IS MINDFULNESS ABOUT A SILENT MIND

IS MINDFULNESS ABOUT A SILENT MIND

Some people believe that mindfulness implies having a silent mind. No thoughts! Let us be clear about this. The only way to have a silent mind is to be in a coma or dead. And that is not the intent of mindfulness. Our minds are thinking and meaning making machines and it is our natural human tendency to think. However, with continued practice of mindfulness there will be a progressive quieting of the constantly thinking mind. But the essence of mindfulness is not about a silent mind but how one is in relationship with the thinking mind. Can one be present with what is as it is without the meaning making referenced to one’s belief of one’s sense of self and identification with it? Can one be present with awareness, openness, engagement and allowing of the experience?

Mindfulness is Not Freedom from the Thinking Mind

But Freedom to be WITH the Thinking Mind


by Dr. Phil Blustein
March 21, 2024

IS FORGIVENESS NECESSARY

IS FORGIVENESS NECESSARY

If someone has acted in a way that is unskillful towards me then they have wronged me. They owe me an apology. Hopefully, I am able to forgive them for what they have done. Let us look at this more closely. The action has happened and one can’t change that. But the critical question is what is the true intent for their action? Every single one of us has a history about who we believe we are based primarily on unmet psychological needs and inner child wounding. Our stories and subsequent reactions play out automatically, spontaneously, autonomously and subconsciously. Every action is an attempt to make us feel safe, loved and worthy. Do you know what your next thought will be? What you will say? What you will do? It is questionable if we really have free will. What is happening is that our brains subconsciously process what is being experienced and then it comes into our consciousness. We believe we thought it but in reality, we are just aware of what our mind has already created.

We are all victims of our history. We act to compensate for our perceived deficiencies and inadequacies. From that perspective every action is skillful from a personal perspective. We are just trying to survive in this world.

More extreme behavior such as stealing, using drugs and alcohol to excess, harming others and acting without control are just behaviours and strategies that individuals learned in order to survive from what is often perhaps a more extreme history of physical, sexual and emotional abuse as a child.

In understanding this universal misguided intentionality, perhaps we don’t need to forgive someone for their actions but bring an understanding to why they have done what they have done. This understanding also applies to ourself. We are all the same in the sense that we act unknowingly.

If we just knew their and our own story there would be no need to forgive. In understanding that we act from a place of suffering, in response we would act from a place of compassion for self and other.

However, even though we act from an intention to survive, we are still responsible for our actions and need to express regret, take responsibility and act to make amends as indicated.


by Dr. Phil Blustein
March 8, 2024

Do We Need to Rewrite Our Stories or Just Listen to What They Have to Tell Us

Do We Need to Rewrite Our Stories or Just Listen to What They Have to Tell Us

We all have a story about who we believe we are. That defines us. What do we do with it? Do we rewrite our historic trauma to create a new “truth?” Do we fix what is wrong with us? I believe there is a potential problem in reframing our personal narrative. It is our wounded inner child that is talking to us that has felt not listened to and powerless. In reappraisal of our history this implies to our child that its belief about one’s wounding is not the truth. That there is a better way to be. That the child again is impotent. It is not credible or worthy of being listened to.

Healing occurs by the capacity to be present with what the child has to say. To just listen without resistance. With acceptance and openness. In holding of the story in this manner this lets the child know that it is safe, loved and worthy. That it is held with compassion and love. This offers the child the strength to be present with the critical stories knowing that there is a supportive presence to help. This allows for a progressive disentanglement from the held story that defines you. Perhaps what is being created is a new form of attachment with one’s parents that is kind and supportive.

In being willing to just listen without resistance to what is being said this reveals the nature of one’s wounding. It provides a wonderful insight to understand why you create your interpretation of the moment and how one is in relationship with it.

This is mindfulness. It is not about rewriting our story but creating the possibility for our child to safely tell its story in order to be heard, be with it and let it go.


by Dr. Phil Blustein
February 16, 2024

Surrender into the Silence

Surrender into the Silence

Does it seem that your mind is constantly thinking? Can there ever be a break from all those thoughts? It seems like it is a continuous uninterrupted barrage. Have you ever rested in silence? We react to what is unpleasant and want to deny or push away what is present. We react to what is pleasant and quickly are caught in the desire to have more of what we like. What we don’t do is establish sustained awareness of what is present. We don’t know what we know. If one looks closely one can identify that what one is experiencing is multiple individual thoughts that seem connected but are separated by a pause. If one sustains awareness of a thought until it ends what follows is not another instant thought but a pause of silence and stillness.

Surrendering into the silence can be very valuable. In observing that all thoughts come to an end this supports the insight of impermanence. In particular as one witnesses that the sense of self extinguishes, this helps foster non-identification with the sense of self. Why identify with what is impermanent?

Resting in the pause allows for the possibility of a reflective response rather than an automatic self-referential reaction.

Silence is not nothingness. Resting in silence allows for one’s intuitive innate wisdom and compassion to arise as it is not suppressed and hidden by one’s thinking mind. When faced with a problem, take a deep breath in, deliberately pause, rest in the silence and ask: “WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE” to allow for intuitive wisdom to appear rather than the subconscious automatic reaction to our unmet psychological needs.

The silence is a taste of the unconditioned as there is no conditioned thoughts present.

Initially the easiest way to practice this is when you are meditating. Follow the object of awareness such as your breath, thought, physical sensation until it comes to an end. Then deliberately focus on the space at the end of the sensation. Eventually this can be done during the day as you follow an experience until it dissolves.

We need to cultivate sustained awareness of what is present and surrender into the silence to be open to the mystery of what is revealed.


by Dr. Phil Blustein
February 1, 2024

LET IT GO

LET IT GO

Let it go to LET IT BE
Let it go to let it be to LET IT LET GO

One often hears in dealing with our experience to “let it go.” What is being let go of and what is letting go? In every moment there is a self-referential judgment of one’s experience against the belief system of who we believe we are and should act. A sense of self is created appropriate for each moment to act on one’s behalf to compensate for the unmet psychological needs. Our sense of self then appropriates awareness of the experience. In understanding how the sense of self is created and the nature of one’s relationship with the self through taking ownership of it, one is able to step back and let go of the identification with self. The Buddha stated that we cling to sensual desires, rights and rituals, views and opinions and the sense of self. I believe that ultimately it is about letting go of the sense of self. If there was no sense of self then who or what clings? What lets go is the non-self-referential awareness of our mind.

Once we let go of our identification with our conditioned constructed sense of self one can rest in the felt experiential somatic experience of the moment. As there is no resistance to what is present there is nothing to do but just be with what is.

In letting our experience be there is also a release in an internal sense. The mindful presence without resistance is offering implicit support and compassion for our created internal wounded child. The psychological child feels a greater measure of safety, love and worthiness. It can stay to a greater degree with the present moment self-criticism and judgment allowing for a progressive desensitization, disengagement and disentanglement with one’s traumatizing story. In staying with what is present without resistance this allows for the mobilization and release of the trapped somatic energy of our historic trauma. The child is able to let go of its story.

There is a progression from letting it (self) go, to letting it be (rest without resistance) to letting it (wounded child) let go.


by Dr. Phil Blustein
Jan. 19, 2024