Enough Compassion to Face the Hatred in Our Own Brains

Now that I can see how quickly fear can fill my brain with hate and anger, it has made it easier for me to feel compassion for those who are full of hate and anger. In this video and podcast, I discuss how opening up to the hatred inside myself has helped me to become more compassionate and happy.

Press play to watch the video, you will find the podcast of this edition below.

Press play to listen to the podcast

What if the Solution to Addiction is Focusing Less on Ourselves ?

Chat Trakan Waterfall

The more my attention is directed outward, away from the stories in my head, the more at ease I feel in the world. All I get from incessantly thinking (or talking) about my problems, my opinions, my hurts, or my past is increased suffering, but when I can just let go of all that stuff, and focus on what is right in front of me, I’m immediately at peace.

The suggestion that love is the answer may sound like hippy-dippy nonsense, but does this mean it is not true? What if the Beatles were right when they sang ‘all you need is love’, and it’s just our superficial understanding of love that is the problem? What if love just means being so fascinated with something beyond our internal stories that we are able to give this thing our full-attention?

One of my clients recently told me about her unconditional love for kittens. Even on her bad days, she can easily become engrossed in the antics of a small cat –and when she does this, her attention is away from the internal stories that were making her miserable. I suggested that expanding this loving attention to other things would lead to great improvements in her life.

I remember as a young child being fascinated by everything – the world was like one huge adventure park and even simple things like a slug on the road could completely capture my attention. As I got older, I began to become less fascinated by external things (I developed a ‘been there, done that’ attitude) and instead became more focused on the chatter in my head. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the more I did this, the more miserable I became.

All of the improvements in my life have been as a direct result of switching my focus away from thoughts of ‘me, me, me’. Practicing loving-kindness meditation has made it possible for me to once again experience the world through the eyes of a child. It is such a wonderful gift – it is like waking up in paradise.

“Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say “Look!” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads. ”
Mary Oliver

The worst thing about life is not that we get ill, become depressed, get old, and die but that we can be so indifferent to this amazing experience. Perhaps the real reason we fall into addiction is we have lost the ability to look beyond ourselves and say ‘wow’.

Develop Self-Compassion for Real Recovery from Addiction

“…self-compassion is all about transforming myself into a ‘low-maintenance’ human. Those of us who fall into addiction are ‘high-maintenance’ people because just staying afloat in life requires so much of our inner-resources.”

Alone

I’m putting together an eBook for people interested in using mindfulness to overcome addiction problems. I’ll share the chapters on here as I write them. Here is part ten in the series – you will find links to earlier posts at the end of this one.

It is our tendency to run away from discomfort rather than towards it that is the real driving force behind addiction. It is the thought ‘I can’t deal with this’ that makes alcohol and drugs such an attractive proposition. The Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, once described our discomforts as being like little infants in need of our attention – the problem is that most of us habitually fail to offer soothing to our pain and instead try to ignore it or avoid it.

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Learning Thai with Mindfulness and Kindness

Learning Thai

How could I ever hope to speak Thai fluently when my reaction to somebody talking to me in this language was to feel like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car?

It is now exactly one year since my Thai fluency challenge, so maybe this is a good time for an update (thanks to Harri Terminus for encouraging me to do this post). I’ve also been meaning to write something about how a change in mindset has had a profound impact on my progress, so what follows provides me with an opportunity to delve into this as well.

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Why Compassion is a Key Ingredient of Mindfulness

Developing some self-compassion is vital if we want to make progress with mindfulness. Failure to do so means we won’t feel comfortable in our own skin and therefore we won’t feel comfortable in the present moment. I used to teach loving-kindness as an additional technique to mindfulness but I now see it is a key ingredient. In this video and podcast, I explain why this is the case.

Press play to watch the video and you will find the podcast of this episode below:

Press play to listen to the podcast

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