Staying in the Now: Mental Health Through Mindfulness

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath, director of the UCSF Depression Center, explores mindfulness as a method for sustaining mental wellness. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [2/2010] [Well being and Medicine] [Show ID: 17626]
Video Rating: four / five

Healing – How does it work? My Thoughts

Crystals for Healing

As I write this I am recovering from a seriously nasty virus, so have been thinking a lot about healing (well I was thinking about it before but have had even more time now!) and what it is that makes it work, be it reiki, acupuncture, crystal healing, qi gung, self hypnosis or any one of the many other types of alternative and holistic healing.

First off I’d just like to point out that I’m by no means a healing expert or guru, but have a small amount of experience in that I have taken the first level of reiki training, have received different types of healing, and have been working with meditation and energy work for many years.

The first thing that all these types of practices have in common is the use of energy (or Qi, or Chi or life force, or vital energy or whatever you prefer to call it/think of it as.

Practices such as reflexology and acupuncture work (as my basic understanding of it goes) by realigning the energy pathways, or meridians that flow through your body.  In common with so many alternative healing practices, these systems believe that many things (including physical and emotional events) can cause blockages in your energy lines, leading to illness and disease.

I once spent some time listening to a Paul Mckenna self-hypnosis CD which aimed to help you keep your immune system strong and healthy by learning to give yourself an endorphine boost.  He sescribes how the place where endorphines are released can be different for different people, but for me it was the heart chakra, the same place as the reiki energy fills up first before going on to heal the rest of me, interesting I thought….

The plot thickened the other day when I read that certain people believe that acupuncture works by stimulating your endorphins.

Things continued to get more confusing when I practiced a relaxation meditation that involves following the path of energy around your body, common in things like mindfulness, yoga, and also in Robert Bruce’s New Energy Ways.  I felt the energy course around my body, particularly in my hands and feet – very similar to what I have felt when practicing the tarot, but also when trying out QiGong.

Reiki, unlike say reflexology or acupuncture, is a passive form of healing in that the healer is merely a channel for a an energy source that exists outside (but also inside!) of our bodies.  My reiki healer would often say how much she liked giving reiki treatments since it was also a treatment for her.  Yet I began to wonder, since the feelings of energy, the burst of pleasure associated with endorphins, was pretty much the same as what I had experienced from all these other metaphysical practices.  Was reiki just a self delusion?  Tricking yourself that there is something greater when it’s all within you?

But then I realised the (perhaps obvious) answer – This energy, this Qi, Life Force, Love, Divine Light, Mother Nature, God even if you are religious, whatever you call it, is not only within us, but also powers the universe.  It is the thing that I think I have always believed makes the world go round so to speak.  And importantly, it’s all the same thing!  Whatever you call it, however you manipulate it – drawing it in from the world or redistributing it in your body, it’s the same, all is one!

The feeling of endorphins being triggered is a sign of us connecting to that universal force. love, whatever, and is a very healing thing.  Even before I connected all this I began to intuitively feel that whenever I triggered that feeling, I was getting some strong healing.

We love to be in love as that triggers that feeling, but a relationship can also bring negatives, but if, as someone once suggested to me, we can hang on to that feeling of love, regardless of there being a single object of it, we can be happy and healthy.

You probably know the way that when you start thinking of something it keeps coming up in new ways, (some people call this synchronicity) and having just started QiGong, the first exercise I am learning is called ‘Butterfly Dancing in Front of Flowers’ and is all about opening your heart to the universal energy – what a great time and place to start this journey!

What are your thoughts on this?  Was this obvious to you all along or has it made you think?  Do you have other ideas on the way healing (and energy) works?  Get involved below!!

What is Mindfulness?

If you don’t know what mindfulness is, then check out this short video clip. Lots of much better videos on mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh and others on www.LearnMindfulness.co.uk Thanks for watching!
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Mindfulness Guided Meditation with Deepak Chopra

Practicing mindfulness and awareness is not necessarily the same for everyone. This guided meditation with Dr. Chopra is an exercise in mindfulness based meditation practice. The calming images achieve a rhythm inline with the music that accompanies you throughout the meditation. You can devote as little or as much time to your meditation practice as your comfortable with, and as the video shows you can practice mindfulness anywhere. We hope you enjoy this mindfulness guided meditation with Dr. Deepak Chopra and invite you to subscribe to the Wild Divine or add us as a friend.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

STOP: A Short Mindfulness Practice

This is a practice out of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and co-authored by Bob Stahl Ph.D. and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. (New Harbinger, 2010). This short mindfulness practice is meant to be sprinkled throughout the day to support you in becoming more present, reducing stress, and being more effective in every day life.

Mindfulness Stress Reduction Meditation

Stressed? So tell me, how well do you think you know a raisin?

Minfulness Meditation on a Raisin to get rid of your stress!
Minfulness Meditation on a Raisin to get rid of your stress!

I recently got the chance to have 10 mindfulness stress based reduction classes for free.  As I am a student as well as shop owner, despite thinking of myself as easy going I have experienced my fair share of stress lately so was looking forward to the classes.

Mindfulness is about living in the moment, being able to step away from the constant chatter of thoughts and of planning this and that, even if just for a little bit, but with the intention of hopefully living your life in a calmer and more thoughtful way.

I’ll write more about mindfulness in the future but for now I want to share with you the first excercise we did – The Raisin.


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For this experiment you will need:

1 raisin

An open and enquiring mind.

Take the raisin and close your eyes.  Try and imagine you are from mars or lala land or whereever, and that you have never known a raisin.  Slowly run your fingers over the raisin, noting any curves, jagged bits, smoothness, crevaces and so on – do this for a few minutes until you have truly experienced the landscape of the raisin.

Open your eyes and study the raisin, try holding it up to the light to see the different colours, and again observe and feel if you like all the surfaces of it – does it remind you of anything? Perhaps a lunar landscape (ok maybe the wrong colour but whatever!)

Now smell the raisin, take some deep sniffs.  and now its time to hear the raisin (!) put it by your ear and squish it a little bit. (yes amazingly raisins do make noises and it differs from raisin to raisin!)

Finally – taste the raisin – chew it up slowly and thoughtfully, allowing the taste and texture and the sensations of eating it to take over.  This is perhaps the most amazing bit – something which you may do habitually eg shoving several raisins in at once without thinking, becomes a totally different experience.  If like me you don’t actually like raisins, you may find that since the taste is stronger than ever, its a bit yuck (altho eating them is not compulsory for the excercise!) but it proves the point that much of what we experience ignores the full depth of the experience.

Conclusion

The raisin excercise shows us how experience can be transformed by bringing curiousity in what we do, and this is frequently drawn upon in mindfulness classes, where we are invited to be curious about sensations in the body and mind that we think we are super familiar with but are probably not – and this can bring new joys to our lives! Yay!

I hope you enjoyed your raisin, I’ll be writing more about mindfulness in the future!