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Archive for the ‘post traumatic stress’ Category

What’s Holding You Back?

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What is holding you back from attaining genuine peace of mind? What denies you the ability of staying calm and centered? What’s keeping you from achieving the true YogaGirlmeditative state? Why haven’t you had spiritual learning experiences? And most of all, what is holding you back from receiving Enlightenment?

You might guess that, because I’m asking these questions, I think I know the answer. Well yes, I actually do have an answer. Other people may have other answers, for sure. I can only offer you what I’ve learned from my own experiences and perceptions as a meditation “teacher.”

The answer is in one word: Stress.

Of all the millions of people who want to develop a useful and rewarding meditative practice, the primary reason that most of them can’t get there is Stress. When they sit down to meditate, they close their eyes, and they are immediately bombarded with unwanted thoughts and images. The underlying cause in most cases is stress. They want to achieve a quiet mind and instead, the energy boiling up from stress makes their mind sound like Radio San Juan. A non-stop series of staccato car commercials.

Many masters and teachers over the centuries have known this. Recent studies show that over two thirds of people in the U.S. suffer from a specific type of stress, namely: Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). That is stress caused by earlier injury in life, injury that has not healed.

My take on this: A person’s meditation will always be limited to some degree by unhealed trauma.

Some teachers claim that meditation can overcome PTS. That has not been my experience. Meditation is often useful for discovering (i.e., remembering) earlier unhealed trauma. And while meditation may give the student small periods of rest and recovery time, it rarely cures the problem.

So yes, by all means meditate regularly. But keep a journal of everything that disturbs your meditations. Then go back and read your notes now and then. What you have written may point you to things you weren’t consciously aware of. And when you find a persistent blockage, rejoice! Because what you’ve found may be a huge prize. It might be the key to great forward progress in your spiritual development.

First and foremost, be aware that it might scare you. Coming up against an area that blocks you is usually frightening. You may not know exactly why it scares you. But there is something behind the blockage that wounded you in the past. And it hasn’t healed.

That has happened to me three times in my life. Maybe more than three, but I remember three very clearly. In every one of those cases, I used another person to help me get past the block, find the traumatic event, and then resolve it. In one case it was a hypnotist, in another it was a close friend, and the third was a shrink.

I learned many decades ago: Explore inward until you find the monster. Then, embrace the monster. It will no longer frighten you, and it will always give you a huge gift.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

December 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Spirituality Makes You a Better Person

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Not only does attaining true spirituality make you a better person, but your whole experience of life will improve. You learn to live on a higher level than ordinary human consciousness. At least in that respect, your life becomes a kind of paradise.

Being spiritually aware gives you abilities and advantages not available in the ordinary human state of mind. You can live more distant from your ordinary human existence—when and if you choose. You can insert a filter between you and your outer day-to-day human life. You can even insert a filter between your spiritual self and your own body. These filters are very useful when you are dealing with illness or difficult circumstances. Or they can help you just enjoy the life you have.

Most people use drugs and alcohol as their filters to temporarily get away from a life they don’t like. But when you discover your own spiritual state, you can do the same thing—a lot better—and with none of the ugly side effects of booze and drugs.

I sometimes chuckle to myself when I talk about the spiritual state and advocate Zen meditation. Some of my unenlightened contemporaries in the psychology profession think of this as a kind of mental illness. I think there’s even a DSM code for it. That is hilarious.

Above, I wrote discover your own spiritual state. From a writer’s point of view, I feel a need to expand on that. But if you’ve followed this blog very long, then you’ve already read enough about that. So I won’t. This morning I just don’t feel like repeating myself. In addition, I’ve also put what I know about real spirituality in a couple of ebooks available on amazon. (See sidebar to the right.) The one titled Living in Zen is free from today through this coming weekend.

Attaining spirituality is described by Bodhidharma as discovering your deepest self-nature. That is when you discover who you are and what you are at the deepest levels of your being, all without the masks and delusions created by your conscious mind. Discovering your self-nature is one of the first steps and is the most important step to Enlightenment.

Ease Your Troubled Mind

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I’ve discovered a new inner mechanism—a mental resource for inner development—that I hadn’t known about. Perhaps hundreds of people may already have discovered the same thing. A few of them may even have written about it. But let me explain it this way:

People have difficulty being present in the moment because of their noisy, non-stop minds. From my experience working with people, the worst of the worst are people who have unresolved issues with past trauma. And that covers the majority of our population.

Recent research shows trauma is not merely remembered by the mind, but it actually changes brain structure. Trauma changes the way a person thinks and feels. Trauma reprograms people’s behaviors, often forcing them to react in the same way as the time the original trauma happened. As a result, a person’s mind can be hijacked over and over by something that happened in the past.

This is known as Post Traumatic Stress, or PTS. Previously it was called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But the psychiatric community decided to quit calling it a disorder, so the “D” was dropped.

Perhaps the most significant thing to know about PTS is it damages your your mind. Most significantly it damages your ability to control your mind.

For example, there you are, sitting on your meditation cushion, trying to calm your out-of-control conscious mind. But stress from some past trauma (that you may not even remember) is forcing your mind to go round and around like a rat in a roundhouse.

What to do?

In the short-term, improve your skills in Zen meditation. Then, the long-term solution is using your Zen practice to stop those rat-in-roundhouse thinking patterns, allowing you to be fully present where you are.

Each time you feel fear and anxiety forcing your mind into those round-and-round, out-of-control thought patterns, you must relax, breath deeply, and pull yourself back into the Zen state. As you do that repeatedly, over and over for many meditations, you can gradually undo the programming damage that was done by previous trauma.

The magic is this: Each time you feel threatened by your PTS, put yourself into a peaceful present-to-the-moment state of mind . You will gradually, over time, change your programmed responses. Instead of reacting with overwhelming fear and suffering from whatever stimulus formerly caused stress, your mind will react instead by creating a peaceful state. All it takes is practice. Lots of practice.

You can use the Zen state in almost any conceivable situation. You can use it to put yesterday and tomorrow out of your mind, and allow yourself to be in the peaceful experience and awareness of now.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

June 17, 2015 at 7:46 pm