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


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Trauma Informed Care: Dissociation for beginners.

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We use the terms trauma, crisis, major stressor and related terms as essentially synonymous expressions to describe circumstances that significantly challenge or invalidate important components of the individual’s assumptive world.

Calhoun and Tedeschi: The Foundations of Post Traumatic Growth

 

Dissociation is a symptom this commonly seen when a complex trauma pattern of brain functioning is present. It indicates an altered state of awareness.  The narrowed field of consciousness that is present is often accompanied by amnesia.

Repression, on the other hand, occurs in a normal state of consciousness.  This involves an active process of pushing memories, thoughts and emotions out of conscious awareness.

When our social environment is good enough during the period when we are developing, and growing up, then we are able to rapidly, and fluidly, change between the various emotional states that are needed if we are to respond appropriately to ever-changing environmental triggers.

When this developmental environment has not been good enough, we can become overwhelmed by the constant change in our emotional state and a protective state of dissociation can become a part of our emotional repertoire.  Continue reading


Mindfulness and therapy: making space for thinking.

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Sometimes a cigar, is just a cigar. Attributed to Sigmund Freud

Psychotherapy is a conversation. Albeit a highly specialised one that does not solely rely on words for meaning to be understood. The idea behind this exchange is to help the client, or patient, achieve a greater awareness of their inner life, and the impact that this has on their interaction with the world. When we understand the connections between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviour, we are in a better position to be able to change. Once we start to develop this kind of awareness, we can alter the way we live, and change our perceptions about our place in the world. 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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Mental health: taking a BET on treatment.

Mental health has become a major concern of the modern world.

There are rising levels of depression.

Ever increasing numbers of work hours are lost to stress and related disorders.

There seems to be an epidemic of suicide and self harm among the young.

Current treatment regimens seem to rely too much on medication, often as the only intervention, and fail to address the holistic picture.

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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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