feeding leeches, we become responsible for the wellbeing and happiness of others, well, for parasites anyway.

So, what do we do to stop feeding the leeches and parasites? We train ourselves NOT to react. They might be in the same sandpit as us but if you exercise your mastery and take away their bucket and spade, well, they’re screwed and then we can sit back and laugh at them as they flail about in a vain attempt to satisfy their silly craving for negativity.

In a recent post I addressed the concept, briefly, of Mushin;

Mushin (無心; Japanese mushin; English translation “no mind”) is a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat.[1] They also practice this mental state during everyday activities. The term is shortened from mushin no shin (無心の心), a Zen expression meaning the mind without mind and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything.

Mushin is achieved when a person’s mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, or ego during combat or everyday life. There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react towards an opponent without hesitation and without disturbance from such thoughts. At this point, a person relies not on what they think should be the next move, but what is their trained natural reaction or what is felt intuitively. It is not a state of relaxed, near-sleepfulness, however. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intention, plan or direction.

Some masters believe that mushin is the state where a person finally understands the uselessness of techniques and becomes truly free to move. In fact, that person will no longer even consider themselves as “fighters” but merely living beings moving through space.
Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushin

Img. source - themonastryofnothingness.blogspot.com

Img. source – themonastryofnothingness.blogspot.com

 

Along with this concept are the seemingly less esoteric tenets of Mindfulness, Stress reduction, Cognitive thinking and Emotion regulation.

Each tool that we gain the use of in these arenas will invariably help us to achieve a more balanced perspective in our lives, and greater resistance to both leeches and parasites, both on and off line.

Part 1

Mindfulness, at its core, is itself derived from ancient Eastern practices and is a very simple and stand-alone concept.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” [2]
Mindfulness is not competitive with any belief set or religion, it simply a particular way of looking at things and the tools are just as simple, however, because Mindfulness is fundamentally so much different to the way our minds are generally taught, and experienced, to behave in this day and age it does take some practice to master it.

In essence it is a method of learned control of our focus of attention.

A great deal of the time we operate, cognitively, on ‘auto-pilot’, brushing our teeth, driving a car, data entry at work. We are not fully focused on what we are doing and because of that we can make mistakes, sometimes with grave consequences. Becoming more aware of our thoughts and feelings in a particular moment gives us greater focus and thus we are capable of achieving more than if we were ‘on autopilot’.

So, what’s a good way to find this ‘mindfulness thing’? In short there are many ways but probably the one that is most familiar to the majority is to do with controlled breathing. One good method is a breathing meditation developed by Kabat-Zinn in 1991. The exercise itself takes about fifteen minutes and is recommended, by the author, to be done once a day.

Process:
Assume a comfortable posture, whether it be sitting or lying down. If you are sitting let the shoulders drop but keep the spine straight. (Closing your eyes is optional)
Focus your attention on your belly, feel it rise, or expand, gently on the in-breath and fall on the out-breath. Keep your focus on the breathing, feeling the rise and fall, being ‘with’ on each full duration in breath and each full duration out breath. A variant on this method is to breathe in for the count of four and out on the count of four, then in for the count of six and out for the count of six, then for the count of eight and so forth. The expelled breath carries away the things that pollute your thinking. Imagine this during the process and gradually slow your breathing until each one is steady, deep and even.

If your mind wanders away from focus on the breathing, bring it right on back. I use this as both an aid to sleep and as a relaxation technique when embroiled in something taxing or demanding. Heck, you can even do it standing in a bus shelter… waiting for that late bus.

meditation4

You can use Mindfulness to cope with negative emotions/experiences in the moment.

Practicing the mindfulness on a daily basis, as with anything else, makes you good at it. So good that you can call it up at a moment’s notice, in any given situation.

 

Img. source - adamseo25.wordpress.com

Img. source – adamseo25.wordpress.com

Let’s take a classic example and one we can, i think, all relate to. Someone pushes in line in front of you at a supermarket or somewhere like that, what’s the best course of action? Get angry? What do you do then? Speak sharply to them? Mutter about how some people shouldn’t be allowed out in public alone under your breath? Reach up and bitch-slap them back behind you (hence winding up with an assault arrest)…? What to do, what to do?

Me, I breathe… in for the count of four, out for the count of four, in for the count of six, out for the count of six… and so forth. I remind myself that life is too short to get all riled up by them, I feel sorry that they feel they need to be rude and aggressive. Learn to become an Observer rather than a pawn of the game.

If you read a message posted in an online forum that really irritates or annoys you, same thing applies. Breathe. Get relaxed then look at the words with fresh eyes. Is the person really attacking you or are they just trying to get a rise out of somebody to satisfy some weird craving they have for pushing buttons? Do the words materially alter your existence by being there? Do the words make sense even? (That’s a big thing online)

In the words of Kabat-Zinn;
“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”

Mindfulness is about being “in the moment”, here and now, present and accounted for and learning to view events and circumstances as fleeting situations. If you can look at things without old feelings, baggage, angers, hates, fears and what not then you really will find that such “events” do not control you, rather YOU CONTROL them. In this way you can take ownership of your thoughts and feelings and you can keep anyone from having access to your “buttons”.

Mindfulness and Mushin, they come from the same places, the same train of thinking and they can be powerful allies to you in times of stress. They can help you overcome worries and cares, they can help you with inner balance and harmony and they can help you keep the assholes from running your life, true story… I achieved it and I’m no Rhodes Scholar.

To be Continued…

Copyright Tim & RVL 2015

1) A Dictionary of the Martial Arts. Louis Frederic (author), Paul H Crompton (editor). 2006. Dover Publications Inc.. ISBN 978-0486444024
2) Vivyan, Carol; 2009 www.getselfhelp.co.uk/

Other references:
Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Linehan, Marsha. 1993, The Guilford Press.

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