More than just mindfulness

Calmness

November 18, 2018 Season 1 Episode 12
More than just mindfulness
Calmness
Chapters
More than just mindfulness
Calmness
Nov 18, 2018 Season 1 Episode 12
Robert Mitchell
Learning how we can calm our busy minds
Show Notes Transcript

In which Robert explains how to be aware of our minds and how to calm our busy minds by intervening at the level of our physiology, the emotions and the mind.
Meditations include: 

Speaker 1:
0:03
[inaudible] session is on Tom Niche. The secrets or calmness is knowing when you're not and obviously having some tools to apply. Generally speaking, when we're talking about calmness, we're talking about a busy mind, the mind, the emotions, and the body are all deeply connected. Any one of those can trigger the other ones and you can get into a negative feedback loop and they're all singing the same tune and at sharing can be anxiety and worry and stress and so on. Or it can be joy and calmness and happiness, focus, relaxation. The problem is with the modern life, it tends to push us towards the anxious, stressed, and worried. And and so the key is to know that it's happening. And the key to that is mindfulness. So you know what I teach mindfulness based resilience. Mindfulness is the foundation of everything. There's no point having a, let's say, a stress management technique if you don't know when to use it.:
Speaker 1:
1:16
And if you're caught up in the play of your mind as you go through your day, for some reason, I think in everybody's life actually, it's a kind of cycle of mind. Buisiness. See you don't, your mind is not busy constantly get up every morning. It's the same level of buisiness all the time. I think with most people you get a busy minds day and a not so busy minds day or a busy mind week and not so busy mind week. And I've noticed my mind's busy recently busier than normal anyway. And this morning I decided I, this is, it's become so busy that I need to squish it. So when I stepped out the door straight away I did the meditation of no meditation for sound on a walks down. And while I was doing that I was meditating and noticing the busy mind. It's not necessarily on a particular subject. I think it's a combination of many things that bring us to where a busy mind happens to be.:
Speaker 1:
2:32
And then for me personally, a busy life is very con as a really contributory factor to a busy mind. And one of the things, looking back through my experience in the past and now that I'm actually able to observe my mind, some able to notice what, what is it? If you want to know what's happening in your mind, label it. That's the answer. So we've done some labeling over the course of the last few weeks. What you're doing with the labeling is you're actually logging your mind. You're just logging it. Ah, so you know I'm thinking this, oh, so I'm feeling like that. Ah, so got this emotion, oh, so I tense or I'm relaxed or whatever it might happen to be. And you can label it and you can get a sense of where you are right now, where your experiences.:
Speaker 1:
3:30
Also you'll be able to figure out sometimes what the cause is. So if you've got a particularly busy life and if it's all about one thing or one area or one project or some thing that's happening in your life, then you, you know what the cause is. But that doesn't make any difference because the thought is spontaneous. Done a little bit of study into the study of thought recently. One of my favorite scientists, a guy called Charles Ferny Ho, who wrote a great book called pieces of light about memory haste, working with some neuroscientists to look at thought. And it's the usual thing with science and thought they're trying to categorize it and they're trying to associate certain thought patterns with certain parts of the brain in the hope that that old tell them are more about the Brian and then that feeds into the general knowledge. So there's a little bit of, okay, so when you're having these sort of thoughts, this part of the brain lights up and when you're having those thoughts sort of thoughts, the other part of the brain lights up and I suppose:
Speaker 1:
5:01
one day they're looking at hoping to be able to get to the point where I can say, oh, there's a thought about football or there's a thought about it's a sunny die or whatever. I don't particularly look forward to that time myself, but I suppose that's what they're working to. Whether it led to come or not is another thing. So that's where we are at the moment. I've read a number of studies like this and you can carve it up any way you want. You can carve up thoughts as 1,000,001 perspectives. So in this particular study they're looking at how some thoughts are fully formed in that it's a cohesive narrative just like speaking or writing and other thoughts. The narrative is in there, so the inner voice at the end of the dialogue is running, but there's just the occasional word and so it's getting across a meaning with some words attached to them.:
Speaker 2:
6:05
Okay.:
Speaker 1:
6:05
My personal experience of thought is that when I observe it, it has a tent, massive tendency to just shut up. So I have to wait until I've gone over to mind wandering to intervene in it as a rule. But I can, if I sit quietly and I'm observing thought arising,:
Speaker 2:
6:35
okay:
Speaker 1:
6:35
as like a bubbling cauldron, this is how I feel it is and it's just totally subjective. Couldn't be more subjective. It's like, you know, in a, in a, and you get these, or you say you've got up a pot of stew on the cooker and you've got these things bubbling up. And then every so often one pops observing the source of thought. To me it's like, uh, it's like a word, just the beginning of a sentence pops up and then it goes away. So this is really, this is an extension of,:
Speaker 2:
7:14
yeah.:
Speaker 1:
7:14
What most of you notice when you're labeling the thoughts? So when you're labeling the thought, it goes away.:
Speaker 2:
7:21
Okay.:
Speaker 1:
7:22
I suspect that what happens is once you've spent a number of years doing this, you might be in a position of, it goes away so quickly that it doesn't actually form into a real thought. And that is what appears like silence in the mind. So there's no narrative running in the mind. And so it seems to me the, either there's lots and lots of different thoughts, which one gets selected, who knows? And then that either becomes a cohesive thought process.:
Speaker 2:
8:00
Okay.:
Speaker 1:
8:00
Or it goes away.:
Speaker 2:
8:03
Okay.:
Speaker 1:
8:03
And then the other thing is, is the associative nature of thoughts. The why you though, when you go past a particular place that triggers a memory in your mind about somebody who lives there for example. And then that goes into uh, a thought process about that person and something related to them and so on. So that it, it, you're, you're seeing there is a very fundamental part of the brain, which is the brain is a lot of it is there to associate,:
Speaker 2:
8:35
okay.:
Speaker 1:
8:36
So much so that there's a part of the Cortex, a large part of the cortex that many neuroscientists refer to as the association cortex. Its purpose is you see this Bush with this particular berry on it. That's the one you can eat and it's associate in the taste of the berry with the site of the Perry. And then there's another Bush with a berry that tastes disgusting and is harmful to you. And it's associated in that. And it's associated with all of the emotions that are associated to the experience as well. And this, this is all goes on in, in the brain very, very quickly and there's lots and lots of it happening, but we're only really aware of part of it at the time and to squish thought. It's not just a matter of labeling. The most useful thing that you can do is to let it into your experience because if you've got a busy mind and you want to shut it up, you're probably going to result in the opposite of what you want.:
Speaker 1:
9:48
Example being trying to get to sleep. So if your mind's busy and you want to get to sleep, you try to go to sleep and you try to shut your mind up somehow or another. And you might say, right, I'm not going to think about this and we're think about something else. But it doesn't take very long for the mind to go offline and go into a thought process and it will go round and round and for as long as it wants and it will be as noisy as it wants. So your attempts to control the mind by thinking about something actually ends up with mind wandering. And if you're doing something that's a different thing, depending on how immersed you can be in what you're doing. And this is one of the reasons I'm pretty confident that people really enjoy it, prefer doing things to not doing things. And the science is crystal clear on this one. We've got, you know, the studies to prove it is people are happier when they're doing something and when they're not doing something. And I think one of the things that makes them happier is that their mind isn't wandering and we know that mind wandering is an unhappy or place than being here now to do things.:
Speaker 1:
11:05
So you would think that to calm the mind, it's all about practice is like labeling the thoughts for example. But that's not the case. So it's very important to recognize this. Labeling the thoughts is very specifically a way of squishing a particular thought pattern. And it doesn't matter how busy the mind is. If you want to reduce the duration and intensity of all thought and that's the best way to look at thought is either look at it. If there are unhelpful thought patterns, you can identify those and label those w that we did that last week, so it's on the podcast and then that will help to squish that particular thought pattern. That's a way of identifying unhelpful thoughts and we're only interested in them if they're on the helpful. Other than that, as best as best to look at all thought was exactly the same.:
Speaker 1:
12:05
It's neither more nor less useful. Clearly when you're doing something you're thinking about thing you're doing, but that's by the, by put that one side, that sort of structured thought. Forget it. It's, it's a narrative. Your, your narrating what you're doing often. Yeah, so you get this when you're first start to drive, you know, mirror signal maneuver. There you go. Little s little story that you teach yourself, mirror signal, maneuver, so, and there's a whole load of other things you know you can see can have these little stories to describe things that you do. There's not much that you can do will. You don't have a way of describing it and that thing that you've got, which is a way of describing it is text book or a manual or something like that. It's the story about the thing that you're doing:
Speaker 1:
13:04
other than that, when we're talking about thought, we're talking about all thought, the fact, the the, the wandering mind, the little thoughts that pop up, the tasks, the priorities, the memories, the predictions of the future planning. Well you can call it whatever you like. If it's uncomfortable then what we need to do is to calm ourselves down in more fundamental ways. Fun doing something like labeling unhelpful thoughts. That's only for specific unhelpful thought patterns. Generally speaking, if we want to become calm, we need to work on old all three areas at the same time or one after the other and in whichever order you want and whatever is most useful for you and it's only trial and error that will help you. And the three areas are the mind, the business of the mind, the body, whatever tension, muscular skeleton intention there is in the body. And whatever your emotions are.:
Speaker 1:
14:17
And what we'll do is, because it's the easiest way into it, is we'll start by calming the mind. And when I say easiest way is not the most efficient way to break in, to calm a busy mind, the most efficient way to break into calm is it busy mind is through the breath Pranayama, no doubt whatsoever. That's the one. So if it's like desperately you shall see it up, now you use a Prana Yama. We'll come to Pranayama. First of all, what we're going to do is start by by actually calming my mind itself directly to it's takes a little bit longer. So it's quite a lot long. So we'll probably be doing something like 2025 minutes of calming the mind and then the emotions and the physiology will be the rest of the session. Kai. So the best way into meditation is to not meditate. Uh, and the practice that we use there is the meditation of no meditation as I've called it. It's, it's very, very useful to not view it as a meditation. And what it consists of is listening to all sound. So when I left my house this morning and I stepped out of the door recognizing that my mind was very busy,:
Speaker 1:
15:53
the very first thing I did when I stepped off the threshold was to stop and allow all of the sounds in.:
Speaker 2:
16:04
Okay.:
Speaker 1:
16:04
Um, what happens is you'll find the mind moving to whichever sound it feels could be the greatest threat. So this is great, and you'll notice this in a city. So if you're walking along the road and there's a noisy car grinding along towards here, you'll notice that sound:
Speaker 2:
16:29
and in the modern life:
Speaker 1:
16:33
sound is just the mind moving from one sound to the other. Usually what's are either the greatest potential threat:
Speaker 2:
16:41
or:
Speaker 1:
16:43
the noisiest, most irritating sound. And then so when that one's gone, it will move to the next most irritating sound or the next potential threat. And often these things come together, but not always. And so are you. Don't choose what you listened to and your mind's just moving around like a search light from one sound to another. Sound pops up, you know, seeing that sound,:
Speaker 2:
17:10
okay,:
Speaker 1:
17:10
that sounds subsides. Then you know you're moving your mind to another sound. And this is all happening:
Speaker 2:
17:18
unconsciously.:
Speaker 1:
17:22
And one of the reasons is if that happens, what it means is you're not present. So to become present, you bring yourself back to the physical sensation of being in your body. The breath is a good anchor to the body.:
Speaker 2:
17:41
Okay?:
Speaker 1:
17:42
It's a good way of noticing that were in the body.:
Speaker 2:
17:49
And sorry if aware of the breath,:
Speaker 1:
17:53
and I'm allowing sounds into my awareness, what will happen is there'll be a noisy sound or an irritating sound or a sound that could be a threat such as a vehicle moving towards you and you'll notice your attention moving towards that. And the answer is to stay in your body. Be Aware of that sound and Mike, the s the the most irritating or noisy or hostile sound, whatever it happens to be. Make that the background because it's noisy. You don't need to focus on it and you focus on everything else. So it's happening inside the experience of you're noticing all of the other sounds.:
Speaker 1:
18:52
So I walk him down the road. One of the things I could hear as the leaves, as the autumn wind, blow them across the pavement and I could hear the wind in the trees and I could hear birds and I could hear traffic further away and dad finds and so on. And I've noticed that my mind would be drawn to the this main, the sound that the mind wants to focus on. You're not trying to block it out. You're letting into your experience as one of many sounds. So you make the many sounds, your focus and they're all around you. And the main sound becomes the background cause usually it's the other way around. You'll be focused on the main sound and the stuff in the background. You won't even notice it. Instead, make all sound your focus and the noisy sound is the background. That's the best way that I can use to describe it. While you're still aware of the breath, you're still here, so you're coming back to yourself to notice sound. And that's the practice. All of these sounds fairly quiet in this room. So there's movements in the room. There's the clock ticking. There's a sound of my voice.:
Speaker 1:
20:42
The sirens in the background.:
Speaker 3:
20:52
Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
20:56
Come back and notice all these quiet nearby sound and allow the sirens to be the background.:
Speaker 3:
21:24
Yeah. Okay.:
Speaker 4:
22:08
You're noticing all of their sound coming in from everywhere, from all around. You laugh right above, in front behind.:
Speaker 3:
23:25
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
23:31
So that's the hubbub of sound that you're noticing. And you can notice the movement of the belly just at the point where the belly mates, the chest as a tiny little movement. As the breath expands and contracts the belly. What we do is we label that movement. Why you bringing the movement of the belly rising? Cool. Folan so we're using the inner voice. Oh, I say, and I'm all into is we notice the belly rising and falling. We say in our mind, rising:
Speaker 3:
25:01
full name,:
Speaker 4:
25:20
and I was seeing that sign. He movement.:
Speaker 3:
25:43
Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
25:53
Oh, definitely. Sinai. Mine's rising. Unfolding as we notice the movement. No, it's the belly rising and it's the Pele forward. No instructions where this. So there's no goal, no expectations. You're not getting anything out of it. You're not trying to your mind, none of that. Just noticing this ha this thing happening. Same with ballet rising, but it's in the belly falling. So now what we're going to do is go straight into a meditation and you get to chose.:
Speaker 3:
27:55
Okay?:
Speaker 4:
27:55
So I teach for mindfulness meditations at work for different groups of people in a different way. But the general effect is to calm the mind. 45% of people, their mind becomes calm when they do counting the breaths, sorry, 5% of people, their mind becomes calm. When I to labeling the thoughts about 15% of people, their mind becomes calm when they do following the breath and the other tiny group need to do the candle and the breath. So these are all meditations I've taught. You're not sure which one to do and follow along with me on. I'll teach following the breath so you can either to following the brass counseling, the brass, labeling the salts candle in the breath, whichever works better to calm your mind. I feel, I'm not sure. What we'll do is following the breath to some of the follow the breath or we can, if we want, stay noticing in the belly rising and falling. And the only difference is now there's an instruction with it on the instruction is when your mind wanders, you come back and notice the breath. So we're not labeling it. The inner voice is doing, the inner voice is doing could be silent or it could be rattling away. I could pop up from time to time. We don't mind.:
Speaker 4:
29:52
All we're doing is we're noticing the breath when the mind wanders, when we come back and notice the breath again. So noticing the breath can be, but notice it in the belly, belly moving. What if you plays your hung up against the back of your top teeth? You're noticing the air entering and leaving the nostrils. So either or Ethan, notice the breath wherever it's convenient in the body, shoulders rising and falling, chest expanding and contracting a in the back of the throat. Whatever's convenient for you. If you're noticing that the mind wanders and then you come back and notice it again, mind wanders back to noticing. Mind Wanders back to noticing and repeat. That's how this is what we call following the breath. You can do any meditation that calms your mind. I'll begin. And that participation with a bell, no similar rhythm and cycle of the breath. Cool. We'll miss or the MRI won't. So they out price. Just noticing the breath rising, noticing the breath falling. It doesn't matter how busy the mind is. Doesn't matter how many times the mind wanders. Whenever the mind does wander. All we do is return our attention to the breath.:
Speaker 3:
33:56
Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
34:42
Cool. Breath in. Warm breath out.:
Speaker 3:
35:25
Yeah.:
Speaker 1:
37:11
Okay. So when you breathe in, notice whatever it is you can smell and taste and the sensation of sitting and an awareness of what's happening around you, what you've been here, and then your very own time gently would turn your attention to your surroundings.:
Speaker 3:
37:47
Okay,:
Speaker 1:
37:49
so the next thing we're going to work on, this works 60% with emotions and 40% with stress. And this is a Prana Yama. It's the four, six breaths. So what I've done is I've set up, you know, I breathe up here that you may or may not be able to see and what I'm going to do is run that for a couple of minutes.:
Speaker 3:
38:16
Okay.:
Speaker 1:
38:19
When you are out and about, if you want to bring yourself back to presence, noticing what you can smell and everything that you can hear. A little bi of the meditation of no is a good way to bring you back here in a very deep way so you can come back, you can notice the breath but still be in your mind. But when you smell and notice sound, it's more primal is not something that we normally do. So you can come back, you can notice the breath, noticing what you can smell and noticing the sound that's around you is a good way to attune yourself to present the case over the Prana Yama or do is breathe in for four seconds. Breathe out for six and this is set up so that the balloon grows for four seconds and then it shrinks for six. So you can either watch this,:
Speaker 3:
39:25
well:
Speaker 1:
39:29
if you'd prefer, you can count it in your head and the way it accounts seconds is one 1002 1003 1004 1000 and then then the outbreath one 1002 1003 1004 1005 1006 1000 when neither trying to fill up our lungs or to empty them completely. Where all we're doing is saying during the four seconds of the in breath, we're breathing in and during the six seconds of the outbreath we're breathing out and we'll just practice that for the next couple of minutes. Four seconds in, six seconds out.:
Speaker 3:
40:57
Yeah,:
Speaker 1:
41:06
best price. So notice this is noticing the top of the belly moving like we did with a meditation of nine meditation for the breath. Yeah.:
Speaker 3:
41:32
Okay. Then 10:
Speaker 4:
42:25
just a couple of minutes of Prana. Yama is enough to change your in a state I'm always doing is it's moving you. Why he from anxiety and towards calmness and relaxation and focus.:
Speaker 3:
42:45
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
42:46
And now what we want to do is move on and reduce whatever stress there is in the body. And the way we can do that is by relaxing.:
Speaker 3:
42:58
And the:
Speaker 4:
43:00
best way it learns to relax. The I've learned is the distress meditation.:
Speaker 3:
43:06
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
43:07
So to start off with the de stress meditation, what we'll do is start off with it gently. And the best way to do that is by learning to relax the hands and the way we can do that. So we're noticing the breath.:
Speaker 3:
43:24
Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
43:25
Or lying or sitting comfortably noticing in the breath when we breathe in, we tightened our fists. When we breathe out,:
Speaker 3:
43:37
relaxed.:
Speaker 4:
43:38
Well, ever rhythm. You breathe in and out, Huh?:
Speaker 3:
43:42
What are you then:
Speaker 4:
43:44
tighten the first breathe out. Relax them. Once you've done that a few times, your associating in your mind, the sensation of relaxing. So you stop in your first and all you're doing is focusing your attention on your hands. Breathing in normally, breathing out, relaxing. Well, I invite you to move your attention up to your shoulders and notice the shoulders rising and falling.:
Speaker 3:
44:57
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
44:59
Just noticing the movement.:
Speaker 3:
45:06
Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
45:08
So I feel sitting ideally or elbows or by your side, you scholar is balanced on top of your spine. You know, breathing in. Normally when you breathe out, relaxing the shoulders, just laying the tension and tightness out the body on the out breath. Now the invitation is to move your attention up to the back and sides of your neck. If you can't feel anything much there, just move your head from side to side. You'll notice the sensation then simas with the hands on the shoulders. Breathing in, normally breathing out, relaxing the back and sides of the neck. So just letting the tension out with those areas, making sure our bodies as comfortable as possible, relaxing the back and sides of the neck, shoulders and hands. And so if you place your poem very close to your forehead without actually touching it, what you get is a little tingling feeling and a sensation of warmth from the palm of your hand so that when you put your hand back down there, you are connected to your forehead. Placing the tongue gently up against the sharp part of the teeth. Breathing in normally. Breathing out, starting at the top of the head, relaxing the forehead,:
Speaker 4:
47:20
relaxing the eyebrows. Songs still in contact with the sharp part of the teeth. Relaxing the eyes.:
Speaker 3:
47:33
Yeah,:
Speaker 4:
47:34
moving down the body. Relaxing as we go. Relaxing the cheeks. Relaxing the mouth and lips. Tongue still in contact with the sharp part of the teeth. Relaxing the jaw. This is where it works.:
Speaker 3:
47:59
Best:
Speaker 4:
48:02
tongue against the teeth. Relaxing the throat, you know it's in the chest. Rising and falling and the ballet and lower back. Expanding and contracting or moving in time to the breath. Now what we're going to do is relax all around the pelvic girdle, beginning with the thighs, noticing whatever sensations there are in the thighs, tightness of your clothing or your thighs in contact with the ground or the chair.:
Speaker 3:
48:52
Yeah,:
Speaker 4:
48:54
and then same thing with the thighs. Breathing in normally, relaxing the thighs, letting the tightness and tension out of them and then moving around. Relaxing the buttocks and hips. Relaxing the waste all on the out breath. Feeling the tension now on the out breath, relaxing the belly, relaxing the love of back, the all on the outbreath, the Alpa back,:
Speaker 3:
50:09
the chest:
Speaker 4:
50:16
and the throat. Tongue still in contact with the sharp part of the teeth. Moving up the face. Relaxing the jaw.:
Speaker 3:
50:30
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
50:32
Relaxing the mouth and lips. The checks. Relaxing the eyes. High Brow was all on the out breath. Relaxing your forehead. I liked seeing the back and sides of the neck, the shoulders, letting the tightness and tension, the heaviness out of the shoulders. Heaviness is replaced by lightness when you're relaxed. And finally the hands, just a tiny little increment with the hands.:
Speaker 3:
51:36
Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
51:36
Now we want to relax the entire body, so we're breathing in normally and then from the tip of the head, top of the head, down the face and body, relaxing the eyes, the jaw, shoulders, hands down to the tips of your fingers, down to your toes and into the ground. Breathing in, normally starting from the top of the head. Cascading relaxation down through the body. Fingertips down to your feet, into the ground. Oh, you noticing the breath rising and falling tongue still in contact with the sharp part of the teeth on the out breath. Well we're gonna do is the compassion, self compassion or compassion meditation. So it's a busy illness of the mind is caused by a person we can don't have to but we can do the compassion meditation for that person. If it's just general business of the mind, we can do self compassion meditation, all that is, that's three statements we repeat on the out breath. So breathing in normally breathing out, Cya mine for the self. Compassion Meditation. First my IB, well second outbreath. May I be happy, doubt, breath my I find peace of mind. And if it's a difficult person that's caused the mind to be busy on the out breath might IB well:
Speaker 4:
53:56
I be happy.:
Speaker 3:
54:00
Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
54:01
Made I find peace of mind.:
Speaker 3:
54:07
Okay,:
Speaker 4:
54:08
so that's all of the for the self. May I be well, may I be happy my, I find peace of mind more for another. It doesn't matter who they are. Why would I be? Well, may I be happy my life. Find peace of mind. And you can move between one than the other.:
Speaker 3:
54:33
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
54:34
Remembering. So relax on the out breath as you make a statement in your mind and then how have you seen the breath rising and falling? Just let your mind go free. Notice whatever there is in the mind. It's doesn't matter what pops up, what arises, what thoughts there? Our train of thought doesn't matter. Silence bits and bobs. It doesn't matter. Mind wants to think. Let it think it wants to be silent and that it'd be silent if it wants to move from one to the other, they move from one to the other.:
Speaker 3:
56:51
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
56:54
And then whenever your ready in your very own time or tasting what you can smell and taste on the sounds all around you and the sensation of setting.:
Speaker 3:
57:23
Okay.:
Speaker 4:
57:25
Trying to return your attention to your surroundings.:
Speaker 3:
57:29
Yeah.:
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