#truelove #allowing #dating
These questions, and others focused on what is needed for people to transit into more positive and aware times, inspired us to ask a number of leading luminaries, which resulted in our book, The Way Ahead: A Visionary Perspective For The New Millennium.
Initially our purpose was to ask how could we have a better world, but it soon became a treatise of how to live with awareness and spirituality, how to make our lives an expression of wholeness. It became an illustration of mindfulness in action.
Enjoy the voices of some of those luminaries:
Mindfulness is primarily being aware of ourselves, such as our thoughts and feelings. In the process we also become aware of our limitations. Deepak Chopra reminds us to go beyond ourselves in order to find ourselves when he says:
Remember, nothing you already know is going to free you. Getting beyond the mind’s boundaries is a more profound goal than the mind can grasp. If you begin this investigation into your deeper nature, you will find that real, lasting healing comes from just being yourself and watching what happens. If you have a sincere willingness, what will happen will be an inner unfolding; the tightly furled bud will open into a flower.
Martin Luther King Jr. nominated the Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize, but the real prize came in a very simple and direct way to make mindfulness a part of even the smallest of our interactions. Thich Nhat Hanh says:
Every time the telephone rings we all stop and breathe in and out, saying, ‘Listen, listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true self.’ We call it telephone meditation! It is very easy to practice telephone meditation. When you hear the telephone, just stay where you are and breathe in and out consciously and smile. When you hear the second sound, you can breathe in and out again and enjoy the sound of the telephone. If the other person has something very important to tell you, he or she will wait for at least three rings. When you hear the third ring you continue breathing and are serene, so when you answer the phone you are calm and smiling. This is good for you and for the person who is calling!
Mindfulness affects everything we do, not just answering the telephone, and this includes what we eat. Awareness of our world transforms our world and our behavior in it, as Paul McCartney makes us aware of:
One day we were eating roast lamb. It was the lambing season so there were all these beautiful young lambs gamboling around the fields surrounding our house, running and playing together. We looked at the lambs playing and we looked at the lamb on our plates and we realized we were eating leg of lamb. We looked at them running around outside again and saw a leg of lamb running and playing. And that was it, the great turning point: if it has a face, don’t eat it!
Mindfulness also extends us beyond ourselves into a recognition that we are not separate, not alone, but a part of everything, as Zen teacher Roshi Joan Halifax explains:
When we plant a tree, we are planting ourselves. Releasing dolphins back to the wild, we are ourselves returning home. Composting leftovers, we are being reborn as irises and apples. We can ‘think like a mountain’ and discover ourselves to be everywhere and in everything and know the activity of the world as not separate from who we are but rather of what we are.
That awareness enables us to make deep and profound changes. Actor Richard Gere
emphasizes how the disquieting state of the world is actually the very grist we can use to transform ourselves and our world:
The breakdown of the established social and political order over the last few years presents, ironically, an extraordinary opportunity to actualize the radical changes we all know must take place. If the cycles of conditioned violence and counter-violence can be avoided — or transformed — we may enter an age of responsibility and love for all beings.
An age of responsibility and love is the greatest gift mindfulness gives us. And, as Jean Houston says, we are already there:
I see a change. It is vested in the greatest rise in expectations the world has ever seen. It is so far-reaching in its implications that one might call it evolution consciously entering into time, the evolutionary potential asserting itself. It needed a certain critical mass, a certain merging of complexity, crisis, and consciousness to awaken. Now it is happening.
How does mindfulness change your life? Do comment below. You can receive notice of our blogs by checking Become a Fan at the top.
Ed and Deb are the co-founders, of RevolutionaryMindfulness.com, with Brian Jones. Join to get our newsletter, free meditation downloads, community support, and learn to balance your nervous system. They are the authors of award winning Be The Change, How Meditation can Transform You and the World. Deb is the author of Merging: Women in Love. See more at RevolutionaryMindfulness.com and EdandDebShapiro.com
With stressful elements churning in our minds, it can be difficult to sort out how we’re feeling, and more importantly, what level of stress we’re experiencing. It’s human nature to exaggerate, so there are many times when we claim we feel something more than we actually do. Enter (often false) statements like “This situation is giving me anxiety.” and “This whole thing is going to make me have a panic attack.”
So how can we tell when our stress is actually yielding to these conditions? David Spiegel, Stanford University’s associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, says that while the line between stress and anxiety often gets blurred, there are distinct things to be aware of — including how these emotions affect the body and the root causes of each. Below, find five things you should know about stress, anxiety and how they really compare to each other.
Stress and anxiety share many of the same physical symptoms.
Whether you’re tense or suffering from something more, the stressful and anxious emotions can sometimes bring the same feelings of arousal, Spiegel says. Stressful or anxious emotions speed up our heart beats, trigger rapid breathing and cause muscle tension. The similarities taper when anxiety yields to a panic attack, which brings about more severe versions of the symptoms, including chills, headaches, hot flashes and chest pains.
The cause of acute stress is distinctly different from the cause of anxiety .
While there is definite overlap between stress and anxiety, Spiegel says that ultimately the two emotions come from two different places. “With stress, we know what’s worrying us but with anxiety you become less aware of what you’re anxious about [in the moment] and the reaction becomes the problem,” Spiegel explains. “You start to feel anxious about being anxious.”
A lot of anxiety can stem from fear…
Phobias of events, activities or social situations are all rooted in terror, causing the person suffering from the disorder to panic when they come face-to-face with that stressor, Spiegel explains. “Anxiety is like a snowball,” he says. “Anxiety converts fear into feelings and people who suffer from it tend to avoid what’s making them fearful, which can make it worse.”
Writing in The Huffington Post, clinical counselor Megan Devine details how her constant fear of the unknown left her crippled with anxiety. In order to overcome that fear, she suggests addressing the fear head-on, then taking steps from there. “Remember that calming your anxiety is not one bit related to whether something unexpected happens or not,” she wrote. “Calming your anxiety is about only that: calming your anxiety. The crazy train of fear prevents you from being present to what is, and it most definitely keeps you from enjoying what is here in this moment.”
…while the majority of acute stress stems from external situations.
“When it comes to stress, you know what you’re dealing with — a looming deadline, bills, picking up the kids,” Spiegel says. “It’s these [outside stressors] that are able to be prioritized and handled one at a time.”
Spiegel suggests dismissing any thoughts of multitasking in order to better manage stress and to let go of the idea that you need to solve everything. “Figure out what you can do about things and what you can’t,” he says. “Take on the things you can do something about and give yourself some credit when you’ve accomplished something.”
Anxiety and stress are often used interchangeably, even though they’re two different experiences.
By definition, anxiety and stress are categorized by separate feelings. The stress we experience in our day-to-day lives is associated with frustration and nervousness, where anxiety often comes from a place of fear, unease and worry. Still, despite the differences, many people use the terms interchangeably. In a blog post on Psychology Today, psychologist and psychotherapist Harriet Lerner explains why we tend to lump together each phrase pertaining to the emotional response:
In everyday conversation, we use the language of emotions that we’re comfortable with and that fits our psychological complexion. I’ve worked with clients who don’t report feeling anxious or afraid. “I’m incredibly stressed out…” is their language of choice. “Stressed” is the codeword for “totally freaked out” for people who are allergic to identifying and sharing their own vulnerability. Or, at the other linguistic extreme, a woman in therapy tells me that she feels “sheer terror” at the thought that her daughter’s wedding dress will not fit her properly. I know her well enough to translate “sheer terror” into “really, really, worried.” Whatever your emotional vocabulary, no one signs up for anxiety, fear and shame, or for any difficult, uncomfortable emotion. But we can’t avoid these feelings, either.
“The key difference [between the two] is the sense of helplessness,” Spiegel explains. “When it comes to stress, you can deal with things and master them. By rolling up your sleeves and tackling that stress, you can feel less helpless.”