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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Healing

I include this as a reminder for myself, mainly, to watch this video of Jon Kabat-Zinn discussing mindfulness. This comes after watching this other video on meditation by Kabat-Zinn.

An Unresolved Question: To what extent do I need to try to eradicate craving, and to what extent do I need to just carry on practicing, thus letting it fall away naturally? Bacon Sandwich

This issue remains unresolved for me. Maybe because some cravings are deeply held – e.g. for approval, or affection – that I don’t even know where to begin in tackling them and want to believe that they will fall away naturally as I mature spiritually. Maybe also because some ‘cravings’ have seemed easy to give up – meat, for example, is something that I still do crave from time to time but I can sit with that and, mostly, manage to keep away. Sometimes I don’t, and I ‘m quite relaxed about that – again because I feel I can trust my practice to do the work for me. So there needs to be willpower about practicing, to keep that persistent – but if practice is solid then is there any need to really work hard on specific areas? Surely they will just cease to be an issue at the time when they cease to be an issue. Like alcohol, which is no longer something I crave, because my entire reaction to it has changed, from seeing it as a pleasurable and probably harmless activity to something which is not enjoyable and interferes with my mindfulness.
 
I sense myself going around and about the topic so I will stop, but this remains unresolved.

Look at the title. You can see my problem with clarity of expression laid bare.What I’d like to express here, though, is the fascinating insights into behaviour that can be prompted by mindfulness. Awareness leads to insight, to (massively) paraphrase the Buddha (that was the general gist, whether he actually said that I’ve no idea), and a difficult moment this morning led to a moment of that insight. We might think that difficulties in dealing with others have some immediate cause, but the difficulty I had maintaining empathy in the face of someone rather hostile to me go back much, much further than that. On the face of it, it’s related to being tired due to a. a busy weekend during which my parents came to stay as well as b. illness. I can’t blame b. on any particular individual, but the bug that got into my respiratory system and has made me cough all night long for the last 4 weeks had to have come from somewhere. But a. can be implicated on so many levels – was it just tiredness from a couple of entertaining late nights, or were the late nights (and increased stress levels) in some way prompted by the entire history of my relationship with my folks? I can’t say for sure, but ina subtle way pretty much my entire life history has an influence over how I respond to other human beings right now. Woah.So it should be obvious – I can’t change my life history, I can only change how I respond in the present, for which mindfulness is required. Which means there is no choice but to practice. Whichever way I look at it there is no choice but to practice, no way to go but relentlessly forward.

Well, all things are impermanent, as they say, and in a way that applies to this blog, which has languished somewhat since my initial excitement died down. It just occurred to me that it serves a purpose, however, which is to act as a personal diary of practice and reflections. One thing I struggle with is the ability to express my innermost ideas. They can seem quite clear at times, but when given an opportunity to express them, oftentimes the most I can come up with is “Bleurgh!”. How very expressive. So practice at such self-expression is required.

Will anyone read this? That’s not the point, it’s for my benefit, but if anyone does find this helpful/interesting then that is a bonus.

A variation on yesterday’s post, as favoured by the Dalai Lama;

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world

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