While this story from the CS Monitor is not directly related to health, it has huge implications for public health. And the fact that there are really smart people, working really hard at being helpful gives me a lot of hope.
I am taking a risk here and using a summary of a report rather than digging into the report itself. However, the summary is pretty damning and explains why medical care costs so much. (If I find that the article has misrepresented the death rates between drug group and placebo then I will post a correction.)
This is for the mindfulness class this week. We are going to explore some principles and methods for making unhelpful conversations more effective.
- We all have conversations which are unhelpful and unpleasant. These conversations often repeat themselves, with consistently unhelpful and unpleasant results.
- We try to make the conversations pleasant. So we avoid the real issues and the conversation is pleasant, but still unhelpful.
- Or we avoid the conversations altogether, which is still unhelpful.
When I was in college my Japanese professor had an anecdote on his door. The gist was that the purpose of an education was to be able to see through bullshit.
This site looks promising.
I apologize for being a math nerd, but I thought this article was beautiful.
One theme this past week was hearing from people who are exhausting themselves by trying to do their best.
While the advice to “just do your best” is given by people who mean well, it can be a trap that drains our energy. Instead of doing our best we need to know how to pace ourselves.
- Do good enough at each task.
- If you can do a task good enough without doing your best, then do NOT do your best.
- If you really love an activity, then do your best at it.
If we follow rules 1 and 2 then we will have energy to follow rule 3.
I often work with people who have been seriously harmed by someone else. They often struggle with the idea of forgiveness. They have a sense that forgiving the other person is something they should do, but they have concerns that doing so will leave them vulnerable or discount the harm they have suffered. This is especially true when they have left a violent relationship. The issue gets very muddled.
The following metaphor has helped clarify the idea of forgiveness for many of the people I have worked with.
How do we decide what to do without judging?
In an earlier post I discussed contemplation contrasted with rumination. One of the unhelpful processes that creates rumination I called “judging” and suggested that many times we are able to act more effectively if we use describing instead of judging.
When I present this to people I find that some wonder how they can decide what to do if they are not judging, if they don’t label things as right and wrong.
Anger is a difficult emotion to deal with in ourselves. People I work with usually have similar questions about anger and I answer some of those here.
These answers incorporate some of the contemplative skills I discussed in an earlier post.
What is the purpose of anger?
This was the favorite meditation of the students in the class I led for 10 years. I made a audio track of it for people I know who are working to help those who are suffering as it can provide a lot of spiritual support. The track is short so you can use it easily during the day. If you loop the track make sure to take some big breaths and stretch when you finish listening to get fully alert. Also do not use it while operating machinery.
This is a short video on two different types of thinking: Contemplation and Rumination. I describe each and give some suggestions on how to shift from rumination to contemplation. I will be using this for the classes I am teaching this week.
I am also uploading the audio if you want to download it.
Here is the transcript: Continue reading Contemplation vs Rumination – Overview
Here is a short video that uses a visual illusion to explain the mental quality of spaciousness. Spaciousness is the mental quality that complements the other four mental qualities of steadiness, pliancy, warmth and clarity.
I made this meditation for a healthcare professional I work with. She finds herself exhausted toward the end of her work day and in need of a recharge.
Another video for the classes this fall.
This video gives a brief visual example of three meditation methods: Centering, Attending and Concentrating. These are covered in Chapters 2-4 of the book we are using, Real Meditation in Minutes a Day.
The visual example did not work for the fourth method, Opening, described in Chapter 5. I will work on a separate video for that.