PEACE OF MIND – What’s Your Version? By Julie Kelly

Every day we hear people say how important it is to have peace of mind. For some people, peace of mind means having a job that’s consistent and secure . For others, peace of mind means a health condition being resolved or settling. There are so many examples and definitions of peace of mind.  But what does peace of mind really mean to you? 

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WHY WE HURT By Julie Kelly

Have you ever wondered why some people suffer the effects of trauma & others simply move on? Why some carry past experiences from childhood into adulthood & others refuse – closing the door on the past? We’ve all pondered these things….”Why me? Why does it always seem to be me who suffers?” Well first it’s important to understand how the mind works, and we’ll do it by going on a journey into outer space. When the mind is peaceful we experience vast quiet space – so it seems a great place to start. 

 
 
Clinging sadness pain intolerance letting go attachment and consciousness consciousness subconsciousness powerful mind brain

So let’s begin right down in the deepest recesses of the mind – THE UNCONSCIOUS

Have you ever heard of Fight Flight or Freeze? It’s the response we have in the most difficult circumstances. For example, let’s say we get mugged in the street at gunpoint, the chances are we’re not going to put up too much of a fight in case we get shot. Most of us would hand over our things and try to stay alive – we’d probably take flight and have that memory frozen in time somewhere so we didn’t have to deal with it. The unconscious mind is a bit like a filing system where all our traumatic memories get stored. It’s safe and secure and won’t let you down. Whilst your memories are there, you can get on with life as if nothing happened. That’s why soldiers who’ve seen the most horrendous things don’t fall and crumble. It’s why they carry on regardless in war without faltering and why everyday people seem to have extraordinary resilience in terrible situations………..BUT THERES A CATCH! The unconscious part of your mind is only good until another part of the mind gets stimulated and sends a message that it’s safe to let go.

 Travelling up from the deepest recesses, is another part of the mind…THE SUBCONSCIOUS

The subconscious acts as a kind of filter between the Conscious mind & the Unconscious. It’s triggered by stimuli of many different kinds. When the Subconscious mind receives stimuli, it passes a message to the Unconscious to say “Ok it’s safe now to let some of your memory out” That stimuli comes from the CONSCIOUS MIND. The subconscious doesn’t try to make sense of things, it’s impulsive and jumps to all kind of weird conclusions because it’s governed by the Amygdala (or pleasure Centre) The Amygdala is part of the brain and is only about the size of a pea. It doesn’t really stop to think, it isn’t rational and it just stampedes right on in there

THE CONSCIOUS MIND 

How we process the information gathered by our conscious mind, often determines the path mental and physical health will take. The here and now is where our brain is most active because of our 5 senses. What we see, touch, hear, smell & taste all have memory from certain situations in life. For example, something we see happening to another person, may trigger a memory about something that happened in our own life. How we use the conscious part of our mind is the most important thing, because how we process that information brought about by the senses, determines whether our mental health is likely to suffer.  All this may seem complicated, because it sound like you have a choice right? Well it’s actually true you do. Heres a simple example…..

Joe  had the most traumatic childhood. He had two alcoholic parents and pretty much had to raise himself through his teenage life. joe’s brother is only one year younger than him, and experienced the same family dynamics and situations.  Both Joe and his brother left home when they reached 18 years old. Joe went on to become an artist and opened his own studio, he married and had three children. Joe severed all contact with his parents, it was a very difficult decision but he figured he had to do it in order to move forward. Joe’s brother on the other hand  didn’t have to work as hard as Joe because he won a scholarship. The only problem with Joes brother, he decided not to follow this through and he became dependent on heroin. Joe’s brother says it helps him escape the terrible traumatic memory of his past.  He says every time he smells alcohol, it reminds him of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents.  Both Joe and his brother are in their late 50s now, Joe is still doing fine but his brother, he still suffers the consequences of his past. 

Here we have two brothers, who grew up in the same family environment but who took very different roads as they became adults why is this? Well there are some very important factors to consider here. Joe made a very significant but difficult decision to sever all contact with his abusive parents and pursue his goal – that was his big motivation. By doing this he closed a door on the traumatic memory & consciously chose a different road. Whilst it’s unclear, if Joe’s brother also cut contact with his parents,  what is very apparent, is the fact that Joe chose to go down a very different road. He chose not to pursue the scholarship he had won and to start looking for escape in illicit drugs.  So here we have two people, making very clear choices about the way they want to direct their lives. This isn’t a judgement about whether they were right or wrong,  it’s only an example of how we have choice. The next very interesting factor, Joes brother says every time he smells alcohol, it reminds him of his abusive parents. Let’s look at what’s happening here in relation to the conscious, subconscious and conscious mind.

 Let’s say Joe’s brother is sitting in a park minding his own business. Two people having a heated discussion and drinking alcohol start to walk closer to him.  They have no interest in him whatsoever, and will probably walk straight past engulfed in their own arguments. But his conscious mind has already become panicked and is preparing for fight or flight. A message is then sent to the Subconscious by the Amygdala to say something bad is about to happen. This is the only stimuli needed, for the subconscious mind to spring into action. It sends messages right down to the deepest unconscious mind and a traumatic memory is released.  At this point, Joes brother will be desperate for his next fix of heroin to escape and this is how it will continue until Joes brother finds a way of closing the door on his past.

Some would argue, that there are instances where we aren’t in control of how we process information. For example in circumstances where a person may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Although not completely unique to the armed forces,  it’s fair to say PTSD is found mostly in men and women returning from the line of duty. They have seen the most horrendous things, and if they had responded at the time would probably have fallen completely apart mentally & physically.  At the time they experienced these atrocities, there was no choice but to tuck away the traumatic memory and carry on serving their country. It was only on returning home, that these memories started to surface and create massive problems in their lives.  As someone who has worked extensively with people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, I have also researched the issue and have found no actual evidence to suggest who may or may not go on to develop PTSD. For example, we may have two people who experienced the same atrocities at the same time, but one will go on to develop PTSD and the other wont.  What is very apparent however, a person who deals with the trauma at the time of it happening, may be less likely to go on and develop PTSD than a person who doesn’t – but again, It’s  very difficult to say. So how can we begin to unravel the issue of processing information at the right time? It’s difficult to determine whether we can or not but one thing’s  for certain, the mind is a very powerful tool and it can be retrained to think and act in very different ways. One of these ways is through meditation ….. Mindfulness meditation or Vipassana as it’s otherwise known  to bring the mind into the present moment, enabling us to rationalise situations and events more easily in a more balanced way. Or in the case of someone who has PTSD, transcendental meditation  which allows the mind to transcend the present moment. In other words transcendental meditation allows the mind to rise above the present moment where the difficulties lay, and to find its own place of peace. 

 A non-trauma-focused therapy, transcendental meditation (TM), may be a viable option to decrease symptom severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans, according to a new study published in The Lancet Psychiatry. This study was the first comparative effectiveness trial comparing TM with an established psychotherapy for PTSD.1

https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/mood-disorders/depressive-disorder/transcendental-meditation-reduces-ptsd-symptom-severity-in-veterans/

What are your experiences of the mind & Meditation? I’d really love to hear your feedback.

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SINGING BOWLS – A Different Perspective on Healthcare – By Julie Kelly

Purely by accident I discovered the many health benefits of the ‘Tibetan singing bowl’ Up until a couple of years ago, I’d used the bowls only for relaxation or soothing effects, but never as an actual part of my healing work. After many years coming and going to India & living in the Tibetan community, I developed a fascination with the bowls, but to be honest, few if any Tibetans actually acknowledged or seemed aware of using the bowls in healing. 

Healing physical mental spiritual health sound vibrate vibration energy tone cells pain depression anxiety stress peace inner

The disregard of my excitement and wonderful fantasy about these magical little bowls, being used in monasteries & Temples all over India, nowadays it simply didn’t seem to be the case. After saying this…..it isn’t completely false either – as explained in the interview below, between Rain Gray & his Tibetan Brother in law – Lama Lobsang Molam. You see, the bowls were used historically in Tibet, long before the Chinese communist invasion. Following this, much of the old traditions were lost or banned. While a few monasteries do still use the bowls, few younger Tibetans seem to know of them.

https://www.bodhisattva.com/singing_bowl_history.htm

Anyway, a very dear friend of mine gave me a set of these beautiful bowls and I realised, the sounds they emit work as a type of energy medicine that can heal actual physical pain, depression, and stress disorders. One way in which they work, is by allowing your brain to focus on and get in tune with the sounds of the bowl. Another way however, is by allowing the physical vibration of the bowl

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5 Guaranteed WAYS TO MAKE MEDITATION WORK FOR YOU- By Julie Kelly

Well done for sticking with us to finally reach the 5th Guaranteed way to make meditation work for you. If you practice the other 4 regularly & with commitment, there’s absolutely no reason why you won’t experience the changes I have. All 5 of these steps have been used in my own practice which is how I know they work. So let’s move on to number 5……

Pay Attention & share

As you become more relaxed into your meditation practice, You’ll become aware of any sensations or emotions arising within you. Don’t try to change them or analyse them-simply be aware of them and let them pass. Remember, your emotions, worries and negative thoughts aren’t part of you. If they were, you wouldn’t be able to get rid of them so remember, meditation isn’t about clearing the mind-it’s about not allowing our thoughts and negativity to dominate it by creating dialogue with them. The one thing to note as you become more advanced in your practice, is ‘personal responsibility’ It’s true we can’t always be responsible for things happening around us, some things are beyond our control. But we are absolutely and completely responsible for the way we respond to those things. As you become more settled in your practice, you may notice a big change in the way you respond to things. You may find yourself walking away or trying to reason with people who would usually press your buttons. Pay Attention to these changes and then share your experiences with others who might be struggling.

You are the greatest teacher anyone could ask for – but first you have to be the greatest student.

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5 GUARANTEED WAYS TO MAKE MEDITATION WORK FOR YOU- By Julie Kelly

 

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So in our last 3 posts we’ve explored What Meditation Is, Being Aware of Posture & Why We Chose Meditation As A Practice. I’ve tried to keep the posts as brief and to the point as possible. That’s the thing about meditation, you don’t need to overthink things – it just takes patience and regular practice.

So now in Step 4 – Let’s Consider Change

The main thing to consider when doing regular meditation practice is ‘change’ this will take place in many different ways. If you practice regularly you’ll notice change in your mood, how you see the world, how you see yourself even and definite changes in health as your mind becomes calmer. Change can be really exciting especially if you start to notice positive things happening as a result. But what if the change isn’t so positive? For example, if you’re having problems finding time to meditate. Well over the past 3 sessions, the only practice we have done lasts just 5 minutes so if you’re finding it difficult to make time, consider the possibility you may need to make change to your routine. 5 minutes of your day isn’t a long time, so maybe there are things you need to adjust. It’s important at this stage, not to blame external things, for the fact we don’t have time – we make our own choices in life and we need to make the adjustments. Lets see how many changes we notice over the next couple of days! See you soon for our 5th Guaranteed Way to Make Meditation Work For You.

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5 GUARANTEED WAYS TO MAKE MEDITATION WORK FOR YOU By Julie Kelly

For most of us, meditation becomes a choice when things aren’t going right in our lives. For example, we all get that feeling like  something’s missing etc. Unless of course you’re born into an eastern culture where meditation is often a lifestyle routine. If you find yourself experiencing problems meditating, remind yourself why you started in the first place.  Step 3: Remember Why you Chose to Meditate – Give yourself TIME  

Everything of benefit takes hard work so just keep at it and you’ll succeed! In Western culture it’s a sad fact we’ve become ‘quick fix’ addicts – when something goes wrong we want a fix now! The problem is, life doesn’t work like that so in essence we’re trying to defy the law of nature. How can we possibly hope to solve our stress crisis by trying to race through things? The racing mind is usually the root cause of our stress issues. This is why it’s important to strip things right back to the beginning and remember….. If your meditation practice doesn’t work first time, it doesn’t mean it’s rubbish – it means you need to work with it more. This is something to contemplate for the next couple of days. See you soon with Step 4

 

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5 GUARANTEED WAYS To Make Meditation Work for You – By Julie Kelly

In step 1 we looked at Meditation & some of the misconceptions. You were also given a short 5 min meditation practice to try out. So by now you’ll have had the chance to get acquainted with things a little better in preparation for Step 2…..

POSTURE:

When we do meditation practice, it’s so important to have correct posture because not only does this help ‘Prana’ or life energy flow freely around the body, it also helps with many physical health conditions. So when we meditate it’s important to sit comfortably with a straight back. Think of the body as a mountain, the base is at your crossed legs, the strength is your straight back & the peak is the crown of your head. Here’s an example of good meditation posture whether you’re on a mat or supported on a chair.
 
 
 
For some, taking this position may be difficult so it’s ok to lean back against something but your back should ideally be straight if supported. Remember, meditation is a discipline of the mind and body so we should try where possible to bring the two together. For the next couple of days, practice your 5 minute meditation (as in Step 1) in a more upright posture and see how it feels. I’d love your feedback.
 
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5 GUARANTEED WAYS to Make Meditation Work for You! By Julie Kelly

Worldwide research has proven, regular meditation helps improve Mental, Spiritual & Physical health. But it all seems pointless if every time you try, a huge mental block appears to stop you in your tracks. Don’t worry though, it happens to most of us at first. This is why I’m sharing my 5 guaranteed ways to make meditation work for you. So let’s begin with the obvious…

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1 – What Meditation Actually Is

Meditation is a process of calming the mind not clearing it of thoughts. A really big misunderstanding of meditation, is it means clearing all thoughts so the mind is empty. If you’ve been trying to do this, it’s no wonder you’re struggling. The more you try to clear those thoughts, the more they come streaming back – right?  So the first step is knowing it’s okay to have thoughts. The problems begin when those thoughts start to dominate our mind. When you first start to meditate, you’ll probably find a whole stream of different thoughts trying to bombard your mind. This is perfectly normal because up until now, you’ve allowed your mind to jump from one thing to another – a behaviour known as ‘Monkey Mind.’ All that’s happening here, is your mind trying to cling to its normal behaviour as you start reigning it in. Your mind isn’t used to being quiet, so for a while it will try and fight back until you’ve trained it properly to behave in a different way. So the best way to start for a good quality meditation, is to sit for about 5 minutes – no more. Just  focus on the breath, and when thoughts come into your mind, embrace them and let them go. Don’t try and create a dialogue with them or get disturbed because they’re only thoughts, like the sea they’ll come and go. Just recognise them, and bring your focus back to the breath. This is all you need to do for the first step. Try it for the next couple of days and then we’ll look at our next step.
 

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