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Showing posts from March, 2015

Blockages to pure relaxation

Relaxation is the key to feeling good but learning how to relax is a tricky business. You could try to relax right now but it's not so easy - things get in the way. These things are generally intractable thoughts (anger, wanting, aversion, etc) or the idea that you should be doing something else. (Buddhism wraps these blockages up as the five hindrances). However, they are thoughts that lead us down a garden path that never ends.

These thoughts block relaxation and we feel impossible to stop them but this is just an illusion and a cognitive distortion. In fact, they end very quickly if we gain the right perspective and turn our minds towards something more wholesome. The general sequence goes something like this:

- we are stressed, we realise we are stressed and we cannot relax
- we take some deep breaths
- we consciously turn our mind to focus on breathing
- we breathe in, we breathe out, we rest in between
- we feel the mind pulling us away, we feel tension in the body supportin…

Different thoughts have different consequences

We are all probably familiar with the technique of distracting ourselves with some activity to avoid something painful in our lives - perhaps we are facing social misery of some sort. We give the brain a less stressful thought process to keep it occupied and it feels nice not to think about the other crap in our life. So, if we take a little step back and see what's going on, we find that emotionally charged thoughts about things we cannot solve place our bodies and minds into a stressful place. The unfixable nature of the situation churns us up - not nice. On the flip side, thoughts about activities where we do reach closure - perhaps we plan an activity, or we review something we have done successfully - these thoughts bring a sense of openness to our whole being.

The next step is realising that all thoughts are transient things and there is no imperative to think a particular thought. We can choose which way we direct our mind. Perhaps this seems like an impossible task, but al…

Between the body and the thinking mind

There is the body. There are the thoughts. Then there is the space between them where there are no discursive thoughts but we are fully alive in our bodies. This space is HUGE. If we spend enough time here we start to become indifferent to the thoughts and compulsions we previously had. We become calm, we become contented, we feel good.

Now, we wonder why. Why did no-one explain this? Then we start looking and it seems that there is a huge amount of stuff out there that explains exactly this, and then we realise that wisdom is just not getting through. It's there but only if we want it ...

The multi-modal brain personality

I didn't quite know what to call this post, but I was in the library the other day reading a medical neuroscience tome and it was saying that different parts of the brain did different things - nothing new there ... Then it explained some cases where the left and right hemispheres had had their connections severed so that the left side of the brain could not talk to the right side of the brain (and vice versa). It then said that these people had two separate self identities. So left brain would decide to put some gloves but the right brain decided to take them off again. Left brain was enjoying reading a book (because that's what it's for) but right brain was bored (because it did not participate in reading).

Clearly, the idea that we are one person is more complicated than we might think. We are many different people competing for the right to be in charge. We are a fragmented whole.

Anyway, I thought that was quite interesting. What's even more interesting is that yo…