Good Practice

"When something is painful, stressful, or upsetting, try to slow down to observe your reactions to this suffering. Ask yourself if you are downplaying or denying the parts of life that are hard for you. See what happens if you simply name your reactions to yourself, such as,"This is tiring ... that hurts... I'm a little sad ... ouch." Along with this basic acknowledgement, try to have feelings of support and compassion for yourself.

Be aware of now you might be adding suffering to your day, perhaps rehashing resentments in your mind or getting stressed about truly little things. It's really useful to be interested in how you make your own suffering. And when you see yourself doing this, slow down and see if you can make a deliberate choice to stop fuelling and reinforcing this add-on suffering. old habits may take a while to change, but if you make this choice again and again, gradually it will become a new good habit.

From time to time, consider how a particular experience could be changing your brain bit by bit, for better or worse. When you know this is happening, how might it shift the way you approach different situations?"


From 'Neurodharma' (chapter 2) by Rick Hanson (2020)

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How Not to Lose Heart

"The reason we often start to go downhill with losing heart is that we allow ourselves to get hooked by our emotions. We may get justifiably enraged against the government or the corporations or the boss - whoever seems to be obstructing justice. But whatever the circumstances, once we get worked up in a major way, we lose our effectiveness. We lose our skill to communicate in such a way that change is really possible. We lose our ability to do the one thing the is most often within our reach - to uplift ourselves and the people we encounter. When we get hooked - when we get really angry, resentful, fearful, or selfish - we start to go a little unconscious. We lose our payu - our awareness of what we're doing with our body, speech, and mind. In this state, it's all too easy to let ourselves spiral downward. The first step in pulling yourself up is to notice when you're going unconscious. Without doing that, nothing can get better for you. How could you change anything if you're not aware of what's going on?"


"The overall point here is that the way not to lose heart is to realise how everything we do matters. It can go either way. If we go toward defensiveness, closing down, and unconsciousness, we add those elements to a planet that already suffers enough from such tendencies. On the other hand, if we allow ourselves to feel our vulnerability, if we sit up tall when we want to collapse and refrain from striking out when we're provoked, we are having a positive effect on the larger world. Maintaining our own confidence and well-being benefits our family and our workplace and everyone we communicate with. Happiness is contagious.

When more of us learn to trust our basic goodness, society will get stronger. This doesn't mean there won't be hard times. It doesn't mean the polar icecaps won't melt and the water in the oceans won't rise. But it does mean there will be a lot of resilient people who will never give up on humanity and will always be there to help others. It does mean that when things get rough, it will bring out the best in people, rather than the worst. If we learn how not to lose heart, we will always find ways to make important contributions in our world."


Extracts from 'Welcome the Unwelcome' (chapter 7) by Pema Chödrön (2019) 


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‘Maybe We Have Time’ extract 2

’’We never knew whose it was,

the blood that shrouded us,

we made endless accusations,

endlessly we were accused.

They suffered, we suffered,

and when at last they won 

and we also won,

truth was already dead

of violence or old age.

Now there is nothing to do.

we all lost the battle.

And so I think that maybe 

at last we could be just 

or at last we could simply be.

We have this final moment,

and then forever 

for not being, for not coming back.”

 (from ‘Maybe We Have Time ’ by Pablo Neruda -

from  ‘Isla Negra’  translated by Alastair Reid) 


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Does it matter? Part 3

“ The idea is for us to become more and more aware of what we’re doing, and more and more aware that our actions have consequences. Examining our behaviour to see whether it’s polarising is an extension of the question “Does it matter?” Once we see what’s at stake - not just for ourselves, but for our surrounding environment and for the planet as a whole, which suffers so much from polarisation - we are naturally motivated to apply payu, heedfulness. We can gradually refine our payu so that it’s present at more subtle levels of our behaviour, beginning with our words.”

(from Pema Chödrön’s ‘Welcome the Unwelcome’ p24)


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‘Maybe We Have Time‘ extract 1

“Maybe  we still have time

to be and to be just.

Yesterday, truth died 

a most untimely death,

and although everyone knows it,

they all go on pretending.

No one has sent it flowers.

It is dead now and no one weeps.”

(from ‘Maybe We Have Time’  by Pablo Neruda - from ‘Isla Negra’  translated  by Alastair Reid) 



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