Greetings everyone. A reminder and invitation to join me live online for Morning Meditation,
sponsored by eMindful.com. I’m in the video classroom (see below) every Friday morning. Other instructors lead the practice on the other days of the week. These meditations are offered free of charge by eMindful.
The practice runs from 8:00 to 8:45 eastern standard time and you may enter and leave the classroom at any time without disrupting the practice. If you can’t make it during that time there are recorded sessions like the one below available. See you in the morning!
Tara Brach, Ph.D., is a beloved dharma teacher and the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, and teaches Buddhist meditation at centers in the United States and Canada (such as Kripalu and Omega). A clinical psychologist and author of Radical Acceptance- Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, she has taught extensively on the application of Buddhist teachings to emotional healing.http://www.tarabrach.com Visit her website: www.tarabrach.com.
I have had the honor to sit with Tara and she is a warm, compassionate, and genuine teacher.
Today, I’ll talk about the wisdom inherent in metaphors. Robert Frost warned, Unless you are at home in the metaphor, unless you have had
your proper poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.”
And metaphors are not just colorful devices to spice up language, they are a fundamental part of how we speak and think. Whether we realize it or not, we are using metaphors all the time.
In one compelling example, the late psychologist Julian Jaynes discussed how the verb ?To
be comes from the Sanskrit bhu that mean to grow or to make grow. “Am” and “is” evolved from the same root as the Sanskrit asmi that mean to breathe. He concludes, “It is something of a lovely surprise that the irregular
conjugation of our most nondescript verb is thus a record of a time when man
had no independent word for ‘existence’ and could only say that something
‘grows’ or that it ‘breathes.'”
This, of course, is fascinating to me because breathing is the foundation of mindfulness meditation practice.
Emily Dickinson tells us:
A WORD is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
She is right. The words we utter to each other and in the privacy of our own minds matter, and can make the difference between happiness and misery.
Everything we see, feel, hear, and understand is filtered through the metaphorical structures of our minds. There are very few experiences that are not colored by metaphor. The linguist George Lakoff suggests that all of our concepts are formed by the frames and metaphors shaping our brains.
This includes the concept of self. While he cautions the media plays a large role in forming our political opinions, our internal “media” provides a powerful form of self-indoctrination.
Mindfulness can help us to become aware of how we may be indoctrinating ourselves with certain “political” views about ourselves. For example, mindfulness can help us to see where we are making our sense of OK-ness contingent on what other people think of us or how certain things go, neither of which we can control. With that awareness we can make choices about what words we believe about ourselves.
Here is an example from my book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness. It’s metaphor 43 called “Don’t Believe Everything You Think”
We’ve all been admonished not to believe everything
we read–after all, the press is fallible and marketers
are always selling you something. The best approach
to the written word is to develop a healthy skepticism.
But what about the cogitated word?
I’ve seen a bumper sticker that neatly sums it up
for us: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.”
If we validate thoughts as truths simply because
they originate within our own skull we’re going to be
in all sorts of trouble. What might it mean to recognize
thoughts as just thoughts and develop a healthy
skepticism toward them, without mistaking our
thoughts for Ultimate Truths? Is there a way to do this
without becoming cynical or debilitated?
We can start with the mental objects that have a
negative flavoring, the ones that are critical in nature.
When they arise, first ask, “Is there any important feedback
for me here; is there something for me to learn?”
If so, identify that important feedback, say “Thank
you” to the critical thought, and move on, integrating
that feedback to the extent that it is useful and possible.
Often, however, there is no useful feedback or corrective
action to take, such as when you are dealing with
a generalized criticism like, “I am no good.”
Mindfulness practice will help you to become
“suspicious” of these thoughts and less sucked into
their negativistic stories. It takes some practice and
time to develop the sensitivity to recognize the feeling
flavor of what I call the strident self–the inner voice
screaming thoughts and hawking them as the final
words on all matters.
With mindfulness practice, you can bring a degree
of distance and incredulity to such interior utterances.
You can smile and ask patiently, “Says who?”
I’ve collected 108 these metaphors for mindfulness in my book that was published last year by Wisdom Publications. Some of these metaphors are classic Buddhist teaching metaphors and others I’ve invented or adapted myself using images from among other things modern technology and, for those of you who know my work already, Star Trek.
Sign up for the Exquisite Mind Newsletter and receive a five chapter excerpt from the book.
Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman asks, “What is the currency of life?” The answer shouldn’t surprise you, it’s the present moment! In this talk he explores the perils of happiness and how memory plays a role versus direct experience. The experiencing self lives in the present; the remembering self is responsible for the storytelling mind. His talk portrays how the remembering self tends to dominate our lives. He wonders how we spend the 600 million moments we have of the psychological present.
I would add that without mindfulness, we might wind up squandering our precious moments of the psychological present. Enjoy this important talk.
Introverts and Extroverts at the Neuronal Level Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I have a thing for metaphors. Those of you who have been to my workshops know that I have a thing for the brain. I have been delighted to read Giorgio Ascoli's book, Trees of the Brain, Roots ...
“How can we be true to our deepest nature with so many claims on our time, senses and energy? In The Awakened Introvert, psychologist and author Arnie Kozak offers a roadmap based on the teachings and practices of mindfulness that helps us stay connected to inner clarity, creativity and peace in the midst of daily living.” —Tara Brach Ph.D., Author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
Dr. Arnie Kozak
Long before mindfulness was fashionable, Arnie Kozak, was studying, practicing, and teaching mindfulness and Buddhist psychology. Beginning with a journey to India in the 80’s, Arnie began his lifelong practice in mindfulness meditation. As a psychologist, he has integrated ancient wisdom into his psychotherapy practice.
Arnie writes books and blogs about mindfulness, Buddhist psychology, and introversion. Arnie's ability to translate ancient healing traditions into pragmatic applications suitable for modern lifestyles through the use of metaphors have made him a contributing voice in the Mindfulness Revolution.
Arnie Kozak is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, University of Vermont College of Medicine and a Lecturer in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences where he teaches mindfulness courses. Arnie is on the guest faculty for the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and the Copper Beech Institute.
» Posts by Dr. Arnie Kozak
Arnie Kozak, Ph.D., Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist, Author, and Speaker; Clinical Instructor Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine.