Vajra Blue

Mindfulness and Compassion. Understanding trauma in young people.


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Mindfulness: karma in action.

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Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Sir Isaac Newton.

My son recently introduced me to a YouTube channel which featured episodes labelled “Instant Karma”. There are a series of video clips showing people who are behaving badly getting their come uppence from the environment around them.

This “payback” element seems to fit with the common conception of karma. However this is not the whole story. On a simple level Karma can be seen as “If you behave badly/well then bad/good things will happen to you.” Such a world view would make a reasonable philosophy for living our lives.

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Mindfulness: living in the moment

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When you correct your mind everything else will fall into place.
Lao Tzu.

A few years ago I went through a difficult period with stress and depression.  At this time my partner commissioned this brush painting for me. It shows a bamboo leaf falling, twisting in the air, full of life, while at the same time it is suspended in a single moment. A moment in which anything is possible, a moment that is full of possibility and in which nothing can be taken for granted.

It serves as a reminder that nothing lasts, that everything is transient, and that I need to do my best to stay in the present moment, open to new experiences and doing whatever I can to remain open to whatever opportunities and options come my way. It also reminds me that making predictions can be fraught with danger, after all a dragon might just fly down and eat the leaf.

This is also one of the reasons why I like rainbows, those fleeting, numinous phenomena that only exist in the eye of the beholder. A momentary experience of physics in action, something that is best when it is just experienced and enjoyed, not analysed.

This is what mindfulness is all about. Continue reading


Mindfulness: Minding the Gap.

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The guy in the bright blue ute who cut me up on my way to work this morning, did not act to make me angry and reality would say that absolutely nothing happened.

I had to brake a bit harder than I wanted and the action disturbed my reverie and highlighted my being absent from what I was supposed to be doing at the time – driving. My mind flashed onto this event bringing to bear all the other times when I have felt discounted, unvalued, taken for granted, ignored or other similar experience. This results in a flash of rage bursting out “How dare he treat me so!” “How dare he put my life in danger.” And I am even further detached from the present moment, in my car, driving, right here right now.

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Buddhism and washing up

To celebrate a year of posting here is my first post again.

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Like many people I live far too much inside my head, and have tried to balance this tendency through the practice of mindfulness meditation.

One problem is that I value my ability to think quite highly. After all I am a westerner and a scientist and am given over to rational pursuits.

This has meant that I meet a lot of resistance to just sitting with the breath in meditation. As a result I spend far too much time on my cushions in idle reverie, putting the world to rights, rehashing ancient wrongs or designing the perfect gizmo for something.

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Compassion: a brief introduction.

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Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.

The fourteenth Dalai Lama.

In the media we seem to hear almost as much about compassion as we do about mindfulness.

Every time there is a natural disaster the newspapers express concern about compassion fatigue.

The Dalai Lama is held up as a great example of what it is to be truly compassionate.

So what exactly is compassion?

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Mindfulness: why living ain’t easy!

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What prevents us from doing things?

Especially the things that we would like to do, and know are in our best interests?

What causes us to fall short?

In traditional Buddhist writings the causes are called Hindrances.

Unlike the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, they are five in number, and we all have our favourites.

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FAMOUS for fifteen minutes: a mindful way to a happier life.

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When I grow up
I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star
I wanna be in movies

When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have groupies

PUSSYCAT DOLLS

Humankind is a very successful animal. Some two hundred thousand years ago, the entire human race consisted of a few thousand people living in Southern Africa.  In the ensuing years, we have made full use of our adaptability and survival skills, and have spread to every corner of the globe on the way becoming the world’s dominant species. Our current population is heading for eight billion. Much of this success is due to our ability to survive against the odds.

The systems developed by the process of evolution to detect, and then react to danger, have stood us in good stead. However, these systems, designed to pick up the early signs of danger, can be very unhelpful in the digital age.

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