“I’m worried that if I leave him, no one will be there to take care of him,” “I feel scared that he’ll/she’ll be abandoned by her parents and friends,” “Where will he live if I turn him away?” and “I don’t think I’ll be able to raise our children all alone”- are these statements running […]
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Part two of a three part series
If you paid careful and mindful attention to Part One of this series on Mindful Awareness enough to want to try it, you might be asking, “How do I do it?”
Practice, practice, practice
Mindful Awareness among other things is a practice in the fullest definition of that word. It is an intention that needs to be acted upon repeatedly, that is not just “one and done” – all fixed. As with any other learned behavior or skill, the more you do this, the more the benefits will grow and accrue.
Repetition means near daily practice and it matters less as to the duration of each practice as it does to the frequency of them; better five minutes a day for a week, than 35 minutes on only one day.
Of course, since Mindful Awareness can be many different things as noted in Part One, there are several aspects to these practices; basic – informal versus formal practices.
Informal practices are many and are all based on the single premise of remembering to pay attention, albeit even briefly, to the present experience many times a day. Many people use reminders or cues over the course of the day to bring them into present awareness. For example, every time you look at your wristwatch, just pause and pay attention to what is happening right then; not what you are doing at this moment but rather being present there while you are doing it. Try it and you will know what I mean; it is quite a different experience.
Formal practices are many and varied. They are considered formal because you are setting aside a given amount of time specifically for this purpose. Most of these practices would be considered under the general term of “meditation”. Thus, it is important to emphasize that not all meditation is mindful, and further, Mindfulness Meditation is practiced in many ways, as already noted.
Mindful Awareness formal practices are most often done while sitting, but can also be done while standing, walking, or lying down. Some practices are sort of in between the formal and informal, such as my favorites, washing my hands, and driving.
But for purposes of brevity here, let’s consider the most common; sitting. Now you can go full tilt here with this by sitting in the lotus position on a specific special cushion of buckwheat husks, but no need – a chair works fine. The position is most important; that is comfortable, erect, and balanced; often described as “dignified”, if possible, with minimal or no support in the back. But most important, whatever you choose needs to be okay for being there for more than just a few minutes.
From here it gets more detailed and it’s important to keep this posting brief. To repeat, it is not so much the length of the sitting but how often you do it. My pledge to myself is to meditate every day without any commitment to how long I do it. That works for many.
Start with breath awareness
For starters, most teachers including me, begin with breath awareness. This is focused attention to the simple sensations of the breath wherever you feel it most prominently. My spot is the nose; yours might be the chest or belly. But the point is to keep your attention to just that; each breath in each present moment. When the mind wanders, which it will do, just note it and come back to the breath. No worries here; that’s just what normal minds do.
It can go on from there, but at least that’s a start. You can find many excellent guided practices online. I often recommend those by psychologist Tara Brach. I’ve attended her classes and here’s a link: https://www.tarabrach.com/guided-meditation-basic-meditations/ There are many others, of course.
In conclusion, no matter what, this is something you can choose to try knowing. It has been helpful to many others – me included.
Next time, in Part Three, we will address the question as to “Why you might want to do it”. That will be a review of the solid science which supports this practice for those with addiction.
Bill Abbott is a long time SMART volunteer. He can often be found in SMART meetings in the Boston area and in our online community.
Millions of American suffers from clinical depression or major depressive disorder. Clinical depression remains as the most prevalent mental disorder in the country. Proved as a severe mood disorder it greatly affects daily normal routine such as eating, sleeping and working. However, feeling blue is different from depression. Depression varies in seriousness from mild, brief […]
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Over the past few years, experts noticed a drop in accidental or intentionally ingesting prescribed painkillers. However, even with the decrease of reported poisoning, the problem is yet to be solved, as it still poses a great threat to children. An average of 32 calls a day Recent studies published in Pediatrics on Monday stated […]
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Ramifications Of Prescription Drug Abuse Prescription drug abuse is on the rise in the United States. More than 15 million people in the US abuse prescription drugs, more than all other drug abusers put together. Part of the reason that prescription drug abuse is so prevalent is that most people who become addicted started taking […]
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According to an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2012, more than 9% of people over the age of 12 abused drugs in the previous month, but only 2.3 million of 21.6 million people who needed treatment actually received it. For many people struggling with drug addiction, detox is the […]
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Celebrities are notorious for “living on the edge”. Unfortunately, the pressure to live a wild and crazy lifestyle often means the end of the road for celebrities. From celebs that died from alcohol or drugs, we have lost many greatly talented people. And while many young, bright flames burn out because of drugs, just as […]
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Can You Detox At Home? And Should You? Hint… The Answer is Possibly and (No) Drugs and alcohol cause tragic consequences for people who become addicted to them. They take a toll on family relationships, promising careers, and self-esteem. Alcoholics and addicts are often to surprise to find that when they want to quit, they […]
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By Bill Abbott, MD
I’ve heard much talk lately about Mindfulness with many questions about how useful it might be, so it seems timely to write about it here.
First Mindfulness or Mindful Awareness as I like to call it, is not new, in fact, it is over 2500-years-old. It’s part of the teachings of a man in India named Siddhartha Gautama who is also known as the historical Buddha.
However, in the last century the philosophy and psychology of the Buddhist idea have been transferred here into the West to become a pragmatic secular approach to managing the many stresses of modern life – with outcomes or benefits obtained; reported by thousands of people who learned it and tried it.
Although cognitive psychology has predominated psychotherapy for all sorts of mental challenges in the past two decades, it has become increasingly apparent that Mindful Awareness is a possible different path to mental wellness in a new effective psychology. What can be said at this point is that the approach affords us the chance to self-manage emotions, including those with addiction, now not only in one way, but two. Furthermore, there are numerous scientific studies, evidence if you will, that support the idea that this approach is useful for such things as stress, anxiety, depression, and yes, for addiction.
If this has caught your attention – good. It certainly has mine, and I have found its practice for the past five years significantly transformative in my own recovery. So, you ask, what is it?
Mindful Awareness is easy to describe but more difficult to grasp and practice. However, a simple definition might be:
Mindful Awareness is paying attention to what is happening in the present experience; allowing what is here to be present without judgment. This is acceptance of the here and now.
It is hopefully experienced in a kind way, but also with the realization that most ideas and feelings are transient and temporary – passing through, moment by moment like watching a cloud pass by in the sky.
Mindful Awareness is:
1. A philosophy and psychology that leads to well-being
2. A state of mind
3, A way of life
4. A practice
It has been shown that we humans spend greater than 50% of our wakened lifetime in a mindless state, that is, living on autopilot; reliving the past or anticipating the future. Becoming more mindful allows us to participate in the rationality and reality of the present experience no matter how it is being perceived; that is, being there without being so caught up in it in such a way that it becomes difficult to manage. Thus, Mindful Awareness can be a calming antidote to the emotional burden so many with addiction carry, as complicated and varied as it is. As stated earlier, Mindful Awareness is a self-empowering strategy that is scientifically supported to help those suffering from any form of addiction.
If you are significantly and sufficiently interested, stay tuned for the next blog where we will be considering the question “How do I do this?”
Bill Abbott is a long time SMART volunteer. He can often be found in the Boston area and in our online community.
Hi my name is Anna. I got into cocaine and later heroin when I got into the club scene. My friends and I had a great time in our late teens and 20's. However things took a turn for the worse after I was not the cute young girl in the club anymore. I decided I did not want to be defined by drugs or the clubs. I have been living for Jesus ever since. Sharing my struggle and my glory which is revealed in him.