Vajra Blue

Mindfulness and Compassion. Understanding trauma in young people.


Mindfulness, moment by moment.

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Mindfulness is the practice of having greater awareness and of being more present in our lives.

The ability to be mindful requires that we place and hold our attention where we want it.

It is the ability to switch off the running commentary of our minds and to return to the present moment.

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Mindfulness: Using beginner’s mind to stay open to new ideas.

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There are known knowns. These are things that we know we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things that we don’t know we don’t know. Donald Rumsfeld.

This quote is a wonderful example of using words to hide meaning. At the height of the first Gulf War it was made as part of an explanation for some error on behalf of the coalition forces.

On the surface it sounds like so much spin-doctor nonsense, however, it is in fact a very profound remark and goes beyond the usual level of awareness that many of us have about the workings of our own minds.

Donald Rumsfeld should perhaps have also gone on to mention unknown knowns. This may sound daft, but there are many things that we know at a non-conscious level, and of which we are not consciously aware, that have a significant influence on both our behaviour and well being.

These are the things we have programmed our brains to do without always allowing them into awareness. They are the subroutines that help us to react rapidly, but not always wisely, to events that occur in both in our internal and external worlds.

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Mindfulness: Three steps to better communication.

Wise men speak because they have something to say;

Fools because they have to say something.

Plato.

As humans we use speech to communicate with each other on a daily basis. While these situations usually lead to a harmonious outcome, many end confusion and ill will. This is down to misunderstanding and a breakdown in communication.  This is usually accidental, although there are times when obfuscation through language seems to be the main aim of any communication. Donald Rumsfeld seemed to be an expert at this.

This breakdown in two-way communication is much more common when the conversation is negative, or when it involves real or perceived criticism. Under these circumstances, excessive emotional responses to neutral information are quite common. We find it hard to tell other people that we are not happy with some aspect of their behaviour, or to hear them say the same kind of thing to us. This uncomfortable experience makes it all too easy to lose sight of our good intentions, and to fall back on what might be our  habitual, unhelpful, and inappropriate ways of behaving, with the inevitable poor outcome.

When we feel attacked and make an emotional response the main drawback is that we stop listening to the conversation and instead we become reactive. This means that we either do not hear, or find ourselves ignoring any other information that might be available. Real communication is no longer possible in this situation and all ends in acrimony and recrimination.

For accurate communication we need to be able to develop a mutual understanding of the issues at hand. We need to understand what we each mean by our words, what the other person understands us to mean, what we feel about the conversation, and what we need to get out of it. Without this we are unable to accurately communicate. As Wittgenstein put it, we need to be playing the same language game as the other person with whom we are talking.

Fortunately it is possible to handle our interactions with others sensitively and confidently on a much more regular basis. Continue reading


Research Finds Meditation More Useful Than Sleep Education in Fighting Insomnia

In our sleep deprived times another good argument to teach mindfulness as widely as possible.
Start them young.

http://www.zmescience.com/medicine/alternative-medicine-medicine/meditation-insomnia-sleep-17022015/?utm_content=bufferb62d2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Sandy


Mindfulness and the future

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Many of us live by other peoples’ rules. We are afraid to act in our own interests.  There is always someone else whose opinion carries more weight than our own. Someone to whom we have given the power to veto the decisions that we make about how we live our lives. These are often internalised figures from our past.

We wait for the right moment to act; when we have the right job, when we have enough money, when we meet Mr or Ms Right.  If we retrain for a different job it might be years before we are ready, so we choose not to. We decide to stay with the status quo and miss out on opportunities to have a richer life.

Where our future is are concerned we have to act, otherwise we will be at the mercy of everything else that is happening. As the Nike advertisement said “Just do it.”

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Mindful living for young people

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Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different, enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t) James Baraz

The benefits of mindfulness in adults are being well researched, and the available evidence about this practice shows many positive benefits across several domains of human functioning.  Research into the benefits for young people has lagged behind the work in adults but is starting to demonstrate very similar effects.

Several studies which have used brain scans and other neuroscientific assessments, have demonstrated both structural and functional changes in the brain following mindfulness practice. These changes are directly related to improvements in both the clarity of our thinking as well as our awareness and control over our feelings.

This means that we can act out of what is happening in the present moment rather than allowing past events and scripts to dictate our current choices and behaviours.

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