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    Post Your Best Mindfulness Resources and Experiences 
    #1
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    I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness meditation years ago by a teacher of a writing practice. each day she led us in a meditation, gently guiding us to come back into the present moment and to be aware of our bodies. Although I found it relaxing and energizing at the same time and very useful, it wasn't until my son died that it literally transformed my way of being. A friend and the staff of a Buddhist healing center near my home brought me back to it and I can honestly say that without these purely practical mental tools I would not have survived my son's death. Or, I might have survived but I would not be living. I know that many people that post on TDS have also been greatly helped by this philosophy and the tools it provides for living.

    Many of us here on TDS suffer from heightened anxiety. I think that we are born with a super sensitivity and with that comes huge rewards but also great suffering. Worrying and over-thinking are two manifestations of this kind of suffering. Worrying is all about the future--what might happen, could happen, probably will happen. It takes us out of the present and, since it is actually impossible to live in the future, deposits us exactly nowhere! Learning how to live in the present moment, how to let go of thoughts and emotions without denying them is very empowering.

    I am hoping that this thread might provide a place where we can post our favorite resources as well as our experiences, challenges, etc

    These are a few that have been very helpful to me:

    Tara Brach
    Podcasts

    Pema Chodron, any of her books

    Noah Levine, especially his memoir, Dharma Punx

    General info on Mindfulness for Stress reduction
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    Bluelight Crew badfish45's Avatar
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    Personally breathing exercises work great for me, and also recording my dreams. Even so, I still love to be able to go back and read my dreams, and that helps me get in a wonderful mindset. Exploring new parts of Bluelight and the internet in general is fun. Talking to people online helps my anxiety because I have human connection without them physically being there and making me anxious
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    Bluelighter spork's Avatar
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    one of the best suggestions i've had on mindfulness is to blow bubbles. as you're blowing them treat each bubble as a thought and let it go...i've never looked at bubbles the same way and now i have them around me all the time and i usually blow bubbles at least once a day. it might sound silly, but it worked well for me.

    mindfulness.
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    Bluelight Crew Vaya's Avatar
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    Herb, you've been kicking ass with great threads lately!

    I was introduced to Mindfulness whilst seeing a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist about three years ago. She began working with me out of a book of exercises that was part of ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, to be exact.

    I remember one portion of the lessons I went through where the authors asked the reader (in this case, me) to NOT think of a yellow jeep. They stressed that I ought to sit there for ten minutes and not think about the yellow jeep.

    Well, I sat there for ten minutes thinking of nothing but a yellow jeep.

    I was frustrated with myself, but in the back of my mind knew that they were trying to illustrate a point. The point they were trying to illustrate was that the more we try averting our attention from anxiety-inducing stimuli, the more prominent/present/overpowering/frustrating that stimulus will become.

    The next exercise also involved the yellow jeep. This time, the authors requested that I sit there for ten minutes trying to think about the yellow jeep. They suggested picturing every facet, curve and angle of the yellow jeep - rotating the object in my mind as one would a real object in ones hands. I sat there intently picturing this yellow jeep in as much detail as I could. I rotated the jeep from all angles in my mind, examining the specific hue of yellow that it might have been painted; studying the mess of engineering underneath the jeep; picturing the wheels and how brightly its glass windows shone with reflected sunlight. I knew every inch of that jeep by the 10-minute mark!

    Then the authors asked me again to sit there for ten minutes and not think about the yellow jeep. So I did. At first, as with the first time, all I could think of was this f*cking yellow jeep! I was so pissed off LOL. But after 2-3 minutes, I noticed that I began to think about other things, and the image of the jeep gradually faded from my mind. I ended up forgetting to return to the exercise at the 10 minute mark, even! So, 15 minutes later, I read the authors' explanation of the exercise.

    Their premise was that if one tries to avoid negative feelings, the feelings will grow and overwhelm you. But, despite being uncomfortable to do so, if one stops and really becomes mindful of what they are experiencing at that moment - rotating and examining the emotion from all angles, really getting down-and-dirty with it - one comes to better understand the origins of the emotion, how it can be viewed objectively, and how doing this (rather than practicing avoidance) will lead to a decrease in the angst experienced by the person feeling the emotion. It really left an impression on me - the book was designed to address anxiety specifically, but the authors suggested that the exercise applies to essentially any aversive emotion, including fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, depression, etc.

    Anyway, the whole thing really left an impression on me, and I try to practice it at least once everyday (I'm diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, thus having ample opportunity to try the exercise at least once per day!!).
    Hope someone gets something from this.

    ~ vaya
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    #5
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    I still think of your son.



    I like badfish's ideas but I don't think they would work for me.
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    Bluelighter my worst enemy's Avatar
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    Vaya, thanks big time. Ive had the feeling this is what i need to do to come to terms with some obsessive compulsive tendencies, now i had it confirmed. Im probably also gonna find me a Cognitive therapist.
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    Bluelight Crew Vaya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by my worst enemy View Post
    Vaya, thanks big time. Ive had the feeling this is what i need to do to come to terms with some obsessive compulsive tendencies, now i had it confirmed. Im probably also gonna find me a Cognitive therapist.
    At first it seems like the most ass-backwards approach to the problem, but MY way sure wasn't working at that point, so why not try someone else's? Oh and good luck with the search for a CB therapist - most cities around the world have listings online of therapists in the area that you can browse through and select based on gender, type of therapy, insurance, etc.
    *Be sure to ask your future therapist if he/she has experience with ACT. I'm totally serious when I say that it's had the biggest impact on my life of any therapy I've ever tried!!


    ~ vaya
    Last edited by Vaya; 09-03-2012 at 05:59.
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    #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain.Heroin View Post
    I still think of your son.


    I do, too. We used to talk about this quite a bit as he inherited the tendency to over-think and worry from me. One of the people that had a huge influence on Caleb's life was a guy teaching a court-ordered drug education class. Caleb went into it expecting the same bullshit he had heard so many times before. The guy teaching it had been in prison for much of his adult life and had a 25 year long heroin addiction and he got Caleb's attention right away because he seemed so at peace with himself. He introduced Caleb to meditation and Caleb said that when he actually made time for it he could feel his mind "quiet" and knew that it could be a very powerful tool for him. Among many other things, this was something that Caleb never got the chance to implement in his life.

    The point they were trying to illustrate was that the more we try averting our attention from anxiety-inducing stimuli, the more prominent/present/overpowering/frustrating that stimulus will become.
    Yes, vaya, for me this was the key to changing a lot of negative patterns. Not running away from, or trying to anesthetize myself from, the scary emotions (anxiety, despair, anger) but letting them come full force without denying them, paradoxically lessens their power.
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    Bluelighter VanWeyden's Avatar
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    I made the experience that mindfulness doesn't need fancy over-the-top exercises, it is something that can be found within the easiest daily duties. For example cooking makes me calm and content, using only basic ingridients and as little convenience products as possible. Looking out of the window and seeing that the sun has come out and taking a few seconds to enjoy its warmth and light. The best resource I found for me is spending time with small children. This can be the most calming and refreshing thing in the world, just joining him in his games and entering a world that I forgot for so long.
    Maybe that's not the exact meaning of mindfulness, but for me it's really really close.
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    #10
    Bluelighter DexterMeth's Avatar
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    Great thread.

    One of my greatest anxieties is that I will most likely die of a seizure out of nowhere. Medication helps, but is far from a sure fire way to stop it all together. I know I need to just accept that, like anyone, I could die at any moment. It's comforting to accept this, sure, but sometimes I wake up in the most random of places, and even jail. This is what I'm still trying to deal with.
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    #11
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    ^Dex, I still don't ave any experience with EMDR (Dave is the TDS resident expert on that) but I wonder if that wouldn't be a good thing for you to try for that. I have a recurring panic/fear inducing problem similar to yours and I am still determined to try that form of therapy to see if could help.
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    #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by spork View Post
    one of the best suggestions i've had on mindfulness is to blow bubbles. as you're blowing them treat each bubble as a thought and let it go...i've never looked at bubbles the same way and now i have them around me all the time and i usually blow bubbles at least once a day. it might sound silly, but it worked well for me.

    mindfulness.
    That is absolutely beautiful spork, I too will never look at bubbles quite the same way again


    My therapist is huuuge on mindfulness. It's been such a wonderful, strengthening tool for me to learn, and my only regret is that I didn't learn about mindfulness earlier in my life!!
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    #13
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    I've found my best resource has been my hand. It takes a great deal of effort to escape the moment when you smack yourself into it, although it's also takes a great deal of focus to stay in the moment, as your hand can only bring you into that single moment. Still, I've found physical stimuli to be my greatest resource.
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    #14
    Bluelighter DexterMeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n3ophy7e View Post
    my only regret is that I didn't learn about mindfulness earlier in my life!!
    There's always tomorrow
    ..not
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    hmm, oddly, I found some of the things I learned with regards to marksmanship to be generally excellent for anxiety in stressful situations.

    Basically the points most helpful where:
    Breathing rate: Unless you are physically exerting yourself, force your breathing to be no more rapid than your usual resting breathing rate, count it if you have to, but do not allow to become rapid. Rapid breathing is a common stress reaction, and by forcing it to slow down, you help interrupt the usual series of events that lead to panic.
    Breath Tidal volume: Make sure your breaths are no deeper or shallower then usual... shallow OR deep breathing often comes with increased breathing rate, again by stopping it, you help block the spiral.
    Visual field: Keep your eyes looking at what is relevant in the situation. Do not become fixated on one object, and similarly, do not allow your eyes to dance around with no rhyme or reason. Fixation on an object occurs when that object is what is making you anxious, while its good to look at a potential threat, you need to keep aware of your over all surroundings . Having them dance around is typical when the source of your anxiety is unknown, you are hunting for it. If there is a real, physical and local threat, you might want to scan for it, if not its hyper-vigilance and is part of the cascade that leads to panic.
    Be aware of your heart beat. Its beyond direct conscious control, but you can be aware of it, allowing you to actively note that if its elevated and your not exercising, that its likely psychogenic stress, which might allow you to try and relax and lower it. (it has another application for marksmanship, which is to fire between beats so it does not move your aiming)
    Relax your muscles and note muscle tension. Relax them to the minimum you need to hold your body upright/hold anything your carrying. Tensed up muscles are another part of the stress/anxiety reaction, and reinforce it. Letting them relax is akin to letting that anxiety flow away. (and for what I learned, tense muscles lead to shaking which leads to being unable to aim)

    Keep your self aware of these basic physical reactions and keep them under your control, not under the anxiety's control. I.E. YOU control your body, not the anxiety or stressor.
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    #16
    ^ These are very cool tips. I have independently observed the breathing rate & tidal volume trick, during panicky moments in psychedelic trips. I'll have to remember the visual field, heart beat, and muscle tension tricks too.
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    #17
    Bluelighter Thou's Avatar
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    This is a great thread my heart goes out to its creator.

    I've been gaining quite a bit of courage, wisdom, and direction from the great boddhisatva Thich Nhat Hahn, particularly in the form of his guided meditation audio files that I've helped myself to.



    “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending.”

    Putting these concepts into active practice here in the Wester World and in daily structured life has been particularly challenging for me, especially on their own (IE: without using psychedelics as a catalyst).
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    #18
    Bluelighter DexterMeth's Avatar
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    ^What goes around comes around.
    Stop hating on western culture
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    #19
    Bluelighter panic in paradise's Avatar
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    Jain Philosophy ?

    Know less then you perceive
    Understand more the root of your perceptions
    Rise above the feelings that come
    To feel more yourself


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    #20
    Bluelighter DexterMeth's Avatar
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    ^Following that.. the feelings of course being ones that are created by an illusion too.
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    #21
    Bluelighter AfterGlow's Avatar
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    For anyone who has no experience with mindfulness meditation and wants to learn how to do it, this is THE book to read!

    Mindfulness in Plain English
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    #22
    Bluelighter Thou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DexterMeth View Post
    ^What goes around comes around.
    Stop hating on western culture
    I said it's difficult living there, which is true.

    I also said that it's hard to love in that it proves difficult for me, which is far different from saying that I actively hate. I'm of course speaking of the unconditional love for all facets of existence.

    Hate is antonymous to the theme we're trying to cultivate here.
    Last edited by Thou; 25-03-2012 at 06:34.
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    #23
    Bluelighter DexterMeth's Avatar
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    We?
    You get what you give
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    #24
    I really like what Lorin Roche has to say. There's a wealth of information on his website.

    He recommends an intuitive, instinctive, life-affirming approach to meditation - sit down, close your eyes and go where your mind takes you. And what was most helpful for me were his warnings about adopting Eastern teachings and practices designed specifically for monks - if you haven't taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, these practices may harm you.

    Someone above commented on Buddhist teachings: "Putting these concepts into active practice here in the Western World and in daily structured life has been particularly challenging for me" - perhaps that's because you're not a monk somewhere in Asia
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    #25
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    ^I wholeheartedly agree. While I admire and am thankful for the Buddhist monks that have helped me to understand and practice certain concepts, I am, in the end, still the anti-religion person that I have always been. That being said, Buddhist practices of focusing on compassion resonate deeply with me as does the Christian teaching, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Being open to the useful and positive concepts within religions without being religious myself is comfortable to me.

    Thanks for the link, GhostHardware!
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