Imagine that you walk into a crowd of people who suddenly get into panic, running to get away from something. What would you do? Would you run with them or go against the current to see what is happening behind the crowd? Normally you would run away, and most probably get worried, scared for your life.
When a traumatic event hits too close to us, we might develop
a strong reaction to the experience, and it doesn't matter if we only experienced the threat to our own physical integrity, witnessed injury or death of another person, or only heard about it on the news. The same event may cause traumatic reactions in one person but not in another. Depending on the person, some are unable to handle the intense emotional memories of disturbing events, and this can lead to the panic attacks, re-experiencing that stress, hyper-vigilance, rage, numbing, nightmares, etc.
But when we realize that meditation is part of life, and that we all use it in one occasion or another throughout each day, the whole picture about it can be changed. It has always been accessible to all of us, regardless of individual religious or spiritual beliefs. A prayer is one sort of meditation. It is true that different spiritual traditions have different ways of calling it, and some attach a variety of components of awareness into their practice, while the common ground is still a simple meditation.
One good thing about a skinny meditation is that it comes free of attachments and it is also available to people who do not practice any religion. Some call it 'connecting with God, Creator', others 'finding own Source', or 'connecting to the Universal Energy', and so on. Finding alignment, peace, healing, relief, strength, etc, is common to all and it is a natural tendency for a human being to practice, sometimes consciously, and sometimes not. It can be as simple as finding a comfortable posture, concentration on your breath, and here you go, meditating. Some people use mantras, and others go with prayers to arrive to the results of calm within, and alignment with their source. And some stay in a simple contemplative silence.
So what is mindfulness and why do we mostly connect it with meditation?
All in a desperate need of love and support… Most of us have been taught that it is important to appreciate what we have got in life, ever since we were children.
Do you remember how many times you had your mind sadly focused on what you haven’t got while the good people and positive things in your life at the time didn’t seem to have any value for you? I definitely do remember mine.
The studies of positive psychology confirm that gratitude brings many benefits into our lives. Those benefits are shown in less physical pain, a healthier body, mind, a more optimistic view on life, and further more, in a better quality relationships.
What is your role? Are you the winner of an ideal partnership, or the greatest support for a lonely friend, or are you the traveller on pursue of such an ideal relationship?
While a few people may be currently completely happy with simply living alone and soothing painful scars of the past relationships, or for other more practical reasons, and that is completely OK, one can't neglect that we are human beings, and therefore naturally social beings who have this internal need to share life experience and matter to someone.
Our awareness of this adaptive quality within each one of us can help build our personal and social resilience. Knowing that we can heal trauma makes us more prone to look for positive solutions and to bounce back from any negative event faster.
Traumatic are those extremely stressful events that destroy your sense of security and make you feel helpless in the world that is frightening to you. Those situations don’t necessarily involve physical harm. Nobody can identify one negative event equally traumatic for all because we are all living it and processing it in a different way emotionally and cognitively.
We all have those negative thoughts arriving from time to time. They can be turned against ourselves, our own performance at work, in relationships, or against others, events, and anything we can possibly imagine. The most important difference is in the intensity and duration of those thoughts, which are usually low and brief for people who keep the balance on a positive side of life.
What also makes a difference is the processing of information - from the first thought that occurs to you about something, to pinning down what that really means to you. The point when you make a decision to put yourself or someone else down, or to make space for a 'but' sentence is crucial for you to learn about - when you'd like to feel more satisfied with your life.
If you were able to recognize the right opportunities and made the best decisions to get where you were determined to arrive, despite where you started from, that is a great achievement and a reason to be happy, but it isn't the reason to stop there. Your happiness is being created every day, with every single moment's decision that you take.
If you are one of many who haven’t yet found the right circumstances to begin thriving, I hope to motivate you to search within yourself and find out what is there that really belongs to you and what is there in your life story that doesn’t reflect the real you of today, and could be left behind.
all is influencing you on your way towards reaching your goals in life. It isn't only your current circumstances, people around you, or your genes.
The reason I am writing about this is to have you think about your past for a while. The time when you were able to play. Can you remember any of those days? Are you able to revive some of the joyful memories nowadays and permit yourself to play on daily basis? If not, why is it not an option for you anymore? Is your work taking all your positive energy away, and the younger people in your life simply sound too loud for you to mix with them or to try to find a good connection with them?
In a long lasting queue you can find people who roll their eyes and make comments while someone in front of them cannot make up their mind about a purchase or is simply counting his change.
Anger can affect what we say or do before we can even recognize the feeling. If you are one of those people who feel angry all the time, the chances are that you have become so used to feeling the anger, that you may not notice it any more. And when not thinking about it, your behavior gets to be influenced by this feeling.
When looking for signs of anger in others, think of the different ways in which anger can be displayed.
Do you know a person who feels angry most of the time? If their anger seems to be ever-persisting, such person became so used to the feeling of anger so well that she may not even notice it any more. And what she doesn't notice, she cannot recognize as the key factor that is influencing what she says long before the actual anger escalates.
Those extremely stressful events that destroy your sense of security and make you feel helpless in the world that is frightening, don’t necessarily involve physical harm, yet can be traumatic. Nobody else can identify one negative event equally traumatic for all because we are all living it and processing it in a different way emotionally and cognitively.
The more helpless and frightened we feel, the more possibility to undergo trauma.
Our reactions are different and there is no right or wrong way to respond to such event. How ever we feel, think and behave, it is our normal reaction to a not-normal event.
There are quite a few things that we can do to help ourselves recover faster.One important thing is to move as often as possible during the day. Any sport can help our body regain the balance again.
Seeking comfort in others may seem odd and hard to do, but it is the engagement and feeling of acceptance by others without sharing details about the traumatic experience that is so helpful for many people.
Some people are open to seeking support, be it in counselors, or simply in friends,family member or another trustworthy person. Support groups are an option for some, while others may feel more at ease by simply volunteering to help others in distress. Such activity can really help to regain personal strength, hope and even help create new friendships.
Anita is a Counselor, Coach and the Author of the forthcoming book on personal empowerment 'The Independence Report'.