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Showing posts from March, 2011

What thought am I believing right now?

This is an interesting exercise to try, especially when you're getting a bit frazzled. Simply ask yourself:

What thought am I believing right now?

You might struggle to see the point of this (as I once did) because it seems irrelevant - stuff is going on and that's that. However, you might modify it a bit and ask:

What thought am I believing right now that makes me feel uncomfortable?

Assuming you once knew what being comfortable was, you might realise that something in your mind is drawing you away from feeling at ease. Have a look and see. Is there some level of thought belief driving your inner world? Are you driving yourself crazy?

Chronic fatigue - good days and bad days

I guess everyone in life has good days and bad days, but when you have a chronic illness there's an extra bit of sauce to the experience. Bad days are very frequent and there's a whole plethora of mental struggle when they happen - how bad will it get? Good days are surprising and the mind gets carried away - I'm cured!

In reality, we are not entirely in control of what is happening. Our body is on a mysterious, undulating journey filled with ups and downs, and our 'self' is a helpless passenger on that journey. Things go well and we think our journey is pleasant (and coming to an end), then things go badly and our journey is a nightmare. Perhaps, instead of being a victim of circumstance, we should learn to observe the reality of what is going on and our reactions to it. To a certain extent, we can control our reactivity and see the bigger picture - just a bad day, just a good day, just a normal day, no reaction, no reaction, no reaction. Then, if we are lucky, we…

We are not responsible for the happiness of another

This is an interesting realisation if you like to please people or keep life on a happy course. You'll know you're this way inclined if you find unpleasant situations difficult, e.g. you are in a room full of arguing people and you take on the role of peacemaker to try and cheer people up. Perhaps we think that we are in some way responsible for keeping things nice for everyone. Eventually, after years of effort and discomfort for ourselves, we realise that something is amiss

Ultimately, we are not responsible for the happiness of another. We can be there for them, we can care about them, but we cannot prevent people from experiencing difficult situtations. When we experience difficult situations for ourselves we realise that the only transformative way to face up to the difficulty is to find some strength from within. And so it is with other people. We should respect them, be there for them and give them room to find their own inner resources.

There is a complicated balance to…

Enjoy a beautiful breath

This is quite a simple experience and can be had any time of the day. Take a moment to compose yourself and then set the intention to be present for your breathing. Now, allow everything to stop for a moment - all your breathing, thinking and general gnarled up go-getting. Just stop. Rest in a perfectly still moment. Now, allow your in breath to start all on its own. Notice the mild feeling of relief to be breathing again, notice the sweet flood of pleasure as the breath rushes into your body - expand this pleasure by pushing this pleasantness into your feet and right up to your head.

Now, hold the in breath for a moment and take a moment to notice your discomfort. Then let the breath come out of your body. Notice the mild feeling of relief to be letting the breath out again. If you can, allow your whole body to deflate with the breath and notice how pleasant that feels. Allow yourself to sink into the moment and feel the pleasantness of relaxation.

And that's it! One breath.

Vipassana (insight) meditation explained

Vipassana (or insight) meditation is another form of meditation that you might come across - it's a kind of "what next" after you've been meditating for a while. Initially I was confused by vipassana because people seem to interchange between using the term "mindfulness" and "vipassana", and there seemed to be no specific intructions on what it was. I'm going to attempt to explain it here so I can get it straight in my own head.

In general, we start meditating by using tranquility or mindfulness to bring some steadiness to our minds - a form of samadhi/concentration. In this state, the mind is settled and we no longer get drawn away from our calm abiding by compulsive thinking - our mind isn't racing about here, there and everywhere. This in itself is a pleasant place to hang out in, but we might notice that although we are calm in meditation, we are not so brilliant when we resume our everyday lives.

So, there must be something more to ex…

Chronic fatigue - damned if you do, damned if you don't

Bad days are going to happen whatever we try to do - even if we try to pace ourselves into a 100% scheduled robotic existence. Here's one thing that I've noticed:

- I wake up and I can't seem to get going.
- I feel rubbish. I can either a) rest it out, or b) do some things I had planned (in a careful kind of way).

Now, I've had plenty of practice at feeling quite unwell so I've tried both (a) and (b), and I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter which one you pick. If I try to rest it out, I lie there in a contracted state feeling awful and it's an unpleasant time. If I do (b) then I walk round in a stupor doing what I can until I can rest again - still an unpleasant time.

Conclusion: when I feel rubbish I naturally restrict my engagement with the world, whether I'm lying down or pottering around. It's this that helps my cognitive difficulties, not what I'm doing (as long as I'm not doing anything major). Indeed, if I can p…

My top 5 ways to feel good

Obviously any list like this is going to be entirely subjective, but I've spent a while trying to cultivate a sense of pleasantness in my life and these are the things that have helped. I've avoided putting any sensual pleasures in there, such as sex or eating chocolate or drinking beer, as sensual pleasures are fleeting and suffer from a lack of longevity. It should also be noted that my top 5 changes quite a lot - this is not an all time list.

Here they are in no particular order.

1.Hang out with friendly people.

Nothing influences us more than the people we are with. If we associate with vagabonds and judgemental people, we naturally feel threatened and slightly ill at ease. If, on the other hand, we spend time with open friendly people who are supportive and smile a lot then we immediately fall into that groove. So, find some warm, friendly beings and let it all soak in.

2. Deep breathing.

Breathing is the gateway to relaxation and a sense of calm. This is because deep breath…

Chronic fatigue - mindfulness of energy

This is something I do a lot, especially when I know I have something to do near the end of the day or if I have a major day planned. Basically, when you have limited energy resources it's good to keep an eye on where your energy is going. Are you using it going up and down stairs, walking into the wind, worrying too much, chatting to people, having the television on, browsing the Internet, cooking, getting up from a chair and sitting down again, listening to people talking too much, being round children, shopping, walking round a shopping mall (a lot of sensory overload in these places without me even knowing it), and so on. The good news is that if you pay attention (mindfulness) to what you are doing when you are doing it then you tend to use less energy and, curiously, if you get it right you might even feel energised afterwards.

How does this work? When we pay attention to things as we do them, we stop the mental straining that accompanies the sense of 'getting things don…

Feel good breath refreshment

Feel good breathing is a quick way to tune into the heart of pleasantness any time of the day.

Sit purposefully, and set the intention to have three deep, full breaths. Breathe in deep to the belly so that you feel the pressure in your tummy and then allow the breath to fill up your lungs so that the chest expands. Hold the full breath, and let it out slowly. If you like, you can visualise the out breath going through the whole body and out of the feet. Relax. On the next in-breath, imagine the whole breath coming into your lungs and permeating all the muscles in your body - you might notice how pleasant this feels. As you breathe out this time imagine the breath coming out from your head in all directions. Relax. For the final in-breath, take a more gentle breath and notice how nice it feels. Release this breath gently. Take a moment before resuming your day.