Please take a look at the “about” page to see the circumstances that have encouraged me to start blogging again.
There’s a very simple theory explaining how mindfulness reduces the suffering of physical and mental ailments – If we reduce as much as possible all of the “secondary suffering” that we pile on top of any health issues we have, we might just be left with something we can cope with – our “primary suffering”. We’ll also have created the space to appreciate the good things about life again.
Primary suffering is the “health condition” we cannot change. Secondary suffering comes from the mind with self reinforcing negative thoughts, worry and rumination about our “condition”. These thoughts on their own are bad enough before considering that they cause physical effects that make the primary suffering worse; and so begins a vicious circle of personal deterioration and more suffering…..but we can stop all that, with mindfulness.
The Breathworks eight week course teaches participants how to develop mindfulness. It takes a lot of discipline, with daily exercises and meditation to commit to. Among the practices are “habit releasers” designed to derail our minds from habitual deeply grooved tracks that stretch right back to our prehistoric ancestors! These include the the negativity bias that I’ve mentioned before – which brings me on to the title of this post. I worked in TV news for nearly 20 years. Bad news will nearly always be at the top of the running order because the human negativity bias makes it more likely to grab peoples attention and push the audience figures up.
The negativity bias kept the human race alive back in the days when we carried stone clubs and worried about being eaten by tigers. We were on the look out for danger all the time. Very useful then but a big pain, literally, now if (unlike the news) we can’t turn it off when we rarely need it.
Mindfulness shows us where the off button is. Eventually the negativity and chatter of our minds can calm down letting us develop a balanced view of life based on reality without any bias. We can also then choose to concentrate on the nourishing, healing aspects of life without any unhealthy grasping and clinging.
I’m still appreciating the natural beauty of the tulips adorning pride of space in our living room. I’ve spent time contemplating them, allowing them to water the treasure of pleasure within me. Here’s a new picture. I hope it nurtures pleasure in you too. (Click on the image to see it bigger).