Mindfulness

Understanding the Problem Doesn’t Guarantee its Resolution

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Sometimes people come into my office searching for why things are the way they are. . . why they feel the way they feel or behave the way they behave. While these introspective questions are important as motivations for practicing introspection, it’s important to remember that making life changes is more about the ‘how’ of the solution than the ‘why’ of the problem.

For example, a common approach to understanding adult behavior is to look at childhood family dynamics. While the ...

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Mindfulness and honesty

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To completely experience the here-and-now, truthful mindfulness is required. Mindfulness and honesty are intricately intertwined as you must be completely honest with yourself about what is going on at any given moment.

Genuine honesty first relates to one’s inner truth about instincts and emotions—even when conflicting or involving ambivalence. Once this inner-genuineness is addressed, it relates to congruence in action and speech towards others.

This sort of mindful honesty is easily recognized. For example, one can clearly tell the difference between ...

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Mindfulness: Intellectual Understanding and Experiential Knowing

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In practicing mindfulness, both intellectual understanding AND experiential knowing of things are important as both are quite real and “of-the-mind.” Think of intellectual understanding as knowing something ‘in-theory,’ whereas experiential knowing goes beyond theory and is actually experienced in reality. I intellectually understand what jumping out of a plane must be like, but I do not experientially know it. My intellectual understanding is enough to tell me, “Nope!” My experiential knowing knows how grateful I am to listen to ...

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Creating the Mindful Mind

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Mindfulness is a word that is becoming more and more familiar to the general public. And I’m glad the word is being used so much; it bodes well in a world that is full of so much violence and heartache. A mindful mind helps relieve suffering because it is a practice of noticing what “is” but without the addition of judgment of good or bad etc. Think of a time when you’ve done something that physically hurt, but rather ...

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Mindfulness Practice

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Look at the child in this picture. That stare . . . it’s called the 10,000-mile stare and you see it when somebody is totally absorbed in the moment. His eyes are open, but he is completely present with the smell of the flower. That’s mindfulness: absorption in the present moment. No judgment, just presence.

Simply noticing what is. Not judging it, not making assumptions as to why it is this way or that. Just allowing your mind to do what ...

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Mindfulness Series

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I last posted a series of articles on the basics of the emotional experience. I’ve discussed the importance of mindfulness in almost every post on my blog, so I figure that doing a brief series on mindfulness would be helpful.

New mindfulness-focused posts will appear at the top of the main blog page, but here’s a list of previously published posts that are specifically focused on Mindfulness (vs posts that only reference mindfulness):

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Metacognition: Awareness of Awareness

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Metacognition is one of the most beneficial results of a mindfulness practice. Remember that mindfulness is simply noticing what is in your awareness, but without the judgment of good or bad. Consider the mild pain associated with a splinter in your finger. Mindfulness of the mild pain would say, “Ah. There’s a pain signal. It is telling me that there is something stuck in my finger, and if I want the pain to stop, I should remove it.” Notice ...

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Pain is a Feeling . . . Suffering is a Thought

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Pain and suffering are not the same. Consider this for a moment. When you stub your toe, you feel pain physically. Suffering, however, is what happens in your head when you judge the pain, the situation, your clumsiness, or even the sidewalk itself! We’ve all done it . . . “that %*&&## stupid sidewalk!” Of course, the sidewalk is just being a sidewalk; it’s not stupid or trying to hurt you! But in that moment of suffering, your thoughts go ...

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Mindfulness & Balanced Efficiency

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When we think of efficiency, we tend to imagine something that requires the least amount of effort to obtain maximal results. In Positive Psychology, there is an idea called Flow Theory that is based on a premise of balancing traits to enter the “flow zone.” The gist of flow theory is that when balanced, skill and challenge yield a timeless, almost meditative state called flow. But skill and challenge in sports, video games, and music instruments are not ...

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Meditation

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You’ve probably seen meditation in the news over the past few years. It is an empirically validated practice that changes your brain structure, chemistry, and functioning. And it’s not about an empty mind . . . it is actually a mindfulness practice.

It is possible to find moments of peace. And it is possible to train your brain to remain calm during stressful times. You can practice this calmness and mindfulness just as you would practice basketball, chess, music, etc. ...

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Living Life vs Living Death

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When you are simply living life as a way to avoid death, then you are living your death, not your life. That can become a chronic condition at a very deep unconscious level. As a matter of fact, it is well-accepted in many schools of thought that most of our anxieties are somehow rooted in a basic, primal fear of death, or of the process of dying. This is an existential approach to suffering, and with a mindfulness ...

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The Authentic Self and Change

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Authenticity means truly being real with yourself, then with others. Most of us carry around a persona, or a mask, that we want people to see. But that persona blocks our authentic self from showing. If we think of truth as being light, then the persona blocks the light and casts a shadow. The “shadow self” is a collection of the traits that we have disowned. In the darkness, they are free to roam around the deep crevices in our ...

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Wise Mind

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In dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), there is a wonderful explanation of how the best of our thinking and feeling minds can be accessed. This “Wise Mind” is based on the idea that the thinking brain and feeling brain both have validity and can be used to inform each other during difficult times.

Read about Flow-Theory for another take on how Wise Mind is a balance of two dynamics.

The thinking mind does just that: It thinks thoughts. It uses logic, experience, ...

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In the Flow Groove Zone

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Flow Theory is an integral part of Positive Psychology. It refers to a zone where you lose track of time, experience yourself on “auto-pilot,” etc. We’ve all been there, and we can recreate it!

When you’re “in the zone,” or “feeling the groove,” or just “flowing,” you are in a state of balance between traits like skill and challenge. When these traits are balanced, you feel like you’re on autopilot, though fully present with what you are doing. You may even ...

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