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Mindfulness Based Harm Reduction Resources

Jabberwocky

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Mindfulness Based Harm Reduction Resources
for Anyone who has Ever Loved Drugs, Used to Stay Sane or Been Harmed by Substance Use


Welcome to the MBHR Resource Thread!
WTF is MBHR?!
WTF is Mindful Awareness?!
Dignified Substance Users; Human Addicts




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Throughout the night, Siddhartha was assaulted by the armies of Mara, and showered with arrows of greed and hatred. As he met each with an open and tender heart, it was transformed into a flower blossom that drifted gently to his feet. With the passing hours, the mound of fragrant petals grew, and Siddhartha became increasingly peaceful and clear.​
As dawn approached Mara issued his greatest challenge, demanding Siddhartha defend his right to occupy the seat of freedom. In response, the Buddha-to-be touched the ground, calling on the earth to bear witness to his thousands of lifetimes of compassion. The earth shoot in violent affirmation, and darkness and thunder filled the skies. Terrified, Mara fled and along with him the final traces of delusion vanished. In this way, as the morning star appeared like a sparkling diamond on the horizon, Siddhartha won his freedom. He realized his pure nature – loving, radiant, awareness – and became the Buddha, the Awakened One.​
The practice of Radical Acceptance begins with our own pause under the bodhi tree. Just as the Buddha willingly opened himself to an encounter with Mara, we too can pause and make ourselves available to whatever life is offering us in each moment. In this way, as the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh put it, we “keep our appointment with life.”​
…​
One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. While Mara fled in disarray on the morning of Buddha’s enlightenment, it seems that he was only temporarily discouraged. Even after the Buddha had become deeply revered throughout India, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances. The Buddha’s loyal attendant, Ananda, always on the lookout for any harm that might come to his teacher, would report with dismay that the “Evil One” had again returned. Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge his presence, saying, “I see you Mara.” He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest. Offering Mara a cushion so that he could sit comfortably, the Buddha would fill two earthen cups with tea, place them on the low table between them, and only then take his own seat. Mara would stay for a while and then go, but throughout the Buddha remained free and undisturbed.​
When Mara visits us, in the form of troubling emotions or fearsome stories, we can say, “I see you, Mara,” and clearly recognize the reality of craving and fear that lives in each human heart. By accepting these experiences with the warmth of compassion, we offer Mara tea rather than fearfully driving him away. Seeing what is true, we hold what is seen with kindness. … We befriend ourselves when, rather than resisting our experience, we open our hearts and willingly invite Mara to tea.​
~Tara Broch​




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What is Mindfulness Based Harm Reduction?


What is Mindfulness?


General Mindfulness Resources
On these pages you will find classes, guided mindfulness meditations, training programs, certification programs, dharma talks and various other sundries of the dharma and my sanghas.


The Velveteen Rabbit
Margery Williams

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"​
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."​
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.​
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."​
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"​
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."​
"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.​
"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."​

People
These folks know what they're talking about.


Who We Are
MARC

Our true nature is not depression, anger, or fear. It never has been and never will be. But what is out true nature? I (and various spiritual, poetical, perennial wisdom) believe that in each of us is an “inner goodness,” which is our true nature. Living within you is a pure, radiant nature that is compassionate, humorours, authentic, loving, connected, and wakeful. Is this scientifically proven? No, but it’s not proven the other way either. Ultimately it comes down to belief, what do you want to believe in? When we tap into it, we have deep subjective experience of wholeness. Usually we buy into the belief that we are fundamentally flawed. Most of us can’t imagine something other than the appearance of what is happening in our minds – grief, fear, anger, etc. Our inner goodness is covered over, but it is there underneath, like clouds covering the sun.​

The Tale of Two Wolves

One evening, an elderly Cherokee Brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.​
He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.​
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."​
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"​
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one that you feed."​

Books
*These are ideal books both for those just getting into mindfulness and meditation as well as the experienced practitioner. The simplest concepts often have the most depth when it comes to mindfulness. Like pealing back layers of an onion, there always another deeper level of understanding and wisdom.


Bathing a New Born Buddha
Thich Nhat Hanh

To my mind, the idea that doing the dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you are not doing them. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in warm water, it really is not so bad. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to go and have a cup of tea, the time will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles! Each bowl I wash, each poem I compose, each time I invite a bell to sound is a miracle, each has exactly the same value. One day, while washing a bowl, I felt that my movements were as sacred and respectful as bathing a newborn Buddha. If he were to read this, that newborn Buddha would certainly be happy for me, and not at all insulted at being compared with a bowl.​
Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane. I must confess it takes me a bit longer to do the dishes, but I live fully in every moment, and I am happy. Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes, to live fully in each moment while washing them.​
If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of drinking the tea joyfully. With the cup in my hands I will be thinking about what to do next, and the fragrance and the flavor of the tea, together with the pleasure of drinking it, will be lost. I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment.​

Retreat Centers


The Guest House
Rumi

This being human is a guest-house​
Every morning a new arrival.​
A joy, a depression, a meanness,​
some momentary awareness comes​
as an unexpected visitor.​
Welcome and entertain them all!​
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,​
who violently sweep your house​
empty of its furniture.​
Still, treat each guest honorably.​
He may be clearing you​
out for some new delight.​
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,​
meet them at the door laughing,​
and invite them in.​
Be grateful forever comes,​
because each has been sent​
as a guide from beyond.​

Mindfulness Meetings and Sangha
Sangha translates to "spiritual community" in Pali, an ancient Indian language. Basically these are communities of like minded people focused on mindfulness practices. Some are more Buddhist (such as Against the Stream) whereas others are secular (such as Mindful Awareness Research Center). Some represent more formal, particular schools (such as Zen Center of Los Angeles) whereas others are more interdisciplinary or foundation (such as Mindful Awareness Research Center and Against the Stream).


Autobiography in Five Chapters
Portia Nelson

I
I walk down the street.​
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk​
I fall in.​
I am lost...​
I am hopeless.​
It isn't my fault.​
It takes forever to find a way out.​

II
I walk down the same street.​
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.​
I pretend I don't see it.​
I fall in again.​
I can't believe I'm in the same place.​
But it isn't my fault.​
It still takes a long time to get out.​

III
I walk down the same street.​
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.​
I see it is there.​
I still fall in...it's a habit​
My eyes are open; I know where I am;​
It is my fault.​
I get out immediately.​

IV
I walk down the same street.​
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.​
I walk around it.​

V
I walk down another street.​



Insight Meditation and Lovingkindness
Introduction to Concentration and Cultivation Exercises​


Exercises, Workshops and Discussions


A story is told of the Buddha when he was wandering in India shortly after his enlightenment. He was encountered by several men who recognized something quite extraordinary about this handsome prince now robed as a monk. Stopping to inquire, they asked, "Are you a god?" "No," he answered. "Well, are you a deva or an angel?" "No," he replied. "Well, are you some kind of wizard or magician?" "No." "Are you a man?" "No." They were perplexed. Finally, they asked, "Then what are you?" He replied simply, "I am awake." The word Buddha means to awaken. How to awaken is all he taught.

~Jack Cornfield​



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This is what should be done​
By those who are skilled in goodness,​
And who know the path of peace:​
Let them be able and upright,​
straightforward and gentle in speech.​
Humble and not conceited,​
Contented and easily satisfied.​
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.​
Peaceful and calm, and wise, and skillful,​
Not proud and demanding in nature.​
Let them not do the slightest thing​
That the wise would later reprove.​
Wishing: in gladness and in safety,​
May all beings be at ease.​
Whatever living beings there may be;​
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,​
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,​
The seen and the unseen,​
Those living near and far away,​
Those born and to-be-born-​
May all beings be at ease!​
Let none deceive another,​
Or despise any being in any state.​
Let none through anger or ill-will​
Wish harm upon another.​
Even as a mother protects with her life​
Her child, her only child,​
So with a boundless heart​
Should one cherish all living beings;​
Radiating kindness over the entire world:​
Spreading upward to the skies,​
And downward to the depths;​
Outward and unbounded,​
Freed from hatred and ill-will.​
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down,​
Free from drowsiness,​
One should sustain this recollection.​
This is said to be the sublime abiding.​
By not holding to fixed views,​
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,​
Being freed from all sense desires,​
Is not born again into this world.​
~Buddha​


 
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Captain.Heroin

Sr. Moderator: H&R, Words
Staff member
Joined
Nov 3, 2008
Messages
76,442
Location
Life has no meaning, yet I keep searching...
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Resources Quotes:

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Jack Kornfield said:
Concentration is never a matter of force or coercion. You simply pick up the puppy again and return to reconnect with the here and now.
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Welcoming Our Feelings With Mindfulness
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
Mindfulness is not there to suppress. Mindfulness is there to welcome, to recognize: “Hello, my little anger, I know you are there. My old friend.” Mindfulness is the energy that helps us to be aware of what is there. To be mindful is always to be mindful of something. You may be mindful of your in-breath, or out-breath, and that is mindfulness of breathing. You may be mindful of the tea you are drinking, and that is mindfulness of drinking. When you eat mindfully, that is mindfulness of eating. When you walk mindfully, that is mindfulness of walking.

In this case, we practice mindfulness of anger. “I’m aware that I’m angry, and I’m aware that anger is in me.” So, mindfulness is touching, recognizing, greeting, and embracing. It does not fight or suppress. The role of mindfulness is like the role of a mother, embracing and soothing the suffering child. Anger is in you; anger is your baby, your child. You have to take very good care of it. When it recognizes anger, mindfulness says, “Hello there, my anger, I know you are there. I will take good care of you, don’t worry.” The moment mindfulness is there, you are safe, you can smile, because the energy of the Buddha is born in you.

If you don’t know how to handle your anger, it can kill you. Without mindfulness, you may become the victim of anger. It can make you vomit blood and even die. Many people die because of anger – it is a shock to your whole system, it creates tremendous pressure and pain inside you. When the Buddha is present, when the energy of mindfulness is there, you are protected. Mindfulness helps you take care of your situation. When the big brother is there, the younger brother is safe. When the mother is there, the child is safe. Through the practice, the mother or the big brother in you becomes better and better at taking care of anger.

While recognizing and embracing our anger, we must generate mindfulness continuously. We can do this by the practice of continuous mindful walking and breathing. If you don’t have mindfulness, nothing you do will bring you relief, even if you hit a pillow with all your might. Hitting a pillow doesn’t help you get in touch with your anger or discover the nature of your anger. You don’t even get in touch with the pillow. If you were in touch with the pillow, then you would know that it was only a pillow, and not your enemy. Why do you hit the pillow like that? Because you don’t know that it is just a pillow.

When you really get in touch with something, then you will know its true nature. If you get in touch with one person deeply, then you know who she or he truly is. If mindfulness is not there, getting in touch with something or someone is not possible. Without mindfulness, you become a victim because your anger pushes you to do harmful things.
The Sacred Pause and Unconditional Friendliness
Tara Brach said:
Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha-to-be, was the son of a wealthy king who ruled over a beautiful kingdom in the foothills of the Himalayas. At his birth, the king’s advisors predicted that either he would forgo the world and become a holy man or he would be a great king and ruler. Siddhartha’s father was determined to have his son follow in his own footsteps. Knowing that seeing the pain of the world would turn the prince toward spiritual pursuits, he surrounded him with physical beauty, wealth and continuous entertainment. Only kind and beautiful people were allowed to care for him.

Of course the king’s project to protect his son from the suffering of life failed. As the traditional story tells it, when Siddhartha was twenty-nine, he insisted on taking several excursions outside the palace walls with his charioteer, Channa. Realizing his son’s intent, the kind ordered his subject to prepare for the prince by cleaning and beautifying the streets, and hiding the sick and poor. But the gods, seeing this as the opportunity to awaken Siddhartha, had other plans. They appeared to him in the guise of a sick person, an old person and a corpse. When Siddhartha realized that such suffering was an intrinsic part of being alive, his comfortable view of life was shattered. Determined to discover how human being could find happiness and freedom in the face of such suffering, he left the luxurious palaces, his parents, his wife and son. Setting forth in the dark of the night, Siddhartha began his search for the truths that would liberate his heart and spirit.

Most of us spend years trying to cloister ourselves inside the palace walls. We chase after the pleasure and security we hope will give us lasting happiness. Yet no matter how happy we may be, life inevitably delivers up a crisis – divorce, death of a loved one, a critical illness. Seeking to avoid the pain and control our experience, we pull away from the intensity of our feelings, often ignoring or denying our genuine physical and emotional needs.

Because Siddhartha had been so entranced by pleasure, the path of denial at first looked like the way to freedom. He joined a group of ascetics and began practicing severe austerities, depriving himself of food and sleep, and following rigorous yogic disciplines. After several years Siddhartha found himself emaciated and sick, but no closer to the spiritual liberation he yearned for. He left the ascetics and made his way to the banks of a nearby river. Lying there nearly dead, Siddhartha cried out, “Surely there must be another way to enlightenment!” As he closed his eyes, a dreamlike memory arose.

It was the annual celebration of the spring plowing, and his nurses had left him resting under a rose apple tree at the edge of the fields. Sitting in the cool shade of the tree, the child watched the men at work, sweat pouring down their faces: he saw the oxen straining to pull the plow. In the cut grasses and the freshly overturned soil, he could see insects dying their eggs scattered. Sorrow arose in Siddhartha for the suffering that all living being experience. In the tenderness of this compassion, Siddhartha felt deeply opened. Looking up he was struck by how brilliantly blue the sky was. Birds were dipping and soaring freely and gracefully. The air was thick with the sweet fragrance of apple blossoms. In the flow and scared mystery of life, there was room for the immensity of joy and sorrow. He felt completely at peace.

Remember this experience gave Siddhartha a profoundly different understanding of the path to liberation. If a young, untrained child could taste freedom in this effortless and spontaneous way, then such a state must be a natural part of being human. Perhaps he could awaken by stopping the struggle and, as he has done as a child, meeting all of life with a tender and open presence.

What conditions had made this childhood experience of profound presence possible? If we look at our own life, we see that such moments of presence often occur in times of stillness or solitude. We have stepped outside the normal rush and into the openness and clarity of a “time out of time.” Had Siddhartha been around the distracting chatter of the nurses or playing games with the other children, he would not have been so attentive and open to his deeper experience. In the moments of pausing and resting under the rose apple tree, he was neither pursuing pleasure nor was he pushing away the suffering of the world. By pausing, he had relaxed into a natural wakefulness and inner freedom.

Inspired by his childhood experience, Siddhartha began his final search for lasting freedom. After bathing himself in the river, he accepted the sweet rice offered to him by a village maiden, and then slept a sleep with wondrous dreams. When he awoke, refreshed and strengthened, he once again sought solitude under a pipal tree – known now as the bodhi tree – and resolved to remain in stillness there until he experienced full liberation.

The image of the Buddha seated under the bodhi tree is one of the great mythic symbols depicting the power of the pause. Siddhartha was no longer clinging to pleasure or running away from any part of his experience. He was making himself absolutely available to the changing stream of life. This attitude of neither grasping nor pushing away any part of experience has come to be known as the Middle Way, and it characterized the engaged presence we awaken in pausing. In the pause, we, like Siddhartha, become available to whatever life brings us, including the unfaced, unfelt part of our psyche.

When the Buddha-to-be resolved to pause under the bodhi tree, he came fully face-to-face with the shadow-side of human nature, represented as the god Mara. In Sanskrit, mara means “delusion,” the dreamlike ignorance that entangles us in craving and fear and obscures our enlightened nature. Traditional stories speak of Mara as appearing in many forms – violent storms, temptingly beautiful women, raging demons, massive armies. When the temptress appeared, Siddhartha could most certainly recognize the enormous lure of seduction, yet he sat unmoving, neither grasping after nor pushing away the longing arising in his body and mind. When Mara transformed into a gigantic clawed and fanged demon that swooped through the air to attack him, Siddhartha bravely and mindfully opened to the fear he felt, without fleeing or trying to fight back. By paying attention instead of reacting, he say beyond the delusion of separate self that imprisons us in suffering.

Throughout the night, Siddhartha was assaulted by the armies of Mara, and showered with arrows of greed and hatred. As he met each with an open and tender heart, it was transformed into a flower blossom that drifted gently to his feet. With the passing hours, the mound of fragrant petals grew, and Siddhartha became increasingly peaceful and clear.

As dawn approached Mara issued his greatest challenge, demanding Siddhartha defend his right to occupy the seat of freedom. In response, the Buddha-to-be touched the ground, calling on the earth to bear witness to his thousands of lifetimes of compassion. The earth shoot in violent affirmation, and darkness and thunder filled the skies. Terrified, Mara fled and along with him the final traces of delusion vanished. In this way, as the morning star appeared like a sparkling diamond on the horizon, Siddhartha won his freedom. He realized his pure nature – loving, radiant, awareness – and became the Buddha, the Awakened One.

The practice of Radical Acceptance begins with our own pause under the bodhi tree. Just as the Buddha willingly opened himself to an encounter with Mara, we too can pause and make ourselves available to whatever life is offering us in each moment. In this way, as the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh put it, we “keep our appointment with life.”

One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. While Mara fled in disarray on the morning of Buddha’s enlightenment, it seems that he was only temporarily discouraged. Even after the Buddha had become deeply revered throughout India, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances. The Buddha’s loyal attendant, Ananda, always on the lookout for any harm that might come to his teacher, would report with dismay that the “Evil One” had again returned. Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge his presence, saying, “I see you Mara.” He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest. Offering Mara a cushion so that he could sit comfortably, the Buddha would fill two earthen cups with tea, place them on the low table between them, and only then take his own seat. Mara would stay for a while and then go, but throughout the Buddha remained free and undisturbed.

When Mara visits us, in the form of troubling emotions or fearsome stories, we can say, “I see you, Mara,” and clearly recognize the reality of craving and fear that lives in each human heart. By accepting these experiences with the warmth of compassion, we offer Mara tea rather than fearfully driving him away. Seeing what is true, we hold what is seen with kindness. … We befriend ourselves when, rather than resisting our experience, we open our hearts and willingly invite Mara to tea.

We Have Arrived
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
After he grew up and had been practicing meditation for a number of years, looking deeply into his body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness one day Siddhartha, the buddha-to-be, felt that he was about to have a breakthrough. Meditating under a beautiful pippalala tree, he had the sense that some time that night he would realize full enlightenment and become a buddha. Suddenly Mara appeared. Mara sometimes appears as doubt, sometimes as anger, darkness, jealousy, craving, or despair. When we feel doubtful or skeptical, he is there. When we feel angry, irritated, or lacking in self0confiendence, that is Mara. Siddhartha had been visited by Mara many times before, and he knew that the best way to treat him was to be very gentle.

That day Mara came in the form of skepticism. He said, “Who do you think you are? You think you can attain great enlightenment? Don’t you realize how much darkness, despair, and confusion there is in the world? How can you hope to dissipate all of it?”

Siddhartha smiled, expressing great confidence. Mara continued, “I know you have practiced, but have you practiced enough? Who will witness that you have practiced long and hard enough? Who will testify that you can gain enlightenment?” Mara demanded that someone confirm that Siddhartha was going to become a buddha, a fully awakened person. At that moment, Siddhartha touched the Earth with his right hand, very deeply, with all his mindfulness, and said, “The Earth will testify for me.” Suddenly, the Earth trembled and appeared as a goddess, offering him flowers, leaves, fruits, and perfumes. After that, Earth looked directly at Mara, and Mara just disappeared.

Even after the Buddha attained enlightenment, Mara continued to visit him. One time, after he had been teaching for a year and a half, he returned to his hometown, Kapilavastu, to share his insight with his own family and people. One day, siting alone, he was absorbed in the thought that there must be a nonviolent way to run a country that would avoid the kinds of suffering brought about by prisons, tortures, executions, and war, and bring real happiness to people. Suddenly Mara appeared and said, “Lord Buddha, why don’t you become a politician.” The Buddha looked directly at Mara and smiled, “Mara, my old friend, I know you well,” and Mara just disappeared. The Buddha did not want to be a politician. He only wanted to be a monk, and he knew that it was Mara who was trying to tempt him to become a politician. All he did was recognize Mara and smile at him. When we recognize Mara as Mara, everything is all right.

At times we ourselves touch the Earth, but not deeply enough. When the Buddha touched the Earth with his hand, he touched it with all his mindfulness. At Plum Village, when we are visited by Mara – when we feel irritated, lacking in self-confidence, angry, or unhappy – we practice mindful walking meditation, touching the Earth deeply with our feet. When we do it mindfully and joyfully, Mara leaves us in less than an hour. The Earth, our mother, has brought us to life many times, and each time she receives us back into her arms. She knows everything about us, and that is why the Buddha invoked her as a witness. She appeared as a goddess, offering flowers, leaves, fruits, and perfumes to the Buddha. Then she just looked at Mara and smiled, and Mara disappeared. Mara is not much in the presence of the Earth. Every time you are approaches by Mara, if you come to the Earth and ask for help by touching her deeply, the way the Buddha did, you will be offered flowers, fruits, butterflies, and many other gifts of nature, and the Earth will look at Mara in such a way that he will disappear.

Loving Speech (I find practicing this simple technique in reference to one’s self is so incredibly important to my recovery, as it is where the path of forgiveness and compassion cleave forth from that of ignorance and suffering):
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
She was silent for a long time, maybe ten minutes. Then she gently put her hand on his and said, “My dear, I know you have suffered a lot during the last five years and I am very sorry. I know that I am greatly responsible for your suffering. Not only have I been unable to help you suffer less, but I have made the situation much worse. I have made many mistakes and caused you a great deal of pain. I am extremely sorry. I would like you to give me a chance to begin anew. I want to make you happy, but I have not known how to do it; that is why I have made the situation worse and worse every day. I don’t want to continue like this anymore. So my darling, please help me. I need your help in order to understand you better, in order to love you better. Please tell me what is in your heart. I know you suffer a lot, I must know your suffering so that I will not do the wrong things again and again as in the past. Without you, I cannot do it. I need you to help me so that I will not continue to hurt you. I want only to love you.
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
"Darling, I suffer. I am angry. I want you to know it." This expresses faithfulness to your commitment. "Darling, I am doing my best. I am taking good care of my anger. For me and for you also. I don't want to explode, to destroy myself and destroy you. I am doing my best. I am putting into practice what I have learned from my teacher, from my sangha." This faithfulness will inspire respect and confidence in the other party. And lastly, "Darling, I need your help." This is a very strong statement, because usually when you're angry, you have the tendency to say, "I don't need you."

Notes on Breathing (I find this information invaluable to remember when having a panic attack, detoxing off opioids, or in any situation where I feel I am experience a kind of, essentially, spiritual disembowelment - for me, in these words resides the essence of the concept of "faith," so pretty powerful stuff):
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
To breathe in consciously is to know that the air is entering your body, and to breathe out consciously is to know that your body is exchanging air. Thus you are in contact with the air and with your body, and because your mind is being attentive to all this, you are in contact with your mind, too; just as it is. It needs only one conscious breath to be back in contact with yourself and everything around you, and three conscious breaths to maintain the contact.

Notes on Skillfulness:
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
All the plants are nourished by sunshine. All of them are sensitive to it. Ay vegetation that is embraced by the sunshine will undergo a transformation. In the morning, the flowers have not yet open-end. But when the sun comes out, the sunshine embraces the flowers and tries to penetrate them. The sunshine is made of tiny particles, photons. The photons gradually penetrate the flower one by one until there are a lot of them inside. At that point the flower cannot resist any longer and has to open herself to the sunshine.

In the same way, all mental formations and all physiological formations in us are sensitive to mindfulness. If mindfulness is there, embracing your body, your body will transform. If mindfulness is there, embracing your anger or despair, then they, too, will be transformed. According to the Buddha and according to our experience, anything embraced by the energy of mindfulness will undergo a transformation.

Your anger is like a flower. In the beginning you may not understand the nature of your anger, or why it has come up. But if you know how to embrace it with the energy of mindfulness, it will begin to open. You may be sitting, following your breathing, or you may be practicing walking meditation to generate the energy of mindfulness and embrace your anger After ten or twenty minutes your anger will have opened herself to you, and suddenly, you will see the true nature of your anger. It may have arisen just because of a wrong perception or the lack of skillfulness.
For Zack:
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
Inside every one of us is a garden, and each practitioner has to go back to it and take care of it. Maybe in the past you left it untended for a long time. You should know exactly what is going on in your own garden, and try to put everything in order. Restore the beauty; restore the harmony in your harden. Many people will enjoy your garden, if it is well tended.
Organic Feelings
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
Our practice is based on the insight of non-duality. Both our negative feelings and positive feelings are organic and belong to the same reality. So there is no need to fight; we only need to embrace and take care. Therefore, in the Buddhist tradition, meditation does not mean you transform yourself into a battlefield, with the good fighting the evil. This is very important. You may think that you have to combat evil and chase it out of your heart and mind. But this is wrong. The practice is to transform yourself. If you don't have garbage, you have nothing to use in order to make compost. And if you have no compost, you have nothing to nourish the flower in you. Since they are organic, you know that you can transform them and make good use of them.
Dangers of Venting
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
There are therapists who advise us to express our anger in order to feel better. They suggest we say or do things to let our anger out, like taking a stick and hitting a tired, or slamming the door with all your might. They also suggest hitting a pillow. These therapists belive that this is the way to remove the energy of anger in us. They call it “venting.”

When you have smoke in your room, you want to ventilate the room so the smoke can escape. Anger is a kind of smoke, an energy that makes you suffer. When the smoke of anger comes up, you want to open a door and turn on the fan, so the anger will go out. So you ventilate by hitting a stone or a tree with a stick, or by pounding on your pillow. I have seen many people practice like that. Actually they do get some temporary relief. But the side effects of venting are very harmful. They will make you suffer much more.

Anger needs energy to manifest. When you try to vent it by using all your might to hit something or pound your pillow, half an hour later, you will be exhausted. Because you are exhausted, you will have no energy left to feed your anger. You may think that anger is no longer there, but that’s not true; you are simply too tired to be angry.

It is the roots of anger in you that produce anger. The roots of anger lie in ignorance, wrong perceptions, in lack of understanding and compassion. When you vent your anger, you simply open the energy that is feeding your anger. The roots of anger are always there, and by expressing your anger like that, you are strengthening the roots of anger in yourself. That is the danger of venting.

There was an article in The New York Times, March 9, 1999, on anger, titled “Letting Out Aggression Is Called Bad Advice.” According to this article, a lot of research has been done by social psychologists, and they concluded that trying to express your anger and your aggression by hitting a pillow and the like won’t help at all. In fact, it will make the situation worse.

While you pound your pillow, you are not calming or reducing your anger – you are rehearing it. If you practice hitting the pillow every day, then the seed of anger in you will grow every day. And someday, when you meet the person who made you angry, you may practice what you have learned. You will just hit the other person and end up in jail. That is why handing your aggression by hitting a pillow, or venting, is not helpful at all. It is dangerous. It is not truly ventilating the energy of anger since anger is not getting out of your system.

Venting your anger is a practice based on ignorance. When you imagine the object of your hate as a pillow, hitting the object of your hate, you rehearse your ignorance and anger. Instead of lessening your violence and anger, you become more violent and angry.

A number of therapists have confirmed that the practice of venting anger is dangerous. They told me that they stopped advising their clients to do it. After their clients vent by hitting pillows, they are tired, and so they think they feel better. But after they rest and have some food, if someone comes and waters the seed of anger in them, they become even angrier than before. They have fed the roots of their anger by rehearsing it.
Non-Self
Thich Nhat Hanh said:
When you can touch this insight, the reality of non-self, you know that happiness and suffering are not individual matters. Your suffering is the suffering of your beloved ones. Their happiness is your happiness. When you know this , you will not be tempted by the idea of punishing or of blaming. You’ll behave with much more wisdom, This intelligence, this wisdom, is the fruit of your contemplation, of your looking deeply. So when you read your Heat Sutra, it helps you to remember the insight that your child, our partner, is you.

We read a sutra to immerse ourselves in the truth, in the insight of non-self. The Heart Sutra that you are encourages to write is a sutra that comes from your own insight that you and the other person are one. The Heart Sutra is about wisdom. So is your Heart Sutra, It reminds you of the wisdom that you are not separate isolated selves. It reminds you of the wisdom of your love. When you are angry, when you are misled by the idea that you are a separate self, reading that Heart Sutra will help you return to yourself again. When insight is there, then the Buddha is there, and you are safe. You don’t have to suffer anymore.

We have to constantly remind ourselves that there are many ways of getting relief from anger, but the best, the deepest relief comes from understanding, the insight of non-self. Non-self is not an abstract philosophy. Non-self is a reality that you can touch by living mindfully. The insight of non-self will restore peace and harmony between you and the other person, You deserve peace, you deserve happiness. That is why you have to sit down with him, with her, and design a strategy for living together.

Furthermore, you yourself must also figure out a way of living that will bring you harmony and peace. You have to sign a peace treaty with yourself, because very often you are torn apart by the war and the conflict inside of you. You are at war because you lack wisdom, you lack insight. With understanding, you can restore peace and harmony within yourself and in your relationships with others. You will know how to act and how to react with intelligence so that you are no longer in a war zone, a zone of conflict. If there is peace and harmony in you, the other person will recognize it, and peace and harmony between both of you will be restored quickly. You will be much more pleasant, much easier to be with, and that will help the other person tremendously.

So to help your son, make peace with yourself. If you want to help your mother, restore peace in yourself. Discover the insight that will allow you to help your mother. Helping yourself is the first condition for helping others. Let go of the illusion called self. This is the essence of the practice that will free you and the other person from anger and suffering.
☸ ☸ ☸ ☸

see also TDS' Post Your Best Mindfulness Resources and Experiences.
 
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Jabberwocky

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I'm just glad I finally got my act together and got impulsive enough to decide to sit down and finally put it together. I have noticed I forgot to add a few things here and there, so as time goes on I'll be updating the list of resources here and there. Glad you like it NSA :)

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be more than happy to add them to the list.
 

Fug

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Excellent thread - mindfulness has helped to no end with my mental health the past couple of years. Can't recommend it highly enough for anyone suffering inside of their minds.
 

Jabberwocky

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How to Sit

For those a little more interested in an overview practical aspects of mindfulness (including both vipassana and metta), see Gunuratana's Mindfulness in Plain English. Please don't take these instructions as dogma. What is most important is getting your tush to the 'kush, at they say, not how you sit on the floor.

Find a comfortable way for you to get not your body is enough to begin with. The following are just traditional guidelines. Do what works for you! :)

ZCLA said:
How to Sit

Posture:
There are five basic sitting positions from which to choose: the full lotus, the half-lotus, the Burmese, and seiza, or kneeling. You may also use a chair. The essential point is to find a position which you can maintain. Most of us can tolerate some minor discomfort, but if a particular position is unduly painful, find another one that isn’t. Weight, flexibility, and body type all influence your experience of sitting, so be mindful of your body.


In the Full Lotus position, the right foot rests on the left thigh and the left foot rests on the right thigh. In Half-Lotus, the left foot rests on the right thigh, while the right leg is folded under the left leg.

In Burmese position, both legs are folded, resting on the square mat (zabuton). One variation of this position places the left foot upon the right calf.


In seiza or kneeling position, knees are shoulder-width apart while buttocks are supported either by the heels, a zafu (sitting cushion) or other cushion, or a low sitting bench.


Using a chair, avoid slouching but sit upright. If you have back trouble, a firm cushion can be used to support your lower back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. If the chair is too high for you, place a zafu on the floor to support your feet. Make sure your hips are higher than your knees.

How to Sit: Some Basic Instructions
on What to do with your body while sitting


In each of these positions: Seat yourself on the forward third of your cushion (or chair), using an extra cushion if needed, so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. Tuck in your chin slightly and make sure your nose is aligned with your navel and your ears aligned with your shoulders. Your head should rest squarely over your spine and not tilt or lean in any direction. If you notice any tension in your shoulders, relax them. Slightly arching the small of the back so that the pelvis tilts forward, extend your spine upward. Avoid straining or tensing either your back or abdominal muscles. To center your body, sway several times from the hips in decreasing arcs until you drift to a stop. In this position, your posture is upright, leaning neither left nor right, forward nor right, forward nor backward

Place your left hand, palm up, on the palm of your right hand. Rest your hands in your lap. Keep your eyes slightly open, looking downward in the direction of the floor a few feet in front of you. Let them drift out of focus. If facing a wall, look downward at about a 45-degree angle, and let your eyes drift out of focus.

Breathing:
Take a few deep slow breaths through the mouth, and exhale freely, to settle mind and body. Close your lips and swallow any saliva in your mouth. Empty your mouth of air, creating a slight vacuum. Avoid tensing your jaws. Breathe quietly through your nose. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind the front teeth. Let your breathing become deep and natural, without particularly straining to control it.

Attention:
Pay close attention to your breathing, to the sensations of breath leaving and entering your body with each exhalation and inhalation. Be aware of the movement of your lower abdomen. As you inhale, notice it expand; as you exhale, notice it contracting. Direct your attention to the center of your lower abdomen, about two or three inches below the navel, or onto the palm of your left hand. As you breathe, you may count each breath, repeating the process and counting each exhale/inhale cycle as one breath. When you have counted ten breaths, return to “one,” and begin again. Do this until you can focus your attention and maintain it. Once you are able to count your breaths, you may be ready to follow your breaths without counting. Simply follow your breathing attentively. When you notice your mind wandering or pursuing thoughts, memories, emotions, etc., simply notice this and return your attention to your breath in the present moment.

How to Sit:
Some Basic Instructions

on what to do with yourself while you meditate.


Let your attention remain with your breath. Be patient with yourself, as it may take some time before you can reliably focus your attention for an extended period of time. At first, you may only sit a few times a week, for a few minutes. At your own pace, gradually increase the frequency and duration of your sitting until you can sit daily for 30 to 35 minutes at a time. Don’t rush this process, but allow your mind and body to gradually adjust to the practice. Some people prefer to sit in the morning, others at night, and some do both. Experiment to find which of these works best for you, then make it your own regular practice. When practicing, it is useful to sit in the same place and at the same time of day, if possible.

Patience, consistency, and perseverance are important in establishing and settling into your practice. We strongly recommend regular sitting at a Zen center or with a similar sitting group, if you have access to one, and to work with a qualified Zen teacher.
These suggestions regarding posture are taken from ZCLA'S site. They pertain specificially to Zen Buddhist meditation, and are helpful as a general guide to show you how to sit "correctly." Please note that, ultimately, how you end up sitting is the correct way for you. There is no wrong way to meditate. What is shown here is ZCLA's suggestion (the images are not necessarily all from ZCLA's page).
 
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Jabberwocky

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Quote of the day:

"It's not the perfect but the imperfect that is in need of our love."

Oscar Wilde

Taken from A Path With Heart, regarding the wisdom approaching discomfort and pain with lovingkindness as a means to escape the trap that is suffering - perhaps not "escape" per se, but to over come the inevitable pains and discomforts, as well as the related and opposed pleasures and comforts, that we will all inevitably experience in life.

Much love and respect to you all <3
 

Jabberwocky

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Wendell Berry said:
I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quite
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle . . .

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
"What we find as we listen to the songs of our rage or fear, loneliness or longing, is that they do not stay forever. Rage turns into sorrow; sorrow turns into tears; tears may fall for a long time, but then the sun comes out. A memory of old loss sings to us; our body shakes and relives the moment of loss; then the armoring around that loss gradually softens; and in the midst of the song of tremendous grieving, the pain of that loss finally finds release."

Figured Kornfield puts it better than me, so there you have it <3
 
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Jabberwocky

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This is from Gloria Kamler's MBSR class, not my creation.

Dealing With Problems

You are going to run into problems in your meditation. Everybody does. Problems come is all shapes and sizes, and the only thing you can be absolutely certain about is that you will have some. The main trick in dealing with obstacles is to adopt the right attitude. Difficulties are an integral part of your practice. They aren’t something to be avoided. They are something to be used. They provide invaluable opportunities for learning.

Pain

Pain is one of life’s most common experiences and is bound to arise in your meditation in one form or another. Handling pain is a two stage process. The first step is physical handling with employment of standard medical treatments before you start your meditation. Take you medicine, apply your liniment, do whatever you ordinarily would do. Then there are certain pains that are specific to the posture. Siting crossed legged requires an adjustment period. If you experience pain in the lower back, your posture is probably at fault. Slouching will never be comfortable, so straighten up. Pain in the neck and upper back has several sources. Be aware that your hands need to be resting comfortable in the lap. Don’t pull them up the waist. Loosen the arms and neck muscles and keep the head straight and aligned with the spine.

When pain becomes demanding, it can pull the attention off the breath. Don’t fight back. Just let the attention slide easily over to the simple sensations. Explore the feeling. The first is the simple sensation, pain itself. Second is the resistance to the sensation. Resistance is partly mental and physical. The physical part consists of tensing the muscles in and around the painful area. Let those muscles soften. Then go after the mental side. Soften what I bin tensed psychologically, Instead of clamping down mentally on the sensation of pain, move off its center and observe the emotion observing or reacting to the pan.

There is no masochism being advocated here. This is an exercise in awareness, not self torture. If the pain becomes excruciating, go ahead and move, but slowly and mindfully. Observe the movements. See how it feels to move. Watch what it does to the pain.

Legs Going to Sleep

It is very common for beginners to have the legs fall asleep or go numb during meditation. Numbness in the legs, while sitting, is nothing to worry about. It is caused by nerve pinch, not by lack of circulation. You can’t damage the tissue of the legs by sitting. So, relax. When the legs fall asleep in meditation, just mindfully observe the phenomenon. Examine what it feels like. After you have meditated for some time, that numbness will gradually disappear. The body simply adjusts to daily practice.

Odd Sensations

Some people get itches. Others feel tingling, deep relaxation, a feeling of lightness or floating sensations. You may feel the body shrinking or rising up in the air. Don’t worry, you are not likely to levitate any time soon. It does not signify anything in particular. It is just sensation. So simply employ the normal technique, Watch it come up and watch it pass away. Don’t get involved.

Drowsiness

It is quite common to experience drowsiness during meditation. You become very calm and relaxed. Unfortunately, that feeling is usually experienced when falling asleep, and we associate it with that process. So naturally, you begin to drift off. When this happens, apply your mindfulness to the state of drowsiness itself. Drowsiness has certain definite characteristics. It does certain things to the thought process. Be aware of what it does. It has certainly bodily feelings associated with it. Locate those.

Inability to Concentrate

An overactive, jumping attention is something everybody experiences from time to time. Mindfulness meditation is primarily an experience in awareness. Emptying the mind is not as important as being aware of what the mind is doing. If you are frantic and can’t do a thing to stop it, just observe what is going on. It is all you can do. The result will be one more step forward in the journey of self exploration. The chatter of the mind is just something to be mindful of.

Boredom

It is difficult to imagine anything more inherently boring than sitting or lying still for extended period with nothing to do but feel the air going in and out of the body. Boredom is something we get to run into with meditation. Everybody does. Boredom is a mental state and can be observed as such.

When you are clearly mindful of the breath or anything else, it is never boring. Mindfulness looks at everything with the eyes of a child, with a sense of wonder. Mindfulness sees the present moment as if it were the first and only moment in the universe. So look again. Look at the state of boredom mindfully. What is boring? Where is boring? Where is boredom? What does it feel like? Where are its mental components? Does it have any physical feelings? What does it do to the thought process? Take a fresh look at boredom, as if this is the first time you had experienced it.

Fear

States of fear sometimes arise during meditation for no discernable reason. No matter what the source of the fear, mindfulness is the way to observe the fear exactly as it is. Don’t cling to it. Just watch it rising and growing. Study its effects. See how it makes itself felt in the body. When you find yourself in the grip of horror fantasies, simply observe those mindfully. Watch the pictures as pictures. See the memories as memories. Observe the emotional reactions that come along with the memories and know them to be the emotions connected to the memories. Observe the emotional reactions that come along with the memories and know them to be the emotions connected to the memories. Stand aside from the process without getting involved. Treat the whole dynamic as if you were an interested bystander. Most important, just step out of the way and let the whole mess bubble up and flow past.

Agitation

Restlessness is often a cover up for some other experience taking place in the unconscious. When this uncomfortable state arises in meditation, just observe it. The unpleasant experience that you try to avoid could be almost anything: guilt, greed, or other problems. It could be low grade pain or subtle sickness or approaching illness. Whatever it is, let it rise and look at it mindfully, If you just observe the agitation, it will even pass. Sitting through restlessness is a little breakthrough in the meditation career. It will teach you a lot. You will find that agitation is actually rather a superficial mental state. It comes and it goes. It has no real grip on you at all.

Trying Too Hard

Beginners in meditation are often much too serious for their own good. It is important to loosen up in your practice. You need to learn to watch objectively whatever happens. Tension and striving interfere by taking it all too seriously. New meditators often are overly eager for results, full of enormous and inflated expectations, jump right in and expect incredible results in no time flat. Pushing, tensing, sweat and strain are all so terribly, terribly grim and solemn. Trying too hard leads to rigidity and unhappiness, to guilt and self condemnation. When trying too had visits, efforts become mechanical and that can defeat mindfulness before it even gets started. So, enjoy your meditation and don’t load yourself down with sweat and struggles. Just be mindful. The meditation itself will take care of the future.

Discouragement

The upshot of pushing too hard is frustration. That influences a state of tension which leads to feeling stuck. If you feel stuck, not making the progress you expected, discouragement visits. Striving after unrealistic expectations is the visitor. Nevertheless, it is a common enough experience and, in spite of all the best advice, it happens. When you get involved, it feeds on your energy and it grows. If you let yourself get out of your own way and stand aside and watch it, it passes away. Give it a chance.

Resistance to Meditation

There are times that you don’t feel like meditating. The very idea seems obnoxious. Missing a single practice is scarcely important, but it very easily becomes a habit. It is wiser to push on through the resistance. Go sit anyway. Observing the feelings of aversion. In most cases it is a passing emotion, a flash in the pan that will evaporate right in front of you.
 
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Jabberwocky

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Jack Kornfield said:
A story is told of the Buddha when he was wandering in Indian shortly after his enlightenment. He was encountered by several men who recognized something quite extraordinary about this handsome prince now robed as a monk. Stopping to inquire, they asked, "Are you a god?" "No," he answered. "Well, are you a deva or an angel?" "No," he replied. "Well, are you some kind of wizard or magician?" "No." "Are you a man?" "No." They were perplexed. Finally, they asked, "Then what are you?" He replied simply, "I am awake." The word Buddha means to awaken. How to awaken is all he taught.
Concentration is never a matter of force or coercion. You simply pick up the puppy again and return to reconnect with the here and now.
 

Jabberwocky

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S.T.O.P.
  1. Stop and take a break from whatever it is you are doing for a moment.
  2. Take three deep intentional breaths. Breathe in and feel into the points of contact your body makes with the earth beneath you. See if you can notice the weight of gravity holding your securely down, if only for a moment.
  3. Observe what you are experiencing. Sluggish high gravity? Restless low gravity? Focus your attention on your body. Let your attention fall onto your body, perhaps a tenseness or a pain somewhere. Perhaps it is a feeling or a thought that draws your attention. Notice whatever is calling you, entertain it for a moment, then gentle allow it to go.
  4. Proceed with and according to your own attentive intuition, amplified by any calmness cultivated through your present state.


R.A.I.N.
  1. Recognize what it is you are feeling. Bring your attention to whatever feeling state you are experience right now. If a physical sensation or sensory experience stands out in this present moment, notice whatever it is. Perhaps an image of memory or vision imagined? A sound perhaps, or a voice stringing together thought in your head? Perhaps a deep sadness or pleasant feeling, an itchy brow or tummy rumbles?
  2. Allow yourself to feel what you are experiencing. Allow whatever sensation or feeling you are experiencing to just be. See if you can notice where the sense experience begins and/or ends. How does the sensation oscillate or change, whether pleasant or unpleasant? If it becomes too much, tap into the more neutral or pleasant areas of your sensing body, such as your palms or the movement of your breath.
  3. Investigate the ways that the feelings or charge created by your experience of the present moment manifests in your physical being. Parts of the body commonly utilized to cultivate this awareness are the inner arms, the palms, the forehead, the shoulders and neck, and the pressure created on where ever your body’s “sit bones” (your feet, knees, buttocks, spine) are in contact with the earth beneath you. Try to be as kind and gentle with yourself as possible with this. It is the most challenging part of this exercise. Try and avoid judging or criticizing the way you feel about what you are doing and how you are doing it.
  4. Non-identification: Keep in mind that there is no wrong way to do this! Nothing is set, our present moment experience is ever-changing. What you're experiencing is what you should be experiencing, nothing more or less. Your feelings, thoughts and experiences are valid, are important and can be useful, but you are infinitely more than how you feel, what you think or what you do right now.

Each present moment is an endless cascade of movement, causes piled upon conditions. As such it present us with infinite opportunities to behavior is different, qualitatively better, kinder and gentler ways - to become more human, more who we were meant to be.

The first challenge is to learn to step along with this rhythm, the second is to learn to step back out.



H.A.L.T.
Working out, or even just going for a strenuous walk, actually really helps with the fatigue for me. That and (a little) caffeine, as well as eating right, three good healthy meals a day. Remember HALT?

Making sure you apply HALT to your daily life will also help:
  • H: Hungry increases stress and lowers our ability to make wise choices. Try not to get too hungry. Regular meals and healthy snacks are a must. Don't forget to eat as healthy as possible - your body is a temple, the only one you’ve got. Nothing wrong with some candy or treats, but go easy on them. Too much sugar or fat all at once will zap your energy right out of you, or make you crash shortly thereafter like with sugar and caffeine.
  • A: Anger means an increase in related emotions like frustration, hatred, loathing and other highly agitating, stressful states. Few things are better at making you more reactive and less skillful than when you act in anger. Recognize when you're getting angry, stressed, frustrated or irritated and take contrary action to nip those difficult emotions in the bud so you don't get all wrapped up in them. This is how resent is born, no matter how justified, and it will drain your energy like nothing else.
  • L: Feeling lonely, isolated and disconnected is the near enemy of recovery - it leads to apathy, sloth and torpor. When you start feeling alone, or disconnected from others, reach out ASAP to a trusted friend or companion so you can get back to feeling connected again. Loneliness, like depression, can keep us isolated from those we need to depend on if we are to continue making progress in recovery. BL can even help with this, as you can always talk to folks online anytime day or night, so it's very practical that way.
  • T: Tired? This definitely doesn’t help anyone make more skillful decisions. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, at least 6 and ideally about 8hrs a night. Take short 1-2hr naps during the day if you can't get a solid 8 at night. Don’t worry about getting exactly the right amount of sleep, just try and listen to your body and what it needs. Good sleep hygiene is a crucial starting point in cultivating healthier habits in early recovery. This includes not exercising right before bed, not watching TV or looking at a screen for at least an hour before bed, and not using your bed for anything but sleeping (and maybe sex:)).
 
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Skippwiggins

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I am currently detoxing off of buprenorphine once again. Fifth times the charm right? I tapered from 2mg to 0.5mg for four days now and will cold turkey while I have off work the next 5 days for memorial weekend. I will smoke marijuana and workout aggressively and eat loads like I always do to get through withdrawal but I will need something to keep me sober. I need to form healthy habits and your thread just gave me the resources I need to help me my mental and spiritual well being. Thank you and your kind heart. I hope to come back in a few weeks time and post my meditation and spiritual progress.

Edit: Being 100% sober from ALL mind altering substances will never be enough and imo spiritual progress of some sort is the key to remaining sober and completely happy.
 
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Jabberwocky

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Sometimes psychiatric medications, including ORT, are necessary to stabalize and give yourself the room necessary to groe spiritually. That was my experience on methadone. I grew in ways you cannot imagine, spiritually speaking, during the two-ish years I have been on it. That is because it gave me the stability to focus on was important to me in my life, without it I doubt I would have accomplish much, simply continuing tovrepeat old patternd instead, chasing a high that was ironically never good good enough, always illusive. I have discovered spiritual practice is the exact opposite, producing a "high" that is ever growing and sustainable.

In other news, here is a post I made in the Sexual Ethics thread I feel is worth sharing in the MBSR sticky:

Well, I for one just gained all my libido back after being on methadone for 2+ years after a ten year opioid addiction, so I can completely relate to and understand going from 0 to 60 over the course of a short time. It led me to making some very, very shall we say less than skillful decisions that ended up doing some serious harm. All that I post here is not mere opinion, but thoughts arrived at after loads of good times, fun, silliness, poor choices, experiences for better and worse, as well as hard work, honesty, self compassion and years of gaining new insight.

Am I suggesting anyone spend all day meditating? Only if you are so lucky as to be able to get a chance to work with an amazing teacher and are comfortably able to do so financially, something that is next to impossible for 99% of us in the west. Even if that were more practical for us it would not solve all our problems. The most meaningful insights gained from meditation and mindfulness are those when we can wake up and apply to the normal, every day type activies and experiences - the small stuff not so much the landmark, major moments in life.

So I do believe learning a bit about mindfulness and developing a practice would be helpful in terms of the OP finding himself and learning how to relate not only to women but, more importantly, also to himself in new healthier, kinder, more compassionate and loving ways. Not only that, but he would be able to achieve and appriciate what his libido so craves in deeper, more meaningful and enjoyable (read: pleasurable) ways, over the long term and in the here and now, all sooner than he might think.

Neither meditation nor mindfulness is about ignoring our true nature as human beings or human desire. Rather they are all about embracing the magesty of what it means to be us, empowering us through helping us get more in touch with our Buddha nature, resulting in our becominy more skillful when it comes to the fullfilment of desire. This may not lead to aquiring more pleasureful moments, but it is not like one could aquire a moment of time and bottle it for later enjoyment like some tasty new beverage :\ The fruits of our labors in practice will be to aquire new tools and skills that enable us to, among other things, experience pleasure in more fullfilling, meaningful ways.

Minfuldness and meditation are both about ways to address the suffering inherent in our lives, in ways to reduce the harm we cause to ourselves, the ones we love, and our world. We can accomplish this by reorienting ourselves, by skillfully changing how we relate to ourselves, our loved ones and the world around us. Pain in life is inevitable but suffering is unecessary. We can eventually see for ourselves how suffering is caused by unskillful action, by acts driven by lust, greed, ignorance, and selfishness and self-centeredness. Mindfulness is all about taking responsibility for yourself and how your affect others and your enviroment, how you relate to your world, and ultimately how to navigate the rivers of life, regardless whether you find yourself swimming upstream or down, in healthier, freer, more sustainable ways.

I used to think nothing was more fun than fucking on heroin. And true, the chance to make love for 12 hrs straight is amazing. But learning how to best experience the pleasures of sex and share such intimate, beautiful moments with another person? Few things in life can beat that.

To actually answer the OPs question:

Have I had to be more ethical in recovery than pre recovery? Hell no! Has it been good for me? Hell yeah! My morals are nothing new for me, but getting my ethics to begin to really reflect them has been what has changed.

I made the same mistakes pre recovery that I did post sobriety. Big difference is that now I have actually started learning from them, sobriety makes that oppertunity a possibility for the first time, and engaging more fully in my recovery has made real change possible in so many diverse arenas of my life. Learning from my experiences and putting insight to use has been crux of the real change, but I still make mistakes. I never will be perfect, after all. My practice is all about the importance of making mistakes, learning from them, and growing as a result into more of a human being,although not always a better one.

I'm just having more meaningful fun these days. There is so much more peace in my kife these days than ever before. There are far better things to do with the object of my desire than to just mess with it in the hopes of satiating my own purely temporary carnal desire.
 
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manboychef

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Sometimes psychiatric medications, including ORT, are necessary to stabalize and give yourself the room necessary to groe spiritually. That was my experience on methadone. I grew in ways you cannot imagine, spiritually speaking, during the two-ish years I have been on it. That is because it gave me the stability to focus on was important to me in my life, without it I doubt I would have accomplish much, simply continuing tovrepeat old patternd instead, chasing a high that was ironically never good good enough, always illusive. I have discovered spiritual practice is the exact opposite, producing a "high" that is ever growing and sustainable.
I can completely agree. In order for me to treat my addiction I had to treat my OCD first. Antidepressants and therapy were necessary in order for me to calm down enough to focus on my problems without having intrusive thoughts and taking part in crazy rituals or thought patterns. I have to say that meditation is a huge part of my recovery and treating my OCD. It is a time that I know I can keep those intrusive thoughts and compulsions at bay and actually focus on my real thoughts.
 

MrRoot

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WTF just happened?

I tried sitting in a seiza position and put my hands in a back pain mudra position and pretty much right after my hands felt like shaking and it got more and more intense and then I started to have intense urge to vomit and run to a toilet and vomited for a while. After this my back pain seems a lot more comfortable than before.
 

Jabberwocky

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I have no idea! Pretty interest though. A lot comes up in meditation. In this particular case, I have never encountered that.

What I will say is that, while this seems out base tendency, try not to push yourself to hard. In some situations, discomfort is not necessary anu cause for concern - like when you first start sitting cross legged and your legls fall asleep and get really uncomfortable because you have pinched a nerve as your body is not yet used to positioning itself like this for long periods of time in stillness. That is not dangerous nor any sign for concern. As long as the pain in not too distracting, just sit with it for five, then ten, then 15, 20, 30 and finally perhaps trying 45 minutes or an hour.

Other times, especially when we have physical conditions like back issues, trying something new, especially given our prediliction to want to be perfect, our push to do more and be better than, can end up causing unecessary damage. If you have back issues, I suggest you try meditating while sitting upright in a chair, with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. There is nothing wrong with this, it is not a better or a worse position than sitting half lotus in any way shape or form. If you insist on sitting on the floor, I strongly suggestes kneelying, using cushions under you bottom between your lower legs to support yourself.

Regardless of what yout health is like or how you experiment with sitting, first limit yourself to sitting for no more than 10 or 15 minutes. If you have PTSD or ADHD, or for whatevee reason struggle to stay focused or concentrated, try meditating for just 2 to 5 minutes at a time, getting up and walking around between your short sits. Concentration and mindfulness are muscles that need strength training, so you start off with a managible weight before moving on to lifting the heavy ones. Try not more than 20 minute meditations to begin. As you feel more comfortable in your posture and settle in to the whole meditation practice, you can challange yourself by sitting for longer periods of time, 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes at a time.

The idea is not to push yourself to hard. Challange yourself, do not be to easy going. But by the same token do not push yourself past the point where you feel comfortable and burn yourself out or injure yourself. Remember to be gentle and kind in all things, giving yourself plenty of room and plenty of space to develop a style all your own in your practice. Remember that there is no wrong way to meditation, only what works for others and what works for you. Try and stay creative and open minded. Beware gettint caught up in instruction and any attempt to meditate perfectly. Just get your tush to the cush and sit, practice, work that muscles so that when you run up again great challanges and adversity in life you will be prepared, armed with the weapons of a buddha.

The book, Mindfulness in Plain English, which I have linked to in my opening post in the book list section, is something you should really get. You might be able to find a copy in your native tongue, though the online free version (not the entire book, but a lot of it is there for free through the publisher's site I think it is) is in English. It is one of if not the best introductory, beginner's text on mindfulness and meditation, and it will answer pretty much all the questions a novice would imagine, and then some.

Thank you for your question Mr.Root, I am very pleased to see I have helped encourage at least one person through BL to experiment with the dharma. Keep up the great work, and always feel free to ask me anything or reach out for support whenever you like. The only stupid questions are the ones you don't ask, as they say. I will be adding to and possibly reorganizing and editing my opening post with some more good beginners material this weekend.
 
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MrRoot

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I know the basics for meditation as we meditate in our Dōjō but I tried first time some other mudra than Hokkaijoin mudra (I guess Cosmic mudra in English) and that weird stuff happened. IDK if I suddenly triggered some muscles to relaxe and change the pressure to my spine or something like that.

Now that I have tried this again each time I focus in my back while keeping my hands in that back pain mudra position my pinky starts twitching for a while and it lowers my back pain.

I'll definately add meditation into my daily routines and don't limit it for just martial arts training. I guess I finally even somewhat understood that what one of our instructor meant when he said that breathing in martial arts meditation is like roaring of a tiger and for zen meditation it is like mooing of a cow.

I haven't been using meditation in a daily life as it has made me too aware of my surroundings and even anxious when I have tried it at home but now I have tried to do it differently and changing the breathing has made me differently aware or awake than when meditating before training.

Thank you TPD for making this great thread.
 

Jabberwocky

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My pleasure. Look into learning more about vipassana or insight meditation. It is the oldest, most traditional or orginal of forms of Buddhist meditation. It is very different from what you probably learned in the dojo or would learn at a Zen temple, though of course many things would be very similar as what you learned in the dojo is probably a later relative, as is Zen instruction and practice.

If during meditation you become hyper aware of your surrounding or get really uncomfortable sitting, psychologically I mean, sit for just 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Seriously, do this for a month every day, like five 5 minute or three 10 minute sessions five days a week, and after that month this probably will be much less serious and you will be able to sit more effectively. Also learn about walking meditation, and intersperse 10 or 20 minute walking meditations with your sitting meditations.

To challabge yourself and develop your ability to concentrate, try sitting this 35 to 70 minute practice sometime:
  1. Sitting Meditation
    5 or 10 minutes
  2. Walking Meditation
    10 or 20 minutes
  3. Sitting Meditation
    5 or 10 minutes
  4. Walking Meditation
    10 or 20 minutes
  5. Sitting Meditation
    5 or 10 minutes

Good retreats alternate sitting and walking meditation (or another form of mindful movement) throughout the day. There is a hell of a lot of wisdom in this idea, so I suggest you give it a shot.
 
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