Rafiki...mindfulness

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by Debra49659, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    I was working on mindfulness.....sort of by feeling the breath coming in and leaving my body, I fell asleep...lol! Is that supposed to happen? BTW still looking forward to your post on mindfulness when you are feeling up to it, of course.

    Thanks so much for you help!
    Deb
  2. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    I have read some information that I found on the internet about him and that is exactly the book I will be looking for!! And thanks so much for the link I will check it out tomorrow:)

    Deb
  3. gapsych

    gapsych New Member


    My I read this book many years ago. I will have to see if I can find it and look at it again. I think it is the book that I read a passage at my mother's memorial service.

    gap
  4. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Yeah, Kabat Zinn is very popular and has done so much to spread the practice of mindfulness in the west. His books are very popular.

    He does not speak to me, personally, as clearly as Pema Chodron (WHEN THINGS FALL APART or THE PLACES THAT SCARE YOU) who is a western woman who became a Buddhist nun in the 1970s. Pema Chodron also happens to have ME which is just an interesting aside.

    Falling asleep is not encouraged :eek:) because as another poster (forgive me, I've forgotten whom) said, it's about being fully awake! However, I do breathe myself to sleep at night. I find that so long as I have different practices (habits, postures, routine, mantras) that I can use the breath to both wake up and fall asleep. It makes sense, really, because it is about getting to know your mind and making it more responsive to what you want it to do.

    You've probably heard people refer to the noisy unruly mind most of us have as "chattering monkeys". I like to think of it as unruly puppy mind. It runs around all over the place, without focus or attention or any sense of where it is or what it's doing. But, it is its very puppiness (its nature) that enables you to train it. If it never ran away, you could never train it to come, sit, stay.

    So, when your puppy is well trained you can give it the command to sit, stay (awake and attentive) or to lie down and sleep. You do have to give your puppy mind very clear directions at first, though and most find it easiest to work on one command at a time.

    Yes, only a major dog person like myself would have to come up with a dog analogy to grasp meditation.

    ok, brain going: zzzt zzt zzzzzzt

    peace,
    r
  5. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    that print of several well trained puppies and sit behind there mother...and at the door is a muddy puppy that has been out to play.

    Well say hello to your muddy puppy:) lol! While I will work to become a well heeled dog, at my core is that muddy puppy who will at time become distracted! While I won't go out to play I will on occasion fall asleep while studying and you may have to rap my nose:)

    Just call me mud,
    Deb
  6. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Muddy puppy!

    Sistah!
  7. windblade

    windblade Active Member


    I love that image of the jumping around puppy. I'm trying to learn mindfulness, my anxiety disorder causes my mind to race, and dwell on bad things from the past, so many negative things.

    Springwater has been teaching me and others about deep breathing. I really need to learn these skills to just cope with life.

    Rafiki - is the meditation - concentrating on breathing - lovingly gathering up the straying puppies, an ability that gets easier as you progress?

  8. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    My metaphor got away from me a little bit here. There is only one puppy. The mind is the unruly puppy. More than one puppy would be too much!

    Yes, I have found that an unruly mind changes utterly and completely with a little gentle training.

    The first thing I noticed, after a couple of weeks, was that there was just a little space between my frantic thoughts.

    My brain was still generating a flow of thoughts, that's what a brain does, but I was aware of the space that existed around them. My thoughts were not jammed up against each other any more.

    That small space around the thought allowed me an opportunity to just sit where I was and not run with the thought - to not attach myself to the usually frightening or worrisome thought. I could just let it go. I could choose not to create a story about the thought and just be in the spaces instead.

    Over time, I became a person who could take the time to respond instead of reacting in situations in life. There was a change not only in the way I understood my brain but also in the way it worked. Meditating changes the way the brain functions as well as changing the way we perceive it. And, when my thoughts stopped rushing, so did I.

    It's all very simple, really. If all it did was allow us to slow down our thoughts and see them for what they are, that would be more than enough.

    We spend so much of our lives totally in the grip of scary stories we are telling ourselves with our unguarded thoughts. We spend a lot of time suffering over what might happen later or what did happen yesterday. It is enough, and it is possible, to simply deal with what is in the moment.

    And that is just the tip of the iceberg - 90% of the available peace is still below the surface. It's great stuff.

    Peace out,
    rafiki

    ETA: I'm not sure if I ever answered your question. Yes, it gets easier because the space between the thoughts gets bigger. After a while, the thoughts just float up full of air instead of shooting up all hot and full of dynamite. So, you stop fearing and fighting them.

    Oh, every once in a while, especially if you are out of practice, you forget and begin to wrestle with the thoughts but it's always easier to get back than it was in the beginning.

    And, I was fully convinced that I was the one person in the world who could never, ever meditate. I had panic disorder from 18 and my thoughts dragged me around screaming. I once went to a Yoga class with a husband and when the Yoga teacher said, "relax", he looked at me and whispered, "It's over for you, isn't it?" Relax?! RELAX!?

    This works, one just has to do it.

    And, remember, if your puppy never runs away you can't teach it to come, sit, stay. The more it runs away, the more opportunities you have to teach it to do what you want.

    There is an old Buddhist saying that your own unguarded thoughts will hurt you more than your worst enemy. True enough.

    ~Peace~[This Message was Edited on 01/26/2009]
  9. springwater

    springwater Active Member

    I love puppies who keep running out and getting their little paws muddy. LOL! And chew up a slipper or two.

    Speaking of mindfulness, when i was new to this concept i used to think what is this mindfulness, mindfulness all the Buddhist teachers seem to keep talking about?

    Now i know, when one mindfully does anything, be it wash your dishes, cook your soup, sit outside and look at life passing by, it heightens the sensation, helping you live more fully and in the moment.. Makes the mind more alert - a more alert mind automatically seems to make the body more alert in a kind of chain reaction..and i really needed this, as since childhood i had a tendency to drift off into daydreams for most part of the day...probably part of a reflex mechanism to shut out the misery of ongoing events. But it did me no favours when i grew up and had to get a job, i was wooly headed and clumsy a lot...this has helped me reconnect with life..and i still daydream sometimes, but i dont live in them like i used to.

    God Bless
  10. springwater

    springwater Active Member

    I fall asleep a lot too..while doing breathing exercises....lol. But i dont mind it...sleeplessness gives me the heebie jeebies. Not the other way around.

    God Bless
  11. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    description of mindfulness!

    And puppies!

    Namaste
  12. windblade

    windblade Active Member


    So relieved that there is only one puppy. :)

    Yesterday, when I was doing some deep breathing, for the first time I noticed that little space that you spoke of. That was so encouraging to me. I get fearful of so many endless thoughts, because with PTSD - there is so much pain, and horrible thought.

    But concentrating on the space gave me a feeling of hope.

    Also, the puppy image I love so much - I've always heard that you are not supposed to get impatient or angry with yourself when your thoughts wander. And just thinking of that one puppy automatically brings a feeling of love.

    When I do deep-breathing, I sometimes say, breathing in, breathing out.

    Actually the breathing, and working with the chakras, and visualizations are part of my 'homework' for dealing with the hyper-alertness of PTSD, and it strengthens the present-day part of the self.

    I also saw months ago - here at pro-health, that meditation/breathing is the best way to bring the brain into a restful state. I surely need that! It was a Dr.'s article.

    Rafiki - when you meditate - do you just look at your thoughts and let them pass, or do you use any images, like putting them in bubbles, and they float away?

    I'm so very glad that you and Springwater are both here sharing and teaching! You are both excellent teachers!!!

    Peace and Blessings.
  13. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    It seems to me that you are well on your way. Awareness of the space is huge! That "space" is your own untroubled self. That peaceful ground that is underneath all the pain, is you.

    We sometimes think we need to impose a superficial layer of calmness over our deeply frightened and troubled selves but it's not so. We simply need a way to see through the superficial, but terribly painful, layer of experience to our own peaceful heart. The peace is always there. Believe you me, I had no idea my essential nature was peace! None, zip, nada! I believed my essential nature was fear, I truly did.

    When my thoughts become very sticky, scary and seductive I say, "Ah, thinking, just thinking." (Thank you Pema Chodron!) and return attention to the breath. If our mind is the puppy, the thoughts are the mud. We might look at the puppy all muddy and see only all the trouble that mud brings or we can see our lovely puppy underneath and think: Just mud. Just thoughts.

    When we pay too much attention to the mud, the mud becomes everything. We may grab the puppy, totally forgetting it's wonderful puppy nature, and get into an overwrought fretting, scrubbing forgetting the puppy state - everything is mud! But, even though we believe that everything is mud, underneath is always the dear puppy.

    This makes me want to cry! When we can see our own dear nature, our own sweet selves, as innocent puppies we do much better. The inclination to treat ourselves badly is very strong, though. We would never treat a puppy the way we treat ourselves. We would never follow a little puppy around saying, "Bad Dog! You're a bad dog!" the way we do ourselves.

    That little space that is so calm and full of love, that is your essential nature.

    Who knew, huh?!

    Thank you for your kind words. My puppy's tail is wagging!

    Rafiki
  14. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    for sharing their experiences with mindfulness. I agree the rafiki and springwater are wonderful teachers, and the muddy puppy is going to work wonders for me:)

    My past is filled to the brim with horrible experiences that I've manage for the most part to close off. Have I put my muddy puppy in a crate to wither away??

    As a beginner of learning mediation and about mindfulness I realize that I am on the right path but I have a long way to travel.

    I am glad I have my friends to guide me...thank you all!

    Deb