Welcome All Emotions - Rumi's "The Guest House"

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi --
Translation by Coleman Barks

Calming the Yammering Voice in Your Head

Ten years ago TV journalist Dan Harris had a panic attack on "Good Morning America" in front of millions of people. From that point on he sought out coping methods to help him deal with the “negative voices in his head” -- something most of us fight with.

“Nightline” - ABC News , March, 2014

10% Happier by Dan Harris, 2013 <---- Check out this great resource on Amazon

“We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present.
Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation.

After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.

10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.”

Buddhist Thought - Countering Intrusive Thoughts

I have unfortunately long resisted Eastern thought and certain “alternative” medical practices, though in the past five years I have been intrigued and inspired by the sensible writings of Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Buddhist). When I participated in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy I began to learn how to better control my anxiety, but it is difficult work that requires daily practice. Simple meditation and mindfulness do help reduce intrusive negative thoughts. Getting a handle on anxiety can help reduce the fear of bad DP episodes which can become a vicious cycle.

Here is a wonderful article by an individual with OCD who has worked hard implementing Buddhist thought (DBT and CBT for all intents and purposes) into calming his symptoms and finding some inner peace.

Please have a look:
Learning To Fall Apart by Matt Bieber
Some excerpts:
“ … the practitioner simply focusses on the outbreath, following it as it passes the tip of the nose and dissolves into space. Thoughts arise, of course, and when the practitioner notices that his attention has been diverted, he simply takes note and returns to the breath.

Over time, the practitioner begins to notice the sheer quantity of thoughts and feelings that his mind is generating. He sees the way that these mental phenomena have a mysterious life of their own — that they arise from nowhere and then disappear again. He starts to realise that it is possible to see thoughts and feelings without judging them, reacting to them, or identifying with them.

As this happens, the practitioner begins to notice some of the stories he tells himself. Some of these are big stories — about the kind of person he is, the ‘meaning’ of his life, and so on. Others are much smaller — his narrative about why he should buy this toothbrush rather than that one, for example. But in both cases he starts to see that these stories are simply composed of thoughts and feelings — like a string of popcorn on a Christmas tree. In other words, he sees that his stories about himself are made-up, too. (Practitioners of contemporary cognitive behavioural therapy — CBT — might find such insights familiar.)

As he recognises this, a kind of loosening occurs, not only does he identify less with individual thoughts and feelings, but he also begins to rely less on particular ways of understanding himself. He feels less and less need to summarise his experience, to corral his raging flood of thoughts and feelings into a stable, permanent view of who he is. And as he begins to let go of his constant grasping after solidity, a fuller sense of who he is starts to emerge.

OCD often feels like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, except that all the choices suck and all the adventures hurt. However, as I’ve begun to learn through Buddhist study and ritual, those ‘choices’ are illusory, and there’s no one being hurt. In fact, there’s no one there at all. The attempt to attain pleasure or avoid pain, to stay consistent with a storyline, to ensure some kind of outcome, to be somebody — this is what causes so much suffering.”