…its not all nonsense, the clouds and the lava stream, although, it is best to observe without judgement, rather than ruminate.
Changing my brain has taken a good couple years of regular therapy and subsequently meditation practice. Last time I was going in rather deep with regard the compulsive part of my grey nut, so I’d like now to post something lighter and uplifting. Here’s some notes i wrote for an imaginary book of mine, regarding mindfulness and acceptance;
Non-judgemental and radical acceptance
Whilst noting during meditation (when i label whatever is going on as a ‘thought’ or ‘feeling’), one of my steps is examining judgements around the subject, once this is in play I can see if there are any judgements I want to change.
So, does this even happen? I have found that it does with acceptance. Its radical acceptance. Recognising the judgemental feelings, which are somewhat involuntary at first, it then helps to let go of judgemental feelings towards ourselves, if we first accept others. I can’t remember where I
read this, but it’s a good shout. So, as I recognise whatever is popping up or taking me away – be it a
thought, emotion or sensation, I can then examine, which is becoming much more fluid, and
then allow it to be there or go if it wants to. Breathe…
Accepting oneself unconditionally is liberating, likewise comparing with or judging others
only creates difficult feelings such as resentment or envy. Sometimes I notice the judgemental feelings in others and sometimes I am correct, but still, what I am doing is the equivalent of feeding obsessions. Or in most people: resisting difficult emotions. Seeking these things out is my own exposure, it helps me feed difficult feelings less, and sit with my feelings. Right now, I can write in my journal, all the thoughts that are popping up, including intense ones from the tsunami, but I don’t need to chase a response. I want to sit with difficult feelings, i want to feel them fully, for as long as it takes to reach acceptance and calm.
Feelings are subjective no matter how real they feel. Am I right? It is likely. For life in general, I do now strive to have a clear sight of my values, and organically create goals that support those values. As recent as this may be, this is something that is consistent with acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT);
“..Even the most privileged of human life inevitably involves significant pain” -Russ Harris
Depending on the situation, ‘positive thinking’ can be somewhat tedious in my opinion, because
it may involve living in denial of your real experiences, coming from my own experiences
with this. Thoughts and feelings are things that happen to you, but they are not you. (I wonder
what Thich Nhat Hanh’s take is on this). Nevertheless, we have to feel them fully because we
cannot control what pops up in our heads: good, bad, unpleasant, judgemental, violent,
pleasurable, insane. What do I mean exactly, what I am touching upon, i believe is unconditional self-
‘’To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to
– Thich Nhat Hanh
How do we ‘accept’ then? Well, we ‘recognise resistance’; This is recommended by things such as the Headspace meditation platform by Puddicombe. It is difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. Therefore, what I am talking about is we have to acknowledge the core feelings. In episodes of severe doubt, you may find yourself wanting to perform compulsions for temporary relief. Sorry, I’m mentioning OCD here which I wasn’t going to in this one, but hey its OK I just wish to explain how difficult feelings make us feel. So for everyone else, this is similar to the feeling of needing a cigarette notably because something is making you feel depressed or anxious.
Once unconditional self acceptance is going on, then, everything can fall to a riverbed, we can reflect clearly, and understanding can prevail.
Sometimes I am conflicted and trying to figure out how to get past my mental blocks. There are quotes I write out too. I recite 10 mindfulness teachings I found useful. It’s easier to understand them if I first do a some meditation, as the mind naturally calms and quietens creating more space for understanding. I take my alone time seriously now, besides, my new meditation chair is neat.
My mental blocks, they seem to be caused by conflict. Perhaps it is where my illness was. Whatever the blocks were, I seem to be falling into reality a bit more, a bit more with it and a bit more
affected by things, in a wholesome way as opposed to a panicky or at times disturbing way.
Welcome, this will make more sense as we go. Light me up a victory dance.
So this acceptance i speak of, it seems to take time to realise and feel, as does relief from anxiety. The brain won’t change overnight. But what i want is to realise i can be totally at peace, at times, on my own, whatever i am doing. Acceptance must play a big role in this. Never feel conflicted again, which is one way of viewing everything. I hope i can continue to cultivate this kind of mind, changing my mind, and go about my day. No conflicts. This is the perfect time for me to write this, as i am on the outskirts of recovery (I have been for some time, with the odd relapse).
If we think about it, what I call ‘no conflict(s)’ is part of what’s involved in cultivating a non-judgemental mind, which, is what mindfulness is all about. So let’s pretend I am ruminating on the most disastrous disaster ever and beating myself up for it. I chose to say ‘OK, maybe its true, maybe I’m a terrible person and all of these bad things have happened’, but you know what, I’m not going to live my life in constant conflict, I’m going to be at peace with myself unconditionally. This is the only way i can branch out and be calm. It’s a limitless journey but one that will be fulfilling.