Anxious to live life meaningfully, mindfully

Anxiety comes in many forms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health as many as 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder (source, and more info here). When there is a real surge of anxiety, the afflicted person can end up virtually non-functional. The mental activity tends to go in a dangerous spiraling motion (thoughts of dread, regret, meaninglessness, etc.), the body may respond violently (trembling, vomiting), and a panic attack can set off totally paranoid behaviors (e.g., unable to leave the house). This is mind and this is serious stuff.

(more…)

Advertisements

The (elusive) middle way and social media

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with balance. Though a reasonably good student, I often opted for socializing over studying. I had semesters of really putting the nose to the grind and others where I hung out with friends for hours in a bar playing electronic darts, or in a club dancing to house music (I know, you’re thinking, “really?”). When in intimate relationship, I have struggled greatly with wanting to be with that other person virtually all the time. When alone, I make solitude a fortress. When working, I put myself in it whole-heartedly, but then I end up being burnt out from working 12-hour days too frequently and just quit everything … Then there are the addictive behaviors re technology that result in a sort of “binge-and-purge” approach to life. When I was younger, it was computer games, then pre- social media Live Journal, then Last.fm. Obsessive behavior for a while and then a complete relinquishment. Now it’s reading, aggregating, and sharing Dhamma tidbits I find online, through conversations, and through scouring my own bookshelves. And so much of this, particularly personal blogging, as I’ve discussed before, just enables becoming, “selfing”, creating images of me, myself, mine over and over. See how many images of “me” lie just in this one paragraph alone! The wonderful thing is there’s an awareness that these are just ideas and that that illusion of an identity is dismantling and recreating itself all the time. (more…)

Awareness for daily life

Awareness is your refuge:
Awareness of the changingness of feelings,
of attitudes, of moods, of material change
and emotional change:
Stay with that, because it’s a refuge that is
indestructible.
It’s not something that changes.
It’s a refuge you can trust in.
This refuge is not something that you create.
It’s not a creation. It’s not an ideal.
It’s very practical and very simple, but
easily overlooked or not noticed.
When you’re mindful,
you’re beginning to notice,
it’s like this.

– Ajahn Sumedho

(more…)

Mindfulness tools for dealing with emotional and physical pain

Like many women and quite a few meditators (including a young S.N. Goenka), I suffer from migraines. These severe headaches are not all that well understood in the medical community and are often extremely difficult to treat through either allopathic or homeopathic means. Fortunately, through the practice, I have found that mindfulness meditation offers some insight into the causes at the same time as it provides significant relief.

(more…)

The Internet is a perennial source of dukkha

Has any person ever not had the thought, at one point or another, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t said that.”? Or felt remorse after sending an email? I think it’s a pretty common human experience to not always speak or write as wisely as we might like upon reflection. I know I’ve certainly had my fair share of regrets. One thing I’m hopefully learning to do right now is to reduce the opportunity to feel such shame and remorse. By cultivating awareness moment to moment, we can probably avoid saying the wrong thing. By asking ourselves whether what we have to say is 1) necessary and 2) beneficial before we say it, we also will end up speaking less but more meaningfully when we do. I know this is easier said than done, but I can think of few things more important in developing ourselves and our relationship with others.

(more…)

%d bloggers like this: