Saturday, July 29, 2017

THE PARADOX OF SELF-CRITICISM 
AND HANDLING PAIN AND GRIEF

Meditation - Passive/Active can help alleviate pain and grief with the power of surrender 
and 
with Awareness, also Manage Self-Recrimination more Skillfully. 


When we grew up many of us were under the impression the way we were taught at school and at home that the more we were critizised about unskillful behavior, the better we would perform next time. 
The opposite was true for many growing up during the self-esteem movement especially in California where kids were overpraised enthusiastically for doing things not deserving of much praise. Criticism was avoided if at all possible. The self-esteem movement proved to be a dismal failure and Martin Seligman the founder of Positive Psychology has described it as one of the major causes of depression in those who grew up under its influence. 
Growing up in South Africa we were exposed to the opposite - an attempt to shame and even then cane in order to achieve better performance. Both of these methods are debatable. 
Self-condemnation or severe criticism from others has a negative affect and far from encouraging us to preform better actually can put the brain in a shut down mode. This is somewhat like the other aspects of the flight or fight reaction 
viz. freezing or feigning death 
which can cause brain lock down. Unlike animals who suffer a flight or fight reaction when confronted with death - or in our case severe stress - we often cannot just "shake" it off and carry on as normal. Animals, however, do not get P.T.S.D. They avoid any post traumatic psychic effects if they survive.
Shame, guilt, remorse, debilitating self-criticism have no place in self-actualization or spiritual transformation. 
We cannot, however, enable ourselves or others by endorsing bad behavior. We should treat ourselves (and others) as if we (or they) were a close friend and practice U.S.A. - Universal Self Acceptance. Meditation can promote self love.
Nevertheless we need to acknowledge the wrong and promise ourselves to do better next time. No one is perfect. Concerning the harming of another we should correct the damage done if possible and if necessary ask forgiveness.

Also
Meditation also helps to dilute judgment of others.

The Ancestors teach
 Some of us take on what is not ours to take on, possibly from the self criticizing conditioning that we are used to.
Also guilt has no place in the healing dynamic. Some patients feel for whatever reason that they deserve not to be well and this is their punishment. 
The Inner Healer cannot function properly when there is shame or guilt.


 
Research has shown that pushing away pain is usually not as effective as surrendering and going into the pain. In other words being mindful of what is going on and experiencing the pain.  Vipassana meditation is a powerful tool for handling this. 
Experiments with two groups placing their hand in a bucket of iced water showed that those who tried to deny the pain did not persevere with the cold as long as those who were told to experience and go into the pain. Meditators were even better in tolerating the pain. F.M.R.I. studies showed activity in the pain centers of the brain in the experiencing group.
Possibly this can be compared to a TENS unit used for patients with severe pain where the spinal cord is bombarded with electrical stimuli sufficiently to alleviate the pain stimuli going to the brain. The current from the unit travels through electrodes to the skin producing a tingling sensation that reduces the perception of pain. The Gate theory suggests that the spinal cord acts as a "Gate" shutting down or opening the flow of signals from the periphery to the brain. The TENS frequencies interfere with the pain messages and help block their transmission to the brain. 
Possibly "experiencing" the pain helps "fill the receptors" in the brain's pain centers thus raising the pain threshold. 

The same can be said for grief.
The ability to surrender is a profound spiritual concept praised by all the sages. Surrender is about hope, trust, belief, faith and is fearless. It allows us to be more flexible and surrender to something much bigger that ourselves than our suffering. When we acknowledge a higher force and source it allows us to open to the Field, the Creator and our guides for love, healing and support. It allows us to stop grasping and to be non-attached. 
Surrender is not detachment it is non attachment. Detachment implies resignation and hopelessness. 
Meditation enables us to surrender and trust in hope which is,
"the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen."

The Ancestors


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1 comment:

  1. Thokoza Mkhulu. Thank you, much for me to take in, in this post.

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