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Old 11-07-2012, 04:27 AM   #1
Simon Thakur
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Default Meditation

Do we have any meditators on the board? Amongst such a crowd of switched-on neuronuts, I would expect so...

Given the rather strong focus here on pain, factors contributing to pain, and the differences between pain and nociception, I think many here would find Vipassana meditation particularly interesting.

So how about it - is anyone engaged in serious systematic training of attention, awareness, interoception, etc, and if so, which methods have you found the most beneficial, useful, or interesting and why?

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Old 11-07-2012, 04:31 AM   #2
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Only during treatment.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:30 AM   #3
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Hello Simon, I started my interest in meditation when I was about 15 and have had various periods of regular practice, some courses,( TM, yoga) , most recently Vipassana (about 7 years ago). I'm not always keen to meditate as it interferes with swimming training and my other hobby, drinking coffee!
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:38 AM   #4
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I am quite interested in meditation and more specifically the claims therein. I am extremely interested in the pursuit of understanding of self awareness through science. Recently Diane posted some fabulous info on the insula (did I get that right?) and its contribution to a sense of self, sense of awareness.

I have heard it quoted or stated here before that there are no miracles or supernatural experiences, just stuff we don't understand yet.

I have often wondered if the enlightened ones haven't inadvertently bunged up there computing systems by sitting still for so long or by a major tweaking event. If you read the the works of these people like U.G Krishnamurti, Jed Mckenna, Sri Nisargadatta, they'll tell you that having no sense of self doesn't work well in terms of getting along with others.

Interested in where this thread goes
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:37 AM   #5
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Default Mindfullness

Hi Simon,
Our team teaches mindfullness meditation a la Jon Kabat-Zinn by occupational therapists and psychologists. It is 2/3s of what we do in our PMP which is 3rd wave CBT, ACT - acceptance and commitment therapy. Personally I do some mindfullness daily. As a parent of toddlers I find it helpful to be mindfull of my impatience.
We find the term mindfullness, which is just meditation really, does not have the preconception and baggage that some people attatch to meditation.
Personally I think that meditation is the most useful thing to do after understanding pain and graded exposure.
Kind thoughts,
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Old 17-07-2012, 11:42 AM   #6
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I recently went to the Vipassana 10-day meditation course taught by S.N Goenka.
You weren't allowed to talk or communicate in any otther way to other students during your stay. Every day consisted of about 10 hours of meditation. In my back I noticed persistent pain on and off nearly the whole course. But every once in awhile I was able to get rid of the pain or lessen the pain just by observing the painful spot without attachment to it. That was one of the most interesting experiences there.

The course was completely free. You don't pay even for the food or accomodation.
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Old 17-07-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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I spent some time practising mindfulness, ACT and CBT some years back out of curiosity more than anything else.

Meditation is something I have never thought much about nor wanted to do; not sure why. Same with yoga - it just does not gel with me. However, I have been known to sit or lie very still and think of nothing but one sound for half an hour or more. My father used to call me off with the fairies, which annoyed me because I never saw any fairies.

Perhaps the real difficulty I have with considering meditation and yoga is the class context - far too distracting.

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Old 17-07-2012, 03:11 PM   #8
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Default meditation

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/bo...pagewanted=all

I am very interested in attending the 10 day Vipassana course and knowing more about it. Tim Parks account is interesting . I had set myself a goal of doing it before 50 which will be a tall order ...
I have done a good deal of meditation but find it difficult to shut of the critic within .......
I think for the times we live in its almost imperative to do some kind of 'mindful' practice in whatever shape or form suits you . I found it allowed me to step back from the suffering at work and be more effective. The noticing of your own physiology -probably an improved intereoceptive awareness is something that is valuable in most areas of life I feel.
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Old 17-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #9
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I did an independent study in undergraduate studies on meditation. practiced it during the semester, and on and off since. Tremendous benefits for myself that I still experience today. The course was 30 years ago...
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Old 17-07-2012, 05:41 PM   #10
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In undergraduate I took a course on consciousness in which we had to meditate as well as write a journal about our experiences. It was a subjective, first person approach to exploring the nature and problem of consciousness.

One of the debates in the field of consciousness is whether first person, "subjective" observations of consciousness as well as thought experiments can tell us anything useful about the nature of the human experience; consciousness.

I believe that Susan Blackmore is an advocate of the importance of first person investigations including meditation.

In physical therapy school, we briefly touched upon Jon Kabat-Zinn's mindfulness based stress reduction and the idea of a body scan.

I have some background personally in meditation through the consciousness course. I took yoga while playing football for the "physical" benefits of improving my flexibility, but was surprised by the profound mental effects and benefits of the practice. I was blessed to have had a very traditional instructor, which I enjoyed.

I view mindfulness based activities and approaches as interesting ways of changing (improving?) perception, acceptance, and mental state. Personally, I enjoy them. Scientifically, I think they are interesting areas of study. Some of the work that investigates the neural responses and brain activity of expert meditators and monks (>10,000 hours of practice) are fascinating. Like anything, if people believe in it enough, it has the potential to be life changing.

I do not have the reference off hand, but I believe there was a study comparing the neural responses of expert meditators vs. non-meditators. They set up a bell to ring a set time intervals (predictable). What they found is non-meditators neural response lowered as they (their nervous systems) habituated to the sensory input (as well as began to predict it I imagine), where-as the meditators had the exact same intensity of neural response throughout. Disclaimer: that is my remembrance of the study, and may be way off base.
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Old 18-07-2012, 03:31 AM   #11
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I have been informally practicing mindfulness. And sporadically in the past formal meditation. For me a moving type of mindfulness is working best, along the vain of Zinn's work. Teach us to sit still by parks was what I sort of expect from the meditation community and I think it probably works for some, but it seemed to me that many accounts of retreats parallel a process that many people seem to go through as they age anyway. There is a documentary series called 7up or the up series that follows people every 7 years and they just released 56up. Haven't seen it yet but what I find interesting is how they all seem to mellow as they age, just a function of time. I think some of that gets attributed to meditation by some teachers (Jack Kornfield for example )

I think it does have value. I see literature that supports that, but I think it is pretty flexible in how it can be applied and I like the idea of shedding baggage which seems to collect around so many of these communities.

Would still like to go to a silent retreat someday though. More for the experience of it I guess.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:47 AM   #12
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Unhappy Meditation

Without meditation, Dynamic meditation ( with movement and sound) I would never have become a Physical Therapist. I was helped to befriend my body and start using it, through Dynamic meditation, meditative body therapy and dance meditation.
After practising that for nearly twenty years, I started studying PT.
It was a disaster. My approach to anything in life was open, receptive.
I had no goals and could not see any value in setting goals. (As I see you discuss in another thread here)
But I learned. Goalsetting.The really hard way. It took me ten years to finish my BSc.
I've worked some years as PT now, substituting.
And now I'm more or less forced to go on studying, because a BSc is not enough for a PT here in Stockholm anymore. I've worked and studied and now I am just studying, but behind my schedule.
And worn out.
Where did my receptivity and openess go?
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:01 AM   #13
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It's still in there - somewhere.
Life is so loaded with unnecessary stress, isn't it?

Part of me longs to go back to the good old days when we were just wordless primates grooming each other. I blame the stress on having developed language, which led to symbolism, which led to arguments and positions, and having to defend them. Along the way everything got more complicated and more hoops were added before anyone could attain the right to do anything.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:33 AM   #14
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No kidding. Finding receptivity again and again as it gets lost has been a surprise to me. I thought once you got it you had it.

I did realize you had to keep doing it over and over.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:16 AM   #15
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Thank you for the support.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:30 AM   #16
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Nonduality enabled me to grok that 'me' is a construct. The hijack by those that wish to market it is endearing.

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Old 03-05-2013, 10:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo Bowyer View Post
Nonduality enabled me to grok that 'me' is a construct. The hijack by those that wish to market it is endearing.

Jo Bowyer


But I recognise that 'losing' ones openness and receptivity makes you feel like a stranger in a strange land.

("Grok"... Haven't heard that in an age...nice.)

All the best
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born Aliased View Post


But I recognise that 'losing' ones openness and receptivity makes you feel like a stranger in a strange land.

("Grok"... Haven't heard that in an age...nice.)

All the best
Yes, stranger in a strange land. What a beautiful book...

I guess I am trying to convey the hurt I felt - and feel - when I can't find my place in ANY community - not the MBSR-teachers, not the Buddhists, not whatever is left of the gatherings around Osho's teachings, not the Zen guys, not the Christians and so on...
Not the dancers, writers, actors.
Not Swedes, Europeans or Americans.
And certainly not among the Physical therapists.

I am trying to make my life choices meaningful- and for some reason it is helpful to me to let it all spill in this forum.

Maybe there is no ONE place for a lover of life - maybe the cure of this pain is to keep moving - expanding and retracting...

... Kind of breathing and sharing...

Love,
Anna G
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
I am trying to make my life choices meaningful- and for some reason it is helpful to me to let it all spill in this forum.

Maybe there is no ONE place for a lover of life - maybe the cure of this pain is to keep moving - expanding and retracting...

... Kind of breathing and sharing...
Bravely and beautifully expressed. Thank you.
Insightfulness is both a blessing and a curse, is it not? Though, openness and receptivity are dynamic, interactive processes, maybe. Their entropy fluctuates; "expanding and contracting".
Indeed.
All the best
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:05 AM   #20
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:52 PM   #21
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Just a gift of words.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:46 PM   #22
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Is it wisdom or love that is the barbed-wire fence or the stand of trees?
Kind thoughts,
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:36 PM   #23
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Gotta go with Barb Wire for Wisdom. Just gotta.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:02 PM   #24
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I relate to Diane's post with the quote from Oscar Wilde.

If some people enjoy being alone it suggests they approve of themselves, regardless of whether others approve of them or not. That is important, I think. One can grow from that point.

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Old 03-06-2013, 11:24 PM   #25
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Default alone in siberia .......

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/201...-baikal-russia

hope you can access this ...http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/vid...an-cabin-video

beautiful video.......

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008...aitland-review

read this a while back .....

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.p...ve-capability/

I think this sums it up for me ...it takes a poet to sum up the attitude to be a good scientist perhaps ....
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:23 AM   #26
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I related to his analogy of trying to stuff more items into an already full bag, as a means of controlling time. This is something I am grappling with at this time. Food for thought.
Thanks for sharing...Sandy
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:06 AM   #27
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I have found Shinzen Young's teachings on mindfulness to be very useful in our context, as he has worked a lot with chronic pain patients while developing his own "interacive and algorithmic" system called Basic Mindfulness.

A description of a useful algorithm for working with pain is found here - this is not strictly for pain patients but outlines the method.
A more general description on his thoughts on working with mindfulness and pain is found here, which is the synopsis of a longer book for pain sufferers.

The strength of this system is that it is very adaptable, sharply defined and see all challenges as opportunities. A possible weakness is that it can appear very complex and detailed. Shinzen has a very good youtube channel where his system is explained. The full Basic Mindfulness manual is found here.
I would be happy to teach the system to anyone so that they could get aboard for the facilitator training. I can highly recommend the facilitator trainings - everything can be done online and the woo-factor is next to none since critical thinking and scientific method is fundamental to Shinzen.
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:35 AM   #28
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The other side of calm.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:37 AM   #29
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Tord,
A simple click of the thanks button is not enough. Wonderful links, so useful to me, my team.
Kind thoughts,
Steve
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:02 PM   #30
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Great links Tord. I have come across Shinzen in a few places and circles. I think he is in Niagara Falls no?

Great links!
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:32 AM   #31
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I just finished reading "the mind and the brain" which makes the case that attention is the key in changing neurosignatures - be they pain or OCD or whatever. So, mindfulness is truly the important point.

I introduce my patients to in terms of relaxation and visualization, with the education that the practice in visualization and attention will be necessary for the graded motor imagery i do. I find that building " a happy place" as corny as that sounds, is a good intro.

So far it has worked well, but i know that one thing doesn't work for everyone so I'll be trolling the thread for ideas!
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:39 PM   #32
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Is it wisdom or love that is the barbed-wire fence or the stand of trees?
Kind thoughts,
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I guess your question is a koan or do you want more words?
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Old 30-08-2013, 02:14 PM   #33
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http://mindblog.dericbownds.net/2013...t-of-good.html

l liked the succinct post here ...
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Old 13-11-2013, 12:42 AM   #34
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Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
Like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

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Old 11-02-2014, 10:55 PM   #35
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Simon if you are still about and interested there is a Zen sitting group that i sat with once a week for about 6 months while i was living in melbourne a couple of years ago.It really helped me when i was going through a pretty difficult time. They sit tues evenings at Ceres and are attatched to two teachers based in Sydney Subhana and Susan Murphy. I sat a retreat with Subhana while I was there and have sat with her a couple of times in india in the 90's. Shes the buisness. Susan Murphy has written a book called upside down Zen which is deep and wide. I am fond of the forms but theyre not for everyone- the chanting and ritual can grate if you dont relate.et me
I am up for further conversation around this subject if there is interest. Its been a major thread through my life for more than 20 years now and yes i would say that interoception and the anterior insula rock.
as does leonard cohen- currently reading I'm your Man

Lloyd

ps loving seeing that old photo of my boys
wow time flys

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Old 10-07-2014, 10:37 PM   #36
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I'm relatively new here, and have been taking some time to look around at what's on offer. I haven't seen much on the subject of meditation at all, which surprised me given how much talk there is here about how the brain's perceptions affect the body.

I am familiar with John Kabat-Zinn's work, which basically takes Buddhist practice and remodels the language to a more neutral platform to make it more acceptable to a medical audience. Which I think is fine, and obviously worked given MBSR's popularity. Though I prefer his partner's work and explanations in his excellent book, Heal Thy Self: Lessons in Mindfulness in Medicine.

It also surprises me that no one in this thread has yet mentioned the Yoga Sutras, given how foundational they are to the study of meditation. And so I am curious as to how many here would agree that a daily meditation practice would be useful for chronic pain patients, and why or why not?

Is this something that is just not on your radar because you are focused on other modalities, or have you discounted it's effectiveness?
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Old 11-07-2014, 12:21 AM   #37
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Erica, those aspects of treatment of pain have actually been talked about in some of the threads - Kabat-Zinn, yoga, mindfulness, meditation.

Their usefulness for persistent pain has actually been studied, and the references are here on Soma somewhere.....
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Old 11-07-2014, 12:23 AM   #38
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That does not mean they have been exhaustively discussed...
I for one, am certainly interested to hear what you have to say or present about these!
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:02 AM   #39
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It also surprises me that no one in this thread has yet mentioned the Yoga Sutras, given how foundational they are to the study of meditation. And so I am curious as to how many here would agree that a daily meditation practice would be useful for chronic pain patients, and why or why not?

This thread might interest you.

http://www.somasimple.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12517
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:50 AM   #40
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Thanks Bas and Jo. I did have a look at the thread you mentioned, and while interesting it didn't really seem to focus on daily meditation at all. Also, the information as to the origins of yoga and asana weren't entirely accurate, but that is a whole other topic. My husband would really be the better person to dive into this subject, as he does comparative sutra study almost daily, but I will try to wade in myself.

Also, I am trying to work my way through the vast amount of information here, so if I bring up something that has already been covered please be patient with me.

Darn, must dash. Said husband needs some attention. Will try to write again tomorrow.
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Old 17-07-2014, 06:42 AM   #41
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Okay, took me a bit but I'm back. I dug a little further into the thread you mentioned Jo, and was interested to read the bits about yoga. I would have to agree that most yoga practiced in North America today is just exercise, and badly done, potentially injurious exercise at that. Which is rather sad considering yoga asana was originally meant to be a pre meditation practice to quiet down the body so one could focus on what the mind was doing.
But going back to the meditation side of things, does anyone here teach meditation to their patients, or recommend they take it up as a way to help manage their pain?
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Old 18-07-2014, 03:18 PM   #42
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I do.
I call what I do mindfulness-based physical therapy.
I have learned some ACT (Acceptance and commitment Therapy), basic MBSR technique and have practiced various techniques for meditation and mindfulness for over 25 years, so I just pick whatever feels right in the moment, as treatment.
Many patients come to me with a background where they have come in contact with meditation, yoga and/or Qi Gong before. They mostly want or seem to need support in practicing more often and somehow make the practice their own.
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Old 18-07-2014, 08:38 PM   #43
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I do.
I call what I do mindfulness-based physical therapy.
Angaho,
I would summarize mindfulness in the folowing steps: 5 to 6 breathings pro minute; Be attentive to breathing; then atention to the body through proprioception; and then be aware to our thoughts; observing the thoughts as if they were "separated" from us; Do not make jugements about our thoughts. And this will be meditation. And this will bring peace and wellness to us.
Is it right to summarize mindfulness as i did it here now? In your practice are those steps, the steps you did with the people asking you as a practioner to do mindfulness with them?
North Portugal
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Old 18-07-2014, 08:41 PM   #44
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Angaho,
Yes! I would like to have you speaking a litle more about your practice focusing on those steps breathing, proprioception and "proprioception" from the thought process.
North Portugal
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Old 19-07-2014, 01:56 AM   #45
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Hey Erica, I have a small challenge with regular seated meditation. While I do think the benefits of meditation seem to have been fairly well proven, I also see the benefits of movement as, dare I say, more important. I also think that it may be possible to make this a mindful movement practice that gives the benefits of meditation without getting people to do more sitting or stillness, which currently we are in a little excess of as a culture.
There is a thread around here about Tim Parks' book" Teach us to sit still". The book was specifically about his journey through intense chronic pelvic pain and the help he got from
Meditation. May be of value to your reading.
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Old 19-07-2014, 03:57 AM   #46
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I have a small challenge with regular seated meditation. While I do think the benefits of meditation seem to have been fairly well proven, I also see the benefits of movement as, dare I say, more important. I also think that it may be possible to make this a mindful movement practice that gives the benefits of meditation without getting people to do more sitting or stillness, which currently we are in a little excess of as a culture.
There's a whole tradition of walking meditation. Mindful movement is the bulk of my own interventions. Though defining meditation can be hard, so I'm not quite sure if what I do would be considered meditation. I have though done various forms of meditation for about 14 years.
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Old 19-07-2014, 10:24 AM   #47
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Feldenkrais is a wonderful form of mindfulness, as is simple contact.

We should also be aware of the darker side of meditation. This is more likely with those who are intensely into meditation.


"The Dark Knight of the Soul"
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/ar...-souls/372766/

I would never teach meditation to someone with a history of mental illness. If I think they may benefit from it I refer them to a mental health specialist for guidance.

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Old 19-07-2014, 01:33 PM   #48
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Feldenkrais is a wonderful form of mindfulness, as is simple contact.

We should also be aware of the darker side of meditation.
We should always be aware of the dark side.

Manual therapy/Injury

Catalysed Involuntary Movement/PNES-NEAD

Meditation-Mindfulness/PTSD-The void

I was lucky enough to spend several years working with a psychiatrist who shared my passion for mind/body issues and continue to work with damaged patients with the clear proviso that I am not a trained counsellor.


Adverse reactions happen, and if you work with high risk patients you will see them and woe betide you if you have not taken an adequate case history,examined your patient and obtained ongoing informed consent. Injured patients have a tendency to withdraw informed consent retrospectively.
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Old 22-07-2014, 01:35 AM   #49
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I would agree Byronselorme that traditional sitting meditation does not work for many people, especially if they have lots of pain. Ryan D already brought up walking meditation, which I think is a great alternative. I also use mantra myself (not transcendental meditation) and often recommend it to patients if they are particularly stuck in negative thinking about their pain. As for the "dark side" I agree with Jo, working within your competency and continuing to get informed consent is key.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:57 PM   #50
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Hello all

I too am very interested in mindfulness and am currently in the process of collating data for my MSc research at King's College.

I am fortunate enough to have joined an NHS team that, although has not been exposed to mindfulness before have really embraced my enthusiasm for it, and after some training sessions and research articles pushed on them (in a friendly way) many have now taken up the practice - very exciting!

I was also given free reign of the (shudders at the title) Functional Rehab class, now renamed unofficially to 'Fun-Rehab: leave your diagnosis at the door'!

There is a strict entry criteria based on catastrophisation, mindfulness and START back and is a 6 week class incorporating mindful practice via various exercises such as tai chi, yoga, pilates etc.
There is no timer/beeper and no predetermined idea of how much the patients should do. The only rule is 'when it hurts, stop, acknowledge it, ease it, challenge it'
Which is an attempt to cut through traditional/over-strategised pacing techniques and return the power to the patient, the only authority they need to listen to is their body.

We start every session with formal mindful practice and finish with mindful practice to he'll build the skill, but the reality is the patients spend the majority of the hour in mindful - based practice.

At first they are worried and unsure. They ask a lot of questions, but it so lively to see these reduce over he session as they grow their confidence and trust themselves more.

At the end they re do all the questionnaires demonstrating a significant change int heir scores for the better phew sighs with relief!


I have been personally practicing meditation for 15 years (to a greater and lesser extent - and rediscovered with the link to physiotherapy 3 years ago) and believe personal experience and skill is important to guiding the patient to mindfulness, but perhaps not essential.

Laura

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