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Unread January 19th, 2005, 07:23 AM
Lindsay Smith
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Default Re: Isn't mindfulness meditation exposure therapy

This afternoon a young instrumental music teacher came to see me about performance anxiety on recommendation from the mother of one of her students. So we discussed her work & her concerns & about 'just getting students to show up' for class & band. We discussed educational goals. The short term goal may be just to teach a small skill like getting a smooth soft sound from the trumpet. And how to do just that. It takes a lot of breath control & mind control as well. The performing arts are full of opportunities that mix theory & practise on many levels. It boils down to follow me, 'the demonstration' & discuss 'the effort' then try again. Slowly, slowly & mindfully skills are aquired without the need for anyone to be anxious.

Recently I read 'Five Past Midnight in Bhopal' by Dominique Lapierre & Javier Moro, a beautifully written book about the night of December 3, 1984 when toxic gas escaped from an American pesticide plant killing between 16 & 30 thousand people, 'the most murderous industrial disaster in history.' Page 334 tells how a sadhu meditating under the great tamarind tree in Kamla Park watched impassively as people fled the deadly cloud. All through the night the Naga Baba, naked holy man remained cross legged in the lotus position. He had lived there for 35 years ever since a five day samadhi, spiritual exercise in which he was buried alive, had turned him into a holy man. His only possessions, a pilgrims' stick with Shiva's trident & a food bowl. Detached from all desires, material things, appearances, aversions he spent his days meditating & rolling beads. His gaze seemly vacant behind half closed eyelids he seemed indifferent to the chaos that surrounded him. Monomethylamine & phosgene asphyxiated dozens of men & women around him. Trained to breathe only once every 3 or 4 minutes by his ascetic exercises the Naga Baba did not inhale the vapours from the passing cloud & was the only person to survive in Kamla Park.
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