Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Magic of Noble Friends

Over 18 years ago around 10 of us new meditators agreed to meet every other Thursday in a Kalyana-Mitra group.  We came to sit and learned how to profoundly listen and speak with greater mindfulness for 2 hours. 

It is my understanding that Kalyana-Mitra (KM ) or "noble friend" comes from the Buddhist tradition where wisdom and insight is cultivated when like-minded people meet together focused around a common intention.  Our amazing gatherings began in Takoma Park not far from where I was born. Here, we agreed to explore our difficult emotions.

John O’Donohue writes in Anam Cara- A Book of Celtic Wisdom on page 25-26;

KM or noble friend will not accept pretension but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. No one can see his life totally.  As there is a blind spot in the retina of the human eye, there is also in the soul a blind side where you are not able to see. Therefore you must depend on the one you love to see for what you cannot see for yourself. Your KM complements your vision in a kind and critical way.  Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.
One of our deepest longings of the human soul is the longing to be seen. In the ancient myth Narcissus looks into a pool and sees his own face, and becomes obsessed with it. Unfortunately, there is no mirror in the world you can catch a glimpse of your soul. You cannot even see you whole body completely.  If you look behind you, the front of your body is out of view. You can never be fully visually present to your self. The one you love, your anam cara, your soul friend, is the truest mirror to reflect your soul. The honesty and clarity of true friendship also brings out the real contour of your spirit. It is beautiful to such presence in your life.

As I celebrate our KM anniversary with our group this weekend I feel boundless gratitude. What magic it is to have noble friends who have elevated my life with such a priceless heartfelt experience.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fostering Positive Feedback

Taking care of oneself is a conundrum since self care is required.  Creating an inner feedback loop to change old patterns and stimulate new attitudes is paramount to progressing out of the past "stuckness" through self compassion.  Fostering new behaviors that are none judgmental while motivates me to lessen my pain help encourage my greater well being.  Developing and wiring this internal feedback loop can be thought of as turning on one's inner light switch.

Below gives one example how coaching can help develop this;

You might be asking, “Why would coaching help me with fibromyalgia?” The answer lies in the interconnection and "feedback loop" between the body and the mind. Because being in pain creates a physical sense of stress, it releases stress hormones, which, in turn, can affect our mood and contribute to feelings of depression, trauma, and anxiety. A "feedback loop" is thus created where the pain feeds the stress hormones, which, in turn, create more pain. 

Often, those with fibromyalgia have prior life experiences and events that create stress, anxiety and trauma. This, in turn, can give rise to fibromyalgia, because of the feedback loop described above. But even among those who don't have a prior history, the pain and discomfort, combined with the difficulty in getting a diagnosis and appropriate treatment can, itself create feelings of trauma, depression and/or anxiety1.

So much of my life has been filled with negative self talk and/or unskillful thoughts that distract deter or lessen my happiness.  Finding both people and an environment that encourages more illuminating ways of being and thinking is what I welcome.  As a tennis teacher I have for years coached how to accomplish this feat from a perspective of match and recreational play.  How can I boast motivation or make their instructional time the most enjoyable and productive experience?

I come to a threshold.  I can continue to allow my negativity to further my suffering or I can explore new ways to manage this anxiety and celebrate life.  It is my choice whether my remaining time hear is hellish or heavenly. May I benefit from creating a more supportive way of being.