Category: Healing
Displaying 1 - 9 of 14 entries.

Self-Compassion through Mindfulness

  • Posted on December 2, 2016 at 12:11 am

By Szymon

Do you consider yourself your own worst critic? Even the toughest condemnation from a stranger seldom surpasses the judgment people put on themselves. It takes considerable effort, mindfulness, and endurance to stop judging yourself.

You begin to lead a more fulfilling life, once you stop judging yourself. Accepting who you are, meditation, and loving yourself the same way you love your family are ways to stop the negative practice of self-judgment.

Improve Your Self-Esteem with Mindfulness Meditation

  • Posted on April 22, 2016 at 11:53 pm

By Mary Sovran

There are many reasons for low self-esteem. Most of them stem from a childhood of physical, or emotional abuse, or even abandonment. If you suffered from this type of childhood, low self-esteem is almost guaranteed because you didn’t get the validation and support you needed from adults while growing up. You have probably always felt that you were not quite as good as other people. Mindfulness meditation can help you overcome low self-esteem and realize your full potential.

Meditation and Heroin Addiction Recovery

  • Posted on April 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm

By Matt Abbasfard

My journey in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse has been by no means a straight line. This is my third attempt to get clean, and there were times in my life when I never thought that recovery was possible. I’ve been to individual therapy, residential heroin addiction treatment programs (9 times), outpatient groups, and 12-step groups. You name it, and I’ve tried it.

I’ve participated in a range of different services with varying levels of commitment, sometimes enthusiastically and sometimes in order to avoid yet another trip to the county jail. In the past, each attempt to get clean ended in failure. The consequences would pile up, and the pain would become so great that I would eventually tuck my tail between my legs and make a call for help.

Why Problems Exist

  • Posted on May 31, 2014 at 5:10 pm

By Karan S. Haji

All spiritual masters say to resist nothing. Life holds various difficulties and tests, or problems as we would like to call them. The vast majority of these so called problems are illusions of the mind. Problems come in various forms, be it the rent we have to pay, the debt that needs to be repaid, injury, disease, poverty, humiliation, and so on.

The answer to any problem is simple: go within. Every problem is an opportunity in disguise. Every problem holds within it the very seed of enlightenment. Although this is difficult to gauge, it is true.

Letting Go of the Past with Mindfulness Meditation, Part 2

  • Posted on October 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

By Charles A. Francis

Letting go of the past can be quite a challenge for many of us. Pleasant memories lure us back to happier times in our lives, and unpleasant memories can be filled with unresolved issues. There is nothing inherently wrong with remembering the past. Rather it’s our inability to let go of our attachment to it that keeps us from being happy in the present.

This doesn’t mean that we should forget the past. It only means that we need to stop clinging to it, if we want to find freedom from our suffering. We’ll still be able to enjoy pleasant memories. In fact, we’ll enjoy them even more when we overcome the desire to recreate them. We’ll also learn to accept unpleasant memories, because we’ll be able to accept them without expecting amends from people who have harmed us.

Letting Go of the Past with Mindfulness Meditation, Part 1

  • Posted on September 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm

By Charles A. Francis

Many of us have difficulty letting go of the past, and moving on with our lives. For some of us, it may seem down right impossible, and it can have serious consequences to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Attachment to the past is such an ingrained characteristic of the human condition that a great deal of spiritual and psychological studies are devoted to the subject.

In this two-part article series, we’re going to examine the nature of attachment from a Buddhist psychology perspective. In Part 1, we’ll see how it manifests itself to draw us to the past. We will examine it specifically from the perspective of the Five Hindrances—the obstacles to our spiritual development.

In Part 2, we’ll discuss how we can use mindfulness meditation, and other tools, to let go of our past, so we can be free of it. We will see how living in the present moment will enable us to find true happiness and inner peace.

Healing Childhood Emotional Abuse with Mindfulness Meditation

  • Posted on August 15, 2012 at 12:27 am

By Mary Sovran

Are you an adult survivor of childhood emotional abuse? If so, then you’re not alone. Many people have been deeply wounded and scarred as children by their tormentors. They grew up with little or no self-esteem because of being abused.

This problem can trouble you for years and cause you a great deal of pain. Believe me, I understand the problem from personal experience.

Abusers Can Be Anyone

The source of childhood emotional abuse can be from parents, siblings, other relatives and even neighbors, or you may have suffered at the hands of more than one abuser at a time.

Stress Management Through Mindfulness Meditation

  • Posted on May 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

By Charles A. Francis

When I first began my mindfulness meditation practice, my primary purpose was to use it for stress management, and I figured that there were some health benefits associated with the practice. But I wasn’t sure exactly what they were.

When I started doing the research for my book, I realized that scientists had been busy over the last 10-15 years studying the health benefits of mindfulness meditation. Coincidentally, they were primarily interested in finding out how mindfulness meditation could be used for stress management.

Rising Stress Levels

The World Health Organization describes stress as “the health epidemic of the 21st century.” It is at the root of more than 70% of all visits to the family doctor. Elevated stress levels can have a variety of harmful effects on the body. It can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, depression, anxiety, and even skin conditions. In extreme cases, stress can result in heart disease and stroke.

Stress can also be harmful when we engage in unwholesome ways of relieving it, such as the use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. These substances only address the symptoms, and not the root causes of the stress.

If we want to deal with stress in a healthy manner, we need to do 2 things:

  • Give our mind and body time to relax.
  • Redefine our views about our needs.

Giving Our Mind and Body Time to Relax

When we are agitated, it is difficult for us to sit quietly and relax. We usually try to drown out the noise in our head with more noise. We often feel that we’re being unproductive if we’re sitting idle doing nothing. This only exacerbates the problem.

If we want to reduce the stress in our life, we need to be courageous and break the cycle of constant agitation. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of sitting still, it will have a tremendous impact if you constantly have your foot on the accelerator. By stopping and allowing your mind to settle down, you’ll be able to think clearly and more objectively. It will probably be the most productive 5 minutes of your day.

Redefining Our Views About Our Needs

Much of our stress comes from worrying about not getting, or losing, the things we think we need to survive or be happy. We often worry about losing our material wealth, and ending up on the streets with nothing to eat. Though this may be a reality for some people, it is not for most of us. In the worst-case scenario, we can go to one of the many homeless shelters available. There we can receive the food and shelter we need to survive.

Many of us grow up with certain ideas of what will bring us happiness. In the United States, the land of opportunity, this means having a successful career, a beautiful family, and a nice home and automobile. When we finally achieve all these things, then we begin worrying about losing them. In time, we realize that life was much simpler and less stressful when we didn’t have all the material belongings and accomplishments. If we are going to be free of stress and worry, then we need to redefine our views about what will truly bring us peace and serenity, and rearrange our priorities.

Stress Management with Mindfulness Meditation

One of the main areas where the research on mindfulness meditation is being applied is in the treatment of psychological disorders—stress related disorders in particular. Research has consistently shown that mindfulness meditation reduces stress and negative mood states, and improves mental and emotional well-being. It does this by reducing the levels of cortisol, the main stress hormone. They found that patients who meditate are more serene, so they don’t experience stress-related disorders.

Psychologists are now recommending mindfulness meditation to their patients for stress management. In addition, many business organizations have incorporated the practice into their health and wellness programs to curb their rising expenditures in health care.

Those of you who have some experience with meditation know how well it works in helping your mind and body settle down. The challenge for many of us is to remain consistent and committed to practicing on a regular basis. One of the things that helps me is to remember that by being relaxed and focused, I can be more effective and productive in all my activities.

My meditation practice has also helped me change my views about what truly brings me happiness. I am fully aware that material wealth does not lead to inner peace. Only my spiritual development brings me long-term serenity. This realization has enabled me to redefine my priorities, and put my meditation practice near the top.

Now that the health benefits of mindfulness meditation have been confirmed, more people are using the practice for stress management and to avoid the negative health consequences associated with stress.

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How to Deal with Difficult People Mindfully, Part 2

  • Posted on May 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm

By Charles Francis

Most of us find it challenging dealing with difficult people in a healthy manner. Our most common reactions are to either become defensive, or go on the offensive. However, these reactions seldom make the situations any better. In fact, the usually make things worse.

In last week’s post, we learned that we have some valuable tools that can diffuse many of these volatile interactions and help cultivate some understanding and healing. We talked about how deep listening can send the clear message to another person that we have no intentions of harming them. In this post, I’ll share with you how I learned to practice mindful speech, and how we can use it to promote peace and harmony with everyone we engage.

For most of my life, I never paid much attention to the effect my words had on other people in my interactions with them. I usually spoke as a reaction to someone addressing me. I never thought about how my words would be received. Very often, what I said and what the other person heard were two entirely different things. Part of it was because of their preconceived ideas about me and the situation. But the difference was also due to my choice of words. They didn’t always communicate the meaning I intended.

My first big lesson in mindful speech came at a retreat. At the orientation, we were told that we would be practicing noble silence for the next 4 days. My immediate reaction was one of panic. I was surprised at this, because my intellect told me that it wouldn’t harm me to go a few days without speaking, but emotionally I felt very vulnerable.

During those 4 days, I could communicate by writing on a notepad. Since it wasn’t feasible to write out a long conversation, I had to choose my words carefully. This is when I began to think about how best to communicate my message. In other words, I wanted to make sure the other person understood exactly what I meant.

It soon became clear that I used my speech for things other than communication. I used it to get what I wanted, and all the superfluous conversation was intended to manipulate people to that end. And since I was primarily interested in satisfying my own needs, I was not so concerned about the other person’s well-being. I may have told myself that I was, but the truth of the matter was that my own wants and desires always came first. I viewed situations in terms of what I was going to get out of them.

What I learned about myself was that my intentions were not as noble as I thought. If I truly wanted to be the enlightened person I thought I was, then I needed to be more mindful of my speech. That is, I needed to choose words that nurtured healing and understanding.

From that point, I began to think before I spoke. I paid particular attention to how my words might be interpreted. One thing I noticed that I did in the past was poke fun at other people. It may have seemed like harmless fun, but it kept people on the defensive when they were around me. That is, they were always on guard and never at ease.

Now, when I’m around other people I try to use words of encouragement to help uplift their spirits. I try to show sincere interest in the things going on in their lives. Not only does it help the other person, but it also helps me because they become more open and provide me with the spiritual nourishment that helps me grow.

Tips for Practicing Mindful Speech

Mindful speech is a tool that takes some effort to develop. However, the rewards to everyone involved are immeasurable. Here are some tips I recommend for practicing mindful speech:

  • Think before you speak. Try to avoid reacting to someone else’s words. Think about how your words will be received.
  • Resist the temptation to engage in a power struggle. It’s not necessary to always be right. If their words are abrasive, then we can easily be drawn into a power struggle.
  • Try to be forgiving, understanding, and compassionate. If we continue to see the wounded person, then it’s easier to be compassionate and understanding of their shortcomings.
  • Choose words that promote trust. These can convey concern for the other person’s well-being.
  • Use words of encouragement. These can promote sincerity, harmony, and healing. Express some enthusiasm for others’ accomplishments, no matter how small they may be.

Though I still consider myself to be learning how to practice mindful speech, my interactions with people are much more enjoyable—whether they are with loved ones or with strangers. You too can enjoy these rewards if you stay committed to your meditation practice, and learn to observe you actions with a mindful eye.

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