Posts Tagged ‘stopping’

Are You Running Toward Your Death Without Even Knowing It?

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Recently I heard Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the popular books Wherever You Go, There You Are and Coming to Our Senses, say the phrase, “[we’re] running toward our deaths.” This really hit a chord for me. So much of the time we’re just running, whether that means physically moving fast throughout the day our just in our minds. Along the same vein, I often tell the people I work with, “It just doesn’t make sense to rush home to relax.”

This may sound trite and played out to some (note: recognize the judgment), but really, isn’t it time to open up to our lives right here, right now instead of always rushing to the next moment. In the big scheme of things we really are running toward our deaths, even if just in our minds.

When we take a step back, breathe, and look at this, most of us agree that this isn’t the way we want to live our lives.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that we’re stuck, stuck in very strong conditioned habits of doing things. Stuck in social dynamics that trigger reactions in us, below our awareness, to think and act the ways we’re trying to change. Have you ever noticed that you act a similar way when you go home for the holidays as you did when you were a kid? The same dynamics often play out because your mind gets triggered with old patterns and it’s quite unconscious.

Let me also say this. Changing this intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamic does not have to be this grand proclamation at the New Year. It doesn’t have to be a big resolution, which often doesn’t work anyway. Why? Because we set them up in ways that eventually seem overwhelming to our minds and so our motivation weans.

Instead, choose moments to begin changing the circuitry in your brains. Each time you stop and take a moment out of auto-pilot and pay attention to this present moment we begin changing the neural patterns of our brains. It may not seem like much at the moment, but research is pointing the way in showing us we can actually change our brains and therefore, change our minds and vice versa.

So, why wait for the New Year, start right now, in this moment. There’s no need to race toward our deaths or even rush home to relax, take a moment to breathe, relax and let be. When the mind says, “been there, done that,” choose to engage the attitude of beginner’s mind and see things as if for the first time.

I know I’ve mentioned this one before, and I’ll be putting up more videos, but for now, you can engage with this 5-Minute STOP practice if you would like guidance.

As always, please share your thoughts about what works for you in becoming more present to your life? Or what are some ways you think you’re “racing toward your death?” Every interaction below provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

Awaken Your Life Right Now: Mondays Mindful Quote with Carl Jung

Monday, December 14th, 2009

There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Carl Jung:

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

This is what we’re talking about at the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog, really awakening so we can be aware of that space in between the stimulus and response (a la Viktor Frankl), and recognize that we have more choices to make more skillful decisions in life.

The answers don’t lie outside of us, they lie inside of us. Rather than dreaming of some distant vision, we can awaken the dream inside of us, right here, right now.

However, in order to do this we need to pay attention to ourselves and sometimes the gifts are in our wounds. Jan Goldstein wrote the book Sacred Wounds which exemplifies this. Through a series of stories and the telling of his own journey, he teaches how we can succeed because of life’s pain.

This parallels recent writings on the upside of depression.

This isn’t too dissimilar from a Rumi quote that I mentioned a bit ago:

“Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.”

In taking a moment to STOP throughout your day, you are literally breaking out of the habitual routines and moving toward becoming more awake to this life. When you are more awake, you begin to feel like you have more choice in your life.  When you feel like you have more choice, you feel like you have more hope and this is the greatest anti-depressant.

Additionally, as neuroscientists are all teaching us (neuroplasticity), with these new actions we are laying down new tracks in our brains that allow this practice of waking up to become more natural down the road.

So take the opportunity today to take some time-out to wake up! Practice looking inside, even if only for a few moments. Allow this to be a reminder; perhaps you can even do it right now for 1 minute.

1. Take an assessment of how you’re feeling physically, emotionally and mentally.

2. Bring your attention to your breath as an anchor to this moment.

3. Feel into your life.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

STOP: A Short Mindfulness Practice

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

This is a practice out of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and co-authored by Bob Stahl Ph.D. and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. (New Harbinger, 2010). This short mindfulness practice is meant to be sprinkled throughout the day to support you in becoming more present, reducing stress, and being more effective in every day life.