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-   -   Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy (http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showthread.php?t=267)

Healer March 7th, 2005 03:58 AM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
Jamie, surely your aren't referring to my message. I don't even practice a form of meditation with a religious focus. And, I can't find any religious reference in what I wrote. My remarks, thoughts or feelings could not be freer from anti-semetism.

Lindsay Smith March 8th, 2005 04:52 AM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
Thanks for joining the discussion.

I have added another site about the early 'St Thomas' church that was established in India in the first century. The Arabs & Jews & others traded via India & SE Asia & China in ancient times. In the years from when Christ was 12 until he was 30 he could well have travelled in search of knowledge & adventure.

Lindsay Smith March 8th, 2005 04:57 AM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
Just one of many sites on the early church

http://www.answers.com/topic/saint-thomas-christians

Lindsay Smith March 8th, 2005 05:31 AM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
I understand, I think, what you are saying having lived in Singapore in the early 1970s where high rise is a fact of life.

We all have fears & most of us find ways to manage our emotions. A few times I have experienced the sort of fear you describe. I was born in New Zealand & as a young man spent a lot of time in the Southern Alps mostly walking the tracks in the mountains. On one trip I was leading the party up a loose rock & scree slope that lead up to a pass. When I came up to the pass several climbers I had not seen before were standing there looking down at me climbing up towards them & at my friends clambering up behind.

I turned & looked down at my friends & the view. It was very steep & a long way down. Immediately I felt weak & dizzy as if all my strength was gone. I turned & looked up at the climber standing quite close to me & said, "I'm stuck." He casually reached out his ice axe & I hooked my axe on to his & I felt a surge of strength go through me. I walked up the last few paces easily. I'm not sure what happened there. I don't know how a modern psychologist would try to explain what happened that day.

When I was in Singapore in 1988 & the tower in Raffles Place was nearly finished I took the fast lift up the 57 floors to the top & looked out over the city. I was alone in the lift & alone at the top. The floor was bare cement & there were cables & equipment lying around. I enjoyed the view but did not experience any fear.

I know that some people experience fear in lifts but do not fear heights. This is an interesting issue but I think the practise of 'mindfulness' is mostly about learning how to hold focus & be aware the inner being than about banishing fear or any other emotion. Maybe in time by continually practising mindfulness meditation it is possible to become serene & not fear anything nor be distracted by any emotional concern at all.

Healer March 9th, 2005 08:01 PM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
Sigh. Yes, mindfulness does seem to be detachment from feelings, or at least separation from them. "I know how I feel." "I know what I think." "I choose thoughts." I can do that without or with therapy, and still remain miserable. I can do that without meditation.

To me, the way that I practice meditation, when I experience the grace of meditation, I don't have to choose. I don't get whipped around by feelings. There's another mind that emerges. The enlightened mind. That mind knows the feeling and is separate from it. It can choose.

You see, I've experienced so much doing meditation. The way that I experience meditation it leads me to interpret that what I read in different traditions, religious, is often describing the mystical experience, or the separation that I describe. There's no need to "make" oneself accept. It happens naturally. There's no need to have to choose thoughts over feelings. Both exist, and another mind intervenes painlessly. (BTW, none of this is a common experience for me, or easy to experience.)

I don't know. Maybe my experience is unique. There is just so much to experience with meditation, beyond this description or mindfulness.

My question then, is mindfulness a practice in overriding emotion and chosing thought instead? Do thoughts create happiness--always--or a better way of life--always? Again, I don't need meditation to do this.

Lindsay Smith March 10th, 2005 06:50 AM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
Healer
"I know how I feel." "I know what I think." "I choose thoughts." I can do that without or with therapy, and still remain miserable. I can do that without meditation.

My understanding of 'meditation' is that once a person 'gets there' feelings & thoughts evaporate. Even the awareness of breathing, of being evaporates. So thoughts & feelings are completely suspended.

I asked Swami Poornamurti about 'disappearing,' being completely unaware of my own existence during a meditation session as if I'd just dissolved into the inner space. His comment was, "that happens sometimes, don't expect that to happen all the time." When I asked what should I study, what books should I read he simply said, "just do your practise."

Your comment, "I know how I feel, I know what I think, I choose thoughts" seems 'Cartesian to me. "I think therefore I am."

In the meditative state the lake of the mind eventually becomes still & calm & clear so there are no waves, no ripples, no disturbances, nor even feelings or thoughts.

Teachings of Swami Satyananda, volume 3, page 173 ..

"If you supress these [negative] thoughts, they return again to the depths of your unconscious mind where they play havoc. These subconscious impressions often cause introversion..."
On antar mouna p178 ... "This is a practice of seeing the mind, observing perceptions & accepting experiences... Be a silent, impartial witness to all the functions of the mind. Observe the part of the mind that thinks & the part which rejects thoughts....p178 "Millions of samskaras, latent impressions buried in the depths of the mind, are always coming up & influencing our behaviour, personality & destiny. ... close your eyes & be aware of what you are thinking."

It may be that you are aware of all of the above & more already & that you have been to many meditation retreats & workshops & so on. My comment then is that as the saying goes, 'you are what you eat, you are what you think.' There is no need to feel miserable. You have the power to change what you think, how you think & what you eat. You have the power to change where you live & who you associate with, what you do & how you think & feel about who you are. Cheers & Good Luck.

Healer March 10th, 2005 11:27 AM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
Ah, yes. I do know all of these things. I have experienced many things in meditation. However, they aren't as easy to "do" as one would be lead to believe, at least for me, and from what I read.

You quote from Hindu traditions here. I believe that all meditations roads lead to the same place, or among a group of possible experiences depending upon the person. I am guessing that for most people, the point that I am trying to make, is that meditation is more of a thought process than that of a huge shift in consciousness in the beginning, and as they understand it. I may be wrong. This may be why it seems like exposure therapy to people, rather than a profound change in the mind that has little to do with exposure therapy. I may be wrong.

I like your optimism. We all do have the option to change, but there would be fewer therapists and self-help books if change was that easy. In fact, maybe we'd need only one or two of both if change was easy. Furthermore, there are real obstacles in life. I'm quite sure I will never be a concert pianist, for example.

Lindsay Smith March 15th, 2005 03:59 PM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
My own personal daily meditation training is Taijiquan & Qigong from 6-7+am every morning with a group in the park on the riverbank. It may be that you do not have the opportunity to learn these arts with a competent teacher but you could do walking meditation.

Google has many sites & where you can find useful information. I know others who have studied Buddhism intensively that have found active physical work is of great benefit. In yoga ashrams only an hour or two per day is given to yoga & seated meditation. The rest of the day is taken up with some form of physical work. Relax the body to relax the mind. It's a matter of balance. Being mentally exhausted but having plenty of physical energy to burn is not good.

Dave Birren April 1st, 2005 05:17 PM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
Lindsay Smith asked what evidence there is that Jesus taught Buddhist philosophy and offered a website to look into. I think if one reads the Gospel of Matthew it's easy to see Buddhism in the background, especially in the Sermon on the Mount, which IMO is straight Buddhism.

Healer April 11th, 2005 07:55 AM

Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy
 
A number of years ago, when I was getting a graduate degree, one of the topics of interest in classical art and archaeology was the influence of the East on religion in the West, if I remember correctly.


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