Vajra Blue

Mindfulness and Compassion. Understanding trauma in young people.


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Trauma Informed Care: Trauma and the Brain.

 

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“The traumatic stress field has adopted the term “Complex Trauma” to describe the experience of multiple and/or chronic and prolonged, developmentally adverse traumatic events, most often of an interpersonal nature (e.g., sexual or physical abuse, war, community violence) and early-life onset. These exposures often occur within the child’s caregiving system and include physical, emotional, and educational neglect and child maltreatment beginning in early childhood.”

– Developmental Trauma Disorder”
― Bessel A. van der Kolk

People who have survived significant developmental trauma often show behaviours that seem to be counterproductive.  They act in ways that can make their situation worse, and the degree of behavioural response seems, at times, to be unrelated to the the size of any triggering stimulus.

This is a direct result of the impact that developmental trauma can have on the developing brain, people who have such Trauma Organised Brains, may behave in ways that appear to make little sense to a rational observer.  However, with the greater understanding that modern neuroscience is providing about brain functioning, such apparently irrational actions and damaging responses can be more clearly understood. Continue reading


Mindfulness: a safety catch when dealing with difficult emotions.

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Light the blue touch paper and retire.
Instruction on a firework box.

The human mind has only a very limited bandwidth available for the conscious processing of incoming information.

This means that much of our response to events is unconscious.

Because of this, we have developed highly effective systems for processing most of the data that reaches our brain without bringing it to full awareness.

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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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Mindfulness: where does the research stand?

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aglet, aiglet
ag·let  (ăg′lĭt)
n.

1. A tag or sheath, as of plastic, on the end of a lace, cord, or ribbon to facilitate its passing through eyelet holes.
2. A similar device used for an ornament.
[Middle English, from Old French aguillette, diminutive of aguille,needle, from Vulgar Latin *acūcula, from Late Latin acucula, diminutive of Latin acus, needle; see ak- in Indo-European roots.]

Mindfulness and meditation have been around for thousands of years.  It is only relatively recently that they have started to appear on the radar as potential treatments for physical and mental health difficulties.

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Do penguins have knees? Three ways to grow an irritable mind.

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Thinking is what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

William James

Over the last twenty years, I have been forced to recognise that I spend far too much of the time when I attempt to meditate, sitting on my cushions lost in thought. This thinking is rarely helpful.

These thoughts, that insistently intrude upon my practice, and which come so regularly and without any formal invitation, fall into three main groups. There are variations on the themes that are involved, and in the content that they cover. The one thing that they have in common is to increase the irritability and reactivity of the mind.

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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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