Wednesday Wisdom

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Yoga, Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Seminar

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I just got back from my 2nd day of Mary NurrieStearn’s seminar for Mental Health professionals, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I read her book, Yoga for Emotional Trauma, over my winter break and loved it, so I was very excited to learn from her directly. I will absolutely be applying techniques that I learned there to my own sessions with clients, just as soon as I get some! Mary was such a delightful speaker and managed to get a room full of adults to not only do some light yoga and mindfulness exercises, but also sing, dance and confess our inner demons/greatest gratitude. We spent about 16 hours over the course of 2 days in the same room, but Mary kept us alive and stimulated the entire time. This seminar reinforced my immense love for the field of Psychology and the beauty that mindfulness and yoga can bring to it. I simply cannot satiate my hunger for more knowledge in this area! I am so very thankful to have found my passion ❤

On Not Identifying With Emotions

Beautiful DisasterPlease forgive my previous post, which was packed with the hopelessness of my depressive state. Some days are particularly hard and it becomes difficult to remember that the emotions arising within me don’t define me. In fact, most of the time they aren’t even true. Yes, I have been feeling down more than usual lately, but it’s only partially due to my depressive tendencies and mostly due to outright laziness. I stopped doing the things that I know keep me mentally healthy. In turn, that opened the gates for negativity to come flooding into my body/mind and gave the depressive tendencies room to flourish. My husband helped me realize that I was clinging to these negative emotions and not doing anything to remedy the issue. The mind can be a tricky SOB, fabricating stories that we have a habit of believing if they remain unexamined. A few days of meditation to strengthen mindfulness of thought and recommitting to the gym have done me well! I feel refreshed and ready to tackle my issues. They haven’t disappeared completely, but I’m now in a position to analyze them with a clear head and disentangle myself from them. I am not depressed, I have a tendency to slip into habits of depression. The variation between the two makes all the difference. Here’s to not identifying with your emotions! Each of us has the power to determine what states deserve our attention and will have power over us.

Time Well Spent

When practicing meditation, you are training to be complete; to get the full benefit of what the Buddha had to teach. It’s not just a matter of sitting with your eyes closed – you are striving to do everything skillfully & maintain that level of skillfulness. As you practice, look at everything as an opportunity for training the mind. The chores that you have to complete on a regular basis should boost good qualities such as determination, endurance, etc. Set goals & ensure that you honor them. Likewise, your speech should promote awareness. Practice eliminating anything that isn’t necessary from your speech. If you can’t control your mouth, how are you going to control your mind? When training the mind, direct your thoughts to worthwhile things & evaluate them in order to abandon unskillful qualities. All good things that the mind can accomplish rely on your ability to keep the mind coming back to what you want to focus on, despite the distractions that will arise. Strive for continuous attention; keep the breath and skillful qualities in mind. Time well spent is accomplished by spending each individual moment wisely & skillfully.

A Heart Bigger Than the World

I love to start my mornings with a dhamma talk. Particularly, with a dhamma talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. He’s incredibly inspirational & has helped me tremendously in finding my own middle ground. He has hundreds of short (5min) or semi-long (10-20min) talks, as well as tons of other useful sources for Buddhism and meditation. Every now and then I’ll post notes on his talks that touched me, such as this one:

To develop a heart bigger than the world, start with thoughts of good will. You can’t force anyone to act happy, but you can wish it upon them. When you go into the world with that frame of mind, you will never have the scars of bad intention. Look at your thoughts, your words and your deeds; make sure that they’re in good example. The Buddha saw that there is a good and a bad side to everything, but he also saw that the mind can be trained to be unaffected by that. Focus on the good side & model yourself after it. Know that the bad side is there, but choose not to turn to it for nourishment.