The Still Mind

Our world observed from stillness


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Forget Your Guilty Mind

Image Credit: Shawn Phelps.com

Image Credit: Shawn Phelps.com

To err is human. Indeed, living in this world can present us with situations in our lives which we feel as though we could have acted differently–an altercation with a friend, family member or colleague where words were exchanged which upon reflection afterwards, filled your being with the unsettling, culpable feeling we know as guilt.

Guilt, and negative emotions in general, can weigh on the mind to the point of affecting health of the body. In this world of stress and expensive medicine, maintaining command of your emotional mind is an important component in the maintenance of inner peace, and in turn, health.

It is something that we all experience, yet continue to bring upon ourselves over and over again. What are the origins of this feeling? And how do we keep guilt from consuming us to the point where we can’t live anymore?

Origins

“I hate you!” she said, pushing him back against the wall. “Get away from me! You’re so stupid!” A set of words and actions that emerged automatically the instant her blood boiled from hearing something that flew in the face of her normal expectations. There are only two emotions, love and fear, with all others being variations of the two, respectively. She was enveloped in the realm of fear, erupting forth from her reptilian brain.
When we react without conscious thought, that is the domain of the survival aspect of the brain–the reptilian brain, or R-complex. You can identify actions and feelings originating from the reptilian brain via their automatic, fear-ridden expression, followed by guilt and embarrassment due to the fact that you acted without thinking, and said and did things you now regret. When conscious thought is allowed to return, the guilt and remorse comes along with it. Think how many times we have said or had someone say to us “you really weren’t yourself. You were acting like a totally different person.” This is because the brain was under different command for a spell.

The reptilian brain is the oldest part of the brain, nestled at the top of the spinal cord in the center of the brain, with its function principally oriented for survival. In this capacity, it hasn’t the ability to think, and indeed it wouldn’t have such an ability, because it is a system that needs to act as fast as possible. Thus, there is no time for there to be any processing of conscious thoughts, simply knee-jerk reaction.

The Solution Goes Hand in Hand With the Problem

Acting in an unconscious manner in difficult scenarios seems unavoidable, but now that you know the source of the problem, the answer is hitched along with it. The best way to deal with guilt and remorse is to avoid it in the first place.
Here are three steps to take to prevent a reptilian brain-induced loss of control that leads to guilt after the fact:

1.Breathe
And breath deep. The reaction, fight-or-flight system causes an arousal in the body, because you feel as though your well-being and/or your world view is under attack, or that you are about to lose something important to you, like a boyfriend or girlfriend, for example. The breath becomes shallow and quick. To counteract that, breathe deep and slow, which enacts the relaxation response in the body.

2. Observe your thoughts.
The reptilian brain doesn’t think, so when you think and try to understand what is really going on, it takes away control from the knee-jerk reaction section of the brain. This ability improves with practice, as with most anything else.

3. Forgive.
To err is human, to forgive divine. This step is more applicable after the fact. Forgiving not only is directed at other people who have done us wrong, but also directed at ourselves. Letting ourselves get taken away by emotion is something that is not easy to control. After an altercation in which you’ve done or said something regretful, realize that it was something that took you away for a moment, and work on moving away from dwelling in its wake.


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Mindful Steps – The Art of Moving Stillness

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The walking of everyday life tends to be birthed of a certain purpose, and rarely is a purpose of walking for the sake of walking. Busy-ness serves as the bow that launches the arrow of intent of such walking. Hurried walking from one day with the intent of making it through to the next day as quickly as possible, leads to weeks, then months, then years, and left unabated, then a lifetime of hurried steps. Hurried steps are not limited to walking, for the movement from place to place is the offspring of the workings of the mind. Thus, hurried steps reflect a hurried mind, and a hurried mind becomes a hurried life (I’m sure we all are familiar with the adage “haste makes waste”).

Walking may seem like the most simplest of activities, and sure it may be, but when we walk, are we really aware of the act of walking, or is it more of a means to an end? Mindful walking, however, is something far more involved than one might realize, simply because Continue reading


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When Are You?

Where Is Now? from Christina Ondrus on Vimeo.

The human world is an infinite sea of thoughts and attachments all trying to interact with each other. This is a recipe for disaster, when identity is dependent on these for it to even exist. This is the ultimate reason why there is an extreme lack of peace in our world. Billions of people all with their own identities, no one can agree on the way things should be, because everyone believes that their own thoughts are correct. In this way, identity breeds separateness. Separateness breeds disagreements. Disagreements breed turmoil. This is where the lack of peace is manifested. From an unflinching desire to hold on to any and everything, even if it does not exist — illusions. Past, future, good, bad. For whom is it that is good or bad? Where is your mind, in fact, when is it? If the things in your mind do not truly exist at all, than why does one torture themselves for an entire life, clinging clinging, running running. Always running. Always clinging. Always attaching. An idea pops into the mind, and immediately it must be realized. On with the running. Run run run. Running until the grave is dug. Finally, no more running.
The sun will rise again regardless of the fulfillment of thoughts. Pain is done to oneself. We must find out who we are. We must find out when we are.


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Music For The Mind – Pansori 판소리, The Sound of Ancient Korea

Vibrations affect the mind, because the mind itself is energy. Vibrations are energy. This is why playing music for plants helps them grow, and why ancient civilizations established ways of singing and forms of music that tapped into the rhythms of existence. Even the Sun has a steady vibrational rhythm at 126.22Hz, which can be heard by use of instrumentation, and when tapped into, can soothe the mind. It is all energy, and the interactions of energy, the precise reason our brains are drawn to pleasing sounds.

It is interesting to note that in the world that we live in today — mass illness, and sickness of mind — there is a considerable lack in the ways of the ancients which kept them in tune with the way of the earth. Even ruling classes ruled in reverence to the heavens. The earth was the master.

Music and sound have an effect on the brain, and on matter itself, as evident by the extensive results found in the field of Cymatics. In Korean Pansori, the sonic registers of the of performer’s voice reach dynamics that our everyday speech patterns lack.

Please Enjoy!