Writing a Healing Journal

Writing meditation is an exercise that I have used, and today some 20+ years later I still carry a notebook.

The purpose of this is to help direct our mind to understand and then change our behavior, by understanding the causality of that behaviour. This created for me a place to start.

The way I have understood this is that any challenge we have undergone, in the past or even a current challenge is often not understood at a feeling level – because we are face to face with it, we cannot understand the entirety of the experience.

Hence by writing we can forge a connection between the conscious mind and that part of our mind that houses feelings. Now do correct me if I am wrong but feelings are placed in the mammalian part of the brain, referred to as the Limbic system … it’s where emotions and feelings are, it also where all decisions are made … so I have found by writing every day we gradually form a link between the feeling part of the mind and the rational mind … over time we create a perspective as we convert the feelings into something we can understand … a cause .. we have to do this as the Limbic system does not have language hence, we have to understand its messages another way …. gradual and regular journal writing did that for me, perhaps it can do it for you?

Gradually over time, we form a link between the parts of the brain and will understand that a frustration we might be feeling may be something like a past regret, a depression or some level of anxiousness about something in the future …the quickest way to start to understand this is to say …. if you are feeling guilt, depression or shameful then the event you are thinking about occurred in the past. If you are feeling fearful or anxious then the event you are concerned you expect it to occur in the future.

Many of the common feelings come from fear … control comes from fear, aggression comes from fear … even conformity is based on control which mostly comes from fear, there can also be fear that non-conformity will hinder us in attaining their goals or being accepted … Governments love it, but conformity is a pipe dream as it is quite unattainable – that is where Government use fear, blaming minorities, scarcity and alleged external threats to control us, to subdue us. The only real threat to most countries comes from within, from the egoes of those in power, the politicins themselves.

This whole experience is about how you and I relate to what makes up our personal world, what is our relationship to its various parts.

For this reason, once you discover what your concerns are, divide them into two groups, what you can do something about, like change your attitude to a past personal event or forgive those concerned (this brings freedom as well) and the second group … those things we can do nothing about … the actions of Government and bureaucracy … something that individually we can do little about … the reason we split the triggers, the categories for concern, is that we need to empower ourselves and trying to make sense of or understand a Government / Bureaucratic action is difficult, implausible … but detaching from it, we are no longer a victim, we can understand what is going on within.

To start, take a few minutes a day (most days if you can) … find a quiet place and start writing … I would go down to the local park, take my shoes and socks off, ground myself in the grass or the soil and begin.

I have found that after about a week of being quiet and writing, you will find yourself becoming more in tune with your feelings, you will become calmer … this can help with your day to day relationships —- My experience is that the changes in your understanding and behaviour will take place without any conscious effort, no matter how old, or what has happened in the past in the normal course of your life, writing a journal will literally calm and begin to bring a greater understanding to your life in just a matter of a few weeks.

A good thing about writing is that we can go back and look at it gain in the future, in my case this allowed me to look at what I had learnt aand how I had changed. When an event no longer confronted me, I would remove the pages and birn them …. for some reason those issues would only very rarely return.

Though this experience behind this post is many years old, and speaks to an experience even older, I thought it may have value to someone.

This is not the only way, do what works for you, as I have said before my articles are simply my perspective and they are offered in the spirit of discovery and empowerment – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

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A Process of facing fears and personal transformation

Though this post is many years old, and speaks to an experience even older, I thought perhaps some of it may have value to someone.

I had been aware for some time of my limiting thoughts, emotional blocks and unconscious behaviours – these are basically hangovers from our past, our previous learned responses which had outlived their usefulness to the person we might wish to be …. for me they were stopping me taking a leap … however the strange part is that I had the answer within me .. what I needed to do was repeat a process which I had carried out once before – for when you think about it, everything in life is a process, in this case to confront these behaviours which were now irrelevant to my life and renew myself … in a way to renounce who and what I was, and allow myself the freedom to introduce myself to what next evolution of me … the same process is available for everyone, from that awareness, we eventually come to the Acceptance that action is needed … then when we are ready we do take action.

Twenty five years ago, I went through a period of intense personal change – looking back now, the program was based quite loosley on the 12 step program .. a proven program, which has been going since 1935 … in my case I am not driven by the need to stop drinking, but by the need to use the Transformational 12 steps program to help bring around personal change … to change the way I react without thinking – so that basically I don’t .. in fact to change my default response to pause and reflection before I respond – giving me that time to consider the impact of my words and deeds on others, but also our own evolution … in other words to respond from strength, instead of reacting from weakness – for me the outcome helped made me whole – after the completion of the program, I am content from within me … however the work doesn’t stop there, for now on it is also a continual process of self assessment, the development of your internaal witness – on this occasion , I knew it was time, I was committed to change, in fact, I had been looking for a way to make it happen for months … and just before this time, I felt I was in darkness, always feeling my way forward, metaphorically falling over stuff .. this stuff was my past, my beliefs, my history, my limitations.

Note before starting … you need to be committed to this course of action without any reservation … if you are not committed, it won’t work .. you can’t fake it … it’s a process – I needed to follow the 12 steps, some are not easy because they can be a very confronting process – have the courage and belief in the process to follow where they lead, for if you want your future to be different from your today … it is journey to take .. you might use the analogy that the process, is almost a low level reformat of the way we look at life … it is equivalent to a process of clean up and clean out — for me it was worth it, let me assure you.

I went to a local AA meeting, just to feel the atmosphere .. to meet and talk to the people who had successfully come through the program .. a true strength, a compassion, but an overall humbleness from those (old timers) who had completed the program was all I felt … I went ahead with the steps in order, going through each until I was absolutely happy that I was totally committed to it – for me, as I was so committed to change and my previous experience with the program, it was not as difficult as I imagined, for I had been ready for such a process since before 2005.

You have to want to do it .. I might add it doesn’t magically rid your personality of these reactions to stimulus, again its a process, what it does is that it makes you very aware of your personal triggers that create reactions and behaviours, it allows you to confront them and once you have there is no fear, there is just contentment, happiness, love and a strength – a wish to help others – remember we all have fears and reactive demons at sometime during our path, our journey.

I believed I needed to become less reactive to stimulus .. to be mindful, present in the moment, to forgive and forget the past hurts and failures .. to bring into the present only the learning, my goal was to live life mindfully, part of which means we need to stay present .. for that is the only place where anything is created, the only time when things are real and can be done … this also means letting go of expectations (investing in them anyway), whatever they are, to be open to real abundance through love – to be open to the infinity of the Universe through love and abundance. I came to the realisation that when we invest in expectations we are by the very nature, creating illusions as these events are in the future, they haven’t happened yet, so if these expectations are unrealistic we are in fact setting ourselves up for disappointment.

If you feel the need, from the awareness of self, look at the process, if you need any help … please write … I will help how I can.

Since this, I have had some realizations that came from unblocking my limitations, incredible clarity has come …all this was like breaking through the shell if you like that had enclosed my understanding … now I guess I am within a bigger shell … one day I will push through those limitations as well.

It took me a while to write about this … personal transformation is something we can only do for ourselves and mostly by ourselves … the change comes from within … it brought for me strength, forgiveness, a commitment to love, to the self, and to my future self …. Good Luck!

This is not the only way, do what works for you, as I have said before my articles are simply my perspective and they are offered in the spirit of discovery and empowerment – take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

Solitude & Transformation – 18 days in the forest

I am writing this is Cyprus, detached by time and distance from the original experience in Australia.

It has taken me many years to achieve this, a very limited perspective about what happened in this experience, in time this perspective may also change.

The originator was a frustrating experience which I had allowed to happen where I had given others my love and trust and these were betrayed, instead their misguided ideology that valued no one but themselves, their beliefs, assumptions, projection and fears were the end of us … this experience created a need in me for real solitude .. I had reached a point where all the old ways no longer made sense, I kept hitting a wall – people’s promises and words did not match their actions … I needed to find what was real as mindfulness and meditation although helping weren’t bringing clarity.

I was in a sea of pain, my internal compass was spinning and I had no idea what to do … I was unable to understand the thinking, the beliefs and values of those who had professed their love, then had created this challenge, all emanating from a group that said they lived by Buddhist teachings – a truism being that the basis of all relationships is trust.

I was deep in despair then finally I decided to isolate myself purposefully from all distractions, to try and understand why this challenge had come to me … what was it in me that I had to understand, to face and overcome, I wondered what was I to learn from the experience?

The nurturing environment of nature beckoned, it had always been a wonderful energising and calming experience for me, I would go. …. I took some food, tent etc and went looking for a camp site in the state forest – my past experience in nature automatically kicked in, I set up camp, explored the area, boiled water for a drink, all the time feeling the balance and harmony, the nurturing energy of natured flowed into me, then I began to meditate.

Over the next 18 days, I travelled through transitions – the first four days, were a most unsettling, and confronting experience … illusions came and went … even in a conscious state I found difficulty in understanding the actions of others … my ego screamed out in defiance of my mindfulness but I did not engage and after a while its voice diminished until I eventually found the no mind state … for days I was in a place of wonder … peak experiences came …. some have been repeated since, it was an incredible humbling learning experience where I could see the balance and interconnectivity of life in nature all around me, from the plants, the insects, the birds the animals and myself – we were one.

During my time in the forest I heard an another voice, a voice I had heard before, which I now know is my soul, it asked me did I want to go on? I asked what would happen if I didn’t, the voice said “we will then stop here, but if you go through you can never go back, you are on a new path” … I said let’s go, and here I am.

I have never regretted this decision.

In the forest, after a while I become one with the environment, the forest and all the life it contained … I couldn’t separate myself I couldn’t judge the actions of others for this reason – this extended to my recent challenge … I couldn’t judge, all I could do was to try and empathise in an effort to understand their actions and what beliefs had brought the situation to me – there was nothing in me that enabled me to understand the motivations of the others in this experience, all I could was to accept the situation, forgive those that had betrayed me, let go and move on.

I finally understood the Alan Watts quote: “If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything”

Any action, good or bad that comes with intent, brings Karma … I knew that Karma would handle the situation with those in my past far better than I could, so I let go of the past, forgave it and moved on.

As always this was my experience, it may have some similarities with your own or not. There is no right way for everyone’s journey is their own

Along with a new perspective on the present moment, Peace, Love, detachment, understanding and presence came and has stayed.

The approach to, and possible Blocks to Meditation

In the beginning, for your physical environment, find a quite place, where perhaps you could prepare a small display of familiar objects, or just a small candle. For clothes, make them free and open so they don’t constrict you. If you need a cushion, sit and cross you legs at this point comfortably. Now this is important, find your center whilst seated. Try rocking you body forward and back in your seated position, until you find the place where it feels balanced, do the same from left to right, … when you find that balance place, it will feel right .. perhaps then place your hands in your lap (or some other comfortable place) and begin.

 

“It is not meditation that stops the mind. It is the surrender of the mind to the soul, and the soul to Truth. It is when you prefer the word of Truth to the word of your own intellect” –Yogi Bhajan

It is common that people when they first begin meditating, believe that they must stop their mind, stop all their thoughts in order to meditate effectively. Perhaps they have heard about the blissful meditations of friends and acquaintances and wonder why theirs isn’t this way. The mind activates innumerable neurons releasing a large number of thoughts, most of which we are not conscious – perhaps we are only aware of one major thought, perhaps a worry, a concern, an expectation, a fear … or perhaps a depression or shame for an event in the past.

A way to begin having a more peaceful mind is to try and stay as present as possible, I cover some of this in previous post here

When we sit still and quiet the body and breath, soon the flood gates open and the mind starts to release thoughts it has in the ego and the subconscious. These thoughts can overwhelm and unsettle us, control us … or you can let them pass, without engaging and release them. Don’t minimize or dismiss your progress, for in the beginning to simply sit with a quiet mind for 30 seconds is an achievement … for as we go into meditation, you will notice the distractions, the worry, the fear, “what’s for dinner” … etc, continue to present themselves, simply acknowledge the thought, but don’t engage, instead lightly move on and return to your point of focus, perhaps a mantra, a lighted candle, or simply your breath, which has a beautiful ability to focus time.

Practice will allow you to empty the subconscious mind, and with consistent practice you can sit for longer periods of time. The time you spend in meditation allows the mind to assist you throughout the day because it is not so preoccupied with being the boss, you become present in your life, a marvelous, peaceful and empowering state.

The sitting is not meditation, it is practice, with time and consistent practice, you will be able to take the state of being present, being mindful, during meditation and engage in that state in your daily life .. please remember that progress is all about small incremental steps, it takes time, please be patient.

Meditation – a first look

Let’s look at an overview of meditation itself.

For me, I believe we don’t meditate to find peace. We meditate to be at peace with what we find – in Mindfulness meditation we develop the ability to accept the emotions and feelings that occur during the meditation.

For meditation, we need to develop the ability to stay present. What I mean by that is to stay in the moment, without reliving the past or having expectations about the future.

Imagine yourself meditating half way down a long hallway in a house, from the front door to the back door. The thoughts come in the front door, you note them and accept them (for they are you) … then you lightly move on, without engaging in the thought itself, (it will go, once you don’t validate it) the thought then moves on down the hallway and out the back door, it may come back, each time it does follow the same process, it will lose its urgency – its .. “you need to engage with me.”

The thought may be about the past (depression, regret or shame perhaps) or about the future, such as anxiety or fear about a forthcoming event, or perhaps the fear of loss. We cannot invest or follow the thought (no matter how important or urgent it seems), for the moment we do, we drop out of meditation, because we are no longer present, so we can no longer be mindful.

Once we regularly meditate, we develop mindfulness, in part it allows us to understand what we can change, and what we can’t – to detach from things we cannot control, for instance, other people’s action (or any influence outside of us) that effects us. I find now, that mindfulness itself is not difficult, but what is difficult is to remember to be mindful in our day to day lives.

Note; Mediation is not something to be achieved, it is something we have to be the person to properly meditate – it can be a slow process of becoming, but take heart, even sitting on a mat for 30 seconds with a clear mind, is worth celebrating, remember little steps forward – often. Each day if you truly wish it, it will get better it – but it does takes time – remember nothing worth having is a easy fix.

Sleep – the great restorer

Once I regularly meditated, it affected my whole life. Sleep, became deep and restorative. Sleep, especially uninterrupted sleep can be elusive, yet mindfulness meditation assisted me in getting more restorative regular sleep, without medication.

Mindfulness meditation can allow us to gradually develop greater control over our emotions, which leads to clarity of thought in difficult situations. For me the revelation was that once I realised that everything changes, nothing seems to be that imperative in the moment, remember it’s not the situation that is causing you pain, it is your thoughts about the situation.