MASTERY

Some time ago, I went to my meditation teacher for some advice.  I believed I was having some difficulty with a person in my life and just didn’t think I knew what to do.  So, I began my tale.  He interrupted me, not rudely, just asked me, “You have practiced taekwondo, haven’t you?”  Yes, I said.   “And, you have studied and practiced yoga for many years, right?  Vinyasa yoga, even, true?”   Yes.  I have.  “What are your practices like, describe them – taekwondo first.”  I did, in detail.  He said, “The same every time?  Taekwondo and vinyasa, the same every time?”   Yes.   “Are your masters good teachers?”   Yes, very much so, both of them.  “Why are your practices repetitive?”  To master our bodies, our brains with our minds.  To improve our reflexes, focus and concentration.  To improve speed and conditioning.  “Uh huh.  Yes.  So, when you repeat your tale of woe, what does that do for you?  What does it improve for you, what do you master?  Can you recall these wrongs with more speed, and conditioning?”   Hmmm. . .

“Perhaps, when these thoughts come to you, you could mentally practice your taekwondo, or your vinyasa – meditate upon those.  You might quicken something.  You might gain insight and mastery.  When you speak of taekwondo, of yoga, your face is pure joy, and your voice changes like love for a child, do you know this?  I’ve enjoyed the time we have spent.”

Yeah, got it.   Hope it helps you, too.  It took practice, it takes practice, but WOW it works.  Train your mind.  Peace to you, and thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

ANGER


When you feel anger, don’t dismiss it or shame it. Acknowledge anger as the message it is. Emotions send messages, information that we need. Anger can tell us something needs to change; anger warns of injustice. Anger spurred such changes as important as the civil rights movement. Anger in the mind of someone skilled at its interpretation: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So, we can practice being skilled, as well. When you feel it, realize it is a feeling, and that its message is that something needs to change, or to be addressed. Now, use your skillful mind to discern: what is your skillful, contributory approach? Practice, practice.

 

SANTA CLAUS, OR BROTHER’S KEEPER?

I’ve been thinking about this, and thinking about this; well, I have to weigh in.  I’ll tell it through my own experience, you’ll get the gist.
Many, many years ago, I was a supervisor in a medical support position at a mental health care facility.  The facility had a locked ward.  I was one of very few support staff who had to make trips to the locked ward.  We had a protocol.  Normally, I followed it carefully.  I believed I was following it carefully this day.  I approached the first door, waited and was ‘buzzed’ into an anteroom.  We were supposed to wait for a few seconds, then the second door would open.  I would look both ways, toward patient rooms, and toward the dayroom, then cross when no one was in that short hallway.  This day, I believed I was being careful.  But, I crossed the hallway and someone was behind me, surprising both of us.  The man grabbed me, from behind, around my neck and above my waist, he had me about two or three inches off the ground.  I was immediately afraid, and then kind of pissed off.

I looked toward the entry to the nurse’s station and there stood a young resident.  He moved into the doorway and began talking to the man who had hold of me.  He spoke in a neutral voice.  Something about this young resident’s expression hit me with more impact than being yanked off my feet.  I suddenly felt terribly sad.  Yes, this man could hurt me, that’s very true, and that didn’t leave my mind.  But, I knew he did not mean to.  As the resident spoke to him, I could feel his fear and confusion.  He was afraid of me.  I had surprised him every bit as much as he surprised me.  He was not seeing me, but some delusion which was, at that moment, his reality.  I was inside that delusion and he was afraid of me.  He was talked into releasing me, and he did so without harming me.  I felt sickened at heart, and terribly sad.  I knew, the reality hit me – no going back.  I knew where I was and what I was witnessing, it changed my entire way of thinking.   This man with promise, hopes, family and friends was betrayed by the very organ we believe defines us, presents our identity to the outside world – his brain.  I could not imagine what that would be like.  To be one kind of person, to think of and see yourself as one kind of person, and become and do things that are not within your experience of yourself.

 
In the following couple of weeks, an incident report had to be filed.  I was questioned, interviewed, etc.  So was the man.  He didn’t really understand what he had done, he knew it was something that he was ashamed of.   He didn’t want to look at me.  I just felt sick about the whole thing.  No, he shouldn’t have attempted to harm me, but that isn’t what he was attempting to do; however, that’s what his action could have resulted in.  He shouldn’t have been in that position.  And, he was going to be put out on the street.  What then?  Didn’t anyone ask that?  No.  Because it was about cutting funding for mental health services.  That’s just a luxury item, right?  We don’t want to pay for that for crazy folk, do we?

Unless you are the one experiencing a psychotic break and/or schizophrenia, I don’t think you can explain it to anyone – I don’t think mental health care providers can.  It’s a terrible and devastating illness, creating destruction all across its path.   There is more hope now for people, but it really depends on a great support system, and money, money, money for care, much care.  That’s not the story for most.

So if you want to demonize, vilify, there it is, you certainly can.  But, if you are interested in the truth, if you believe the truth brings healing and opportunity to educate and prevent, you’ll have to look a little deeper, past the easiest reaction, past the seduction of the media and their agenda to keep a story alive no matter how skewed or misrepresented, no matter that it engenders fear, suspicion and hatred.   There is enough pain here to go around.  All have suffered.

Unless we look at this situation for the truth it offers, and begin there, it is going to continue to happen.  We need to know what our state laws are regarding mental health issues and the reporting thereof.  We need to know how to enhance those laws for the protection of all.  Mental health is not a luxury item.  And, ‘no’ Virginia there is no Santa Claus, but  ‘yes’ we are our brother’s keeper – help comes when we acknowledge and provide it – even if a person can only look at it from the point of their own self-interest.

By no means is it my intention to make less of the suffering of all the victims and their families.  My heart is sick for all concerned.

Thank you for stopping by.  Lilie

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT IT

Hussein’s comments prompted me to think more about fear, accepting and overcoming it.  There  are aspects to that conversation I hadn’t thought about.  This is a subject with dimension. I’m tackling here the open discussion of having a fear, what does that mean to anyone?  To you?

When I first openly discussed the fear I was dealing with, fear of public performance, it seemed to make others uncomfortable.  No one wanted to talk about it.  I was told by one woman that I was exposing myself as weak.  That got my attention.  I had never thought of that, and could not understand that concept – that people would see me as weak because I admitted to a fear that I was working on overcoming.   Hmm. . . .  Privately, I was getting email, phone calls from local folk, and I was stopped by a couple of women, acquaintances, to discuss why they had discontinued activities in their lives, but they both said they would never admit to that, because of the way it would be seen, admitting to having a fear.  Gives you something to think about.  Is it weak?’

I couldn’t see that.  I can’t see the weakness in openly, forthrightly accepting something that you struggle with.  Obviously, others were struggling and it was guiding their decisions for what they wanted to do in their lives.  When I began speaking about this openly, the fear seemed to lose its grip on me.  It no longer was an entity outside of me with its own set of rules.  It was just the thoughts in my mind, over which I could begin to exercise control.  I felt stronger, in all situations – some not connected to fear.  I began to feel more confident.

I see now this is a subject worth some discussion.  Many aspects.  Are you exposing yourself as weak, if you admit to a fear?  How so?  Do you necessarily have to reveal something you feel is that personal to attempt overcoming or accepting it?   My answer to that is No.  If you are admitting to yourself the truth of the thoughts of your mind; the truth of the things you feel bind you, and you are setting them out before y-o-u, examining and understanding them – changing the direction of your thought life – good for you.  I don’t think that requires telling anyone else, if you don’t want to.  For me, I knew others were struggling with the same thing and it was holding them back.  I knew they weren’t going to speak up.  And, I felt it was important to speak up so others might benefit.

What you feel shame about, what you hide – binds you, almost guarantees it will be what has control of your thought life.  That’s more painful and crippling than a bit of skin off from any embarrassment brought on by exposure.

Thank you for stopping by.  Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.  Perhaps we all learn.

AGAIN WITH THIS TOPIC?

Forgiveness,  a much talked about, written about topic – maybe it is exhausted by now?   I’m going to give it a shot.

I was raised, in very younger years – by my family, in a rather severe  Christian tradition.  Taught all the doctrine of  some particularly rigid churches I attended at the time; and, at that time, believed it.  Over the years, peace and forgiveness didn’t seem to come according to the rules and regs I was taught.  It did not work for me.  In fact, I seemed to be  in a state of inner turmoil and conflict, judging and damning myself continually.  What to do then?  (Not  a knock on Christianity, just my experience – I love and admire people whose faith brings the best out in them, and to them).

Then, an insight that had been with me, finally dawned.   For me,   I had to let go of all the doctrine of the  past, and look at the knowledge and wisdom available to me N-O-W.   A simple thing.  Isn’t it usually, when it comes down to it?  Maybe lay that concept of forgiveness aside, and go with me here.  Could you do it like this:  Know a thing, a person, a concept for what it is PERIOD.   See the truth, and accept it  as it is.

If a person has injured you in some way: physically, emotionally, financially, whatever way in which you feel injured – see the person for who they are.  Are they, in most of your dealings with them:  kind, considerate, compassionate, thoughtful, and it was just their turn, in that moment,  to be the jerk?   Remember, we all are up for ‘jerk day’, we have them.   If so, let it go.  Each time the thought arises in your mind, you have the power not to entertain it, not to ruminate – up to you.  The less you entertain it, the weaker it becomes – soon, you won’t recall it easily anymore.  If, however, injury is the character of the person, on a rather consistent basis  –  well, there you have it.  There’s your answer.  You can examine the issue, decide whether speaking to them would be of benefit;  or, accept that they are telling and showing you who they are.  What do you want to do about that?  You don’t have to get even, hate, gossip about, avenge yourself – no, you don’t have to do a thing.  You can decide where to put your attention; where to give your time, love and effort.  Simple as that.  What is, is.

There are painful experiences in the world.  We add the suffering.  It’s a choice.

Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

WELCOME, TO UNDERTHEWISDOMTREE.WORDPRESS.COM

Welcome.   And, thank you for visiting.

Underthewisdomtree.wordpress.com is the blog site for Southwest MT Pain Mgt, Inc., a nonprofit business dedicated to teaching chronic pain/illness management through the use of meditation.

Along the way, I learned many other uses for meditation.   The primary reason I began a meditation practice was that it helped me detach emotionally from my pain, and physical problems.   I became my own ‘mindful observer’.  It wasn’t about denying emotions, but it was about seeing that emotion is a messenger.   We can decide how we want to process the message.

I also found, in working with others, that meditation is calming, gives you that space inside yourself to access reason rather than reactivity.  It has been used, with proven success, in prisons.  It is beneficial  for anger management and bullying issues.  For people who struggle with emotional control, it’s a safe, excellent place to start.  Easy and cost-effective, too.

Why a nonprofit?  Because the teaching is not covered, currently, by insurance.  I have a feeling it will be, when insurance companies realize how cost-effective teaching coping skills is.  And, it keeps some people who would be interested in having some assistance with coping skills from slipping through the cracks because they don’t have the money.  Also, personally, because I would like to teach in schools and other public forums the benefits of realizing Y-O-U are in control of your thinking, and how you put that in action.  The younger we learn this, the better.

So, in this space you will find articles related to issues of everyday living, particularly for those who deal with chronic pain/illness.  I am one of those.  I have had postherpetic neuralgia of the S1 nerve root (down my legs, especially left) for about the last 16 years.   At the time my story began, there was little information out there about the effects of shingles, and few healthcare providers who were able to help me.  I did my own research, studying and review.  Found my own diagnosis, which was then confirmed by physicians.  And, after reviewing the western medical protocol offered to me, I put together my own treatment plan.  I try to share that here.

I hope something posted here will be helpful to you, maybe make you think and might even be a place to say ‘hey yeah, that’s me, too’.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie Allen