Monday, February 8, 2016

What's this? What's that like? Where does this lead?

I have been looking for new words and for the magic ingredient.  I might have to settle for some partly magic ingredient.  A person can be dominated by fear or several of them.  They can get all worked up over possible earthquakes or when the drought will end.  They can be dominated by hatred, of a person or a group.

Ok, switch topics for a second.  Wouldn't it be nice if you had the power to make a comment, by whatever means, that really gives someone you care about a lift?  I mean you might call or email or text but you want to say in just a few words that you are glad to be connected, you feel lucky and strengthened by your connection.

I think there is be a connection between whatever dominates us or has our attention, and what we can do for others.  I am not talking about service to just any others, which I take to mean generalized giving.  I am talking about selfish giving that will reflect back positively on me, the giver himself.  I watched this TED talk by Dr. Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist who helps people give up smoking or other habits they want to stop, like over-snacking.  I actually don't know if I have any habits that I should break.  Maybe I do, but nothing comes to mind.  Still, I am very glad I watched the talk "A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit".

Brewer emphasized open-minded, non-fearful observation.  He said his clinic helped people give up smoking and during the sessions, they urged people to smoke!  Not to pull a trick.  Not to give up the goal of quitting but for something easier and actually more fun: for being fully aware of exactly what happens when you light up and draw in some cigarette smoke.  What does it feel like?  What does it taste like?

That sort of open observation, carefully experiencing the exact feelings and sounds and textures, is basically the way to a refreshed mind.  If you want a mind that is open and fascinated with what there is, then feel and taste and listen openly.  Notice that these are current, incoming things, not from our past or our habits.  We have memories of our past, of yesterday itself and of 2009 but we don't really have the past.  (That's good because what would we do with it?)  Our memories and habits, habits of body, habits of time, habits of thought can easily slip into our experience and block current, actual sensations and sights with habitual reactions and labels.

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