Beyond Help Series (February 20, 2008)

¡Hola! Everybody,
I called the laundry yesterday and apparently, the woman who mistakenly took my laundry has tired of sniffing my underwear and will return it today. The Laundromat is located about a 2-hour drive from where I’m living now, so I’ll have to wait to pick up all
my underwear. And yes, I am wearing underwear today. I had to buy new undies last night.

Today is my friend Jackie’s birthday! Jackie is a sweet girl who always has something nice to say. Plus she’s got a nice ass too! LOL Don’t get on her bad side, though, cause she’ll rip ya a new one! But she’s really a nice person in the most essential meaning of that phrase. I’m glad to know her and call her a friend. Click here and wish her a happy. Jackie, you deserve the best and though I know you won’t be online today, I want to wish the happiest of birthdays.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACKIE!

* * *

Beyond Help: Mindfulness

Some of you may have noticed that I’m writing this series on Wednesdays. A lot of this helps me in clarifying my approach to mental health practice, but I think there’s something here for anyone interested in a non-traditional approach to better living. I started with the notion that suffering, contrary to the TV ads, is normal. I say that suffering is quite normal. In fact, to live is to know suffering to paraphrase a great human being who lived over 2,500 years ago. But I also differentiated between pain and suffering and that suffering is optional. I defined suffering in this way:

pain + stress = suffering

In other words, pain happens, it’s a fact of life, but it’s also a fact that what you bring to the situation dictates whether you will suffer. This is in actuality a profound realization. You have pain in your knee, for example, and what happens in your brain immediately? Your brain waves go crazy, neurons fire off all over the place, and everything around the pain area contracts. So on top of the very real pain in your knee, you’ve now added mental and physical contraction.

Suffering.

Secondly, I wrote of acceptance. The point being that if you stop running from painful experiences or attaching to pleasurable ones, you will find a profound serenity. Acceptance, in this context, doesn’t mean being passive, but using the realization that shit happens and being proactive about adapting to that shit instead of fighting the fucking war all the time. The War has taken a toll on your life. This ongoing war you have with reality has destroyed your self-esteem, made you miserable, and full of self-loathing. Yeah sure, you’ve built a fortress around your heart so no one can hurt you but you walk the desolate landscape looking for love in all the wrong people, places, and things. And in the end what has this war wrought? Numbness.

Suffering.

There are two more components, mindfulness, and commitment. Today I will go on a little on mindfulness, an ancient and much misunderstood term.

Basically, mindfulness is an ancient 2,500-year-old method of observing your experience. It has been practiced for centuries through various forms of meditation in the East. Recent western research has proven that practicing mindfulness has notable psychological benefits. In fact, it has been adopted to treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and a host of other ailments.

My approach to psycho-spiritual work has a lot to do with mindfulness. However, I also bring modern western cognitive psychology in conjunction with mindfulness. My view is that eastern practices address higher level functioning, what some call the transpersonal, while Western psychology is devoted almost exclusively to ego development, or the personal. Using both approaches, one can address a wider range of issues in a more holistic manner.

My aim when working with people is to help them learn how to see their thoughts in a new way. Thoughts are like filters through which we see the world. We all have a tendency to cling to our particular way of seeing things and we allow it to dictate how we interpret our experiences, even to the point of dictating who we think we are. If you’re now stuck in the lens of your psychological pain, you may say things to yourself like, “I’m depressed,” or “I’m a loser, a failure.” I try to help people see the dangers of holding such thoughts and provide people with the tools that help them avoid those dangers.

As you free yourself from the illusions of language, you will begin to become more aware

server reboot, to be finished later!

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